FT Funny: We can Solve Climate Change by Developing Affordable Green Energy

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

It would all be so simple if engineers just got on with it and solved the problems.

Science can succeed on climate change where politics fails

And if someone makes money from finding a solution, who cares?

For the past 20 years the orthodox response to the threat of climate change has been focused on the search for a global agreement to reduce emissions. Such an approach is entirely logical and rational. Climate change is a global risk and so everyone should be involved in the response. The only problem is that the approach has failed. The Paris conference in 2015 brought people together and collected a range of loose promises from almost every country in the world. Those promises in aggregate were inadequate, and some have already been forgotten as regimes have changed, not least in the US. Many countries are taking action to mitigate climate change, but these actions don’t add up to an answer. Potential global solutions such as a universal carbon tax remain off the agenda.

What is the alternative? The best hope for limiting emissions comes from the application of science to the energy market. That means finding sources of energy that can be made available to all the world’s citizens, at a price they can afford, enabling them to switch away from the carbon-intensive fuels such as coal that are the main source of the problem. If politics cannot solve climate change, perhaps science and economics can do better.

Some years ago a group of scientists launched the Global Apollo Programme to Combat Climate Change at the London School of Economics — a concept designed in the belief that science could produce answers to a clear challenge just as happened in the 1960s space programme in the US. This initiative needs to be made global. It should begin with an open-minded approach and a willingness to fund work which offers the prospect of practical answers.

Politics may have failed, but rationality has not. If one approach does not work, the logic is to try another.

Read more: https://www.ft.com/content/217fff44-d2d6-11e8-a9f2-7574db66bcd5

Trying to apply logic to green claims can be entertaining, as long as you don’t take their claims too seriously.

For example, greens claim renewable prices are falling rapidly, that renewables are already cheaper than coal – so why is government intervention needed? Why not just wait a few years for prices to fall to the point that the economic case for switching to renewables is utterly overwhelming? Why is that green “Apollo Project” still considered so necessary?

Greens claim Climate Change is an existential threat – so are so many greens anti-nuclear? We could replace most dispatchable coal and gas with dispatchable nuclear power in less than a decade, cut global CO2 emissions in half with minimal economic disruption, by copying the 1970s French Nuclear Programme.

Greens claim the threat of dangerous anthropogenic climate change is settled science – so why do greens put up such a fight when other scientists ask to see their data?

And of course, my new personal favourite – we can switch to renewables, when engineers solve the problems.

Nothing about the mainstream green position on climate change and renewable energy makes sense.

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October 29, 2018 12:46 am

I know they’re a joke, but I just don’t think it’s funny.

Reply to  Hivemind
October 29, 2018 1:37 am

+ 97%

Reply to  Hivemind
October 29, 2018 7:44 am

As with much of this kind of thinking It makes my ears cringe when I hear “All you need to do is…” followed by some rather wishful and woefully ignorant statement that seems easy only because the nattering noob has no clue as to what he is asking for. I dump these ideas in what I’ve labeled as “bell-the-cat-solutions” (far easier said than done). Too often the ignorant fool walks off congratulating himself/herself for solving the problem ,as if merely rubbing the magic lamp and uttering an implausible wish is a solution of any sort.
When they return with a working solution of even marginal attempt I will take notice. In the mean time I must continually ask them to get the hell out of my kitchen, as they are only making a mess and accomplishing nothing, as they pretend to play engineer.

Another Paul
Reply to  Rocketscientist
October 29, 2018 8:47 am

“All you need to do is…” The less you know about something, the easier it seems to do.

Bryan A
Reply to  Another Paul
October 29, 2018 9:20 am

The greens seem to have forgotten the most important portion of the equation, Green energy needs to not only be affordable but it so must be Reliable and dispatchable

james francisco
Reply to  Rocketscientist
October 29, 2018 8:51 am

Boy you hit the nail on the head.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
October 29, 2018 9:14 am

But … rainbows and unicorns are pretty.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Rocketscientist
October 29, 2018 11:03 am

The less you know about something, the easier it seems to do.

– explains much of human history.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
October 29, 2018 2:44 pm

“We can Solve Climate Change by Developing Affordable Green Energy.” Indubitably, that is a true statement. I believe you nailed the issue fair dinkum. But then…..Now what? How you do dat?

