Report: Benefits outweight costs of carbon 50 to 1

Landmark Report Calculates Societal Benefits of Fossil Energy to be at Least 50 Times Greater than Perceived Costs of Carbon

Benefits outweigh supposed costs by range of 50-1 to 500-1

Washington, D.C. – The benefits of fossil fuel energy to society far outweigh the social costs of carbon (SCC) by a magnitude of 50 to 500 times, according to a landmark study‎ released by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) today.

Higher Resolution Image Available Here

“It is without question or debate that our national and global societies have benefited from fossil fuels. And those benefits will continue to be realized from coast to coast and around the globe for generations to come,” ACCCE President and CEO Mike Duncan said. “If this Administration attempts to calculate the future costs of carbon, it’s imperative that policymakers also consider the actual and potential benefits of our carbon-based economy. Fossil-based energy has powered three industrial revolutions, including today’s ‎technology revolution. It has increased life expectancy, improved the quality of life, supported the cause of liberty, and brought hope to every civilization that has used it. I would hope that legislators and regulators understand this and enact and support policies that continue the responsible use of fossil fuels – especially clean coal.”

According to the study, The Social Costs Of Carbon? No, The Social Benefits Of Carbon, over the past 250 years global life expectancy has more than doubled and incomes have increased 11-fold in large part due to increased energy production and delivery, most of which has been fossil-based.  And although a Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) estimated the social cost of carbon (SCC) to be $36/ton; the actual societal benefits of carbon – as a by-product of energy production – is 50 to 500 times greater than the perceived cost.

“Even the most conservative estimates peg the social benefit of carbon-based fuels as 50 times greater than its supposed social cost,” Dr. Roger Bezdek, the lead author of the report said.  “And the benefits are actual fact; founded on more than two centuries of empirical data, not theoretical summaries based on questionable assumptions, dubious forecasts, and flawed models.”

The report goes on to say that coal is the world’s fastest growing energy source and has increased nearly as much as all other sources of fuel combined.  Much of this growth is in emerging economies like China and India, which are just beginning to realize the social and economic benefits that reliable, affordable electricity can bring.  It is expected that coal will continue to be the leading feedstock for electricity generation around the globe for at least the next three decades.  Additionally, according to the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Information Administration, fossil fuels will provide 75 to 80 percent of the world’s energy for the foreseeable future.

Here in the United States, coal remains the largest feedstock for baseload electricity generation supplying nearly 40 percent of the nation’s electricity.  But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making it increasingly difficult for clean coal energy to survive in the United States.  The agency’s proposed rule for new coal-fired power plants, the New Source Performance Standard (NSPS), has been widely criticized for its unachievable requirements. NSPS requires the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) for all new coal-fueled power plants, a technology that is not yet commercially viable.  Therefore, the EPA proposal effectively bans new coal plants.

These regulations seem to ignore the $130 billion the industry has invested in clean coal technologies that have already reduced emissions by nearly 90 percent over the past forty years.

“Fossil fuels have provided the energy to improve farming yields, grow manufacturing and business, and are now powering data servers and even the Cloud,” Mr. Duncan said.  “And while we have all benefited from reliable, clean coal electricity, there are still those who seek to end this American form of power.  More and more, this Administration has abdicated its energy policy to the EPA whose regulations will shutter existing coal power plants and thwart the construction of new ones.  We would hope that evidence in support of the benefit of fossil fuels, including clean coal, will help bring common sense to the regulatory process.”


Sort of related: My 50 to 1 project interview is now online, along with the main video

h/t to reader Roger Bezdek

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January 24, 2014 3:44 pm


January 24, 2014 3:49 pm

Throw in that the Thorium and Uranium in coal contain 13 times more extractable energy than burning it, the benefits of the Kerrick process of extracting smokeless semichar coke, oil, plastic feedstock, pharma and fertilizer, plus water gas and electric cogenereation, and it has yet to see it’s full potential.

January 24, 2014 3:54 pm

“Our continued growth requires continued and increasing use of fossil fuels.”

That’s the problem right there. The most vocal of the alarmists don’t want continued growth. Their real goal is to stop the growth of human civilization, and preventing the use of fossil fuels is a means to that end. If Global warming ceases to alarm the world, they will invent another scare story as they have done many times in the past.

