First Mover Disadvantage

Guest post by Thomas Fuller

Over at Bart Verheggen’s weblog, Bart (who is a climate scientist who looks at aerosols) writes about innovation, implementation and efficiency, saying,

“Often, innovation (of new/improved energy technologies) and implementation (of existing energy technologies) are presented as if they are binary choices. Lomborg is a champion of that kind of rhetoric.

They are not: Both are needed, and both serve a different purpose (or at least, they are different, and complementary means towards the common goal of transforming our energy system towards a more sustainable one).

Innovation doesn’t actually reduce emissions. Rather, it is expected to allow for deep, fast and/or cheap emission reductions in the long term. Its pay-off though is inherently uncertain.

Implementation is needed to get started on emission reductions. It’s the cumulative emissions that are of concern, so earlier cuts in emissions are more useful to climate stabilization than similar cuts made later.

Counting on innovation as the only mitigation strategy risks postponing doing anything until a silver bullet comes along that may never will. Hence this strategy is sometimes referred to as fairy dust.

Counting on implementation only risks high costs to achieve needed emission cuts (or an effective inability to reach needed emission cuts, if we don’t want to pay for it).”

Bart is probably on the wrong side of the fence for many readers here, but he’s a good guy–more reasonable and reasoning than so many activist bloggers, and willing to at least discuss issues, rather than lecture and hector in the Rommulan or Tobitian mode. I urge those of you who haven’t visited his blog to give him a chance–you probably won’t agree with him, but his discussions are at least interesting.

But he’s missing one or two important points.

There is another way of dividing this problem up. Using renewable energy sources (possibly including nuclear, depending on the level of religious fervor you have) and improving the efficiency of our current means of generating, distributing and consuming energy.

The innovation strategies are not the same for each, obviously.

For renewable energy sources, the technology most likely to reach price parity with fossil fuels is solar power. The improvements needed to make it inexpensive enough to convince die-hard American Republicans that we should use it are well-understood. The complementary technology to make it scalable, grid level storage, is also understood, but farther off.

The appropriate innovation strategy would be to publicly finance research and development of storage, and offer tax incentives for accelerated deployment and development of solar. This is important as the last generation of fabs for solar cells still has mileage on it, and the owners want to milk the last penny out of it.

The dilemma nobody talks about (because nobody wants to advertise it) is the first mover’s disadvantage.

Anthony has kitted out his house with state of the art energy efficiency technologies, because he actually understands that it makes sense to try and make a difference. I gave up driving back in 1991 (with a clean driving record, I’ll have you know), because it seemed like the quantitatively most significant action I could take. I don’t regret my choice, and I doubt if Anthony regrets his.

But if I owned a business with a location in a warehouse with a flat roof facing southerly, I would still hold off on buying solar panels to cover it. There would be two reasons for my hesitation.

First, I am not certain that I won’t get a better deal from the government on tax incentives, depreciation and Girl Scout cookies later on. They do talk about such things quite frequently, both in Sackamenna and Washington. So even if it made sense in other ways, I might hold out for a better deal.

Secondly, and more importantly, I know that solar power gets 20% better with every generation. Two more generations and it will be so inexpensive and higher quality that it would be insane not to use it. Sound business principles suggest that I wait.

On a higher scale, the same decision-making process affects large industrial producers and consumers of energy. Take hydroelectric power. Uprating the turbines of a hydroelectric power plant can increase power output by 35% or more. That ain’t hay.

But turbines are increasing efficiency by at least 1% per year. If my current facility is operating profitably and I wait for 10 years before uprating it, I don’t have downtime for the plant, don’t incur the expenses of retrofitting, and have extra money in my pocket before uprating to an even more efficient turbine 10 years down the road. If I do it now, it’ll be second-hand news in 10 years, and who knows when some really dramatic innovation occurs that makes it impossible to resist.

In my personal life I am willing to put up with some inconvenience and risk a bit of unplanned obsolescence in my energy choices. But as a small business owner I do not have that luxury. There are people who depend on me making the right choices from a financial point of view.

And that’s the dilemma pretty much in a nutshell.

Thomas Fuller http://www.redbubble.com/people/hfuller

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114 thoughts on “First Mover Disadvantage

  1. If energy efficiency was a priority, governments would be in charge of manufacturing companies. But since they are not and profit is the main goal, why sell only one turbine when there is far more profit in 18. So, efficiency is far down the lisy of a company.
    Government leaders at times have big mouths on promises but do very little but impede progress.
    You should see the massive hoops put into place on innovation for funding and trying to find a partnering company for R&D. Besides being an inventor, you must be a business man with a business plan, have a certain amount of funding yourself, belong to some institution or government agency, etc.

  2. Solar power being a viable option in the nearish future in areas of the world with strong consistent sunlight is one thing, but it’s surely a very different matter elsewhere.

  3. I somehow can’t come at taxpayer subsidised PV panels and sell back into the grid at 4 times the price you pay like we have in Australia.
    I read about that boy scout in Chicago who built his own reactor out of old smoke detectors and gas mantles in a lead-lined box.
    That sounds more interesting.
    But I am a natural scrooge when it comes to emitting CO2 anyway. I refuse to put a motor on my boat and can usually manufacture enough wind to get where I want to go.
    I think sceptics are naturally conservative in many ways.

  4. He is correct in one respect.
    My designs have been in many hands.
    May ordinary people ooooooood and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhed at the whole concept from designs to the math and science behind it.
    Funny thing is engineers can tell you if it will work mechanically but put up one piece of science, and it goes way beyond their field. Even from college engineers it must go higher.

  5. Mr. Fuller,
    This is an interesting analysis and I don’t disagree with your conclusions but I am surprised that you did not bring up a major corporation that is going “green”, Walmart. Here is a company that originally sought to improve the fuel efficiency of its truck fleet by 25% over 10 years and then after taking a close look decided to make a target to reduce its energy consumption in the entire logistics network by 50%. So not only will they be driving fuel efficient trucks, they will make certain those trucks are traveling full, along the most effient paths, are not left idling, etc. Walmart is getting PR mileage from their effort for green credibility but what they are doing makes sense for their competative position in the market and if successful (and they are on track) will force their competitors to do the same or get beaten up on costs. The point is there are suprisingly substantial things that can be done to save energy and money that a holistic corporate wide push may uncover if someone pushes the limits.

  6. Certainly, technology improves all the time. But your argument to wait ten years is an argument to never do anything, because you could apply exactly the same logic in ten years time. I bought a computer 13 years ago which had a 233Mhz processor. I bought another computer earlier this year with four 2.5GHz processors, and it cost a third of what the first one cost. According to your logic I shouldn’t have bought the first computer, I should have just waited and bought the second one. But you know, I actually found that first computer pretty useful.

  7. A unique concept would be working together for the greater goal.
    But it never works out that way.
    Too many indepedant “my way or the highway” people who really do not get very far but do impede progress.

  8. If it is profitable to be more efficient, businesses will be more efficient. After that it becomes a more complicated tradeoff.
    I remember the gas boilers in the UK. Somebody came up with a boiler with a heat-exchanger on the output flue. It saved about 4%. The government mandated that type of boiler. Unfortunately that forced only that type of boiler on the market. It later turned out that the heat exchanger had reliability issues, which have significantly reduced the lifespan of the boiler. They would have hit the market eventually – accelerating the energy efficiency saving had quite significant environmental issues and great cost.
    If the government had not got involved the less reliable boilers would not have been forced on the market. Forcing one parameter in design decisions has prices to pay in the others. Frankly I am getting tired of replacing equipment which has been ‘optimised for energy efficiency’ – generally for a greatly reduced lifespan. Every output pump on a washing machine is weaker than the generation before.
    I don’t see the environment in terms of greenhouse gases. Why should I be forced to replace equipment every few years – probably with more c02 emissions but definitely other environmental issues – because you think energy efficiency is more important than conservation of other resources? Why should I pay for fuel efficiency of a hardly used car when really the environmental case would be for a more reliable but less efficient one? Before cost effectiveness allowed a range of criteria to be used. We are now optimising one parameter at the cost of the others.

  9. How can anyone say that new technology will not cause future problems, not currently foreseen, as bad as or worse, or with no change, than the perceived problems related to fossil fuels?
    Those developing past technologies, the wheel, fire, use of coal instead of wood, steam power instead of horse power, internal combustion engine instead of steam, certainly believed these new technologies were more “sustainable” (whatever that means) and better.
    Europeans were quickly deforesting the land before coal, and then coal it was perceived would not last forever, then along came oil: the new “sustainable” technology.
    Oil was OK for the Ecolunes before they discovered CO2, because coal was all about dirty pollutants such as particles causing global cooling (remember that?) and sulphurs causing acid rain – doom, doom, doom.
    Nuclear energy, once declared by these Ecofascists the Planet consuming monster in-waiting, now it is grudgingly accepted as better than Planet consuming fossil fuels, which had they kept their voodo to themselves might have meant the current CO2 flap would not be on, if countries in the West had followed France’s nuclear power lead.
    So now we are going to have new technologies which we have not yet invented, of which we cannot imagine, whose effects are then, unknown, but we are sure will be better than what we have got.
    I think this just sums up the whole ghastly Globalwarmistclimatechange crystal ball gazing, action out of ignorance, non-reasoning, anti-common sense, non-fact based, anti-ManPestPlague, Latter-day Church of Pseudoscientology clap-trap.

  10. Mr Fuller,
    Your thesis seems to be that since everyone knows that things get better (more efficient) over time, then why would anyone invest now?
    The argument is simplistic because it ignores the time value of money, also known as discounting cash flows. Simply put, $100 today is worth more than $100 in a years time, and much more than $100 in ten years time. Decisions of whether to invest in capital goods today are based on applying a discount rate to the annual cashflows that are expected to occur into the future. Since the promise of more cash that would be obtained in the future by waiting for more efficient technology to appear on the market, would have to be discounted to the Net Present Value, it is unlikely that businesses are avoiding investment for the reason you give.
    The more likely explanation, is that without the guarantee of subsidies throughout the lifetime of the project, the current technologies are no damn good. Whether they ever will become competitive is impossible to predict.

  11. Hmm, I’m getting increasingly concerned at Mr. Fuller’s reiteration of and slipping into his pieces such points as this:
    “Innovation doesn’t actually reduce emissions. Rather, it is expected to allow for deep, fast and/or cheap emission reductions in the long term. Its pay-off though is inherently uncertain.”
    Does he mean Co2? I assume so and it would be very useful to have him express his view, transparent and unequivocal, on this. I have no issue with sensibly reducing *real pollutants in whatever context but as long as the CO2 myth remains in power, the world remains at risk from those who propose reductions. I recall a line from Hamlet: “Meet it is I set it down
    That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain”. I’m not remotely suggesting that Mr. Fuller is a villain but I *am beginning to feel that we are getting the thin end of a carbon wedge inserted in these pieces. Spit it out and we can talk about it – we are not passive here on this point.

