Focusing on worst case climate futures doesn’t work. It shouldn’t work.

By Larry Kummer. From the Fabius Maximus website.

Summary: After 30 years of failure to gain support of the US public for massive public policy measures to fight climate change, climate activists now double down on the tactics that have failed them for so long. This post explains why it will not work. Nor should it. Instead they should trust the IPCC and science, showing both the good and bad news.

“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.”
The basic text of Narcotics Anonymous. Details here.

Climate Change Choices

For over two decades the IPCC’s work was describes as the “gold standard” reports showing the consensus of climate scientists. After the publication in 2013 of the IPCC’s AR5 report, many US climate activists and some climate scientists abandoned the IPCC as “too conservative” (e.g., see Inside Climate News, The Daily Climate, and Yale’s Environment 360). That might have been the decisive moment in the US climate policy wars. Since then activists have gone full doomster, all the time (with enthusiastic support of journalists) — and it’s been downhill for them.

We have seen false predictions of “the end of winter.” False predictions that the California drought (now over) would be permanent (or very long). False predictions of more and stronger hurricanes since Katrina in 2005. Despite about the almost daily hype, most forms of extreme weather have not increased. We have been told about an almost endless series of false “tipping points” (details here, here, here). Etc, etc.

We’re now in the 30th year of the longest and most intense publicity campaigns in America’s history. Despite that Republicans dominate all levels of government, with their hard opposition to policy action. As for the public, activists have misrepresented the science to induce blind panic in a small fraction of the public (examples here). The majority of the public ranks climate change low on the list of public policy concerns.

Now activists double-down on doomsterism. This is insanity, repeating failed tactics. It will not work, nor should it.

775 degree warming

A new round of articles about our certain doom

“I think looking at grief is quite appropriate, as I believe we are facing human extinction”
— One of thousands of similar comments on the internet, by a reader on the FM website.

Alarmism Is the Argument We Need to Fight Climate Change” by Susan Matthews in Slate — “New York magazine’s global-warming horror story isn’t too scary. It’s not scary enough.”

It’s okay to talk about how scary climate change is. Really.” by David Roberts at Vox — “In defense of worst-case scenarios in climate journalism.”

The Uninhabitable Earth” By David Wallace-Wells in New York magazine — “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.” Even Michael Mann gently condemns its exaggerations. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The article fails to produce it. The article paints an overly bleak picture by overstating some of the science.” But in an interview Mann supports the argument and the doomster outlook: “Scientist Michael Mann on ‘Low-Probability But Catastrophic’ Climate Scenarios” by David Wallace-Wells in New York magazine.

A Leftist likes Wallace-Wells’ doomsterism, but condemns his article for insufficient leftism: “New York Mag’s Climate Disaster Porn Gets It Painfully Wrong” by Daniel Aldana Cohen at Jacobin — “The real climate danger is that a vicious right-wing minority will impose an order that privileges the affluent few over everyone else.”

Vox energy and climate change writer David Roberts gave a Twitter rant, starting with “This generation of humanity is engaged in a moral crime, the scale & consequences of which dwarf anything in our species’ history.”

The Doomed Earth Catalog

 

What’s wrong with these stories?

These article muster all the bad news. They also imply that scientists are “Playing Dumb on Climate Change“, which is false (details here). They say we should focus on the worst-case scenario used in the IPCC’s AR5 (RCP8.5), despite the low odds of it happening. What is wrong with these warnings?

(1) They ignore the good news.

The RCP 8.5 scenario assumes that we burn fossil fuels throughout the 21st century, with coal becoming the dominant fuel in the late 21st century. We are already on a different path. Natural gas is displacing coal, and the cost of solar is already at or below grid parity in many parts of the word. See these for more about the transition from coal to natural gas and renewables…

Looking ahead, a host of new energy sources are under development. Improvements are coming in power generation from solar and wind — plus potentially larger innovations in nuclear and fusion. For example, Tri Alpha Energy has raised over $150 million in private capital — from people looking for a profit in the near future (not in 2100) — to fund its 150 employees and the many patents they have filed. Here’s a presentation from 2012 describing their device, and an August 2014 article from Science about the project. They achieved a major milestone this month.

(2) They ignore the science when it ruins the doomster narrative.

People reading their stories do not hear the full story. They seldom hear what the IPCC says, and these articles usually paint a misleading picture of current research. For example, rising sea levels have become the focus of doomsters as most other predictions of imminent climate doom have failed to materialize. Much of the alarmism misrepresents this science.

Sea levels have been rising for a long time. Warming will accelerate that rise, but there is little evidence of that happening yet. Journalists love the excitement about large Antarctic icebergs floating out to sea. But even the leftists at The Guardian believes this has been exaggerated: “Melting and cracking – is Antarctica falling apart?” by Helen Amanda Fricker — “Although fracturing and surface melting on the Larsen C ice shelf might sound like indicators of climate change, these processes are natural.” Also see this explanation of last year’s melting: “Unprecedented springtime retreat of Antarctic sea ice in 2016” by John Turner in Geophysical Research Letters, in press. They show it had largely natural causes.

One of the best US-based datasets of sea levels is the Sea Level Research Group at the U of CO. Their graph shows no acceleration. See their analysis in “Is the detection of accelerated sea level rise imminent?” by J. T. Fasullo in Scientific Reports. “{c}urrent altimeter products show the rate of sea level rise to have decreased from the first to second decades of the altimeter era.”

(3) They focus exclusively on climate change, ignoring other threats to humanity.

Doomsters say we should spend whatever it takes to eliminate the possibility of horrific climate change, no matter how small the odds (see this by Nassim Nicholas Taleb). That would be disastrous. The world has limited funds and many needs — such as providing clean water, preserving insect populations, and fighting to save the dying oceans (here and here).

