Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists issues 2011 FUD report

In December 2010, the Doomsday Clock read 11:54pm.
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Via SAGE Publications

The nuclear, biological and climate threat – 2011 reviewed

In this special issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE, experts reflect on 2011 and highlight what to look out for in 2012 in the areas of nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, biosecurity, and climate change. Topics that have made the headlines during the previous 12 months, including the increased tension surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme, the aftermath of the Fukushima incident, and the state of US policy on climate change, are analyzed in detail in this special issue.

At the Doomsday Clock Symposium on January 9-10 in Washington, DC, the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board will evaluate the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock. In 1947, the Bulletin first displayed the Doomsday Clock on its magazine cover to convey, through a simple design, the perils posed by nuclear weapons. The Clock evokes both the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero). In 1949, the Clock hand first moved to signal the assessment of world events and trends. The essays within this special issue are a glimpse into the topics the Bulletin’s board will consider when evaluating the minute hand.

Gerald Epstein, director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy (CSIS) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, says that 2011 saw progress on approaches to address biological threats posed by non-state groups at both the Seventh Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)Review Conference and the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

In his paper, Biosecurity 2011: Not a year to change minds, Epstein writes that the BWC is evolving to adapt to the nature of the biological threat. Going forward, biosecurity will hinge upon the international community’s ability to cooperate, whether it can think creatively and strategically, and whether it enters partnerships with scientists from all world regions.

Steven E. Miller, director of the International Security Program at Harvard University, writes in his paper, Nuclear Weapons 2011: Momentum slows, reality returns that 2011 was short on breakthroughs in the arms control arena, following something of a landmark year in 2010. Miller highlights five events that unfolded during 2011 that he suggests “seem certain to cast a powerful shadow in months and years to come.” The current tension with Iran over weapons, the spread of nuclear technology in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and difficulties in the US relationship with Russia are among them.

The Fukushima incident was a sudden and dramatic shock in 2011, writes Mark Hibbs, a senior associate in Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Program, but what continued to be a concern throughout the year was the incremental escalation of continuing crises in Iran, North Korea, and South Asia. In his paper, Nuclear Energy 2011: A watershed year, Hibbs reviews reassessments undertaken around the world after Fukushima, and underlines Europe’s critical role in nuclear energy’s global future.

In Climate change 2011: A status report on US policy, Steven Cohen and Alison Miller highlight a growing partisan divide in US Congress. This divide has stalled the country’s federal climate policy, frustrated efforts to pass a cap-and-trade carbon permitting system, and spawned a battle between the US Environmental Protection Agency and Congress. Climate change policy has been pushed down to the municipal level, and the divide has also hindered US ability to effectively negotiate an international climate agreement. Meanwhile, US cities have enacted far-sighted climate policy initiatives, and growing fossil fuels costs have stimulated renewable energy investment, bringing commercially viable fossil fuel alternatives closer.

“The inevitable shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources would be greatly hastened by federal action to tax carbon dioxide emissions and use the revenue generated to support alternative energy technologies,” writes Cohen, executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. “That action is extremely unlikely to occur unless climate change comes to be seen in the United States as a practical, rather than ideological, issue.”


The articles are available to access free for a limited period here: http://bos.sagepub.com/content/current

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Bulletin is an independent nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization that publishes analysis and conducts forums about nuclear security, climate stabilization, and safety in the biosciences. Founded by Manhattan Project scientists from the University of Chicago, it links the work of scholars and experts with policymaking entities and citizens around the world. An international network of authors assesses scientific advancements that involve both benefits and risks to humanity, with the goal of influencing public policy to protect the Earth and its inhabitants. The organization’s scientific advisory boards include 19 Nobel laureates, ambassadors, leading scholars, distinguished NGO officials, and public policy experts. The Bulletin is closely followed in Washington and other world capitals and uses its iconic Doomsday Clock to draw international attention to global risks and solutions.

SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. Since 1965, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students spanning a wide range of subject areas including business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology, and medicine. An independent company, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. http://www.sagepublications.com


A spokesman for a similar organization, The Union of Concerned Scientists, Kenji Watts said in response to the question: “How do you feel about the year 2011 as evaluated by the BAS draft release?” His response: “ruff”

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January 6, 2012 10:44 am

So Solyndra was not supported enough. Or?

Interstellar Bill
January 6, 2012 10:47 am

As a central Establishment institution, the Union of Terrified Technocrats
can only be expected to sound the Climate-Doomsday tocsin
at maximum shrillness, maximum duplicity, maximum anti-knowledge.