  12. My understanding of photovoltaics was that the polycrystalline silicon takes 3 or 4 years to produce a factory, and is expensive. I don’t think anybody believes that the type of solar panel which is cost effective will be based on polycrystalline silicon – it will be printed or sprayed on because the energy required to make the special silicon is a large part of the cost. Mandating solar panels in the UK or Germany where the sun is not that great risks redirecting the limited quantity of silicon from more effective locations – either because of no grid or because of the amount of sun.
    I really don’t see why I should be subsidising anybody using the wrong solar technology in the wrong location at the wrong time.

  13. Your belief in the continued growth of efficiencies in the current technology (turbines, solar, etc) is a utopian fantasy. Those solar efficiencies are in the lab only and the costs have come down on solar panels in general due to new manufacturing processes of old designs and massive government subsidies which hide and will continue to hide the true costs. No sane hydroelectric operator would shut down their operation to pick up a few % of efficiency after considering the new costs and the lost incomes. They aren’t waiting for a couple more %, they are waiting for their current turbines to break before replacing them.
    I applaud your no driving gesture … even though it makes not one iota of difference in the air quality and quality of life of your fellow man it obviously makes you feel good about yourself. You could have just bought a Prius like the rest of the feel good crowd but you did something that required self sacrifice and for that you should be applauded.

  14. I think people sometimes don’t understand what industrial power requirements are. For example, there are extremely large electric motors that are essential for pumping stations, opening hanger doors of aircraft manufacturing plants, etc. Many of these motors are in excess of 50,000 hp output, some over 100,000hp, which require an enormous amount of power to start and run. In addition there are metals manufacturing (aluminum in particular ) that use city size megawatts of electricity. And many other examples. You’re not going to get that kind of juice from solar panels on the roof or windmills in the parking lot.
    You can ramble on all you want about comparatively minute adjustments to household electric use. It’s microscopically insignificant compared to industrial needs.

  15. Tom
    Please stop starting your dissertations from the CO² is a global warming disaster standpoint. Start from the view that we will eventually have to find new technologies to fuel our energy needs and fossil fuels will do for now. Then we can have a sensible conversation of types, timescales, cost and risks.

  16. re your statement on hydro-electric turbines: I have reasons to belive that most good-sized turbines works at more than 94 – 95 % efficiency.
    Sources for the claim of 30 % improvements?

  17. Where I get lost in the arguments of the warmist community (and in a different context the neo-Malthusians) is when I come across phrases like:

    the common goal of transforming our energy system towards a more sustainable one

    My background is in history, to a great extent social history, and this concept of setting societal goals with learned discussions as to how to achieve them is broadly missing from my experience. The British have always had the reputation of “muddling through” but in reality humanity in general muddles through. The proverb “necessity is the mother of invention” is a simple statement of the way in which societies in general work.
    Two of the best TV series on the history of scientific development were James Burke’s “Connections” and “The Day the Universe Changed” which to my mind still stand as an object lesson to those who think that it is possible directly to influence and direct societies. Technology advances as the need for change or its desirability overtakes existing technology. There is no limit to human ingenuity; when we want or need something we will find the way to make it happen.It cannot be forced by diktat.

  18. Dollar cost averaging might put a thin edge of the wedge into first mover disadvantage. A continuous investment reaps the advantage from emerging efficiencies over time and anticipates upgrade or replacement at the end of useful life – and without putting off implementation.

  19. We are in the age of CO2, so all roads must lead to CO2 to be credible- according to those who buy into CO2.
    Tom, one thing you might want to check is where the link to your blog has gone in the WUWT blogroll. It seems to be missing.

  20. Tom,
    You seem to leave out one factor in your brief economic analysis of early adoption: pay-back time. A smart businessman, small or large, will calculate the break-even point and decide if more efficient technology is likely to be delayed enough to make his upgrade profitable. If the profit incentive is large enough and likely enough and the risks small enough and his competition strong enough, he will go with the upgrade.

  21. I see the concentration on GHG as impeding progress. We had to change air conditioning equipment to less effective refrigerants, negating some of the improvement in efficiency. True, scientists and engineers have adapted to the elimination of CFC’s, but at a significant cost.

  22. RW:
    I don’t think that he is saying that following that path, no one would ever innovate. The point is, if he bought the product and planned on running it 30 years, he doesn’t want to replace it in 10 or 15 years. After running it for 15 years, he begins to see where things are going and maybe in 10 years when he is ready to replace it, he will get a much more efficient product. People can’t just innovate every year just because some new product comes along. Only Bill Gates could do that.

  23. If we really want cheap solar power, we need to put the solar panels in space.
    There is a solution. Back in the 50s, the scientists behind the Manhattan nuclear bomb project tried to find a peaceful use for the awful device they had created. Their solution was Project Orion – a design for a space ship engine which used nuclear explosions for propulsion.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion)
    The performance of the proposed engine would have been a rocket engineer’s wet dream. Designs capable of lifting thousands, even millions of tons into Earth orbit were proposed, and enough initial field testing was performed to prove the viability of the concept – including field tests which proved it was possible to build structures capable of surviving, without damage, the full force of a nuclear fireball. The most advanced designs, using H bombs, could theoretically have accelerated a starship up to 10% of the speed of light – fast enough to reach the nearest stars in a human lifetime.
    All this with 1950s technology.
    Such ships would be more than capable of lifting as many large solar cell power stations into space as you want, for an affordable price.
    All the Greens have to do is endorse a few thousand atmospheric nuclear explosions – not much different to what happened during testing in the 1950s…

  24. This is where you lost me;
    “Implementation is needed to get started on emission reductions. It’s the cumulative emissions that are of concern, so earlier cuts in emissions are more useful to climate stabilization than similar cuts made later.”
    Sorry. “Cumulative emissions”? Emissions of what? My Grandfather used to say: “No point dancing in the dark! Out with it!” Why don’t you fess up and just admit that you agree with the hysterics and be done with all this dancing around? You gotta a carbon tax Jones! You keep sneaking AGW talking points into your essays without addressing why they are needed in the first place. Cart before the Horse. Just like all the other media dupes.
    Sorry Mr Fuller. I ain’t buyin’ anymore.

  25. Having done a little research into the development of renewable energy “technology”, I can say with a great deal of certainty that this article is a load of hogwash – particularly for wind energy.
    Wind energy did not develop as a result of “innovation”. Quite the contrary, those countries who tried to “innovate” were utter failures at developing wind energy. Indeed I found the success of developing renewable energy “technology” was inversely proportional to the amount of R&D spend … the most successful development had the LEAST R&D SPEND.
    It all comes down to the need for incremental development (characteristic of engineering) instead of spontaneous innovation (characteristic of “science”). These in turn are dependent on the cost-profit profile and the type of niche markets and various other economic factors which would take too long to detail here (and no one pays me to explain)

  26. BTW Fuller. I live 32 kilometers away from the nearest grocery store. I am just one of many, many people that must drive to get food! I guess I need to be taxed even more so twits in the cities can feel good about themselves? I have a proposition. Apply all of your idiotic ideas for emissions reductions where they might be needed. Cities. Leave everyone else alone!
    What on earth are you doing here?

  27. @INGSOC says:
    September 15, 2010 at 5:52 am
    ” You keep sneaking AGW talking points into your essays without addressing why they are needed in the first place. Cart before the Horse. Just like all the other media dupes. …Sorry Mr Fuller. I ain’t buyin’ anymore.”
    Hear, hear!

  28. Re: Larry

    Every output pump on a washing machine is weaker than the generation before.

    Washing machines are probably a good example of where the “green” mandate has gone wrong. Here in the UK every washing machine used to have 2 inlets, one for cold water and one for hot water. Now they only have one inlet for cold water and the washing machine heats that to the required temperature. The reason for this is because the washing machines can not get energy efficiency ratings if they dont heat the water themselves. This means that it doesn’t matter how efficient you water heating system is you can not use that hot water in your washing machine, it has to heat up cold water itself.

  29. RichieP said: “I have no issue with sensibly reducing *real pollutants in whatever context but as long as the CO2 myth remains in power, the world remains at risk from those who propose reductions. ”
    You don’t need one iota of belief in carbon dioxide climate change to see some benefit in reducing CO2 emissions. So long as we remain a fossil fuel-based economy cost effective measures to reduce emissions of CO2 are a good thing – it saves money regardless of whether you view it as pollution or plant food. The key is that they should be cost effective.(and that depends on individual circumstances)
    Unfortunately our leaders and advocates of climate alarmism understand this as well, which is why they continually seek to inflate the cost of energy through taxation and regulation. They are trying to force PV and other options to become cost effective by making existing energy supplies more expensive.
    Going even further than that there are campaigners calling for investment markets to be fixed in favour of eco-wibble. The UNEP Finance Initiative, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change to name but two.

  30. Tom, I have only a couple of things that bother me.
    “The improvements needed to make it inexpensive enough to convince die-hard American Republicans that we should use it are well-understood.”
    We now have established your ideology.
    “The appropriate innovation strategy would be to publicly finance research and development of storage, and offer tax incentives for accelerated deployment and development of solar.”
    We now understand that it is the government that must force the innovation by making everyone pay for the cost of innovation including those that are having problems supporting themselves. With this I disagree, innovation comes from the inventor and developer’s belief that they have a marketable alternative and will risk their own monies on the development of the new process of production, what ever the process it must produce profit on its own merit to be worthwhile.
    Now as I understand it our current energy production is cost effective and the technology is improving for cleaner and more efficient production. This will allow for time to develop the technologies to produce alternative energy production that is competitive on the market with out the government funded (read that taxpayer financed with out return on investment) that will necessarily remove funding from other important government responsibilities.
    Now we have converted to the curly cue light bulbs that last only about 1/5th the life span advertised on the box at about a 400% increase in personal cost for a 65% decrease in energy usage per bulb. (by the way these new bulbs don’t help heat the home in the winter, should we buy both and exchange them according to the season?) We have implemented growing our own veggies saving on transport cost to acquire part of our food. I do live in an area where Solar would be a good alternative. The question is about life span of equipment and storage of energy during times of lack of sun light. (affordability of initial cost) We have equipped our home with the most efficient heating and cooling available and have supplemented it with waste wood heating to reduce cost of publicly produced energy. Sorry but we live in a rural area and the distance to retail outlets and other amenities precludes the bicycle/pedal power alternative.
    But we are doing our best mostly for cost reduction. That is the secret for any new technology to become popular, cost reduction.
    I guess that makes me a die hard republican not a conservative and there for a non-thinker. (see first quoted statement)
    Bill Derryberry

  31. It is all very well to feel warm and fuzzy about installing green energy sources, such as solar and wind.
    However, neither is likely to make any practical (wind doesn’t blow, or blows too hard and when the sun doesn’t shine) or economic sense (capital cost is prohibitive) until the equivalent of a giant battery, or some other similar technology, to store large amounts of energy is invented.
    Also, the future economic power houses of the world in Asia and South America don’t give a rat’s xxxx about the type of future energy sources they have, as long as they have them. So anything we do in the West to create green energy will be trivial in comparison to the hundreds of coal fired power stations, which will be built there over the next few decades.
    Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with having a warm and fuzzy feeling about green energy, as long as it is voluntarily self-generated. The problem is the plethora of greenie fundamentalist individuals and organisations using bad science to try and guilt-trip us all into believing that policies of economic suicide are worth it in order “to save the planet”.