We must allocate our funds rationally as best we can to get through the difficult times ahead in the 21st century. That means understanding the full range of threats, assessing the risks and costs, and making wise decisions. We should not allocate funds by which danger has the best public relations program or the most photogenic profile. Here are suggestions how we can do this better…

The Bølling-Allerød global warming

The TraCE-21000 project examines Bølling-Allerød, the previous period of global warming ~14,500 years ago. By Jamison Daniel.

A few scientists speak out against the doomsters

Qui tacet consentire videtur.” (Silence means assent.)
— Ancient wisdom. See details here.

Many climate scientists disagree with the doomsters and journalists ignoring the IPCC and the way they exaggerate and misrepresent the science. Yet few have protested or even spoken up. That might be changing as the doomsters’ rhetoric becomes more extreme. Such as this: “Climate scientists push back against catastrophic scenarios” by John Timmer in Ars Technica — “In both the popular and academic press, scientists argue against worst cases.”

But the New York magazine article appears to have gone too far. Or perhaps the tide of public opinion has at last turned against the doomsters. Either way, an unusually large number of scientists have spoken out on the record.

Conclusions

“We don’t even plan for the past.”
— Steven Mosher (member of Berkeley Earth; bio here), a comment posted at Climate Etc.

The most pitiful aspect of the climate crusade is that these methods — gross exaggeration of the threat plus exaggeration and misrepresentation of the science — have become counterproductive through overuse, after two generations of similar publicity campaigns (see some examples). People do learn, eventually. The climate campaign has produced a deadlock in US public policy so that we no longer even prepare for the inevitable repetition of past climate. The price of our folly might be high, no matter what the course of future climate.

For More Information

For more information about this vital issue see the posts about the RCPs, about the keys to understanding climate change and these posts about the politics of climate change…

  1. Important: climate scientists can restart the climate change debate – & win.
  2. We can end the climate policy wars: demand a test of the models.
  3. About RCP8.5: Is our certain fate a coal-burning climate apocalypse? No!
  4. Manufacturing climate nightmares: misusing science to create horrific predictions.
  5. Ignoring science to convince the public that we’re doomed by climate change.
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112 thoughts on “Focusing on worst case climate futures doesn’t work. It shouldn’t work.

    • ???
      Who is “we”?
      “the” science? Which “the” science do you mean? Is there only one covering all renewables?
      “…quit about that time…” Which time was that?

      • “We” is a generic term. Yes, there is only one science on renewables—it covers all of them, but is not the same for each type. “About that time” was when the science on renewables was first ignored. If science is ignored, there is little point to continuing with reading. I can do that anywhere. I look for facts on WUWT.

    • Sheri,
      You and I both know that it is not about the ‘science’ – however a journo might describe it.
      It is about power, Agenda 21, and a mass-elimination of awkward humans – the watermelons’ target population seems to be 500-750 million.

      So more than 90% of the present global population must die (mostly from natural causes, I assume) – but without replacement.

      Pretty scary – taking the global population back to that at the start of the Medieval Warm Period, or lower still – with an elite few million well-connected socialist aristocrats, and an underclass used for breeding, sport, and labour.
      Extreme – yes, so it must be fought.

      Auto

      • In what world is solar at grid parity? Certainly not in the real world.

        Oh wait! You said in certain parts of the world. So, in those parts of the world, like South Australia, where solar and wind have become huge, disruptive factors, solar could be at grid parity.

        Wherever solar and wind have raised the cost of electricity to triple or more compared to using only gas or coal, then yes, the triple or more cost of solar could be grid equivalent. But where else (except in lunatic California) would this be considered a good thing?

    • I was just curious about what you are trying to say or what you are thinking when you wrote this.
      I still have no idea.

      Just sayin’.

  1. The most pitiful aspect of the climate crusade is that these methods — gross exaggeration of the threat plus exaggeration and misrepresentation of the science — have become counterproductive through overuse…

    “Little boy who cried wolf”… writ large. With the exception of the aftermath of hurricanes and othe weather-related disasters, most people have tuned them out.

    The degree to which solar and wind power can reduce GHG emissions has also been grossly exaggerated.

    The only logical way to approach the issue is through N2N (natural gas to nuclear) and robust economic growth… so we can afford to adapt to whatever the climate does.

    • I should have said: To the extent that there is a problem, the only way to approach it is through N2N…

    • David,

      ““Little boy who cried wolf”

      I don’t know how I missed mentioning that! As you note, it’s exactly what’s happened.

      “The degree to which solar and wind power can reduce GHG emissions has also been grossly exaggerated.”

      I share your skepticism about wind. But solar, while small today, could become big. The history of technology is mostly of people underestimating potential of tech. In the past twp decades the cost efficiency of solar has advanced far more and faster than its critics expected. Who knows what the next two decades might bring?

      While we won’t have the “Douglas-Martin sunscreens” from Robert Heinlein’s science fiction (cheap screens on the top powering cars!), solar might be a major contributor for the people living in areas between (guessing) latitudes 40S to 40N. Perhaps 12% of elec generation for them — twice the role of hydro in the US.

      On the other hand, you probably refer to the delusional dreams of an all-renewable grid. That would require alterations to the laws of physics or magic-like new tech. Even in Heinlein’s stories they relied on nuclear power for the bulk of their electricity.

      • Not unless you can stop the sun from setting, the earth from having seasons. Furthermore you need an economical way to use asynchronous power than can fluctuate by 50% in a few minutes, several times a day.

      • You just hit on my major quibble with your main post, that you overstated the current utility of “renewables”.
        Unless someone solves the storage problem (Shipstones?), they cannot form the main part of a grid.

      • Walter,

        “that you overstated the current utility of “renewables”.”

        A quote would be nice for these critiques. I didn’t say anything about the “current utility of renewables.” Let’s replay the tape.

        “Natural gas is displacing coal, and the cost of solar is already at or below grid parity in many parts of the word.”

        Both of those are simple factual statements. The first is visible in coal company bankruptcies. The second in power auctions around the world, where free markets show the cost of power. In many nations there are no subsidies, there is ample strong sunlight and little access to other low-cost power (e.g., coal, hydro, nat gas, nukes).