January 6, 2012 10:48 am

The climate side sounds particular insular and uneventful.

January 6, 2012 10:50 am

Half a billion more would have gotten Solyndra to March 2012, at least.

kbray in california
January 6, 2012 11:15 am

Renewable Energy Sources ? What are those exactly ?
Can anyone name me a few of those “reliable and renewable energy sources” ?
Given enough time, aren’t coal, wood, and oil all “renewable” as well ?

January 6, 2012 11:29 am

If the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists had come out with something skeptical of the necessity for human efforts at carbon dioxide controls, the alarmists would say they were atomic, not climate scientists. But since they simply assume carbon controls are desirable, it won’t matter that they’re out of their area of expertise.

January 6, 2012 11:31 am

Nuclear, Biological and Climate? I must have missed the year that we eliminated all of the “Chemical” threats, and were able to substitute lesser concerns.
So now the nuclear scientists looking for Weather of Mass Destruction?

Interstellar Bill
January 6, 2012 11:42 am

Sunlight is renewable, solar cells are not.
Wind is renewable, windmills are not.
They can’t even make back their construction energy,
let alone an energy profit, so they cause more CO2
than if they’d never been built.
Funds spent on them are nothing but burnt dollar bills.
Our economy is crippled by government parasitism
while Lefties continue to blame the victim, private enterprise,
ever-vilified and calumniated by their stooge economists.

January 6, 2012 12:07 pm

I have read the report “Climate change 2011: A status report on US policy”.
Basically, it says;
– the Republicans are climate deniers, financed by big oil and gas.
– the move to renewable energy is inevitable.
Interesting references, to say the least.

January 6, 2012 12:18 pm

I consider thorium renewable 🙂

Owen in Georgia
January 6, 2012 12:24 pm

These guys have never had anything to do with reality. I don’t know why anyone pays them any mind.

January 6, 2012 12:27 pm

kbray in california says:
January 6, 2012 at 11:15 am
“Renewable Energy Sources ? What are those exactly ?
Can anyone name me a few of those “reliable and renewable energy sources” ?
Given enough time, aren’t coal, wood, and oil all “renewable” as well ?”
Just to the north of you in the People’s Republic of Oregon, the “brilliant” policy genius’s have declared that hydroelectric is NOT newewable.
Yeah, right. And these clowns wonder why the majority don’t take them seriously.
Even in Multnomah Co. (Portland and metro), which could easily be confused with Berkeley, only a paltry % (single digits) of ratepayers, when given the choice, opt to pay more on their electric bills for the purchase of (not)”green” power.

Mike M
January 6, 2012 12:28 pm

With heating oil now pushing past $3.50 a gallon these elitist nitwits advocating taxing carbon emissions should be stripped naked and tied up outside in the cold to experience what it’s like to live on this planet at this latitude in the winter.
I’m all for giving fuel assistance to the poor but only on one condition – it comes out of the pocket of those receiving our hard earned taxes for ‘climate research’.

Douglas DC
January 6, 2012 12:31 pm

Seaking of wind I passed a very damaged turbine blade being hauled by a tractor-trailer
with three escort flagger vehicles…
real energy saving there folks.
BTW there was streaks of bird dung on the leading edge…
Is there some sort of windmill graveyard?

January 6, 2012 12:38 pm

I was wondering, Is that 19 of all of the following , or just 19 Nobel laureates?
My own opinion is the longer congress is unable to act the better for this country… look back at the ’90s. congress wouldn’t pass anything, Clinton wouldn’t sign anything… only budget surplus that century,

January 6, 2012 12:56 pm

According to the Atomic Scientists it has been a few minutes to midnight for forty or fifty years. How long are scientists allowed to continue to call themselves scientists while holding onto a theory despite failure of the predicted event to occur? How are the Atomic Scientists any different from a bearded guy on the streetcorner yelling “Repent for in one hour Thy time is come!”?

Justa Joe
January 6, 2012 1:00 pm

We need to heed these guys there were so right about the their previous countdown to Nuclear Armaggedon.

January 6, 2012 1:29 pm

Harold Hamm, the Oklahoma-based founder and CEO of Continental Resources, the 14th-largest oil company in America, is a man who thinks big. He came to Washington last month to spread a needed message of economic optimism: With the right set of national energy policies, the United States could be “completely energy independent by the end of the decade. We can be the Saudi Arabia of oil and natural gas in the 21st century.”

