Study: 'Climate scientists are more credible when they practice what they preach' – but my aerial surveys show many don't

From the “arch denier Watts leads the way” department (see my photos below) I thought it would be interesting to see how many climate scientists actually have solar power on their home, so I did an aerial survey to find out. The results don’t speak well for them. Don’t worry, I did not disclose anyone’s address – Anthony


Climate scientists are more credible when they practice what they preach

People are more willing to take advice from climate researchers who reduce their own carbon footprint

Americans are more likely to follow advice about personal energy use from climate scientists who minimize their own carbon footprint, according to Shahzeen Attari of Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She and her team used two large online surveys to determine that scientists should practice what they preach if they want their advice on reducing energy use to have greater credibility. Their findings are published in Springer’s journal Climatic Change.

Personal attacks on climate experts and advocates are not uncommon when it comes to their own behavior. For example, environmentalist and former vice president Al Gore was criticized for home energy use that far exceeded the national average.

Attari and her team conducted the online surveys with about 3,000 Americans to see the impact of the researchers’ credibility on their messages and advice. Participants were randomly presented with fictional vignettes about a climate expert presenting a talk on how an individual’s actions can collectively have a large impact on the environment.

The surveys began with a baseline narrative: a leading climate researcher is giving a talk about the merits of reducing air travel and lowering the amount of energy used in the home. The researcher gives advice to the audience on how they can reduce their own energy use.

The survey participants were then asked to judge the impact of a range of actions by the researcher including this one: “During the question period a member of the audience asks the researcher whether he flew across the country to give this talk. He replies that he regularly flies to lectures and conferences all over the world. It is part of his job, though flying like this does lead to negative impacts on the climate.”

The surveys showed that audiences are less concerned with transportation habits than home energy use. A scientist who buys carbon offsets is seen more positively but it doesn’t wipe the slate clean.

“Credibility may require climate researchers to decrease their carbon footprint,” Attari said. “Effective communicators about climate change do sometimes discuss their own behavior and our research indicates that this can be a good way to enhance their credibility,” Attari added. “Whether the climate scientists are male or female, what they do in private can have a pronounced effect on how their message is perceived by the public.”

She continued, “To communicate effectively, advocates of energy conservation need to be the change they wish to see. Climate researchers, including the three authors of this study, need to make strong efforts to reduce their own carbon footprints.”

Still to be determined is whether the effects on credibility and on intentions to conserve are temporary or enduring, the study reports. Another open question is whether the personal behavior of scientists is a factor when lawmakers consider changes in the nation’s policies on climate change.


Reference: Attari, S. Z. et al. (2016). Statements about climate researchers’ carbon footprints affect their credibility and the impact of their advice, Climatic Change. DOI 10.1007/s10584-016-1713-2

It is interesting to note that Mike Mann’s house near State College PA, the address of which is available on the web from a variety of public sources, shows no trace of solar power:

(UPDATE: It seems that Google identified the wrong house in street view, and because of that, the wrong house was presented in the initial post. With the help of a realtor, the correct house was located using a different service. The updated location and the previous one is shown below. It doesn’t have solar. I apologize for any confusion this might have caused.)


I won’t disclose his address, or the address of others below (I’ve pixelated out street names too), because I don’t want to make it easy for anyone to harass them over this. Solar panels on your home are a personal choice, but it sure looks better to have them when you are preaching to the world that we must do everything possible to reduce personal carbon footprints.

Climate scientist Kevin E. Trenberth of NCAR in Boulder (of Climategate fame) has quite a nice home in a private community, information that is also easily publicly available. His neighbor has solar panels, but he does not.


UPDATE: As I mentioned in comments, I’m happy to provide an update should any climate scientist want to show proof they have solar panels on their home. Dr.Kenneth Trenberth writes in to say:

Accord to Zillow, climate Scientist Jonathan T. Overpeck of the University of Tucson, also of Climategate fame, lives in a “3120 square foot, 3.5 bathroom, single family home”. You’d think that in hot, sunny, Arizona, he’d at least have solar on his home to cool a house that size, especially after rants like this on his Twitter feed:


His home seems completely devoid of solar power as well:


At least he has a white roof.  Note: I’m not absolutely certain which of the two house it is as Google’s place-mark for his address is a bit ambiguous), but all the evidence points to the one I’ve indicated. Either way, neither home has any solar panels. (Update: WUWT reader “Aridzona” who is a realtor, identified the correct house from real estate data. The image arrow was changed to reflect this, thanks.)

How about Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Climatic Center in Asheville, NC? He has a six figure annual salary according to budget reports I’ve seen, so surely he can afford home solar power to be put on his home near Asheville. Nope, it doesn’t seem so:


Karl’s second in command at the National Climatic Data Center (now NCEI) surprisingly does have solar panels, but he’s always been pretty green based on what I know of him.