      • As always, a great post, Larry!

        Solar and wind may be generating 10-20% of the world’s electricity by 2040; but that will only be about 3-7% of primary energy consumption.

        If we ever get to the point where we can move much of our industry and agriculture into space (L-5 type structures), solar could provide 100% of primary energy. I don’t think we’ll get to that point this century.

      • No matter the cost of solar, if you do a back-of-the-envelope calculation, you come up with roughly 40 watts per square meter as a world-wide average. That means you can power one 40 watt light bulb in perpetuity per square meter of solar panel. You’d need to cover the planet with panels to get any meaningful output. Regardless of the cost, the problem is low energy density and intermittency.

      • “In many nations there are no subsidies, there is ample strong sunlight and little access to other low-cost power (e.g., coal, hydro, nat gas, nukes)”

        So basically solar is only competitive in places where other forms of cheap, reliable energy are scarce or non-existent.

        In the sunny California desert Ivanpah produces a fraction of the minimum production required in the contract they signed. They also asked for forgiveness on half a billion dollars on the $1.6 billion federal loan they received. The cost of the power the plant produces is six times that of a natural gas fired plant.

        It’s obvious without subsidies (and even with them) these projects are not economically viable.

        .

      • Reg,

        “So basically solar is only competitive in places where other forms of cheap, reliable energy are scarce or non-existent.”

        That’s much of the emerging world. They need electricity, too. But what will the situation be in 20 years (which is what I discussed)? Got to love all the comments in rebuttal to something I explicitly didn’t say (about renewables becoming the primary source of electricity, let alone power).

        The solar doubters have proven consistently wrong about the future is by underestimating the progress of technology over time (their motto is like Zeno: progress is impossible!). How that is possible given how tech has advanced during the past generation is difficult to see, but it is a constant in our time.

        This is more clearly seen in computers. We need only 12 mainframes in the US. We need only one computer chip per office. We need only one computer chip per person. Who knows what the ratio will be in 20 years. Solar probably is in the early stages of this process.

      • ” . . . the cost of solar is already at or below grid parity in many parts of the word.”

        The wiki link you provide claims that 19 “nations” have achieved grid party, but the Deutsche Bank paper it cites lists 19 markets not 19 nations.
        https://www.deutschebank.nl/nl/docs/Solar_-_2014_Outlook_Let_the_Second_Gold_Rush_Begin.pdf?dbiquery=null%3Avishal+shah

        So for Mexico for example residential and industrial are listed as separate markets.Of the 19 markets only Argentina is listed as unsubsidized.

        On top of that,,LCOE are included in the comparison of solar with other energy sourced. Levelized Costs are fairy tale numbers.

        I not against solar. I am against subsidizing it, especially when home solar and Telsa serve to financially benefit those who don’t need, while higher energy costs result in fuel poverty for lower income people and the elderly.

      • Reg,

        You appear to have lost the thread of the discussion. I said “… the cost of solar is already at or below grid parity in many parts of the world.”

        I gave the Wikipedia article for an explanation of “grid parity”. Which it was. I doubt than anyone reading the news would doubt my statement above. Nor, apparently, do you.

        The January 2014 Deutsche Bank report says “Solar is currently competitive without subsidies in at least 19 markets globally and we expect more markets to reach grid parity in 2014 as system prices decline further.” Those sources use 2013 data (or earlier). DB doesn’t do detailed global surveys, nor do they represent that as more than an illustration.

        They expected more markets to reach grid parity in 2014. And even more probably reached that milestone in the three years since then.

      • “You appear to have lost the thread of the discussion. I said “… the cost of solar is already at or below grid parity in many parts of the world.”

        I didn’t lose anything. You make broad assertions without one iota of facts to back them up. I cited facts (links, your links) which showed they were false and misleading and you choose to ignore them, and every other point I raised.

        “the cost of solar is already at or below grid parity in many parts of the world.”

        And you offer nothing factual to support this assertion.

        I enjoy visiting this website but have no clue why someone as biased as you are allowed to spout their nonsense.

      • Editor of the Fabius Maximus website
        July 15, 2017 at 7:21 pm

        Reg,

        You appear to have lost the thread of the discussion. I said “… the cost of solar is already at or below grid parity in many parts of the world.”

        Maybe, but not anywhere where power use is required 24/7/365. The cost of solar is the cost of the system PLUS the cost of the backup system (unless there is no backup) so are you saying energy should only be available during a short daylight window?

        There is no point installing expensive, polluting, redundant (renewable?) systems when a reliable 24/7 system is available.

        SteveT

    • David Middleman:
      There is no climate problem at all.

      It is not being “grossly exaggerated”.

      It is being created out of thin air,
      or perhaps I should say created out of slightly warmer warm air.

      We are lucky to be living in the best climate this planet has ever had for humans,

      partially ruined by leftists demonizing harmless CO2 plant food to scare people,

      and increase their political power,

      falsely claiming they are trying ‘to save the Earth’,

      while completely ignoring air, land and water pollution in China and India.

      Adding CO2 to the air is good news only.

      We should want about 1,000 ppm to optimize C3 plant growth

      C3 plants are food for humans and animals.

      Optimize plant growth, and you optimize life on Earth.

      Adding CO2 to the air, starting when CO2 levels were low enough to stunt plant growth,
      was, by far, the best thing humans have ever done to improve their planet.

      More CO2 is greening the Earth, and a greener Earth is a better Earth
      for people, animals and plants.

      Get rid of the smarmy, angry leftists and Earth would be a paradise.

      • Steven,

        Yes, that’s the point of the story — now mostly forgotten. Doomsterism should be discouraged because it weakens our ability to see and react to threats.

        Instead we get articles like the NY Mag’s — exaggerations, misrepresentations, and one-sided stories. It’s wildly successful in the only terms that matter to journalists: clicks.