Gail Combs
January 24, 2014 3:54 pm

You got a choice.
Energy from coal/oil/natural gas
Energy from nuclear power
Energy from animals and slaves. (Green energy goes with slave and animal power)
Anyone who tells you different is telling porkies.

January 24, 2014 3:57 pm

Thanks A.
Very interesting. This article adds much needed perspective.
“it’s imperative that policymakers also consider the actual and potential benefits of our carbon-based economy”. Well, yes!

Rhoda R
January 24, 2014 4:07 pm

It is a good article but it’s sponsors will ensure that the power establishment won’t be allowed to consider it seriously.

January 24, 2014 4:08 pm

[While] we have a ready supply of fossil fuels then we should be ensuring that scientific funding and research is devoted to improving viable alternatives such as Nuclear (fission and fusion) rather than the false god of the current [religion] of AGW.

January 24, 2014 4:14 pm

Irrespective of the quality of the arguments and data presented in this report, attacks on it will be based on the identity of its sponsors.

January 24, 2014 4:14 pm

Sat in departure lounge at LA waiting for a flight to Honolulu. This is the first time we have visited the Western side of the USA and we love it, the people are friendly, the scenery beautiful and the standard of accommodation has been excellent (stayed in Las Vegas, San Francisco and LA).
We could not have done this trip without fossil fuel (flights from Newcatle to Heathrow to Las Vegas, hire cars to drive between the cities and then a flight from LA to Honolulu).
On the drive to both LA and San Francisco we passed hills with 100’s of wind turbines on them, we never saw any of them rotating. Had we had to rely on them for heat and light, we would have used candles, starved and shivered. Our impression of our holiday so far, would have been totally different.

January 24, 2014 4:22 pm

Rhoda R says:
January 24, 2014 at 4:07 pm
“It is a good article but it’s sponsors will ensure that the power establishment won’t be allowed to consider it seriously.”
Which would be irrational. And which is what will happen.
If benefits did NOT outweigh the costs civilisations using coal would have perished; and the Dutch wind-driven sawmills would have stayed the pinnacle of industrialisation.

Alan Robertson
January 24, 2014 4:36 pm

GregS says:
January 24, 2014 at 4:08 pm
[While] we have a ready supply of fossil fuels then we should be ensuring that scientific funding and research is devoted to improving viable alternatives such as Nuclear (fission and fusion) rather than the false god of the current [religion] of AGW.
We know enough to supply the world with all manner of affordable energy, for now. I suspect that before it all runs out, that mankind will be making full use of some technology for which we haven’t developed the consciousness, yet.

January 24, 2014 4:46 pm

I’ve read some of the leading literature in the field of environmental economics. Sometimes you can characterise work as junk science or pseudo science. A lot of this work is probably best characterised as crankism. What’s curious are the numbers of individuals out there who have no interest in following the ‘arguments’ but have no hesitancy in citing the conclusions.

January 24, 2014 4:53 pm

Eh. I don’t trust these sorts of giant calculations any more than the super duper climate models on the other side.

January 24, 2014 5:02 pm

It is probably a good, factual report, well referenced, and complete. Doesn’t matter. It will simply be ignored. When did facts ever matter to climate alarmists?
It was worth the effort, however. Nothing to be gained by throwing in the towel without a fight. If it was submitted for peer review and published in an economics journal, it would carry some authority.

January 24, 2014 5:08 pm

“I suspect that before it all runs out, that mankind will be making full use of some technology for which we haven’t developed the consciousness, yet.”
That’s it! The future will run on psychic energy!

January 24, 2014 5:08 pm

Can we rub Dave Appell’s nose in this? And about 150 nations around the planet?

January 24, 2014 5:09 pm

The ratio of carbon benefits to costs is the same as the benefits of living in a world of industrial technology versus living in the stone ages. Ask anyone living in one of the industrialized countries if they would voluntarily move to a stone age culture.
Western agriculture is 100 percent industrialized. Try to produce food without fossil fuel, I’d guess that food production would drop by 99 percent. Farmers without fuel or electricity would also starve.
The only exceptions are a few survival types and some religious groups such as Amish.