January 6, 2012 1:30 pm

I recently heard a CEO of a SIEMENS company state that Uranium is a fossil fuel.
I.e a PC view . What else shall a poor girl do apart from prostitution ?

January 6, 2012 1:44 pm

“Meanwhile, US cities have enacted far-sighted climate policy initiatives…”
WTF is this? How does a city have a “climate policy?” What is that?
We often talk about a nice day as “Chamber of Commerce Weather.” Do cities now have some way of enforcing some number of those days each year? Was this something in the 0bamacare bill I missed?

kbray in california
January 6, 2012 1:44 pm

Can anyone calculate for me how many solar panels, batteries, and power inverters I would need in the dead of winter to power my carbon free 3 bedroom 2 bath home with electric baseboard heat, electric water heater, electric stove, electric refrigerator, electric lights, charging my electric car, and electric etc…, to keep me nice and toasty in say frigid North Dakota ?
I suspect it doesn’t work well, or is impractical.
Then multiply that by enough for 330,000,000 Americans and what do you get ?
Probable bankruptcy.
Why does politician common sense seem to disappear with wind and solar ?

Mike M
January 6, 2012 2:05 pm

Robespierre says: What else shall a poor girl do apart from prostitution?

OT but that reminded me of this recent story.
If we keep allowing government to eat up all the seed corn then we’re all….

Agile Aspect
January 6, 2012 2:05 pm

“Can anyone name me a few of those “reliable and renewable energy sources” ?”
Amazingly, water in California is not considered to be renewable resource.

Frank K.
January 6, 2012 2:18 pm

“Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists issues 2011 FUD report”
[Yawn…] (Well, the climate part was particularly yawn-worthy).
BTW – why is “climate change” on par with nuclear and biological security?? Sheesh…

January 6, 2012 2:34 pm

Shorter U of Chi Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:
Atoms are scary. Especially when rehuglicants are in power. Like now!

January 6, 2012 2:50 pm

Global Sea Ice with positive anomaly
Northern hemisphere -0.593 million sq km2
Southern hemisphere +0.597 million sq km2

January 6, 2012 3:16 pm

Unbelievable. Iran is a “concern”, but CO2 is an existential threat. Who’s paying for this slop?

January 6, 2012 3:32 pm

A spokesman for a similar organization, The Union of Concerned Scientists, Kenji Watts said in response to the question: “How do you feel about the year 2011 as evaluated by the BAS draft release?” His response: “ruff”
Would his response change if offered treats, and his choice of furniture (throne) within his domain ?
A question few are asked, and fewer can resist 🙂

January 6, 2012 3:56 pm

Fortunately, as history shows, chances are that they will be ignored in the future, new paradigms will appear, of course discovered, as history also shows, by obscure individuals.
Why is it so that nature´s laws or the “topos uranus” is nearer to individuals than to self selected and self denominated “intelligentsia”?. Be it in the scientific, the philosophical field or even in common practical affairs the gifted individual reigns supreme; consensual science, socialized science, it is incapable of producing anything new: The most detailed and careful addition of zeroes never reaches unity, that is why.

January 6, 2012 5:36 pm


January 6, 2012 6:07 pm

“…….and growing fossil fuels costs have stimulated renewable energy investment, bringing commercially viable fossil fuel alternatives closer.”
This shows that they are completely clueless. Natural gas has gone from $8 – 9/MM BTU to $3 over the last several years. Lower cost gas is driving “renewable” energy even farther from economic viability and is scuttling investments in alternatives. The most viable alternative to gasoline/diesel for transport fuel is now natural gas.
Ironically, the shift to gas will lower carbon emissions since the carbon content relative to energy is lower than other fossil fuels. A lot of the new gas-fired power generation capacity is now combined cycle, which is more energy efficient than the older coal-fired boiler/turbine model.

January 6, 2012 6:07 pm

Wait a cottin pickin minute.
We’ve got atomic scientists roaming the country under their own guidance? No regulation at all?
Doesn’t the government know that atomic scientists are radioactive and should be dealt with accordingly? Yes! They are hazardous waste!
In other news, the EPA has decided to shut down all nuclear power plants based on a recent report showing a direct link between the nation’s largest nuclear power source and skin cancer. Links to climate change are also suspected. They are shutting down the largest plant first because it appears to be the most dangerous.
“Everyone is encouraged to stock up on alternative energy sources like flashlights with batteries,” said the EPA press release. “As of 6:00PM tomorrow, we will be shutting down the sun.”

January 6, 2012 6:15 pm

It has seemed to me for a long time that “environmentalists” are the modern-day equivalents of the old Luddites.