        On Monday morning editors across the nations will slam copies of NY Mag on the table and command their reporters to come back with over-the-top stories of certain doom tomorrow. Special interest groups will flood BizWire with press releases about certain doom.

        We’ll become dumber. Less able to see and respond to real threats.

      • I have implemented my personal solution to the harm caused by these sorts of stories and what perpetuates them: I never ever read them and will not read anything else from such publications as are wont to run such stories.
        It is, IMO, the only way to do anything at all.
        As you say, they get paid for clicks, whether skeptical clicks or panicky true believers.

      • “Yes, that’s the point of the story — now mostly forgotten. Doomsterism should be discouraged because it weakens our ability to see and react to threats.”

        “our”

        Hmm I read the about the threats.

        That made me think, dont overact either way. There’s a risk. What actions can one take that could improve the situation and lesson the risk.

        Eliminate the risk? hmm. I’d have to know more. Reduce the risk? easy.

        1. DONT subsidize people living and building in places that are likely to be flooded.
        2. Push for nuclear.

        Hmm those are two things I’d do in any case.

    • But that doesn’t matter. I had a “friendly” argument yesterday with a well-educated professional of the NPR and private school class who was CONVINCED, ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED that we are in the middle of a 6th extinction (she practically quoted that stupid NY Mag article verbatim) while I refuted her claims one by one, with facts (i.e. no current conditions fit the scientific definition of “extinction event,” etc.) and I had no effect on her whatsoever. Same person is bummed out about her kid, her life, her cash flow and World-Is-Ending-so-Eff-It-All article just validated her “feelings.” Unfortunately, fighting emotions with facts just gets you frustrated; you’re wielding the wrong weapon. May as well let the True Believers stew in their juice!

      What’s important is policy, investmenet, and innovation–the rest is noise.

      • Goldrider,

        I live in the San Francisco Bay area, where many people pretend to be terrified that the world will end soon. But their actions show no such fear.

        I was a Boy Scout leader for 15 years, and saw a more serious effect of the Left’s doomsterism. Some — not a large percent — were terrified of the future. Doing that to children is inexcusable.

      • Poor child. This is what frosts me most about these sensationalist “journalists”. They write click bait ghost/scare stories that trigger reactions as you describe. These filter into the schools (teachers love a good scary story to “motivate” their students) and parents convey their despair to their children. We end up with generations of angry nihilist young people convinced there is no future. Precisely the wrong message.

      • Goldfinger:
        “I had a “friendly” argument yesterday with a well-educated professional
        of the NPR and private school class …”

        She is not well educated — she is a parrot.
        She may have attended private schools.
        She may have a degree or two.
        But she is not educated enough to do independent thinking
        or data analysis.

        That pretty much describes almost all leftists
        — how else could they support socialism,
        except with no thinking, no data, and all feelings?

        Don’t try to change the mind of a liberal.
        — They get pretty upset when they realize
        you are knowledgable about a subject,
        and all they have is a few memorized talking points,
        appeals to authority,
        and character attacks on you.

        If a liberal tells you runaway warming will end life in 100 years,
        just “double down” and claim you read it’s all over in 20 to 25 years,
        and Manhattan subways will be flooded in 10 to 15 years,
        and oceanside homes will have swimming pools in their basements in 20 years.
        Just make up anything, and don’t be surprised if liberals agree with you.

        I learned the “double down” technique from dealing with my Mother-in-Law
        who complained about almost everything, every time I saw her.
        — One day was an unbelievably bad complain-a-thon — I decided to top every complaint.
        She complained that her shoulder hurt. I told her both of my shoulders hurt so much
        I had learned to steer my car with my knees. She complained her neighbor talked too loud.
        I told her my neighbor was so loud I had to wear earplugs when I went outside.
        After a few minutes she was laughing, and the complaining stopped.
        (In the old days if she had complained about her shoulder,
        I might have said “It can’t be that bad if you could put your top on”.
        That would start a “debate” over how much her shoulder hurt.
        And I never won a debate with my Mother-in-Law
        in the 39 years our lives crossed paths.)

        If any leftist neighbor character attacks you, and they can be vicious,
        just teach your dog to go outside by himself,
        poop on their lawn, and then come home wagging his tail..

      • The lawn?
        That is too polite and will likely do some good.
        How about the walkway to the front door?

      • BTW Richard…great stuff. I always read every one of your posts and enjoy them a great deal and agree with all or most of what you say.

  2. and all the little fleas that rode around on the CACA hound are concerned.
    so their last ditch effort will be to regain the reins of the ‘ruling the world policy’ narrative by vying to be perceived as ‘ms voice of reason’. this is the ‘synthesis’ phase of the false dialectic.
    nobody wants that pig in his garden, but the pimps keep changing the lipstick and trying to make it attractive in any way they can.
    the alternative is to work for a living… unthinkable! kummers of the world, unite!

  3. It’s irrational to spend vast sums of money on a perceived threat for which no evidence exists. Space aliens with evil intent towards Earth might exist, but it would be madness to spend billion$ and trillion$ trying to defend against such.

    • To Came – Saw – Lefty
      “It’s irrational to spend vast sums of money on a perceived threat for which no evidence exists.”

      Not if the threat gets you more political power, ]
      your friends get rich on subsidized alternative energy businesses,
      and they give you back some as campaign contributions.

      When you subsidize the green energy business
      perhaps that helps Democrats more than Republicans,
      unlike helping businesses in general?

      • You’re confusing “rational” with “rationalization”. It’s not rational to hurt people out of greed, but many people rationalize such behavior.

  4. One of the best US-based datasets of sea levels is the Sea Level Research Group at the U of CO. Their graph shows no acceleration. See their analysis in “Is the detection of accelerated sea level rise imminent?” by J. T. Fasullo in Scientific Reports. “{c}urrent altimeter products show the rate of sea level rise to have decreased from the first to second decades of the altimeter era.”

    What?

    They’ve only revised the original data at least ten times bumping up ;the rate of sea level rise each time. They are way over due to publish their first release in 2017, and when they do I expect that they will find the acceleration that they are looking for, that they think is imminent.