  32. Sean says:
    September 15, 2010 at 3:55 am
    “I am surprised that you did not bring up a major corporation that is going “green”, Walmart. ”
    If Walmart was truly serious about going green and cutting emissions it would return to Sam Walton’s made in the USA philosophy. What is green about shipping products halfway across the world to markets? Making the products in the US where the market is would be the green thing to do.

  33. Two Comments:
    1. Equipment is upgraded when the old equipment fails; it would be foolish to do otherwise. You don’t replace your working hot water heater just to get an efficiency increase. To have the government (back by guns of course) mandate such upgrades before they are needed is wasteful, not to mention an anathema to freedom loving citizens.
    Given the choice between an efficient replacement and an inefficient replacement at the same price, any sensible person would choose the more efficient replacement. The market then prices the more efficient model higher, but not so high that people will not buy it. Adding in a government subsidy or tax incentive just mean that the price is increased even more, there’s no benefit to the consumer in government intrusion.
    2. Government grants for R&D and tax incentives are also wasteful. A much better and more cost-effective solution is for a government to award huge prizes to its citizens and/or companies for technological breakthroughs that the government desires. After that, let the new technology stand on it’s own. This rewards results rather than the company with the best proposal writers or political connections, and costs nothing if there is no success.
    An example might be a $2B cash reward for the development of an electrical storage device (battery or capacitor) that could power a 2-ton automobile 300 miles at 70 MPH. Specific requirements could be made for size/weight, safety, recharging time, etc.

  34. Sean:
    The point is there are suprisingly substantial things that can be done to save energy and money that a holistic corporate wide push may uncover if someone pushes the limits.
    Really – if a company can save money by being more efficient – and only does it because of some government initiative or some environmentalist puts pressure on them then somebody has not done their job. Frankly it is far more likely the technology comes along to save money, Walmart implements it and then sells it as a green initiative. It would have been done anyway – if it happens to be green they get good publicity.
    The way it is set up nowadays with emphasis on efficiency of 1 parameter the danger is far more that people start replacing equipment to meet some government mandate on efficiency because the manufacture of the equipment is elsewhere and not included in the calculation. The simplifications of the enviro-beuaurocrats, policy makers, environmentalists are outrageous. It takes some believing that it is environmentally friendly to be increasing the pace of equipment replacement – of course to go the other way would make it difficult to get industry on board and the policy would be unsustainable.
    

  35. I occasionally write in another field (education) and I have for some time been contemplating an essay on the very theme of your opening lines. (Substitute ‘replication’ for ‘implementation’ and we’re talking about the same thing. Replication is a natural followup to innovation, and left alone, market forces or plain common sense will bring it about. The problem comes when bureaucracy (not always governmental) interferes.
    Yes, there is a time when you have to shoot the engineers and go into production. The point survives the exaggeration. But the humor also discloses a real problem: How to implement today’s policies without foreclosing further innovation. Large corporations can become completely calcified by not dealing with this. IBM comes to mind.
    In education, the replicators typically come at us in the name of ‘reform.’ They have discovered something new that really worked somewhere. (Actually, it usually is not new at all–only new to them.) Now they think everybody should replicate their ‘innovation’ and front line teachers get saddled with it in situations where it may be completely inappropriate.
    Commenters above (Larry, et al) have given good examples of forced replication leading to absurd outcomes. Perhaps I can add another. A few years ago, legislators in California created rules that made it difficult, if not impossible to convert from gas to electric heat for your home. The justification being that gas was more efficient in energy use. Today, the same bunch is mandating ever increasing percentages of renewable sources for electricity. So with one hand the state demands that renewable energy be available, while with the other discourages anyone who would switch from fossil fuels.
    Better the state keep hands off and let the people decide for themselves when it is appropriate to adopt something new.

  36. @Gareth:
    ‘You don’t need one iota of belief in carbon dioxide climate change to see some benefit in reducing CO2 emissions. So long as we remain a fossil fuel-based economy cost effective measures to reduce emissions of CO2 are a good thing – it saves money regardless of whether you view it as pollution or plant food. ‘
    Please could you explain this to me Gareth? If CO2 is non-polluting, beneficial for plant growth, and relatively insignificant in relation to warming (beyond a certain point), why spend *any money on controlling it? And how does spending that money, time, effort etc thus save money? This is not a trick question, I’d like to understand this better.

  37. Anyone who’s purchased computers over the last 20-30 years understands the problem. There’s always a better/cheaper one being released if you wait just a little bit longer…

  38. Notice the continuing thread, “If we can just get them to admit that some CO2 is manmade, and that it causes some warming, then they’ll buy into the need to reduce it.
    Tom, it’s nice to not have shouting, but you aren’t paying attention to the data.
    Given that we’re barely 11, 15, k-years out of the last ice age, do you really want us to start cooling? 20K years ago there was 1/4 mi of ice on Madison, Wisconsin.
    There is more than adequate evidence to show that the Arctic has repeatedly been ice free, at the same time, the Greenland ice cap was substantially smaller. So since we know that for the past 1 million years, the CO2 levels have oscillated, why does change scare you? What’s the deal about “control?”

  39. Sean says:
    September 15, 2010 at 3:55 am
    “Walmart, Here is a company that originally sought to improve the fuel efficiency of its truck fleet by 25% over 10 years and then after taking a close look decided to make a target to reduce its energy consumption in the entire logistics network by 50%.”
    Have you seen Walmart’s fuel bills? Last I checked they spend something like $500 million a year on fuel.

  40. wsbriggs, my concerns are as follows:
    I personally believe that ‘global mean’ temperatures will rise somewhere around 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century due to a combination of human causes including CO2. (Others include changes we make to land cover, deforestation, etc.)
    I do not believe that that level of temperature rise is in and of itself catastrophic. I think we will adapt successfully and that there will even be some winners because of it.
    However, having it occur in a fairly compressed timeframe is quite likely to pose some problems for specific regions. (I don’t believe in a ‘global’ climate. All of this is regional in nature and effect.) And I think it quite likely that some of those regions will include places and populations least equipped to adapt to it.
    I am also mindful of non-climatic effects of human activities. If my calculations are correct, the conventional pollution from the amount of coal used over the next few decades will be staggering, and have huge consequences for human health and the state of the environment.
    Finally, although I do not subscribe to peak oil theories, it does seem evident that easy and cheap access to petroleum based products will decline quickly, causing prices to rise. This will have a negative effect on developing countries.
    I therefore think a ‘no regrets’ policy of reducing consumption where it is easily possible, investing in sane alternative sources of energy (I favor nuclear and solar at present), and improving the efficiency of our manner of generating electricity, distributing and consuming it is in our best interests.
    As a liberal Democrat, I am probably more willing to look to government assistance in achieving these goals than most readers here at WUWT. But I’d be thrilled if I saw a roadmap that didn’t require government assistance.
    Sadly, the truth is that I don’t see a roadmap from either public or private sector that even seems to grasp the correct scope of the issue, with activists exaggerating it and contrarians minimizing it.
    Which is why I write these things.

  41. “If energy efficiency was a priority, governments would be in charge of manufacturing companies.”
    “Government leaders at times have big mouths on promises but do very little but impede progress. ”
    Those two sentences completely contradict each other Joe LaLonde 🙂
    Which is it? The government is much more efficient than private business, or all government generally manages to do is impede progress??? Both sentences logically cannot be true. In my opinion, the 2nd sentence is true, but the first is most certainly not.

  42. The universe is not sustainable.
    The Sun is not sustainable, it has maybe 4.6 Ga left on the main sequence.
    As it gets older, the Sun gets brighter, it’s estimated the Habitable Zone will move past Earth ,a href=”http://solar-center.stanford.edu/FAQ/Qlifetime.html”>in the next 500 to 900 Ma.
    Extinction level impacts (of the Alvarez level) are estimated to occur on Earth approximately once every 100 my, the Chicxulub impactor was 65.5 Ma ago.
    Humanity cannot deal if any of these future challenges with “renewables”. Nor with a civilization restricted to just one planet.

  43. RichieP said: ” If CO2 is non-polluting, beneficial for plant growth, and relatively insignificant in relation to warming (beyond a certain point), why spend *any money on controlling it? And how does spending that money, time, effort etc thus save money? This is not a trick question, I’d like to understand this better.”
    The way Governments are behaving will not save money. They are trying to convince people to change their car/oven/telly/heating/lighting to more efficient models through two things: subsidies and taxation. Subsidies make the expensive efficient stuff appear less expensive to buy. Taxation on energy or on carbon emissions makes the existing relatively inefficient stuff more expensive to operate.
    Spending money controlling CO2 emissions is not the same as merely trying to make more efficient use of the fuels and that is something people left to their own devices have been doing for centuries in order to lower their living costs. It is much, much slower than Governments are prepared to wait though. If you buy into the alarmism you must also be of the mind that large changes must be forced on everyone now despite now being the most expensive time to do it.

  44. Gareth: your remark about driving up the cost of conventional industry to the point where alternative sources can be competitive is spot-on. It’s the same thing as the government leveling the playing field by cutting off the heads of the taller players!

  45. Tom, let’s suppose that the cost for fossil energy rises, say to $500/boe, and let’s specify that it doesn’t happen overnight, rather over a couple of decades – short, but to prove a point. (I happen to believe that the concept of “Peak Oil” is very misguided, there is every reason to believe that a large amount of the hydrocarbons we consume are produced deep within the earth by conversion of carbon containing rock).
    In a free market, as the price rises, several things happen, people who are marginal in income seek to minimize their fossil energy consumption, others seek substitute patterns in consumption of energy, and others seek to profit from the increase in prices by offering appliances, HVAC systems, and transportation which minimizes consumption of expensive energy. The latter group affects the first two groups in that potential solutions to their problems are available. Note I said free market.
    Some of the solutions will be poorer choices than others, and consumers will learn which work, and which don’t. The very poor may choose wind, they do today in some areas. Others may choose solar, or limited hydro. The drive to solve the problem will focus huge amounts of brain power, for the simple reason that everyone in the world is affected. This is not the case today, as with natural gas prices below $4/mmcf and not very likely to rise for the next decade, there is a superabundance of energy all over the world. If you don’t believe me, take a look at how much gas is flared off in the Middle East.
    The point is, when real problems arise, real solutions arise. Imagined problems, or future problems get as many brain cycles as it takes the average person to see that they’re not yet affected, and probably won’t be within whatever event horizon they personally hold critical.
    Mostly, I don’t think people are terminally stupid. They mostly want to be left to themselves and their own devices. This is why the Constitution was written as it was. The central thesis is Leave Them Alone.