Chad Wozniak
January 24, 2014 5:14 pm

Of course der Fuehrer and his satraps will ignore this. Their ideology says that fossil fuels are bad, that civilization must be wound down back to pre-industrial conditions, and that they, the elite, know better than we plebeians – and the first tenet of their belief is that nothing else exists but what is said in their ideology.

Wind turbines are an environmental as well as economic disaster. They kill birds (including protected eagle and whooping cranes – they’ve reduced the surviving whooping crane population by almost half from about 220 to about 120 (and have brought a species of swift in the UK to the brink of extinction), they destroy habitats for ground-dwelling creatures by their noise and vibration, they emit a whole new array of pollutants – only to produce electricity at an actual, fully loaded cost of at least $2 per kilowatt-hour (counting land, down time, maintenance and the continued operation of backup fossil fuel generation as spinning reserve, to maintain grid integrity when the wind stops or varies sharply – actually causing more fossil fuel to be burned than if there were no wind power installations).
Wind turbines are a scheme to redistribute wealth from middle- and low-income electric ratepayers and taxpayers to wealthy investors in uneconomic projects. Poor people struggle to pay inflated electric rates (at least twice what they would be if there were no “renewable” energy) while leftist billionaires get richer. Some of that $2/kWh cost shows up in electric rates 2 to 3 times higher that they would otherwise be (and a larger multiple in the UK and Europe), and the rest is concealed in various taxes secretly intended to subsidize wind and let the billionaires make their money.

January 24, 2014 6:39 pm

Absolutely correct. The contribution of cheap energy to progress AND the environment is simply crucial to understanding modern civilization. No single community on earth has seen its quality of life increase even by a fraction outside of the energy paradigm as we understand it.
This is one of those topics that I wish were discussed more often.

January 24, 2014 7:02 pm

My congressman responds:
“Thanks for your interest in this important issue. Consider the source. No way we can even consider this. Just another denier funded by the fossil fuel industry. I hope you can see through this fraud of a study. As you must know it is worse than we thought; much worse. The time to act is now.”

john robertson
January 24, 2014 7:29 pm

Interestingly it seems human slavery is rising with the increase in energy costs.
Causation? Probably not but that is a benefit of affordable energy our psycho-greens can not seem to comprehend.
Strange that piracy and slavery are returning.
Is this also down to global warming?
Or the failure of civic institutions in times of public hysteria?

January 24, 2014 7:37 pm

During the latter half of the last century, in my lifetime, I have seen, benefited and been an active supporter of a revolution in the quality of life for all in the ‘enlightened countries’ unknown in mankind’s prior history.
Not only are my assertions based upon observations and experience but I swear they are 100% true.
In my first decade, I saw an Australia that was strewn with rubbish, and shocking water and air pollution.
In the last 5-6 decades i have watched at first hand, a country that has returned its streets, parks, public places, waterways and air to astonishingly good quality in my city of Sydney as it grew from 1.5 m to nearly 5 m inhabitants.
I find the negative, merchants of “green” to not only be out of touch with the reality of a cleaner environment bought about by a willing community that does support its environment rather then cry doom and gloom at every opportunity.
And IMHO, these sanctimonious busybodies do so without contributing one iota to the overall advancement.
Whilst they carp and criticise on fat government subsidies, Carbon power generating engineers fix their plant and guys like ian Kiernan simply DO.

January 24, 2014 7:41 pm

Would much rather have the “social cost” of carbon than:
the social cost of socialism
the social cost of “green energy”
the social cost of climate alarmism
the social cost of communism/obamunism

January 24, 2014 8:24 pm

Reblogged this on This Got My Attention and commented:

January 24, 2014 8:25 pm

Yes, you’d think the Establishment would be delighted to simply tax fossil fuels, and say thanks for financing us while keeping the huddled masses warm. But no, tyrants must be nasty, so the Establishment demonizes the providers of fossil fuels.

