Accuweather's Bastardi: Global Cooling Reason for Putin Shutting off Gas Pipeline

Expert forecaster sees Putin’s moves with energy as a power play in anticipation of global cooling 20-30 years out.

By Jeff Poor

Business & Media Institute

1/6/2009 8:23:25 PM

It’s not often that meteorology intersects with geopolitics – but Europe could be in store for another Cold War, literally.’s chief long-range and hurricane forecaster Joe Bastardi observed that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s recent cut of gas flows to Europe via Ukraine may have been done so in anticipation of a global cooling cycle on the Jan. 6 “Glenn Beck Show” radio program. Bastardi has a solid reputation among Wall Street traders for understanding weather’s impact on energy commodities.

“The thing I want to bring up here – very interesting – most of the solar cycle studies that we know about and that guys like me read have come out of the Russian scientists,” Bastardi said. “But when Glasnost developed, the Russian scientists, a lot of their ideas on the coming cool period that a lot of us believe is going to occur – ice, rather than fire is the big problem down the road here 2030, 2040, and the reversing cyclical cycles of the ocean – it came out of the East.”

According to Bastardi – Putin is relying on the data from the Russian scientists and wants to bring some European nations to their knees by exploiting their reliance on natural gas when the weather is at its coldest.

“Now my theory – something that I put out and it’s something that’s not something that people want to hear is that Putin knows what is going to happen – or he believes the same way I do about the overall climate pattern. So, if you control the pipeline into Europe, you literally can control Europe without firing a shot – if you control the energy.”

Bastardi cited former President Ronald Reagan’s 1982 Cold War-era staunch resistance to a then-$10 billion pipeline that was proposed to deliver natural gas 3,500 miles from Siberia to the heart of Western Europe, as a July 12, 1982 Time magazine article pointed out. Reagan’s stance was criticized by Western Europe Cold War allies and was said to be “riding roughshod over Western Europe’s economies,” by Time.

Bastardi also noted Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August 2008 was evidence of Putin’s willingness to use energy as a strategic tactic, since the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, located in Georgia, transports about a million barrels of oil a day from the Caspian Sea through Georgia to ports in Turkey – and then throughout Europe.

“That is why Reagan was so dead set against the Europeans looking east for their energy,” Bastardi said. “And now we’re seeing it. I believe the invasion of Georgia was nothing more than saying, ‘Hey I can take that pipeline whenever I want’ and he shut the gas off to the Ukraine when it got brutally cold.”

In a follow-up interview with the Business & Media Institute, Bastardi explained that a lot of Putin’s personality traits are at play here – that he is using intelligence, going back to his days as at the KGB.

“The weather’s most certainly involved in this,” Bastardi said. “If look at what those Russian scientists, where a lot of these studies on it getting cold come from – you can see that, what makes you think that Putin doesn’t have some knowledge of that? Here’s the head of the KGB – and forever what you want to say, I’m sure he’s privy to the same kind of information the head of the CIA is privy to here about studies and what people are thinking on a scientific nature.”

And according to Bastardi, Putin’s use of the flow of energy into Europe is just one of the weapons in his arsenal of tactics that he, as the head of Russia, has perfected using – comparing him to a wrestler with a perfected move.

“He’s definitely a type-A alpha male and we can both agree on that,” Bastardi said. “I mean look at him and he is more likely to use weapons – and I use weapons in terms of for instance a wrestler – a single-leg take down is a weapon. If you perfect it, you can use it the entire match. He’s more likely in the art of war to use what he knows how to use, even if it’s only two or three things than try to go use something he doesn’t know how to use or try to create something – that’s a waste of time to use it.”

It’s not a personality fault Bastardi contended on Beck’s program – but just what he considers proper for his country.

“And so, there are a couple of things that line up here that indicate the guy is trying act on behalf of his country and what he believes his country should be,” Bastardi said. “And I believe that he wants to use nature, rather than change nature and that may be what’s going on over here.”

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
January 6, 2009 9:35 pm

If one were to go a bit out on a speculative limb and surmise that the old Soviet machine is still at work through its western surrogates, what better way to regain world power than to get the West to spend untold trillions on ineffective power alternatives such as wind and solar, instead of investing now in the needed nuclear, coal, oil shale, new oil and gas drilling and hydroelectric facilities. Wind turbines are especially useless in very cold weather as icing of the blades can be a hazard. Maybe too paranoid?

January 6, 2009 9:43 pm

It would also be in Russia’s interest to advance the “global warming” and anti-nuclear agendas in Europe as it would cause politicians that fall for it to shift energy generation from coal and nuclear (as has been done in Germany) to “cleaner” gas.
France seems to be the only European country following their own interests and continuing to develop nuclear power. Germany would be well-served to get their nuclear program back up and running, too. Same with the UK.
If temperatures continue to fall, keep an eye on Russian activity with regards to Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan would be Russia’s next natural power grab if weather starts to turn really bad for a long period in Russia.

Pamela Gray
January 6, 2009 9:50 pm

I would think any country that has a budget shortfall and in need of infrastructure investment would look at its exports as an additional money source. There are also countries run by palace living folks that want to stay in their palaces even though their families are getting bigger all the time, that see their exports as a money source. I don’t see Putin getting rich, but his country could sure use the money. If you are set up to export gas, then the gas goes to the highest bidder. I don’t see camel riders getting rich but their kings and princes could sure use the money. I see middle East kings and extended family princes (because the women keep having sons and then those sons have sons, etc) needing more and more money to fund their lavish life style while their fellow countrymen and women tent dwellers burn camel dung to keep warm.
The world is not full of fairness and justice. It’s full of countries, and kings and princes needing money!

January 6, 2009 9:57 pm

“Maybe too paranoid?”
I don’t think so. It is the kind of game Russia excels at playing historically. We sort of did the same to them some years back. We deployed cruise missiles in Europe forcing the old Soviet union to spend billions in “look down” radars. We developed enhanced radiation warheads that could take out mass formations of armored vehicles without laying waste to the countryside for decades. The Russians played a propaganda angle that we developed warheads that could nuke cities killing the population but leave the industry intact when killing civilians is not a military objective. Russia was successful in their agitation through protest groups in Europe to keep us from deploying those weapons until they invaded Afghanistan. When we developed stealth technology we forced them into another research project costing billions and that was apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Russia would absolutely love for Western governments to take the “global warming” fantasy hook, line, and sinker. It would ensure they have greater leverage. It would not surprise me a bit to find Russian money or money from Russian influenced people and organizations flowing into the coffers of “global warming” and other “environmental” groups. When the “reds” lost power, many of them simply donned a “green” shirt and kept on doing what they have always done.
Groups like “Greenpeace” no longer have any basis in science in any of their positions and are simply doing whatever they can to hamstring economic growth and energy development through the run up if legal fees through endless litigation, and “community activism” that misinforms and misleads the average people into making decisions that pile inefficiency upon inefficiency in getting anything done.
Not paranoid. It is pretty much business as usual for Russia in a historical context.

January 6, 2009 10:43 pm

He he.
Gerhard Schröder as Prime Minister fought hard to build the new Russian gas pipeline to Germany (i.e., increasing dependency on Russia), gave it a €1 billion guarantee and then five weeks later took the job of Chairman of the Board of … the pipeline.
Any German consumers shut out of gas this winter may wish to consider why their nuclear power plants are being shut down at the same time that pipelines to Russia are being added.

January 6, 2009 10:57 pm

Pamela Gray (21:50:38) :
You have assumed that the kings value their economic interests more than their strategic interests, a common mistake in the west where capitalism has made life easier and made the amassing of money the primary interest. For when war comes, money becomes secondary to security.
“…it is not gold, as is claimed by common opinion, that constitutes the sinews of war, but good soldiers; for gold does not find good soldiers, but good soldiers are quite capable of finding gold.” – Machiavelli

January 6, 2009 10:58 pm

I seriously doubt Putin and his intelligence agencies need to fund and run a vast international network of fellow travellers like the old Cold War or pre-war Commintern days.
Seems like for the last forty years the western, industrialised liberal democracies have happily picked up the bill to educate and employ in key roles significant numbers of socialists and marxists utterly devoted to the overthrow of the same political/economic systems that have nurtured them.
In the Anglo-sphere, the universities, media, public-sector unions and most particularly the educational unions and bureaucracies are bastions of foment against the current order.
Putin probably can hardly believe his luck that huge amounts of donations from the Useful Idiots and their governments flow into the coffers of so many organisations which, in Europe for instance, are working to open a strategic advantage he will doubtless grab for Russia if he can.
See this one from the guys over at Climate Resistance
If anything, Putin is probably trying to figure out how to get the Green Mega NGOs to tip some cash his way.
Still, Russian autocrats have never shown a great tolerance for outspoken intelligensia.
The day Russia has Europe by the natural gas pipeline throat lock, they’ll probably be working out a second rail lift of Useful Idiots to the new Gulag after the initial resistance is picked up and carted off.

January 6, 2009 11:05 pm

And when Al Gore and Hansen et al, migrating to the USSR, sorry my bad,

January 6, 2009 11:07 pm

Sorry, hit too early,
so saying Russia, and asking for asylum. Then the AGW hypnosis is end.

January 6, 2009 11:15 pm

It’s not paranoid… Not after Russia’s interference in Ukraine’s affairs, not after Georgia…. Putin wants Russia to be a great power…. He wants to be known for making that happen.
It’s not paranoid to understand, that the hand with the most energy cards wins, in any climate… warm or cold….

January 6, 2009 11:15 pm

During the final years of the Cold War, the CIA slipped software bugs to Russia as they built their gas pipeline from the Urengoi gas field. The result was a very, very large explosion.

Les Francis
January 6, 2009 11:30 pm

Vladimir Putin has already previously stated that he needs the oil price at $ 80.00 a bbl to sustain Russia’s economic prosperity.
Ukraine has some history of double dealing with the gas flow through the pipelines transiting their country.
Those countries relying on this pipeline were always going to need to tread a cautious line. Note that the most immediately vulnerable are old iron curtain states – e.g Czech Republic etc.
Putin is playing his game of supply and demand. He will win it in the short term. He needs the $$$$.
Meanwhile, IMHO, coming ice age conspirators are in the same bag as AGW alarmists.
The USSR historically financed western dissent. Just playing tit for tat.

January 6, 2009 11:32 pm

As the old saying goes, even paranoids have enemies.
This link [click] is an interview with a former senior KGB [now FSB] agent who defected to the West, Yuri Bezmenov.
When the Korean War ended, the KGB realized that America and the West could never be defeated militarily, and that Communism could not be imposed by military force. But as Stalin said, “Two steps forward, one step back.”
Being the ultimate realists, the KGB changed tack, and instituted a plan to use the West’s freedom of information against it, beginning in colleges and universities, and ultimately moving on to newspapers and the broadcast media. The results are plain to see.
Today, anyone mentioning the word ‘conspiracy’ is derided. But keep in mind that Vladimir Putin was a top KGB/FSB officer. Russia has massive influence on the world stage.
At every turn, the West is now being hobbled by demands to remove dams and hydro electricity, to stop drilling for oil, to stop using nuclear power, to greatly reduce military spending, to corrupt NASA with useful fools in positions of power, to replace extremely cost-effective petroleum with silly wind power schemes, to tax driving and commerce, to end space exploration, to make the UN the arbiter of world government, to end the free flow of information through the internet, to promote the belief that CO2 is causing catastrophic climate change, to promote the argument that taxpayers in industrialized countries must pay exorbitant penalties for “carbon” use, while giving a free pass to all others, to demonizing oil, coal, natural gas, and hydroelectric power, etc., etc.
When the facts fit the hypothesis, the hypothesis is worth discussing. If Mr. Bezmenov [and others] had not defected and informed us of what was being implemented, the facts above would still cause rational people to wonder how the current situation came about. People don’t want to live in mud huts, and our current standard of living is due entirely to our advanced technology and our utilization of petroleum products. The motivation of those who demand that we must stop using what made us successful, safe, and prosperous must be questioned.
As the Romans said, “Cui bono?”

Jim G
January 6, 2009 11:36 pm

Here’s a title consistent with this subject:
Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America
by Qiao Liang (Author), Wang Xiangsui (Author)
First release was 1999 in China.
If you can’t defeat your enemy with tanks, then alternate methods must be used. Think cyberwarfare, financial markets, energy…
The authors, Chinese Colonels, discuss these and more.

The Macolyte
January 6, 2009 11:38 pm

This makes absolute sense, more from the economic view than than otherwise in the short term. Russia needs vast amounts of money to sustain and develop its economy. If anything, I think Russia has learned that it is very difficult to maintain control over a large number of vassal states over any real length of time. I doubt that Russia would want to destroy European economies, merely take them for as much as possible while the going is good.
For what it’s worth I wholeheartedly agree that the evidence suggests we are heading into a prolonged colder period.
I also hope to live long enough to see Hansen, Gore and others of that ilk discredited by the truth, before they – and I – are dead.