No one objects to using “green energy” that is reliable and sustainable, likely not even very many of those whose professional life and ‘making a living’ is dependent upon continued use of “fossil” fuels. It is the fundamental laws of nature: The laws of physics and chemistry that are inhibiting the development of viable, sustainable “green energy.

And regardless of how they may try, neither Congress nor anyone else has the moxie and the power needed to emend and change any of the inhibiting laws.

At this time, all means and methods of providing “green” energy must have financial subsidies that are being provided by profit yielding economic endeavors that are powered by traditional ‘fossil’

Reply to  ThomasJK
October 30, 2018 11:47 am

Why didn’t the allies just heat the ocean up to 200 degrees and do away with the nazi submarine threat.

Reply to  Hivemind
October 29, 2018 3:20 pm

It is funny to contemplate – they are 100% right about climate change, and the only solution is some lamebrained scheme that makes not a lick of sense.

The climate is complex and hard. In contrast, we know how to generate electricity, and exactly how much we need where and when. There isn’t some big mystery about it. So why can’t they figure THAT part of the question out? Why are they perennially confused, give nonsensical answers to simple questions, and what not? it’s enough to make someone doubt climate change….

October 29, 2018 1:09 am

Someone should alert the Greens to all the free energy clips on YouTube , then we can all sit back with popcorn and have a laugh .

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  robertfromoz
October 29, 2018 2:02 am

Well, at least that might result in them transferring their fracking-ban activities to the inventors in question. After all they are bound to find a way to claim that any competitor to wind turbines is polluting.

Reply to  robertfromoz
October 29, 2018 7:12 am

Is there really any difference between YouTube cold fusion and other phony energy scams and what the greens are actually promoting?

Bryan A
Reply to  Hunter
October 29, 2018 12:15 pm

That’s a Big Negatory good buddy.

Well, there is one difference in that what the greens promote actually do produce somewhat usable energy (some of the time). Those Pie in the Sky YouTube videos (ala Steorn and other Magnetic Bunk Machines) have yet to demonstrate usable scalable energy production

Ben of Houston
Reply to  robertfromoz
October 29, 2018 8:52 am

Please don’t. That’s how we have politicians actively funding nonsense like solar roadways.

October 29, 2018 1:16 am

The key problem with grid-connected wind power is intermittency, and the resulting lack of predictable, dispatchable power that is the primary requirement for grid electricity.

I have heard and read many energy neophytes say that grid-scale storage is the solution – and they act like it actually exists. In practical terms, it does not – except for a few rare cases where pumped storage is feasible.

So I would like to announce that I have invented a SOLUTION:

It consists of millions of huge flywheels that are wound up by wind power while the wind blows, and then the power is released back into the grid by tapping power from the rotation flywheels. For longer periods when the wind does not blow, the flywheels are spun by great herds of unicorns, galloping round and round at great speed.

Once we have solved the unicorn-supply challenge we are sure to have a green energy winner! We are applying to the Canadian government in Ottawa for a development grant – PM Justin Trudeau and Climate Barbie have already declared their support.

[I suppose I must say “Sarc/off for the warmists out there, who tend to believe ANYTHING!]

Ian W
October 29, 2018 3:04 am

Minus the herds of unicorns these flywheel systems have been in use for decades. The ‘no-break’ power supplies in air traffic control towers were often a large flywheel spun up using the grid power supply and driving a generator to provide power to systems such as talk down radars. If the grid power supply went out the flywheel could keep the power supply running to the talk down radar and displays for enough time to finish a talkdown – around 5 minutes.

BRian RL Catt CEng, CPHys
Reply to  Ian W
October 29, 2018 3:59 am

Used to provide half? (memory) the energy for Culham fusion pulses, to avoid dragging down the grid. The flywheels are somewhat larger that yours, I imagine. The visit talk says they would easilly get to Edinburgh from Abingdon if placed on the ground upright at full energy storage….also you need a line of 1MW windmills that long at 1Km spacing to create 1GW of instantaneous power – at full output….

Reply to  Ian W
October 29, 2018 4:11 am

the spinning mass of the hundreds of turbines is the primary means by which the grid is stabilised in the very short term – sub one minute time scales.