January 6, 2012 6:20 pm

This shows you what happens when a government starts lying to its citizens to accomplish a totally unreleated problem. They will get caught eventually and voted out of power! (and that what we citizens must now make sure happens… getting them voted out… put new minds in government, it is now perfectly clear)

January 6, 2012 6:27 pm

They are nothing more than paid activists pushing the usual eco fascism and anti fossil fuel, anti nuclear, pro AGW propaganda and catastrophism.
As for Fukushima, these so called scientists are just not credible, nor are they really truthful considering the context of the actual disaster….. Whole coastal towns and cities were destroyed by one of Japans worst earthquakes and ensuing 20 meter, or higher, tsunami, around 25 thousand people were killed by these natural forces….. During that catastrophe the Fukushima nuclear powerplant was seriously damaged… However, no one has died from radiation, no one will die from it, no one will even get sick from it…. Yet the overblown hype continues. More misery is perpetrated by bureaucracy “protecting people” and the exclusion zones, than from any effects from radiation….. and these are 1970’s designs. The modern nuclear powerplants of today are even more robust and safe.
I just get sick of the exaggerations and lies of the environmental activists and their bought and paid for science findings.

January 6, 2012 6:29 pm

Huh? A RADICAL LEFTIST IDIOLOG GROUP, with NO credentials at all is promoted…even
obliquely here? Let’s get a LIFE these guys rank BELOW the Union of Concerned Leftists (Henry Kendahl, et.al. Quarks for the Memory and “forced” credibility, let those with EARS hear and understand…) in terms of credibility or utility.
Beware Andy Worehal’s warning, “There is NO SUCH THING as ‘bad publicity’..” In the realm of real-emotion laden, mob-psychology politic, repeating the drivel of drivelers is to their net benefit, and our net detriment.

January 6, 2012 6:53 pm

zmdavid says: at 11:29 am
Ah, man, freaking brilliant.
Agile Aspect says: “Amazingly, water in California is not considered to be renewable resource.”
Well, if you build in what has historically been (climate-wise) pretty much a desert, don’t count on having a lot of water in the future!

January 6, 2012 7:01 pm

The atomic scientists are jumping onto the band wagon.
It is still popular in some circles to be alarmist about extreme AGW with no knowledge about past climate cycles (natural climate change and solar mechanisms) and no knowledge about cloud feedback research (appears based on five published papers that analyze satellite radiation data from top of the atmosphere compared to ocean surface temperature changes that the sign of the cloud feedback response to CO2 forcing is unequivocally negative rather than positive – i.e. Clouds resist rather than amplify forcing changes – which means the IPCC models forcing parameter is a factor of 3 too large.
Based on the unequivocal satellite top of atmosphere vs ocean temperature change analysis, a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will result in less than 1C warming with most of the warming occurring at higher latitudes where it will expand the biosphere rather than the IPCC predicted 3C warming with associated catastrophic climate change.
Unfortunately countries do not have magic wand. Spending vast deficit funds on “green“ energy boondoggles not create jobs. Vast deficit spending will transform healthy western economies into third world economies. Greece and Spain have led they way. Protesting will not undo mass “deficit“ stupidity.
Mass “green“ deficit stupidity will become less popular when people realize that deficit spending leads to currency collapse and anarchy. Sort of conservation of energy from the standpoint of economics science. One does need to be a rocket scientist or an atomic physicist to understand the consequences of massive deficit spending.
If your friends jump off a cliff that does not make it sensible and logical to jump of a cliff.
The Real Global Warming Disaster: Is the Obsession with “Climate Change” Turning Out to Be the Most Costly Scientific Blunder in History?
“Booker focuses his attention on the mother of all environmental scares: global warming. This original book considers one of the most extraordinary scientific and political stories of our time: how in the 1980s a handful of scientists came to believe that mankind faced catastrophe from runaway global warming, and how today this has persuaded politicians to land us with what promises to be the biggest bill in history. Christopher Booker interweaves the science of global warming with that of its growing political consequences, showing how just when the politicians are threatening to change our Western way of life beyond recognition, the scientific evidence behind the global warming theory is being challenged like never before. The book exposes the myth that the global warming theory is supported by a ‘consensus of the world’s top climate scientists’. It shows how the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is run by a small group of ‘global warming’ zealots, who have repeatedly rigged evidence to support their theory. But the politicians, pushed by the media, have so fallen for its propaganda that, short of dramatic change, our Western world now faces an unprecedented disaster.“

Geoff Sherrington
January 6, 2012 7:07 pm

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists was a comic book from the start, a publication that no serious industry person I know ever took the trouble to read. The International Atomic Energy Agency was a better source.
Has the leopard changed its spots? Am I now too harsh?