John Egan
January 6, 2009 11:43 pm

Just as we’re not going to be turned into toast by next Tuesday – –
Neither are we going to be turned into a frosty by next Friday.

Freezing Finn
January 6, 2009 11:52 pm

Interesting – when pipelines that go through Ukraine (which BTW refuses/has no money to pay long-due bills to Russia) stop delivering gas to rest of Europe, it’s automatically Putin who’s behind it – geopolitically morivated, of course.
It’s the official “peer-reviewed” (by MSM) conspiracy theory, I guess – and Ukraine – a wannabe-nato & EU-puppet – couldn’t have anything to do with it – let alone EU, which OTOH is a wannabe Empire – and which has been admitted too, BTW:
“Barroso: EU is Empire”
Now, Finland gets its gas – though we don’t use it very much – through a separate/direct line and there has been no problems there – but I guess, soon there will be – for Putin must be “evil” and the EU’s just a bunch of scoutboys and girls…
Well, here are two articles on Ukraine worth reading:
“IMF Sponsored “Democracy” in The Ukraine”
“Financial Fraud: Corruption scandal over Ukraine’s emission money”
Also – The article states that “Russia invaded Georgia” – and as if Russia started the whole show there. But even Sakashvili himself has admitted in public that it was Georgia that started it – see:
Also “Sakashvili eats his tie” (on BBC) – and though a bit OT – looks to me Sakashvili could be a bit nut and a manchurian-candidate type of a personality as well:

It’s also known that the US as well as Israel trained Georgians months prior to the war and have been selling a lot of weaponry there too:
“Israel’s Military on Display in Georgia”
And on “Russia doing what it always has” – well, Russian helped the Americans to fight the British during the American Revolution, but I know – even the Americans themselves don’t seem to remember that – and the British aren’t too exited to remind Americans on such boring little details either, now are they?
Secondly – it was a bunch of bankers and industrialists from the West – Wall Street, London and Berlin – that funded the Russian Revolution. Pretty much the same oligarchy also funded Hitler’s as well as Mussolini’s rise to power – for guess what – without money you can’t have revolutions nor dictators + it’s “good” business, too:
And on “Russia trying to promote global warming, so that it could sell more gas to Europe” – now, where the hell did that come from? Russia is investing a lot into nuclear power – and they try to sell plants where ever there is interest for it.

King of Cool
January 7, 2009 12:14 am

The end of global warming may herald a new age of Russian prosperity.
Putin is sitting on a double whammy here in a new game of Russian Roulette with two bullets in the chamber.
First he will make a killing on the carbon credit market with brokers that will make the Lehman Brothers look like the office Christmas fund.
Then he will hike up the price of gas whilst Europe is freezing and bleeding from paying out coal miners their un-employment benefits whilst irate bird watchers and frustrated councils are tearing down windmills along the coast of Scotland.
Good one Vladimir, I am sure that you are hoping you will be sitting next to Barack in Copenhagen this year and it is a warm week.

January 7, 2009 12:36 am

The UK has unwisely used up it’s natural gas reserves. The pipeline from Norway is now delivering, but the lower prices promised to consumers never materialised. Just the opposite. Despite being told for years that gas prices were rising because the price of gas was “linked to the price of oil”, prices have risen again recently depite the oil price dropping through the floor.
Personally, I’ve decided to reduce my dependence on natural gas by getting out and about with my chainsaw more often. I’va also acquired a generator which runs on bottled propane for use in the event of the electricity grid running into problems. Obviously, bottled propane will rise in price, so I have a stock in my outbuilding.
Strategically, we are in deep do-do. We’ve sold our nuclear energy business to the french, who will hopefully get around to building some new nuclear power stations sometime in the next decade… Our politicians have their heads up the hole when it comes to energy policy. We should be building small scale generators which burn waste to supply local areas and provide resilience to the grid. Ten years ago I visited a prototype rig which was generating a megawatt from 40 car tyres an hour. It used a pyrolysis technique which kept it’s emmissions within E.U. guidelines for small scale plant. Even then, it was running into problems with ever tightening co2 emmission regs though, and the project has been shelved since 2005. The same company is running a 27 megawatt plant which seasonally burns barley straw in scotland.
We missed a huge opportunity for better relations with Russia when Mikhail Gorbachev instituted Perestroika and Glasnost. Instead of crowing over the collapse of soviet Russia, the west should have been helping them restructure and nurturing strong partnerships. Instead, we got Ronnie Reagan twirling his six-guns, and his moll, Maggie Thatcher riding around in a Cheiftain tank for the cameras.

January 7, 2009 12:38 am

Kevin and Smokey, both good points.
What we need are combined cycle nuclear plants. These would basically be two conventional power plants and one fast neutron plant along with a fuel re-processing facility all at the same location. Scientific American published an article titled Smarter Use of Nuclear Waste back in December of 2005 that describes how we can reprocess spent fuel rather than bury it, eliminate the need to enrich uranium, and reduce the danger of proliferation of weapons grade material by using isotopes that are useful for fuel but not useful for weaponry.
Using modern plants such as the Westinghouse AP series that greatly reduce the complexity and parts count and have passive safety features that do not require a human to operate in case of an accident. These reactors would burn conventional fuel which would then be reprocessed using the reprocessing facility and the on-site fast neutron reactor and then returned to the conventional plant for further use. What waste there is created decays much faster to background levels of radiation in hundreds of years rather than thousands making storage safeguards much easier.
We have the technology. Carter decided not to recycle fuel. Reagan decided to build a test combined-cycle plant but Clinton killed it. Japan, India, France and Russia recycle fuel. India has this past year decided to build several fast-neutron reactors. Doing all of this on-site greatly reduces the amount of nuclear fuel that needs to move around the country in trucks and trains.
We have the technology right now to power this country for centuries in a much safer and cleaner fashion with less waste. We do not need to pour billions into development of something that might or might not produce cost effective production.
As I watch the goings on in the press and in the coffee shops I am constantly reminded that 50% of the population is below the median intelligence level and it only takes 50% + 1 to win an election.

Freezing Finn
January 7, 2009 12:44 am

“As the Romans said, “Cui bono?””
Indeed – “follow the money”, they say and, naturally, the Russian have a lot of it, right?
Wrong – besides, a lot of the richest Russians are living in the UK nowdays – with their fellow oligarchs – or in Switzerland. Though after the looting in the 1990’s, it’s no wonder they wish to do so – and for the time being – meanwhile they’re trying to get ridd of Putin et el – so that they could continue at the looting again one day.
And please note – I’m not saying Putin is an angel – I’m just trying to remind you that you should be a bit more critical to the MSM of the west as well – for they and the news they produce are owned by someone as well – and usually for a reason.
For example – here’s who owns the media in the US:
Another interesting website on media onwership:
Oh, well – so much information – so little time…

January 7, 2009 1:25 am

I was just trying to think like a European for a sec.
I mean, suppose this guy is right, and next winter is colder than this one. So you’re Hanz Franz sitting in his Berlin brownstone, and all of a sudden the heat goes off. It stays off for days. Do you still care about the plight of the polar bears, or does all that non-Russian coal you’re country is sitting on start to look good.
Do you still look up from your morning paper after reading about those plucky Greenpeacers vandalizing coal smokestacks in the UK, and think “Ja iz gut”, or do you hope maybe somebody blows them off of there with a bazooka.
This fantasy works for New York too. No Russians necessary. Methinks interesting times are coming.

January 7, 2009 1:26 am

We deployed cruise missiles in Europe forcing the old Soviet union to spend billions in “look down” radars.
Urg. Must resist. (I cut my teeth on the delicate and subtle art of nuclear strategy. I wrote the introduction for the new edition of Kahn’s On Thermonuclear War) I will confine myself to saying there was more to it than that.

Erik in Cairo
January 7, 2009 1:42 am

During 1989-1991, I was lucky enough to see the unraveling of the Soviet empire first hand as grad student in Poland. This was a great time to be a historian, since the state archives were summarily opened without restrictions. Trust me, even the Hoover Institution or the Eisenhower Library had more restrictions than Polish state archives did c. 1989-1991.
What I am saying here is that I have seen evidence with my own eyes of Russian machinations which would make no sense at all to a Westerner but perfect sense to them. I am intellectually ready to entertain the notion that it is possible that a Russian leader might enter into almost any conceivable clandestine scheme.
However, in this case, Occam’s razor suggests that Putin’s current plans have nothing whatsoever to do with climate change. The Russians have a perceived interest in blocking Ukraine’s entry into NATO. They also want to make more money from their product. From their perspective, demonstrating that they can cut off natural gas to Europe in the dead of winter helps them to accomplish both of those goals. It’s cold outside right now. That fact alone explains the timing.

Rhys Jaggar
January 7, 2009 1:56 am

UK and nuclear:
Apparently a German energy company has been acquiring land next to the nuclear power station at Wylfa, Anglesey, hence there may be a second generation of nuclear coming along in the UK.
Gordon Brown is starting to get tougher on our gas suppliers, we’ll see how that plays out. Prices have, however, dropped in terms of petrol at the pump.
There’s nothing wrong with different countries exploring different energy generation mechanisms.
UK: hydro is obvious – lots of mountains and rain. Wave is obvious if we know how to harness it. Solar is stupid – not enough sun and not hot enough.
Key to me is technology to store energy reliably to smooth out generation hiccups.
But at the end of the day, we have to understand that US, Russia, Saudi and everyone else will stop at nothing to further their interests. Dead humans? Tough. Starving people? Tough.
Don’t imply a humanity in politicians when the evidence is that they will murder, starve and destroy with impunity………..

Ron de Haan
January 7, 2009 2:15 am

Today a GAZPROM representative made the following statement.
GAZPROM has two different contracts with Ukraine.
1. Contract for the delivery of gas
2. Contract for the distribution of gas
Last year Ukraine owned Gazprom 3 billion dollar in outstanding bills.
A settlement was made by which Ukraine would pay the outstanding bills by December 31 2008.
In the mean time GAZPROM raised the prices to 250 dollar for 1000 cubic meter of gas.
Ukraine responded by canceling further negotiations and refused to pay the higher prices.
In January GAZPROM responded by cutting the delivery of gas to Ukraine.
Now Ukraine has responded by closing the pipelines that deliver the gas to Europe.
This is confirmed by the Austrian Partner that manages the european part of the pipeline.
The Urkrainian Gas company NAFTOGAS however declared that GAZPROM also cut the European deliveries.
It must be clear that political and economical aspects play a major role in the conflict.
The Ukrainian President is struggling to remain in power as his position is undermined by representatives of the former Communist, now Pro Russian political forces.
Although Moscow consequently denies any allegation of power politics it is clear that energy is used as a power tool. Ukrain is not in a position to pay the higher gas prices.
The Ukrainian President is Pro Europe, a potential member of NATO and a potential EU member. Russia wants the former Soviet State to stay under Russian influence especially because Ukraine hosts the Russian Southern Fleet and controls a significant nuclear potential.
In the mean time some European countries depending on Russian gas like Hungry and the Czech Republic are very short on reserves under extremely cold weather conditions up to minus 30 degree Celcius.
Hopefully the announced meeting between Russian and Ukrainian representatives for next Thursday will bring a solution.
Italy in the mean time has announced it will no longer depend on Russian Gas.
Other European countries will follow but short term alternatives are not available.
A third pipeline that is planned for gas delivery via the East Sea to Germany will be in service by 2012.
Shipping of Compressed Natural Gas is in need of infrastructure (ships and CNG harbor installations and the delivery of gas from Algeria lacks pipeline capacity.
It must be clear that Europe will have a close look at the future energy policies.

January 7, 2009 2:17 am

A quick look at the BBC wether website shows that the whole of Russia and much of west Europe is in the deep freeze right now. Russia produces around 600 billion cubic meters of gas per year and uses about 400 bcm for domestic consumption. See chart:
So when it gets cold at home, Russia must prioritise its home domestic market and this can squeeze gas available for export – especially to countries like Ukraine that don’t pay full market rates. Russia has three super giant gas fields in west Siberia – Urengoy, Yamburg and Medvezhy – all have been producing for decades and production is in decline.
Russia has in fact been a very reliable gas and oil producer to OECD Europe for many years – but cannot deliver gas it perhaps does not have.
Full details of European gas supplies here:

King of Cool
January 7, 2009 2:45 am

Voting for WUWT
[another cheating strategy snipped ~ charles the moderator, standing in for Evan the robomod]

January 7, 2009 2:52 am

When I write to the local papers suggesting we urgently need to build new coal fired power stations (with best possible emission controls) in order to generate much needed power -using a resource we have in abundance-you would think I’d suggested murdering Bambi!
Renewables are all very well as a ‘top up’ but our lack of base level power in the UK is very worrying as all our major power stations are ageing and people like Hansen (Kingsnorth) are trying to
stop us building new ones

Leon Brozyna
January 7, 2009 2:59 am

The particulars of the current dispute are distractions. Putin is acting in a manner that I expect Machievelli would approve. He’s not enamored of the fashionably chic green agenda; he’s looking at what the climate will really do, not what some silly model is projecting as possible — an object lesson sure to be missed by the incoming administration with its own green agenda. So, when Europeans start freezing their butts off during the coming years, Russia will be bargaining from a position of strength. Maybe, after a couple decades of a colder climate, Europeans will wake up and start using their own coal resources. Maybe.