    • Graphs from several decades ago of global sea level showed a different story than the tide gages do today. I suspect even the tide data has been altered. Perhaps by the algorithm that “removes seasonal fluctuations”?
      But I do not really know.
      What is clear is that what was widely accepted back in the days we were flying people to the moon using an amount of money that would barely fund a new ballpark today, the trend charts for the world were vastly different. Sea level is hard to measure precisely, but easy to get a general idea of.

  5. Fortunately, facts will save the day. One that bothers me a bit is the over used rhetoric about hurricanes becoming more frequent and intense. Where are the facts for that? Kinda hard to fib that one, and the facts show the opposite. Even if you cite Hurricane Katrina a dozen years ago, that was a failure of engineering with the failure of the dykes causing massive flooding of a city below sea level. Or Hurricane Sandy, which wasn’t technically a hurricane when it hit shore, but a giant storm never the less. What is rarely mentioned is that it hit on a full moon at a king tide, making the stop surge much more massive than if it had hit a week earlier or later when it would have done much less damage. We just haven’t seen the evidence, at least in the Atlantic, that hurricanes are increasing in frequency or intensity, and this should be acknowledged by the climate community. Instead, it continues to be a constant talking point about taxing my tail pipe. The same for sea level rise, but we already know all about that.

    With regard to long term solutions, we need to develop a robust electricity grid using current technology such as HVDC power lines that can transport electrons great distances with minimal losses. Electricity is probably the best energy product that be developed and utilized in our life times and will be hard to ever improve on. Whether the electricity right now is generated with coal, NG, nuclear, or intermittent renewables, the electrons need to get to the source with minimal losses. What ever new source of electrical generation in the distant future will still fit in with an advanced electrical transmission infrastructure.

    We lose a lot of energy equivalent to line losses over long distance transmission with 75 year old technology. These line losses alone are much more energy lost than is created by current intermittent renewables. Do the math, it is simple. Getting this infrastructure planned and developed along with the necessary easements and rights of ways is one of the greatest challenges we will have, as witnessed by same with current pipeline corridors. We will need electricity long past the age of fossil fuels, so creating the energy infrastructure for reliable electricity transmission at a distance is the one thing we can count on as being constant and required over the long term future.

    • “don’t even prepare for the past”

      To my knowledge no one in the the North East has made any substantial improvements to mitigate another Sandy level event. I guess it’s easier and cheaper to complain about everyone elses carbon footprint

      • taz, Not so. If you haven’t been to the Jersey shore you would not have noticed the height of the Sand Dunes that you have to climb to get to the beach.
        Also you cannot imagine how many homes have been elevated so you can park your car under, or were torn down and replaced with million dollar mansions.
        Maybe NYC has done nothing but their priority is protecting illegal criminals. Also the failure to relocate expensive transportation equipment is difficult to justify.

      • Nope–most of ’em are too busy whining about how “slow” the Feds are to come forth with the grant money to jack up the same houses that got washed away during Sandy–because the taxpayers are supposed to subsidize their penchant for building their house on floodplain SAND! This is in my own town, seen it first-hand. A few miles down the line, they’re frantically building high-rise condos on the very edge of what were once wharves; for the view, you understand. And those leaky tunnels in New York, well . . .

    • The alarmists also claimed that higher levels of CO2 would cause an increase in both numbers and strength of tornadoes. But just the opposite has happened. We are almost through the tornado season this year and have had no large outbreaks of tornadoes, we’ve barely had any outbreaks at all. The alarmists have completely missed the boat with their predictions.

      Fewer Hurricanes, and tornadoes and milder weather is what we have today, and what the alarmists say we should not have. Back to the drawing board, alarmists.

    • Don’t blame N.O. flooding on ‘engineers’! The dikes weren’t high enough because the neighborhood they were not protecting wasn’t enriching the pols enough to get priority.

      As far as HVDC transmission goes I suppose there is a break even point at some really long distance but transformers are really more efficient than converters while line losses are only a bit less for DC as compared to AC. Best bet is safe nuclear close to loads.

      • Out of interest, what is the transmission loss for electrical power (best case) per cent loss per 100km, for example?

  6. The public are tuning this stuff out. New York magazine, The Atlantic, etc. have a total paid circulation far lower that 1/3 of l% of the U.S. population. This is agit-prop by, for, and held within the Deep Blue Bubble. Kind of like religious tracts read only by cult-insiders. The rest of the world does not fall for the sci-fi any more than they fell for Ancient Astronauts, Bigfoot, Loch Nessie, crashed aliens in the desert, or rivers and faces on Mars. “Disaster” movies and other junk from the space between people’s ears has been around forever. Entertaining garbage, but we don’t make our life decisions around it. Except, of course, the TV writers and gamers who’ve made millions off the Zombie Apocalypse!

  7. I might further add, most of the readership of these rags is confined to captive audiences in doctors’ and dentists waiting rooms where most of the “circulation” lies. ;-)

  8. My input:

    With no Paris agreement, will death rates increase?

    From an Issue paper by Juanita Constible, Natural Resources Defense Council:
    KILLER SUMMER HEAT:
    PARIS AGREEMENT COMPLIANCE COULD AVERT HUNDREDS
    OF THOUSANDS OF NEEDLESS DEATHS IN AMERICA’S CITIES.
    Is this claim true?
    I am a climate realist, that means I look at the totality of what is happening to the climate with increasing CO2 levels, and what it means for our future.

    Climate alarmists and IPCC believe that the thermal response to increasing CO2 is a feedback gain from increasing water vapor that results from higher temperatures, leading to much higher temperatures. Current climate model averages indicate a temperature rise of 4.7 C by 2100 if nothing is done, 4.65 C if U.S keeps all its Paris commitments and 4.53 C if all countries keep their part of the agreement. In all cases, with or without Paris agreement we are headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
    As the chart indicates, implementing all of the Paris agreement will delay the end of mankind as we know it by at most 4 years.