Of course, no aerial survey would be complete without Dr. James Hansen, the “father of global warming” as described by some, who has a farm in Pennsylvania. He helpfully included the address in a letter to congress a few years back. Surely, with all the pronouncements about coal “death trains” and boiling oceans you’d think he’d have solar panels for his house. He does, sorta…he has them for his barn:


Guess who paid for them? You and I did. From the Powerline blog: (bold mine)

The really shocking thing for me was how many times he contradicted himself and made admissions against interest. If he was under oath and subject to cross examination at a trial, Power Line’s own John Hinderaker would carve him up. Example: He said that all energy subsidies must stop and be replaced by a $100 per ton carbon fee. He then later admitted that the solar panels on his barn were subsidized by the federal government. So it was simply a bizarre contradiction on his part.

And then there’s me, “arch climate denier” Anthony Watts:


The electric car owned and driven daily by Anthony Watts

My home solar

Ground view of the solar panels on the roof of Anthony Watts house


Aerial view of my home showing the solar panels

But, I’m the evil one, according to many climate scientists, anonymous coward bloggers, and activists.


Note: Some typos were corrected within 2 hours of publication. Also with an hour of publication, two images were updated that still showed some adjacent streets that were not pixelated out. No addresses were ever revealed.

185 thoughts on “Study: 'Climate scientists are more credible when they practice what they preach' – but my aerial surveys show many don't

    • The great irony is that it wasn’t long ago that Shukla was regularly berating the performance of climate models and essentially calling any sort of regional climate model results “garbage.”

    • It is possible. The Form 990 for the IGES for 2014 contains sufficient information to locate his house and confirm it via real estate records. I have done so and have a google map aerial photo. It does not show solar panels. I am hesitant to post it out of privacy concerns and could not see how to email it to Mr. Watts. Anyone interested could surely retrace my steps, but please do not broadcast his address.

    • Hey where’s the Weber in your back yard Anthony ??
      Aren’t you supposed to have a barbie next to your thermometer ?
      Anyhow great study Anthony. I really missed the windmills on those houses too. But you have enough PV solar to not need a bird slayer.

  1. Reminds me of the stark contrast between the extremely green Bush ranch and anything to do with Al Gore.

  2. A good market opportunity for sellers of dummy solar panels to make it look like you’re willing to subscribe to the narrative, even though you know solar panels are a waste of money.

    • Fill them with insulation and they might come close to saving as much money over 20 years.

      • … unless they blow away. If you go to the expense to secure them to the roof and seal the attachment points you might as well use real PV panels, or mount free-standing dummy arrays a safe distance from your house.

      • Solar panels, if they aren’t mounted directly to the roof, will provide shade for the roof, which all other things being equal, should make the attic cooler.
        I wonder if that would be the biggest cost savings from solar?

  3. Good for you. The preachers on the left believe everyone else has to do what they say. But they, themselves? They believe they are exempt!

    • This same thing has been done for some involved in the wind turbine “game” or promoting wind power.
      And with the same results!
      Suzuki is just one example.

      • The Kennedy family fought tooth and nail to prevent offshore windmills from being built near their beach house.

  4. David Suzuki –
    People are calling you a hypocrite about your carbon footprint, your air travel and your 3 houses. How do you justify that?
    Suzuki – The technology hasn’t caught up to my lifestyle yet.

  5. “People are more willing to take advice from climate researchers who reduce their own carbon footprint.”
    And use their own money to do so.

  6. You should do a survey of the offices of the major environmental organizations. Those people should be 100% wind and solar and off the grid.

    • I actually have a neighbor who is totally off the grid (except for a cell phone so he can work for Walmart). he has 200 watts or so from a solar panel and a wood stove (oh, and a gas generator). His cabin is 12’x20′ and lofts down a hillside. His water comes from a spring on his property and he heats water in a pot for a gravity shower. He has a composting toilet and attempts to compost all his waste. His property is a source of flies and vermin, with asian honeysuckle thickets taking over.
      Oddly enough, he does not believe in anthro-induced climate change – his motivation is monetary conservatism. He does, however demonstrate the limitations placed on the ultra-conservationist lifestyle.

  7. I would suggest blurring out road names. You identify cities, and many satellite shots also show adjacent road names. With both of those it’s rather easy to obtain an address.

    • I missed a couple adjacent road names, fixed now and images updated. Thanks. However, anybody can figure out these addresses with less than 5 minutes of searching on Google and other services. That’s how I did it. No secret haxor skilz needed.

      • Dear Mr Watts
        Less than 5 minutes to locate your place on Mr Google’s excellent mappes from the satellite photo.
        I should have been a spook.

  8. Anthony-
    You have pointed to the wrong house for Mr. Overpeck here in Arizona. It is in fact the house to the east, with the reddish roof. I am in real estate and have easy access to ownership info and have confirmed the correct house. I’d be happy to show you the info if you would like.

  9. Re: Overbeck’s house, I can attest to a white roof helping to keep cooling costs low. The campus buildings with membrane roofs that were changed from rock ballasted black rubber to white membrane had a noticeable top-floor improvement in comfort during extreme outside temps, obviously we saved on electric.
    Nice place you have Anthony, you are a much greater conservationist than they. I think conservationism has been twisted by the greens and hijacked for the propagation of the political agenda.