Sam the Skeptic
January 7, 2009 3:10 am

Flying Finn …
I learnt many years ago never, ever, to trust anyone who uses the phrase “It’s also well known that …”
Personally I’m not sure what the Russians are up to but history has taught us always to be wary of the Bear. For sure the Reds morphed into the Greens though they were always related anyway since the Soviet Union was always prepared to use the idealistic left in the west for its own purposes and, boy, were they ever prepared to be “used”!
To say that the current rush away from secure energy sources is the result of a Russian alliance with the eco-maniacs might be over-stating things but Putin’s actions are consistent with Russian habits over generations.
I may not know squat about the science of climate change but I do know my history!

January 7, 2009 3:11 am

Bastardi’s assertion that Russia started the Georgia conflict is total nonsense and international UN observers confirm this. That said, Russia did expect the attack as part of the encirclement by the Untited States, via proxies, of Russia e.g. Ukraine, Georgia and Afghanistan. Regardless of whether we enter a cold period or not Europe now knows that we have a major probem with energy supplies now that the continent’s gas and oil production has peaked.

Roger Carr
January 7, 2009 3:42 am

crosspatch (21:57:31) wrote: “Not paranoid. It is pretty much business as usual for Russia in a historical context.”
Nice assessment, crosspatch. Interesting reading; thanks.

January 7, 2009 3:42 am

A small solar cycle 24 sunspot popped up today at around 00:00… it was gone by 07:00 though… Check the lastest solar images. Strange because it appears that has already allocated a number for it… (1010)

January 7, 2009 3:46 am

It seems like the Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine have completely stopped. See

January 7, 2009 3:49 am

FF (23:52:40)
Enough apologia. Fee Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of a bad ‘un.

Freezing Finn
January 7, 2009 4:17 am

Ron de Haan (02:15:53) :
“…In the mean time GAZPROM raised the prices to 250 dollar for 1000 cubic meter of gas.”
Yes, and for obvious reasons.
According to Wikipedia “Ukrainian gas import prices and transit fees for Russian exports to Europe were set in bilateral negotiations, below European levels to some degree.”
The Finnish version of the article – and although a lot shorter – is more precise as to what “some degree” there means – it means they paid 75% below the “European levels”.
And if Ukraine wants to be part of the “West” – rather than the “East” – join EU, Nato and have all the “free trade” benefits too etc. – it’s free to do that, of course.
But what Russia is doing there is simply trying to charge Ukraine the “free trade price” other Western countries are paying for their gas too – for you can’t have both the “free trade” and the gas at the old “fair trade price” – especially after being openly hostile toward Russia.
So, if Russia was about to charge more than what it is charging it’s “traditional enemies” in the west – I’d understand the whining – but they’re not doing that.
And what does “free trade” in the EU mean? Here’s a quote from Romanian Daily (13 Feb 2006) – and right on topic too:
“The gas prices are expected to triple as EU accession stipulations request the authorities to align the tariffs to European ones. Romania agreed during EU negotiations to increase the price of natural gas from internal production to 270 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters, compared with the present price of 115 dollars.”
So, that’s 20 bucks more than what the Russians are charging the poor Ukrainians – and in 2006 already. But hey, Putin must be behind that one too, eh? 😉
Ps. how come it took so long for my previous posts (23:52:40) and (00:44:52) to pass moderation? For example evanjones’ post (01:26:17) was out there way before mine… oh well, I’m just wondering – my favourite past time… 😉
Reply: evanjones is a moderator, and as such his posts don’t have to be screened for approval. Nothing personal at all, your post was approved later along with several others by one of the insomniac moderators. ~ dbstealey, mod.

Richard Hegarty
January 7, 2009 4:38 am

Sam the Skeptic (03:10:52) :
“Personally I’m not sure what the Russians are up to but history has taught us always to be wary of the Bear.”
I agree with Sam we have to watch Russia but i always believe in picking your fights. Instead of giving unconditional support for Georgia when they started the war in the first place, just because you are small does not make you innocent, maybe we should be a bit more balanced and mediate rather than attack. and with the gas well maybe the Ukraine should actually stop stealing gas and pay their bills and if we put pressure on both sides it might get resolved sooner rather than just fearing the bear. Then perhaps the west could have more influence in Russia and we would be in a better position if the bear tries something stupid. Better to have them inside the tent p***ing out than outside the tent p***ing in. Its not in Russia’s interest to cut supplies, it makes Russian energy less valuable because it becomes less reliable.
Burn Polish coal i say, its cheap secure and in the heart of Europe. If this cold snap has taught us anything its that renewable energy might be great for opinion columns and dinner party conversations but when it gets cold you need to burn stuff. I am in Poland now and it was -18c yesterday evening, a little too cold for my liking.

Tom in we don't need no stinkin gas in Florida
January 7, 2009 4:42 am

C’mon all you conspiratorists, you missed the point that Russia intentionally fudged the Oct temperature data to mislead everyone into thinking AGW is still on a rampage so they could trick everyone into not storing any reserves.
I do think that Putin sees a weak incoming US President and most of his recent actions are moves to establish that Russia will again be the main power in that region.

January 7, 2009 4:56 am

For someone claiming to know their history, Skeptic Sam misses something.
‘For sure the Reds morphed into the Greens though they were always related anyway ‘ – is palpable nonsense. The UK Greens, for instance, began life as a group of disgruntled Conservatives.
There’s no continuity between Red and Green. It is a myth that conservatives would be well advised to abandon. It gets in the way of understanding the scientific and political claims made by environmentalists.
There are superficial similarities between Green and both the broad categories ‘Left’ and ‘Right’. There is a superficial continuity between the Soviet Union and contemporary Russia. But Cold War language doesn’t help us explain or combat the prominance of environmentalism as much as impede us, and makes us look stuck in the past. The world is very, very different now.

Steve Keohane
January 7, 2009 4:59 am

Ron de Haan (02:15:53) What I heard on the news on 1/6 was most like what you describe happened. There were protests by Ukraine saying the pipeline was leaky. The Russians said there was nothing wrong with the pipeline, that the Ukrainians were siphoning off gas.

January 7, 2009 5:20 am

I would like to make a request that Watts-up sticks to climate science and forgoes these forays into energy and geopolitics! It’s not that some of the comments aren’t informative, it is that the majority really show up the prejudices and rather deep ignorance of the European situation held in the USA, and it would be a nightmare to try and engage in corrective action. There’s no blame or judgement intended – I love America – it is a reflection of the national interest and width of the Atlantic. But is is exasperating.
I am a veteran of the European energy policy, risk analysis, green politics, pollution control arena – with over thirty years experience from grass roots, through local councils, regional, national and EU government, commissions, public inquiries and international conventions (on pollution control) – with a long history of publications, interventions and activism. All I can say – is that this prevailing view of Russia as manipulative is extremely naive and driven by some psychological need not to look at the motives and historical policies of the US in relation to world markets and finance – the Russian responses to encirclement and continual attempts at economic destabilisation (which resulted in the Wall) explain a lot – even Marxism can only be understood as a response to Capitalism.
The reforms of the late 80s were driven by Gorbachov and motivated by an incredible maturity and desire to change this pattern – but all the West could do was claim economic victory and gloat, whilst expanding its marketing and military alliances in Eastern Europe and central Asia. That recreated the old Soviet style Putin in response.
But it also liberated an incredibly powerful Russian mafia – remember Russia is now a capitalist country!
Putin has to balance the outside threats, the internal mafia, and the future economy – and energy is all he has going – and with it a huge surplus of dollars!{{ What would the USA do if Mexico brought in a socialist government, allied itself to Russia (or China) but was entirely dependent on the US for energy, and then refused to pay the market price?}}
Against this background, the machinations of green politics in Europe, wind turbines, nuclear power….and all the rest, pale into insignificance. And to speak of Russian money for the green agenda is a nonsense – even if it were on offer (it never was) no green organisation would risk public approbrium by taking it.
Russia is set to receive vast sums in carbon credit trading – more dollars and Euros it can only spend if western economies stay buoyant. That’s why Putin signed Kyoto against the advice of the Academy of Sciences, and why the Academy then changed its tune (Yuri Izrael, Vice Chair of IPCC and Russian Academy placement there, once said that ‘global warming’ was over-hyped nonesense! But he went quiet after receiving contracts from Putin to study cooling the globe by high-level dispersal of sulphur particles!).
But there you go – I couldn’t resist an argument!

Freezing Finn
January 7, 2009 5:22 am

Sceptic Sam: “…history has taught us always to be wary of the Bear. ”
I live 1 km away from a real bear (though sleeping right now) – and 40 kms from the Russian border – and frankly I’m more afraid of the Western Oligarchy than the Russians. Not because I’ve been taught the “official history” (sponsored by the Oligarchy), but because I’ve learned to doubt it.
For instance – before the Revolution – Russia – or the Czar – gave Finland more freedom than what EU is currently giving. In fact – the EU is taking them all away – and slowly but surely turning into EUSSR 2.0:
“Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship”
Sceptic Sam: “For sure the Reds morphed into the Greens…”
The left-right paradigm is all fake for it’s really all about collectivism vs. individualism – totalitarianism vs. freedom. See
Anyway, modern socialism was “invented” in the West – in London, to be more precise – and isn’t it curious that Lenin spend quite some time there prior to the Revolution? Again they’re having some “poor refugees” from Russia over there – only this time they at least have their “own” money to plan and execute the next Kremlin coup.
Sceptic Sam: “I may not know squat about the science of climate change but I do know my history!”
Well, I just learnt recently (meaning some years ago) never, ever, to trust anyone who uses the phrase “I know my history”. ;D
History is written by the winners – and I doubt they’re telling me – or you – everything we’d like to know.
Besides – the more I know – it seems – the more questions I have…

Bill Marsh
January 7, 2009 5:52 am

Russia goaded the Georgians into that attempt. They were waiting for it. Georgia was attempting to regain control of its own territory from separatists supported by the Russians. This was ‘payback’ to the West for Kosovo/Bosnia, in which a Russian client State, Serbia, had much the same thing done to it by NATO.
Putin is testing out his economic weapon, energy supply, to ensure that the EU understands that they have to acquiesce to the expansion of Russian influence in the former Soviet States bordering Russia. Georgia was first and it appears that Ukraine is next. The EU’s response to the Russian invasion of Georgia was tepid at best exactly because they understood that Putin would cut their energy supplies. If Russia decides to invade Ukraine in a similar manner this little exercise is intended to send the message of the consequences of EU opposition.
Sad the the EU countries have allowed themselves to become this vulnerable to Russia.

Bill Marsh
January 7, 2009 6:00 am

Khan was required reading when I was at the Naval Academy in the early 70’s. Personally, I don’t agree with his ideas about ‘controlled’ nuclear conflicts, city trading, etc. I think the first use will result in a rapid escalation to a full out exchange, with the possible exception of a strike over the open ocean against a Carrier Attack Group. Our expectation was that would be the first use in a general conflict between Warsaw Pact and NATO.
Interesting reading none the less.

January 7, 2009 6:08 am

The Russians failed to pay a registration fee to maintain their participation in the carbon credits scam run by the UN. It was only about 125k-150k. I know that the Russians have a history of thinking things like dues, etc., are optional. But their failure to participate gives you an idea of how serious they are about the IPCC theories of global warming. To them its one more joke to play for a scam.

Steven Hill
January 7, 2009 6:08 am

Russia is siding with many middle eastern countries to control the worlds energy sources right now. This may be the intent of Gore and Hansen behind the scenes, I have often wondered this. We will need other sources of energy, problem is, coal is very important. I can see the US telling Russia and China not to use coal or oil. Get Real!

Bobby Lane
January 7, 2009 6:15 am

Well, as I have said all along, climate change, whether colder or warmer, is more about politics than it is about actual climate. Not that I am the only one to hold that belief, however, I might add.
We’re not entering another Cold War. We’re already in it. We have some of the same enemies in the same general places (Russia, Cuba, Latin America, Western Europe). Whoever started what first between Georgia and Russia misses the point entirely. As Bastardi notes, this is a chess match, or to put it in his terminology a wrestling match. These are merely set up moves.
We once had the concept of “spheres of influence.” Well, Russia has carefully built and controlled an energy network which gives it a sphere of influence over the whole of Europe, and with respect to oil over the whole of the world. Putin isn’t stupid. He knows Russia is not a major military power. As Bastardi notes, that action was only intended to serve notice that he merely needs to give the order and troops can seize the pipelines. Meanwhile, he’ll let the international community, via its proxy the UN, haggle and wrangle. He may eventually have to give ground, literally and metaphorically, but by then he’ll have already got what he wanted. Europe has no military to oppose him. The United States is caught up fighting the same muhajadeen that we supported against the Soviets 25 years ago. A fitting irony in his eyes no doubt. And the Chinese are getting friendlier to Russia as a means to advance their own military technology. So, without firing a shot at anybody that really matters, Putin can make great strides for himself and his nation. And the rest of us will be forced to just sit back n watch helplessly.
Think about it. He supports Iran with nuclear technology for its assuredly “peaceful” nuclear program. This keeps the US tied up with its attention on the Middle East. Meanwhile, he knows that even if we had a lot of troops in Europe we would not invade Russia over an issue like this. No, we’ll try diplomacy first, second, third, and last. He can get the Europeans to oppose our wishes without direct confrontation merely by utilizing control of his natural gas and oil supplies. So we can’t even use the excuse that it is the will of the people of Europe. He can also sell the Chinese technology and know how for advanced military platforms, and get them to oppose the US as well when it suits his interests. I mean, he literally is in the catbird seat. He has the intel, the resources, and the will to use them. And he knows that despite any voiced objections, nobody is really going to stop him.
In that view, Russia is literally the most powerful nation on Earth right now.