John F. Hultquist
January 6, 2012 7:14 pm

Douglas DC says:
January 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm
. . . damaged turbine blade . . .

One of our local wind harvesting sites has a blade on display next to the visitor’s center. This one was damaged during shipment and rather than send it to a windmill graveyard they found a use for it. It is quite educational and interesting to see and touch. Only one such per visitor center is needed and I don’t think most places have such. Maybe they could be ground up and used in roof paint – they are white.

John F. Hultquist
January 6, 2012 7:20 pm

John-X says:
January 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm
“Meanwhile, US cities have enacted far-sighted climate policy initiatives…”
WTF is this? How does a city have a “climate policy?” What is that?

You need to pay more attention to what is going on. See this page for the small town of Ellensburg, WA:

January 6, 2012 7:30 pm

All I can say is: shame on the atomic scientists. They know too much physics to be innocently deceived.

January 6, 2012 7:46 pm

Can we usurp the Doomsday Clock for the countdown to 100,000,000 page views? Looks like we won’t need it very long at all.

January 6, 2012 8:00 pm

WUWT comment contributor ‘treegyn1’ says above: “… in the People’s Republic of Oregon, the “brilliant” policy genius’s have declared that hydroelectric is NOT renewable.”
You are right that hydroelectric power is typically classified as a “renewable”. However, I’m inclined to go along with the Oregon folks. Hydroelectric power production resulting from man-made dams does indeed have a long life, But sediment does fills the lake behind the dam after a hundred years or so, and it’s effectively over.

January 6, 2012 8:15 pm

kbray in california: Interesting question. Here’s an approximation I’ve done. Please be aware that some of these numbers may be too high, particularly the amount of insolation per day. Cloudy days reduce energy production by about 80 per cent from the loss of direct sunlight. I may also have underestimated the amount of demand of a house with electric heat.
Winter solar availability
Energy flux: approx. 30 Watts/sq/m (note that summer insolation is about 10 times this amount).
Photon activation = 30 x 0.13 = 3.9 W/sq/m (only 13 % of photons can free an electron in the substrate).
Energy production (avg. 5hours/day) = 3.9 x 5 = 19.5 Wh/day/sq/m or 0.02 kWh/day/sq/m
Average daily insolation = 5 hours (yes, daylight is longer, but this allows for the very low sun angle for most of the day).
Daily household consumption (including heat) = 25 kWh/day approx. (This may be very low with electric heat.)
So you need 1250 square metres of solar panels to in theory provide your daily household needs. Now your broom is your best friend, as you will have no power when they’re covered in snow. And, if they’re on the roof, you may want to check on the state of your health insurance.

Bob Diaz
January 6, 2012 8:17 pm

The title makes me think of this photo:

January 6, 2012 8:53 pm

Speaking of Luddites. I wonder how Ted Kaczynski feels now, mission accomplished?

kbray in california
January 6, 2012 9:27 pm

cgh says:
January 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm
cgh, Thanks for the approximation.
I’ll apply those figures to a nice little home available in New York.
xxxx Doran Ave Glendale, NY 11385 * $569,000 * 3 Bed, 2 Bath 2,000 Sq Ft Lot
* Single Family Home * Open House: Sun 1/8, 12 PM – 2 PM
Since 1250 square meters is a ballpark 12,500 square feet, it looks like I might have a slight overhang onto my neighbor’s property…. by over 5 times the entire property lot of 2,000 sq ft.
6 lots total needed just for my own requirements. The neighbors won’t mind do you think?
It would provide great shade for those who need to avoid the sun.
Another negative is the loss of plant life underneath would eliminate a good CO2 scavenger.
So this is what a “Renewable, Carbon-Free, Energy Source” looks like.!!

Theo Goodwin
January 6, 2012 10:02 pm

kbray in california says:
January 6, 2012 at 11:15 am
Aren’t the only renewable energy sources things like gerbils on wheels? Gerbils reproduce so they are renewable, right?

January 6, 2012 10:02 pm

I’m paying tax money so that these pinheads can grab their vaginas and scream about nuclear apocalypse?

Theo Goodwin
January 6, 2012 10:07 pm

It is symptomatic of these times that every person and government worries about nebulous ideas of climate change when we have faced real threats of nuclear war and terror from nation states and terrorist organizations for some time. Yet few private citizens are active in support of controlling nuclear proliferation and nations give it lip service only. Can you imagine if GreenPeace got hold of a nuclear bomb?