    Myself and quite a few scientists, meteorologists, but mostly engineers believe the feedback loop in nature is far more complicated than that, in fact, there is a large negative feedback in the system, preventing a temperature runaway, and we have the observations to prove it. The negative feedback manifests itself in 2 ways: https://lenbilen.com/2017/07/02/with-no-paris-agreement-will-death-rates-increase/

    • “in fact, there is a large negative feedback in the system, preventing a temperature runaway, and we have the observations to prove it.”

      The history of Earth’s climate ought to be another proof that there is no runaway greenhouse effect. CO2 hasn’t caused a runaway in the past, when CO2 levels were much higher than today, so why should we expect to see a runaway greenhouse effect at the much lower levels of CO2 we have today?

      The highest level of CO2 humans could put in the atmosphere by burning all fossil fuels on Earth would not come close to putting the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere that were there in the past, and there was no runaway greenhouse effect in the past.

      History contradicts a runaway greenhouse effect.

      • To TA:

        Modern climate science has no history

        Historical temperature data are constantly changing.

        Only future temperature data are known with great (105%) certainty:
        Runaway global warming

        This is new science — old science is for old fogies and losers.

    • Who said thousands of deaths in American cities are ‘needless’? If the point is to kill off 80-90% of humanity to ‘save the Earth’, then surely all those excess deaths are ‘needed’?

    • Lenbilen

      The projected temperature increase is laughable from the Natural Resources Defense Council, they ignore real data on the subject in a deceptive way, They show warming in the Arctic where heatwaves are not important, and latitude data clearly shows warming is predominately in the Arctic while regions where people live, the claimed warming has been moderate (0.6 degrees C).

      The plots shown below indicate that the were many more heatwaves in the 1930’s than today.

      Also the US data below shows that the summer highs have actually reduced over various time periods clearly showing that any warming is either higher lows during the summer (UHI) or warmer winters.

      From the website of the Council, proving this is a political organization having no interest in Science:
      “It’s time to turn shock and outrage into action. NRDC is gearing up to fight the Trump administration’s disastrous anti-environmental agenda at every turn — in the courtroom, in Washington and on the global stage. Now more than ever, we’re counting on your help. Please make a special tax-deductible gift to support NRDC and help us build a war chest to defend our environment, our climate and our shared clean energy future from the Trump presidency in 2017 and beyond.
      https://secure.nrdconline.org/site/Donation2?df_id=16282&16282.donation=form1&s_src=MRSEBINRDC&utm_source=Bing&utm_medium=Search&utm_campaign=EOYFundraising

  9. The Doom and Gloom climate articles seem to be coming even faster lately. They have been predicting doom and gloom for decades now, and no doom and gloom has shown up, so naturally people are not too concerned.

    The CAGW advocates are the “Little Boy Who Cried Wolf”. This isn’t by design. They assumed their doom and gloom stories were going to come true. But they didn’t. And won’t, from the look of the way things are going.

    A nice, cool, wet summer here in Dustbowl territory. We’ll take a summer like this every year if we could get it. No extreme weather to be found. Just the opposite of what the Doom and Gloomsters claim is happening.

    The CAGW Advocates suffer from a severe lack of credibility.

    • The authors are publishing work begun with funding from the Obama Administration. The pace shoudl slow as the lack of funding for such projects decreases.

  10. Robert Tracinski explains the gloom and doom in a article after US withdrawal from Paris accord:

    “Maybe that’s why the global warming alarmists have to crank it up to eleven. If we can point to billions of dollars drained from the U.S. government and diverted through an international bureaucracy, or trillions of dollars in lost production and regulatory costs imposed on the world economy over decades, the global warming alarmists have to be able to claim negative consequences so great that they dwarf these massive costs. There’s nothing bigger than the planet dying. It’s a claim that automatically wins the argument—or so they think.”

    “But it’s so comically exaggerated, so over the top, that it actually has the opposite effect. It convinces a lot of us that claims about global warming have become a hype machine stuck at its maximum setting. This looks less like science than like a crackpot doomsday cult perpetually claiming that the end is nigh.”

    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/clexit-gloom-and-doom/

  11. “We have seen false predictions of “the end of winter.” False predictions that the California drought (now over) would be permanent (or very long). False predictions of more and stronger hurricanes since Katrina in 2005”

    Also the false evidence that changes in atmospheric co2 derive from fossil fuel emissions
    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2997420
    And the false statistics of correlations between cumulative values
    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3000932

      • Peer review is meaningless. For modest some you can have your paper peer reviewed by an internet journal. That’s what Mueller was forced to do with the BEST paper.

        If anything, peer review has a negative connotation. It’s the science that matters, not some politically motivated rubber stamp.

  12. How does an malthusian sociopath like David Roberts get the right to call other people immoral criminals? He needs to take a look in the mirror to see someone who’s done real harm to other people with his lies.

    Obama left me disgusted when he employed Holdren as his chief scientist. With each lie published in their media the U.S. leave me more disgusted with them every day.

  13. Fear is the greatest motivator to facilitate social control. Fear of eternal damnation if you don’t live a righteous life today helps keep the populace under control. Fear about communism, and later terrorism, convinces the public to keep paying taxes and surrender their liberty to a government who promises to protect them against those menaces.

    So fear was a good strategy. The problem is that the dire consequences are not imminent. They are decades, even centuries, in the future. But everybody knows the world is constantly changing. Nobody has a clue what the world will be like a century from now. As the late Michael Crichton said:

    “People in 1900 didn’t know what an atom was. They didn’t know its structure. They also didn’t know what a radio was, or an airport, or a movie, or a television, or a computer, or a cell phone, or a jet, an antibiotic, a rocket, a satellite, an MRI, ICU, IUD, IBM, IRA, ERA, EEG, EPA, IRS, DOD, PCP, HTML, internet. interferon, instant replay, remote sensing, remote control, speed dialing, gene therapy, gene splicing, genes, spot welding, heat-seeking, bipolar, prozac, leotards, lap dancing, email, tape recorder, CDs, airbags, plastic explosive, plastic, robots, cars, liposuction, transduction, superconduction, dish antennas, step aerobics, smoothies, twelve-step, ultrasound, nylon, rayon, teflon, fiber optics, carpal tunnel, laser surgery, laparoscopy, corneal transplant, kidney transplant, AIDS… None of this would have meant anything to a person in the year 1900. They wouldn’t know what you are talking about.

