The Ethics of Climate Change

Calls for massive reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions ignore the impacts on the poor.


Guest essay by Bob Lyman

People who believe in the theory of catastrophic human-induced global warming claim that they want to “save the planet” and that this is the moral thing to do. They insist, however, that saving the planet requires stringent reductions in people’s use of fossil fuel energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They never talk about what that means to the poor. I think that, before people decide on the ethics of the debate, they need to consider what the impact would be of sharply reducing energy consumption on the wellbeing of world’s population, and especially on the poor.

In 2014, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a Special Report entitled “Modern Energy for All”.  In it, the IEA stated that modern energy services are:

…crucial to human wellbeing” and to a country’s economic development.

Access to modern energy is essential for the provision of clean water, sanitation and healthcare and for the provision of reliable and efficient lighting heating, cooking, mechanical power, transport and telecommunications services.”

Today billions of people lack access to the most basic energy services. Nearly 1.3 billion people are without access to electricity and 2.7 billion people rely on traditional use of biomass (wood, charcoal and animal dung) for cooking, which causes harmful indoor air pollution.

Pause to think about that for a few minutes. Hundreds of millions of people are without the modern energy services that were available to our ancestors who lived in the nineteenth century. They get up with the dawn and go to bed close to nightfall because they have no electrical lighting. They have to go a river or well (if they are lucky) for water to drink or wash in. They have no way to power an appliance, including a refrigerator, so all food has to be eaten quickly or it may go bad. They have to walk long distances everyday to search for firewood or dried animal dung. There is no light to extend the day to provide time for reading or entertainment. They have no telephones. They have no way to pump water for irrigating crops. They have no motorized transportation, so they cannot go very far. Almost all their time is spent simply doing the simple tasks that in Canada and other advanced countries are done by machines. Worse, every day they breathe in the fumes from the dirty cooking fires, developing lung disorders. In fact, according to the IEA, every year 4.3 million premature deaths can be attributed to household air pollution resulting from the use of traditional biomass fuels for cooking.

The international community has long been aware of the close correlation between income levels and access to modern energy; not surprisingly, countries with a large proportion of the population living on an income of $2 per day tend to have low electrification rates and few motorized vehicles. The problem is spread throughout the developing world, but it is particularly severe in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia, which together account for 95% of people in abject energy poverty.

The latent demand for electricity is immense. An estimated 400 million people in India still lack access to electricity.  A recent study looked at the expansion of electricity that would be needed on an economy-wide basis in sub-Saharan Africa to comprehensively address energy access. To reach moderate access, where electricity generation capacity is around 200-400 megawatts (MW) per million people, the region would need a total of 374 MW of installed capacity. That’s about twelve times the level of capacity in the region today. All energy sources would be needed to help provide that much capacity.

This is where aspiration runs into reality. In desperately poor countries, they do not have the luxury to spend millions of dollars on energy. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy can sometimes be useful where there is no electricity transmission system to take centrally-generated power to rural areas, but it is expensive and often requires technology to install and operate. Further, wind and solar are “intermittent” sources, meaning that they only produce energy when the wind blows or the sun shines respectively. Electrical energy is expensive to store and this can only be done in small amounts.

For reliable electrical energy supply for any possibility of industrial development and for transportation, developing countries need large scale power generation based on low cost, generally available fuels. In India, and in many parts of Africa, this means coal.

Coal reserves are available in almost every country worldwide, with recoverable reserves in around 70 countries.  In fact, coal is the backbone of modern electricity in most parts of the world. It now provides about 30% of the primary energy and 41% of global electricity generation. It is plentiful and relatively cheap. Over the decade from 2000 to 2010, China showed the world how massive expansion of coal-fired electricity generation could modernize its economy and bring electrification to almost all parts of the country. As a result, hundreds of millions of Chinese have lifted themselves out of energy and economic poverty and dramatically improved both their income and quality of life.

Yet, coal is the most carbon-intensive of fossil fuels. It is the fuel source most despised by those who want to drastically reduce emissions. The Obama Administration in the United States has, as part of its climate change agenda, pressured the World Bank to stop lending to coal-fired electricity projects and the World Bank has complied. The U.S. Administration has also withdrawn funding from the Export-Import Bank for such projects. Fortunately for the developing countries, a new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has been established with major funding from China, which will include funding of new coal projects.

Those pursuing the climate change political agenda are prepared to condemn the world’s poor living without modern energy to remain in their backward situation. For them, billions of blighted lives are preferable to increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Even in the developed countries, the policies advanced for climate reasons fall heavily on the poor.

Electricity prices continue to surge in Europe where costs are often triple those in the U.S. EU governments have various schemes, taxes, subsidies, and mandates, such as Cap and Trade, feed-in tariffs, and surcharges that make Europeans pay more for power. Perhaps the best (worst?) example is Germany, where nearly 20% of families now live in “fuel poverty,” spending more than 10% of household income on energy. Germany’s energy transition (“Energiewende”) is expected to cost an astounding $735 billion, and many are demanding changes. Overall in Europe, 1.4 million more households are expected to be in fuel poverty by 2020.

In the name of climate change, governments are forcing utilities to sign long-term contracts paying as much as four times the going wholesale electricity rate for renewables. Power markets have become so distorted that wind farms in the UK and in Ontario, for instance, have been paid millions to NOT produce electricity.

Supporters of “green” energy policies keep saying that poverty will be reduced if only efficiency would improve, but that position doesn’t hold up. Energy efficiency in the EU has improved around 20% since 2005. In the UK, for instance, energy efficiency has increased nearly 30% since 2003, yet electricity prices have almost doubled and homes in fuel poverty have nearly quadrupled. Europe’s main fuel poverty problem isn’t a lack of efficiency, it’s soaring prices.

Apart from the higher prices, another meaningful measure of energy poverty in Germany is the number of supply stoppages (“power cuts”) ordered by utility companies. Basic suppliers are entitled to interrupt their electricity or gas deliveries in the event of arrears in payment of more than 100 euros after a warning notice followed by a repeated threat to terminate service. According to a survey of the German Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), in 2013 warnings of electricity supply termination were issued to 5.7 million private households in Germany. The supply of electricity was actually interrupted to roughly 320,000 households.

There are many different moral standards to which one might refer in defining what is the most “ethical” way for people to act when considering their use of energy and other goods to improve their lives. Those environmentalists who claim that “nature” is more important than humans and that any measure, regardless of how costly, should be taken to reduce the effects of humans on the planet will never be satisfied. In my view, human wellbeing, and especially the plight of the world’s poor, deserves a prominent place in judgments about what is ethical behavior. Sharply reducing fossil fuel use means reducing economic development, condemning poor societies to remain poor, and requiring the poor people of today to sacrifice for the sake of addressing an unproven problem in a distant future — this is truly immoral.


IEA- Modern Energy for All

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May 23, 2015 3:09 pm

Hand in hand with no power go all those services and industries that rely on it. Poverty is not having air-conditioning, it is not being able to make screens for windows, or industries making window frames or homes with windows. And as for food production…

Reply to  inMAGICn
May 23, 2015 11:33 pm

A major service that needs lots of power is health. Without a reliable source of power hospitals aren’t able to provide healthcare. So Africans suffer bad health and shorter lives whilst we in the west live longer and healthier than our ancestors ever did. Greenpeace et al think that living in the Middle Ages is something to aspire to throwing away all the sacrifices our ancestors made to progress our society to a modern one.

Reply to  inMAGICn
May 25, 2015 3:17 pm

Catholic Climate Covenant, Washington, D.C.
See: Members List
Website supplies information on what’s currently taking place.

May 23, 2015 3:10 pm

A timely and important post. Thanks.
It is very true that affordable energy has a huge impact on the quality of people’s lives. To condemn the poor of the world to live in energy poverty is the most uncaring, immoral thing that I can think of. Further, it may well be that we would be unable to feed the billions of humans on this planet if the alarmists could dismantle the industrial economies that they seem hell-bent on tearing down. Who decided which billions die?

Reply to  markstoval
May 23, 2015 8:19 pm

The rich decide which, in this case, means the so-called “first world”.
It is a good post that needs to be repeated and expanded upon. My thanks to Bob Lyman.

Reply to  Brute
May 25, 2015 8:41 am

Is it a good post? I don’t think so. It is first of all based on old data (map is 2009), inaccurate data as mentioned before. Doubt if Java has such a low electricity coverage, for sure in the deserts of North Africa they are not 100% covered. Islands in the Pacific, like Thahiti or Sakhalin (Russia, north of Japan) Syria, now and when I lived there in early 80’s do not all have cover. And we assume electricity is a basic necessity to be lead a happy life. But is hauling water such a daunting task? I have seen the girl from the desert villages, nicely dressed up with their donkeys with water tanks on them going to get water and share the latest news at the water well. That looked like a happy affair ( I see more miserable faces in the Super Markets). Why does equality of people need to go our direction of living standard? Do they need two cars or a vacation home in the mountains? Or would we be more happy with less, less to worry about and go to bed with the chickens and wakeup with them. Is that poverty? No, it is not. Beduins in the desert have no running water, I have been with them (worked there for years) and they had not washed themselves for years!!! and they did not smell. Clean wear comes from a well or river, not necessarily from a tap and piped in. Yes, hospitals need electricity and is essential. But happiness is not solely based on having that. They do not read, they play games or talk, something we have lost as a means of being happy. Two dollars per day; is that poverty? Yes in NY or London, but if you can buy chicken rice for 50-70 cents and do not pay 2 Euro/lter for petrol going to work in the car, driving 50 kms or so, have no heating bill, mortgage and, note this one, no electricity bill, it is no longer on the poverty limit. It all depends on how much a “big Mac” costs. We need to stop aiming to give everybody what we have, as we construe that as THE level of happiness, people in the bush or in the desert without electricity were very happy when I was with them. Seeing on Tele how we live makes them miserable, as they want to have such a big house. When they have it, they are no longer happy as it takes hard work to keep it up. No more time to sit under the tree, drink tea and talk about the latest gossip.
Happiness can be having a (lot) less to worry about and I am not against equality. Spend a vast part of my working life, and even now being retired, teaching/metoring “locals” in so called third world countries.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  markstoval
May 24, 2015 10:37 am

You have used the correct term: energy poverty.
Fuel poverty is an indirect expression and not always appropriate. In many countries, Mongolia for example which features on the map, many people make a private deal with someone who has a formal connection to ‘run a wire’. Similarly in India and all developing country peri-urban areas.
As virtually half the population of Mongolia lives in Ulaanbaatar and have such connections. Plus they have had a very successful solar panel and lights programme. Access to the services of ‘electricity’ is higher than the map indicates.

Louis Hunt
May 23, 2015 3:15 pm

If we followed the same Alinsky rules the left loves, we would protest alarmists wherever they go with the words, “You just want poor people to die!”

Reply to  Louis Hunt
May 23, 2015 3:19 pm

That’s what will need to happen Louis Hunt. We need to make them very uncomfortable in public.

Reply to  Louis Hunt
May 23, 2015 5:57 pm

Been there and done that. It is amazing the stupidity the spew when confronted with this.
In my mind, if you have travelled less that 20% of the world, going out of the ‘western world’ and engaged people at the local level, you should not be allowed to make policies.

Reply to  Francisco
May 25, 2015 12:13 pm

Excellent idea!
Engaging the local people is a key. The problem is that the elites meet only with the elites. The elites of the poor countries typically pay lip service to helping the poor while pushing policies that help their cronies at the expense of the poor.