So important is this that renewable power sources are needing to be equipped with batteries and complex electronics to simulate it.

Further adding to the cost of course.

After that you can open up the gates on hydro and open up the steam valves on some kit to get a bit of a response until you can – typically – bring a gas turbine set online – about half an hour to 45 minutes from off to full efficiency.

william Johnston
Reply to  Ian W
October 29, 2018 6:31 am

Just remember to align the axis of the flywheels at random angles. If all were aligned along the same plane, they would then become one giant flywheel and throw the rotation of earth out of whack and we would fall into the sun and be destroyed. And kill all the unicorns. Or something.

Reply to  william Johnston
October 29, 2018 8:27 am

Just have every other one rotate in the opposite direction as its neighbor. The precession forces will cancel each other. But. don’t forget to leave enough room for the trucks to remove the unicorns’ dung.

Neil Jordan
Reply to  rocketscientist
October 29, 2018 2:08 pm

No need for the trucks. Everyone knows that unicorns poo gold nuggets. There will be plenty of people following them with buckets.

Reply to  william Johnston
October 30, 2018 6:30 pm

Something like that happened to the first guy to invent the flywheel-driven car.

He wound up this big flywheel all night and took off in the morning – worked great ’til he hit the first curve…

October 29, 2018 4:08 am

Ah, you have a great future in the belling of cats sir!

Reply to  Leo Smith
October 29, 2018 5:22 am

The solution lies in finding Maxwell’s demon.

Ken Irwin
October 29, 2018 7:46 am

Pumped storage is possible if you take some near coastal mountainous valley in an arid area – build a hydropower dam / pump station and fill it with sea water from the nearby ocean.
You can then run 100% of its capacity up and down hill every day if required.
Something that would not be allowed or possible with potable water dams.
Of course you will lose 20% -30% on losses up and down.
You might also benefit from increased precipitation in the surrounding arid area.
But the water vapor so generated is a greenhouse gas – so this idea is stillborn if you are an alarmist.
You would almost certainly be destroying the environment of some species of microbe or the other as well.
And of course getting Greens to sign off on it would be impossible.

Coeur de Lion
October 29, 2018 1:47 am

Had to defrost my car windscreen this morning.

spalding craft
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
October 29, 2018 5:32 am

Me too. Global warming is a hoax.

Reply to  spalding craft
October 29, 2018 6:54 am

No, CO2-induced global warming is a hoax.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 29, 2018 8:55 am

No, guys. It’s greatly exaggerated. Please don’t feed the trolls with this sort of nonsense.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Ben of Houston
October 29, 2018 2:18 pm

There are two sides, or types of Global Warming. The one we argue here is the science, which is mostly nonsense. The other is the politics, which is almost entirely a hoax perpetrated upon the politicians (those simpletons).

Reply to  spalding craft
October 30, 2018 6:45 am

You’re so right it is a hoax

Ian Macdonald
October 29, 2018 1:58 am

We could have thorium AND fusion working in a decade or less if we switched the climate funds into engineering.

Reason this hasn’t happened is political; that there are to many politicians with vested interests in the wind sector. The know that a breakthrough in either would kill their personal investmetns stone dead.

I recently found out that an investment manger I had funds with, was campaigning to damage the assets of competitors to their own wind portfolio. I sold. In future I shall be more careful about who I invest with.

Reply to  Ian Macdonald
October 29, 2018 3:32 am

Ian Macdonald

There is a scheme in rural northern England to provide high speed internet access to rural communities where, if it’s available, it’s usually in the low single digit MBps.

A group of individuals headed by a former wide area fibre networks senior manager are delivering 1,000 Mbps Cable to the House for a connection fee of £150 and £03 monthly. https://b4rn.org.uk

It’s a community scheme but remains commercially viable.

Whilst the concept is larger, I wonder if something similar couldn’t be accomplished with SMR’s (Small Nuclear Reactors)? There would also seem some serious advantages in multiple grid connected SMR’s across a country. In the even of natural disasters or war there are no central energy sites that could/would be disabled. Even if one reactor was disabled, assuming the grid itself wasn’t completely disrupted, power could be diverted from multiple other sites. If the grid was disrupted, each area supplied by a local reactor would remain operational.

