UGLY: Disputing peer review by lawsuit

Wow, just wow. Some scientists and their egos. Sheesh.

Michael Shellenberger writes:

Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson has filed a lawsuit, demanding $10 million in damages, against the peer-reviewed scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and a group of eminent scientists (Clack et al.) for their study showing that Jacobson made improper assumptions in order to claim that he had demonstrated U.S. energy could be provided exclusively by renewable energy, primarily wind, water, and solar.

A copy of Jacobson’s complaint and submitted exhibits can be found here and here.

Jacobson’s lawsuit is an appalling attack on free speech and scientific inquiry and we urge the courts to reject it as grossly unethical and without legal merit.

What Jacobson has done is unprecedented. Scientific disagreements must be decided not in court but rather through the scientific process. We urge Stanford University, Stanford Alumni, and everyone who loves science and free speech to denounce this lawsuit.

The lawsuit rests on the claim that Clack et al. defamed Jacobson by calling his assumption that hydroelectricity could be significantly expanded a “modeling error.”

One of the most environmentally devastating ways of producing electricity is with hydroelectric dams. While poor nations have a right to make cheap power from hydroelectricity, their environmental impact is enormous.

Full story here

Expanding hydro?  Sure….the enviros will embrace that one in the pursuit of 100% renewable energy. yeah, that’s the ticket. Let’s start with the Auburn dam in California as a test case.

This is probably the most idiotic lawsuit I’ve ever seen in science, Mann’s egotistical uproars against Tim Ball and Mark Steyn included.



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If you can’t win in the court of public opinion, try the law courts, irregardless if your position has merits or not.


Greenies need to be careful what they wish for. A judge may actually order them to provide data, etc and demand that the scientific method be followed. If that happens, they’re screwed.

……unless they stall such discovery directives out indefinitely like a certain Penn State professor has done in his two lawsuits; dragging the case out for years so that the opponent is strapped with unaffordable legal fees.

Suit filed in the People’s Republic of California. Enough said?

irritable Bill

Exactly Shoshin. David Evans a former believer and top IPCC modeler had the courage and honesty to reveal his absolutely 1st class models were not representing what the climate was doing post 1998…and changed his mind! He has challenged other modelers that persist with the insanity to show him their suppositions and data that they put into their models and that he will run that information through his own models and see what he gets….they refuse on the grounds of copyright protection….”Say no More!”
Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more, say no more. East Anglia Guvnor, famous place!


Depends on the judge, and perhaps on how intent they are to not give the plaintiff the slightest grounds for an appeal. I recall one baseless case that drug on for years of the plaintiff revising their complaint again and again.



It don’t matter.


…….Irregardless was popularized in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its increasingly widespread spoken use called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose.

Jeff Alberts

…….Irregardless was popularized in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its increasingly widespread spoken use called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose.

And it means the opposite of the intended meaning every single time. It’s like saying “could care less” when you meant “couldn’t care less”.

Irregardless- a non-standard word that by definition in every dictionary means the same thing as the word regardless, and rarely confuses anyone, but can be used to annoy people who are easily annoyed irregardless of the situation.



Nothing about being irritated, it just shows ones ignorance to use words backwards or make up false negatives and not realise that they are negations. It does not surprise me that to learn that this is “common” in american English.

I find it irregardlessly amusing.


As my Pa tol’ me 55 years ago, irregardless is not a word. Its a double negative. However, Pa was wrong. It is definitely a word, just a nonstandard one. ( ) … Just saying. GoatGuy


I ain’t gonna argue witcha.

Rod Everson

Did your Pa have anything to say about the “Inflammable” plastered on all the trucks carrying volatile fluids back then?

Inflammable is the adjective form of inflame, which means that something is caught “in” a fire (the preposition, not the negation). Irregardless is different, since I don’t know of any root that explains its use. It just sounds good


Just to put my tuppence into the pot of strange usage of english american terms – the one which always annoys me is ‘near miss’ when talking about a ‘near hit’ in aviation.
Where did that come from?

Tom Anderson

It is early in the morning for me, and this is off the top of my head, but my first reaction is demur and move to strike.

Daniel Keough

Obviously you meant “unregardless”.


He’d better be investigated to see whether the Russians nobbled him in hopes of “hacking” US energy policy.

Sceptical lefty

Someone sees an opportunity to make a buck and salve his ego simultaneously. There are plenty of precedents for this. It will be interesting to see just how far the case goes.

I wonder how much personal risk (i.e. money, position) Professor Jacobson is taking.

Rhoda R

It is apparently going to the 9th Circuit.

Dave Fair

Uh, needs a lower court decision to be appealed to the 9th Circuit, the most reversed Circuit court in the nation.


Why do I think he has Mike Mann’s counsel, gratis.

Tom Halla

Well, to be cynical, Jacobson is filing in the Ninth Circuit, so he might actually get traction on this suit.


The Ninth Circuit? Well then all that needs to be produced is the coveted Green Hollywood Predator Card and the case is automatically won.


The Ninth Circus, as we say up here in Freeattle.

Jeff Alberts

“The bluest tarps you’ve ever seen are in Freeattle…”


It will be many years before it gets a court date, then more years of motions, then a trial. All that before the 9th Circuit is ever involved. Maybe 4-5 years from now.


Naw. He filed with the Superior Court of Washington D.C. You can’t open with the Appeals Court anyway. It’s for if you challenge the ruling of a lesser court, hence appeal.
Flag on the play. Umpire says the ball was foul. Appeal to the line judge. He says you’re out. The Manager charges out of the dugout. Kicks sand on the line judges shoes. He get’s thrown out too.

In that senario the Umpire is the Superior Court, the line judge is the Court of Appeals, and the sand kicked on the lined judge’s shoes is the Supreme Court.


And the US Supreme Court ruled that CO2 is a pollutant, so who knows what might happen.

Ah, thank you. Standard trick, of course, making the majority of the defendants travel across country.

Dave Fair

SLAPP, no doubt.

Tom13 - the non climate scientist

The suit was filed in the Superior court of the District of Columbia, Civil division. This is the same court that Mann v Steyrn/National Review/Simberg/CEI is filed in. The case is assigned to Judge Elizabeth Wingo (whose background appears to be domestic violence, rape, family law, etc).

PNAS is located in DC which is likely why th ecase was filed in DC.
The crappy legal analysis regarding the SLAPP motion from the Mann case, both at the trial court and the Court of Appeals probably encouraged the filing in DC

The DC court was created under federal law in 1970 and while it is technically a federal court, it is effectively the equivilant of a state court with a separate appeallete court.

Tom Halla

It does seem like venue shopping unless either the plaintiff or defendant is resident in DC. Judging from the Steyn case and a few others, DC is as flaky as the Ninth Circuit.

Tom13 - the non climate scientist

To Tom Hallas
A – PNAS office is located in DC
B- Irrespective of the pro or con AGW, the legal analysis was quite crappy, in no way adhereing to Harte Hanks or Sullivan.

Hot under the collar

Gives ‘Robust Scientific Debate’ a new meaning. What next; lawsuits for spelling mistakes?

Scientific handbags at dawn!


There are many people making the improper assumption that CO2 has any effect whatsoever on climate.

CD in Wisconsin

The degree of egotistical self-righteousness and arrogance being demonstrated by Jacobson, Mann and their ilk leaves one wishing that it will eventually one day lead to their own self-destruction.

Unfortunately, I do not see that day coming anytime soon, if ever. But I sure wish it would.

Dave Fair

They will all just fade out as science takes over.


Hydro / poorer nations… didn’t the WWF celebrate stopping a Major hydro dam project in Chile? One which would have provided 40% of their needs?

Patrick MJD

The biggest hydro dam in the world, that dwarfs Aswan, is being built on the Nile in Ethiopia. I have heard no objection to this project and very little in the media.


I suspect Egypt has strong objections – which might very well lead to war.

Patrick MJD

“photios November 1, 2017 at 6:04 pm”


I was wrong. It’s the biggest in Africa, not the world. But still…

Dave Fair

Ask the Pacific Northwest and the Tennessee Valley about the negative effects of hydroelectric, navigation and irrigation of hydro dams. None.