    Now. You tell me you can predict the world of 2100.”

    It’s even harder to predict what 2100 will look like because far more of the people in the world are better educated AND they live in societies that have established a kinda, sorta free enterprise economic system. That system rewards people for developing solutions that improve people’s lives. Technological innovation is incentivized. There are a few billion people living in that sort of system now, all of whom have the opportunity to get rich finding new breakthrough technologies that solve problems and improve the lives of humans.

  14. The apogee of the madness, the highest frigging point, was fittingly Steven Hawkins’ assertion that perhaps the earth could turn into Venus which is as likely as alchemists turning lead into gold or ships reaching the end of a flat earth.

    The funny thing about predictions based on absolutely incorrect climate models, mixed with super hype propaganda.

    The climate predictions, from a model that is absolutely incorrect, are 100% incorrect.

    We have absolutely no idea what is currently happening to next to sun, have not solved the problem how solar cycle changes modulate the planet’s climate and hence have zero idea what caused the glacial/interglacial cycle and what is going to happen next to the climate.

    • Allan MacRay
      Scary predictions do not have to materialize to scare people.

      People just have to believe a catastrophe is coming at some time in the future.

      They can be worried about their children and grandchildren even more than about themselves.

      Scared people allow secular / religious leaders to seize power / tell them how to live.

      Keep the average temperature going up at least a few hundredths of a degree every year
      in the official data book (owned by CO2 is Evil Cult members, who can “adjust” as they please)
      and they can keep saying “warmest year evah” and predict runaway global warming every year.

      In fact, the scary predictions have a surprisingly high percentage of believers in spite of the fact that anyone who goes outside would never notice a climate catastrophe is in progress … unless smarmy leftists were telling them that on 365 days of the year

      • All good points Richard Green, but that was not my point.

        My point was that the essence of science is the ability to predict, and the IPCC and its minions have a perfectly negative predictive track record – NONE of their scary predictions have materialized. That means that the IPCC has NEGATIVE scientific credibility, and nobody should believe anything they or their minions say.

        Regarding the frailties of humanity, and their tendency to believe false threats, that is simply a fact of life. The human race has survived through a long series of real threats, mostly caused by warfare through the ages. City-states formed for mutual defence, and many did not survive, while others were conquered and enslaved. Perhaps we are programmed to be fearful, and that is a characteristic of those who survived. In any case, the promotion of false fears for personal gain is another reality of humanity, and should be severely discouraged.

        Regards, Allan

      • The thing about that is, though, I don’t see even the Truest Believers living the letter of their predictions and “trying to do something about” CAGW. I live next door to one of the richest towns of the bluest part of the blue bubble–Bernie Bros, They’re with Her and Pussy-Hatters all, and they live some of the “biggest” lives this planet has ever produced: 8,500 sq. foot houses, auto-AC and heat, wired and “smart” with every new innovation (most of which are simply “trendy,”) vacation houses, CONSTANT air travel, 3-4 big, expensive cars NEVER more than 5 years old, and a “lifestyle” that’s 100% competitive-conspicuous-consumption.
        In short, they do the opposite of walk their talk. They are hypocrites. They are a crock of shite!

  15. The Spinal Tap version of Climate Alarmism…Add another number at the top.

    Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and…

    Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?

    Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.

    Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it’s louder? Is it any louder?

    Nigel Tufnel: Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?

    Marty DiBergi: I don’t know.

    Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?

    Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.

    Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.

    Marty DiBergi: Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?

    Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.

    • Thanks for a reminder of one of the best scenes from Spinal Tap.

      This audiophile laughed so hard that he disrupted the movie, and the wife
      made me go back on the DVD so she could hear the whole scene again,
      but she didn’t quite get the joke like I did.

  16. Trust the IPCC??!!?? What planet are you living on, Larry?

    The IPCC is corrupt through and through: process, people, usage — all of it.

    The IPCC is not about science, does not produce scientific reports, and in fact its reports contain no science at all. It’s all just liberal arts — Global Warming Studies, academically right next door to Gender Studies, Cultural Anthropology, and Critical Theory — decorated with mathematics.

    Trust the IPCC, indeed. What a really stupid idea.

    • I trust the IPCC
      to always support the conclusion they were handed
      when they started work:
      CO2 from fossil fuel burning will eventually kill all life on Earth.

      The IPCC is about science — “the new science” of climate change.

      They start with a conclusion, and that will never change.

      They seek data that might somewhat support the conclusion.

      They ignore all contradictory data.

      They create “better” data though “adjustments” when existing data are not good enough.

      This is “the new science” for modern scientists on government payrolls.

      It’s like “the new math”.

      Old parents and other old fogies can’t understand either of them.

      Old scientists don’t recognize “the new science” as real science.

      The old people will die off.

      Then the planet will be run by people who understand
      “the new math, and the new science”.

  17. Update — news, news, news!

    Stand by for many many more over the top predictions of climate doom! NYMag published a follow-up article. It opens with what is most important to them — and their fellow journalists.

    “We published ‘The Uninhabitable Earth‘ on Sunday night, and the response since has been extraordinary — both in volume (it is already the most-read article in New York Magazine’s history) and in kind.”

    Science be damned. What counts in the real world are clicks, and the advertising dollars that flow from them. Keyboards are humming across America right now to tell us about the very certain death to everybody coming very soon.