Reply to  Louis Hunt
May 23, 2015 7:33 pm

I wonder whether, perhaps, the warmunists are also – consciously or unconsciously – racist.
Those currently without reliable electricity – per the map at the head of this thread – are largely in Africa, south of the Sahara; and in Southern Asia.
Now, generally, the populations there are more heavily pigmented than, say, in Europe, or North America, and these are the poor that our beloved watermelons want to die.
Could our watermelon friends really be racist?
Surely that cannot be right.
They’re all right-on liberal, one-planet, tree-hugging, equal rights [and -rites] for all, everyday superheroes, with the good of humanity, and Nature at the heart of what they do.
Aren’t they?
A puzzled Auto – as what it says on the box, and the effects, seem to differ noticeably!

Reply to  auto
May 23, 2015 11:21 pm

Correlation is not causation. Most right wingers are against foreign aid – does that make them racist since much of that aid is targeted towards the very same regions you mention.

Reply to  auto
May 23, 2015 11:37 pm

, I’m against aid but I’m for trade. Trade not aid will help Africa progress from a third world state to developed. Just see how trade has helped China and other Asian countries progress. All aid does it keep the recipients dependent on hand outs knowing that they don’t need to do anything to get it. I think that if instead they had to work to get their money and benefits that they can use human ingenuity to increase their income helping their fellow countrymen in the process.

Reply to  auto
May 24, 2015 2:04 am

WorldPress seems to have a bug, sorry if this is posted twice.
Chris how do you explain Noel Pearson’s ideas? How come an Australian aboriginal oppose government handing out ‘sit down money’ to his own people? Does that make him racist?

Reply to  auto
May 24, 2015 2:48 pm

You clearly do not understand the nature of much foreign aid: it is to keep domestic industries operating. Citizen Lamizana asks for agricultural aid, so he gets Z millions. Y amount of the Z millions goes to John Deere or Caterpillar for hardware. A supply train for spare parts is instituted. U.S. operators are then hired to train operators. The money is often no more than a subsidy within the US.
And unless you’ve spent some time outside of a tourist hotel in, say, Africa, you have no idea how insulted Africans can be by the western racism of paternalism. Racism Africans understand; they themselves are not immune to it (think Rwanda). But western paternalism, including the greeners telling them they don;’t want energy, they don’t want industry. they don’t want cars and comfort, sticks deep in the craw. I was asked, more than once, by my African co-workers and friends just what some glassy-eyed eco-tourist meant when she said the Africans shouldn’t change their way of life in favor of a more prosperous, western-style existence. Knowingly or not, many western greens are racist,.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  auto
May 24, 2015 3:11 pm

Africa’s root problem is ‘the land question’. Private ownership, that is. It has been known for years but it is a very difficult nettle to grasp. Trade and aid as a substitute for land is not going to work.
After WW II the Africans got bicycles and the Whites got farms – all over English Africa. Thousands of them. One of the anti-Apartheid cries was, ‘We tried that. You can have the bicycles back. We’ll take the land now. Thanks, goodbye.’

Reply to  auto
May 24, 2015 3:52 pm

You mean you haven’t noticed that every response to every “looming ecological disaster” for the last 50 years has had as part of the solution that the Third World must remain poor, undeveloped and diseased?
Heck, the worries about DDT only came after it had cleansed the predominantly white nations of malaria.

May 23, 2015 3:17 pm

Yes it is totally immoral. But they don’t care.
The end justifies the means.

Joe Crawford
May 23, 2015 3:23 pm

I suspect the greens/left don’t do really care.

Reply to  Joe Crawford
May 23, 2015 4:09 pm

It is not a bug. It is a feature. Starving people are so much easier to control

Leon Brozyna
May 23, 2015 3:27 pm

Ethics of climate change? … simple .. save the planet, kill the people … at least all the correct and right-thinking people.
Bet the environmental activists would never admit to their desire for genocide to rid the planet of all us peasants.

Leon Brozyna
Reply to  Leon Brozyna
May 23, 2015 3:29 pm

save the planet, kill the people … at least save it for all the correct and right-thinking people.

Reply to  Leon Brozyna
May 23, 2015 8:16 pm

“The Earth’s population peaked around 7.5 million back in 2017 before it leveled off and then plunged in synch with the downward change in average global temperature, unanticipated by world governments, and exacerbated by their restrictions on conventional fuels.” – New York Times, August 13, 2037.

Reply to  Leon Brozyna
May 23, 2015 10:50 pm

@ noaaprogrammer … Thanks for the trip ‘back to the future’, but I think that would have been 7.5 **billion back in 2017. .. cheers

Reply to  Leon Brozyna
May 24, 2015 12:07 am

Killing the ‘useless eaters’ who are no longer productive. (But saving the whales and the black spotted Numbats.)

steve mcdonald
May 23, 2015 3:27 pm

The greens believe that the best thing about millions of people who are dying in their 30’s from diseased lungs caused by lack of affordable electricity is.
It’s not them.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  steve mcdonald
May 24, 2015 3:16 pm

Oh, thanks for mentioning that smoke thing. The estimate of 4.3m deaths per year is off by an order of magnitude. The real figure is about 430,000.
Careful what you read. There are hidden agendas all over the health world as well as the basement-dwelling climate world.
If you want to research, read DALYs vs Deaths. Bi-i-ig difference.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
May 24, 2015 3:56 pm

I wouldn’t be so sure about that. He quoted a world figure. Sub Saharan Africa alone is most often quoted as 450,000 plus.

May 23, 2015 3:29 pm

Today’s UK Daily Telegraph reports a presentation at the Hay literary Festival advocating brainwashing children about climate change because their minds are more receptive.
“Ethical”? I don’t think so….

Reply to  Questing Vole
May 24, 2015 12:39 am

They should be taught that they face a very cold future..
Remember Cameron’s “tweet” in New York last September that he wants all Britain’s coal-fired plants to have closed “within 10 or 15 years”?

May 23, 2015 3:31 pm

You are making the mistake that they dont care or have forgotten about the poor. No, in fact the exact opposite. They not only want the entire planet of people (except themselves) to be poor to reduce our ecological footprint, but they are counting on a massive cull in human numbers to help in that cause. These people are not just anti-modern society, they are anti-human.

May 23, 2015 3:32 pm

I believe that’s the whole intent of the “global warming” exercise. These people are Malthusians and they want to see the elimination of the entire non-white world population. I see no other reason for the hysteria that they are promoting. I am referring to the people at the top of this conspiracy, not the “useful idiots”.

May 23, 2015 3:39 pm

Missing from this post is the fact that the mitigation of so called CAGW is the most obvious con and fraud the world has seen for over 100 years.
Over 90% of new human co2 emissions until 2040 will come from the non OECD ( China, India etc) and emissions from OECD countries will almost flat-line over that period. China and India etc want to develop and provide a better, more prosperous lifestyle for their people and they will NEVER agree to stop using fossil fuels. END OF STORY.

mike hamblet
May 23, 2015 3:43 pm

Why condemn the poor to the misery of dangerous, filthy mining and air pollution. They don’t need a Victorian industrial revolution – new clean alternatives are developing fast and becoming cheaper than fossil fuel. Off grid solar is more achievable and can be done quickly.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  mike hamblet
May 23, 2015 4:03 pm

Nonsense! Study “dirty power”, grid instability, and the results of policies as you suggest in Germany. Then ask yourself,, would you live in Africa without power to support the global warming myth?

Russ Wood
Reply to  Leonard Lane
May 25, 2015 11:20 am

Actually, we in South Africa are beginning to live without power, as an almost-first-world country descends into darkness – caused by failures of the centralised electricity generating ‘service’, ESKOM. Try Googling ESKOM and ‘load shedding’.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  mike hamblet
May 23, 2015 4:04 pm

That is the klimate kool ade talking.

Reply to  mike hamblet
May 23, 2015 4:07 pm

mike hamblett,
Thanx for your assertions. But that’s all they are, and they directly conflict with reality.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 23, 2015 8:37 pm

Gerald –
“Most coal, and particularly the lower value thermal coal, is burnt in pit-head power stations close to where it is mined. As a result, just over 15% of coal is traded across national boundaries.”
Australia and Indonesia account for over 50% of coal exports. The US is a minor player at 5.5% (2010 numbers).
There is a lot of coal moved for making steel … and some coal moved due to NIMBY. There is a lot of coking coal and some thermal coal shipped offshore. Australia is the biggest exporter of coking coal (2.5 times the US, 5 times Canada). China produces nearly 10 times as much steel as the USA so lots of coking coal required.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 24, 2015 12:33 am

They are not just assertions, they are facts backed up by research. China is the world’s top coal producer, wit 3X the production of the next closest country. So if anyone would want to defend coal, it should be China. Yet a study by Tsinghua University concluded that 670,000 premature deaths occur annually due to the burning of coal in China alone.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 24, 2015 2:15 am

“Wayne Delbeke
May 23, 2015 at 8:37 pm”
Very true, and in Aus we have ~500 years of known reserves of coal at current consumption rates. But add to that with steel making in China, China get’s most of it’s iron ore from Aus too. Australia should be making steel here rather than just digging stuff up out of the ground and sending it offshore. Opportunity lost me thinks!

Reply to  dbstealey
May 24, 2015 12:27 pm

They are not “facts”.
mike hamblett said:
Why condemn the poor to the misery of dangerous, filthy mining and air pollution.
By denying the world’s poor access to cheap fossil fuels, rthe ‘do-gooers’ like hamblett are causing very serious, widespread misery — including starvation.
Why not ask the poor themselves what they want? Cheap fuel and electricity, or windmills? You don’t ask them because you know what their answer would be.
hamblett asserts:
…new clean alternatives are developing fast and becoming cheaper than fossil fuel.
Nonsense. I cannot begin to tell you how ridiculous that is. With taxpayer subsidies included, alternative energy is far more expensive than fossil fuels. That’s why it has to be so heavily subsidized. No one would want it otherwise.
For example, it takes hours to charge an electric car. If you think EV’s are efiicient and should replace gasoline, then try this little experiment:
Put your fossil fueled car in neutral. Turn off the engine. Get out, and push it about twenty miles down the road. Now tell us what a gallon of gasoline is worth. Explain why we should get rid of fossil fuels, and replace them with heavily subsidized windmills, and solar panels that begin to fall in efficiency after only a year.
If you believe that alternative energy can replace fossil fuels more efficiently, you are at the wrong place. This is a science site, not a blog about fairy dust and pink unicorns. Making baseless assertions doesn’t cut it here.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 24, 2015 12:46 pm

This comment is on your link to China coal plants.
The headline says:
Study urges Beijing to raise taxes on coal-burning by up to 10 times
“Raise taxes.”
So their motivation is not about the supposed “670,000 deaths” (unquantified and only guessed at) from coal. Out of about 1.3 billion people, that is a minuscule number; a tiny fraction of a percent. Why didn’t they use a percentage? Think!
You know damn well why: 0.05% is not scary at all in any cost/benefit analysis between burning wood and animal dung, and having cheap electricity for the other 99.95%. And if you take any number like “670,000” at face value you are no skeptic. With a headline like the one above, there’s clearly an ulterior agenda at work. Think!
Coal is not the problem. In the West, coal power has been incessantly demonized. But in fact, emissions from coal plants areso tightly regulated that the EPA was unable to use those emissions for attacking coal power. So instead, the EPA preposterously declared CO2 to be a “pollutant”. Think!
Chris, you’re not thinking for yourself. The constant media drumbeat of “climate change” that you hear 24/7/365 has colonized your mind. You have become a head-nodder, agreeing with things that make no rational sense. Think!
Ask yourself why coal is being demonized out of existence, when emissions other than CO2 can be so tightly controlled that they are practically unmeasurable, and coal is by far the cheapest power? Ask yourself: who benefits. (Hint: it isn’t you.)