DD More
January 24, 2014 8:37 pm

A high pressure coal plant produces around 900 Whr per pound of coal.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) maintains records for the Hour Record, which is an ongoing contest to see who can ride the farthest in one hour. To get a good estimate of the maximum energy a person can produce (these are elite athletes after all), we’ll figure out the average wattage of someone competing for the Hour Record, and since it lasts an hour, this average wattage will be the total energy the rider expended over that hour. Therefore, the energy they expend over the time they compete can be presented in Watt-hours.
The current record holder for the Hour Record is Ondrej Sosenka and the website has an estimate of his average wattage during his Hour Record at 430 Watts!
Record human power equals a half pound of coal and what you can produce will be less.
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today announced that the nation’s freight railroads moved a ton of freight an average of 476 miles on one gallon of fuel in 2012.
So if you want to move 470 tons of goods a mile for less than $4.00 be my guest, I would rather use diesel.

January 24, 2014 8:46 pm

“American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity” — heh.
It’s pretty near impossible to get coal to burn clean, despite at least 50 years of well-funded research and engineering. This is why the shale-gas discoveries are so important, and why coal really should be the fuel of last resort. It’s worth reading Richard Muller’s broadside on this topic,
“Why Every Serious Environmentalist Should Favour Fracking”

January 24, 2014 9:09 pm

Resorting to an elitist argument to debunk someone else’s creative thought is not essentially any different from what is happening in reverse with so called climate change science. It matters not whether these much maligned papers were curve fitting exercises or not. Their creators may not be able to take these initial findings further, however you never know, someone else might have an epiphany and create a whole new area of research and discovery. They may in fact be on to something no one else sees at the moment, and they are struggling to express it within the pure scientific method.
If you read the history of Faraday – Maxwell – Einstein in sequence you will appreciate that the General Theory of Relativity actually owes greatly to the Special Theory, to Maxwell’s four equations of electro-magnetism and hence to Faraday’s semi chaotic thinking on magnetism. Faraday was untrained in either mathematics or science. Faraday broke completely new ground contrary to established scientific theory but he couldn’t express it in the terms the scientific community required and he was ostracised. Maxwell in turn pursued these ideas mathematically and had an epiphany, and of course Einstein took these ideas into completely new territory with the Special Theory of Relativity and Quantum Theory. Einstein later created his General Theory covering gravity. But no Faraday – no General Theory of Relativity.
String Theory similarly grew from a researcher accidentally finding a mathematical connection between the General Theory and Maxwell’s equations which impressed Einstein but went no where until by chance string theory (by several names) emerged as the current front runner for the theory of everything which had eluded Einstein and everyone else. (Who new we lived in 10 dimensions).
The beginnings of chaos theory emerged from the meandering thoughts of a weatherman who played with some embryonic computer programs trying to solve multiple non linear functions. As an aside, this is still impossible to do for weather (and hence the forecasts break down after 3 to 7 days) and I am constantly astounded that it is thought that long term weather or climate is ‘modeled’. It can be in a sense replicated, but not predicted.
My point is, don’t censor creativity, even if you think it inconsequential, or you might inadvertently limit human endeavour.
[Why dupe? Mod]

January 24, 2014 9:11 pm

If logic, reason and the Scientific Method were still widely in use, humans would consume as much fossil fuel as possible and then switch to a thorium-based economy as the technology and economics of the transition dictates.
Unfortunately, logic has been replaced by dogma, reason replaced by political ideology and the Scientific Methid replaced by a grant-fueled contrived “consensus”.
The new Thorium Age officially starts around June 2015 when China flicks the switch on their first test LIquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR). The economic, ecological, social, political and societal impact of that event will be profound as it will signify the start of a second Renaissance driven by an unlimited power supply that is the cheapest, safest, most efficient and cleanest source of power ever developed.
I just wish Dr. Alvin Weiberg, the scientist that developed the LFTR technology, could have lived long enough to witness this event.
LFTRs will make CAGW a moot point because in just 50 years from now, hydrocarbon energy will almost entirely be replaced by LFTR energy and world CO2 emissions will be back to early 20th-century levels; if not less…
Oh, the irony….

Herbert Douglas
January 24, 2014 9:52 pm

No Coal,No Nuclear = No Jobs, No Future.

January 24, 2014 10:26 pm

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
It takes two things to do anything, anything at all, time and energy. The sun and life on this planet spent eons concentrating energy for us in what we now call fossil fuels. Wouldn’t we be ingrates to not use it?