    • Idea I’ve read lately that resonates best with my personal observations locally, is that vocal membership in the CAGW Cult is now a must-have as a “status marker” for what one writer calls the Aspirational Class, which we used to call “professional-managerial” or “upper-middle.” One MUST espouse the right causes, at least superficially, just like one MUST claim dietary and fitness superiority signified by strolling in Spandex with a water bottle in one had and an iPhone in the other, as the body itself is a primary status symbol now.
      Bonus points if you’ve “volunteered in Africa,” decried FGM, encouraged “genderism,” and engage in Reiki or Rolfing. In this clique, anorexia nervosa expressed as “veganism” gets you elevated to sainthood!

  18. The focus on worst case climate futures doesn’t pass the logic test. It addresses only one possible extreme outcome. Probability functions have two tails. In the case of climate change the tails would represent out-of-control warming on one end and an ice age on the other. The focus on only one extreme outcome is the same logic that got the U.S. into the first Iraq war, the one-percent solution. Ask Cheney about it.

    If climate data portend small possibilities for a too hot or too cold earth sometime in future, beyond the lifetimes of everyone living today, the most logical action is to do nothing until the science is right. Environmental policies that might be appropriate for the warming case would be diametrically opposite to those appropriate for the cooling case, which would nullify any argument to act based on either small possibility of an extreme outcome. Case closed.

    • In either case, a strong economy and advancements in technology, and a healthy and wealthy populace, provide the best chance of being able to deal successfully with whatever is coming.
      Policies promoted by the CAGW adherents do the opposite of what would be helpful.

      • Agree completely. We need to get the science right, the economy right, health care right, etc. The underlying theme is to make American right again.

      • Ah, but anyone who lives in the real world of money and investment knows their “policies” are non-starters. But that obscures the point, which is the social cachet of virtue-signalling that THEY are not the cause of the “problem,” WE are–you only get to joint the Cult of the Anointed by preaching the doomsday gospel!

  19. In the world of Western developed countries we read of climate doom almost daily.
    The MSM highlight the latest ” scientists have found” stories from some sensational peer reviewed study.
    Here in Australia we have “Institutes” and “Foundations” dedicated to ” Save the Reef” accompanied by claims 66% of the Great Barrier Reef is “dead”.
    I often wonder what they discuss in the marketplaces of Asia and the Middle East and what is published in their newspapers.
    I suspect it is not climate change and the ” Uninhabitable Planet”.

    • I suspect they’re SO damned happy not to have mud between their toes and a permanent backache from bending over in a rice paddy that even regular meals, let alone air conditioning and antibiotics, are considered miracles from Heaven. All a matter of perspective, isn’t it? Remember that one must have satisfied all the basic needs of living in order to have the luxury of ranting about First World Problems.

      Also–how many people in Illinois, Tennessee, Nebraska, Manitoba, South Dakota, Idaho and Saskatchewan are reading “New York Magazine?” Zip. Zero. Nada. This tempest occupies a very tiny teapot!

  20. “…Republicans dominate all levels of government, with their hard opposition to policy action.”

    I can’t honestly say that I have noticed “hard opposition” from the Republican Party. It mostly seems to have been sometime opposition by default simply because they only oppose the Democrat Party who have swallowed the global warming mantra, hook, line, and sinker. On the details, most Republican politicians, with a few commendable exceptions, seem as clueless as to how big a scam is being pulled as are their Democrat counterparts. They need more people like Scott Pruitt. People who take the time to educate themselves, and who then find the political courage to speak out and call the global warming lark it for what it is. The electorate may reward those who do.

  21. The alleged wolf is a chihuahua. Climate catastrophe is equal in rank with alien invasion. The next glacial period is probably 1,000 years or more from now

    Science fiction too but more entertaining than Al Gore’s film

  22. I disagree with the “Boy who cried wolf” comparision, these leeches were not just seeking entertainment and a break in their monotony.
    This CAGW scam is the ‘Emperors New Clothes” all the way down, including the dissing of all critics as; Too stupid to hold positions of authority and obviously uneducated…
    Follow the money.
    See who is left promoting the scheme, all the original profiteers have moved on,leaving the emotionally invested”useful idiots” holding the bag.

    The fear tactics never did work with the general public, the only place where this scam sold well …
    Our Bureaucracies, exactly where it was created.
    As far as government services go,their comprehension of science and risk analysis can only be described as..Good enough for government .
    Totally useless to the taxpayer.

  23. One of the propaganda terms that stands like a giant stone statue over the CAGW debate is “cherry picking.”

    One of the biggest cases of cherry picking is ongoing. It involves people who can imagine every kind of nightmare, from boiling oceans, biological extinctions, seaside cities under 10 meters of water, war based on myriad climate stresses, most of them imaginary, but who cannot even think about the horror and suffering of quickly eliminating fossil fuel use before proven, economical alternatives are in place.

    • Mickey,

      Your comment goes to the heart of the matter: the flood of doomster articles. Why are so many being written? Why does the American public love them so much?

      The NY Mag article was their most popular, ever. Tomorrow morning Editors across America will be banging on tables, demanding that their reports write these. Teams at a thousand special interest groups will be churning out press releases about the certain end of the world coming.

      Tomorrow’s post at the FM website takes a stab at explaining what’s happening.

    • Along with cherry picking, think “astroturfing.” There are a lot fewer people “worrying” and frothing at the mouth about this artificial “issue” than you think. This is a media generated animal, hook line & sinker.

  24. Fabius should do some research before spouting off.

    Tri-Alpha is several orders of magnitude below the leader in privately funded US fusion reactors, LPPFusion in Middlesex, NJ. While Tri-Alpha is funded to the tune of hundreds of millions by tyhe likes of Goldman Sachs, LPPFusion has so far cost $5million. Currently the LPPFusion reactor is being prepared for achieving net fusion power with new electrodes and later this year, Deuterium-Boron fuel. The reactor produces no radioactive waste, and produces energy directly through induction transformers, so the electricity it will produce is incredibly cheap… roughly .5 cents/ kW hr.
    LPPFusion.com

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