Are just dams used to generate electricity environmentally devastating or dams in general? If it is the latter then how do you plan to replace the massive amount of drinking water storage in ponds, lakes and reservoirs? If it is the former then tell how they are different from hydroelectric dams and reservoirs?

All water by river intake or groundwater?


I skimmed through the Clack paper and the emails accompanying the Google drive-based documents. It seems pretty clear that Clack et al, thoroughly took Jacobsen’s paper apart and shredded his ridiculous hydroelectric generation assumptions. He needed to assumptions to get to his claim that renewables can 100% provide the CONUS (lower 48 states) with its entire grid needs, base load included.

So, Jacobsen made some pretty outrageous claims/assumptions. His theoretical calculations make LaLa land assumptions so devoid from reality. One of the worst was that he assumed constant head pressures from hydroelectric generation as water discharge rate it was massively increased with new generators and supporting structures to dump the additional water through the new turbines. Clack pretty convincingly shows that assumption is grossly wrong as the water behind the dam is a finite resource and the more you draw it down the faster the head pressures fall, and thus generating capacity falls quickly. In the emails he goes through the reality of Hoover Dam compared to Jacobsen’s assumptions. It’s basic stuff that Jacobsen played fast and loose with.

Jacobsen et al got dismantled by Clack et al, and showed the world he can’t be trusted. Jacobsen basically is just another Michael “Disgrace to the Profession” Mann, in the renewable energy research sector of academia.

The real story that won’t get public vetting is how Jacobsen et al ever got through peer review at all. I suspect the answer lies in the fact in was done in PNAS, which everyone in academia recognizes PNAS is the GOB (good ole boy) network of the National Academy.

joe - non climate scientist

Skeptical science promotes jacobson as one of the best analysis of the feasibility of converting to 100% renewable.
BAsed on skeptical science overwhelming endorsement of Jacobson – you can rest assured that his conclusions are crap


Yes Joe, SKS is anything but skeptical.
Someone with deep pockets is funding this litigation. Someone with a deep, vested financial interest in the renewable hustle.


Have we reached Peak CAGW Tantrum?


Not even close.


Not until a few billionaires run out of money to fund this krap.


Is anyone really surprised?…..I’m just surprised it hasn’t happened sooner

Bruce Cobb

A “modeling error”? How about just “wrong”? He had an end goal – proving his wild claim about renewables, and played fast and loose with the facts in order to do so. Then when he got caught he cries foul, and sues. The word chutzpah comes to mind.


There’s nothing really wrong with Jacobsen’s theoretical calculations and models that Clack takes issue with. It’s Jacobsen’s input assumptions that went into the models that are grossly inaccurate. The biggest input assumption that even a high school science kid would know is wrong is assuming essentially an infinite supply of water available behind the hydrodams. Jacobsen’s water levels never get lower even as the water discharge rates ramp up dramatically. A fundamentally flawed assumption. So gross in fact by someone who knows better it rises to outright intellectual dishonesty.

GIGO in a renewable energy model.


His assumption is that dams would add turbines (over the next 33 years) — remember the timeframe is 2050-2055; that would be engaged only during certain peak cases. If you look at the figures in question, you will see the objectionable extra 1000 GW only occurs for a span of a few days intermittently throughout the modeled 5 years.

Clack also fails to resolve his assertion that it would be too hard and cost too much money to implement the discussed technologies within the timeframe (30 years) involved.

Solar and wind penetration into the US ( and world) energy grid is not linear it is exponential. The drop in solar PV per installed watt has been exponential as well. (you can get UL rated panels for $.50 a watt).

Homes with PV are more than doubling every 4 years in 2016 it was 1.3 million — the DOE estimates 3.8 million by 2020 — so that is basically every single house with PV by 2050.

There are now working installed megawatt-class FLOATING wind turbines — so they can be put almost anywhere.

It is not unreasonable to posit that every single house and building in the US will have PV, High efficiency LED, net metering, and integrated UTES in 30-35 years — in fact it is somewhat silly to argue they won’t.

Denmark, and Texas have both met 30% baseload with WIND alone.

And none of this has to do with AGW. Decentralized, building, community and home-based, wind, solar pv, solar thermal, UTES and CAES provides for a more efficient, more reliable, and more resilient integrated power generation and supply system than Decentralized large power plants with long distance power losses.

Leo Smith

Karl:Can I have some of what you are smokin’, pal?


you can get UL rated panels for $.50 a watt)

Installed? Why isn’t Western Electricity already installing them? ROI? EROEI?


@ Leo

Dispute my data with some facts then. — sometimes you can get panels for $.28 a watt

Roger Knights

“The drop in solar PV per installed watt has been exponential as well. (you can get UL rated panels for $.50 a watt)”

But the cost of panels is, IIRC, only 25% of the cost of a solar setup over time. Installation, accessories (e.g., inverters), and maintenance need to be figured in, plus the greater risk of a fire destroying a house due to the rational unwillingness of fire-fighters to mess with a fire in a solar house.

“Homes with PV are more than doubling every 4 years in 2016 it was 1.3 million — the DOE estimates 3.8 million by 2020 — so that is basically every single house with PV by 2050.”

Non sequitur. The current adoptees are the low-hanging fruit in sunny locations, and they are being supported by subsidies, and they haven’t yet reached a level of penetration that would imperil the grid with instability.

“There are now working installed megawatt-class FLOATING wind turbines — so they can be put almost anywhere.”

IIRC, the first one is just being towed into position. It is yet to be determined whether it will provide power economically—which partly depends on its maintenance costs and its lifespan.


November 2, 2017 at 9:28 am

Denmark, and Texas have both met 30% baseload with WIND alone……..

Really? Don’t you know that baseload requires continual 100% generation. Wind can never provide that.

This is so obvious, why should I believe the rest of what you wrote.



@ roger

To start with you have zero proof that wind cannot provide 100% baseload power – zero. But that is beside the point.

And there is plenty of evidence that coupled with utility and home scale storage Wind can provide 100% baseload power.

1. Nuclear cannot provide 100% of baseload power ( not enough U3O8 mining int he world to support it)– yet we use it. but by your logic we shouldn’t.

2. Coal cannot provide 100% baseload power today – so according to you we shouldn’t use that either.

Your argument is faulty.

FYI — a 315km by 315km solar pv array parts of which would be located in the New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and California deserts using 2 axis tracking will produce 100 QUADS of energy in a year.

It’s a tiny part of said States.


“To start with you have zero proof that wind cannot provide 100% baseload power – zero”

Illogical statement, it is as you are certainly aware impossible logically to prove a negative.

It is up to you to show that wind power IS capable of providing 100% baseload power by providing data that clearly demonstrates windpower has fed into a grid of significant size enough power to maintain the base load on that grid for 24 hours per day seven days per week for – say – one year, with no support whatsoever from thermal plant of any description, irrespective of weather conditions.

There are plenty of databases in the World of generation statistics, show us one that demonstrates that.

Of course, first of all you will have to show that there are contiguous areas of the planet where the wind blows at a reasonably constant speed consistent with reliable wind turbine output on a 24/7/365 basis

Go on, put up or shut up.


“2. Coal cannot provide 100% baseload power today – so according to you we shouldn’t use that either.”

Wrong again of course.

Given a number of coal plants sufficient to have an element of redundancy, it is certain that there will always be sufficient capacity to maintain output, whereas if the wind ceases to blow, no matter how many wind turbines you have you have zero output.

You’re not very good at this, are you?

Karl wrote, “To start with you have zero proof that wind cannot provide 100% baseload power”

I just looked out my window. It’s dead still out there. Not a leaf is stirring, on any tree.

That’s proof.


@ catweazle

No I’m very good at it.

There is not enough Coal to provide 100% baseload power. Coal currently provides 30% of electricity. and about 15% of total energy.

Even if we could build 7 times the coal plants we have now, we run out of coal in 50 years.