January 6, 2012 10:17 pm

“The organization’s scientific advisory boards include 19 Nobel laureates, …”
…no doubt including Al Gore.

kbray in california
January 6, 2012 11:04 pm

Theo Goodwin says:
January 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm
Theo, re: gerbils on wheels…
They eat carbon then poop carbon and methane…
I don’t think that’s the end result the politicians are looking for…
It’s a stinker.

January 7, 2012 12:12 am

gerald wilhite says:

You are right that hydroelectric power is typically classified as a “renewable”. However, I’m inclined to go along with the Oregon folks. Hydroelectric power production resulting from man-made dams does indeed have a long life, But sediment does fills the lake behind the dam after a hundred years or so, and it’s effectively over.

That’s a maintenance problem, not non-renewability. You could dredge the lake for a lot less power use than the electricity gained in 100 yeasrs.

January 7, 2012 6:15 am

January 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm
Very important, you have discovered a new “idea-force”: “Economic sustainability versus “Green irresponsible spending” : Greens have bankrupted countries where politicians, conveniently “greased”, chose the “Green Way”, and bought like madmen, all kind of crazy and discardable alternative energy apparatuses, which in a real free market would have never appeared.
The original word in greek means: Oἰκονόμος, i.e. “One who manages a household”, a composite word derived from οἴκος (“house”) and νέμω (“manage; distribute”); Oἰκονομία (“household management”). It remembers us all how serious is our responsibility with our own household, where we and our family live.
What weapons, foreign armies could´t do an irrational ideology could do it: Our household is at risk and this is not an innocent game.

January 7, 2012 6:55 am

gerald wilhite says:
January 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm
WUWT comment contributor ‘treegyn1′ says above: “… in the People’s Republic of Oregon, the “brilliant” policy genius’s have declared that hydroelectric is NOT renewable.”
“You are right that hydroelectric power is typically classified as a “renewable”. However, I’m inclined to go along with the Oregon folks. Hydroelectric power production resulting from man-made dams does indeed have a long life, But sediment does fills the lake behind the dam after a hundred years or so, and it’s effectively over.”
One word: dredging.
Since mankind crawled out of Olduvai Gorge a million or two years ago, we have demonstrated time and time again that our genus and species names, Homo sapiens (thinking man), is a most apt descriptor. When faced with problems that at first seem overwhelming, we figure out technological solutions.
The basic technology of dredging has been around for centuries.

George E. Smith;
January 7, 2012 7:17 pm

“”””” Interstellar Bill says:
January 6, 2012 at 11:42 am
Sunlight is renewable, solar cells are not.
Wind is renewable, windmills are not. “””””
So what is YOUR problem with it ?
Well the key is in that “widely available”
The energy is free etc; but the rounding up of it is NOT; in fact it is very expensive.
I’ve spent a good part of my industrial career, doing “Photon Herding”, and so far I have not devised a way to access more than about 1 kW per square meter , of projected area on the sun earth direction. As near as I can tell, there is no known way to increase that number; well at least at ground level.
Apparently BOTH Mark Twain, and Will Rogers are reported to have said; “Buy land; they aren’t making any more of it.” although one aparently said “don’t wait to buy land.. etc”
So the problem with the free solar energy, is that you have to round up a lot of land, just to get access to it, and current means of access are quite inefficient.
I don’t pay a lot of attention to photon herding these days; currently “photon stampeding” is more interesting, and also more likely to succeed (in bettering mankind).
But there is some distant future hope for the roundup. Conversion efficiencies of above 60% are no longer just a pipe dream; not a reality; but no longer a dream; 80% might be a pipe dream.
But then the tax man cometh with his property tax bill on “improvements”. Nobody who ever “improved” the value of land, ever escaped the tax man.

George E. Smith;
January 7, 2012 7:26 pm

“”””” Ron House says:
January 7, 2012 at 12:12 am
gerald wilhite says:
You are right that hydroelectric power is typically classified as a “renewable”. However, I’m inclined to go along with the Oregon folks. Hydroelectric power production resulting from man-made dams does indeed have a long life, But sediment does fills the lake behind the dam after a hundred years or so, and it’s effectively over.
That’s a maintenance problem, not non-renewability. You could dredge the lake for a lot less power use than the electricity gained in 100 yeasrs. “””””
A feature of Hydro dams, is that they also double as a storage facility for water, which is an increasingly valuable and scarce commodity.
Now why is it not possible to use just a small fraction of that stored water power to continually pump the accumulating sediment around the dam, and back on to its natural path.
The entire Panama canal water system, is powered and operated simply by releasing solar powered water from the Gatun Lake; and it has been doing that for over 100 years with no sign of stopping any time soon.