Dan Gibson
January 7, 2009 6:26 am

Must be a horrible way to live, seeing the “enemy” conspiring in every unfamiliar face, every different idea. Reds infiltrating into every aspect and thought of Western life. Pity us dumb westerners who are so easily led astray!!! Seems like we need a another good man named McCarthy

Bobby Lane
January 7, 2009 6:29 am

Peter Taylor:
So run that by me again? Russia is not manipulative, but the United States is? Say what? I understand national interests myself, and I understand entirely why Putin would make such moves as these. Of course he is trying to survive external and internal pressures – that is verily the definition of being a politician. But you expect us to believe that with the willingness and ability to nationalize or mistreat any company he wishes to, that foreign companies are supposed to turn a blind eye to that and invest anyway?
And I’m sorry but the EU is a joke. It is nothing but a bunch of old men and women sitting around talking in their own little bubble. The EU has no real power outside its own borders. It couldn’t even cobble 12 helicopters together to use in rescue missions in the countries neighboring Sudan and affected by refugees for the Darfur conflict. But if the whole of Europe wants to become dependent on Russian gas supplies, and the price they will cost with the coming cold, by all means.
By the way, I need not point out that these things – climate change and energy supply – are connected. Watts is as perfect a blog to bring it up in, being climate oriented, as EUReferendum would be whilst it is politically oriented. So, no, thank you very much, we will not mind our own business on this one. This indeed is our business.
Let the British mind their own house. The lights will soon not be on there much longer the way HM’s Government is running things into the ground. We have been just fine without the British for 200 years, with all due respect to the WW2 era, and we will be just fine without them for another 200 years God willing.

Nathan Stone
January 7, 2009 6:31 am

I think crosspatch is right. Russia has been inflating it’s reported temps to help the Western world continue to delude itself into believing in global warming. Then we will be unprepared with our own sources of fossil fuel energy and Russia will rape Europe with gas prices. It’s really obvious when you see the temps reported out of Siberia.

Ron de Haan
January 7, 2009 6:43 am

Peter Taylor (05:20:35) :
“I would like to make a request that Watts-up sticks to climate science and forgoes these forays into energy and geopolitics! It’s not that some of the comments aren’t informative, it is that the majority really show up the prejudices and rather deep ignorance of the European situation held in the USA, and it would be a nightmare to try and engage in corrective action. There’s no blame or judgement intended – I love America – it is a reflection of the national interest and width of the Atlantic. But is is exasperating”.
Just by writing your excellent comment you have made a strong point why WUWT SHOULD post articles regarding subjects like energy and geopolitics.
Just realize that WUWT loyal crowd of posters is an international clique.
It’s proof that WUWT in fact can handle ANY subject.
In the end we all learn and view he subjects from a broader perspective.
Don’t you agree?

Richard Hegarty
January 7, 2009 6:56 am

Bill Marsh (05:52:30) :
“Russia goaded the Georgians into that attempt. They were waiting for it. Georgia was attempting to regain control of its own territory from separatists supported by the Russians.”
I am no expert but this is what the people of South Ossetia had to say. Little mention of them in all the east west talk.
“According to the Tskhinvali election authorities, the referendum turned out a majority for independence from Georgia where 99% of South Ossetian voters supported independence and the turnout for the vote was 95%[14]. The referendum was monitored by a team of 34 international observers from Germany, Austria, Poland, Sweden and other countries at 78 polling stations.”
Georgia might clame South Ossetia but britian once clamed half the world including North America. In the American revolutionary war support for independance was mcuh lower than that.

January 7, 2009 7:14 am

Wow. From my perch in Houston (at a major offshore oil & gas drilling contractor), this is a stunning and prescient analysis.
I respectfully submit that Bastardi demonstrates here better qualifications to head the CIA than that political hack Panetta.
Here’s my corrollary thesis: AGW is perceived in China and the Former Soviet Union as just another example of the Decadence of Capitalism. Further, the Russians, who have a delicious sense of irony and mind-numbing patience, are likely to relish the opportunity for domination of Europe that their military never could achieve.
Huge Hat-Tip to Anthony Watts et al for publishing this otherwise obscure piece. Y’all might want to consider buying coal stocks on any dips; I like ACI and BTU myself.
Don’t forget to vote early and vote often for WUWT for Science Blog of the year.
PS Remember, it’s The Gore Minimum. Repeat it ofetn enough and it will be so.

Pamela Gray
January 7, 2009 7:19 am

Freezing Finn, thanks for your posts. Very cool information. I also think that energy and geopolitical topics brings out the worst in our US colored glass view of the world beyond the pond. Maybe that is why your posts are studied by the moderators longer than others regarding this topic. Your views will be controversial and will prompt the kind of response that makes me want to step away and look busy with something else while the poster rages on about the axis of evil and James Bond-ess stories of intrigue. Not that some of it may be true or false, but posts like that are filled with opinion without data. Often times I think some posters believe that every country is an idiot except for ours and no amount of unbiased or opposing information will persuade from that view. For me, I love reading the posts from folks beyond the US. It is one of the best things about belonging to this blog.

Tom in we don't need no stinkin gas in Florida
January 7, 2009 7:24 am

Freezing Finn: “History is written by the winners”
Yes, and always later disputed by the losers, both sides being tainted by their own perspectives.
BYW, it’s always better to be the winner.

January 7, 2009 7:33 am

I love reading articles like this. Thank you Anthony! You get my vote.
Despite Joe Bastardi being an employee of accuweather, his companies global warming blog would be better served if it stopped giving into its green advertisers. Break through the hype!
Be green everyone! But don’t emit GREENhouse gas. It’s sooo stupid.
And despite all of this ‘dirty’ pollution, the snow is-as white, bright and prestine as ever up here in New Hampshire. Lets face it, how ‘dirty’ could an increase of 0.010% CO2 be?
This trace gas is having absolutely zero (0) toxic effects on human beings. In fact, life expectancy is increasing. So how could this trace gas have such dramatic, toxic like effects on an entire planet?
The science against carbon, is science achieved through carbon. Got that? It is impossible for an increase in CO2 alone to destroy our progression, when our progression has been a result of CO2.
What can I say, we are living in strange times.

January 7, 2009 7:35 am

I don’t believe Russia is inflating temps.
Far more likely is that the historical record is too low.

Brent Matich
January 7, 2009 7:38 am

Putin is/was KGB, Medvedev is his pawn. AGW is POLITICAL, thus appropriate for WUWT, virtually everything in this world is. I agree with crosspatch , coaldust and bobby lane , good posts. Pamela Grey , generally you are right however coaldust is correct in saying power is # 1 ahead of money in a dictator’s priorities. JMHO. Great discussion! Lot of good civil points.
Brent in Calgary

January 7, 2009 7:38 am

Talking about russians:
Khabibulo Abdusamatov regarding GW: “It´s hollywood science”

January 7, 2009 7:41 am

Those questioning the propriety of raising the issues both stated and implied in the Bastardi article and subsequent comments are counseling that we trust the Russians? We’re to rationalize the Russian invasion of South Ossetia? On that basis, Iran is entitled to invade Detroit!
I suppose we are supposed to just not think about what Putin is doing. Trust him. Don’t believe our eyes.

Bill Marsh
January 7, 2009 8:44 am

“According to the Tskhinvali election authorities, the referendum turned out a majority for independence from Georgia where 99% of South Ossetian voters supported independence and the turnout for the vote was 95%[14].”
That still does not change the validity of the territory being part of Georgia under the old Soviet system and part of Georgia when the old Soviet Union dissolved. I’d wager you’d get a pretty high % of native Hawaiians wanting to secede from the US, that doesn’t make Hawaii any less US territory.

D Werme
January 7, 2009 8:46 am

The gas reserves of Russia are enormous. There is so much they have not even explored. Rather than avoiding such a resource, Europe should find a way to ensure steady supply.
The answer is to put in massive storage facilities. The Russians will need the cash, and much like the old claim that a capitalist will compete to sell the rope by which he is hung, Russia will eventually sell the gas to fill the storage. That would reduce their ability to use the gas as a political tool.

Bill Marsh
January 7, 2009 8:46 am

Putin supports AGW because Russia stands to make billions selling CO2 offsets to EU countries. Prior to that realization Russia did not support the idea of AGW or the Kyoto treaty. When Putin realized the amount of money involved Russia did a u-turn on Kyoto.

Shawn Whelan
January 7, 2009 8:49 am

So we don’t build nuclear plants, don’t build hydro power, don’t even attempt to drill for much of the available oil and gas and more just to appease the greenies. Then we in the West blame the Russians for this? Like we were going to trust the Russians? We are being destroted from within not by some minor gas manipulations.
Freezing Finn
You must have never heard of the Red White war in Finland or the Winter war. Wonderful neighbours those Russians.

January 7, 2009 9:00 am

“I will confine myself to saying there was more to it than that.”
Of course there was. I was attempting to boil things down to a sentence or two late at night and it was the best I could think of at the moment. It could (and will) fill books. But generally when one side spends 15% of its GDP countering what the other side spent 5% of theirs on, the result is unsustainable over time.
And as for the current squabble with Ukraine, I don’t fully believe anything either side says. But I do know that placing one’s country in a position as to be dependent on another country who has not been a particularly close friend in a historical and cultural sense probably isn’t a good idea. Sure, it makes sense to buy from them when they have a needed product at a reasonable price, but I wouldn’t go getting all dependent on that supply.
If I were a European dealing with Russia, I would view them sort of like dealing with the Roman Empire. You don’t want them too dependent on you and you don’t want to become too dependent on them because if either condition is met, they will tend to want to absorb you. Particularly if you are a neighbor.
But look on the globe and imagine what happens when the frost line moves South in Russia. Then look at the big chunk of land in Kazakhstan that sort of cuts into the belly of Russia down South (and it is rich in energy resources). I fear that if things get too cold, the Russians might get a little insistent with their neighbors (and former Soviet republics) to the South.
Canada had better be watching things, too. What will they do when/if growing seasons shorten and they have a crop failure? If climate does change severely, it might be a good time for Canadians to mine the place for all it is worth while they still can, bank the money and be ready to buy North Dakota.

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 9:18 am

Nukes cost too much, leaving aside the toxic byproducts that future generations must deal with, and the
” The staggering cost of new nuclear power: A new study puts the generation costs for power from new nuclear plants at from 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour — triple current U.S. electricity rates.”
— and far below most renewable-based power, wind, solar, wave, geothermal.
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 9:20 am

oops… computerus interruptus… scratch “and the” in the opening paragraph.

Barry L.
January 7, 2009 9:23 am

Makes me wonder how accurate those soaring Siberian temperatures are, and if they are being modified to promote AGW.
Gore Minimum ha ha I like it.

David Porter
January 7, 2009 9:37 am

Bobby Lane (06:29:34) :
Peter Taylor may have got under your skin, touched a nerve maybe, but don’t tar all Brits with the same brush.

January 7, 2009 9:42 am

Interesting article about climate/war correlation.