There is only 200 years of coal remaining — at current consumption

And — this is an incontrovertible FACT

the wind is ALWAYS blowing somewhere. In fact, I would bet that the wind is ALWAYS blowing somewhere in EVERY STATE, and is ALWAYS blowing almost everywhere offshore.

There are multiple studies that show geographically distributed wind plants can provide 30-40% of nameplate capacity to the grid as baseload power — as proven by Denmark.

Furthermore, Compressed Air Energy Storage implemented at each Industrial Wind Farm — would provide for no loss of electricity production.

Compressed air exhausted through a turbine or piston provides work — which can spin a generator.

Perhaps you should educate yourself, just a bit.


@ daveburton

how about 300 feet above your window? — or 1 mile down the road.

You show your ignorance of fluid flow dynamics, the rayleigh and weibull distributions of wind speed, and the FACT that the wind is always blowing somewhere.

wow — not many places in the US the wind isn’t blowing 10 mph at surface (FYI wind speed increases by the 1/7th power with height)


wow — not many places in the US the wind isn’t blowing 10 mph at surface (FYI wind speed increases by the 1/7th power with height)

False. The entire southeast US sits beneath the Bermuda high zone for almost all of the year. Essentially no wind from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic coast, from the Gulf Coast up to the Appalachians/Maryland border. No solar either, too much “Blue Mountain” haze from the trees, too much cloud cover too frequently.


@ catweazle

Here is your proof-

“Denmark produced an unheard-of 42 percent of its electricity from wind turbines in 2015, according to official figures, setting a new world record for wind energy generation.”

“Even more impressive is the fact that certain regions in Denmark’s west produced more wind energy than they could consume for the equivalent of 60 days of the year. On one particularly windy day in July, the country produced 140 percent of its electricity demands from its wind turbines, and was able to sell the excess off to Germany, Norway, and Sweden.”

Then, on September 2, Denmark was able to operate without any central power stations being switched on at all, relying instead on wind power and renewable energy bought from neighbouring countries.

And did we mention that they did all of that despite the fact that two of their major wind farms were offline for a total of three months during the year due to cable faults?

All that would be required to produce 100% is to triple the current nameplate capacity (which would actually give them 126% — and add industrial scale Battery and CAES storage for load levelling.

Ouch! — Do you commonly get into discussions and or debates where you don’t know much about the subject matter?

Dave Fair

Karl, what is the retail price for electricity in Denmark? How does that compare to the U.S.?


“Do you commonly get into discussions and or debates where you don’t know much about the subject matter?”

Unlike you, no I don’t.

I wrote, “I just looked out my window. It’s dead still out there. Not a leaf is stirring, on any tree.”

Karl replied with a question: “@daveburton how about 300 feet above your window? — or 1 mile down the road”?

Not much. The trees are probably half that high, and the treetops were not stirring at all. If I were a betting man, I’d bet that there was also no usable wind one mile away in any direction.

Karl also wrote, “I would bet that the wind… is ALWAYS blowing almost everywhere offshore.”

You would lose that bet. You’re obviously not a sailor. As every sailor knows, this side of heaven, that’s nonsense.

Even apart from the obvious counterexample of the doldrums, which can leave sailing vessels adrift with limp sails for weeks, in the places I’ve sailed, as dusk approaches, the wind speed offshore near land usually drops to very near zero. After dark, a gentle breeze usually returns.

Curious George

Or the word Mann.

DeLoss McKnight

“Chutzpah” is the trait exhibited by the man who murders his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan. But Jacobson is doing his best to supplant that old joke.

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

If they only had Mark Z. Jacobson on the Climategate CRU, they could have just sued the IPCC and actually kept those papers out of the IPCC report… /Sarcasm

Curious George

Is a Stanford Professor Jacobson going in Stanford Professor’s Paul Ehrlich’s footsteps? No; Professor Jacobson exudes optimism, while Professor Ehrlich exuded pessimism. They only share an underlying “scientific” approach.


…and the Stanford “country club”

Rhoda R

Make it up as you go along?


Trying to resolve scientific disputes through the court system is a big NO, and dragging a journal along is IMHO unwise. How are the rest of the journals going to react to future articles from Jacobson knowing that he is ready to sue in case of problems? If I was an editor I would just return his articles with a “not what we are looking for at this time” comment.

I think the negative backslash is going to make his move counterproductive. The Barbra Streisand effect if I remember correctly.

Dave Fair

Lawsuits are great! Will show CAGW for what it is.


My home town gets much of its power from nearby hydro dams, which also serve to do an excellent job with flood control in this area which used to be a big problem. There is no serious environmental problems that were caused by these reservoir projects. I know in some proposed dams are problematic, but that just shows they are limited, not bad.

Gary Pearse

Jacobson is an engineer? Engineers can be disciplined for putting out something unengineering. Scientists, well okay that’s permitted – how hard can engineering be anyway?


Here’s Jacobsen’s educational cred: B.S. Civil Engineering, B.A. Economics, and M.S. Environmental Engineering (1988) Stanford University
M.S. (1991) and Ph.D. (1994) Atmospheric Science, University of California at Los Angeles

He has 2 textbooks in print, a TED talk on renewables. The Clack et al take down of his PNAS paper is a pretty strong thrashing of his professional reputation with his peers. A deserved thrashing as far as I can see in a summary examination of the two papers and the email exchanges.

Apparently Jacobsen has been making more and more outlandish claims of renewables potential over the past dozen years or so. I’m sure that has brought him lots of accolades from the renewable industry and soul-less investors like Steyers and Soros.

His claims on hydro potential are just foolish and easily rebuked as Clack did.

It sounds like Jacobsen wants his modeled dam paper to be locked up in courts for at least a decade.

Known as shooting oneself in both feet while buttock bouncing down the spillway.

NW sage

Sounds like time for a counter suit – have to make lawyers on the other side rich also.
Hypothetical question: If none of the lawyers on either side were permitted to charge for their services (ie get rich) would there be any lawsuits like this? If the answer is NO! then the decision the court should make is to take away all the charges and fees the lawyers charged.


I suspect Jacobsen has backing him someone(s) (who wish to remain anonymous through attorney-client privilege) with very deep pockets footing the legal bills. His claim that renewables can power the US electricity base-load in 2050 is a story line someone wants to have traction.


Tom Steyer perhaps?
Stanford U old boy network (or new boy network).
Only speculating.

Stevan Reddish

“One of the most environmentally devastating ways of producing electricity is with hydroelectric dams”

Can someone bring me up to speed WRT the devastating environmental impacts of hydroelectric dams?

Is one that silt gets trapped in the reservoir instead of proceeding downstream? If that is considered bad, how about dredging some mud out of the reservoir and putting it into the dam outflow?

Is one that fish cannot travel upstream/downstream past the dam? Hasn’t this been addressed already?

Is one that transmission lines must be built to carry electricity to cities? How is this different from wind farms, or solar arrays out in the desert, or coal plants in the next state because you don’t want to burn coal in your home state?

Is one that huge amounts of concrete need to be produced? How is this different from those concrete foundations under wind turbines?

Please explain it to me.


Don Perry

Here is one study that describes the perceived problems:

Stevan Reddish

Don, from your link:

“The scientists compared the environmental impacts of hydro, solar, and wind energy. Hydropower does the most damage, the scientists found.”Hydropower has degraded some of the most biologically rich habitats on our planet,” said Professor William Laurance from James Cook University in Australia.
“Hydro projects are such a disaster for tropical rainforests that I don’t consider them ‘green’ energy at all,” added Laurance.”

That was it. No explanation of how much degradation nor of how, just an assertion of degradtion.


Stevan Reddish

OK, I took a 2nd look at that link, and I saw that the caption under the photo says hydro releases substantial amounts of greenhouse gases. Since I presume (nothing was said) that is a reference to CO2 emitted during production of concrete, I ask how that compares to the tons of concrete required for a wind farm with comparable power production (not rated capacity)?

Stevan Reddish

Furthermore, if CO2 emission due to concrete production is what’s referred to, isn’t that a benefit to rain forests? I don’t think that word (devastation) means what greenies think it means.