January 8, 2012 4:15 am

Dear Anthony Watts,
Thanks you for your post, Now that a new “smoking gun” report was just annonced and will be released by 600 scientists (and reviewed by 600 more scientists and edited by bureaucrats from 154 countries) that says global warming does exist and presents a major problem for the entire world’s population — do you still deny that it exists and is a major problem?
And now that the CEOs of ten major American corporations (including Alcoa, BP America, DuPont, Caterpillar, General Electric, and Duke Energy) have declared global warming to be a major problem that requires the federal government to issue mandatory reductions in climate-changing pollution — do you still deny that global warming exists and is a major problem?
And now that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved the “doomsday clock” forward two minutes, declaring that “dangers posed by climate change are nearly as dire as those posed by nuclear weapons” — do you still deny that global warming exists and is a major problem?
Well, do you?
All the Best

January 8, 2012 8:54 am

with the goal of influencing public policy
translation: We are a political body of policy wonks, not real thinkers, agenda driven, not factual.
to protect the Earth and its inhabitants.
Prepare for fear hype driven greenwash…

The organization’s scientific advisory boards include 19 Nobel laureates, ambassadors, leading scholars,

we have a collection of folks who suck cash from the public trough and get party favors from their friends in high places. They have great PC Credentials from the Nobel socialist progressives.

distinguished NGO officials, and public policy experts.

well connected to government lobby groups, agenda driven cash laundries, and specializing in parasitizing public agencies to remove cash to private uses.
So these folks have nothing at all to offer, near as I can tell, other than hype, fear, and nonsense.
And that bit about biological threats? Why are they not busting the chops of that university type who made a vial of flu bugs that can kill 60% of the planet if accidentally dropped? THAT belongs in a maximum level biohazard bioweapons grade lab, not some university biosci department… Stupidity and clumsiness are a greater risk to humanity than ANY weapon system on the planet.
E. Smith:
It is even easier than that. We have a few dozen reservoirs around us. They just did maintenance on a couple of them. What do they do?
Open the drain at the bottom of the dam and let the water out. This takes a lot of sediment with it. Then leave it open for a year or two ( as more washes out from rapid erosion of the soft silt). Inspect dam, make repairs, install new valves etc. during this time. While I’ve never seen it needed, you could simply send earth movers down into the lake to collect the remaining fine silty soil and use it as excellent fertility additions to farms, if desired or needed.
I’ve also heard that some lakes have shown the sediment basically self clears as it copes with the annual depth cycling, but that is more anecdotal. I personally observed the lake bottom of the local reservoirs having maintenance.
The folks claiming it is not renewable energy seem to be unaware of the existence of valves and skip loaders… Though even if for some reason you could not completely drain it, a nice mud pump will suck up the muck very easily and you can again haul to where it is a feature. Why let all that soil wash out to sea if you can enhance farm land with it…
@Nickolas Conway:
See the top of this comment for the merit of the Atomic Clock Hand Wringers.
Per the CEOs of places like GE and Duke Energy: Gee, companies who stand to make a bundle of money off of the Corporatist Progressive Policies via feeding at the “mandates” and “subsidy” tough think it is a good idea… what a surprise…
Per “smoking”: It’s not a gun that they are smoking… So we’ve got another 154 govt folks who have job and status tied up in the game, with 600 “scientists” and their pals all wanting to keep the funding gravy train going (largely funded by those same governments and NGOs via more insider pals). This matters more than that it is colder than it was in 1998? It has any merit at all when all the predictions have failed to happen?
Oh, right, it’s a money grab, not actual science, so that makes it ok… Shall we talk about the missing tropospheric hot spot? How about the growing ice in Antarctica? Perhaps the ClimateGate emails showing intimidation of editors, packing of committees, influence pedaling, suborning of the peer review process, rampant insider self dealing and self promotion in the quest for funding and awards.
IF any of these folks ever find their moral compass and start to listen to it, I MIGHT consider listening to their opinions. As it stands, it looks much more like a central core of RICO candidates and a circle of hangers on than anything else.
So while I do not speak for Anthony, I’ll answer your question for me:
Yes, Human Caused Global Warming is a hoax at best and self delusional error if feeling charitable. Convection and the water cycle completely dominate the earth and CO2 is irrelevant. (There is a slight chance that the added CO2 might do something: As convection dominates the troposphere, heat is dumped at altitude where the added CO2 can assist in the IR radiation moving heat to space. Damp air is cooled by CO2 and adding more IR radiator at altitude is also cooling.) Most likely,though, it is UV modulation of atmospheric depth and cosmic ray modulation of clouds that controls changes in planet temperatures.
We have just warmed out of the Little Ice Age and ALMOST (but not quite) gotten back to the beneficial warmth of the MWP. At the same time solar output and sunspots have increased in proportion. Coincidence? I think not. This solar cycle the sun has quieted and the AMO, PDO and other planetary states have swapped to ‘cold’. After a short lag these lead to significant global cooling. (We’ve had a tiny part of it already as we’re now back below the zero line of ‘climate change’… and with significant cold events the last few years. The peak of this 11 ish year solar cycle is ALMOST getting us back to the warmth of the bottom of the prior cycle…)
So you have 2 years of “OK, but cool” before the “brutal cold” starts returning as this solar cycle peters out ( IMHO, based on my admittedly ‘amateur’ skills at reading PDO / AMO / etc. and making long cycle weather predictions.) Oh, BTW, defining ‘climate’ as the 30 year average of weather is a lie. Yes, a flat out lie. Climate depends on your latitude, altitude, distance from water and land form. Weather has 11, 60, 180, and 1500 year CYCLES in it. Using any average shorter than 3000 years is just finding a weather artifact, not a climate issue at all.
Then we have that it is irrational to average intensive / intrinsic variables, and temperature is an intensive variable. All of “climate science” panic comes out of average temperatures, so lacks ANY basis in physical philosophy. What is the average temperature of the water if you mix two pots of water, one at 0 C and the other at 20 C? It is not possible to say. Was the 0 C frozen, or not? What are the relative masses? No, it is NOT OK to just assume it all ‘averages out’; yet that is what “climate science” does.
So take the ‘appeal to authority’ argument ( or ought I say “appeal to those getting money from the game” argument) and stuff it in the waste bin. They can’t even get basic computer programming done decently ( I’ve read, run, and FIXED some of their code and it’s a horrid mess, as Harry Read Me agrees), they ignore fundamentals of calorimetry (don’t move or change the thermometers!!!), and can’t figure out that a ton of snow is different from an ounce of air at 0C. I see no reason to accept their self serving self dealing appeal for more money as any more valid that that of the street beggar holding up a sign….