  46. Thomas Fuller,
    Sorry to repeat myself but I would love you to comment.
    as commented in an earlier post:
    I have previous criticised your posts for lack of skepticism regarding the core of AGW ‘science’; the theory that man is causing the earth to warm and he is doing this through the continued release of CO2. I find your absolvement of the scientists and the IPCC in you articles critical of AGW hype excessive and occasionally incorrect; I will draw the line at saying disingenuous because you have not replied to my previous post that I repeat here:
    “Philip Thomas says:
    September 13, 2010 at 6:09 am
    ‘[Major media campaigns] ignore IPCC scientists so they could insist that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035.’
    I was under the impression that this claim was made by the scientists in the IPCC report. These facts were reiterated on numerous occasions by Rajendra Pauchari.
    Here is the IPCC’s statement on the matter.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/presentations/himalaya-statement-20january2010.pdf
    Unless I have greatly misunderstood what you have said, it seems completely incorrect to say that the media pushed these errors in the face of IPCC protest.”
    The climate debate is littered with the comments of the nefarious whose sole purpose is to disseminate misinformation and cloud the truth. I would like to think that you are not included amongst those. I have, however, previously debated people with various ulterior motives and have learned to know as much about the authors of articles that I read because I simply do not have the time to fact check everything.
    Is it possible you could tell us about the consultations you made to the UK Government regarding green technologies?
    On Googling your name I was led to a testimonial you gave: http://www.pep-partnership.co.uk/testimonials.asp
    ‘Bill understands how business happens in the governmental sector, especially the European Commission. He’s a hard worker and next time I need a big proposal for an E.C. tender, there’s no doubt that he’s the guy to go to.
    Tom Fuller, Managing Director, nQuire Services Ltd’
    [Edit: PEP partnership specialise in EC grants]
    Can you elaborate on your business interests with the EC? Do you worry that the tenders would be less forthcoming if you were critical of the accepted climate science consensus?
    Sorry to put you on the spot but someone who gets so many posts on WUWT should have their cards on the table. These are hard times.

  47. For renewable energy sources, the technology most likely to reach price parity with fossil fuels is solar power
    Uh, no. Nuclear power is already only slightly more expensive than the cheapest fossil fuel, coal. If we truly want to deal with the CO2 issue then we need to immediately restart work on the 92 reactors that were halted after three mile island. That would reduce our entire greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by almost 8%, more than Kyoto. If they had been built in the first place, more than 30 billion tons less carbon dioxide would be in the air today.
    I love solar power, I own a solar company, but our civilization needs tens of terawatts of power and there is no way that solar will ever be able to supply that.

  48. Many commenters seem to confuse Tom’s quoting of part of my blogpost with his opinions. In the first part of this post, Tom quotes me. And indeed, I hold to the old fashioned “belief” that CO2 can absorb and re-emit infrared radiation, thereby influencing earth’s radiative balance and ultimately the temperature.
    My blog post quoted in part by Tom is http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/innovation-implementation-efficiency/
    And then we have people such as wsbriggs saying that even if Greenland would melt, why would that scare you? There’s a lot of ice on Greenland. At the height of the previous interglacial, global avg temps were 1 or 2 degrees higher than now, but sea level was 6 metres higher (because of parts of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets had melted).

  49. “And then we have people such as wsbriggs saying that even if Greenland would melt, why would that scare you? There’s a lot of ice on Greenland. At the height of the previous interglacial, global avg temps were 1 or 2 degrees higher than now, but sea level was 6 metres higher (because of parts of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets had melted).

    6 meters, I think that is a new hyperbole record.

  50. Giving up driving saves nothing.
    It simply makes you unable to save energy.
    Sure you can take a bus or train, but at some point you must be in a cab over which you do not have control, that might be a mighty polluter, and probably people come and pick you up and drop you off, which just transfers that use to them instead of you.
    There are virtually none of these self-righteous acts of passivity that count for anything.
    Maybe I like to sit in the dark and chant but I don’t fool myself that it is saving the planet.
    I have a hybrid car because I can squeeze over 50 mpg out of it , saving money.
    I have gas heat because it is cleaner in the house, and requires less maintenance.
    Since scaring people seems to be the aim why not just go right to the Saber Tooth Tigers and Giant Sloths coming back ?
    Because people just aren’t going to believe that the Antarctic is melting unless it actually does.
    And IF the Antarctic IS melting, maybe you should ask how that happens when the temperature never rises above -20f instead of blaming it on soda pop bubbles.
    Rantmode off/

  51. Mr. Fuller, why do you feel it is necessary for there to be “a roadmap” to the future? There was no roadmap when my ancestors undertook to settle this country in 1632, yet they still made progress in spite of that. Furthermore, a roadmap implies some ability to predict the future, does it not? Good luck with that.

  52. “Jimash says:
    September 15, 2010 at 2:12 pm
    “And then we have people such as wsbriggs saying that even if Greenland would melt, why would that scare you? There’s a lot of ice on Greenland. At the height of the previous interglacial, global avg temps were 1 or 2 degrees higher than now, but sea level was 6 metres higher (because of parts of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets had melted).”
    6 meters, I think that is a new hyperbole record.””
    You seem to be being overly harsh on old Bart. After all it would only require the present supposed rate to be doubled and straight lined out for a thousand years and bingo you’ve got 6 meters.

  53. PS: to Mr. Fuller. I would also remind you of Robert Burns poem “To a Mouse”. Since you’re a journalist, I’m sure you are familiar with it, but it seems to have special meaning these days.

  54. I like to fantasise about being a Savvy Media Professional – to be called henceforth an SMP. How could I, for example, consistently intrude an AGW message on a website like WUWT?
    Firstly, I’d boldly point the reader to an AGW website, but with enough disclaimers and personal reservations to keep my own position safe. What the hell, just get ’em reading the stuff – it’s worth a quick punt!
    Next, I’d associate my name and personal practices with Anthony’s, since he is obviously a popular and admired figure among those who read this blog daily, and one who monitors his energy use and is generally smart on efficiency.
    So I’d point out that I live in the Aussie bush, six miles or so from shops and weekend job, and that I no longer even use a mountain bike to commute. I walk. I’d point out that I’ve had energy-saver bulbs in my house for years, and that, unlike some Democrat politicians, I didn’t have to “work toward” using them – I just bought ’em and screwed ’em in. Also, I grow a species of commercial bamboo which is said to be some kind of world champion carbon muncher, so my all-up “footprint” is stupendously low.
    I’d get all that said immediately after pointing people to that patronising alarmist site. A real SMP would be aware of the need promptly to defuse objections with the distracting reference to Anthony’s house…
    …but then slip in a lightning killer-punch:
    “…because he actually understands that it makes sense to try and make a difference.”
    See how I did that? You might ask, on a website devoted to specifics, what on earth is meant by “make a difference”. But there’s a chance you won’t, and if I were to change the subject quickly enough, and not mention climate specifically, my message might slide through. Worth a try.
    Of course, my article would need some kind of theme, and alternative energy, which is actually liked by hard-headed skeptics and conservatives, is a perfect choice. Pointing to obvious problems of cost and obsolescence couldn’t offend such hard-heads. Those guys have got efficiency on the brain.
    But because, as an SMP, I’ve challenged myself to intrude a daffy green agenda…How’s this?:
    “…solar power. The improvements needed to make it inexpensive enough to convince die-hard American Republicans that we should use it are well-understood. The complementary technology to make it scalable, grid level storage, is also understood, but farther off.”
    How good is that! I’d separate solar power cost from the problems of scale and storage of solar power! At the same time I’d half-imply that teabagging rednecks are the main obstacle. Kind of. A skilled SMP has to alternate the highly specific with the hopelessly vague.
    As a bush-dweller who’s actually depended on solar, I’d have trouble keeping a straight face with this last bit…but as an SMP, I could do it!

  55. Tom Fuller says (September 15, 2010 at 10:29 am): “As a liberal Democrat…”
    After reading all his articles, I’m shocked to learn this about Tom. Shocked, I tell you. 🙂
    Unfortunately for Tom’s touching faith in the ability of politicians to save the world from the taxpayers, the world’s second largest economy (and largest carbon dioxide emitter) isn’t run by liberal Democrats. The consequent irrelevance of the anti-CAGW crusade would be comical if it weren’t for all the collateral damage it causes.

  56. Hi, all:
    First, Mr. Briggs: I’m a fan of markets, and I like free markets better than other sorts. Your description is good, but does not allay my concerns. If it’s all right with you, I’ll try and address them in a post all its own. Not trying to run away from your very cogent comments, just want to give them the space and attention they deserve.
    Mr. Thomas: An IPCC scientist brought the news of the IPCC’s error to Mr. Pachauri’s attention in (I believe) 2004, but Mr. Pachauri paid no heed and in fact was rather dismissive of it all. But the scientist was from IPCC. I have consulted with various bodies of the UK government including at times on green technology. However, I am really surprised that you think you are entitled to the details, unless you have a comment somewhere asking Anthony Watts or Steve McIntyre similar questions. (I know I’m not in the same ballpark as these heavyweights, but still…) and if you found my recommendation for Bill Blakemore, how is it you could find so little about me? My tracks are much easier to trace. I have no current interests with the EC, btw.
    Hiya Bart! Hope you don’t mind the wholesale listing of part of your post. I do not think your comment about 6 meters of sea level rise from previous periods is at all helpful unless you are willing to say ‘I, Bart Verheggen believe that sea level will rise 6 meters in x years due to y increase in temperatures.’
    “And forward, tho I canna see, I guess an fear.”

  57. Hi Gary, your surprise is touching… It’s not faith in government, it’s faith in us to use it wisely that is the liberal fever that has touched (not torched… c’mon…) my brain.

  58. @mosomoso
    September 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm
    By Jove I think you’ve got it! You’re not alone in this, you know, several of us have been raising questions that don’t get answers from sceptical/lukewarm (your choice – and further choices may be available for all we know) Mr Fuller. Unless he’s prepared to address the various questions he’s been asked adequately, why should we believe that he isn’t an agent provocateur?

  59. @ Tom Fuller says:
    September 15, 2010 at 4:18 pm
    Hi, all:
    …………………………………
    “And forward, tho I canna see, I guess an fear.”