The benefits of Thorium molten salt reactors seem well established including using waste from conventional nuclear plants as fuel. There is one Swedish design from which it’s impossible to produce weapons grade plutonium so the SJW’s and greens should be happy, of course the government probably wouldn’t be happy with that aspect.

But it’s like anything else I guess. Doubtless the residents of the areas now with 1,000 MBps internet access were told by BT/Virgin etc. that it was impossible to provide economic access to high speed internet, far less fibre to the house. In the same way I guess, the government is doubtless surrounded by ‘experts’ telling them why the concept of SMR’s are unachievable. Yet if it was thrown open to competition doubtless that ‘nasty’ capitalist concept of free enterprise would find solutions.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  HotScot
October 29, 2018 8:58 am

Still, we have the issue of the fact that safe, small, radiation-proof Thorium reactors are still just as fictional as grid-scale storage. It’s theoretically possible, and your idea seems like it might work. However, we are still belling the cat until we have a reactor that’s anywhere near your specifications.

Reply to  HotScot
October 29, 2018 12:30 pm


I think Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are hindered by economics, rather than anything else. Why bother building and investing in this tech when combined cycle natgas plants are so cheap (and clean)? If full size plants that are already paid off and have nothing left but operating costs can’t compete, how can a new, higher cost/kwh plant hope to?


Reply to  ripshin
October 30, 2018 9:05 pm

I agree that inexpensive combined cycle natural gas electrical power is a significant impediment to developing nuclear in the U.S. That’s why I see China and/or India as being the leaders on advanced nuclear power.

Reply to  Ian Macdonald
October 29, 2018 7:31 am

Thorium ?!?! You must be joking. It is, and has been, irrelevant for 40 years.

“We could have thorium AND fusion working in a decade or less if we switched the climate funds into engineering.”

Nothing is underfunded in the U.S. Everything is over funded. Imposing some kind of linkage between fusion research and climate fund (sic) is a fallacy.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
October 29, 2018 11:30 am

Forget fusion. Unless someone, someday, makes a viable reactor, we don’t need it. Fast uranium reactors make more sense. About 4% of reactor fuel is fissioned. This fuel is first enriched to about 4% uranium (starting from 0.7% natural uranium). For every tonne of uranium fuel made, about 9 tonnes of depleted uranium (DU), or more, are left over. For every 1000 tonnes of natural uranium, about 4 tonnes of uranium is fissioned. Equivalent to about 4 × 1-GW reactors running over one year. There are about 430 GW of nuclear power now. Each year leaving 90000 tonnes DU and 10,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). With fast reactors, 99% of that leftover DU and SNF could be fissioned too to make electricity. That’s a lot of uranium hanging about which could be put to use.

In terms of fuel efficiency, our current reactors are the least efficient; like the steam engine before James Watt.

Reply to  Mark Pawelek
October 29, 2018 1:13 pm

To expand on Mark’s excellent comment, a couple clarifications:

– Light water reactor fuel is enriched from 0.7% U235 natural U (99.3% U238), to somewhere between 3.5% – 5% U235 (5% enrichment is the current regulatory upper limit for commercial power plants).

– Depleted uranium (DU) is what remains after the enrichment process (can be stored as UF6, or converted to metallic U for other uses)

– SNF represents significant reserves of energy, but does require cost to recover. It’s equally a regulatory and economic question, but it’s certainly technically doable.

– Based on the fact that U235 is just dying to fission, and there remains so much of it available (including enormous quantities in seawater), both fusion and thorium (referenced here so often) are not “necessary” at this point in time. Certainly at some point, centuries in the future, fusion could be both feasible and necessary, but that point is not today. Likewise, thorium isn’t necessary either. It’s like comparing black coal to lignite coal. Sure there’s gazillion tons of it available, but given the difficulty of building/licensing a nuke plant and the easy availability (relatively speaking) of U, why would you use an inferior fuel like thorium?

– Finally, we should point out that stating U235 is a better fuel than thorium, or that fusion isn’t necessary today, does not mean we are stating that light water reactor technology is the right choice for future energy needs. Certainly molten salt reactors (MSRs) and/or high temp gas reactors (HTGRs) could be better, more efficient options in tomorrow’s world.