  10. Al Gore and Climate Science 101:
    Everyone needs to take a smaller piece of the pie so I can take a bigger one.

  11. I ask them a slightly different question:
    If you are certain that the world as we know it will end in catastrophe if we do not ceases using fossil fuels, have you taken steps to protect yourself and your loved ones by buying property in Alaska?

  12. Those poorly funded public servant socialist-leaning academics sure do have nice houses. Such men of the people. I wonder where they got all that money from. Green living at it’s be$t.

  13. Good work Anthony.
    A while back I thought of outing alarmist activists and politicians with beachfront properties here in Australia.
    Maybe they know something they’re not telling the punters?

    • Some difference in how I view such people. If they owned the property before the scare got started – well, they have reason to fear that their investment will be underwater. Their attitude is therefore understandable (if rather selfish – impoverish as many people as needed to ensure that my interests aren’t affected).
      Then there are those that bought it after the scam kicked into high gear – at a reduced price thanks to the fear-mongering. Those are con artists – and should be in jail, if we had a just world.

  14. How come you don’t have one of them 4,000 square foot like the majority of those guys? You going cheap on all that oil money/

  15. Character matters.
    Hypocrisy is another word that may come into play. It’s commonly understood as “Do as I say, not as I do.” But some of who have been around for awhile know that it isn’t that simple. If we’re stuck in a pit ourselves, it’s not hypocrisy to tell someone else not to jump in with us. That’s passing on wisdom learned “the hard way”.
    Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you are not, one who pretends he’s not in a pit.
    Maybe if Mann had spent less of other people’s money on law suits he could have spent more of other people’s money on solar panels. Just like Hansen.
    These people are stuck in a money pit that they demand others fill.
    For what? Ego? Power?

  16. I have a 5kw system on my roof , nothing to do with green everything to do with trying to save money in retirement .
    So far about $100 every three months wow I’m so depressed I mean impressed .

  17. Actually, if they really practiced what they preached they’d have to be living in mud huts and cooking with an open flame.

  18. Gee, Anthony, do YOU, a famous “d*ni*r”, use solar panels and conserve electricity yourself? [I already know the answer]

    • I’m sure he’ll correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe he mainly has them to save money because CA energy policy had made electricity so expensive.

      • May I add that solar panels are most practical at the user end of the grid where there is no need for grid modification as it only reduces the grid load. If the govt wants to help folks do this, I am all for it where it is most practical. I strongly disagree with large scale commercial application of such a low density energy source.

  19. Back in the 70s I did a fair bit of work on pv solar. It saved my employer a bucket of bucks by reducing fuel resupply trips to remote locations. The payback was less than a year.
    I could have engineered a system that would never need resupply but it would never have paid back its cost. Inspection and maintenance trips were necessary anyway. The extra cost for fuel resupply was the difference between renting a Beechcraft and renting a DC-3.
    PV can really pay off if it is part of an engineered system. Even so, it doesn’t become part of the equation until most of the easy energy conservation steps have been taken first.

    • When doing energy reduction design a host of fairly minor things make all the difference. The politicians who vote funding for these scams have no idea whether they will actually work or have payback. In the private sector a deal would have performance criteria. It shows the contempt government has for citizen’s tax dollars that they seldom use something so basic.

      • As I drive around town, I see many pv panels in places that make no sense at all. In one case, panels were mounted on the north facing slope of a roof (I’m close to the Canada-US border). Somebody’s being ripped off for sure.

  20. Oops, posted too fast.
    Wow, these guys lie in pretty opulent homes, considering they’re humble, taxpayer-funded public servants and all (just based on some of the photos). I live under a bridge and use WiFi from outside a McDonalds because I (used to) work in the fossil fuel industry.

    • “WiFi”?
      I’m familiar with “HiFi”.
      Does “WiFi” have something to do with wiring speakers? 😎

    • Oops again, ‘live’, not ‘lie’. I’m going too bad before I error again. Maybe I’ll plug my stereo into the internet (that was for you, Gunga).

      • I saw the “live” “lie” thing and thought what an imaginative choice of words. Also, maybe you should go to “bed”.

  21. I’m a huge skeptic but use only solar on my 20 acres to power everything but the hot water heater and stove which are propane. Don’t even have grid power to the property. Run the house and barn/workshop just fine with it too. A well and septic take care of the other utilities so with the garden and critters I’m self contained. Still not a greenie though.

    • I am also a skeptic that lives off grid…water tanks, bore, septic and very small power system (cheap to replace) in a small 1 bedroom cottage but enough for fridge, lights and computer. 6.5kVa Gen backup for washing machine or battery charge when cloudy, also when I watch TV (If the generator is on, everything goes on). No mobile service and internet and tv access is by satellite only.
      I love a warm climate and so happy to be in control of my own power, water especially as this is a cyclone prone area and will never go back to suburbia. Am in the tropics so climate change won’t be noticeable either way.
      Love this site, never usually comment but here I am. 🙂

    • I’m a sceptic but I’m on the grid. I leave a light on all night to keep global warming, ocean acidification and the boogey man away!

    • I’ve switched to mostly LED lights (rarely used lights are still incandescent) and drive a manual transmission Fiat 500 that gets 45 to 50 mpg around town.
      It’s not because I care for the environment (though I do). It’s because I’m cheap.