In the past I have read that dams end up collecting organic material that rots and releases methane.
Of course that organic material would have ended up wherever the un-dammed river outflowed, so the total methane didn’t increase, it was just created in a different spot.


The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in California filled in a valley almost as breath-taking as Yosemite valley.

Stevan Reddish

Aren’t the breath-taking parts of the Hetch Hetchy the canyon walls? Aren’t they still visible?



with bath tub ring. The lush valley is gone.

But San Fran has some of the best drinking water quality in the US. And the Hetch Hetchy hydro-power system generates the equivalent of 20% of the City of San Fran’s annual electricity usage.

You asked where an environmental disaster occurred. It’s Hetch Hetchy.

But the damage is done. It’s gone. No bringing it back until the next 100Kyr Ice Age glacial retreat. Might as well enjoy the water and power now.

Stevan Reddish

I’ve been talking big-picture. The are some places where no type of electrical plant is appropriate



Okay, the Grand Canyon. Damming he Grand Canyon would make one sweet hydro project. And some nice boating.

Dave Fair

Reservoirs trade one resource for many others. Municipal water, farmland irrigation, flood control, electric power production, recreation, etc. vs a natural waterway with some pretty vistas.

Of course, I consider dams and reservoirs very beautiful. Go figure.


And what about the drowned environment that is the catchment?

Stevan Reddish

“drowned environment” is the only negative aspect of hydro worth discussing. Let’s discuss:

Farmland: acreage lost along the river bottom above a dam is usually a small fraction of irrigated land gained downstream.

Human living space: most suitable dam sites are steep sided, narrow bottomed valleys offering limited living space that was often floodplain anyway. Displacement is usually very limited.

Wildlife habitat: Most of the rainforest drowned in Don Perry’s link was under water part of the year during the rainy season. The seasonally flooded zone just moved upstream. In temperate zones animals that live in/by deep, slow rivers do just fine in/by lakes. Animals that inhabit or spawn in shallow headwaters are far above suitable dam sites.

Overall, most land lost is replaced by land gained, with often no net loss. Compare that with land lost to other forms of electricity production.


Owen in GA

The only major problem I have ever seen is with salmon spawning. Since the salmon can’t reach their original spawning grounds in traditional dam configurations it has been assumed that salmon numbers will be drastically affected by dams.

I am not sure it is entirely true but it is plausible. I don’t think the fish ladder projects ever really worked.

John F. Hultquist

Our house is 100% electric — powered by hydro. And it is inexpensive.
However one need not “assume” about Salmon in pre-dam times. That time is recorded history.
Salmon numbers have been drastically decreased by the dams on the Snake, Clearwater, and Columbia Rivers, and others. Early history of the region presents many examples where Salmon were in the streams in biblical numbers. Soldiers at Fort Boise used them for rifle practice. Folks would wade into streams with pitchforks and toss fish out by the hundreds. Meanwhile natural predators would carry Salmon away from the rivers and streams and much of the carcass would not be consumed by that animal. The remains helped supply a nutrient system to other lesser creatures.
Zane Grey wrote a novel ( Rogue River Feud) and non-fiction articles about fishing on the Rogue.
The dams need many work-a-rounds (and some do not work well) to keep the Salmon numbers up. I’ve visited dams with and without ladders, catching and trucking, and at least 3 hatcheries. Interesting stuff, but still the numbers of fish are down.

Dave Fair

And I should care because?


Here’s what happened on a salmon restoration project on the Connecticut River:

Spoiler alert – it was a flop.

Don’t know about this, but presume a submerged forest could trigger alarm among the most sensitive individuals. Similarly to Lake Kaindy born during an earthquake


Take the Banqiao Dam disaster, for example:


According to the Hydrology Department of Henan Province, in the province, approximately 26,000 people died[14] from flooding and another 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine. In addition, about 5,960,000 buildings collapsed, and 11 million residents were affected. Unofficial estimates of the number of people killed by the disaster have run as high as 230,000 people

Or the Sichuan earthquake, perhaps:

BEIJING — Nearly nine months after a devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, left 80,000 people dead or missing, a growing number of American and Chinese scientists are suggesting that the calamity was triggered by a four-year-old reservoir built close to the earthquake’s geological fault line.


One of the best ways to deal with a lawsuit like this is to drop an ENORMOUS counter suit. Fight fire with MORE fire.

Timo Soren

The documents include damage for $10,000,000 from PNAS and another $10,000,000 from Dr. Clack and on top of that punitive damages. Which means he wants even more than $20 million.

That aside, energy policy is a matter for public concern, hence Jacobson has the burden of proof; he will not win, even if he is correct in almost all of his claims.


My guess he wants retraction. His reputation was destroyed by that paper exposing his intellectual dishonesty.

Bill Illis

Technically, to get to 100% renewable power, we would have to tax people at 100% of their income to pay for it. This would then lead to 0% economy and 0% need for renewable power. 0% / 0% = 100%

So Jacobson is right.

Seriously though, just think about how much of a drain it would be on the economy. Then think of the voters agreeing to pay this price. It is not possible given there would be a revolutionary war eventually.


He wants the theoretical, not the reality. That paper showed his paper was a fantasy that ignored reality of finite amounts of water behind hydroelectric dams.

But everyone knew it was. Everyone was just supposed to go along to get along with the charade.
Jacobsen (and his soul-less behind the scenes financial backers) want the sound bite that renewables can provide the US electricity baseload. Note that the charade enders were emboldened to speak-out after Trump won. The Obama years of intimidation are over. Jacobsen counted on a Hillary win to keep dissent silenced.

Climate Heretic

Bill illis you are wrong when you say “0% / 0% = 100%”. 0 Divided by 0 or 0 / 0 is undefined.

Climate Heretic


False assertion.

You are severely uninformed.

You can buy PV panels for $.50 per watt installed

A 50kw rated system (enough for a home to produce surplus electricity in most of the US) would be $25,000, plus another $10k for the install — net-metering means no batteries needed, but lets throw another $10k for batteries.

That’s $45,000 over a 20 year life-span (conservative) — so $2250 a year, — now add in the no cost electricity and your effective cost is ZERO.

Karl, you are the one who is “severely uninformed.”

The value of electricity depends entirely on whether it is needed. Electricity produced when it isn’t needed actually has negative value. Here’s the “demand-based” price schedule for residential electricity, where I live:

If you’re on that schedule, your electricity could cost you 6¢ / kW-hr or 23¢ / kW-hr, depending on when it is used. The highest rates are 6 am to 9 am in the winter, when solar PV panels would produce nothing.

And do you really think a rooftop solar system will last 20 years, even if it is installed on a brand-new roof?

And you forgot about the inverters, which also certainly won’t last 20 years.

And what sort of batteries do you expect to get for $10K, that’ll put even a tiny dent in the storage needed, and were do you expect to get batteries that’ll last 20 years?


F. Leghorn

What about during the six overcast months we have in Alabama? Okay sometimes it’s five rainy months but I would have to buy electricity during that time. Suddenly the math fails. Maybe not in your country, which I suspect is the People’s Republic of LaLa land.

chris y


A residential solar PV installed system without batteries is around $3.00 per W(peak)DC in 2017 in the US.
A 50kW (DC) solar PV system would cost about $150,000 before tax credits and subsidies.

A 50kW (DC) solar PV system is massively oversized for a typical residential load.

Batteries won’t last 20 years, so they need at least one replacement.

You need a lot of batteries to support an off-grid 50 kW solar array. You need at least three days of storage to start approaching an acceptable level of availability of electricity. At a location with average of 5 hours/day full sun (like Florida the sunshine state), that comes to 250 kWh/day or 750 kWh of battery capacity. Lead acid battery system would cost at least $150,000. Lithium ion (Tesla Powerwall 2 cluster) closer to $300,000.

For example, one popular US vendor has a battery solar PV system available for $43,000. It includes 55.2 kWh of storage and 13.28kW of solar panels. That amounts to only one day of storage.
The same seller also has a 14.4kW solar PV system without storage for $19,000.
The cost of adding 55 kWh of battery storage is about $24,000 for this size of system from this supplier. Just the batteries and cables is $13,000.