    Congratulations. 🙂 So the next question is: Should the whole of humanity be tasked with paying the freight for the fears and guesses of a few?

  60. Fuller says: “First, I am not certain that I won’t get a better deal from the government on tax incentives, … .”
    So you believe that you can get better deal by having government thugs point their guns at some tax payers and demand some cash to help poor Mr. Fuller with his solar project. Just what goes through your mind when you hear “tax incentives.” If it were economical, the market might do it if there were an actual need for it. If not it is best left to be done by individuals who believe that they must do it, pay their own ways. When you live by the law, i.e., by the threat of force, you will, in the long run, get nothing but loss and destruction, just your own if lucky or the whole country if you really work at hard at it.

  61. Tom Fuller says (September 15, 2010 at 4:20 pm): “It’s not faith in government, it’s faith in us to use it wisely that is the liberal fever that has touched (not torched… c’mon…) my brain.”
    And once again hope triumphs over experience. 🙂

  62. @ Tom Fuller says:
    September 15, 2010 at 5:07 pm
    Hi Curious George,
    Should the developed world be tasked with paying to remediate their past and current pollution? (Not talking about CO2…)

    I asked you first, but I’ll answer your question anyway. No.
    Now you answer my question.

  63. “The appropriate innovation strategy would be to publicly finance research and development of storage, and offer tax incentives for accelerated deployment and development of solar.”
    BULL PATTIES, that is a typical socialist/central planning fallacy.
    Actually studies show that is the least productive method. One study I read showed small businesses get more bang for the research buck. (can not find link but I posted it here earlier)
    FORTUNE Small Business Magazine says “Entrepreneurs tend to stay at least one step ahead of the pack, and lately they have been widening their lead. Small businesses are generating so much that’s new in our economy that more and more big corporations are buying them up to gain access to their research and development.” http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/08/magazines/fsb/nextlittle_xethanol/
    Perhaps that is why major corporations and politicians collude to throw up the road blocks called regulations that cause small businesses to fail. After all Obama’s chief science adviser wants to “de-develop” the USA and you can not do that if you allow a bunch of innovative Entrepreneurs to stay in business. GASP they might actually allow Americans be more productive and wealthy than other countries and we can not have that.
    If you want to curb CO2 emissions, pollution and increase everyone’s standard of living lobby your government for nuclear power. However that is not the real goal of government as far as I can detect. Making the wealth, wealther and the poor poorer seems to be the real goal based on the facts. And that is exactly what has been done. In 1976 a typical American CEO earned 36 times as much as the average worker. By 2008 average CEO pay increased to 369 times that of the average worker. http://timelines.ws/subjects/Labor.HTML
    According to US census figures, the USA our population has about tripled since 1970, government employees had doubled by 1996 while education and manufacturing jobs fell. We have less than half the manufacturing jobs, a quarter of the education jobs per capita but 24% of the labor force is now eating at the government trough.
    …..the more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws… according to Tacitus(55-117 A.D.) And I would add the more useless bureaucrats eating the people’s wealth.

  64. Tom Fullers: September 15, 2010 at 5:07 pm
    Hi Curious George,
    Should the developed world be tasked with paying to remediate their past and current pollution? (Not talking about CO2…)

    Another nuanced bit of propaganda, but of course you are talking about CO2. You’re just doing it “in code”. Pollution is a problem, but it always has been, and always will be, a local matter. Even the supposedly “far-reaching” kinds like the Acid Rain Panic have been vastly overstated. The down-wind dilution kicks in pretty fast, and as the (valid) mantra goes: “The solution to pollution is dilution.” Each micro-case is different, and we inhabit so little of the Earth’s surface that anything other than localized solutions are ridiculous even in concept.
    Anthony, for how much longer will this troll be posting here?
    /dr.bill

  65. Dr. Bill, I confess I don’t understand what you are saying. I’ve been open about my position from day one as a guest poster here. I have no secret agenda and I prefer English to speaking in code.
    Had I meant CO2, I would have said it.
    And troll has a bit of baggage attached to it in the blogosphere. What have I done to deserve that?

  66. Tom Fuller says:
    September 15, 2010 at 4:20 pm
    Hi Gary, your surprise is touching… It’s not faith in government, it’s faith in us to use it wisely that is the liberal fever that has touched (not torched… c’mon…) my brain.

    Nah.

    “If one rejects laissez faire on account of mans fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.” Ludwig von Mises – Italian Economist 1881 – 1973

  67. Tom Fuller: September 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm
    Dr. Bill, I confess I don’t understand what you are saying. I’ve been open about my position from day one as a guest poster here. I have no secret agenda and I prefer English to speaking in code.
    Had I meant CO2, I would have said it.
    And troll has a bit of baggage attached to it in the blogosphere. What have I done to deserve that?

    Tom, I will be perfectly candid, although I think I’ve already made my thoughts clear in the comments that I have made on several of these articles that you have posted. What I object to is, in fact, a remarkable talent that you possess. You might think that this is a strange thing for a professor of Physics to complain about, but talent can be used in many ways and to many ends. Your writing is much like a Rorschach Test. The content is minimal, but it is framed in such a way that different groups of readers may easily project their own assumptions and preconceptions onto it. Having taken that step, usually facilitated by the first few seemingly sensible and innocuous bits of your presentations, they are then in a position to have the subliminals delivered.
    This is one of the most effective ways of teaching complex topics while avoiding the “this is too hard to understand” impulse experienced by many students when faced with new and perhaps esoteric materials. In a classroom, however, the objective is to allow the students to get past their emotions and free their intellect to grasp the topic at hand, and to actually learn something valid. It imposes great responsibility on the part of the teacher, but is easy to abuse.
    I would say that you are doing just that, but as you might judge from the number of other commenters who have effectively made the same judgement as I have, this isn’t a forum where such behaviour is likely to go unnoticed or unchallenged.
    /dr.bill

  68. Are we there yet?
    I gave up reading Tom’s discursive essays a few episodes back.
    Tom has perfected a writing style designed to convey as little meaning as possible.
    I must congratulate him, from what I have read, they are masterpieces of circumlocution.

  69. Hi Tom,
    I didn’t specify a future time frame because 1) I was talking about an event in the past and 2) because the timing is inherently uncertain.
    About the Eemian period (last interglacial) estimates of globalsea level that I’ve seen range from 5 to 9 metres higher than present. Global avg temp was 1 to 2 degrees higher, with strong Arctic amplification (on WUWT a recent article was quoted with 5 deg above current avg in the Arctic). Check some scientific articles via google scholar and you’ll find it easy enough; I’m not making this up or saying anything radical here.
    We’re well on track to reach and even exceed those temps, and it’s not unlikely that sea level will eventually catch up as well. I don’t know when “eventually” is, and I’m not comforted by not knowing. But in past records of sea level, there were periods with sea level rise of 1-2 metres per century, indicating the physical possibility of such rates.

  70. Bart Verheggen says:
    September 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm
    You may well hold on to long established ‘ facts’ of CO2’s absorption and emission of IR, but it may be that you haven’t kept up with the science of it in atmospheric conditions.
    Here is a brief extract from a 13 page article by Nasif Nahle dated May 12, 2010
    http://biocab.org/ECO2.pdf
    “Doubling the density of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the total emissivity of the carbon dioxide to decrease, as long as the radiant energy emitted by the surface does not increase causing an increase of the air temperature; therefore, the total emissivity of the carbon dioxide is inversely proportional to its effective pressure and, consequently, to its density in the atmosphere. The same effect has been verified on the tables of total emissivity of the carbon dioxide obtained by Hottel, Leckner and other contemporary scientists (1)(2)(3)(4). This fact confirms that the carbon dioxide operates as a coolant of the atmosphere and the surface, not as a warmer of the mentioned systems. (6) “”
    Other comments on the emissivity of CO2 have been posted on blogs recently , a relevant one on
    http://www.physics forum.com/archive/index/t-174215.html by cbacba Sept 1-07, 08:55 PM
    Quoting, “Again, calculating the epsilon (emissivity) for the atmosphere for an old and new value using atmospheric absorption from the Hitran database results in a negative result when the new emissivity is applied. That means the temperature drops because the radiation output of the atmosphere becomes more efficient with the new increased emissivity.”
    So you may be worrying about nothing 😉

  71. Bart Verheggen says:
    September 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm
    You may well hold on to long established ‘ facts’ of CO2’s absorption and emmission of IR, but it may be that you havn’t kept up with the science of it in atmospheric conditions.
    Here is a brief extract from a 13 page article by Nasif Nahle dated May 12, 2010
    “Doubling the density of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the total emissivity of the carbon dioxide to decrease, as long as the radiant energy emitted by the surface does not increase causing an increase of the air temperature; therefore, the total emissivity of the carbon dioxide is inversely proportional to its effective pressure and, consequently, to its density in the atmosphere. The same effect has been verified on the tables of total emissivity of the carbon dioxide obtained by Hottel, Leckner and other contemporary scientists (1)(2)(3)(4). This fact confirms that the carbon dioxide operates as a coolant of the atmosphere and the surface, not as a warmer of the mentioned systems. (6) “”
    Other comments on the emissivity of CO2 have been posted on blogs recently , a relevant one on
    physics forum Sept1-07, 08:55 PM
    Quoting, “Again, calculating the epsilon (emissivity) for the atmosphere for an old and new value using atmospheric absorption from the Hitran database results in a negative result when the new emissivity is applied. That means the temperature drops because the radiation output of the atmosphere becomes more efficient with the new increased emissivity.”
    So you may be worrying about nothing 😉
    I included links on the first posting, but spam filter must have swallowed it.