Reply to  dbstealey
May 24, 2015 7:34 pm

Since when did death certificates list coal as a cause of death?

Reply to  dbstealey
May 26, 2015 2:27 am

You ask me to think – fine, let’s do that, shall we?
First, you say that alternative energy is far more expensive than fossil fuels. The externalized cost of coal is 3X the cost of generation, making it more expensive than solar, wind or geothermal:
You say the death rate due to coal is only .05%, which is “not scary at all.” In the US, 75,000 people die each year of diabetes related causes, out of a population of 318M, which is a death rate of .02%. So I guess by your logic, we shouldn’t worry about diabetes and the $250B per year in medical costs. A better comparison is to total annual deaths – coal related deaths in China represent 7% of all annual deaths, a very substantial percentage.
You say that the motivation of the author of the study is to raise taxes. No, that is not what the article said. It said that if you want to cover the costs of environmental and health damages from coal, the cost is 260 remnimbi/ton, or US$40/ton.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 26, 2015 3:14 pm

If you actually believe that energy sources like solar panels and windmills are cheaper than coal power, there’s nothing anyone can do for you.
And would you please post my whole quote when you’re responding? You left out “cost/benefit analysis”, which changes the whole meaning.
Not very honest, Chris.
And I said the article headline was about raising taxes. You changed that, too.
Not very honest, Chris.
Finally, Reuters is a propaganda site. You probably didn’t know that, so you get a pass. But as Barbara writes above:
Since when did death certificates list coal as a cause of death?
The purported deaths are in China, not the U.S. But you don’t really care about them, do you? If you did, you would be happy about coal power, since it is providing more beneficial CO2, thus greening the planet including raising agricultural output, and holding down food costs.
That keeps more people alive than any coal emissions might cost. But who are we kidding? You don’t care about Chinese starving. That argument is just a tactic with you folks.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 27, 2015 10:26 am

You said “If you actually believe that energy sources like solar panels and windmills are cheaper than coal power, there’s nothing anyone can do for you.”
Nice evidence free assertion. I stated that with the external factors included, coal is more expensive, and here is a link that supports that:
You have provided no evidence to support your position.
You said “And I said the article headline was about raising taxes. You changed that, too.”
No, you are wrong, the article title is “The cost of China’s dependence on coal – 670,000 deaths a year” Below that there is a subtitle about the taxes. You do realize this is a magazine article, and not the study – and yet you attribute the study author’s motivation for his research to raising taxes. Your proof? Nothing, just your words. The study author said that if the cost of coal is to reflect it’s true cost to the environment and health care, it should be taxed to reflect the costs that are borne by the government as a result. You are against subsidies for renewable energy, but ok with the environmental and health damage caused by coal.
Regarding your .05% point, here is your full quote: “You know damn well why: 0.05% is not scary at all in any cost/benefit analysis between burning wood and animal dung, and having cheap electricity for the other 99.95%.”
You have your countries mixed up. It is not common to burn wood and animal dung for cooking/heating in China – if you did your homework you would know that. They’ve burned coal briquettes for decades throughout China, used both for cooking and heating in rural areas. So your comparison is irrelevant to the discussion because there are alternatives to coal for China.
You then say (and quote Barbara): “Finally, Reuters is a propaganda site. You probably didn’t know that, so you get a pass. But as Barbara writes above: Since when did death certificates list coal as a cause of death?”
I won’t ask for evidence on your propaganda claim, since I know that will not be forthcoming from you. Tell me, what do you consider to be an unbiased general news site?
Second, to Barbara’s point, I guess the two of you are not aware of the concept of root causes. When a heavy smoker dies of lung cancer, his death certificate does not say smoking was the cause – of course not. It will say cancer, but the root cause is most likely smoking. The researchers for this paper looked at mortality rates and causes of deaths in China before the high levels of coal pollution compared to after. It’s called science.
Lastly, you say: “The purported deaths are in China, not the U.S. But you don’t really care about them, do you?…..But who are we kidding? You don’t care about Chinese starving. That argument is just a tactic with you folks.”
First, the deaths are not purported – the deaths occurred. Second, as far as the Chinese starving, it’s untrue, China is one of the more prosperous countries in the world now – not quite first world but definitely not 3rd. Secondly, I’ve done far more than you for China. I’ve traveled there at least a dozen times both for business and travel, and have invested in 2 companies in China. What have YOU done for China?
Lastly, you do realize that China’s move away from coal is China’s own decision. You are sadly misinformed if you think the West has somehow pressured China into this action – they are doing it for their own self interest.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 27, 2015 12:44 pm

I will never change your mind no matter how many facts I post. So believe whatever you want to believe.
Your comments avoid my central point: that the people affected should decide whether they would be willing to put up with your purported number of deaths from coal (as if there aren’t many more deaths than that due to your charcoal briquets). People who view the government as the answer to problems like power generation have no understanding of economics.
You claim that China is moving away from coal. Since China is building several new coal fired power plants per month and plan on continuing at that rate for many more years, I suppose we can put your belief about ‘moving away from coal’ along with the rest of your beliefs. As I said, I will never convince you of anything.
In the U.S. the only problem with coal is the fact that a very inexpensive power source is being needlessly shut down by a bunch of self-serving, unelected bureaucrats:
The EPA couldn’t even find enough coal emissions to rationalize their stupid destruction of our national energy supply, so they preposterously classified CO2 as a “pollutant”. THAT is the problem, not using coal to generate electricity. But I’ll never convince you of that, will I?

Reply to  dbstealey
May 28, 2015 10:57 am

You said: “I will never change your mind no matter how many facts I post. So believe whatever you want to believe.”
We won’t know if you posted facts, since you didn’t provide any supporting evidence. You rarely do, so therefore you can’t claim that I will never change my mind, since I require evidence to do so.
You said: “Your comments avoid my central point: that the people affected should decide whether they would be willing to put up with your purported number of deaths from coal ….”
MY purported??? The study was carried out by a top Chinese university, not me. As far as the people affected by coal deciding about coal, I guess you don’t follow news about China. The primary reason that China is taking these steps is the overwhelming pollution problems they have, problems that have caused the Chinese people to protest new plants:
China is moving away from coal, that’s why their coal use declined last year. It’s true they are building new coal plants still, but at a far lower rate than in the past.
And as far as the reasons for coal plants being shut down, no, it’s because coal is not cost competitive with wind and natural gas. I fully agree that a dirty, polluting coal plant produces cheaper power, but most of us value clean air – perhaps that doesn’t matter to you.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 28, 2015 1:19 pm

Chris May 28, 2015 at 10:57 am
Chris said:
“I fully agree that a dirty, polluting coal plant produces cheaper power, but most of us value clean air – perhaps that doesn’t matter to you.”
You two have been amusing me for days. But one thing I don’t understand. I lived downwind of a number of coal power plants for 13 years in Alberta (although some have been decommissioned for years now). I am assuming that they had proper stack scrubbers because the only effect I ever noticed was increased precipitation down wind from the released water vapour. In the winter, an extra 30 cm of snow in the shadow of the plants that extended several miles. Same as the Saskatchewan river put extra snow starting about 2 km away from the river bank.
The department of environment and the plants had continuous monitoring systems to ensure they maintained acceptable emissions. It isn’t pollution free, but coal plant have to reduce their emissions in Alberta:
People talk about “dirty” coal, but all I ever saw was water vapour though there certainly were some times that emissions peaks occurred. But not like what you see in China so I can only assume coal is “dirty” there because they are not using clean coal technologies. But maybe I just don’t understand. Like I don’t understand replacing coal with wood, especially when there is so much natural gas at a good price.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 28, 2015 2:25 pm

Chris says:
We won’t know if you posted facts, since you didn’t provide any supporting evidence. You rarely do…&etc.
So you missed the map I posted upthread? That’s factual evidence, and it’s pretty hard to miss.
I could post reams of evidence, but as I pointed out, nothing will convince you. Because if you truly wanted evidence, Wayne Delbeke posted first-hand observations above. The only ’emissions’ from the coal plant is CO2 — hardly something to object about.
On net balance, more CO2 is beneficial to the biosphere. It is completely harmless at current levels, and there is no evidence that at any projected level it will cause any harm. We know that the rise in CO2 is measurably greening the planet.
Next, China is still building power plants, and they aren’t going to stop. Thus, “China is moving away from coal” is nonsense. Pollution is a big problem in China. But they have the technology to fix it. Whether they do or not is up to them.
This article is about ethics, and as I see it the most ethical thing we can do is to build more clean coal plants, because they provide the cheapest power of any fossil fuel. So let’s extend my suggestion to Americans:
Let’s debate the cost/benefits of new power plants, and then let the local affected population make the decision. That’s ethical, no? I would be willing to bet that the majority of voters would want coal power at well under 10¢ a kilowatt hour, versus other kinds of power at 15¢ – 20¢ per kwh — or ‘alternative’ energy at 25¢++ per kwh.
Shall we ask them? Or do you know better than the local folks who are paying the bills?

Reply to  dbstealey
May 29, 2015 7:19 am

Then you are fortunate to live near a power plant that has invested in highly efficient scrubbers. Whether it captures everything except for water vapor and CO2, I do not know. I just know that in many places – such as China – the air is terribly polluted, and coal fired power plants are a major contributor:
Regarding your facts, yes, I am aware that coal plants are being shut down. Of course, your “facts” blame all of the closings on the EPA, ignoring the fact that many older plants are being closed because they are no longer cost effective – inefficient boilers, unsupported equipment, etc. Many are being converted to natural gas because that is more cost effective. I’m still waiting for your evidence that coal with all costs included (health and environment) is cheaper than other power sources. And I’m still waiting for which general news site you consider to be fair and unbiased.