    • Well, the barn idea was out, Hansen having one already. And Trenberth had the tennis courts. And we can’t all have pleasant forest acreage around our “little hovels” like Mike and Tom have. As essential as the ostentatious display of wealth is its uniqueness. Hence, the pool.
      My nephew will receive his doctoral degree this year – Overpeck his adviser.
      He is a top student and a classy person, and I love him, but if he stays the course he’s on now, he’ll contribute greatly to the wrong causes in his early career. I trust that he’ll eventually come aright.

  22. I am also a confirmed skeptic,
    but have solar panels,
    my household only uses on 6 kWh per day,
    and I so I am in credit of $543 with Energy Australia.

  23. The mannipulators of climate science are far more interested in establishing a sinecure for themselves (financed by governments politically-driven by the exigency of re-electio — on *any* pretense — and equally gullible voters who believe what their “Leaders” tell them), than putting their money where their mouths are.
    These people are not interested in their chosen science, but profiting from the tendentious exploitation of it on the public purse.

    • As no-one has picked-up on my little play on words, I should have written “mannipulator” (sic)!

  24. Anthony
    You have left yourself open to attack. WUWT exposes all the follies of green energy and yet you use solar panels and ride around in an electric car. The Greens will use that to brand you a hyper HYPOCRITE!
    Rip off those solar panels and trade in that electric car for an SUV. You can currently buy an old oil pumping rig at many junk yards. Get one and set it up in your front yard. It doesn’t have to actually pump anything just so long as it moves. An eternal gas flame commemorating something like American Energy Independence (nice patriotic ring to that) would certainly be a welcome addition. Have ten tons of coal dumped on your front lawn topped with a sign saying — My Furnace Is Coal Fired!
    Anthony, you need the credibility these masgues would provide. You need to hide your true inclinations. Please, please consider these suggestions.
    Eugene WR Gallun

  25. Actually I think your missing the point ,are we hypocrites for having solar and using (erg) electric cars but refusing to accept the CAGW meme/ religion.
    Or are they hipocrites for preaching the meme/ religion of CAGW and not following the lifestyle they want forced upon everyone .
    Do as I say not as I do !

    • Comes down to this: People change to new technologies when it PAYS them to do so. Or as some wag has put it, nobody had to pass a law to get all that horse manure off the streets of New York.

  26. And why does a boy from Indiana have solar panels and drive an electric car………….. because it makes economic since for you. It doesn’t for many and for some it would be ludicrous. Not all that’s green is correct.

    • Plain and simple
      If it passes Scotchenomics it makes sense
      If it doesn’t it doesn’t

    • Most people educated in other than the physical sciences can’t do fairly simple math to calculate payback, don’t really understand money and are quite afraid of all technology.

  27. Cheap muck raking. Like putting solar panels on your roof is the only important way of reducing your carbon emissions. My father was paying for energy from renewable sources (solar and wind) long before he put panels on his own roof.
    He also switched to all LED lighting, had the roof insulated. He also invests in large scale solar and wind power companies. And a whole bunch of other stuff that I don’t remember all the details of.
    But by the standards of this cheap shot, you would call him a hypocrite based on a picture of his roof without solar panels.
    Absolute BS.
    [Anthony surely wouldn’t call your father a hypocrite because your father isn’t pushing low carbon lifestyle changes on the world. the issue here is a study that said climate scientists should walk the talk to be seen as more credible. so the question is valid. if Mann put solar on his home like Anthony I’m sure Anthony would be happy to congratulate him. all Mann does is spew venom about Anthony .mod]

    • He either lost a lot of money on his goofy “green” investments or he made money on the unconscionable public subsidies those businesses received. We don’t always realize when the government acts to make us fools AND hypocrites.

    • Not everyone puts solar on the roof because of the danger to polar bears of CAGW some of us are just trying to save a buck . Having solar on your roof doesn’t mean the occupier is for or against the CAGW meme/religion.

    • “the issue here is a study that said climate scientists should walk the talk to be seen as more credible. so the question is valid.”
      Right, so you really think this was simply an unmotivated perspective on an interesting article?
      Anthony Watts: “From the “arch denier Watts leads the way” department (see my photos below) I thought it would be interesting to see how many climate scientists actually have solar power on their home, so I did an aerial survey to find out. The results don’t speak well for them.”
      The article quoted by Anthony has been used as an excuse for this cheap shot.
      [you are certainly entitled to your opinion on the issue. so are the authors of the study suggesting climate scientists “walk the talk” and also Anthony. your dislike is noted but the question remains: why have they not bent over backwards to “walk the talk”? .mod]

    • Or, to put it another way, it’s would be as silly as criticizing Anthony for having solar panels, and saying it’s ok, because you found an article suggesting that climate skeptics who invest in renewable energy as seen as less credible.
      [actually no, Anthony doesn’t fly around the world to talks promoting a low carbon lifestyle or any lifestyle changes at all. climate scientists and climate activists do. that’s the difference. .mod]