Those prices do not include the site prep work, permits, installation and commissioning.


@ daveburton

That’s what Lithium Ion Batteries, Compressed Air energy storage, and Underground thermal energy storage are for

why would you not have a storage system?



@ squiggy

I live in North Alabama.

Solar PV still works when it’s cloudy, so does solar thermal, wind works when it’s cloudy too

In fact in Huntsville insolation is 13% higher than average with tilted panels

with an ATal titled panel the lowest insolation is 3.5kWh per day per square meter — so a 60 square meter array would give you on average about 35 kWh per day at the lowest time of the year

Year average is 4.35 kWh per square meter

the average solar panel is about 2 square meters that is 30 panels

Karl wrote, “That’s what Lithium Ion Batteries, Compressed Air energy storage, and Underground thermal energy storage are for. why would you not have a storage system? Duh”

The only one of those three that you can actually buy is lithium ion batteries. So let’s look at the cost of those.

A quite energy-efficient household with a family of four around here might spend an average of $5/day on about 45 kw-hr of electricity.

Solar panels are effective for about 1/3 of the day (less in winter, which is when demand peaks around here).

The Tesla Power Wall 2 costs between US $600/kWh and $1100/kWh, installed.

Tesla guarantees that the PowerWall 2 batteries will last ten years, though as the system ages battery capacity falls.

Let’s be unrealistically optimistic, and ignore the aging/efficiency problem, and ignore the fact that cloudy days frequently come in clusters, especially in the winter when demand peaks, and also pretend we can use the entire battery capacity. 45 kWh (one typical day) of battery capacity (one average day) at $800/kWh would cost $36,000, and it would last ten years, rather than twenty. (The PowerWall 2 is actually a 13.5 kWh unit, so you need 3½ of them for 45 kWh, but let’s not worry about that.)

To simply buy that 45 kw-hr of electricity, generated by a fossil fuel plant, and profitably sold at an average price of about 11¢/kWh, would cost $18,000 for 10 years.

Of course, not every day is average. My peak electricity use is in mid-winter January/February, and those months I use more than twice what I use in Spring and Autumn. One “typical” day’s battery capacity would not get me through a typical winter day.

OTOH, with battery cost so high you probably also take steps to reduce power consumption, but there are costs for that, too.

On the gripping hand, that’s just the batteries. That doesn’t include solar panels, inverters, etc.


@ chris y

25 kw system for $23k plus install.

If you hire a contractor with a low voltage wiring licence and a gen cotractor license you can get that installed for less than $10,000

That’s $1.50 per watt installed



IS it 2050 -2055

didn’t think so

and FYI you CAN buy UTES residential


You can buy/make CAES residential — 2009

Like I said




and you also make the false assumptions

1. you are not grid tied
2. you dont have themal PV
3. you don’t have wind
4. by 205 LI-ion will still cost the same

and lithium battery packs only cost $227/KWH not $800

You are ossified in your thinking

Karl wrote, “25 kw system for $23k plus install. — and linked to a quote of $33,822 instead of $23K.

Karl wrote, “you CAN buy UTES residential” — and linked to a six year old article, which he apparently had not read.

The article is about a presumably-defunct company (with a now-defunct web site). The article described the company’s system for improving heat pump efficiency, which was then being test-marketed in Sweden, and which did not store electricity at all.

Here’s an excerpt:

The company analyzes the geology of a site, projects the local heat retention capabilities and then orchestrates when and how to capture and deploy the heat during the year…

Here’s how it works. Solar thermal collectors trap heat from the sun in hot months. The heat is injected into a water/alcohol or water/glycol mixture and then is stored in an array of boreholes ranging from 150 meters to 300 meters deep. (After 500 meters, the drilling expenses get too high. The temperatures and well depths are also far less extreme than those used in geothermal systems that produce electricity instead of heat.) The boreholes, essentially wells, are spaced four to five meters apart in concentric circles.

Unlike conventional geothermal systems, the water/glycol mixture does not absorb energy from the earth. Because of the close proximity of the wells, taking heat from the earth would just freeze the ground.

“The earth is just containing it,” Andersson explained.

The fluid is stored at a temperature between 7 and 12 degrees Celsius. When it’s needed in the summer, the fluid gets brought to the surface and run through a ground source heat pump, which amplifies the heat so that the customer ultimately gets water in the 65 degrees Celsius range.

The fluid, now stripped of its heat, gets re-injected back into the earth. In summer, the reverse process occurs: somewhat cool fluid is passed through the heat pump to run the air conditioner.

The technology works best in areas with extreme swings in temperature between summer and winter…

Will this technology ever come to the States? … economic feasibility might depend on the various local incentives for renewable power and storage.

So, no, Karl, you cannot buy it. It was never available in the United States, it was only test-marketed in Sweden, the company which made it appears to be out of business, and it didn’t store electricity, anyhow.

Basically the system used a giant reservoir of antifreeze solution, stored in numerous enormous sealed boreholes in the ground (until one of them leaks and contaminates the water table). The Big Idea was to heat the antifreeze in the summer, and draw off the heat from the warm antifreeze in the winter.

Once upon a time we used a similar system, though just for cooling, not for heating:

So, how much antifreeze solution / borehole capacity are we talking about, anyhow? The article doesn’t say, of course. A little back of the envelope calculation is called for.

Let’s assume that the antifreeze solution has about the same heat capacity as water. Heating it five degrees C (from 7 to 12 °C) requires 5 cal / gram of water or antifreeze, or 5000 cal (= 5 kcal) per (kg=liter).

1 kcal = 0.00116222 kWh

A typical household at a temperate latitude might use 25 kWh per day for heat pump(s) heating the home and hot water (winter), and cooling the home and heating the water (summer). Let’s optimistically pretend it’s symmetrical, half of that is used for heating, the other half for cooling, so we’ll just calculate half of that, and assume we get the other half “free.” So 365.25 days × 12.5 kWh/day = 4,565 kWh.

So to store 4,565 kWh of energy storage by heating or cooling antifreeze solution by 5 °C would require 4,565 kWh / ((5 kcal/l) × (0.00116222 kWh/kcal)) = 785,565 liters.

Even if the solution is only 25% ethelyne glycol, that is still a lot of ethelyne glycol.

Ethelyne glycol has a specific gravity of 1.1153, so 1 liter weighs 1.1153 kg, and (785,565 / 4) = 196,391 liters = 219,035 kg (about 241 tons) of ethelyne glycol.

Now, ethelyne glycol costs about US $0.65/lb in bulk = 2.20462 × US $0.65 / kg = $1.43 / kg, so 219,035 kg of ethelyne glycol would cost US $313,220.

That’s just for the antifreeze, never mind the cost of drilling and lining the boreholes, pumping the fluid up and down them, paying the environmental fines when your leaky boreholes poison the groundwater for miles around, etc.

You could use propylene glycol, which is less toxic, but it’s nearly twice as expensive.

Now, what about the boreholes? How many “150 to 300 meters deep” boreholes would be needed to store 785,565 liters of solution?

For simplicity, let’s assume that the boreholes are lined with pipe which has an inside diameter of 10 cm. The interior pipe cross-section has area πr² = 25π = 78.54 cm², so it takes 1000/78.54 = 12.73 cm = 0.1273 meters of pipe to contain 1 liter of fluid. That means 785,565 liters of fluid would require 785,565 × 0.1273 = 100,000 meters of pipe, or 667 boreholes at 150 meters each, or 333 boreholes at 300 meters each.

Water wells typically cost US $15 – $30 per foot of depth, but they are much smaller diameter. But maybe if you’re digging 500 of them you’d get a discount! So let’s calculate the cost of digging those boreholes at a very optimistic $15/foot. That’s US $49.21 / meter, or about US $5 million for the total of 100,000 meters.

Does anyone wonder why that Swedish company apparently went out of business?

It seems like the most enthusiastic “renewable energy” advocates never “run the numbers.” That’s probably because the ones that do run the numbers quickly loose their enthusiasm.