Crispin in Waterloo
January 8, 2012 2:30 pm

Seen as a ‘practical’ rather than ‘ideolgical’ action? But cap-and-trade is not practical and is ideological. We could just as well say that taxing paper and spending the money subsidising computers for the poor would stimulate the computer and software industries creating ‘digital jobs’. Of course it would, but it is not how sensible economies are operated.
If there were some measurable, quantifiable, detectable risk from increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, that would be a different story. As everything we know (actual knowledge, not speculative die-in-the-sky alarmism) about increasing CO2 and or temperatures is positive for humanity and in fact the whole ecosystem, declaring CO2 to be a pollutant is the height of economic absurdity.
Taxing CO2 to give money to support economically unviable ‘cherished’ industries is nothing more than industrial pork-barrelling. There is a long history of pork-barrel politics in the USA but that does not make it sensible.
“Green” these days is just ‘Greed’, misspelled. They have removed the ‘D’ for Dollar and replaced it with the ‘N’ for nature hoping you won’t see the old switcheroo.

January 8, 2012 9:51 pm

What these “experts” fail to comprehend is that when huge malinvestments of land, labor and capital are inflicted on the world economy (i.e. cap & trade legislation, expensive/inefficient “alternative” energy projects, Solyndra, GM VOLT , etc.) there are compounding negative impacts to the world economy, which ironically prevent or greatly delay real solutions from being developed.
Governments SUCK at picking winners and losers in technology. The billions and eventually trillions of dollars that are wasted on ethanol, solar power, wind, wave, geothermal subsidies, research grants for bogus CAGW “research”, carbon taxes, bogus EPA CO2 & O3 regulation compliance costs, etc. eventually contribute to the destruction of the world economy.
Free market capitalism (not crony Crapitalism and especially not Socialism) has proven to be the most efficient long-term solution to healthy economic growth and scientific breakthroughs to meet the needs of an ever-changing world.

Louis Hooffstetter
January 9, 2012 10:47 am

TRM says “I consider thorium renewable”
I concur. Check this out:

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