      • “[actually no, Anthony doesn’t fly around the world to talks promoting a low carbon lifestyle or any lifestyle changes at all.”
        Uh… What’s that suppose to mean? Are you saying that Anthony’s criticism of Mann for not having rooftop solar panels, without knowing what else Mann does or doesn’t do, that may have more or less effect on his carbon footprint, is valid because Mann promotes a low carbon lifestyle and Anthony doesn’t?
        Pretty weak if you ask me.
        “that’s the difference. .mod”
        The difference to what. Help me out with a bit of an explanation here. How does this make such criticism valid? Would the criticism still be valid if, instead of using rooftop solar, he paid a utility company that generates power from solar and wind? Do you have any idea whatsoever of the reality of Mann’s carbon footprint? Why should rooftop solar be more important that any other carbon footprint reduction, to make the lack of it a valid reason to criticize Mann. And Anthony does criticize Mann. He isn’t just pointing out that some research suggests that people who are seen to do what the preach get more respect.
        [Dr. Mann is a public figure and preaches for carbon footprint reduction. it is reasonable to think he’d advertise his efforts to “walk the talk” to cement credibility as the study makes clear. if you can find an example of any green tech he’s using (wind, solar, Green utility company, even carbon credit purchases) that he’s posted prior to this article you might have a point .mod]

      • “Dr. Mann is a public figure and preaches for carbon footprint reduction. it is reasonable to think he’d advertise his efforts to “walk the talk” to cement credibility as the study makes clear.”
        So you’re criticizing him for not being more conscious of choosing the form of renewable energy that would be most publicly visible as being used by him? That should be his main priority in his energy choices?? Really?
        ” if you can find an example of any green tech he’s using (wind, solar, Green utility company, even carbon credit purchases) that he’s posted prior to this article you might have a point .mod”
        The point is that you don’t know, but the criticisms made would only be valid if things you don’t know are true. You might be right, but you have not idea if you are.

      • Philip, you appear to be missing the point. The people identified in Anthony’s article are not simple scientists laboring to increase our knowledge base. They are activists who claim to have access to a higher knowledge that justifies their attempts to dictate how other people should live their lives, particularly how other people should use energy. While it is true you cannot tell a book by its cover, it is telling that many of these activists seem to display a level of hypocrisy by not accessing the green technologies their ilk are promoting. I can not see if an activists buys carbon offsets but I can see when their lifestyle appears to exceed the lifestyles they propose for other people. The fact that they appear to think this is unimportant is interesting.
        Similarly, when a political leader tells the people of the hardship they must endure to combat global warming and then drive off to their mansion in a large SUV, you have to question their morality whether it’s AL Gore or Kathleen Wynne.

    • Philip Schaeffer sez:
      Cheap muck raking. Like putting solar panels on your roof is the only important way of reducing your carbon emissions. My father was paying for energy from renewable sources (solar and wind) long before he put panels on his own roof.
      He also switched to all LED lighting, had the roof insulated. He also invests in large scale solar and wind power companies. And a whole bunch of other stuff that I don’t remember all the details of.

      Wow, put LEDs in? That’ll stop ocean levels from rising & save polar bears. Had the roof insulated? Nobody but the most committed, thoughtful citizens ever do that…

      • What exactly is your point? They aren’t the only things he did. But they are still useful things to do. That’s just a cheap shot, deliberately focusing on just a couple of things to insinuate that his overall effort is useless.

        • Dear Mr. Schaeffer,
          If Dr. Mann wants to provide a list of things to “walk the talk” as this study suggests, I’m happy to publish it here. Climate scientists such as Mann, Trenberth and and Karl have bemoaned the fact that the public isn’t buying what they are selling. They speak regularly of “communications issues” i.e. “if only we could communicate better, people would listen” there’s studies and vast efforts on this.
          It seems to me that the best way to get people to listen to you is to do exactly what this study says and that is to “walk the talk” so that you are seen as a leader, not just lecturing people.
          Yet, I am unaware of any of these people who have mentioned their own efforts in lowering their own carbon footprint, anywhere (Hansen excepted). As leaders, you’d think they’d jump at the opportunity. Hansen seems to have, and Peterson too. Maybe we should look at some others to increase the sample size.
          Dr. Overpeck is constantly on his Twitter feed lecturing the world about drought in the Southwest being caused by climate change, and we have to do something about it. Yet, he has a swimming pool in the desert. Seems pretty hypocritical.

      • P.S. If this were just a “cheap shot” as you allude to elsewhere in the thread, I could have easily chosen to display only climate scientists that didn’t have any solar power at all. Instead, I showed Peterson and Hansen have it.
        You seem to miss the whole point of the study. Leaders in climate science should “walk the talk” if they want to be seen as credible. This is what got Al Gore into so much trouble a few years back. You’d think they would have learned from his mistakes.

      • Anthony, if you wish to criticize Mann for not telling you about his energy choices and carbon footprint then you can do that, but that’s not what you did. You specifically criticized him for not having a specific form of renewable energy that would be visible from his roof. For this criticism to be valid, it must be assumed that he doesn’t do anything else equally as useful instead, like buying energy from companies that use wind and solar generation. You have no idea what he does.
        What if he does buy all his power from renewable sources? Would your criticism still be valid then? I think all that would be left would be a claim that he should have placed more value on how it looks rather than how it works, and I think that’s a terrible way to decide how energy should be generated.