I wrote, “Water wells typically cost US $15 – $30 per foot of depth, but they are much smaller diameter” than 10 cm.

That is incorrect. This page says, “Domestic wells are often 4 or 6 inches” in diameter, which would be 10.16 or 15.24 cm.

So that means the boreholes could presumably be larger in diameter, fewer in number, and lower in cost than I calculated.

chris y


Your example 25kW system from sunelec (often the lowest cost supplier of solar PV in the US), at $33,800 basically agrees with the price I listed in my previous comment. They both come to about $1.30/WDC for the hardware, with no batteries.

You can see the costs of ten’s of thousands of residential-sized solar PV installations in California over the years at-

The installed costs for recent years for systems of 10kW or less, with no batteries, are:

2015- $5.26/WDC, based on reports from 50,789 installations
2016- $4.97/WDC, based on reports from 132,686 installations
2017- $4.64/WDC, based on reports from 67,128 installations (so far)

There are lots of examples where the prices will be higher or lower, but these numbers reflect the average costs seen by a California homeowner, before tax credits and subsidies.


@ chris -y

and you get the 30% federal tax credit
production credits
Mortgage interest deduction

and a break-even timeframe of 7 years — so 13 years of free energy — and 13 years of profit by selling back to the grid.

Solar PV, UTES, wind, and Solar thermal are inevitable.

Using hydrocarbons for fuel is a waste of feedstick for polymers, plastics, carbon nano-tubes, and graphene

How about People of the World against the IPCC demanding $1 Trillion in damages for their improper assumptions leading to studies that misrepresent science for the purpose of malfeasance masquerading as for the greater good.


Wind and Solar PV (you can buy panels for 50 cents per watt) are now cheaper than Coal and approaching parity with combined cycle NG.

Why do you want people to pay more for electricity than they need to?

You’re trolling, right? Or do you really not know the difference between theoretical maximum output and actual output, and do you really not know that coal and NG produce power when it is needed vs. solar PV which produces power when the sun shines, without regard to whether it’s needed?


@ daveburton — I know the difference between nameplate capacity and production

Wind and solar are cheaper than Coal for levelized cost of electricity

They are approaching parity with NG

This includes when the sun is not shining and when the wind isn’t blowing.

You do realize that PV panels have fallen by more than an order of magnitude in cost and increased by more than 50% in efficiency in the last 5 years, don’t you?

Dave Fair

Ouch, Karl; false parity. Intermittent is not base load.

chris y


“You do realize that PV panels have fallen by more than an order of magnitude in cost and increased by more than 50% in efficiency in the last 5 years, don’t you?”

Please clarify what you mean by 50% increase in efficiency for PV panels. Record lab numbers, or COTS? A particular material system, or any material? Lab demo, or deployed array?

Also, best in class Chinese PV module manufacturing cost is here-

In 2011 it was 50 cents/WDC.
Current estimates for 2017 are 36 cents/WDC.

That is less than a factor of two drop in 5 years, not “more than an order of magnitude”.


@Dave Fair

It is cheaper per delivered kWh

“In 2016, countries from Chile to the United Arab Emirates broke records with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal power.”

Maybe you should inform yourself, instead of spouting intermittent.

Dave Fair

You should read your references more carefully, Karl:

“Coal industry officials point out that cost comparisons involving renewables don’t take into account the need to maintain backup supplies that can work when the sun doesn’t shine or wind doesn’t blow. When those other expenses are included, coal looks more economical, even around 2035, said Benjamin Sporton, chief executive officer of the World Coal Association.

“All advanced economies demand full-time electricity,” Sporton said. “Wind and solar can only generate part-time, intermittent electricity. While some renewable technologies have achieved significant cost reductions in recent years, it’s important to look at total system costs.””


@ Dave Fair



@ Dave Fair

In Australia — contracts for Wind — delivered Megawatt Hour are cheaper than Coal and NG

“SEN. WATERS: So you’re saying that new wind and new solar is cheaper than existing coal or gas, or new coal or gas. Is that correct?

FRISCHKNECHT: That is correct.

This, or course, refers to the fact that wind energy contracts are being struck at a price of around $55/MWh and solar contracts are thought to be around $70/MWh, and falling fast.”

Dave Fair

Throw in the costs for backing up wind and solar and we might be able to have a discussion.

Dave Fair

Karl, I’ll sell you electricity at $0.0/kWh. But I get to specify the subsidies.

Apparently his claim about hydro was to add more turbines to existing dams. (How to put more Penstocks in a dam are beyond me, they are built when the dam is built.) Then when demand is HIGH with no intermittents you really crank up the Hydro Output. Then later you got wind/solar you shut the dams down. (The control gates on dams can be control rather quickly compared to steam output. ) Not a crazy idea but getting wind from SD to TN and then TN hydro to SD seems pretty crazy.

John F. Hultquist

New turbines can replace old ones. The increased output is not spectacular, but there is some, plus other benefits.
Here is an example:
Wanapum Dam
The new design boosts salmon survival rates while also increasing generation by an average of 3.3%.


That depends on where the dam is located.
I don’t remember the name of the reservoir north of Atlanta. Because the area is a popular recreation spot, they had to start sounding sirens one hour prior to opening up the gates in order to give people enough time to get to higher ground.

Turning water flows on and off like that is probably not so great for the critters that (try to) live in the rivers, downstream.


Engineering a way to add turbines to existing Hydro plants is an interesting issue to tackle.

As far as long distance electricity transport — the interconnects are why a station in Ohio knocked out the entire Northeast and much of Canada.

Roger Knights

“As far as long distance electricity transport — the interconnects are why a station in Ohio knocked out the entire Northeast and much of Canada.”

But lots of Ohio power wasn’t / isn’t regularly being transmitted to Canada or vice versa, right? Power stations in the grid mostly back up and swap power among their near neighbors, I assume.


@ Roger

Actually some electricity is delivered more than 1000km from where it was generated

Very inefficiently delivered, and only when absolutely essential.

Losses over more than a 500-600 mile range (your 1000 km) through resistance heating and counter-emf feedback combine to rule out efficient transfer of power that far. Like a garden hose running 500 feet. You “can get” pressure (voltage) through the hose (the power line), but only if you have no flow (no current) flowing. Start the water flowing, and you get almost nothing out the other end.

Hydro is potentially dangerous compared to other power generation schemes. One of the worst disasters in history was the collapse of the Banqiao dam, which killed somewhere between 90,000 to 230,000 people.

Assuming alarmists are right, in a future of climate driven typhoons, floods, droughts and maybe even Earthquakes, expanding hydro seems a risky proposition.

Rob Bradley

Eric, if the failure of one hydroelectric dam stops the expansion of hydroelectric power , we should stop the expansion of nuclear power due to Chernobyl and Fukishima.

Rhoda R

That is precisely what the greenies are saying and why they claim to be against nuclear power.

No single civilian nuclear accident has resulted in the death of 90,000+ plus people. I’m not against hydro, it has its place, especially for developing countries which can’t afford anything expensive, but a “massive expansion” of hydro is not without its risks.

Dave Fair

Well, Eric, how do you account for a number of countries obtaining a significant portion of their electricity from inexpensive and safe hydroelectric projects? Why shouldn’t others benefit?

“… in a future of climate driven typhoons, floods, droughts and maybe even Earthquakes …” You seem to be using the same discredited Precautionary Principle as CAGW alarmists. Or are you being facetious? Climate driven earthquakes. Seriously?


“Hydro is potentially dangerous compared to other power generation schemes.” Very disappointing to read a statement like that from someone who writes here at WUWT supposedly advocating truth in AGW science. I always knew Eric Worrall was a total PR conn, especially when he made a comment in one of his own articles about recycling last year, which was that any recycling was just virtue signalling. Sue me Eric!

And then this statement further, “Assuming alarmists are right, in a future of climate driven typhoons, floods, droughts and maybe even Earthquakes, expanding hydro seems a risky proposition.” Talk about using alarmist hyperbole when it suits you. What a sellout.

It would be good to recycle Eric Worrall out of WUWT, with stupid statements like these.