Reply to  ripshin
October 29, 2018 8:07 pm

A nd don’t forget plutonium recovery through reprocessing used to be that mixed oxide fuels took advantage of the Pu formed during normal operations…and breeder reactors actually produced more fuel than they consumed.

Reply to  Jim b
November 3, 2018 7:55 am

‘breeder reactors actually produced more fuel than they consumed’

Never happened. Not that they didn’t produce some U-233, but that U-233 atoms in a thorium target are not FUEL. Through extensive separations and processing, they could be made into fuel. This is the principal early failure of breeding experiments. Yes, the alchemy worked, but the created product did not participate in sustaining fission.

Molten reactors should overcome this limitation. At least that’s the theory.

“Likewise, thorium isn’t necessary either. It’s like comparing black coal to lignite coal. Sure there’s gazillion tons of it available, but given the difficulty of building/licensing a nuke plant and the easy availability (relatively speaking) of U, why would you use an inferior fuel like thorium?”

Your point is correct, but ‘gazillion tons of it available’ perpetuates a myth. There is none available. A few pounds. There is no thorium industry. It is completely undeveloped, as Man has had no particular need for it that isn’t met with material byproduct from processing rare earths. Just because there might be more thorium in the crust than uranium doesn’t make thorium cheap, or even available. Additionally, fuel cost is less than 20% of the operating cost of a nuclear plant. Were thorium fully available, the advantage is at best marginal, potentially saving less than 10%. “why would you use an inferior fuel like thorium?”

Breeding thorium was a good idea in the 1950s, because uranium was rare and expensive. Development of the uranium industry resulted in it being common and cheap. Thorium serves no purpose today. It might hundreds of years out, but not today.

Other than fueling wild speculation. At least the conspiracy theories have died back.

Reply to  Jim b
November 3, 2018 8:19 am

“but that U-233 atoms in a thorium target are not FUEL.”


The 3rd core installed at the Shippingport nuclear power plant proves you wrong: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shippingport_Atomic_Power_Station#Cores

Phillip Bratby
October 29, 2018 1:59 am

The Greenblob knows and understands nothing about science or engineering.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
October 29, 2018 3:36 am


The Greenblob knows and understands nothing about science or engineering.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
October 29, 2018 5:45 am

There is one tiny detail that most people don’t sufficiently understand. It’s the difference between incremental development and breakthroughs.

… science could produce answers to a clear challenge just as happened in the 1960s space programme in the US.

People have the idea that, if you throw enough money at science, anything can happen. That’s only true as long as you only need incremental development. When the Soviets launched Sputnik their rockets were just bigger, better versions of what they got from the Germans after WW2.

Landing a man on the moon couldn’t have happened in 1945. It required transistors and integrated circuits which hadn’t been invented yet. link In other words, a breakthrough hadn’t happened yet.

Breakthroughs don’t happen on demand. link Breakthroughs can not be planned. Throwing money and resources at a required breakthrough almost guarantees that it won’t happen.

Practical renewable energy requires a breakthrough in storage. I leave it to you, as an exercise, to connect the dots.

Greg White
Reply to  commieBob
October 29, 2018 6:50 am

A breakthrough in storage would advantage reliable systems more than intermittent. A reliable source could be reduced in size,optimized to run at one speed and require less than 12 hours of storage. Intermittent sources have to be massively over built to charge many days worth of storage. This breakthrough in storage would wipeout renewables.

Reply to  Greg White
October 29, 2018 7:32 am

Yes. What you describe is the case with pumped hydro storage. Where local geography is correct, pumped hydro is economic and does reduce total system costs. Sadly, there are only a few places where pumped hydro is feasible.

Russ Wood
Reply to  commieBob
October 29, 2018 8:31 am

There’s an example of that in the Canaries (El Hierro). Funded by Spain, there is a whole set of wind turbines which pump water up to a high altitude dam, and let it down again through conventional turbines. It cost a fortune, and at its best, provided about 45% of the island’s electricity. Saved them quite a bit in diesel fuel for the generators, but that’s all.
http://euanmearns.com/ has quite a bit of coverage of this.

Bill Murphy
Reply to  commieBob
October 29, 2018 9:54 am

RE:“There is one tiny detail that most people don’t sufficiently understand. It’s the difference between incremental development and breakthroughs.”