  72. Tom Fuller
    I do not think that you are a troll .
    I know for a fact that you are superficial and don’t deliver .
    I discovered your blog a year ago when you started an interesting poll about the structure and motivation of climate beliefs .
    A link on WUWT gave teh information and I did so to help your project .
    You did then 2 folllow up posts promissing developpements but dropped the ball shortly thereafter and went to greener pastures .
    This one idea that promissed something turned out a failure for lack of dedication and because you prefer to follow where the wind blows you .
    Concerning the issues of efficiency and economy .
    The deep understanding of the real economy and free markets follows approximately this ranking :
    1) Owners of small businesses
    2) Farmers
    3) Bankers
    4) Engineers
    5) Lawyers
    6) Journalists
    7) Scientists
    This ranking is a result of a darwininan selection process . Economy understanding is vital for the first categories while it is an irrelevant hobby for the last .
    Of course the ranking is not absolute – f.ex a scientist who wants to run a small business will have first to acquire an understanding of economy that he would have never acquired if he just continued to produce paper .
    So now why would anybody consider seriously a journalist’s opinion quoting a scientist’s blog on matters relating to economy ?
    Clearly , like another poster already mentioned , the principal engine of economy , namely the discount rate which measures the preference for today with regard to tomorrow is not understood .
    This (among others) :
    Secondly, and more importantly, I know that solar power gets 20% better with every generation. Two more generations and it will be so inexpensive and higher quality that it would be insane not to use it. Sound business principles suggest that I wait.
    is a complete nonsense that only the lowest ranking categories like journalists and scientists could say . There is nothing sound in it .
    What a sound businessman would do , would be to compare the DISCOUNTED profits/cash flows expected (tomorrow) from the investment in solar power over the estimated life time of the investment with the total cost of the investment (today) .
    If the former is significantly larger than the latter he would invest immediately .
    If not , then he would never invest .
    If it is of the same order of magnitude , he wouldn’t invest either because an investment project is always a bother , takes time and generates indirects costs that are rarely accounted for .
    Of course if some misguided politician promissed the businessman with a binding contract that he will get tax payers money that adds to the discounted cash flow , then it will be accounted for and a decision of invest in an unprofitable project can be taken .
    Obviously in such a process global value is destroyed because the decisions taken are not the most cost effective over the long term .
    One could also add that tax payers money should go in sectors that tax payers can’t or won’t do themselves anyway – army , police , justice , infrastructure .
    The tax payers certainly not only can do business alone but understand it infinitely better than state bureaucrats whose origin is mostly from the lowest catogories in economy understanding .

  73. Tom Fuller says:
    September 15, 2010 at 11:31 pm
    Curious George,
    Answering your question–no, not necessarily. But I think they should be given the option to buy insurance.

    Well, there it is isn’t it? We are not being given the “option”. We are being forced to hug the tree via various mechanisms such as gov’t mandates that require chosen technologies be implemented at tax payer expense. Much like the recent “Health Care Bill”. We are penalized for not buying your insurance.

  74. Bengt Abelsson says:
    I have reasons to belive that most good-sized turbines works at more than 94 – 95 % efficiency.
    SAYS THE MANUFACTURER!
    The efficiency is measured on how much space around the housing that is needed for the turbine to turn. Not on ACTUAL ENERGY efficiency it picks up on the blades.
    Actual energy efficiency is less than 2% for any turbine. The efficiency actual is worse, the faster it rotates. If you rotated a turbine fast enough, even on an airplane prop, no molecule of energy will touch it as it has created it’s own barrier of space.
    There are a few factors to a turbine technology that make this design deflect more energy then what is actually picked up by the blades. It uses a whole circle of space in rotation. Any energy in that space MUST be counted as it is energy going through.
    There are many other factors that comtribute but this gets complicated to explain.

  75. Why is someone who has no remote knowledge of energy posting on WUWT? Everything Thomas Fuller states about renewable energy is based on emotional rhetoric and has nothing to do with reality.
    I highly recommend reading the following books, something Mr. Fuller clearly has never done,
    The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy (Peter Huber, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, MIT, 2005)
    Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future” (Robert Bryce, 2010)
    The Solar Fraud: Why Solar Energy Won’t Run the World, Second Edition (Howard C. Hayden, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Physics, 2005)

  76. Tom Fuller says:
    Hi Gary, your surprise is touching… It’s not faith in government, it’s faith in us to use it wisely that is the liberal fever that has touched (not torched… c’mon…) my brain.
    _________________________________
    Brian H says:
    Nah.
    “If one rejects laissez faire on account of mans fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.” Ludwig von Mises – Italian Economist 1881 – 1973
    ___________________________________________________
    How very correct. And I will match that with another quote:
    “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it.” – Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)
    The liberals (Democrats) here in the USA gave us Central Banking and “legalized” counterfeiting money by the banks – the Federal Reserve Bank.
    Ludwig von Mises explained how every time more counterfeit (fiat) money is printed it moves wealth from the little guy to the bankers.
    “No government agency or committee can design and operate a monetary system that would avoid the problems associated with wealth redistribution from those who gain access to new money late in the process to those who gained access early.” Source
    This does not include the wealth transferred to the bankers when the government borrows non-existent money from the Federal Reserve to pay for another “Socialist do-good program” and the bankers require the tax payer to pay them back that amount and interest from their productivity.
    It is no coincidence the Income Tax came into being at the same time as the Federal Reserve, that the 10% cap was not put in the amendment or that the Grace Commission report to President Reagan showed 100% of my taxes ends up in the pockets of the bankers.
    If you are a socialist you are supporting “wealth redistribution” alright – the redistribution of the poor mans productivity into the criminal bankers pocket who does nothing more productive than write a number in a ledger creating fiat (counterfeit) money out of thin air. That is what the whole credit card system is and why bankers try to hook kids in college on credit cards.

  77. I was ( as Mr Fuller) talking of hydro turbines, Gas turbines are of course quite different.
    James B Francis is the inventor (1849) of the Francis turbine, with 90 % mechanical efficiency.

  78. Tom Fuller as the SMP (Savvy Media Professional) who consistently intrudes an AGW message on this website, and other comments like that.
    What a beautiful glimpse in the conspiratorial mindset.
    Thanks for the laugh!
    Julian Braggins,
    Thanks for updating me that basic physics, discovered over 150 years ago, is not valid anymore. I’m sure planet Venus will set her temperature back by a few hundred degrees to become in accordance with the new scientific discoveries that are reported here.

  79. Tom Fuller: September 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm
    Dr. Bill, I confess I don’t understand…
    ___________________________________________
    dr.bill says: September 15, 2010 at 10:21 pm
    Tom, I will be perfectly candid…..
    ________________________________________________
    Dr. Bill,
    Thank you for clearly stating what many of us had sensed but were unable to say clearly. Tom Fuller is a very clever Spinmeister. One wonders if he is paid to spread his insidious poison.
    If he is I am sure it is covered up quite well. Just like Rep (D) Rosa Delauro – sponsor of “the Food Safety bill” HR875 – was paid through her part ownership of her hubby’s privately held company that did consulting work for Monsanto.

  80. Julian Braggins says:
    September 16, 2010 at 1:49 am
    You may well hold on to long established ‘ facts’ of CO2′s absorption and emission of IR, but it may be that you haven’t kept up with the science of it in atmospheric conditions….
    Quoting, “Again, calculating the epsilon (emissivity) for the atmosphere for an old and new value using atmospheric absorption from the Hitran database results in a negative result when the new emissivity is applied. That means the temperature drops because the radiation output of the atmosphere becomes more efficient with the new increased emissivity.”
    So you may be worrying about nothing
    ____________________________________________
    And the new findings are just in time to blame CO2 for “Global Cooling” leading to a possible Ice Age….
    Oh NOooo we are all going to die, We must regulate CO2 NOW….
    Hand me your wallet.

  81. Bengt Abelsson says:
    September 16, 2010 at 4:41 am
    Mechanical efficiency and Energy transfer efficiency are two completely different things.

  82. ” I’m sure planet Venus will set her temperature back by a few hundred degrees to become in accordance with the new scientific discoveries that are reported here.”
    I suggest that the comparison to Venus be named for the absurdity that it is, just as many disingenuous and provably irrelevant arguments are named in certain precincts.
    I, for one, am tired of having my feeble intelligence insulted with this kind of
    ridiculous fear mongering.
    Dr. Verheggen seems to be very fond of calling out these fake stalking horses of the
    climate-scare crowd.

  83. “…he’s a good guy–more reasonable and reasoning than so many activist bloggers, and willing to at least discuss issues, rather than lecture and hector…”
    Actually, Bart is a bombastic finger-wagger, a sputtering dogmatist who never met an abstract noun he didn’t like. But I don’t mind him. He’s on the level, and clearly believes what he says. It’s the twisty, shifty, accomodating types who bother me.
    “And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
    That palter with us in a double sense…”
    – Macbeth

  84. The consensus opinion is indeed that climate disruption is approximately proportional to cumulative CO2 emissions. Whether it is right or wrong, I suppose, will continue to be a topic in these parts. But you all might as well at least understand what we think is going on. That means, as Bart says, that reducing CO2 emissions earlier has a bigger payoff than reducing CO2 emissions later. So we should look at what has the most long-term integrated effect that we can do now.
    From the Tobitian perspective, I hope INGSOC will forgive me but INGSOC is absolutely right about this: persons living in rural areas should be excused from carbon emissions incentives connected to transportation. This complicates matters and has some perverse edge effects. Specifically, if care isn’t taken will cause outward population pressures at metropolitan fringes,. But such effects already exist (where there are city taxes on gasoline, e.g., Chicago, DC) and are not dominant.
    If we ignored transportation altogether and simply let prices rise with oil scarcity and international demand, the carbon picture would change very little. So all this paranoia about getting to the grocery in West Bug Tussle is entirely beside the point.
    The main issue is the production of new coal infrastructure in heavy industry and in electric power. If there were no new coal plants and gradual phaseout of existing ones, and presuming no new major greenhouse sources, we’d have bought decades to work out the details of whether further regulatory intervention were needed and how to do it.
    Unfortunately, since the weird science of WUWT has infected the Republican party, the democrats are forced to draw upon coal states to come up with initiatives. Consequently those initiatives make no sense whatsoever. I am glad Waxman-Markey went down but there’s little prospect of anything different, and little prospect of pressure on China working until there’s progress in the US. If you guys confidence in your contrariness is wrong, you’ll have done a lot of damage.
    Personal sacrifice is almost pointless. Talk of socialist ulterior motivations is pointless. The main regulatory action needed urgently is to stop building new coal plants. Meanwhile we should go after secondary greenhouse gases and black carbon. After that we can talk. If y’all’s weird science prevails in the course of normal science, we can uncork the coal again and things will be even better. It isn’t the IPCC consensus side that is catastrophizing.
    It’s not about your car or your freedom. It’s about coal.

  85. Michael Tobis,
    The “weird science” you’re ranting about is simply psychological projection. The deluded idea that a tiny trace gas is the primary driver of the planet’s temperature is believed with the same gullibility with which Mrs Keech’s true believers swallowed her predictions about the imminent arrival of the flying saucers.
    And if coal plants are the problem, you might recover a teensy bit of credibility by going on the warpath against China, which is building 2 – 4 new coal-fired power plants every week, instead of always trying to lay the blame on one of the cleanest, least-polluted countries on Earth.
    The trait common to all eco-wackos is hypocrisy.

  86. Mr Lalonde, Mr Fuller claims that hydro turbine efficiency is increasing 1% per year.
    I am asking for source for that claim.
    As a tip, I state that the francis turbine from 1849 then achieved 90 %.
    This is, I belive, not the proper thread for detailed turbine discussions.

  87. Michael Tobis says:
    September 16, 2010 at 8:21 am
    …………………………………….
    It’s not about your car or your freedom. It’s about coal.

    So I guess you are in agreement with John Holdren that “de-developing” the USA would be a good thing? Hmmmm.