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 9:52 am

Finally read through all the comments. Interesting stuff. My contribution as an oil guy follows.
Natural gas storage is tougher than oil storage. Most countries learned many years ago that it is in their best interest to store up as much oil as they could. That serves as a buffer during crises such as oil supplies cut off.
Btw, I believe Ron de Haan (02:15:53) intended to write LNG, not CNG. LNG is liquefied natural gas, and it is indeed shipped and regasified upon arrival.
We are seeing some natural gas storage in the US via injection into depleted gas wells, and some but not much as LNG. LNG storage is very expensive compared to injection into depleted gas wells.
The US is fortunate to have ample supply of depleted gas wells, other countries may not. Other geologic formations will serve, the key is holding the gas at high pressure and returning most of it back when needed.
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

January 7, 2009 9:52 am

Peter Taylor,
I find your comments either naive or you believe the intended audience is naive.
Of course the Russian government would never directly cut a check to any “green” group. But there are ways if filtering resources to groups that advance your strategic objectives in less obvious ways. Practically every government on the planet does it, political parties do it, even corporations do it. Heck, in the US there is even a group that *specializes* in hiding contributions to various “progressive” causes. It is called The Tides Foundation. You make a contribution to Tides and earmark your contributions to go to certain organizations. Tides then mingles your funds with those of others and makes the contributions to the various organizations according to the earmarked amounts. So the target organization records a donation by Tides, not by the actual provider of the cash. Tides shows a donation by the original donor but only to itself. It is not required to record or report how the funds were requested to be distributed. So in this way an individual or corporate foundation can make donations to specific groups without a paper trail linking them to that group. That is the entire purpose for the existence of the foundation and that is but one example. Why do so many “progressive” causes require their cash sources to remain “secret”?
The same is done using “businesses” that are wholly or partially government owned. Someone gets a “contract” for “consulting”. Collects a fat check, the proceeds from the “consulting fee” is dispersed as instructed and everything appears to be donations from a private individual. It is done all the time. To pretend otherwise is either naivety or deception.
“I am a veteran of the European energy policy, risk analysis, green politics, pollution control arena – with over thirty years experience from grass roots, through local councils, regional, national and EU government, commissions, public inquiries and international conventions (on pollution control) – with a long history of publications, interventions and activism.”
The above would seem to raise suspicion of your objectivity. You would seem to have an interest in “defending” an area in which you have a lot of personal investment.
The simple truth is that things operate in quite cynical ways. A desire to create a better environment is often used as a “hook” to draw in support by people who mean well but in the overall scope of things the impact is to hamstring economic competitors. How much impact to “environmentalist” groups have on projects in Russia, China, or India?

pablo an ex pat
January 7, 2009 9:55 am

Hopefully this will put and end to the EU pressuring Poland and other countries to cut back on home produced coal to fire their power stations and to switch instead to Russian Natural Gas.

David Porter
January 7, 2009 9:58 am

ecarreras (09:42:23)
Yes, Ehrlich wont let go. Like all those with an over inflated ego they have to continue to the death to push their point of view, even though it’s been shown to be totally wrong.

John W.
January 7, 2009 10:03 am

Sam the Skeptic (03:10:52) :
… the Soviet Union was always prepared to use the idealistic left in the west for its own purposes and, boy, were they ever prepared to be “used”!

I think the phrase you want is “useful idiots.” They’re still useful, and they’re still idiots.
Russia (in its incarnation as the USSR) had its run in with bad science under Stalin. They may still remember the disastrous outcome of “Lysenkoism,” and it wouldn’t surprise me if they recognized its reincarnation in the AGW crowd. Nations have interests, and I’d be shocked if the Russians didn’t try to advance theirs by taking advantage of the West’s contemporary version of Lysenkoism.

January 7, 2009 10:09 am


what better way to regain world power than to get the West to spend untold trillions on ineffective power alternatives such as wind and solar,

I wonder how many wind turbines have been installed in Russia.
My guess is, at most, not many.
Anyone know?

Edward Morgan
January 7, 2009 10:19 am
Tom in Florida
January 7, 2009 10:20 am

Roger Sowell:”” The staggering cost of new nuclear power: A new study puts the generation costs for power from new nuclear plants at from 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour — triple current U.S. electricity rates.”
I am going to venture a WAG that a good portion of the staggering cost is due to over the top permitting and “safety” regulations imposed by government at the insistance of anti-nukers, greenies and, yes, the oil, gas & coal companies. A little story about my brother in Connecticut who had researched putting up a windmill on his residential property many years ago. He can across a “safety” regulation that required an additional 50 feet of clearance past the height of the windmill on all sides just in case it fell down. This “safety” regulation effectively prohibiited windmills from being placed on most residential properties. I have no doubt that it was passed into law by power companies to prevent individuals from producing their own supplemental power.

January 7, 2009 10:23 am

David Porter (09:58:30) :
Granted that Ehrlich is a Malthusian chicken little with appalling forecasting accuracy. What I found interesting about the paper (not written by Ehrlich) was that they concluded that war frequency increased with “cooling” rather than “warming.”

Edward Morgan
January 7, 2009 10:30 am

I happened to come across (thank David Icke) this from Peter Taylor on YouTube. I hope Peter you don’t mind me putting this up. It may help people see where you are coming from as to my understanding of both this site and yourself you are not so different in outlook and you can get the lecture just down from top right on this page. All the best, Ed.

January 7, 2009 10:46 am

Barry L. (09:23:52) :
Makes me wonder how accurate those soaring Siberian temperatures are, and if they are being modified to promote AGW.

They don’t need to modify the readings. They only need to delete any extremely low readings from the data provided to NOAA. This has been a consistent question raised at Climate Audit; why are the data provided to NOAA from Russia missing so many readings when complete sets of data are available elsewhere.
When there is a missing value provided to NOAA, a “fill” value is created using “averages” of other values. If the missing value was an anomalously low value, the calculated “fill” value is likely to be higher and the average raised over what it would have been had the actual value been in the data.
So nobody needs to change anything, you only need to “accidentally drop” a value (oopsie!) in order to raise the reported temperatures. If you always include anomalously high values and randomly drop anomalously low values, you can eventually walk the “averages” up to a warmer temperature than the reality.
Complete data sets that seem in agreement with the partial data that NOAA gets appear to be readily available for download on the Internet. Weather Underground has more complete data for stations in Russia than NOAA gets from their “official” sources.
I have raised the issue in an oblique way on Climate Audit by stating that I was surprised that nobody had attempted to re-run the grid plots using a more complete data set simply out of idle curiosity to see if the missing data points made any difference. I don’t have the skill set required to do it.

January 7, 2009 10:55 am

Putin once half-jokingly said (to paraphrase):
I welcome Global Warming – Russia has a huge territory and much of it is permafrost, a bit of warming is actually good for Russia. Besides, Russians will be spending less money on fur.
As someone who lived in Russia for more then 20 years, I would say that the latest beef that Russia has is with Ukraine, not Europe. Russia’s economy very much depends on the oil and gas exports and I don’t believe Putin and his KGB buddies are stupid enough to severe the umbilical cord that feeds their bank accounts or jeopardize the flow of money.
The difference between the USSR bureaucrats and the Putin’s gang is that they can freely spend their loot now and, boy, do they have a lot of it. And, they don’t want to loose the ability to continue milking the “gas” cow (EU). They doing what they are doing out of the necessity (Ukraine’s debt is about $3B), and not some grand plan to test the economic and political power play (it doesn’t hurt either in the process but it’s not the main reason).

January 7, 2009 11:01 am

Excuse my
The reality in Balcans is very different and difficult to be understudied. Ucraina desire not to pay the russian gases like on stranger, but not belong to russian friends.
Like another country Romania, Ucraina speak like un enemy and desire to be allowed to russian methane gas.

January 7, 2009 11:13 am

Yes, I believe there is more to the situation than meets the eye. On one hand Ukraine talks about kicking the Russian Navy out of Sevastopol yet on the other hand wants gas as if it were still a Soviet Republic. I believe an reasonable agreement has been reached today with international monitors watching the gas delivery. I hope all goes well.

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 11:14 am

Tom in Florida (10:20:26) : re extra costs imposed by anti-nuke groups.
Yes, no doubt that was the case in the 70’s, and 80’s in the U.S. The energy regulating agency changed the process as new knowledge was gained.
However, the U.S. has streamlined the application process. Even so, the cost projections for new 1000-MWe Westinghouse AP is $8 to $9 billion. A twin-reactor plant at 2200 MWe was recently published as costing $17 billion in Florida. Note that Westinghouse says they cost only $1 billion for 1000 MWe.
What I predict will happen in the next round of U.S. nuke building (If it ever happens) is the delays from lawsuits will at least double these published costs. The lawyers are much better, and have more laws (causes of action) to use.
This is why, IMHO, engineers and capitalists are working so very hard on alternatives. Nukes are just not in the picture where they are not subsidized by governments.
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

January 7, 2009 11:30 am

What a load of drivel. When oil prices were going up, Russia was getting money hand over fist, and the economic situation was getting remarkably better. People in Russia were looking to a brighter future, and were thus quite happy.
Since the rapid drop in crude oil prices, Russia is hurting for money, and the economic situation has been getting much worse. Russians are getting most unhappy, and getting restless as a result.
Russia therefore needs money. Russia furnishes a good bit of the energy that Europe uses, and energy which Europe can’t do without. Russia can easily control more than twice the amount of energy that Russia furnishes to Europe. The Russians have tanks right next to their borders with Ukraine and Georgia. Thus, Russia is capable of shutting off well more than half of the energy sources which Europe can’t do without.
Russia needs the money . . . and Europe will end up paying, as Europeans have no choice at all to do otherwise.
It is all about money.

January 7, 2009 11:47 am

Reagan, the simple-minded cowboy, figured out before the rest of us mental giants that the Soviets could not be beaten militarily, but could be defeated economically. And so it happenned.
The Russians learnt that lesson the hard way, they aren’t stupid, and they don’t want to re-learn it. If the U.S. and E.U. continue to depend on foreign sources for the greater part of their energy needs, the energy exporters will control them economically, perhaps do already. But, as much as the conspiracy theorist’s would like it to be true, it’s not in any fossil-fuel energy exporter’s best interests to promote the CO2/AGW scare. It would result in lessening dependence on foreign sources.

January 7, 2009 12:10 pm

Roger Sowell,
Now that China has ordered several of those Westinghouse plants and made them their standard plant for inland nuclear power, I would expect the cost per plant to drop dramatically. There are a dozen plants that I am aware of that have received licenses in the US. China wants to have at least 100 under construction within the next decade or so. That will dramatically reduce per-plant costs.
I read a funny article yesterday about an environmental group that brought a lawsuit that said that delays from lawsuits will increase costs well beyond the plan. Well DUH! We need to stop these idiotic lawsuits. We need a way for government to cut through the frivolous obstruction and get these plants built. There is nothing environmentally friendly about being anti-nuclear. It is political. They obstruct every single energy project, every single infrastructure project, every single development project. It is now cheaper for cities to allow infrastructure to rot in place than to repair it. Waiting for a hurricane, flood, or earthquake to destroy a bridge, and then use emergency authority to replace it is cheaper for cities than to attempt to repair the infrastructure without an emergency because of idiotic regulations that mean well but in practice are costing us billions of dollars in unnecessary funding of six layers of studies, a legal team, and years of litigation for no reason.

David Porter
January 7, 2009 12:18 pm

One of the things that struck me in this thread was the price that is being paid for gas via Russia. It seems low in comparison to the price I pay for my domestic gas. First of all I need to explain that I live in the UK and our domestic gas price is based on KWHrs at 3.69p. Therefore a cubic metre of gas becomes:
3.69 x 31.6 = 116.6cu ft x 35.315 =4117.9p/cubic metre
That’s£41.18 cub metre.
At an exchange rate of 1.5$/£ this becomes: $61 77/cub metre.
And therefore by my calculations I pay $61,768/1000 cub metres.
That’s compared to $270/1000 cub metres. Two hundred and twenty nine times more expensive than wholesale prices.
Somebody please tell me I’m wrong.

King of Cool
January 7, 2009 12:51 pm

King of Cool (02:45:55) :
Voting for WUWT
[another cheating strategy snipped ~ charles the moderator, standing in for Evan the robomod]

Sorry Charles if I gave the wrong impression.
I was merely pointing out that [potential cheating strategy deleted again, even if innocently rephrased ~ charles the moderator]
My impression of this blog is that it is represented by highly professional and moral users and I do not believe that WUWT will have any trouble winning in its own right.

Ron de Haan
January 7, 2009 1:01 pm

Freezing Finn (04:17:13) :
“Ron de Haan (02:15:53) :
“…In the mean time GAZPROM raised the prices to 250 dollar for 1000 cubic meter of gas.”
Yes, and for obvious reasons”.
freezing Finn,
I just provided an (as good as) objective report on a televised interview with a GAZPROM representative in Germany so don’t eat me.
My personal opinion is that you are right in regards to the international market prices for gas that should be paid by any customer.
I do not think the Russians are out to destroy their business relationship with Europe, their biggest customer.
Gazprom lately has taken interests in energy companies all over Europe serving European consumers directly and they would cut in their own hand if a gas shortage destroys their end user relations.
In the mean time, due to the financial crises, gas prices coupled to oil prices have dropped sharply.
It could be that Ukraine is out to settle the bill based on today’s prices but that is all speculation.

January 7, 2009 1:21 pm

Even France is reported to be affected from gas shortage just now as they shiver under a blanket of snow and icy winds reaching from Belgium over Paris and all the way down to subtropical Marseille.

January 7, 2009 2:00 pm

Whelan (08:49:03) :
Freezing Finn
You must have never heard of the Red White war in Finland or the Winter war. Wonderful neighbours those Russians.