Reply to  Chris
May 29, 2015 8:05 am

No. Name the coal plants being changed to nat. gas. Is not happening.
The coal plants are being shut down because of the newer EPA restrictions deliberately want them to be shutdown, regardless of service lifetime left. Those coal plants staying open are getting energy-improving upgrades – most of which improvements are wasted in the back end with added tens of millions in energy-sucking new construction for the mercury exchange plants.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 29, 2015 9:50 am

Chris says:
Of course, your “facts” blame all of the closings on the EPA
No need for the scare quotes, it is a fact that the EPA is mandating closing all those power plants. And for what?
If it was simply a case of obsolete equipment, new plants would be built. Because coal power produces about the cheapest electricity there is.
Defend the EPA all you want, Chris. But they are anti-consumer, anti-free enterprise, anti-science, and anti-American. Every action they take demonstrates that.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 29, 2015 10:42 am

Chris May 29, 2015 at 7:19 am
Then you are fortunate to live near a power plant that has invested in highly efficient scrubbers. Whether it captures everything except for water vapor and CO2, I do not know.
Whoa – both you and db have put put words in my mouth. NOTHING is non-polluting depending on your point of view and measurement capabilities. All coal power plants put of particulate matter, mercury, NOX, SOX, etc. and we can measure it to ppb. The point was that new plants and upgraded plants with modern monitoring systems do a great job of keeping emissions within new standards and the “pollution plume” is small and mostly undetectable except to extremely good instruments. Water vapour is all the public sees. Natural Gas, nuclear, wind farms, solar, wood, charcoal – all have associated pollution.
China has been installing highly efficient power plants and pollution control systems. Whether they maintain them is another question, but they know they have a problem and they say they are dealing with it.
This may be a propaganda piece, but it is worth a read:
Carry On”” Discussing,

Reply to  dbstealey
May 29, 2015 11:03 am

I’m an American who has lived in Asia for 18 years, and I have seen first hand the impact of toothless government enforcement of environmental laws – or no laws at all. Coal without external factors is indeed cheaper than other sources of energy. With them factored in, it is not – you’re just flat out wrong. You rail against subsidies for wind and solar but seem to be perfectly fine with the external costs (environmental and health) of coal. Not very sporting.
Wayne, I’ll look at your article. Natural gas is much much cleaner than coal in regards to emissions, I agree with you on wood and biomass.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 29, 2015 7:37 pm

Chris says:
You rail against subsidies for wind and solar but seem to be perfectly fine with the external costs (environmental and health) of coal.
Well, Chris, you obviously haven’t read many of my comments. I’ve consistently stated that I am opposed to all subsidies. Let’s cut them all out, and let the market decide.
As for the ‘health’ costs of coal, there aren’t any, at least in the U.S. As for China, that’s their problem. If you want to go on that crusade, have at it.
I get tired of the enviros who have no skin in the game, trying to tell owners what they can’t do with their land. You may not be aware of it, but mountains are not valuable real estate because they aren’t flat land. When a mountain is leveled as the coal is extracted, what is left is more valuable. Flat land is more valuable than hillsides. That’s a fact.
So, what do you say? Shall we eliminate all subsidies for all power generation? I’m all for that. What say you?

Reply to  dbstealey
May 31, 2015 9:43 am

RACook said: “No. Name the coal plants being changed to nat. gas. Is not happening.”
A quote from this article:
“According to SNL Financial, at least 29 coal power plants located in 10 states have been converted to natural gas or biomass power facilities in the last four years, National Geographic reported. Now another 54 coal units are slated for renovation in the same way throughout the next decade.”

Reply to  dbstealey
May 31, 2015 9:54 am

dbstealey said: “As for the ‘health’ costs of coal, there aren’t any, at least in the U.S.”
I cited a study that concluded that the external costs of coal are $330-500B/year. If you can cite a study to refute that, please do. Here’s a hint: just saying the words “there aren’t any health costs” is not science, it’s an unsubstantiated opinion.
You said: “You may not be aware of it, but mountains are not valuable real estate because they aren’t flat land. When a mountain is leveled as the coal is extracted, what is left is more valuable. Flat land is more valuable than hillsides. That’s a fact.”
That may be the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard. As usual, you provide 0 supporting documentation for your position. Here is a paper on the impact of mountain top removal:
One quote from the paper: “An Eastern Kentucky University study found that children in Letcher County, Kentucky, suffer from an alarmingly high rate of nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and shortness of breath, symptoms related to blue babe syndrome.12 The reason for these symptoms has been traced back to sedimentation and dissolved minerals that have drained from mine sites into nearby streams.1
It’s truly shameful to call mountain top removal a beneficial process.

Reply to  dbstealey
May 31, 2015 2:51 pm

Remember what Barbara said?
“Since when did death certificates list coal as a cause of death?”
Your “study” is speculation. You are doing the usual “prove a negative for me” by demanding a ‘study’ that shows… what, exactly? A list of people who didn’t die from coal?
Next, you quoted me. That’s good:
You may not be aware of it, but mountains are not valuable real estate because they aren’t flat land. When a mountain is leveled as the coal is extracted, what is left is more valuable. Flat land is more valuable than hillsides. That’s a fact.
And that is a fact. But you say:
That may be the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard… It’s truly shameful to call mountain top removal a beneficial process.
Then you’ve led a mighty sheltered existence. Flat land is much more valuable than mountain tops. You don’t need to be a real estate broker (I was one for 30+ years) to know that. Just look at what’s for sale. Compare flat land with mountainsides.
My family is from West Virginia, and we visited there often enough to see what removing mountaintops does. It is a net benefit. As usual, you’re using a strawman fallacy to bring up pollution that would not be tolerated today.
Societies get wealthy the fastest with cheap electricity. Coal is the cheapest (natgas is close, but that supply will not last nearly as long). And the wealthier a society is, the more it spends on pollution abatement. As usual, the eco-crowd has its economics uside down and backward.
On balance (which is my main argument) coal power is a net benefit to society. But you seem to believe that if a problem occurs, it is insurmountable and everything should stop at that point. You ignore the fact that across the board, people are living much longer, healthier lives. Cheap electricity is a big factor in that. You also ignore the interests of the affected local population. What, you know better than they do what they want?
The media drumbeat demonizing “carbon”, by which they mean both CO2 and coal, has colonized your mind to the point that you cannot see any benefits from cheap electricity. Coal has got to go. Isn’t that about it? Isn’t that what you’re saying?

Reply to  dbstealey
May 31, 2015 2:58 pm

By chance, I just found this picture of West Virginia. Do you think that’s preferable to coal powered electricity?
Notice that the mountaintops were flattened for the concrete anchors…

Reply to  dbstealey
May 31, 2015 3:07 pm
Reply to  dbstealey
May 31, 2015 9:01 pm

You said the Harvard study is speculation. No, it is not – you clearly don’t understand how science works. By your way of thinking, we’ll never be able to determine whether air pollution, smoking, obesity or any other factor causes death or illness unlike, say, a gunshot wound. That’s a laughable assertion and totally unscientific. You’re free to come up with a study that refutes this, but you won’t – you’re all about words without supporting science.
To your point about flat land being more valuable – please evidence of mountaintop removal sites that have transacted for a higher price than the non flattened mountains nearby. Since you used to be in property, this should be easy for you to do.
As far as “giving the people what they want” – what they want is clean air, both in China and the US. You act as if the points I made about mountain top removal pollution are from the past, That type of mining only became prevalent in the 1970s, so my data is current. If you want to refuse to accept facts, that’s your prerogative. But you’ve provided no data to refute what I’ve said, let’s be clear on that. A paper which looks at the overall impact of MTR is here:
To your last photo of wind turbines, the footprint for the concrete pads is tiny compared to the 2,200 square miles that have been flattened by MTR.

Reply to  dbstealey
June 1, 2015 9:40 am

Hi Chris,
You’re obviously getting upset. Sorry about that. But the reason is clear: you aren’t responding to my points or answering any questions. Instead, you are avoiding the fact that you want to over rule the desires of the local residents who are most affected. And you still demand that I must prove a negative; to produce a ‘study’ that indicates the number of people who did not die from coal emissions. The link you provided is unconvincing, because the authors’ agenda is crystal clear.
Next, when I pointed out a plain fact that any real estate broker would tell you — that flat land is far more valuable, and thus costs more than a mountaintop or mountainside land, you wrote:
“That may be the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard.”
I could take the time to do a little research and prove conclusively it is a fact that people prefer flat land. I used to do research like that all the time, hoping that basic common sense answers would be convincing. But your mind is closed, Chris. You wouldn’t accept it if I got the National Association of Realtors to send you a personal letter assuring you that an acre on a mountain top costs less on average than an acre of flat valley land. Your response makes it clear that nothing can convince you. Like Orwell’s Winston Smithl, if the government says that 2 + 2 = 5, that makes it true.
I’ve suggested before that we just forget it. You will never admit that coal power has been beneficial. You will never admit that cheap electricity produces wealth sufficient to tackle pollution problems, and that the richer a country is, the cleaner its environment is. Your mind has been corralled by the media narrative of ‘coal = bad. Windmills = good.’ That is exactly contrary to reality. It is just like the ‘carbon’ scare: CO2 has caused no known harm, it is as necessary for life on earth as H2O, and the planet is measurably greening due to the rise in CO2.
None of those facts matter. It is amusing to an observer watching someone try to make an arguement that mountaintops are more valuable than flat land, or that coal power has not been one of the greatest benefits of modern society. You really don’t realize that you are just parroting the media’s narrative. I suppose you also send your dollars to one or more ‘green’ organizations. That really causes some amusement: neither Greenpeace, nor any others will allow an outside audit of their finances. I have no doubt whatever that they use your money for living the high life, and view dues payers as chumps. Rubes, who believe their eco-BS. When the regular as clockwork stories appear showing their flagrant mismanagement and waste of dues money, just like Leon Festinger’s Seekers, you probably double down and send them even more money.
If you could do it, Chris, I would suggest trying to take a step beck, and looking objectively at the situation. Everything we are told by political, media, or enviro organizations has an ulterior motive. Everything. Currently, the enviros are the worst offenders. And they have pushed folks like you into unsupportable positions: you don’t want to allow local residents a say in their lives, if it conflicts with your beliefs. Your ideas about land values are simply nutty. You cannot admit that there are any benefits to cheap coal-powered electricity. Your position is that coal has got to go. Isn’t that what you’re saying?
The things you’re trying to convince people are true just won’t fly here, Chris. I know you believe them, probably sincerely. But people used to believe their tribe’s witch doctor, too. There’s really no difference. Human nature is the same, and modern day witch doctors have folks figured out.
So let’s just forget it. You could easily convince me by producing real evidence showing global harm from the rise in CO2. Or by producing even a single measurement quantifying AGW. Or by making a couple of alarming predictions that actually come true. If you did any of those things, I would re-consider. You could convince me.
But there is nothing that can change your mind, is there? Nothing can convince you. Certainly common sense arguments don’t have any effect. It sure sounds like religious conviction to me, when obvious facts like land values are rejected as being “preposterous” simply because they don’t support the Narrative.

Gard R. Rise
Reply to  mike hamblet
May 23, 2015 4:53 pm

Coal power is very problematic for a number of reasons; none of them having anything to do with burning a fossil fuel source and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. (That is probably just beneficial for plant life). Coal needs to be transported in very large quantities to the power plants; for non-coastal regions and areas far from suitable harbors it must be hauled long distances by rail or river barge. For Africa, the infrastructure is not yet there for large-scale coal transport. Africa must go nuclear, now.
Solar power may be used for heating water, non-essential electric lighting, smaller household equipment maybe, but it can certainly not drive an industrial economy (or in fact, any economy). Coal may probably be much more useful for India and other nations with a high-capacity railroad network.

Reply to  Gard R. Rise
May 23, 2015 5:00 pm

Oh dear. You must not have heard of high voltage transmission.

Gard R. Rise
Reply to  Gard R. Rise
May 23, 2015 5:18 pm

Oh dear. I think you may have missed the point.

Reply to  Gard R. Rise
May 23, 2015 5:31 pm

Gard – You say that “Coal needs to be transported in very large quantities to the power plants”. Um, you obviously don’t know, or are studiously avoiding the fact that many power stations are built right next to coal (or gas) deposits to sensibly avoid the transport costs of which you speak. As AP points out, high voltage transmission lines are far less expensive and easier to build than rail lines. And as far as Africa “going nuclear, now”, they have coal, and the US and the UN have made nuclear unaffordable by safety regulations, so guess what they are doing – acting rationally. This is what happens in the real world, I don’t know what happens in green fairyland.