So Eric should be banned for telling another truth you would rather not see.
How disappointing.


What truth MarkW…”Assuming alarmists are right”? I see you have jumped ship too.


You just have to wonder whether or not all of the slanted reporting regarding how well Dr Mann’s law suit is going has anything to do with the decision to file this suit? All of these characters are living in a fantasy land anyway so it may have absolutely nothing to do with it.


Over 60% of electricity consumed in Washington State is hydroelectric, and we have the lowest electricity rates in the nation. But our state has large rivers coursing through decent drops in elevation, which isn’t the case for all states.

Although a renewable resource, many environmentalists in Washington State do not look kindly on hydroelectric power because of interference with salmon runs.

Stevan Reddish

I can understand saying hydro isn’t suitable everywhere. I don’t understand saying hydro should be avoided even where it is suitable.
Again I ask: How is hydro environmentally devastating? There are ways to aid salmon runs. Is the interference with salmon runs more devastating than wind farm chopping and solar farm cooking of flying creatures?



What about the current issue of wind farms having contracts that force dams to spill water in order to allow transmission capacity?


If you read Jacobson’s rebuttal, his paper only assumes the 1000+ GW from hydro are

intermittent (the figure is clear regarding the intermittency)

from peak water events coupled with installation of extra turbines

Is it so hard to posit that in 33 years someone can figure out how to upgrade the most applicable Hydro Plants to support his assumption?

Is it also so hard to posit that an additional 1300GW could be sourced from a more robust PV, solar thermal and off shore wind — over the next 33 years?

“Let’s start with the Auburn dam in California”

I like the North Fork of the American River. It’s a fun, moderately technical raft trip. I’d hate to see it disappear.

They should build nuke plants in the same area which will provide far more electricity than any dam can produce, will not be affected by the frequent droughts and it’s the greenest possible way to produce electricity.

Oh wait, this is California where reason and politics are mutually exclusive.

Stevan Reddish

I thought the Auburn dam was all about water storage, with electricity a secondary consideration?


Someone has to pay for it and the margin on making electricity from water is better than selling the water and you can still sell the water that comes out of the turbines. The environmental impact statements alone will cost billions …

Curious George

Let’s start with the Golden Gate Dam in California. Make it 100 feet tall. San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento all gone. As a benefit, burnt areas of Wine Country also gone. Go Hydro!

Only problem is that the Pacific ocean needs to rise as well in order to bury SF and there’s just not enough fake ice to fake melt. If it spanned between the edge of the Santa Cruz mountains and the Marin highlands it might work and get Sacramento under water as well.


The issue is not the ocean rising for the West Coast. It’s the land subsiding into the ocean by 10 meters during a magnitude 9+ Megathrust quake.

Stevan Reddish

Wouldn’t the greenest possible way to make electricity be the one that emits the most CO2 per unit of electricity? Green plants love CO2!



burn the hardwood forests!! They are renewable after all.

Yes our ancestors did this until coal and oil came along. Much of the Great Lakes and New England were deforested to make firewood. That ended with coal. Thankfully. The forests of the Upper Mid-West and New England have recovered.

That’s the solution for the Germans excess electricity during wind storms, use it to fire up cement kilns. Make those windmills greener.


Maybe he is filing suit in superior court because he plans to overturn previous rulings that scientific disputes cannot be resolved by the courts. That would actually make sense. Of course, what are the judges like in DC Superior court? Does he get to depose the president and congress because of the venue?

Here’s a link I found to the full text of the lawsuit, … in mind-numbing detail, … for those who want to waste their time like moi, reading it. (^_^)

The link in the article above merely took me to a court records website, NOT to the specific case of interest in the article.

Well, really stupid now, … I trusted the first link, which was the data site, and the “here” and “here” links in the article DID, in fact, take me to this exact full-text document.

Confusing, when links are listed like that.

Just read the original Jacobson article and Clack et. al. response the funny thing is they didn’t even really hardly hit home on some simple back of the envelop calculations.
Jacobson has 7 wikipedia references in his original paper. (arghh… who would publish the efficiency of pumped storage based on a wiki article?!)
Jacobson predicts from in 37 years we will
build to a total: 335,000 land based windmills or almost 30x our present capacity.
build to a total: 155,000 offshore windmills ( almost an infinite increase in capacity)
build to a total: 75 million residential PV’s a more than 100x increase.
build to a total: 35,000 wave generating parks (do they even work?)
build to a total: 8,000 tidal generating parks (do they even work?)
build to a total: 9,000 underground thermal parks (wow, a lot of nice enviro studies there)
build to a total: 3,000 concentrated solar (think Ivanpah and all its natural gas consumption!)

Not one of these can be done in 37 years even with exaggerated building rates.


Thermal energy will be a goer down the track. Needs water of course.


Only in limited places


No it doesn’t

It simply needs a heat exchange medium — the two most commonly used are oils that can ‘survive’ 300C and molten salt.

For small or home based UTES or solar thermal — oil is the common choice — there are corrosion issues that preclude molten salt except for industrial scale applications.


Your numbers are WRONG

What is the MW nameplate capacities you are using for your windmill calcs?

There are 52,000 commercial land based windmills today — 335,000 is 6 times capacity NOT 30 TIMES — in 33 years easy

DOE predicts 3.8 million PV homes by 2020 — there are 1.3 million today — 75 million by 2050 is easily attainable. And average efficiency keeps increasing.

Offshore wind is just starting in the US — 30 years ago the only onshore wind was 2 farms in Cali with kilowatt class turbines.

The new Offshore turbines are 9 and 10 MW giants.

Offshore world wind installation doubles every 3 years (its at 15GW) so in 33 years

thermal parks and enviro studies — can you say fracking?

All you naysayers seem to forget that technological change is exponential — not linear.

F. Leghorn

Not always. Except maybe in the PRoLL land.

Peter Plail

I would challenge you to over your claim that technological change is exponential. Much of the technology is going to be resource limited, so whilst you can achieve impressive rates of growth in the early stages, shortages of raw materials, manpower and suitable sites are going to limit what can in reality be achieved.



Go look at the data for installed capacity for solar and wind for the last 10-15 years

It’s not hard to find

It’s not linear — it is exponential.

Dave Fair

Exponentials, over time, aren’t, Karl.

Dave Fair

Assuming the technologies break your way, Karl.


@ Dave Fair

Moore’s law has been exponential over 50 years

Wind and solar installed capacity have been exponentially growing for almost 2 decades.

The reason is that population and manufacturing capability is growing exponentially.

Here is a quick google search that shows hybrid and electric cars are both growing exponentially

So has solar pv installs in the US


Demonstrating again how badly we need tort reform in this country. We should adopt “loser pays” policies for lawsuits to stop this stupidity and unburden our overtaxed judicial system of frivolous lawsuits.


Demonstrating again how badly we need tort reform in this country. We should adopt “loser pays” policies for lawsuits to stop this stupidity and unburden our overtaxed judicial system of frivolous lawsuits.


I disagree with Anthony now it gets interesting the law is a double edged weapon. Can you imagine what is going to happen if that case actually wins. Every climate scientist will be in court continually for rejecting any paper that disagrees with CAGW under a claim they have defamed the author.

The action will basically favour any position that isn’t the “Accepted view” because you wouldn’t need to sue if yours was the accepted view.

Oh sometimes the law of unintended consequences is great.


This paper was not about AGW.

Jacobson’s paper was peer reviewed and published.

The issue is that PNAS published Clack — and has basically ignored Jacobson’s responses to Clack’s criticism.

Also (according to Jacobson) Clack apparently presents some criticism based on assuming a context other than how Jacobson wrote it or clarified in his responses to Clack’s paper.

Roger Knights

“The issue is that PNAS published Clack — and has basically ignored Jacobson’s responses to Clack’s criticism.”

PNAS also played favorites several years back in refusing to publish a Linden paper that he, as a member of the NAS, had a right to have printed unconditionally.