Reply to  Lonnie E. Schubert
January 25, 2014 8:06 am

@Lonnie E. Schubert: “The sun and life on this planet spent eons concentrating energy for us in what we now call fossil fuels. Wouldn’t we be ingrates to not use it?”
I always try to avoid magical thinking and discourage it in others. Maybe that’s wrong. Suppose for a moment that Gaia from Greek mythology is real. The Mother of us all. She has to be aware that the Earth has been cooling and cooling for a very long time from a state much closer to a worldwide paradise than at present. Cooling to the point that 2.6 million years ago Her planet slipped into a brutal ice age. What to do? How to get back to Greenhouse Earth conditions? Is it possible that Gaia, in Her Wisdom, brought forth a new species with a mind capable of technology and science for this very purpose? Is it possible that She has a plan for the human race to break the Earth out of this ice age and return to a climate far more friendly to plants and animals? Is it possible that our mission in life is to liberate the CO2 buried deep in the ground, raise the temperature, melt the ice caps and leave behind Icehouse Earth with no regrets? And if CO2 doesn’t do it, is it possible that is is our responsibility to find a way; to alter continents; to block ocean currents and open others; to geoengineer big time; to do what ever it takes? Just saying.

January 24, 2014 10:30 pm

@ SAMURAI. Don’t leave India out of the topic, they already have an experimental Thorium reactor up and running using, from what I understand, solid Thorium fuel rods. In the Fusion world in late 2013 at the EAST Tokamak in Hefei China, produced a 30+ second H mode plasma pulse a ten fold increase in plasma time confinement over what had been achieved up until then. The U.S. is considering cutting it’s long term financial commitment to the I.T.E.R. project in France ( of which the EAST reactor is allied with ) which the directors of the project fear will slow down the development time, however when Fusion arrives I wonder who will be the countries who benefit from it first, you can bet China, France and Japan will be in the race to be the first.

January 25, 2014 12:11 am

I hope by clean coal, you don’t mean CO2 capture and sequestration. That does NOT lead to inexpensive electricity. It will easily double the cost of the electricity produced and will likely not be safe in the long run as the quantities of CO2 to be sequestered are enormous. CO2 is NOT a pollutant at levels less than 1000ppm, in fact it is probably more beneficial than harmful.

January 25, 2014 4:03 am

Bravo, Mr. Duncan! Finally, somebody willing to speak up to the other half of the energy balance sheet. Loads of talking points within the pages of the study. Should drive the enviros crazy…
Next time you are discussing carbon with a greenie, ask them about Germany. They are far down the road of deploying renewable anergy and they have sobered up and reversed course. In fact, (nearly) all of the EU has had enough of the green power movement as the average cost of energy there is now double ours. Voters there are outraged and the Continent is deindustrializing due to high energy costs. So while Angela Merkel’s government signs ” non-binding” agreements to have 40% of her country’s electricity from renewables by 2040, they are busy building coal plants. Typical EU policy gobbletegook.
Germany has learned the truth about renewables…they are NOT affordable and NOT reliable and subsidizing renewables with taxpayer dollars ultimately catches up with you. Sort of like chasing your tail.

January 25, 2014 4:09 am

At January 24, 2014 at 8:46 pm you ignorantly assert

It’s pretty near impossible to get coal to burn clean, despite at least 50 years of well-funded research and engineering.

Bollocks! There are many ways to do it.
I provide a list of some technologies you need to research before stating such ignorant falsehood.
ElectroStatic Precipitators (ESP).
Bag Filtration.
Candle Filtration.
Lox-NOx burners.
NOx catalytic converters.
Flue Gas Desulpurisation (FGD: a variety of technologies).
Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC).
Circulating Fluidised Bed Combustion (CFBC).
Pressurised Fluidised Bed Combustion (PFBC).
Air-Blown Gasification Combined Cycle (ABGC).

January 25, 2014 4:22 am

Response to PD Tillman:
It is 5 degrees on my doorstep this morning with six inches of snow predicted. Windmills aren’t turning and solar panels have yet to awaken and when they do, I might get a trickle of energy during this blizzard, but no power.
The “dirty” coal plant about 30 miles away is keeping me warm right now. It is operating well within the legal air and water limits using world class technologies pointed out by richardscourtney.
I prefer that to burning wood and polluting the valley.