Gard R. Rise
Reply to  Gard R. Rise
May 23, 2015 7:56 pm

Many people seem to be assuming a level of infrastructure that is simply not there for most African localities. There’s a difference between Johannesburg and Timbuktu. African nations would probably want to have some power security; they can’t be expected to want to import electricity from other countries; they would want their own power plants. They would probably want relatively smaller-sized power plants, located in different parts of their countries. I don’t know why high voltage lines keep popping up here, since they are pretty much a prerequisite for electrifying an area anyway. An enormous investment in high voltage lines would be required for Africa whether they are going to import or produce themselves.
The suggestion seems to be coal power for Africa? Well, then they are going to need an extensive rail network. Hauling coal from the mine to be burnt in a coal power plant is a tremendous strain on any rail network, be it in China, USA or Germany. It would be the same in Africa. I am not against a massive expansion of the African rail network, on the contrary, but I am adamant it will be needed if Africa’s going to be powered by coal power. I am of the opinion that smaller-sized nuclear reactors would be better for Africa.
I found a bit of statistics on the Association of American Railroads; for the year 2013 about 40% of the freight carried was coal, greatly outclassing any other commodity.
( I Railroad Statistics.pdf)
I agree that it is best to look at the real world. In the real world; power plants are not always built or maintained close to the mines; otherwise there would be no need to devote something like 40% of the rail network to coal transport.

Reply to  Gard R. Rise
May 23, 2015 8:10 pm

Gard R. Rise

Hauling coal from the mine to be burnt in a coal power plant is a tremendous strain on any rail network, be it in China, USA or Germany. It would be the same in Africa. I am not against a massive expansion of the African rail network, on the contrary, but I am adamant it will be needed if Africa’s going to be powered by coal power. I am of the opinion that smaller-sized nuclear reactors would be better for Africa.

Africa (as a whole) does not have the culture (yet) and infrastructure and morality (too much corruption, theft, murder, and embellezment) to safely support a nuclear power industry. Welders, inspectors, engineers, operators could (eventually) be trained. Some – perhaps even most – might be capable. Pipe, weld wire, concrete, rebar, copper, meters and instruments and raw materials, cranes, trucks, insulators, fiber optic, connectors, solder, PC boards, glass, pipe hangers, bolts, nuts, …. They can’t afford to import them all – and they can’t make these locally to even “water pipe” levels of QA. They have no roads and the “stuff” to make the lousy concrete good enough for even pedestrian bridges. And the rulers and tribal warlords would embezzle and corrupt the process. You could NOT run it safely nor build it properly without armed guards at every road – and those come under each local warlord and crook.

Gard R. Rise
Reply to  Gard R. Rise
May 23, 2015 8:55 pm

There are indeed enormous challenges. Nuclear for Africa looked like it had brighter prospects when the South African PBMR-project based on the Jülich design was still up and running. The Chinese are having progress with their HTR-PM program; I suppose they could cooperate with their BRICS friend South Africa on developing an inherently safe modular reactor for African conditions and needs…

Reply to  Gard R. Rise
May 24, 2015 12:55 pm

Gard R. Rise,
I agree with your interest in building nuclear power plants.
But I gotta say, none of your anti-coal arguments are convincing.

Gard R. Rise
Reply to  Gard R. Rise
May 24, 2015 2:44 pm

Basically, I would like to object to the idea that developing nations need to go the same way that the most industrial nations, or China recently did, by going all in on coal. We should begin to see coal power as a power source of the past; the nuclear age has foolishly been delayed for more than half a century. Coal transport is cumbersome to handle for any economy, especially in comparison with nuclear fuel, but if I am not able to be clearer on the subject for people to be convinced, I suppose I will have to leave it at that.
After all the fakery concerning carbon dioxide has been removed from the issue of coal power, there are still several real environmental concerns. There is for instance the issue of extensive amounts of water needed for extracting/washing/transporting coal, there is the land use issue, especially with open-pit mining, there is the issue of heavy metal contamination from coal ash and tailings among others.
State-of-the-art coal power extraction, transport and combustion all over the line might mitigate many, or all these problems, but then we are looking at high costs. I am not suggesting that coal power should be completely shut down, there will be many locations where coal would be a good or even ideal alternative. But as a driver for future economies, nuclear will work better.

Reply to  mike hamblet
May 23, 2015 5:03 pm

Do some calculations on the size of a COMPLETLY off grid Wind turbine or solar panel that will provide power for 1. keeping a camper size refrigerator cold enough to keep food safe to eat 2. heat one meal on a hotplate and bake a loaf of bread, each day of the week. 3. Power a basic radio/tv for one hour of news. and Charge a cellphone, power two low power LED lamps, Run a pump long enough to pump enough water for drinking and cooking and necessary sanitary hand/body washing. (that is no bath, no shower) 5. feel free to add anything else you think they need to have an acceptable life. 6. do not forget that very few, if any areas of population have 365 days of sun/wind that will provide above 33% of name plate power output and even fewer will not be subject to 4, 5 or more periods of a week or more with no wind or sun. (you need to factor that into the size of the battery and or storage size of the water tank)
Just a basic calculation will show that the poor person could not afford either the power source (Wind turbine or solar panel) let alone the battery. If he could what happens when the battery goes dead and his food is ruined?
I have a cabin in northern Washington state. There have been times when there in the summer that I did not get enough power from my solar panel, that covered the whole roof, to charge my cell phone let alone power a light bulb.

Jason Calley
Reply to  usurbrain
May 23, 2015 7:56 pm

Hey usurbrain! My off-grid experience has been similar to yours. I have photovoltaics and often find them very usable and helpful — but use them without fossil fueled generators for backup? No way! Could I simply increase the size of my solar power system and use it exclusively? Sure I could, but it would be prohibitively expensive, and for some poor person in a second or third world situation, it would be financially impossible.
Wind power and solar power are great ideas for very limited and particular situations, but for most homes, especially in densely populated areas, conventional grid power (whether fossil, or nuclear) is the only practical answer.

Russ Wood
Reply to  usurbrain
May 25, 2015 11:26 am

In a sunny coastal town in South Africa, one guy built his house totally off-grid. There is a turbine, solar panels, borehole water – and a room full of batteries, This cost him about 5 million Rand – about 8 years’ pay for (say) an engineer. Nope – not a solution!

Reply to  Russ Wood
May 25, 2015 12:15 pm

That seems about right. A friend built one with 6 of the large lead-acid batteries like you would see at the phone company years ago (may still use them) and solar. Cost him over $30,000, it did cut his electric bill to about 1/4. However, he had to stay connected as it did not have enough capacity for a freezer and AC. and would run down in about 4 days, with only necessary loads. Would probably suffice in Africa outback.

Reply to  mike hamblet
May 24, 2015 2:29 am

“mike hamblet
May 23, 2015 at 3:43 pm”
You seem to have little idea about the daliy struggle of most Africans. What’s that I hear you say, solar plants? Why, where would such a “solar power” company get enough land to construct a plant? Of course, by forcing native peoples off their traditional lands that’s how and that’s what is happening right now. I am confident that these people, forced off their land, will in no uncertain terms tell you where to “shove” that solar power plant because they cannot eat a solar power plant. Build a solar power plant in rural Ethiopia, or grow teff? Tough choice, but I’d know where the locals would put their money!

David Chappell
Reply to  mike hamblet
May 24, 2015 6:57 am

Where do the materials to make solar installations come from – the waving of a magic wand? And what about the disposal of highly toxic solar panels when their short working life comes to an end?

Reply to  mike hamblet
May 24, 2015 7:07 am

“mike hamblet
May 23, 2015 at 3:43 pm”
You don’t have a clue what you are talking about. I doubt you heard that, native peoples are being forced off their traditional lands, in favour of “solar farms”? Last time I was in Ethiopia, people wanted to eat teff, not a “solar farm”.

Clovis Marcus
Reply to  mike hamblet
May 24, 2015 9:55 am

Here’s a solar panel mine.
Leave it in the ground.comment image

Reply to  Clovis Marcus
May 24, 2015 12:35 pm

The have other pits like this for the rare earth minerals needed for the “New” more efficient, etc. Wind turbines. And they are all in countries with no regulations on what to do with the spoils or tailings or even the hole in the ground once depleted. All left to infect and sicken the poor, again, in a new area.
Helps the green agenda in two ways, more renewable energy, lower population.
Are the govornments pushing this agenda brain dead or just drinking water contaminated by this pit mines?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  mike hamblet
May 24, 2015 3:18 pm

Mike H
Thermoacoustic power is much more efficient than offgrid solar and greatly out-powers the competing technologies (thermo+electric generators). TAG will make solar PV obsolete.

Bruce Cobb
May 23, 2015 3:43 pm

But, but, think of the children! And the grandchildren!

Leonard Lane
May 23, 2015 4:00 pm

Someday all who caused this poverty-energy situation will be called to account for treating their brothers and sisters this way–to leave them to suffer and die in horrible conditions that could be saved with a small fraction, say 10 -20%, of what we are wasting on the rich and powerful who profit from the ban on usable power to the world’s poor. Not only those who profit, but also those who vote for radical leftists/greens, those who look the other way because they are afraid of the global warming bullies, those who do nothing–all will be responsible for this horrible poverty, suffering, and premature deaths.
This is possible the best essay I have seen on WUWT and certainly the most important.
Thank you so much Mr. Lyman, and may God bless you.

Just Steve
Reply to  Leonard Lane
May 23, 2015 5:09 pm

Sadly, I doubt anyone will be held accountable in the end.
Progressives and liberals are experts at seperating themselves from themselves. Current examples, our crumbling cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Camden, etc. These festering cesspools have had one party political domination for over 50 years, so they are the poster children for unchecked liberal ideas and philosophies. Baltimore has a Democrat mayor, 100% Democrat city council, and have since the 50s. Yet, do they bear the brunt of the blame for their current problems? No. Republicans are to blame!! Rich white people are to blame because….racism or something, because they don’t want even more of their money taken at gunpoint by the powers that be.
Liberals never fail. They just need more time and more money. On the subject at hand, i wouldn’t doubt some brain dead progressive thinks we just need to send everyone around the world a Tesla Powerwall. Critical thinking about said idea optional.

Reply to  Just Steve
May 23, 2015 8:14 pm

Progressives confuse (intentionally or not) critical thinking with critical theory.

Reply to  Just Steve
May 24, 2015 12:28 pm

Look at how many died because they could not use DDT. And don’t give me a retort that there was no law against it, the rich nations would not buy any food product grown/raised in a country that used DDT thus, essentially, making it impossible to use DDT – same effect and 10s, of millions DIED.

Reply to  Just Steve
May 24, 2015 4:58 pm

Usurbrain: additionally, the manufacture of DDT was banned in industrialized countries, and Africa had no manufacturing facilities. Rather like one of the lastest ploys on gun control in the US – individuals have a Constitutional right to own guns, but there is no Constitutional right to manufacture them.

Bob Lyman
Reply to  Leonard Lane
June 1, 2015 12:07 pm

Leonard Lane, Thank you for your kind comments.

May 23, 2015 4:01 pm

The “free” energy from solar and wind power will save the poor /sarc

Reply to  tobyglyn
May 23, 2015 8:25 pm

“Kraft macht Frei!”

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
May 24, 2015 4:45 am

Entschuldigen, käse nur verursacht Verstopfung.

May 23, 2015 4:05 pm

Perhaps another way of looking at this fraud is to assess the CAGW iconography used by the MSM to bamboozle the people.
Like SLR, droughts, floods, tornadoes, increase in extreme events, decrease in polar ice, changes in ENSO, recent rate of temp change worldwide, polar bear numbers post 1950, flooding of coral atolls, etc.
Amazingly there is nothing unusual or unprecedented about any of these icons when compared to the last 100/ 1,000 or 10,000 years. Just check out the PR studies at co2 Science for example and the many posts over the years at WUWT and numerous other blogs.