  88. Bengt Abelsson says:
    September 16, 2010 at 9:58 am
    Mr Lalonde, Mr Fuller claims that hydro turbine efficiency is increasing 1% per year.
    I am asking for source for that claim………..
    Quite so. You are essentially correct. Water is effectually incompressible and by the 1880’s there were many designs for larger pressure head turbines whose manufacturers usually claimed and indeed generally achieved efficiencies of around 90%, a Pelton wheel of course can do rather better than this. All such claims ignore losses in the supply line which are also usually small and the effects of throttling the flow to reduce output but again if well designed the losses are small.
    By comparison the typical claim for hydrostatic drives is 99% efficiency but the reality allowing for the usual losses etc. is generally closer to 95%.
    So there is not much room for improvement as it were.
    Kindest Regards.

  89. I am wondering if Poptech has ever wondered why someone who has no remote knowledge of climate is posting on WUWT?
    REPLY: I’m wondering why so many people listened to Al Gore, gave give awards, stature, cash, and accolades, when he had ” no remote knowledge of climate”. – Anthony

  90. The problem with Tom Fuller’s posts is this:
    Other WUWT article writers post an explanation of the science – while Fuller gives his opinion of events, based on what appears to be ‘post-normal science.’
    I think most readers want articles explaining the science, rather than articles expressing someone’s personal opinion.

  91. Smokey: September 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm
    The problem with Tom Fuller’s posts is this:…..

    You are a kind and forebearing person, Smokey. I would at least amend that to read: “one of the many problems”…..
    I have also been wondering about Anthony’s decision to give wTF so much face time on WUWT without at least a PG rating. Perhaps he has just been testing us. If so, he’s been successful. I’ve noticed myself becoming very testy. 🙂
    /dr.bill

  92. Umm, Smokey, I think the problem is not me giving my ‘opinions’, but the nature of those opinions.
    The posts currently up on WUWT above mine are:
    Gavin to attend “we shall overcome” seminar
    The morphology of “global warming”
    Climate Craziness of the Week – Attention citizens! You Are Thinking The Wrong Thoughts
    Engelbeen on why he thinks the CO2 increase is man made
    Study: Glaciers help build mountains
    Hump day hilarity – better skiing through homogenization
    They only come out at night: “The Dark Side of Climate Change”
    NOAA’s sea ice extent blunder
    McKitrick: Understanding the Climategate Inquiries
    First Mover Disadvantage
    Now, honestly, less than half of those are about science. I learn about science here as well as elsewhere, and I like many of the posts that are not about science–like McKitrick, which I think is a great post.
    But this site carries a lot of opinion pieces as well as science. Don’t you think?

  93. a jones says:
    September 16, 2010 at 12:03 pm
    So you are stating as fact that EVERY molecule of energy except 5% touches and moves a turbine blade with NO deflection or interference in the angles of the water hitting the blades? In that whole circle that the turbine turns in, all that energy is efficient in the current design of turbines.
    Efficiency is having every molecule of energy working together and in the current design, it is made for BULK water harvest and not individual molecule efficiency.

  94. Joe Lalonde says:
    September 16, 2010 at 7:26 pm
    a jones says:
    September 16, 2010 at 12:03 pm
    So you are stating as fact that EVERY molecule of energy except 5% touches and moves a turbine blade with NO deflection or interference in the angles of the water hitting the blades? In that whole circle that the turbine turns in, all that energy is efficient in the current design of turbines.
    Efficiency is having every molecule of energy working together and in the current design, it is made for BULK water harvest and not individual molecule efficiency.
    __________________________________________________________
    I do not understand what it is you are saying or trying to say. You seem very confused.
    Today we can measure this to about a precision of about one part in ten million, our Victorian forebears managed about one part in a million.
    Thus modern Pelton wheel turbines are built to shaft powers of up to 100 Mw and achieve across the turbine efficiencies close to 97% : and average if the throttling design keeps the flow pressure and speed constant about 95% through the power range.. Earlier designs of a hundred years ago were a little less efficient but of the order of 90% or better.
    This figure does not include losses to the feed supply, the penstock, or the loss of head, water gauge, needed to clear the water the water from the bottom of the turbine.
    For example if you have a dam with a notional 200 foot pressure water gauge you would probably need to reject the water from the turbine at between five and ten foot water gauge to ensure it flows away cleanly without back pressure. A loss of a few percent from the ideal limit.
    With respect all this is all textbook stuff: tried tested and accurately measured. And recorded.
    So I repeat I do not understand what it is you are trying to say. From what you say you seem to be very muddled with little idea of the basic physics or mechanics.
    Where you get your peculiar ideas from I really don’t know. But I do know that they are completely wrong. Physics is physics and mechanics mechanics and I as said above these things can and are measured to high degrees of precision.
    To clear your mind I suggest you consult any of the excellent texts on the subject.
    Kindest Regards

  95. Bart Verheggen says:
    September 16, 2010 at 4:48 am
    “Julian Braggins,
    Thanks for updating me that basic physics, discovered over 150 years ago, is not valid anymore. I’m sure planet Venus will set her temperature back by a few hundred degrees to become in accordance with the new scientific discoveries that are reported here.”
    Yes, the science was established IN THE LAB. Did they know conditions in the upper atmosphere? (including a 100 times variation in Extreme UV of the Sun between highest and lowest activity cycles resulting in a 41°K variation, (Judith Lean) ).
    Even NASA has suggested that the anomalous temperatures on Neptune may be caused by equator to pole circulation in a dense atmosphere, establishing a continuous lapse rate. And the lapse rate on Venus with her ~100 bar pressure has been discussed here, together with the differing properties of CO2 at near saturation rate, obviously without convincing you?

  96. a jones says:
    September 16, 2010 at 9:41 pm
    How much energy is left in the water before the turbine and after the turbine?
    This is easily measured by the speed of the flow as the density of the water creates torque.
    Next, why does all hydro-electric turbine have to be in an exact amount of flow of not too much and not too little to turn?
    Centrifugal force becomes an increasingly huge problem the faster the flow.
    Mr. Jones, I am just trying to show that has been promoted as efficient power, really is not. In an enclosed area, centrifugal force is the parking break to the current turbine designs.

  97. Reply to Bart Verheggen
    September 17, 2010 at 2:47 am
    Another speculation on Venus’s heat is argued here, but I appreciate that is not peer reviewed science!
    http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=9aqt6cz5&pf=YES
    “That brings us to the assumption that the infernal heat of Venus is due to a greenhouse effect. That could only be so if we ignore everything we know about greenhouses. “The much ballyhooed greenhouse effect of Venus’s carbon dioxide atmosphere can account for only part of the heating and evidence for other heating mechanisms is now in a turmoil,” confirmed Richard Kerr in Science magazine in 1980. Nothing has changed since then. The greenhouse theory does not explain the even surface temperatures from the equator to the poles: “atmospheric temperature and pressure in most of the atmosphere (99 percent of it) are almost identical everywhere on Venus – at the equator, at high latitudes, and in both the planet’s day and night hemispheres. This, in turn, means the Venus weather machine is very efficient in distributing heat evenly,” suggested NASA News in April 1979. Firsoff pointed out the fallacy of the last statement: “To say that the vigorous circulation (of the atmosphere) smooths out the temperature differences will not do, for, firstly, if these differences were smoothed out the flow would stop and, secondly, an effect cannot be its own cause. We are thus left with an unresolved contradiction.” In another paper, Firsoff argues that Venus’s high albedo results in the absorption of less solar energy than does the more transparent atmosphere of the Earth. “Increasing the mass of the atmosphere may intensify the greenhouse effect, but it must also reduce the proportion of solar energy reaching the surface, while the total of the available energy must be distributed over a larger mass and volume. Indeed, if the atmosphere of Venus amounts to 75 air-masses, as is assumed by Rasool and de Bergh, the amount of solar energy per unit mass of this will be about 0.01 of that available on the Earth. Such an atmosphere would be strictly comparable to our seas and remain stone-cold, unless the internal heat of Venus were able to keep it at temperatures corresponding to the brightness temperatures derived from the microwave emission.”

  98. Thomas Fuller
    Thank you for answering my previous questions. However, I would like to question you further on a couple of points.
    “Philip Thomas says:
    September 13, 2010 at 6:09 am
    ‘[Major media campaigns] ignore IPCC scientists so they could insist that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035.’
    I was under the impression that this claim was made by the scientists in the IPCC report. These facts were reiterated on numerous occasions by Rajendra Pauchari.
    Here is the IPCC’s statement on the matter.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/presentations/himalaya-statement-20january2010.pdf
    Unless I have greatly misunderstood what you have said, it seems completely incorrect to say that the media pushed these errors in the face of IPCC protest.”
    You answered:
    “Mr. Thomas: An IPCC scientist brought the news of the IPCC’s error to Mr. Pachauri’s attention in (I believe) 2004, but Mr. Pachauri paid no heed and in fact was rather dismissive of it all. But the scientist was from IPCC.”
    It was well reported that the Himalayan claim was questioned by scientists outside of the IPCC before the report was published and long before they claimed the mistake had been brought to their attention by IPCC scientists. I believe the internal revelation was damage limitation on the part of the IPCC.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/20/himalayan-glaciers-melt-claims-false-ipcc
    Your answer does not support the direction of your original article that the IPCC and its scientists are innocent and the media is to blame for excessive AGW claims. Pauchari does not fall into the media category by a long stretch.
    Secondly:
    “On Googling your name I was led to a testimonial you gave: http://www.pep-partnership.co.uk/testimonials.asp
    ‘Bill understands how business happens in the governmental sector, especially the European Commission. He’s a hard worker and next time I need a big proposal for an E.C. tender, there’s no doubt that he’s the guy to go to.
    Tom Fuller, Managing Director, nQuire Services Ltd’
    [Edit: PEP partnership specialise in EC grants]
    Can you elaborate on your business interests with the EC? Do you worry that the tenders would be less forthcoming if you were critical of the accepted climate science consensus?”
    You answered:
    “..and if you found my recommendation for Bill Blakemore, how is it you could find so little about me? My tracks are much easier to trace. I have no current interests with the EC, btw.”
    Your on-line biographies suggest you have worked in market research and marketing for most of your life but nothing jumps out as an obvious link to ‘a big proposal for an E.C. tender’ unless you were you offering marketing products/services to the E.C.
    You have previously stated that you are not a scientist (it seems that you are a journalist and market analyst/salesman), which begs the question, why were you a green technology consultant to the UK Government? Was this in a capacity as a market research or salesman capacity?
    This piece you have written today recommends our heavy investment in green technologies. Do you see a need to make your interests in green technologies, if you have any, explicit?
    Please excuse my hard interview.