That’s not a “tiny” detail, Bob. It’s HUGE. Apollo is so often, and wrongly, portrayed as a “breakthrough” when in reality one of the earliest decisions in the program was to NOT wait for breakthroughs, which may or may not happen, but to expand and enhance existing technologies that they knew were capable and adequate for the job. That mindset was used at all levels, large and small. Such as the S1 stage of the Saturn 5 being fueled by fossil fuel (kerosene & LOX) rather than the much more efficient LH/LOX. The von Braun team knew they could develop a kerosene engine and stage of the required size in the time allotted by the JFK mandate, but a LH/LOX stage of that size seemed to require too many breakthroughs in materials. So they went with kerosene/LOX for the S1 and LH/LOX for the smaller S2 and SIVB stages. The entire Saturn 5/Apollo stack was a compromise based on questions of the development of the proposed Nova booster which would have been much larger than the Saturn 5 but seemed to require too many breakthroughs at the limit of existing technology at the time. The development of the LM and the Lunar orbit rendezvous technique was a simpler extension of known possible technology. If the Apollo managers and von Braun had put their eggs in the “breakthrough” basket the Apollo program would likely have been cancelled before any landing could have happened. And if it had it would have not happened in 1969.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
October 29, 2018 7:54 am

You assume they care about “truth” or science.

The Green Blob is a wholly political grouping of Left-wing activists determined to change our economies and societies. The environment is just the excuse. It is why trying to argue science with so many activists is simply a total waste of time. The fight over Climate Change is not scientific but political. The vast majority of sceptics continue to fight the wrong battles.

Reply to  Phoenix44
October 29, 2018 2:29 pm

Well said, Phoenix44.

Peta of Newark
October 29, 2018 2:14 am


steve case
October 29, 2018 2:16 am

” We could replace most dispatchable coal and gas with dispatchable nuclear power in less than a decade, cut global CO2 emissions in half …”

The problem in all of this is, “CO2 is not a problem.”

Paul Nevins
Reply to  steve case
October 29, 2018 6:27 am

Still makes sense to do it. Save the hydrocarbons for feedstock for plastics and other uses.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Paul Nevins
October 29, 2018 6:42 am

Nope. It only makes sense if the cost is comparable to coal and gas. Saving hydrocarbons for other uses is a red herring argument.

steve case
Reply to  Paul Nevins
October 29, 2018 7:41 am

Aviation fuel – Electric aircraft aren’t going to haul several hundred people & luggage thousands of miles across the oceans.

Russ Wood
Reply to  steve case
October 29, 2018 8:33 am

Or even electric trucks, considering the volume and mass that’s moved evry day!

Reply to  Russ Wood
October 29, 2018 2:31 pm

There might be a niche market for them. But, yeah, like cars, electric is not going to replace the internal combustion engine.

Mike Macray
October 29, 2018 2:19 am

It’s up to the Legislators. First they have to repeal the Laws of Thermodynamics and replace them with more user friendly ones, THEN bring on the Engineers to work miracles.
need I add sarc?

Reply to  Mike Macray
October 29, 2018 5:47 am

Far better to support engineers to get on with the task of inventing and developing dispatchable solar energy cheaper than coal or gas power.

A C Osborn
Reply to  David L. Hagen
October 29, 2018 6:32 am

It is totally impossible, Solar is only available a maximum of 12-14 hours a day, the back-up requirement makes it horrendously expensive.

Greg White
Reply to  A C Osborn
October 29, 2018 6:53 am

The capacity factor for solar in Germany is only 10%.

Reply to  A C Osborn
October 29, 2018 7:58 am

I took a copy of the hourly average for yesterday of the UK energy supply as provided by the UK grid, Solar is just a lens in the middle of the day (but of course it is October) .

Reply to  David L. Hagen
October 30, 2018 2:07 pm

AC Osborn Why accept “Totally impossible” when our children and grandchildren will need cost effective sustainable fuels and power. Ask instead “How can we do it?” and then pursue possibilities! “Horrendously expensive” backup is only in the mind of a doubter’s experience, not a necessity for the future.