January 25, 2014 6:24 am

At long last the fossil fuel industry decides to grow a pair and fights openly for its interests.
What would Warmists do if coal powered stations decided to close down at the end of this year? Screams and howls from Gore, Pachari, Suzuki as to why they can’t have power on demand. They hate coal but USE the energy it produces. There is a word for that.

January 25, 2014 6:39 am

The world would not be where it is today without coal and oil. I often get called a fossil fuel shill but the truth is I am not funded by them nor do I have any shares or other interests. My only interest in them is that I am a consumer and greatly appreciate the benefits. Just try depriving a Warmist of the fossil fuel powered part of their energy and all hell will break loose.
Fossil fuels have liberated people from the drudgery and grind of manual labour. They have made our cities fresher smelling.

From Horse Power to Horsepower
By Eric Morris
“In 1898, DELEGATES FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE gathered in New York City for the world’s first international urban planning conference. One topic dominated the discussion. It was not housing, land use, economic development, or infrastructure. The delegates were driven to desperation by horse manure.
The horse was no newcomer on the urban scene. But by the late 1800s, the problem of horse pollution had reached unprecedented heights…….American cities were drowning in horse manure as well as other unpleasant byproducts of the era’s predominant mode of transportation: urine, flies, congestion, carcasses, and traffic accidents…….
The situation seemed dire. In 1894, the Times of London estimated that by 1950 every street in the city would be buried nine feet deep in horse manure. One New York prognosticator of the 1890s concluded that by 1930 the horse droppings would rise to Manhattan’s third-story windows. A public health and sanitation crisis of almost unimaginable dimensions loomed…….
Wet weather turned the streets into swamps and rivers of muck, but dry weather brought little improvement; the manure turned to dust, which was then whipped up by the wind, choking pedestrians and coating buildings. Municipal street cleaning services across the country were woefully inadequate……
In New York in 1900, 200 persons were killed by horses and horse-drawn vehicles. This contrasts with 344 auto-related fatalities in New York in 2003; given the modern city’s greater population, this means the fatality rate per capita in the horse era was roughly 75 percent higher than today……
As difficult as it may be to believe for the modern observer, at the time the private automobile was widely hailed as an environmental savior……
Per vehicle and per mile, it seems highly likely that the environmental problems caused by the horse were far greater than those of the modern car. Horses even contribute to global warming: manure releases methane, a greenhouse gas eight times more potent that CO2…..
But neither draconian regulations nor disincentives for travel were necessary to fix the horse pollution problem. Human ingenuity and technology (enabled by government, which provided infrastructure and regulations) did the job…”
PDF [8 pages]

January 25, 2014 7:47 am

John Leon–
I live about 100 miles south from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown area, so I hate to see conventional steam-powered nuclear reactors built using solid nuclear fuels running under 70~100 atmospheres of pressure. There is just too much that can go wrong with this design concept.
They’re solid fuel reactors also extremely inefficient as the fuel rods soon need replacement after only 0.5%~1% of the nuclear fuels are burned before Xenon contamination requires reprocessing.
LFTRs run at 1 atmosphere of pressure and the nuclear fuel is already in a molten state. If there is ever a problem, the molten salts simply return to solid salts and release no nuclear material into the air. LFTRs also convert 99% of thorium into energy and all wastes can be removed through chemical processes while the reactor is running at full capacity.
LTRS run gas turbine generators, so they needn’t be built near water and since they don’t require expensive containment domes or water cooling towers, they’re very small and cheap to build. LFTRs also generate about 900C of “waste” heat after leaving the gas generators, which can be used to cheaply produce hydrocarbons from CO2 and H2O or to desalinate sea water.
Solid fuel reactors simply aren’t as safe, cheap, efficient and versatile as LFTRs. It makes no sense to go that route when a much better LFTR design exists. Solid fuel reactors offer no benefits other than their ability to produce fissile nuclear material for bombs, which I don’t see as a benefit, but a danger…