        • “What if he does buy all his power from renewable sources? Would your criticism still be valid then?”
          Yes, you tell me how you can guarantee that while being connected to the grid, you get ONLY those electrons that have been generated by renewable sources.
          The study says that climate scientists would improve their credibility if they did these things. Since they all want people to listen to them and to be seen as leaders, their lack of leading in this area by publishing what they have done (just like I did) seems quite a credibility hole that you’d think they’d want to fix. Maybe they will now that the issue has been brought up.
          I’m amazed at your stream of flailing here. It is about 2:30 AM where you are at. I’m reminded of this excellent XKCD cartoon:

      • What I want to know is when it was that rooftop solar specifically became walking the walk, as opposed to any of the other effective things you can do? Why must it be that specifically?

      • “Yes, you tell me how you can guarantee that while being connected to the grid, you get ONLY those electrons that have been generated by renewable sources.”
        Are you seriously trying to say that the actual electrons from solar or wind are the point rather than the overall balance on the grid? Really?
        Getting the specific electron generated from these sources isn’t the point. If I buy X units of electricity produced from solar and wind, and those actual electrons go to Sydney, and my electrons come from a coal plant that’s closer, then the overall effect is the same. The grid as a whole requires less coal for the same amount of power.
        If renewables could be increased to produce 50% of our power demands, and I pay for my part, it doesn’t matter if my actual electrons came from the renewables, or from coal. At that point we’ve got half our power from renewables.
        If hypothetically it could be increased to 90%, and I helped pay for that, it wouldn’t matter if I was getting my actual electrons from one of the coal plants making up the last 10% The effect on carbon emissions is the same. And I’ve still done my bit, even if I didn’t actually put the panels on my own roof.
        “The study says that climate scientists would improve their credibility if they did these things. Since they all want people to listen to them and to be seen as leaders, their lack of leading in this area by publishing what they have done (just like I did) seems quite a credibility hole that you’d think they’d want to fix. Maybe they will now that the issue has been brought up.”
        Why do the need to install roof solar specifically to improve their credibility? What is so special about roof solar that makes it necessary to use over other options? What is so special about it that it makes it ok for you to criticize them for not having it, regardless of whatever else they may do?
        “I’m amazed at your stream of flailing here. It is about 2:30 AM where you are at. I’m reminded of this excellent XKCD cartoon:”
        Says the man with an internet blog largely dedicated to telling scientists and greenies how wrong they are.
        [clearly it worked. you stopped flailing and went to bed given your several hours absence. you’ve said your piece time and again, there’s disagreement. move along .mod]

    • You are a clear case of not actually reading the article and going off half-cock, Philip.
      The target of the article is climate scientists who while exhorting others to live “Green” lifestyles to ward off the apocalypse, absolutely fail to live up to their own standards.
      So, unless your father fits into that bracket, you’ve just made a fool of yourself.

    • If you want to re-work the entire world’s economy because global warming is going to kill us all and if you personally aren’t doing every single thing possible to reduce your carbon footprint, then yes you are a hypocrite.

      • So solar and wind power wouldn’t be good enough, unless they are on your roof? Do you know who he buys power from? I don’t and neither do you, so without that knowledge, who are we to pass judgement on him for that?
        [now you are just being obtuse .mod]

      • It’s been pointed out, that the people in question are not doing everything in their power to reduce their carbon usage.
        If they are buying “green” power, that just means that there is less green power for others to use, since there is limited access to suitable sites for wind and solar.
        They want everyone else to suffer, but they refuse to do everything that they can.
        In my opinion the moderator is being kind by merely calling you obtuse.

  28. Along these lines, I live in SE CT, and I am one of the many unfortunate ones who uses oil to heat instead of natural gas considering today’s prices. There are no gas lines within half a mile of my home.
    I burn an average of 925 gallons of oil each year for heating and hot water for my 1870sqft house. Last year, admittedly a warm one, I burned 700. How? We added an air source hear pump that cools and heats a large part of the house for an install price of $5500. We’re adding another this year, as I used $50 of electricity to save that 225 gallons of oil, roughly $500.
    My point is that I did it to improve the comfort of my home and hopefully to save a few bucks. Near as I can tell, and I have not done the math, I should technically have saved some CO2. So I ask, why have they not done this as well?

  29. Here in Australia when I got a $900.00 bill for 3months of electricity, that was it.
    Worked out that the costs of solar panels had to be worth it. $7500.00 later 20 panels and 5kw inverter we were in business.
    Also have a powerpoint put in outside so we can can our 5kw camping generator if power out, summer storms and power outages for a heart failure patient husband essential, other than going to hospital, and then having to have a big argument with reception to get him admitted and cared for, soo ho hum when you present, when they finally get his file up from storage they wise up quickly.
    Power bills now not over $300.00, very pleased with investment, most bills in the $250.00 range.

    • Where I live power costs about .09 Canadian per kW. Not terrible, but there is a monthly base fee of $25.00. So power isn’t too bad but not as cheap as it looks at first glance.