  99. Joe Lalonde says:
    September 17, 2010 at 3:51 am …..
    I am sorry I just do not understand what you are trying to say. It is about as clear as mud.
    Water is a dense, incompressible fluid the flow of which can easily be directed so the water velocity is low and very high impulse turbine efficiencies are easily achieved: so high indeed as I pointed out above, that care has to be taken to ensure enough potential energy remains in the water to allow it to flow away from the turbine after discharge.
    Gasses have low densities and are eminently compressible, so as working fluids the velocities are very high: so that necessarily for any reasonable efficiency a number of turbine stages in series are needed. This was understood two hundred years ago but all early attempts using velocity step down stages, such as the Curtiss turbine, failed because the turbulence and frictional losses are too great and effectually only the first stage extracts energy from the flow. Parsons solved the problem by throttling the gas between each stage ensuring that each stage worked over a limited and small pressure range: and his solution is still used today. With gasses as a working fluid there is also the problem of windage because some of the gas escapes past the edges of the blades. Which is why it is very hard to build turbines using gasses as a working fluid to efficiencies across the turbine much better than the mid 60% range.
    Except in designs of radial turbine specifically intended to exploit it for various reasons centrifugal forces play little or no part in the process: and far being some kind of limiting factor as you suggest the effect on efficiency is actually very small.
    I hope this is clear and repeat that there many excellent texts on the subject which you might consult to some profit.
    Kindest Regards.

  100. A minor pet peeve nit pick. The quote uses “innovation” as a sort of synonym for “invention” as in ‘create a new technology’. While this is widely done, it is wrong. Technically “innovation” is the process of taking an invention and making it present in the marketplace, spreading it into use. It’s a marketing and manufacturing function. Yeah, I know, all the technogeeks in Silly Con Valley don’t use it that way… but they are wrong 😉
    OK, everyone likes to think the issue is a shortage of R&D and if only we did enough we could find a way to make energy from moonbeams and cow emissions. That’s not the problem. We have LOTS of well done R&D on the self, ready to go. The problem is cost. (And yes, I know you can use R&D to lower costs). As soon as you are talking about increasing R&D you miss THE major point. It’s not a “need new technology” issues, it’s a “need cheaper methods” issue.
    One other minor nit-pick: The “solar is closest” is probably not correct and for the reason mentioned. Lack of storage. Wave power is more consistent (waves happen around the clock) and systems are being installed NOW in Hawaii and California along with parts of Europe. Costs are fairly low and production reliable. IMHO, it’s the one with the best potential Real Soon Now. Though right behind it is solar THERMAL as it can used thermal storage in salts to cruise 24 x 7. (Or be co-located with a geothermal and use solar during the day and geo-heat at night).
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ocean-power-tech-scales-up-buoy-generators-2010-04-16
    http://www.oceanpowertechnologies.com/projects.htm
    (Disclosure: I own a tiny bit of OPTT as a ‘toy’ though I’ve mostly lost money on it)
    The fly in the ointment of all these systems? The ultra efficient combined cycle gas turbine is about 50%+ efficient even without waste heat re-use. With same it can rise to 80% thermal efficiencies. And it is fed on Natural Gas that we have in such great abundance (thanks to new ‘tight shale’ cracking techniques) that the price of gas has crashed to about 1/2 or 1/3 the price of gasoline. Just incredibly cheap.
    So you have to beat one of the most efficient machines on the planet using one of the most cheap and clean fuels on the planet. Not going to happen any time soon.
    Thus all the government driven subsidy and mandate programs to try to force more expensive solutions into success where they would fail on their own.
    And it is not for lack of invention (R&D), nor attempts at innovation (sales, marketing, advertising, demo sites) in its proper sense. It’s simply because the economics can not compete with that low cost high efficiency reliable alternative.
    BTW, there is a whole branch of economics devoted to finding the optimal solution to this class of problem. Linear Programming. Solutions of multiple simultaneous linear equations for price, cost, and profit. It’s just a matter of running the numbers for when ROI is highest. I’d guess that it will be at the point where maintenance costs on the old plant start the end of life ramp up. And that will be different for each hydro and other plant. So they won’t all wait an infinite series of 10 year resets. Each plant will reach the point where new more efficient product makes more net present value than maintenance on the old plant. (And that point will change with the dominant interest rates, presently dropping fast, so you can make such upgrades happen sooner with lower interest rates.) The analysis in the article is a bit light on this point (but understandably so… most folks don’t want an article on solving linear programming problems…)
    And this leads to why ‘mandates’ for particular behaviours are ALWAYS broken. They do not allow for individual optimization of the individual linear programming problem. If I simply MUST use a one spigot washer (loved that note, BTW) I can’t use my free solar water heat nor use cheap natural gas if the washer is electric (as I would expect it to be). Basically “One size fits all – doesn’t” and mandates are “one size fits all”.
    Oh, and on innovation (in it’s proper meaning) of a new technology: There are plenty of opportunities for incremental implementation. I can start replacing hydro turbines one per 5 years. For a 10 turbine cluster that lets me spread costs (and benefits) out over 50 years while constantly improving. If I’m a major utility, I can install a new tech gas turbine in the new plant, eventually shutting down old plants when their contribution to profit drags down the average too much. There really isn’t a whole lot of difficulty finding the optimized profit point for the rate of adoption of new tech. Just need the costs, interest rates, profit function and a few other minor things; then solve the equations.
    Intro examples:
    http://people.hofstra.edu/Stefan_Waner/RealWorld/Summary4.html
    http://www.purplemath.com/modules/linprog.htm

  101. “”” The innovation strategies are not the same for each, obviously.
    For renewable energy sources, the technology most likely to reach price parity with fossil fuels is solar power. The improvements needed to make it inexpensive enough to convince die-hard American Republicans that we should use it are well-understood. The complementary technology to make it scalable, grid level storage, is also understood, but farther off. “””
    Well this paragraph sums up this whole essay for me.. Gobbledegook is the sicentific term I would apply.
    First question: Give a short list (no more than ten entries) of “renewable energy sources” BESIDES SOLAR !!
    Sorry,;you get an F on question #1. The short list of renewable energy sources other than solar, contains no entries; there aren’t any. And Solar won’t ever reach price parity with fossil fuels. If it could, it already would have; people have been working on forms of solar energy for at least 100 years. Well they tapped out all the damable rivers for hydro-power; so there isn’t any more of that to be had; and environmental interests would like to remove most of the hydro-power plants that already exist.
    I don’t know for the life of me what “”” die-hard American Republicans “”” could possibly have to do with renewable energy sources. So does this fit into the category of non-scientific Political threads, that already caused a donnybrook up there at the top of this blog, that lots of people are complainign about.
    I know lots of people who are dead set against having their tax dollars poured down some bottomless rat hole by any spendthrift government that doesn’t understand the difference between economic feasibility, and technological feasibility. Alternative energy sources will come on line just as soon as they are technologically feasible; and it doesn’t have anything to do with economics. And I have seen no evidence that any of the existing political parties has any lock on ways to waste (other people’s) money on pie in the sky boondoggles.
    When alternative energy technologies are developed, private enterprise will invest in their exploitation; and no government subsidy intervention will be required to bring it to market. The best thing that governments can do is to get the hell out of the way of private enterprise, and let them develop what makes sense. That is the way it has always been; and it isn’t going to change, just because soembody with an MBA from Harvard or the Wharton School of Business, thinks he can outsmart the shell game
    The City of Los Angeles got $110 million (or thereabouts) in Government Job creating stimulus funds from the current “Yes We Can” government.
    They report; that that money created 55 (temporary) jobs. That is $2million per job (but don’t worry; they are only Temporary.)
    That is what happens when your Government “invests” your hard earned tax dollars in what they perceive to be your best interests.

  102. For a jones & others discussing with Joe Lalonde.
    Joe is a disgruntled inventor who believes his turbine to be significantly more efficient than current designs.
    He believes that the manufacturers want to sell more units so will not invest in his design, he cannot see that if his design was really that much better, a manufacturer would jump at the chance to corner the market.
    As I understand it, he has no working prototype.
    DaveE.

  103. “”” Michael Tobis says:
    September 16, 2010 at 8:21 am
    The consensus opinion is indeed that climate disruption is approximately proportional to cumulative CO2 emissions. Whether it is right or wrong, I suppose, will continue to be a topic in these parts. But you all might as well at least understand what we think is going on. That means, as Bart says, that reducing CO2 emissions earlier has a bigger payoff than reducing CO2 emissions later. So we should look at what has the most long-term integrated effect that we can do now. “””
    Howzatt again ? That [snip] Holdren just coined the Climate Disruption gimmic yesterday; and already the science is settled and there is a concensus.
    And just who is this “WE” that thinks something is going on that WE all should bcome informed about; that’s mighty [snip].
    Well it so happens that WE absolutely know for damn sure that your conjecture is quite false:- “”” climate disruption is approximately proportional to cumulative CO2 emissions “””
    So let us go back to the preCambrian 600 million years ago , when CO2 in the atmosphere was 7000 ppm and think of ALL of the CO2 emissions that have happened since that time; and YOU conjecture that :- “”” climate disruption is approximately proportional to cumulative CO2 emissions “””.
    So we are living in the age of simply staggering climate disruption; the like of which the earth has never ever witnessed before (as asserted by YOUR own conjecture) that the concensus is that the accumulated CO2 emissions is what the cause of disruption is.
    Is your concensus also aware, that (every single year) the atmospheric CO2 in the arctic (almost from +60 deg N to the pole) drops by 18 ppm in just five months.
    That’s a whopping 3% drop in just five months. At that rate the entire elimination of the excess of 110 ppm (over and above the magic perfectly satisfactory and desirable) 280 ppm of atmospheric CO2 will take only 2.5 years. Well it probably would be an exponential decay so it would take five time constants or 12.5 years to get rid of 99% of the excess. That is almost instantaneous, in the climate scale of things. It has only been somewhere in the 12.5 to 15 year time range; that the global warming, that preceeded the climate change, and now Climate disruption era, stopped and the modern cooling era began.
    Well it is so nice to have you here to educate us all, on just what it is the YOU want US to learn From YOU and YOUR CONCENSUS.
    [try to avoid “shouting” please ~ac]

  104. E.M.Smith says:
    September 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm
    Hammer meet nail!
    Only wave power is anywhere near consistent enough to be renewable. Solar PV is only good for niche rôles. Solar heating on the other hand is applicable nearly everywhere.
    Only hydro & single cycle gas turbines are viable as back-up for unreliable renewables! Anything that has to be regularly turned off & on is going to be inefficient & wear out quicker than an always on solution like CCGT.
    The 500Mw units on Deeside take about 15 mins to run up & synchronise the 1st cycle & an Hr to run up the second cycle.
    DaveE.

  105. David A. Evans says:
    September 17, 2010 at 2:17 pm
    For a jones & others discussing with Joe Lalonde.
    _______________________________________
    Ah milk in coconut.
    Thank you.
    Kindest Regards

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