Thanks for the remark. You see, not only the Freezing Finn, but me too (a Pole, from Poland) do not have to be Russophobes just because we have gotten tangled or tough relations with our neighbour in the past. I would rather put the past where it belongs and start to make good trade with Russians than to show forward our national wounds every time Russia is going to be discussed.
Having said that I would like to thank Freezing Finn and Peter Taylor for their posts. It happens too often that Mr Putin is seen as KGB officer not as a Statesman caring for His country and Russian Nation. I’d like to have Mr Putin as Head of Polish State, really!
For those who would like to get acquainted a little more with Russia I suggest to read my posts called Understanding Russia. They can be found on my blog The New Slavs Media.
Thanks to all for the excellent discussion!
Best regards

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 2:02 pm

crosspatch (12:10:33) : re Costs will drop dramatically..
No doubt. As one example, India’s Reliance Industries just built and started a huge refinery costing $3.5 billion. That refinery in the U.S. would cost $10 billion.
China very well may build 1000 MWe nuclear plants at $1 billion each. Those are clever guys — I know, I worked there twice in my engineering capacity. But in the U.S., that is not going to happen IMHO.
And I completely agree with your infrastructure statements. It has been sad to watch California’s infrastructure progress (or lack of same) in the past 25 years.
Now the problem is even worse, as state unemployment zooms, the budget deficit balloons to unpredented levels, employers leave the state, workers leave the state, and the government raises taxes to compensate. The state has a few infrastructure projects in progress, and is shutting them down incomplete due to lack of funds. Re-start costs will be huge.
It reminds me of a sad scene I saw in a harbor in Brazil 20 years ago. A cross-harbor bridge for vehicle traffic was left un-finished, just rusting away. I thought at the time, How sad, but how typical for a struggling third-world country. I never imagined I would see the same 20 years later in the U.S.A.!
And California is not alone. Michigan’s economy is seriously hurting. Minnesota has bridges collapse without warning.
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

January 7, 2009 2:18 pm

1) There was an energy and climate analysis created for British government a few years ago. I can’t recall the name and the date. But there were suggestions to build more nuclear plants to be ready for the frosty future. Can anyone point to the document? I tried to find it but to no avail.
2) And one point on Ukraine. That state was created from nowhere. Germany, UK, Poland and many European countries were being build from scratch – went thru industrial, social, and political development. NOT Ukraine. In one snap of Fortune’s twist it came into being having gigantic (military) and modern (space) industry for nothing. With Russian population. Mr Putin was right when he once said to Mr Bush that “Ukraine is even not a state”.
There are to areas on the map Russia will NEVER allow to be marked NATO country – Ukraine and Georgia. It is in her national and live interest not to allow the black scenario to happen. The sooner it is to be understood the better we will understand Russia and Mr Putin.

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 2:18 pm

Re nuclear power plants in the U.S.:
A quote from a commenter to the July 21, 2008, Wall Street Journal, Mr. R. L. Hails Sr., P.E.
“Having engineered two score nuclear power plants, I find this article misses the essential fact, as does both Presidential candidates. The professionals who would build Senator McCain’s proposed forty five nuclear power plants do not exist. The engineers who designed the last nukes were the cream of US engineers, typically were in the top ten percent of their graduating class. They are dead. I once surveyed my group, in the 1970’s, some 100 +, and found the average degree level was 2.6. But during the 1980s, 69 engineering schools dropped the coursework which the industry considered vital to this profession. Their graduates could not find work. The US has no Confederate veterans; we have no experienced nuclear power engineers, those who built the world’s most complex technology. The primary source of engineering talent is Japan, China, India, and France. This is just one of a host of non existent capabilities. The US’ capability to fabricate a one foot thick pressure vessel, over 1000 tons, to nuclear standards, is non-existent. Japan may be able to make one per year for us.
If the New York Yankees, indeed the entire league, had not played a game in thirty five years, would any one expect a competent all star game? No. Why would anyone envision that hundreds of thousands of highly skilled professionals will arise from a national secondary school system that ranks almost dead last, globally, in science and math? Any US nuclear power renaissance will face investment difficulties, but the show stopper will be experienced talent. This technology was created by the brightest minds on earth, but they have faded into history. There are engineering books in the library, as there are books explaining how to hit a major league home run. No nation has ever restarted a state of the art profession. There will be delays, disasters, and overruns, which will not be pretty. If some hero tries to fast track the resurgence, he will cause a nuclear train wreck.”
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

January 7, 2009 2:25 pm

I found interesting text what it is to build nuclear reactor in the USA. The article was entitled A Tale of Two Reactors.
BTW The old hyperlink is wrong. The correct one:
New American: A Tale of Two Reactors, Written by Ed Hiserodt, Monday, 07 July 2008 02:48

January 7, 2009 2:54 pm

E-Z voting link: click
Please take a few seconds out of your day and vote.

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 2:55 pm

Przemysław Pawełczyk (P2O2) (14:25:28) :
Dzien dobry!
Thank you for the link. I will read later tonight.
By the way, I worked as an engineer in Poland in 1979 in Wlotswawek (sorry, only English keyboard) at the big petrochemical complex on the Wistula river; at the time it was Polimex Cekop. Coldest winter I ever experienced! Love your country! Very friendly, hospitable people. Shared a couple of bottles of Old Krupnik, too.
I had a full-time interpreter assisting me 24/7, it was quite a wonderful experience. My Polish technical guide was Engineer Mr. Andre Starchevsky (spelling different, I am sure).
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

Freezing Finn
January 7, 2009 3:06 pm

One more thing – military spending in 2008:
USA $711 billion + Europe’s $289 billion vs. Russia’s $70 billion.
USA’s slice is 48% of the world’s total.
So, where’s the threat really coming from – East or West?… Geez, a tough one, no?… 😉
Reply: The blogmasters want you to stop. You’ve strayed way too far into murky territory with this and your previous post. This goes for all subsequent posters. Please do not dissect Freezing Finn’s points or address them. No back and forth anymore please. ~ charles the moderator

January 7, 2009 3:18 pm

Dzien dobry! (Although it is 0:10 AM here now!)
Reading your post I think you are decidedly Polish in nature! 🙂 The Old Krupnik, the Vistula River, Polimex Cekop, etc.
BTW. You dropped in to Poland during the coldest winters after the WWII. From WikiAnswers:
The coldest winter in Poland after the second world war happened sometime between 1977 and 1979 and it measured below minus 40 degrees celsius. Any water vapors froze instantly on your face and clothing and the snow made very interesting loud echoe sound. Schools closed due to extreme weather conditions. There was no problem with water or electricity.
At those temperatures the Old Krupnik was an essential item, I know. 😉
Best wishes from Poland and from Cracow (Kraków).
Przemysław Pawełczyk

January 7, 2009 3:30 pm

Roger E Sowell
“we have no experienced nuclear power engineers”
Not exactly true. The Navy graduates many out of training every year. Also, in 1940 there were exactly 0 nuclear engineers on the planet by 1960 there were many. And finally, the latest plants are *much* simpler than the plants built in the 1960’s. Compared to plants in current operation:

* 50% fewer safety-related valves
* 80% less safety-related piping
* 85% less control cable
* 35% fewer pumps
* 45% less seismic building volume

And you don’t need to be a “nuclear engineer” to assemble a plant built out of pre-fabricated modules the way the AP1000 is. You need good civic and mechanical engineers.
I keep hearing tired old arguments based on 1960’s technology but nobody seems to recognize how the industry has advanced since then.

January 7, 2009 3:43 pm

Oh, and there are plenty of “nuclear engineers” in Japan, France, India, and Eastern Europe that might not mind a position in the industry here in the US if we can not train them fast enough here. We are a global economy and just because we might be short a skill right this moment is no reason to abandon the technology.
Nuclear engineering enrollments and graduation rates are up at US universities. Where did you ever get this idea that they were all dead? There were 413 bachelor’s degrees in nuclear engineering granted in the US during 2007.
Read carefully what the comment says. It says that the people who built the original reactors are dead. That is true. But we still have dozens of reactors today that are maintained by a younger crop of engineers. So I guess we can toss out our TV sets, too, because all the TV pioneers are dead?

January 7, 2009 4:09 pm

Why should The Ukraine pay below market rates for it’s gas? … which it does.
Why shouldn’t Russia want what is the market price for it’s product?
Simple as that.
Happy New Year
– Jon

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 4:12 pm

crosspatch: all good points.
I am not a nuclear engineer, but a chemical engineer with oil refining and petrochemical experience. Therefore, I defer to engineers with experience in the nuclear industry.
Perhaps those 413 grads with their BS will do a fine job, I don’t know! Mr. Hails seems to think differently. Also, engineering design is one thing. Produces lots of paper. Fabrication, procurement, and construction is quite another. I do have experience in both.
I am on record at with my views in opposition to nuclear plants, based on plutonium production, the very real environmental opposition, the extremely high construction costs, and cheaper alternatives. My personal choice is natural gas fired combined cycle cogeneration. According to the U.S. EIA (energy information agency), roughly 90 percent of all new gas-fired plants in the U.S. use CCC technology. No wonder, really, as they achieve around 60-70 percent thermal efficiency, or even higher if steam is sold also.
As with the climate change debate, is it warming or cooling? time will tell on the U.S. nuclear issue. Perhaps some new nukes will be built. I suspect that existing plants will simply expand by adding one or two reactors. But, if those published cost estimates are correct, at $8 billion per 1000 MWe, any utility would be nuts to build one.
I believe I read Mr. Hails’ statement correctly. He said the experienced engineers are gone. No one passed the torch, so to speak. Those young engineers will do their best, I am sure. Engineers are a fairly gung-ho bunch. Hails predicts there will be “delays, disasters, and overruns, which will not be pretty.”
One last point, to tie this in to the global warming/cooling theme. Nuclear plants emit great amounts of heat into the atmosphere, relative to other technologies. The low fuel cost tends to result in a low thermal efficiency, as I recall nukes run about 20 percent. This means that 4000 units of energy-equivalent go into the sky for every 1000 MWe produced. All that heat has to go somewhere. Maybe it will radiate into space, or maybe clouds will act as a blanket and keep it in the atmosphere.
I have always wondered how the global climate models address this.
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

Pamela Gray
January 7, 2009 4:27 pm

Thanks P2O2 for the Russian web sites. I bookmarked them. By the way, I love the way you write in English. It sounds so Russian.

January 7, 2009 4:49 pm

Minnesota has bridges collapse without warning.

Really? Bridges? Plural?

January 7, 2009 4:58 pm

new nsidc report is out
No mention of trend

Ron de Haan
January 7, 2009 5:04 pm

Phil (21:35:15) :
“Wind turbines are especially useless in very cold weather as icing of the blades can be a hazard. Maybe too paranoid?”
No you’re not.
With the current High Pressure Area that brought the cold to Europe we saw extreme cold and NO WIND.
The consequence: No energy when you need it the most.
The back-up for wind in Europe exists of gas powered plants because you can bring them on line quickly and shut them down quickly.
The costs however are staggering. You have to maintain two capital intensive energy systems where only gas is efficient in economic terms.
Besides that, wind makes us more dependent of Russian gas.
Europe should go nuclear and forget all about the solar/wind hype which will not deliver under hard winter conditions and snow packs (as bio diesel) see
Playtime is over.

Ron de Haan
January 7, 2009 5:20 pm

Roger Sowell (09:52:06) :
“Btw, I believe Ron de Haan (02:15:53) intended to write LNG, not CNG. LNG is liquefied natural gas, and it is indeed shipped and regasified upon arrival”.
You are correct Roger, I meant LNG.

Ron de Haan
January 7, 2009 5:37 pm

David Porter (12:18:47) :
“One of the things that struck me in this thread was the price that is being paid for gas via Russia. It seems low in comparison to the price I pay for my domestic gas. First of all I need to explain that I live in the UK and our domestic gas price is based on KWHrs at 3.69p. Therefore a cubic metre of gas becomes:
3.69 x 31.6 = 116.6cu ft x 35.315 =4117.9p/cubic metre
That’s£41.18 cub metre.
At an exchange rate of 1.5$/£ this becomes: $61 77/cub metre.
And therefore by my calculations I pay $61,768/1000 cub metres.
That’s compared to $270/1000 cub metres. Two hundred and twenty nine times more expensive than wholesale prices.
Somebody please tell me I’m wrong”.
I think you make a mistake.
In the Netherlands the price at the beginning of 2007 was Euro 0.65 per m3
In general you always pay too much. Consumers always pay the high end prices.
You pay for your connection, the transportation and storage fees, the administration costs, the billing costs and a (very high) end price which probably includes the carbon taxes since burning gas results in CO2 emmissions (although it’s one of the cleanest fuels)and VAT over the total amount.
How do they say it? If you have a home number and a ZIP code, you’re screwed.