Chuck Dolci

Some commenters here have not bothered to even glance at the Complaint. It was not filed in California and is not going to go to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The case was filed in the Superior a Court of the District of Columbia (Washington DC for those of you from Rio Linda). This only makes sense if you think of D.C. as a microstate. It is not really a federal court in the traditional sense. My guess is the brought the action in DC because NAS is based there and the lively happened there, and they expect to get dummies on the jury.

Timo Soren

Maybe they can get Combs-Green to come back, then this case could be joined with Mr. M. Mann’s.

Non Nomen

When will some morons sue God almighty for creating this flawed world?

Nigel S

Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers sued God in 2008 for a permanent injunction against His harmful activities. The suit was dismissed because God could not be properly notified.


Then you think that such m0r0n get elected and imbued with power to make law… and you wonder what you could possibly tell to defend democracy next time.

Non Nomen

Nice to learn that some US courts have kept some sense of humour.

Nigel S

California Penal Code Section 158: “Common barratry is the practice of exciting groundless judicial proceedings, and is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months and by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000).”
California Penal Code Section 159: “No person can be convicted of common barratry except upon proof that he has excited suits or proceedings at law in at least three instances, and with a corrupt or malicious intent to vex and annoy.”

It’s been abolished as an offence in England since 1967 but used to be punishable by transportation for seven years.

Dante consigned them to Malebolge the eighth circle of hell. Inferno Canto XXIII (the Eighth Circle, Fifth Pouch: the Barrators; Sixth Pouch: the Hypocrites).

Re: “…punishable by transportation for seven years.”

I suppose that’s a legal term of some sort, but it reminded me of this:

DC Cowboy

If this suit is successful we are taking the next step in transforming our Judicial system from one that interprets law into a set of Imams, dispensing ‘justice’ (as they see it and regardless of what the actual law says) and deciding the way the world should be interpreted, i.e, deciding what is factual and what is not as well as what we are to believe about those ‘facts’.


Not really,

If criticism is fallacious, and paints a false picture regarding the professionalism — it is a tort.

If you said I sourced a bad product — and it was found to be false, because you misinterpreted what you thought you read about my work — that is an actionable tort.

Reg Nelson

And if Phil Jones, Trenbreth, Mann et, all conspired to manufacture a “bad product”, AKA the “Cause”, you would be all in favor suing them, Right?

Be honest. Can you? Are you capable of that?

“If criticism is fallacious, and paints a false picture regarding the professionalism — it is a tort.”

The political corruption of Climate Science is well known and well documented.

Dave Fair

Opinion is not actionable, Karl.


@ Reg and Dave Fair

1. I think AGW is rubbish — I use modeling and simulation extensively in my field — the models are rubbish and the dependencies for much of the climate phenomenology are still largely unknown, or known very poorly.

2. The lawsuit is an issue regarding failure to follow the established process.

If opinion is stated as fact (which Clack is doing) — then it is actionable.

I think Mann et al who conspired to basically falsify the record to match their agenda should be fined and jailed.

For a long time academics have falsely assumed that they were immune from the law – that for example, if they wrongly advise governments that the world is warming – that governments as a result spend $billions on “remedies” and then when we find out what academics were saying was a total load of bullshit – that the academics & their Universities couldn’t be sued.

But it needed a precedent … it needed someone to show that academics are not above the law. That it was possible to sue them in court … that there is nothing different between fraud in academia and fraud outside … in short that there is isonomia – equality before the law for both academia and lay people.

But I never thought it would be a climate alarmist who’d lay the ground work for all the alarmists and their Universities to get sued for every penny when the scam falls apart and their lies and deceit are shown for what it is.

Roger Knights

“But it needed a precedent … it needed someone to show that academics are not above the law.”

It’s already happened in Italy, where the scientists who pooh-poohed the likelihood of an earthquake were successfully prosecuted after it occurred.

Good luck getting published in a peer reviewed journal ever again.

“You want me to review the work of a guy who sues people who don’t give him good reviews?



This is a frivolous and vexatious lawsuit, and will ultimately be ruled as such. Obviously, someone with deep pockets is back stopping this nonsense. It may also send a further shudder down the spine of anyone writing a bad review of anything bad about the Alarmist position, which is clearly the message that is being sent. But the hate on for hydro here by the editorial board is even more shocking, pardon the pun. Sounds like a case of NIMBYism here regarding hydro, which is just as bad as the advocates of solar and wind saying that somehow these low density renewables can power the world. At least large hydro is a dispatchable base load energy product.

There isn’t many good sites left for new large scale hydro in the lower 48 USA, and there is certainly not the water available to just install more turbines at existing facilities so Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson should really get his facts straight before he claims there is another order of magnitude for large hydro to develop further capacity. Hydro now makes up a fairly small overall portion of the electricity production, but it is 100x worth what any wind or solar site produces, and is a lot less cost to produce electricity, which asset will survive 10x as long as any wind mill or solar panel. Hoover Dam is now 75+ years old and Grand Coulee is almost as old, and will be around for hundreds of years to come. The concrete hasn’t even yet reached maximum strength and certainly isn’t going anywhere soon.

It was large scale hydro and irrigation in the Pacific North West that helped win WW2, with ample electricity supply to implement the Manhattan Project, and supply Boeing with enough energy to build enough aircraft to defeat the enemy. It was large scale hydro and irrigation on the Colorado River that allowed a multi trillion dollar economy in multiple states over the last 75 years, transforming America into the super power it is, forever. It was large scale hydro generation at Niagara Falls, starting in 1882, and thousands of other examples of clean energy hydro is what helped propel America to the super power it has become. Dissing hydro now as environmentally harmful and not stating any of the benefits, is disingenuous at best, and just flat out propaganda at worst, no better than the CAGW drivel we hear about every day. This was an all round Ugly article.

Ore-gonE Left

Precisely, we would be speaking German without hydro. The most efficient of all the other so-called renewables.
In our liberal “green” state of Oregon, Hydro is NOT considered a renewable energy source in their mandate to achieve 25% renewable energy!!! I kid you not.

Dave Fair

Or, as a Vietnamese B-girl once said to me, nebber happen, GI.


OT but it looks like Naomi Oreskes’ brother is in deep sheet.

“NPR’s Head Of News Resigns Following Harassment Allegations”

No wonder these women allege harassment against him . He’s as ugly and his sister. They remind me of the “Orcses” as Gollum/Smeagol calls them in Lord of he Rings.

Seems to me that the issue is the refusal of the authors to correct their criticisms since the criticisms were based on their own incorrect assumptions.
Also its the failure of the NAS to forward the Emails to the authors of the critiquing paper outlining Jacobsons explanations as to what he did andd why the Clark group was incorrect in their rebuttal of his original paper.

Its a proceedural issue on the part f the NAS as defendent and a fact ignoring issue on the part of the Clack group.
Its not about the quality of the science per se but about the process and the ignoring of information in a publication that criticised the information in the original paper. As to the validity of said info that is not an issue in this lawsuit.
Even if the info is later shown to be faulse, the ignoring of the info by Clack et al aided and abetted by the NAS in so doing in the rebuttal is what is at issue

Roger Knights

Thanks for providing some light!


Imitation is the best form of flatery. Hitler would be so proud that liberals are following his brand of free speech.

Uber leftest universities and liberal accademics Jacobson, Mann, etc. want accademic freedom and free speech only when it is they doing the editing and criticizing. Accademic Freedom and Free Speech for them, Censorship and legal action for everyone else.

Svend Ferdinandsen

Peer review is the best proof of scientific credibiity untill it is not!
Are they scientists or drama queens?

Gunga Din

Drama “Persons”.
(Mustn’t upset the PC crowd!)

Gunga Din

Odd. Hydro is OK when they count the total power produced by “renewable” sources but is not OK when it comes building new dams.

(Maybe someone close to Al Gore can get him to start in a new company? “Gore’s Damned Power Inc.”?
Then I’m sure it would be OK.)

Joel Snider

Progressives always use the courts to get their agenda through. It’s their way of circumventing the other branches of government, as well as the will of the people. All you have to do is stack the courts with partisan hacks… which has basically already been done.


Don’t worry, his case will balloon in scope as support for it erodes until it clogs up and can no longer drive itself.