    • So, based on your figures, after 10 – 12 years you will have paid for the system, just in time to have your system repaired/replaced?

      • Yes that’s about right. yes that’s about right. 5 or 10 years it will pay for itself but more importantly I purchase is for comfort. The fact that the heat pump will effectively pay for itself depending on oil and electric prices is a bonus but a happy one. The relevant part to this discussion is that it should be lowering the CO2 and I wonder why the climate Fanatics don’t use it. Folks that I know that are fanatics don’t buy their electricity from solar and wind even though most New England States including New York you can buy your electricity from anyone you want. Of course if you pay for clean energy you’re going to be paying 30 to 50% more. The state of Connecticut requires everyone to have at least 25% of their power from renewable anyway. At least I can get the rest of mine from a cheap supplier.

      • The cost of buying simething, is analogous to the energy used to create it. (ie more iron, glass and alluminuim = more cost = more energy used.). So if you have to replace something as soon as it has paid for itself, you are probably not saving any emissions at all.
        Do you think any profitable company would invest in machinery that ran out as soon as it paid for itself? Ergo, your solar panels are probably a complete waste of time, in terms of energy and emissions..

    • Love the power point idea for the generator if the power fails but can’t understand the discrepancy between our systems ,we use 24 kWh a day on average but live in Victoria .

  30. I think Trenberth’s home has solar panels. look closer.
    His roof design only allows for a smaller set that faces Southeast, no fully south, so the efficiency is lower, but they are there.

    • I think you’re right – the light is at such an angle they pretty much blend in with the roof but they are discernable.

    • I looked at that area, and they don’t look like solar panels to me. But if they were, it seems so small in production capacity as to be meaningless.
      If they are, I’m happy to make a correction.

    • I have a barn as well – with 4kW solar PV on top ( useless for any reliable power ….but great for a guaranteed income ),
      it’s full of 440v 3ph machines & a 37kva 440v 3ph diesel gen-set to drive them; the cooling water supply’s the workshop underfloor heating….NO methane-making critters here !!!

  31. I’m not sure you did not give away addresses. I looked at Anthony’s photo and Google Earth and in 30 seconds located the house. Of course, I could have just asked. Hopefully Mr. Watts (and everyone else in this article) will never be afraid to reveal his address.

    • You can find the addresses without the photo in about the same amount of time. It’s all on the web from a variety of sources. That’s how I found them. You can find my address too. I’ve actually had people showing up to harass me and to go through my trash. That’s why I have a locking trash can and a recording video security system now. I also exercise my second amendment rights.

  32. Great blog article Anthony. They say pictures speak a thousand words, they can also speak just one, “hypocrisy”.
    Just goes to show, these people dont walk the walk. The question is do they really believe the doom or are they just providing what is asked of them.

  33. In Connecticut your electricity costs subsidize solar, creating a strong incentive. Of course, this will come a cropper when subsidies end (CT is broke) and equipment starts failing ahead of projected failure rates.

  34. I’m phoned up about once a week by companies trying to sell me solar panels for my roof. Since I live in an ‘historic district’ I’m unable to take advantage of them. The roof of my house doesn’t have the right orientation either.

    • I believe so. It was covered here on WUWT a year or two (or 3) ago. As I recall, the panels couldn’t be placed anywhere they’d be of much use,but hey! they are up on the Whitehouse roof.

  35. Constantly demonstrating that Liberals are liars and hypocrites is mostly a wasted effort. We already know they are and since they have no shame, they won’t admit it.
    The most basic tenet of being a Liberal is to be liars and hypocrites. It’s the only way Liberalism can succeed.

    • Good point, Matthew. But I would amend it to read: The most basic tenet of ANY “ism” is that it must create and reward the liars and hypocrites it needs to succeed.

  36. Dr. Mann’s home doesn’t have solar panels, but at least it’s ringed by trees. For the cooling effect. Teleconnectedly.

  37. Comparing Anthony Watts to Michael Mann is like comparing George W Bush to Al Gore.

  38. In defense of Dr. Hansen, it looks to me like his barn is the ideal place for the panels, since there are no nearby trees south of them to shade them. With photoelectric panels, the distance between the house and barn is not significant in terms of energy collection.
    Dr. Trenberth’s house does appear to have panels (or something similar) on the South side of the roof (I think others noticed this as well)

    • I looked at that area, and they don’t look like solar panels to me. But if they were, it seems so small in production capacity as to be meaningless.
      If they are, I’m happy to make a correction.

    • Why would you defend Hansen? It’s a massive house (his barn is bigger than my house). And from the looks of it, he doesn’t catch the metro to work either!

      • I would defend anyone who is being wrongfully charged. Hansen may have committed many sins, but covering his barn with solar panels is not one of them. Barns are generally large – it’s the nature of the beast, and since you generally don’t heat or cool them, the energy consequence is irrelevant.
        Now if you want to criticize the program that paid for his panels with our tax money, have at it!