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 8:04 pm

Jeff Alberts — thank you for pointing out my error. It was one bridge in Minnesota, across the Mississippi river on Interstate 35W.
Here is an excerpt on some other U.S. bridge collapses, and an assessment of bridge conditions from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board:
“In 1983, a 100-foot section of the Mianis River Bridge in Connecticut, a part of I-95, plunged 70 feet into the water. The failure of crucial holding pins was blamed for the collapse that caused three deaths.
Perhaps the deadliest bridge collapse occurred in 1967. The Silver Bridge connecting West Virginia and Ohio gave way during rush hour and tumbled into the Ohio River, killing 46 people. The cause was eventually determined to be corrosion.
Steel corrosion on bridges is still a major concern. Infrastructure experts worry that thousands of American bridges are dangerously outdated and overburdened. In 2006, approximately one-fifth of interstate bridges were rated as deficient, either structurally deficient or obsolete.
Overall, one-quarter of all bridges in the U.S. are considered structurally deficient, and 80,000 bridges across the country need some sort of reconstruction or rebuilding.
On April 5, 1987, a bridge on the New York State Thruway near Amsterdam, N.Y., gave way, killing 10 people.”
Other bridge-related incidents, from NTSB, include:
Passenger Vehicle Collision With a Fallen Overhead Bridge Girder, Golden, Colorado, May 15, 2004
Collapse of the Harrison Road Bridge Spans, Miamitown, Ohio, May 26, 1989.
Collapse of the Northbound U.S. Route 51 Bridge Spans over the Hatchie River near Covington, Tennessee April 1, 1989.
Collapse of the S.R 675 Bridge Spans over the Pocomoke River near Pocomoke City, Maryland August 17, 1988.
The collapsing bridge list gets rather long, so will stop here rather than use up more storage space on the blog server.
As was famously said by an astronaut, Houston, We have a Problem.
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

January 7, 2009 8:15 pm

Bill Marsh (08:46:32) :

Putin supports AGW because Russia stands to make billions selling CO2 offsets to EU countries.

A question I have never seen adequately answered: who gives away the rights to Russia, China, or any other country to sell “carbon credits” and/or “CO2 offsets”?
It appears that these fabricated out of whole cloth ‘credits’ were invented by one of Elmer Gantry’s descendants, who is now employed by the UN.
If I am wrong, would someone please explain the mechanism, and how it is verified, audited, and accounted for? Thanks.

Roger Carr
January 7, 2009 8:40 pm

Peter Taylor (05:20:35) wrote: “I would like to make a request that Watts-up sticks to climate science and forgoes these forays into energy and geopolitics!”
And by your full post you shoot yourself in the foot, Peter. The information and opinion you provide is valuable and appreciated ~ and we would not have had the benefit of it if Anthony had kept WUWT? as tightly focused as you suggest.
I hope you write more here.

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 8:48 pm

Smokey, re Carbon trading.
This may help.
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 9:21 pm

Smokey, re Russian carbon credits: Russia has a target of Zero, and EU must reduce to meet their target set by Kyoto. So, anything Russia does to cut GHG can generate a carbon credit for sale to EU.
Here is a Bloomberg article from about a year ago:
Jan 29, 2008: Russia’s government set the rules needed for businesses to start trading carbon credits earned by cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, creating a market that may be worth more than $1.5 billion a year. “The necessary framework is in place as of today,’’ Vsevolod Gavrilov, the deputy head of the Economy Ministry’s natural resources department, told reporters in Moscow on Monday.
So-called Joint Implementation Projects established under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol allow companies to earn tradable credits for reducing emissions at mines and factories. Russia, the largest producer of greenhouse gases after the US and China, is home to thousands of Soviet-era plants that could generate credits through efficiency upgrades. Curbing gas flaring and modernizing heating systems are among the projects that “will improve the efficiency of the national economy and make it greener,’’ Gavrilov said. Russia ratified Kyoto in 2004.
Though many Russian projects are in the pipeline, until today companies had no way of officially submitting them for approval by the Economy Ministry, said Steve Eaton, director of C6 Capital, a Moscow-based investor and developer of projects to reduce greenhouse-gases in Russia and the former Soviet Union.
“Theoretically, the potential for Russia is enormous, but due to the delays in getting the regulations in place some companies have focused on developing projects in other markets’’ such as China and India, Eaton said by phone.
Russia could produce 300 million tons of so-called carbon dioxide equivalent reduction units in the next five years, former deputy economy minister Andrei Sharonov said in June. That tonnage may be worth 5 billion euros ($7.38 billion), Eaton said. The global market was worth 40 billion euros last year, he said.
The power industry accounts for a quarter of Russia’s greenhouse-gas emissions, according to Anatoly Chubais, chief executive officer of OAO Unified Energy System. Russia’s national power utility is seeking to raise $1 billion by selling emission credits for cutting coal use.
Chubais said in June Moscow-based Unified had 40 investment projects that would cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 35 million tons through 2012 and create credits under Kyoto.”
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

Pamela Gray
January 7, 2009 9:36 pm

Roger, what if CO2 turns out to be a bust in terms of cause and effect? Wouldn’t that put those emission credits into something akin to a junk bond? It seems to me that this scheme reminds me of an illegal pyramid that lines the pockets of only those who get in on the ground floor.

January 7, 2009 10:15 pm

It’s not just the energy. What about food production? I was just watching a video of Robert Taylor who predicted there are going to be huge shortages of food, especially if we continue to use biofuels for energy.
I worry much more about the negative effects of biofuel production than windmill and solar energy production. I can find ways to heat my house. Getting enough to eat may be much harder.

January 7, 2009 11:01 pm

“Wouldn’t that put those emission credits into something akin to a junk bond?”
Not really. It would be more like the last person holding a tulip contract in February of 1637.

January 7, 2009 11:09 pm

“Perhaps those 413 grads with their BS will do a fine job, I don’t know! Mr. Hails seems to think differently. Also, engineering design is one thing.”
One thing to keep in mind. We have never stopped designing and building reactors. We just aren’t installing them on US soil. Westinghouse Nuclear (now owned by Fujitsu, BTW) has been designing, building, and maintaining reactors globally all along. Just because they haven’t built one inside the borders of the US doesn’t mean the US can’t design and build reactors.
Military reactors are built all the time as are reactors for use in space. The New Horizons spacecraft on its way to Pluto is nuclear powered and built in the US. Solar cells don’t work past Mars.
I think the comments by Mr. Hail are myopic. He apparently isn’t aware of the scope of the nuclear industry inside the US and the fact that we have been building reactors all along.

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 11:13 pm

Pamela Gray,
Good questions. Because I am an attorney, I must give this disclaimer. My answer does not constitute legal advice, nor should anyone act upon this. If anyone requires legal advice, they should seek a qualified attorney.
What I believe would happen, if CO2 is found to have no effect, is that the buyer and seller of carbon credits have no recourse against the other. The buyer is the one holding the bag, as the seller has his money. Some have argued for a fraud cause of action against….and there lies the problem. Who ya gonna sue? And in what court?
Also, fraud probably is not a winning argument because there must be intent to deceive. The seller could probably argue he had no intent to deceive, rather, he was just following the existing law.
This is a big issue, and we (lawyers) are arguing about it.
I do not believe the emissions credits are like a bond, because a bond matures someday and can be exchanged for cash, in the amount of its face value. The carbon credit has a life-time, perhaps one year. So, you pay your $30 per metric tonne, and that is good for one year. Then, next year you buy another metric tonne worth, at whatever price it is selling for.
Here is a website for the EU ETS (Emission Trading Scheme).
Another thorny issue is, when companies are forced to invest huge sums to reduce their carbon emissions, who reimburses them when the globe keeps cooling as CO2 content rises? In other words, if this really is bogus, can a business sue anybody? Some companies are going out of business rather than spend money to meet the emissions caps. Do they have a cause of action?
This is a very complex matter, and a lot is riding on those temperature measurements. I don’t have many answers, but then, neither does anyone, to the best of my knowledge. In all the long and loony history of mankind, there has been nothing like this.
As you know, California is the first state in the U.S. to pass a law that requires GHG reductions, and currently is finalizing the details on implementation. A cap-and-trade mechanism is likely, in conjunction with a wider geographic area including most of the Western U.S. and part of Canada.
The reduction for California is more draconian than is Kyoto, as California must reduce GHG by approximately 30 percent by 2020. The actual language is “reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and then an 80 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2050.”
In practice, that works out to California emitting roughly 12 percent of what would be otherwise emitted without the reductions. Imagine an economy powered without any CO2, or at most 12 percent of what is emitted today. No coal. No gasoline. No diesel. No jet fuel. No natural gas. No agriculture (gaseous emissions from the animal’s end that does not chew). No steel or iron. No concrete because manufacturing cement releases huge amounts of CO2, and burns coal or other fuel to provide heat. And that, sports fans, is a problem, because building nuclear plants takes a lot of steel and concrete.
Obama has promised a federal law to mirror California’s law.
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

Roger Sowell
January 7, 2009 11:26 pm

crosspatch, re nuclear plant construction in the U.S.
You may be right. Hails may be myopic.
All the environmental opponents may fold their tents and fade away.
All the regulatory attorneys may have a stroke of conscience, and refuse to bring the lawsuits even if the enviros maintain their tents.
The U.S. congress could pass laws cutting out all the environmental studies, forbidding all lawsuits, and capping the interest rates on construction loans. They could even set prices for construction materials and labor rates so the as-built price truly is $1 billion per 1000 MWe. Or, they could pass a law that mandates all new power plants be nuclear designs.
A year ago, I would have said all those are impossible. Today, after watching Washington bail out some but allowing others to fail, I am not so sure.
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

January 8, 2009 12:39 am

Roger E.Sowell, thank you for the link and for your explanation. I have some reading to do now. But as I understand the carbon trading scheme from your description, a country such as Russia, which has $Billions to gain in free money from selling “carbon offsets,” is the same entity that verifies its reductions in CO2. How convenient. There is no independent verification. We are expected to fork over our money and take their word for everything.
Quis custodiat ipsos custodes? Barack Obama? Nancy Pelosi? James Hansen? Elmer Gantry?
This UN CO2 scam is nothing but a massive transfer of wealth from responsible Western taxpayers to gross polluters. Or am I missing something?

David Porter
January 8, 2009 2:14 am

Ron de Haan (17:37:22) :
Thank you for responding but now you have confused me.
A question first; is the price of Euro 0.65/m3 a wholesale price or a domestic one?
I have rechecked my numbers and they seem in order so, if you don’t mind, I will run through them again.
My gas meter reads in cubic feet and I have checked with my gas supplier that it has not been converted into m3. We are billed in units of ft3 which they then convert into pence/KWHr at 3.69 pence. There is approximately 31.6 KW in a ft3 and the conversion factor from ft3 to m3 is 35.315. Putting these together gives:
3.69 x 31.6 x 35.315 = 4117.8pence = £41.17/m3
I just can’t make it any different. Maybe I’ll just have to move to Holland!

Roger Carr
January 8, 2009 4:02 am

Pamela Gray (21:36:53) wrote: “Roger (E. Sowell), what if CO2 turns out to be a bust in terms of cause and effect? Wouldn’t that put those emission credits into something akin to a junk bond?”
I have been pressing this in both my blogs for some time, Pamela, and gave a feature to an American crowd who were seeking signatures for a petition to the US watchdog charged with monitoring such as this.
Seems to me there is a case to be made for the deals, and the concept, to have a heavy legal weight dropped on them; but some of the current news coming out of the States leads me to believe the regulatory bodies are themselves now suspect so this is not likely to happen… or not soon.
I fear Australia is in the same sty; or, to take it a logical step further: the CO2 scam has reached critical mass and will not be stopped until, as crosspatch suggests, there is one last person holding a manic tulip bulb (contract)…

David Porter
January 8, 2009 4:17 am

Ron de Haan (17:37:22)
Hold everything. It turns out that my meter is in ft3 but the unit 1 is actually 100. Consequently my calculation is 100 times higher than actual.
Sorry to have troubled you, and anybody else that thought of replying. Next time I will do a bit more homework before bothering any one else.

Nathan Stone
January 8, 2009 6:44 am

That would be true if there was a viable alternative to fossil fuels, but there isn’t. Especially when we won’t build nuclear reactors. The Russians understand this, but the AGW crowd has fooled most of the population of the west into thinking were going to run everything off windmills and solar, which ain’t never going to happen and the Russians know it. Therefore they are more than happy to discourage us from developing our own fossil fuel resources.

Roger Sowell
January 8, 2009 7:21 am

re “This UN CO2 scam is nothing but a massive transfer of wealth from responsible Western taxpayers to gross polluters. Or am I missing something?”
I believe the appropriate term here under Kyoto is Verification. There are hundreds of articles written about carbon trading and verification.
It appears some less-than-honest folk have gamed the system, for example, claiming carbon credits (and selling them) for planting a forest — but never planted it. Or improving the efficiency of a carbon-emitting process, like a coal-fired power plant, but never actually doing anything.
There are certified verification companies, but they sometimes get corrupted by bribes, imagine that!
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

January 8, 2009 8:08 am

“(now owned by Fujitsu, BTW) ”
Meant Toshiba, I think.