George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA
May 23, 2015 4:15 pm

The green agenda has ALWAYS been about the affluent elite benefiting from its policies and the rest of the world condemned to medieval serfdom. Just like the Medieval Kings, Lord and Barrons, the modern greeniys war cry is “Know they place.”

May 23, 2015 4:17 pm

Another aspect is that nuclear energy is and has been the only new technology which has actually reduced CO2 emission- because it’s dependable source of electrical power. Hydro power is the oldest means of making electrical power without very much CO2 emission [usually requires making a lot cement].
So it’s given that we should making as many hydro dams as possible- far more significant than “green” alternative energy.
But also all countries which signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, has the “the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.”
Let’s take the right to vote. It does not mean anything if people have to go thousands of miles in order to vote. So countries are incapable of making safe and cost efficient nuclear power plants, they deprived of right given them for signing this agreement. If would like a government not having polling booth near voters- one made their right to vote meaningless because of the difficulty involve. Whereas with poor countries it’s more matter being difficult
it’s closer to impossible.
So if global warming was not about making useless wind mills, and instead about following the treaty that US and other countries signed, then actually reduce CO2 emissions and encourage members to remain within the restraints of the treaty and want all other countries to follow it. Or treaty becomes relevant for poorer nations.

May 23, 2015 4:19 pm

Ethics ?
I was required to attend seminars to instill “ethics” into me, in order to keep my Illinois Land Surveyor License.
What a joke. After a 4.5 hour drive, lodging and seminar fees, I walked out with the same values I walked in with.
The presumption that I needed the “training”, was more a reflection on those that made the rule, than those required to abide by it, in my opinion.

George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA
Reply to  u.k.(us)
May 23, 2015 4:28 pm

Ditto for the Texas Professional Geoscientist license when I lived there. Luckily, living in Houston, I only had to drive for 30 to 50 minutes (depending on traffic). Think of the extra carbon footprint such requirements make.

Reply to  u.k.(us)
May 23, 2015 8:27 pm

Just think of it as attending a re-education camp.

May 23, 2015 4:26 pm

According to George Carlin, the reason we have the poor is to keep the middle class in fear of becoming poor. In this regard the green strategy is exemplar in ensuring the middle class is not only afraid of the increasing number of poor that green policies create but also remain in fear of weather destroying their environment and standard of living.
In other words you could call the green strategy a double barrel fear strategy in support of the top 10%.

Reply to  Alx
May 23, 2015 8:29 pm

But then why is concern about climate change always toward the bottom of many [polls]?

May 23, 2015 4:29 pm

The simple logic is overwhelming! When will the madness end?

May 23, 2015 4:37 pm

From Wikipedia –
I = PAT is the lettering of a formula put forward to describe the impact of human activity on the environment.
I = P × A × T
In words:
Human Impact (I) on the environment equals the product of P= Population, A= Affluence, T= Technology. This describes how growing population, affluence, and technology contribute toward our environmental impact.
The equation was developed in the 1970s during the course of a debate between Barry Commoner, Paul R. Ehrlich and John Holdren. Commoner argued that environmental impacts in the United States were caused primarily by changes in its production technology following World War II, while Ehrlich and Holdren argued that all three factors were important and emphasized in particular the role of human population growth.
John Paul Holdren (born March 1, 1944) is the senior advisor to President Barack Obama on science and technology issues through his roles as Assistant to the …

Reply to  usurbrain
May 23, 2015 5:55 pm

Interesting, I have seen that one around from time to time.
Commoner, Ehrlich, and Holdren in a debate, no less. No doubt competing to see who can offer up the most scary scenario. And what they came up with is I = P * A * T.
I think most people here would agree that enviromental impacts goes down with increasing technology.
So if you can abide the “aroma” of such a simplistic construct, I offer up
I = P * A / T. It might be a bit more realistic.
In addition, anybody who thinks a low tech/no tech lifestyle is enviromentally benign, could contemplate what a tropical rainforest looks like when the population uses charcoal for cooking. (Haiti)
The original formulation I = P * A * T holds technology harmful, and underpins the Left’s desire to deindustrialize the west. It is also a statement as to why the Left idolizes the peasant life.
Good find, usurbrain.

Reply to  TonyL
May 23, 2015 6:34 pm


So if you can abide the “aroma” of such a simplistic construct, I offer up
I = P * A / T. It might be a bit more realistic.
In addition, anybody who thinks a low tech/no tech lifestyle is environmentally benign, could contemplate what a tropical rainforest looks like when the population uses charcoal for cooking.

Thus – By observation – and with NO exceptions found across history:
ONLY affluent civilizations CAN AFFORD to protect the environment
ONLY affluent, technology-high civilizations ARE ABLE to protect the environment,
ALL affluent, technology-intense civilizations reduce population growth to “below sustainable” levels within decades of “attaining their affluence” …
ALL (western, Euro/Christian culture) affluent, technology-intense civilizations treasure human life, improve life, health, and lifetimes while improving human lifestyle during that longer life ….
Now, with that known, what is the actual formula for Pollution levels, affluence, population, and technology?

Reply to  TonyL
May 24, 2015 2:57 am

In addition, anybody who thinks a low tech/no tech lifestyle is enviromentally benign, could contemplate what a tropical rainforest looks like when the population uses charcoal for cooking. (Haiti)

Or what happened in Greece over the 2012-2013 winter when so many could not afford heating costs. They chopped down 13,500 tons of trees for fuel.

Reply to  usurbrain
May 23, 2015 6:13 pm

Algebra in liberal art class. No problem. Just multiply.

Reply to  rd50
May 23, 2015 8:32 pm

But they would have to use a calculator AP on their cellphone.

May 23, 2015 4:39 pm

Green ethics? Here is a video of me reading this article.

Just Steve
Reply to  Max Photon
May 23, 2015 4:53 pm

Green ethics….the penultimate oxymoron.
Or, as my favorite cartoon character would say…oxymaroon.

Reply to  Just Steve
May 23, 2015 7:36 pm

What’s the ultimate?

May 23, 2015 4:53 pm

” Power markets have become so distorted that wind farms in the UK and in Ontario, for instance, have been paid millions to NOT produce electricity.”
Would appreciate additional info, more details, a link…..

Reply to  kokoda
May 23, 2015 7:56 pm

Try: Tom Adams Energy @
Site has a link to contact him directly.

David Chappell
Reply to  kokoda
May 24, 2015 7:05 am

For the UK over the last 5 years see

May 23, 2015 5:18 pm

BBC’s “In the Balance” focuses on the economics, and displays as much BALANCE as BBC’s CAGW science “debates”:
BBC’s Simon Jack introduces panellists, including Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, one of the countries right at the “COAL FACE” of this problem. (De Brum is not included in the summary below).
Christiana Figueres gets the first question. says at one point “the planet might continue after us”. Gurria gets the second: “inaction is more expensive than ANY course of action”.
Simon Jack to the audience: who thinks that what’s good for the planet is good for business? basically everyone puts their hands up.
Jack singles out audience member who just happens to be the Chief Exec of Carbon Tracker who says when we crunch the financial analysis(sic), it is telling us the things that are good at addressing climate change are good for shareholders. and, increasingly, investments & projects that are bad for climate change, are destroying shareholder value, YOUR PENSION, MY PENSION…
the finale 50 mins 45:
SIMON JACK: it’s worth reflecting here that not everyone agrees with the premise of this summit. a couple of messages.
listener from Qld: what a hoax, it’s a lot of nonsense;
from a Texan: this big world is ever-changing, i doubt if man has anything to do with it.
JACK: and another directed at our organisation: when will the BBC understand we are sick and tired (A PANELLIST SNIGGERS)of this alarmist nonsense, peddling of non-solutions to non-existent problems and deliberately scaring the scientifically-ignorant with biased panels that ignore the real issues.
JACK: i’m sure that’s not directed to this panel. turns to World Bank’s Rachel Kyte:
KYTE: the science is overwhelmingly in consensus. the economics are now inccreasingly compelling, the question is where is the political action to come from.
AUDIO: 55 mins: 23 May: BBC “In the Balance”: Climate Change: The Business End
If you could put one question to key business leaders and policy people on climate change, what would it be? We put your questions and get you some answers at the Paris climate summit where our guests include Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Angel Gurria of the OECD, John Danilovich Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, the CEOs of Schneider Electric (Jean-Pascal Tricoire) and Solvay chemicals and the World Bank’s Rachel Kyte.
(Photo: A wind power generator)
BBC has a broadcasting ethics problem.

Reply to  pat
May 24, 2015 4:22 am

Here’s a download link, assuming that Americans can download without a VPN:
Christiana Figueres’ answer to the first question is just preposterous!

Reply to  pat
May 24, 2015 4:27 am

The finale that Pat notes above occurs around 46 minutes on this podcast.

May 23, 2015 5:32 pm

Excellent article. Being “green” means keeping undeserving people in poverty, such logical thinking. Meanwhile, save the planet for those who are deemed worthy, just let the rest die. This thought process is delusional, illogical and unethical. This sickness needs to be removed from human society.

john robertson
Reply to  John
May 23, 2015 8:43 pm

Gang Green is gangrene.

May 23, 2015 6:08 pm

23 May: UK Telegraph: Christopher Booker: With David Cameron and Amber Rudd, we are looking at a long, cold future
The Government’s policy on decarbonising our economy remains a complete and utter fantasy
Two events last week confirmed that, in appointing his new Government, David Cameron made a catastrophic misjudgment by putting our energy policy in the charge of a minister who believes that only by “decarbonising” our economy can we avert the awful disaster of global warming. Our new Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd, is wholly committed to both these beliefs, saying that her highest priority will be the signing of that proposed global “climate treaty” in Paris next December.
One of these events was the announcement that yet another of our large coal-fired power stations, Ferrybridge in Yorkshire, is shortly to close, thanks to the way George Osborne’s “carbon tax” – five times higher than any other in Europe – is making coal, otherwise by far the cheapest source of electricity, wholly uncompetitive.
This follows the other recently announced, equally premature closure of the giant 2.4-gigawatts (GW) coal-fired power station at Longannet, the only one left in Scotland…
Last winter we could still rely on coal for a third of all the electricity we needed to keep our lights on: averaging 12.7 gigawatts, far more than any other power source…
But what was also made clearer than ever last week is that this treaty simply isn’t going to happen. China and India, already the first and third largest CO2 emitters in the world, haven’t the faintest intention of agreeing to it. In a recent joint statement, their prime ministers said they would be happy to build lots more “renewable” energy sources, so long as developed nations such as Britain keep their promise by 2020 to pay $100 billion a year to help them to do it…
But at the same time, to help raise their people out of poverty, they plan within five years to build 300 more coal-fired power plants, adding far more CO2 to the atmosphere every year than the total annually emitted by the UK. India alone plans to add 124GW of coal-fired capacity by 2020, more than eight times the entire capacity left in Britain.
So nothing our new Energy and Climate Change Secretary can do will make the slightest difference to the world’s output of CO2…
Last Tuesday afternoon we were still able to depend for nearly 25 per cent of all the electricity we were using on coal, while only a mere 1 per cent was coming from our 4,500 windmills.

Reply to  pat
May 23, 2015 6:31 pm

Are you still using coal in the UK? The Internet is full of sites about Drax importing wood pellets from the USA as well as all new advices for wood (willow) growing practices in the UK to replace coal.
Just great information is available about the UK going to renewable biomass.
We are waiting for you to lead the way. Somebody has to. Then others can follow your lead.