Gail Combs
January 25, 2014 8:40 am

bw says: @ January 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm
….Western agriculture is 100 percent industrialized. Try to produce food without fossil fuel, I’d guess that food production would drop by 99 percent. Farmers without fuel or electricity would also starve.
No farmers would not starve. Most of us have our gardens and wood lots. It is the locust swarming from the cities that would be the problem.
As far as farming goes, many inventions were made between 1770 and 1870 The problem is most of the energy supplied was from human and animal muscle with a bit of wind and water energy. “1862-75 – Change from hand power to horses characterized the first American agricultural revolution” the problem is that at that level of civilization 1860 – Farmers made up 58% of labor force
Even so you were still looking at Coal as a form of energy in the 1700s and 1800s

…The Industrial Revolution played a major role in expanding the use of coal. During the first half of the 1800s, the Industrial Revolution spread to the United States. Steamships and steam-powered railroads were becoming the chief forms of transportation, and they used coal to fuel their boilers.
In the second half of the 1800s, more uses for coal were found.
During the Civil War, weapons factories were beginning to use coal. By 1875, coke (which is made from coal) replaced charcoal as the primary fuel for iron blast furnaces to make steel.
The burning of coal to generate electricity is a relative newcomer in the long history of this fossil fuel. It was in the 1880s when coal was first used to generate electricity for homes and factories.
Long after homes were being lighted by electricity produced by coal, many of them continued to have furnaces for heating and some had stoves for cooking that were fueled by coal….

So going back to your farmer, you are looking at the 1700s or “1790 – Farmers made up about 90% of labor force.” No money for bureaucrats or university professors or much of anything else. Everyone has to work to grow enough food and you hope like heck you can support a few dirty factories to make your farm equipment.
I wonder how all those university and bureaucrat types will like following the north end of a south facing mule? image

G. Karst
January 25, 2014 8:48 am

The agency’s proposed rule for new coal-fired power plants, the New Source Performance Standard (NSPS), has been widely criticized for its unachievable requirements. NSPS requires the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) for all new coal-fueled power plants, a technology that is not yet commercially viable. Therefore, the EPA proposal effectively bans new coal plants.

Given the ratio of benefits, I think a good case for “crimes against humanity” could meet UN definition. Since the UN is complicit, we will never see justice’ until the mob rules. With rioting and governments facing revolution and insurrection, in many diverse locations… I would be very worried. GK

January 25, 2014 8:53 am

50 to 0 would be closer. Or 50 to -50 even better.

January 25, 2014 8:54 am

Chad, totally agree with what you say. In my experience it is always the leftist “we need to support those who can’t support themselves,,we need to redistribute wealth” with the caveat that some of those in charge make a lot of money (Blair, Putin, Obama, Mugabe, Kim Jong etc,etc). In the above statement I agree with the first sentiment, those who cannot support themselves need help, but you don’t achieve that by wealth redistibution as a century of Socialism/Communism has demonstrated. The only way to help those who cannot (not will not) help themselves is by wealth creation, which doesn’t happen if energy costs are too high.
AGW is what the Left Wing does best, let us scare the c**p out of the masses, tell them we have found a solution and something MUST be done. Fortunately for worldwide economies, it has gone belly up, with the climate failing to obey the models, I think people are beginning to realise that they are being conned.
I totally agree with you about the wind turbines, I was speaking to someone who installs them for a living. It takes 800m3 of concrete for the foundations for each one, roads have to be built first, usually to unspoilt areas of natural beauty, together with pylons and power cables, to service/ distribute power from these monstrosities, for them to produce, at best, 30% of their predicted output on a good day and zero on a bad day. As you say they decimate the wildlife and ecosystems, for what? A monument to left wing stupidity and a solution to a non-existent problem.

Gary Pearse
January 25, 2014 10:01 am

It appears that the report leaves out the benefit for all creatures and plants manifesting itself today – the greening of the planet. Make that 5000 to 1

January 25, 2014 11:02 am

joshuah says:
January 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Eh. I don’t trust these sorts of giant calculations any more than the super duper climate models on the other side.

Actually, not so “super duper”.
The assumptions used in climate models include:
· The climate is unchanged without the effects of greenhouse gases
· The earth is flat
· The Sun shines day and night with the same intensity
· Energy exchanges are almost all by radiation
· Energy exchanges are “balanced”
· Energy exchanges are instantaneous
· No work is done on the system.
· “Natural” climate properties are not only merely “variable” but are also negligible
I don’t see anything “super duper” about them. In fact, I think they stink.