  39. Looks like Petersen’s got enough panels to run a few lightbulbs, at least during the day and if it’s sunny.

  40. LOL! Even I have solar panels on my home. Graciously paid for in full by the federal government and subsidized (for the time being) by the state’s own electric company. But that will come to an end eventually. Nevertheless, we got a positive return from them the moment we flipped the switch!

  41. No solar panels but cute little UHIs in the forest canopy. And cut Suzuki some slack on that ’72 video. I’m pretty sure he was high at the time.

  42. Well Anthony, with respect you have revealed yourself no better than those that you criticise. I dont drive an electric car and I dont have solar panels on my roof, because I dont want to be benefiting fr9ojm subsidies that disadvantage poor people who end up paying them, for the sake of either claiming dubious moral high ground, or implicitly supporting a view of climate change I do not share.
    If you dont believe CO2 is making harmful contributions, why do you have solar panels on your roof, and drive a BEV?
    Surely not to rake in cash stolen from the suckers who cant afford these things?

  43. I can’t tell from the picture, but does Overpeck have AC or a swamp cooler for his house.

  44. Anthony, maybe people would take YOU more seriously if you ditched the electric Smart and bought a Chevy Suburban? 🙂

  45. If the government through regulations and subsidies causes the price of electric to skyrocket then solar panels become economically useful and proliferate. Gut the regulations and end the subsides and the price of electric will plummet and solar panels disappear.
    The government is creating the market for solar panels and not free enterprise. You people who buy solar panels should correctly see yourselves not as “smart” — but as “smart sheep”. You are being herded by the government.
    Eugene WR Gallun

    • We as individuals have to live in the world as it is, not the world as it should be.
      If government makes electricity so expensive that radical methods must be done to keep expenses to a livable level, then that is what we must do.
      Don’t blame people for doing what they have to do to get by.

  46. Be prepared for those who wholeheartedly endorsed the RICO 20 letter and the Grijalva witch hunt to now accuse you of stalking.
    I see you’re also hearing from ankle biters like Leo Smith who think the only reasons to have solar panels is to reduce CO2 and gouge the poor.

  47. I grew up in Tucson AZ and my dad was one of the very first people to have any solar anything, water and then electricity…Dr. Aden Meinel. He did practice what he preached, indeed, we did research at home! A plus/plus.
    These guys are all frauds, preaching and then sinning.

  48. Really wish this could be a drudgereport headline… On a “similar” topic I tried to convince a friend of the idiocy of outlawing rainbarrels in CO by actually calculating how much of the total rainfall would be captured if every fourth person in the biggest county (Denver..) captured ALL the rain on a say… 2500ft2 roof. Maybe a hundredth or tenth of a percent. [I forget exactly…. small]. Not only this, but the rain is returned to the environment, just at a slower rate. They just would NOT listen to me. “The farmers need the rain!” is ALL they would say. They will NOT engage and calculate. It is all emotional. We have lost the battle for sane policy in anything it seems….

  49. Practicing what they preach is not their way. They are above all that.
    And pointing out hypocrisy to a hypocrite is an oxymoron. By definition they don’t care.

  50. The funny part is even the guys that did have solar had like 10 or 11 panels. On houses that size they would be lucky to be covering a third of their electricity use.

  51. I’m giddy about your article Anthony. By the way Hansen lives in Kintnersville. Note the additional “n” after the “t”. It’s a derivative of Gunther. I used to live there. Lots of Germans.

  52. I have to wonder why anyone with a social conscience would place solar panels on his/her roof. Solar panels are almost universally subsidized immensely by extra charges on other utility customers. Those who sign up for solar power are, in effect, robbing their fellow electricity consumers with the complicity of the local state or provincial government. Shame on you, Anthony Watts. You know full well that the global warming thesis is nonsense but you resort to robbing you fellow electricity consumers nonetheless.

    • Wow – that’s a really big pile of ad-hominum there – which carefully omits everything Anthony said and how he said it. So Mann has a wind generator – good for him! (“seems appropriate, too” – see, I can be snarky and juvenile as well!)

    • “As Michael Mann confirmed to Grist, “our power comes entirely from wind. ”
      That doesn’t say Mann has a wind generator !!
      Mann is dumb enough to have been conned, by a slick salesman, into thinking he’s buying premium wind energy from a grid powered by coal gas & nuclear….faith is an amazing sales tool

  53. Why would somebody who supposedly give no credence to C02 climate warming theories ever bother with solar panels and smart cars? Shouldn’t this guy be driving a massive SUV and heating his house with coal and thumbing his nose if he really believed what he was saying? Did they completely demolish their own credibility so they could one-up a few climate change scientists? Are they that adolescent?
    [what makes you think everyone who might disagree about the severity of climate change conforms to your talking point stereotypes? -mod]

  54. When will Watts post a retraction and an apology?
    [probably when Dr. Mann apologizes for some of the hateful vitriol he has spewed on his Twitter feed and Facebook page against Mr. Watts in the past, while at the same time blocking Mr. Watts from reading and responding to those same hateful and vitrolic comments.
    For example, Dr. Mann’s reaction to getting a free calendar in the mail is a perfect example. He claimed Mr. Watts was in the employ of the Koch Brothers. Dr. Mann is welcome to post comments here. -mod]

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