Reply to  rd50
May 23, 2015 7:50 pm

Did I miss the /sarc tag?
There are wholly too many gullible politicians – with no formal science education past 16 [Cameron, say] (Amber Rudd has a history degree) – and a naïve belief that activity equals achievement.
No need to think things through [if they can]; sometimes masterly inactivity is truly the best policy.
Not always – but with the levelling off of temperatures, globally – despite CO2 going gangbusters for a decade and three-quarters – might it not be an option.

Reply to  rd50
May 23, 2015 8:11 pm

To Auto.
You did not miss a /sarc tag.
There is none and no intention of adding one.
I described what the UK is doing, no more and no less.
The UK is leading for renewable biomass replacing coal. No more, no less.
I fully understand that CO2, as very reliably measured and reported (with no homogenization) from Mauna Lua has been increasing steadily and no matching increase in global atmospheric recently temperature for quite a while (name the year span you want).
But if the UK wants to go to renewable biomass, go for it. We will look at your results. No more and no less.

A C Osborn
Reply to  rd50
May 24, 2015 4:15 am

RD50, the we can only assume that you are one of the “Brainwashed”.
You do understand that conversion of large power stations like Drax to Wood Pellets uses twice as much wood as it did coal to produce the same amount of electricity?
You also understand that the trees being cut down in the USA to feed Drax were actually converting CO2 to Oxygen before they were cut down?
I hope you don’t believe that the trees were already cut down for some other use, because that is not true?
You also understand that Coal is CO2 that has been removed from the atmosphere and we will be returning it back where it belongs when we burn it?
You also understand that using Wood Pellets from the USA releases much more CO2 in to the atmosphere than Coal?
You also realise that it costs much more than burning Coal and is only being done using TAX PAYERS MONEY?
You also realise that the result of all this is to make Electricity much more expensive to the Poor?

Reply to  rd50
May 24, 2015 5:56 am

“A C Osborn
May 24, 2015 at 4:15 am”
Well said. But not only that, the energy consumed in chipping trees in America and shipping to DRAX in the UK (A monumentally insane practice) also consumes so much more fuel, “dirty” diesel in ships (Until they get near shore and switch). DRAX sits ontop of a coal field!!!! DRAX supplies ~7% of total power usuage in the UK. That’s a lot! Wood contains less “thermal energy” than coal, by about 1/3rd if memory serves. So, more “carbon matter” needs to be burnt to do the same work. It’s clearly insane politics.
I pitty my relative and friends in the UK because many of them do not recall the rolling blackouts, brownout of the 1970’s, and that *WAS* man made! Wonderful “strikers” at “work” contributed to the UK being brought to it’s knees, resulting, in the end, in the winter of discontent.
Thank Crunchie we had an open fire with a back-boiler and my father stealing wooden pallets from the local industrial estate. Little did he know that such wood was treated (H3) and thus fumes and ash were toxic.

Reply to  rd50
May 24, 2015 7:02 am

rd50 – some more great information:
Regardless of their size, biomass-burning power plants actually produce more global warming CO2 than fossil fuel plants: 150% the CO2 of coal, and 300 to 400% the CO2 of natural gas, per unit of energy produced. In addition, burning wood biomass emits as much if not more air pollution than burning fossil fuels (including coal), i.e. particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, mercury, and other hazardous air pollutants, which can cause cancer or reproductive effects. The air pollution from biomass facilities, which the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association have called a danger to public health, produces respiratory illnesses, heart disease, cancer, and developmental delays in children.

Reply to  rd50
May 24, 2015 5:17 pm

Thank you to all of you who responded to my stating exactly what the UK is doing.
Why did the UK, as one of you wrote, adopted this “insane practice”?
Was this ethical?
It seems like ethical today in this field, as you will find on the numerous Drax sites on the Internet, is when the following words are included:
-decarbonization target
-carbon neutral
-biogenic carbon instead of geologic carbon
-and such sentences as “because sustainable sourced biomass is part of a continuing cycle and not adding new carbon to that cycle”
Never mind the physics, chemistry, biology, geology, statistical analysis etc. in making a decision. Use the above words and you are ethical.
But now, Drax announced that it has abandoned plans to convert their fourth unit to biomass! I wonder why.
Maybe it is because Drax can no longer include the buzz word “Sustainability” to their “insane” idea of wood pellets replacing coal! Yes, go on campus now. New departments, centers, institutes etc. of Sustainability popping up.
So we moved from Global Warming to Climate Change to Sustainability.

Reply to  rd50
May 24, 2015 5:30 pm

To A C Osborn
I understand all these points you made.
So why is the UK doing this? They certainly do not understand what you stated.
The UK has been brainwashing me that burning wood pellets imported from the USA is a great idea to replace burning coal.
UK leads the way in this innovative (some say insane) experiment. I am willing to wait and see.

Russ Wood
Reply to  rd50
May 25, 2015 11:32 am

“Then others can follow your lead” – To freeze?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  pat
May 24, 2015 8:15 pm

Is it true that those 4500 windmills cost about $2,000,000 each (not counting service roads, power lines and maintenance contracts)?
That is $9,000,000,000 for 1% of the UK’s current needs. ‘going renewable’ will cost $900,000,000,000 plus, plus, plus subsidies, and it still won’t work all the time. You will be ensured a job as a peat cutter before this is all flushed aside.
Absolutely barking mad.

May 23, 2015 8:03 pm

Anthropomorphic climate change is a myth elites use to centralize political power, much like whatever reason the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs used to convince the peasants to use their spare time building pyramids.
As such, the plight of the poorest goes into the “accidents happen” file.
Were climate change a genuine problem, any fool can see that the electrification of the worlds poorest few billion would require nuclear power, and set up schemes to build the required power stations, provide them with fuel, and take the waste to centralized handling facilities.

May 23, 2015 8:43 pm

“With every turn of their blade another subsidy paid,
A disguised redistribution of wealth;
The poor pay higher amounts to fund “green” bank accounts,
Enrichment through environmental stealth……”
Read more:

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  rhymeafterrhyme
May 24, 2015 8:53 pm

A proxy for madness, the barking dog said,
All rabid and foamed at the mouth.
Renewable power to light up the hearth?!
This winter, sure, I’m heading south.
Let sleeping dogs lie? They’ve turned off the lights!
The grid has gone all out of tune.
Shall we just sit here idle while rich count their coins
Shall we strive to be warmed by the moon?
It’s a dark night in Scotland when old widows die
For the want of a few measly Watts.
With numb-fingered hands they have put out coal’s fire;
And the gridmen say, ‘That’s all we gots.’
From Plymouth to Tonbridge, ‘cross Hogsback they say,
A great evil is grasping the land:
Ignoring the obvious facts, charts and truths,
They have buried their heads in the sand.
They are thinking that CO2 caused every blip
On the weather chart, winter right through.
“We’ll have subsidised PV and wind for the rich!”
“For the rest? Tough buns! Sucks to be you!!”

Terry Bixler
May 23, 2015 9:47 pm

Clearly it is not about energy but who is in charge. Carbon is the perfect foil as we happen to be carbon life forms and predominately use carbon energy sources. We additionally consume for life carbon based foods. It is no wonder that the attempt is to control carbon.

John F. Hultquist
May 23, 2015 10:40 pm

When I was young, and before that, missionaries would visit our church. They would tell of the poor folks in “under developed” countries and plead for donations so things would get better. I think most of that money never made it to the poor. Has anything gotten better? Perhaps the best thing the developed world has provided is a greater amount of plant food in the atmosphere. It is less easily skimmed than money.

May 23, 2015 11:31 pm

I have a real problem with “activists” who claim their desire to “…save the planet…”! I remind these types that the planet is find, does not need saving and has a shelflife. It will be consumed by the sun when the sun runes out of fuel.

May 23, 2015 11:38 pm

Bob Lyman
You report:
“Fortunately for the developing countries, a new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has been established with major funding from China, which will include funding of new coal projects.”
YES! And China is doing it to obtain both economic and political power.
People need to be reminded that the USA did the same by applying the Marshall Plan to regenerate Europe after WW2. The eventual result was US world dominance.

May 23, 2015 11:41 pm

In my post the quotation should have been in quotation marks. It is
“Fortunately for the developing countries, a new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has been established with major funding from China, which will include funding of new coal projects.”
The following sentence should be bolded.

May 24, 2015 2:02 am

The largest hydro-power plant in Africa is being built in Ethiopia and is quite a bit bigger than Aswan. Downstream countries are a bit worried about water flows. I have travelled in Ethiopia extensively, a totally beautiful experience, food, people, music and culture. On the Blue Nile, Ethipoia, about 75% of the water that used to flow over the “Whispering Falls” is now diverted to hydro-power. I travelled there in 2006/7 and saw brand new shiny galvanised power line pylons carrying power to the capitol, Addis Ababa. I also saw power meters on the walls of the local houses, which were, in effect, little more than a mud huts. So, power is being deployed throughout Ethiopia but that 70% figure of none could be a bit misleading. It is true that power supply is not 100%, 24×7, reliable, but in my experience, nowhere I’ve lived has 100%, 24×7, reliable power supply anyway.
Recently where I live, one phase on the supply went “open circuit”, leaving 5 apartments in the block without power. Given my electical background, took me about 60 minutes or more to convice Ausgrid (Maintains the wires and poles in the street) workers, and to actually get them to attend, that it was a supply problem, not a problem with the apartments affected. The feeling I got from the Ausgrid workers was that no-one else had been trained and understands 3 phase supply systems. D’oh!

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Patrick
May 25, 2015 7:10 pm

The largest hydro scheme in Africa is the one being developed near the mouth of the Congo River in the DRC. When fully implemented is will generate enough electricity to power the whole of Europe. It’s too bad fanatics don’t consider hydro power to be ‘renewable’.

May 24, 2015 5:30 am

I wish the billions of pounds and dollars of aid money would be spent energising developing countries. Maybe then we could help them trade their way to prosperity. Unfortunately, the loony left neither want more energy or an increase in global trade.
Do they even consider that money saved on energy use goes towards other things that, err, require energy?

Reply to  DVan
May 24, 2015 6:08 am

Some of it is, but most of it get’s “consumed” by corrupt “officials”…and that is sad. I have seen what LiveAid did and is still working. I have seen what Oprah Winfry does, with her “Fistula” hospital (You don’t want to google that, trust me), and still does. I recall once in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a “policeman” pulling over the taxi driver for some “traffic offense”, when all he did was toot to some people on the road to warn them. Of course, the “policeman” noticed I was in the car. Eventually, we were given pass, albeit with a bribe! Probably a months wages!

David Cage
May 24, 2015 5:31 am

Let us not forget that climate scientists and their “adjusted ” data justifying climate change taxation kill more people each year than murderers do in the UK.

In the Real World
May 24, 2015 5:33 am

The ” Watermelon ” politicians of the EU have been planning for the inevitable power cuts that are coming from running down of reliable power generation & the conversion to ” renewable ” power sources .
There has been rules coming out for a few years that limit the power consumption of all sorts of domestic appliances , [ washing machines , vacuum cleaners etc etc ] , in the knowledge that it will reduce the demand at any one time on the electric supply grid .
Another one they are trying to bring in is the use of ” Smart meters ” in homes . This is so they cut off individual premises when there is a power shortage .
So with long term planning like this it is going to be hard work to convince everybody that the politicians are deliberately working against the best interests of the people .