January 25, 2014 1:06 pm

And yet, socialist utopian greenies who claim to care so much for humanity are disallowing humans by the millions from accessing reliable affordable energy.

January 25, 2014 1:08 pm

@Rocky Road
Good observations about the internals of climate models. Quoting someone over at CA from years ago, “pull back the curtain reveals a bunch of bumpkins pulling levers on GCM’s”.

January 26, 2014 4:03 am

@ SAMURAI. I agree with the ‘burn’ rate of the Uranium fuel rods and your comments about H.P.R.’s in general, my point was simply that there IS an operating Thorium reactor in India but curiously the Indian scientists and engineers have chosen to go down the solid fuel path, why I have no idea. I live in France which has over 85% of it’s electricity generated by ‘ conventional’ Nuclear reactors, in a typically bizarre move the French vetoed the E.U. on Thorium fueled reactor research some time back, probably because the French govt. has a big stake in the Nuclear industry; doubtless this will come back to haunt them, however France fought tooth and nail to have the ITER project built at Cadarache instead of Japan. Budget restraints as well as the possibility of the U.S.A. pulling out of the project have pushed back the initial first Plasma projections from 2016 to 2020 but I suspect TPTB over here would sooner replace their Fission reactors with Fusion rather than taking the Thorium step, however this is only speculation on my part.

G. Karst
January 26, 2014 10:18 am

John Leon says:
January 26, 2014 at 4:03 am

One of the major advantages of solid fuel is that the fissile fuel doesn’t move. The neutron flux flies outward from a fixed location. The resulting flux shape is easy to control, shape and instrument. Now imagine your fixed points whizzing around the reactor as in a liquid fissile fuel.
Resulting neutron flux perturbations and swings were extremely difficult to control and the unit would constantly trip. It could be that India has run into the same conundrum. I know the Canadians scrapped their molten salt reactor, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for these problematical reasons. GK

January 26, 2014 7:08 pm

G. Karst-
Please provide the link describing the large temperature swings experienced at the Winnipeg MSR. I did a quick search and couldn’t find anything on this. Thank you.
Without knowing the details, what you seem to be describing is the inherent safety mechanism which makes MSRs so idiot-proof safe. Thorium is a fertile nuclear fuel, which means it requires a fixed neutron source to achieve criticality. If the molten salts get too hot, a freeze plug melts and the molten salts flow to a containment tank by gravity (gravity always works) away from the neutron source and the molten salts cool naturally and solidify.
That’s what makes MSRs so safe and the fact that the entire process occurs at 1 atmosphere of pressure instead of 70~100 atmospheres required for LWRs.
Anyway, I look forward to reading your link about why Winnipeg’s MSR doesn’t seem to work, while other MSRs seem to work just fine.
Thank you.

G. Karst
January 27, 2014 9:46 am

January 26, 2014 at 7:08 pm
describing the large temperature swings experienced at the Winnipeg MSR.

Samuri, it has nothing to do with temperature swings. All fission reactors control the neutron flux N, in order to control flux shape and power levels. Instrumentation (platinum flux detectors and ion chamber flux detectors) measures the neutron flux and provides regulation and safety trip parameters. The problem with a liquid train is the fact that eddies and small cavitation voids in the liquid create flux perturbations, which are “seen” by the detectors as rapid changes in the neutron flux. Reactors will trip on both – rate of change and absolute flux levels. See the problem. This difficulty seemed to be associated with scaling the MSR up from the small prototype research reactors.
Many attempts to solve the problem (there are other operational problems) met varying levels of success and failure.
This in no way, speaks of the viability of the MSR, only that this particular design was marginally operational. Advances in design, instrumentation, and improved flow characteristics may eliminate the problem. We will soon find out.
I only proffered this information as a possible explanation for the slow progress to these types of reactors and why some modern designers, are reluctant to build liquid fueled reactors. They haven’t scaled up well (in the past).
My opinion comes from reading their significant event reports and at least two briefings by control room staff 30 years ago. None of which is available to the general public. I know – it sucks. I am eager, as you, to see a full thorium commercial demonstration plant (of any type) built, but I am aware that nothing about new reactor design is easy and many white elephants will emerge yet. GK

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