January 8, 2009 8:18 am

Roger Sowell,
I am not suggesting that all environmental studies be cut. We do need to be responsible in how we use our land and what we spew. But once a plant design has been shown to be acceptable, it should not have to re-prove itself at every single construction site. Unlike plants in the 60’s and early 70’s where every plant was more or less custom, plants like the AP1000 are a standard modular design (designed to keep construction costs down).
Also, in a time of economic hardship, people’s patience for frivolous lawsuits is going to wear thin. We are going to need these infrastructure jobs.
I have a close friend who is a city engineer. Getting approval for replacement of culverts, bridges, even re-paving roads becomes so expensive that the city must waste millions. The environmental impact of a new culvert is going to be about the same as the old culvert was. So what happens is that it becomes cheaper to simply wait until the culvert washes out. One reason infrastructure is in such bad shape is because we can not afford to do the studies and litigation needed to repair it. Cities wait until it is destroyed in a disaster or caves in then use the emergency authority to cut through the tape and get it re-built. It is actually a good thing we have fairly frequent disasters or else much infrastructure wouldn’t get replaced at all until it literally falls apart.

January 8, 2009 8:45 am

Tom in Florida (10:20:26) :
I am going to venture a WAG that a good portion of the staggering cost is due to over the top permitting and “safety” regulations imposed by government at the insistance of anti-nukers, greenies and, yes, the oil, gas & coal companies.
Exactly so. I’m a former (fossil) power-plant engineer w/some experience with nuclear plants. My educated WAG would be that perhaps 30-40% of nuclear costs (including operating costs) are regulatory! The procedures/paperwork/red-tape involved in simply installing a new pump for example are beyond belief. The Nuclear Regulatory Agency is a bureaucratic nightmare swollen beyond obesity.
The only solution I can think of is a tight standardization of approved “package” nuke plants to simplify the approval mechanisms. The costs of nukes w/a reasonable & achievable regulatory burden is considerably less than fossil fuels & far less than “renewables”.
Ben F.

Roger Sowell
January 8, 2009 1:29 pm

Przemysław Pawełczyk (P2O2)
Mój Polski przyjaciel, dzien dobry! and, regarding the Tale of Two Reactors, that was fascinating reading. Thank you for the link!
(my apologies for my atrocious Polish, I am using an internet-based translator…for the moderators, I am hoping I said “My Polish friend, good morning!)
I hope you had a chance to read the article on the current cost of nuclear power plants, found here:
I especially recommend pages 19 and 20, where construction delays and cost over-runs are discussed.
Best to you,
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California
(where it is warm, and our forecast is for 70 degrees F starting Saturday!)

Roger Carr
January 8, 2009 8:11 pm

Roger Sowell & crosspatch: Thank you for enlightening knowledge and opinion.

Roger Sowell
January 8, 2009 10:13 pm

Roger Carr: Thank you, sir. I also learn from your comments, as well as from the others who share such important information.
crosspatch — another few comments on nuclear projects.
“I think the comments by Mr. Hail are myopic. He apparently isn’t aware of the scope of the nuclear industry inside the US and the fact that we have been building reactors all along.”
The article I provide a link to above addresses all the points I tried to make. The author, Craig Severance, confirms what I have known and written about for a couple of years now, and confirmed what I have suspected but was not really sure about – that Generation III designs are behind schedule and way over budget.
Re cookie-cutter new-design plants, on pg 20 he says “Finland’s effort
to build the world’s first new generation nuclear reactor at Olkiluoto is now over 2 years behind schedule after beginning in 2005, and construction cost estimates have already overrun by at least one billion euro. The recently-released “2008 World Nuclear Industry Status Report – Global Nuclear”(16 Sep 2008) surveyed the current global status of all new nuclear projects, and states “two thirds of the under-construction units have encountered significant construction delays, pushing back officially announced start-up dates.””
Re shortage of qualified operators and engineers, he says on pg 24, “the current generation of nuclear operators is nearing retirement age,
and there are not enough nuclear-trained personnel coming up through nuclear engineering programs to replace current operators, let alone expand the industry. Therefore, staffing a new facility may be a challenge involving extensive recruitment, scholarship, etc. costs.”
Finally, his conclusion is that the total cost that ratepayers must bear is around $0.30 per Kwh, by far the most expensive form of power available. (see pg 28). And, this does not include delays from litigation.
The grim reality is that such a power price will result in many electric users installing their own power generation, whether as cogeneration, windmills, solar, or distributed generation. This leads to a *death spiral*, which I have written about, and he describes on pg. 30. The ones who lose in this scenario are the poor, those on fixed incomes, and those just scraping by paycheck to paycheck. This actually happened in Louisiana in the 1980’s due to the construction of a nuclear power plant there. It will happen again.
To tie this back to AGW and the science issues, I urge everyone to read this article carefully, and give it the same scrutiny for soundness and weakness as for the global warming issues. Replacing fossil-power with nuclear power is one of the keystones of the AGW argument.
The link again is:
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

January 9, 2009 7:12 am

Przemyslav Pawelczyk – looking for the energy-climate report: there was a Royal Commission report ‘Energy & Climate’ in 2002 . I reviewed it for a journal here and can send that review if it would help. And could look to see if there is a pdf of the report somewhere in my files. You can mail me at and send me a mail address. They looked at what it would take to achieve a 50% reduction in emissions by 2050 – with or without nuclear. The consequences of what either would mean for the UK countryside, landscape, wildlife and rural communities first became clear – and that led to some work with UK agencies to visualise that impact – which you can view at
on politics…..
I’ve changed my mind in the light of following these discussions and the encouragement and agree WWUT should cover the political dimension. I was worried that my exasperated views, which i couldn’t resist, would lose me friends! I get very worried when Americans air views about the politics of Europe and the threat from Russia, whilst seemingly blind to their own power play (and huge military expenditure)!
In the Times yesterday it was noted that Gazprom has a $50 billion debt to service and Ukraine had promised to pay market prices and had not – and when Russia cut supplies, Ukraine diverted gas from Europe – so it is Ukraine that is playing the power game too by blackmailng the EU. Incidently, most old EU countries have a small percentage of Russian gas and it is the Balkans and eastern Europeans who are most vulnerable.
I think we need to kook more toward the modern world of business, markets and and an energy mafia (e.g. like former PMs becoming board members) than think in terms of old nationalistic combatants – or we will miss a few tricks. There is a massive amount of corruption (and deception) going on.

David Porter
January 9, 2009 9:41 am

Roger Sowell (22:13:01) :
I have been following your comments on nuclear plants and have also briefly looked at the link you gave to Craig Severance. In either case I have not seen any reference to the apparent success of the French nuclear industry. From the little I have read I believe the French energy industry is around 80% nuclear and the KW/hr cost is about 6cents. They are also the largest exporter of electricity in the world.
These numbers seem to be in complete contrast with yours. Perhaps you could comment on these significant differences.

Roger Sowell
January 9, 2009 10:55 am

David Porter: re France nuclear power price
Very good question! My short answer is that, for just one thing, France subsidizes their plants. More on that later as to why and how, perhaps this weekend.
IMHO, there is a fascinating *game* being played out involving nuclear power versus other power-generation means. As examples, the Pickens Plan in the U.S., zero-emission coal, solar, natural gas cogeneration, wind, wave, tidal, geothermal, hydroelectric, and some others. The stakes are huge, and it is difficult to sort through the hyperbole to glean the facts.
Here is one link on nuclear subsidies, in which France is discussed.
From near the end of the article, “All [countries with nuclear plants] have adopted a range of subsidies that attempt to make the new plants appear financially viable, though some countries, such as France and China, do not publish enough information to get a good handle on how big the public support really is.”
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

Roger Sowell
January 9, 2009 6:17 pm

David Porter, Roger Carr, there is a pretty good discussion on the Severance article over at Climate Progress. Severance himself is responding to questions and criticisms. see
(full disclosure: CP is on the Sky Is Falling side of the fence — be forewarned…some of the comments are just hilarious.)
I have done many feasibility studies for mega-projects in various countries, including financing options, and I conclude that Severance is very close to getting it right, and his critics are way off.
As to why France has so many nukes, and charges a low power price, it is almost entirely due to policy, government ownership, and lack of accountability. One interesting article stated that France’s power plants have little load-following capability, so they must export power at night rather than reduce power rates.
France is known for having few natural energy resources, no oil, little gas and most of that is exhausted by now, almost no coal, and just a few hydroelectric sites in the mountains. The OPEC embargo of 1973 and price escalation in 79 led to the choice to build nukes rather than pay high prices for fuel oil for oil-fired power plants.
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

Roger Carr
January 9, 2009 7:07 pm

Roger Sowell (18:17:12) re: “study-cost-risks-new-nuclear-power-plants…”
Thanks, Roger. Working through it this cool and pleasant Saturday afternoon in Melbourne, downunder.

January 9, 2009 9:33 pm

FWIW, I agree with earlier posts that cast doubt on Russia’s using AGW as a fundamental fulcrum.
Personally, I don’t agree with his ideas about ‘controlled’ nuclear conflicts, city trading, etc. I think the first use will result in a rapid escalation to a full out exchange, with the possible exception of a strike over the open ocean against a Carrier Attack Group.
Actually, he had a “nuclear ladder” of 37 escalation steps (order not fixed and steps could be skipped) from the lowest level crisis up to “spasm war”. His most valuable contribution was causing the US to go from a “nuclear tripwire” strategy (a conventional Soviet attack on Europe = a nuclear strike against the US) to a strategy of “flexible response”, which greatly reduced the chance of conflict and greatly enhanced the chance for controlling a conflict (nuclear or not) if it should occur.
As for “city trading” (NOT a good characterization of his strategy; he advocated avoiding cities entirely–“Type 2 and 3” deterrence), he used to propose the following exercise: Russia nukes, say, New York and New York, only. What do you do? Almost no one would propose an all-out retaliation (which was his very point). OK, he would say, so what DO you propose to do? And the discussion would continue from there.
Let’s put it this way. Miracle Mile was not only dumbass braindead but also amounted to enemy propaganda.
There is loads and loads more to it, much of it far more subtle, but here is not the place for it.

Roger Sowell
January 10, 2009 12:01 am

Roger Carr, and others, with my thoughts on Severance’s nuclear cost estimates.
I can verify the approximate cost of equity and cost of debt used by Severance in his calculations. As one example, a major electric utility in Houston (Reliant Energy) recently arranged such financing, although not for a new nuclear plant. Such financing for a nuclear plant would likely be at higher rates.
From their SEC 8-K filing, Reliant’s debt was at just under 8 percent for a multi-million dollar term loan of approximately 4 years, and the equity was a $350 million preferred stock issuance with 14 percent annual dividend. Reliant serves almost 2 million customers in the Houston area.
Severance did not use short-term debt, I believe. It appears his debt financing was likely bonds. In a real-world scenario, such bonds would likely have a range of maturities from 10 to 20 years or so.
A utility or independent power producer would pick from an array of financing possibilities, but what Severance used seems reasonable and produces results in the right ballpark.
The main financial drivers are the high construction costs, multi-year construction schedule, interest on the construction loan, depreciation schedule, and debt and equity rates. Even at 7 percent interest per year on the construction loan, the annual interest payments in the final years of construction do amount to more than $1 billion. See his Appendix B.
Paying off the construction loan with long-term financing is what typically occurs when the plant is substantially completed.
The sales price of power, in $/kwh, must be sufficiently high to pay the annual interest (the coupon rate) on the long-term bonds at 6.25 percent, provide a fund to pay off the bonds upon maturity, and pay the preferred stockholders the agreed annual dividend of approximately 15 percent. Taken together, the cost of capital is roughly 15 percent, compared to his Capital Recovery factor of 14.57 percent.
If anything, it appears his numbers are generous on the low side, as his numbers are based on zero government subsidies in the form of loan guarantees. Lenders, bond, and equity investors would require higher interest rates, absent such guarantees.
What remains to be seen is if any plants currently planned or under construction can be built for under $8800 per KW. As was mentioned by another commenter, the Chinese stated they can do it for about half that.
And, Roger Carr, Los Angeles is predicted to have Santa Anna winds this weekend, bringing daytime high temperatures into the low 80’s (F)! The air will also be very dry so we should get at least one wildfire. I’ll be jogging on the beach in shorts, trying to stay out of the smoke.
I’m interested in your views on the cost estimates.
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

Roger Carr
January 10, 2009 8:44 pm

Roger Sowell (00:01:54) “I’m interested in your views on the cost estimates. “
The reality of me, Roger, is that I have no qualifications (formal or otherwise) which would allow me to provide any useful view at all. My interest level is high, but my knowledge level zero, so I but follow the information you and others here provide. Aside from adding to my personal knowledge the only part I can play is to add links from my two blogs as a resource for others to follow as I do myself.
Half a century writing novels and short books for children here and in the USA, plus film, television and some journalism equips me only to endeavour to provide insights to the young from insights I gain from reading and contemplating ~ which is what I am doing here on WUWT? following the trails y’all lay down.
…and I sure could handle a jog along that beach with you.

mark urbo
January 19, 2009 12:13 am

This is by far the most interesting collection of comments on the subject that I’ve ever seen ! Thanks to most of you for your insight. The AGW light is dimming slowly and we need to regain our common sense. Mk

Verified by MonsterInsights