May 24, 2015 7:14 am

I am having trouble comprehending that the 30 some degrees that the Earth is warmer than a chunk of rock at the same distance from the Sun is all from CO2, as the AGW believers do. Can someone please provide me with a calculation of the “Global” temperature of the Earth assuming just that the atmosphere had NO, zero, CO2. That is the existing atmospheric gasses less CO2. I have searched the internet for several years trying to find any calculation similar to this to no avail. This number and the fact that they contribute that much solely to CO2 just defies scientific logic.
Last week I saw one of those stupid scientific shows on tv where they do dangerous and stupid things. On this show I saw a clip of where they dropped a red hot ball into water. It stayed hot and sort of made weird noises for a while. And that is where I saw exactly what I was looking for. As I work in the power industry, I know full well if a boiler pipe does not have a good flow of water going past it quickly enough to prevent steam bubbles from forming around the pipe it will destroy it self faster than I can type this comment. This clip clearly showed this.
They dropped a red hot smooth ball into a glass of water. It quickly enveloped itself with steam which slowed down the transfer of energy to the water (sounds like s GHG to me) eventually the bubble collapsed and it sizzled like you would expect from shoving a hot poker into water or any other none mirror smoothed object.
The Earth is surrounded by a bubble of atmosphere also. That bubble, even with absolutely ZERO CO2 is going to slow down the transfer of energy, insulate, act as a GHG, whatever you want to call it and by all laws of physics and thermodynamics MUST make the EARTH warmer than that theoretical rock at the same distance from the SUN. Note: The ball must be smooth if rough it will not hold the bubble. And the Earth is many times smoother that that ball relative to size.
Where is the calculation? One for no water, one for no CO2, one for neither and there is your smoking gun that CO2 AGW is BS.
Clip discussed above –

Reply to  usurbrain
May 24, 2015 9:36 am

This is a simple answer to your request that I provide in hope of helping.
The steel ball is surrounded by conductive water and loses most heat by conduction into the water.
Steam conducts heat less well than water.
So, a layer of steam around the ball reduces the rate of heat loss from the ball by insulating the ball from the water (i.e. the steam acts like a blanket).
The Earth is surrounded by the vacuum of space and a vacuum does not conduct, so the Earth cannot lose heat by conduction.
The Earth loses heat by radiation to space.
Most gases are transparent to most radiation so don’t affect heat loss to space (i.e. they don’t ‘insulate’ the Earth from space). Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are not transparent to some radiation so they act as ‘insulators’ for that radiation (i.e. they do ‘insulate’ the Earth from space).
I hope that helps.

Reply to  richardscourtney
May 24, 2015 11:34 am

And what effect does the insulating properties of the atmosphere (less CO2) have? The atmosphere will have a specific rate of heat transfer. Approximate values are shown here,
Any object that has a low rate of heat transfer acts like an insulator. The lower it is the better that insulator is. Air, oxygen and Nitrogen are all about 0.024 making them fairly good insulators. The insulation of the atmosphere provided by the several miles of air must have some effect on the surface temperature. My question is What is that amount? The temperature gradient across the atmosphere logically MUST be affected by its own insulating [properties. The degree of that gradient is going to in turn, determine how much energy is “radiated” by IR radiation through the rest of the atmosphere.
The thing I saw in the clip was the ball stayed hot, partially by the fact that it was insulated by a film of steam. PERIOD. It was also cooled because it radiated energy through the film of steam, eventually cooling it enough to collapse the steam bubble.
I agree, believe, that CO2 has SOME GHE on the temperature of the Earth. My problem is that; 1. The warmists claim it is ALL because of CO2 and; 2. the only rigorous calculation (I have found) as to what the amount is (the 30 some degrees) relates it to the temperature of Venus and the percent of CO2 in the atmosphere of Venus. However, that calculation completely ignores the fact that there are numerous gases in the atmosphere that are metals and liquids, and liquid metals on earth. Lead and sulfur for two that come to to some that would be in the atmosphere. Not aware of those being in massive or even appreciable quantities in the earths atmosphere.

Reply to  richardscourtney
May 24, 2015 10:42 pm

Please again read my original attempt to help you. This time remember that
Heat is a form of energy that is conveyed by conduction.
Radiation is not heat: it is electromagnetic energy.

Reply to  richardscourtney
May 25, 2015 6:11 am

And I repeat for the third time “And what effect does the insulating properties of the atmosphere (less CO2) have? ” what is that temperature? is it 1, 2, 5, 10 degrees colder? That is what I want to know. How can they claim that CO2 adds 30 degrees if they can not explain what it is without CO2? Or stated differently what is the GHE of the atmosphere with NO CO2. It can not all be attributed to CO2. I apologize for any additional information I added that has confused you, I am in no way an expert on this topic. I am relating what I have read about AGW to my 50 years as a Nuclear engineer and an avid Amateur Radio operator With a degree in both Electronics and Nuclear Engineering.
The hot ball video is a perfect example of what happens to a NPP fuel rod with low flow – it develops a steam blanket and the fuel rod melts, as in TMI. That steam bubble film only has to be about as thick as a sheet of paper to destroy a fuel rod In the same way. Relating this fact to the many valleys and areas of very low wind flow on the earth (land or water) that will add a dead, insulating layer reducing conduction.

Reply to  richardscourtney
May 25, 2015 11:05 am

You say

And I repeat for the third time “And what effect does the insulating properties of the atmosphere (less CO2) have? ”

And I answer for the third time, NONE.

Reply to  richardscourtney
May 25, 2015 12:06 pm

It appears that you have not read the title of this article – “The Ethics of Climate Change” any one reading this can comprehend that I am interested in the TEMPERATURE that the Earth would be if there is/was NO, ZERO CO2 in the atmosphere. Your answer indicates either the level of your knowledge on Global Warming and Anthropogenic Climate Change OR your ethics. Probably both. as you are a frequent visitor to this site and make quite a few postings.
SO. to be perfectly clear, from my very first posting, not the one that you deflected me into I repeat it again
“I am having trouble comprehending that the 30 some degrees that the Earth is warmer than a chunk of rock at the same distance from the Sun is all from CO2, as the AGW believers do. Can someone please provide me with a calculation of the “Global” temperature of the Earth assuming just that the atmosphere had NO, zero, CO2.”
Or is that above your technical capabilities?

Reply to  richardscourtney
May 25, 2015 12:57 pm

Why the insults?
You asked a question and I answered it.
You did not like the answer so you asked it again and I addressed what seemed to be your problem.
You asked it a third time and I gave a blunt answer which – I wrongly thought – could not be misunderstood.
Now you say

I am having trouble comprehending that the 30 some degrees that the Earth is warmer than a chunk of rock at the same distance from the Sun is all from CO2,

Nobody says that! It is but one of your many misunderstandings.
The major green house gas (GHG) is water vapour (H2O) and it is responsible for about half the greenhouse effect. The other greenhouse gases are called the minor GHGs. CO2 contributes about half the effect of all the minor GHGs.
You conclude

Can someone please provide me with a calculation of the “Global” temperature of the Earth assuming just that the atmosphere had NO, zero, CO2.”
Or is that above your technical capabilities?

No it is not above the “technical capabilities” of anyone who studies this stuff.
Simplistically, you can do it for yourself to obtain a reasonable approximation.
The greenhouse effect (GE) raises the Earth’s average surface temperature ~32K.
CO2 provides about a quarter of the GE.
So, absent CO2 the Earth’s average surface temperature would be cooler by
~(32/4) K = ~8K.

I have attempted to help you out of kindness. You have responded with insults and abuse.
I will not waste my time attempting to give you additional help.

Reply to  richardscourtney
May 25, 2015 3:49 pm

Your answering my original question as stated in the very first post is greatly appreciated.
I have seen many webpages and posts on blogs attributing in the neighborhood of 30 degrees (F) to CO2 and that is why I used that number. I have asked many times about the effect of water and have gotten tired of hearing that : it has no effect, is positive or negative and is canceled out due to the clouds, It has No effect as it is removed from the atmosphere in a very short period and thus can be ignored. Or in other words garbage and warmists propaganda.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  richardscourtney
May 25, 2015 7:31 pm

The atmosphere without CO2 would still contain water vapour which is a GHG.
Oxygen has a slight GHG effect too. Methane would continue to emerge from the oceans, manufactured by heat and pressure, unless the assumption is that the earth had no carbon at all which is stretching the original question’s parameters.
If the planet were entirely covered in ice, it would still have water vapour. Don’t believe the story that water vapour ‘is only a feedback’. CO2 does not ‘allow’ sublimination and evaporation. Without CO2 there would be clouds and rain and ice crystals and snow and hurricanes and it would be colder than now.

May 24, 2015 7:59 am

There’s a 60-mile-long conveyor belt in the Sahara– cheaper to move the coal than train. Yes, some of it’d be stolen/diverted and might have to be drone-watched, but Gard’s right, the tech./lawlessness and cost , let alone maintenance (? Fukushima) of Nuclear, sorry, Nukular, make coal a far better bet.

Eric Gisin
May 24, 2015 11:02 am

The graph legend is wrong. India does not have less than 20% access to electricity. The text even says about 33% don’t have, so 66% do have.

John Moore
May 24, 2015 11:32 am

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘energy efficiency’ in the UK has reduced electricity consumption by 30%. Any reduction as I see it is caused by the fact that industry has contracted by a similar amount. The aluminium smelters for example have gone which used vast amount of power. As far as domestic appliances are concerned the new washing machines have done away with a hot water inlet so instead of heating by gas only electricity is used. Most ‘improved efficiencies’ are smoke and mirrors.

Reply to  John Moore
May 24, 2015 12:40 pm

What about those mandated new lower horsepower/amp vacuum cleaners. You know like the less than one gallon flush toilets the US imposed that you have to flush twice to clear the bowl. You now have to spend twice as much time sweeping to pick up the dirt.

May 24, 2015 1:08 pm

Regarding your question above about the ‘right’ temperature for the planet, there is no ‘correct’ temperature. But there are parameters:
Global temperatures have remained within those upper and lower bands of about 12ºC – 22ºC for billions of years. In fact, we are currently at the cooler end of the historical range (a little over 14º C.).
All the nonsense about not ‘allowing’ the temperature to exceed “2ºC” or “1.5ºC” is based on… nothing. It is an opinion, pulled right out of their… well, you get the idea.
The biosphere, including people, would be considerably better off with temperatures 2ºC warmer. Vast tracts of land in places like Siberia, Mongolia, Alaska, and Canada would be opened to agriculture. The Northwest Passage would be ice-free, saving huge amounts of fuel and transit time. And so on. There is no downside, because global warming means higher low temperatures, not higher high temperatures; higher night time temperatures, not higher daytime temperatures. Warmer at the high latitudes, not at the equator.
On the other hand, a global cooling of 2º would be disastrous.

May 24, 2015 3:53 pm

and most of those civilizations a lot older then ours here in the US so I no longer care.

Evan Jones
May 24, 2015 4:04 pm

I’ve been on about this one for years. I brought it up a mere two posts ago, come to think of it. Can’t be said too much.
Say it more. Say it loud. Sing it out.

AJ Virgo
May 24, 2015 8:41 pm

…a who’s who of political corruption.

May 25, 2015 12:49 am

Hear, hear! Green adagio; let them eat solar cake.

Reply to  AntonyIndia
May 29, 2015 10:50 am

It’s so delicious and moist.

May 25, 2015 3:52 pm

The colour scheme of the map is (deliberately ?) misleading.
To match reality, it should show the low electricity nations in dark colours and the high electricity nations in light colours.
I suspect that the original intent was to show the “bad” coal burning nations as black-hearted polluters.

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