October 29, 2018 2:52 am

In the short term we should build gas fired generaters, both because they ‘are cheaper than nuclear and can be built quickly. Second we are at this moment stuck with many wind and solar generaters, especcially in South Australia. We will have to live with them until in the long term nuclear can be built.

But, and itis a big but, we have to convience the population that CO2 is a good gas, and stop support for all Green things, and that will be difficult as the Media and politicians like it just the way it is.

Its not going to be in my lifetime, which is a pity, I would like to see the end of the Green myth.


Harry Passfield
October 29, 2018 2:56 am

“Greens claim Climate Change is an existential threat”

If that’s the case why aren’t the likes of Caroline Lucas and George Monbiot even now beating up the Chinese government for not doing enough to reduce emissions? As far as the Greens are concerned this is not a global problem, existential or otherwise, it is a Western World problem. They hate their own society but don’t want to give it up; they want everyone else to.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
October 29, 2018 3:09 am

As you say, it would appear that it is because the Chinese are not white Westerners, and it would be racist (in their “green” minds) to criticise “ethnics”. 🙁

Reply to  Harry Passfield
October 29, 2018 3:48 am

Harry Passfield

Caroline Lucas and George Monbiot know better than to beat up the Chinese about anything so they go for the targets that won’t retaliate.

We have for many years been governed by minority interest pressure groups. The concept of democracy in the UK is taking a severe beating as their policies are being thrust upon us against the democratic will of the country.

It’s an insidious disease that can only be dealt with by another Thatcher.

Fracking in Lancashire has again been stopped because of undetectable tremors thanks to minority pressure groups. The first I believe was 0.3 (sorry, I can’t recall the designated scale) and the threshold is an arbitrary 0.5 but Cuadrilla stopped anyway. The next I believe was around 0.9 and they stopped again. Evidently, both are undetectable to humans and cause no physical damage. They are likened to a lorry driving by a house in terms of destructive capabilities.

Yet America has been fracking for years now with seemingly no tremor problems. What’s so unique about Lancashire?

Reply to  Harry Passfield
October 29, 2018 8:05 am

Because, as I’ve been told elsewhere many, many times, it’s the CO2 per capita that is the issue, not the actual total amount that is the problem. When I ask why isn’t it total CO2, since that is what supposedly drives the climate, and thus we should focus on China, I am immediately reprimanded about “US CO2 per capita!”. Somehow our CO2 is more dangerous, even though we emit half as much as China…

October 29, 2018 3:04 am

Even if, due to something we have inhaled, we all suddenly believed in CO2 driven CAGW and all the alarmist future consequences, the Climate Change debate would have hardly started if we had had the open competitive free market for power generation we should have had, and not such a market disrupted and even destroyed by subsidies, tax breaks and minimum price guarantees. The action plan would then have been:

1. Immediately cancel all such “subsidies”.

2. Tax all Power Station Systems’ CO2 emissions at a net present values rate per tonne of CO2 for the forecast future costs of the remedying the “damage” caused by CAGW, less the parallel benefits such as increased crop yields.

3. All power to be bought at the same standard rate for a base load PG system, i.e. power always available when needed, leaving the Power Suppliers to decide what mix of renewables, standby facilities, and necessary additional and enhanced power transmission works they need to powers to areas of actual power demand. Nuclear, for instance, would have to include for all toxic waste management costs and the costs of the eventual de-commissioning of the nuclear plant with its radio-active core!

The market would then respond and spend the necessary monies on R&D to improve their existing systems’ efficiency and to develop innovative and more cost-effective new power generation systems – simply to maintain market share or even survive in the commodity market that should be the power generation business.

The price of electricity would soon have dropped significantly, and all the complaints of the Green Brigade would have been allowed for!

October 29, 2018 3:08 am

I am sad, nearing 80 years, that the generation after ours failed to apply due diligence to the containment of the green nonsense.
When we in industry were calling the shots in the 1970-90 period, our collective dream was for a billionaire sympathiser to pick up the anti-green costs. It did not happen. Instead, there was discomfort when a few billionaires linked with the other team, for we knew of the scale for damage against us.
Then, the moves started. Corporately, we got kicked out of exploration for uranium in the area later to become Kakadu National Park. Shadowy figures popped out of nowhere as directors of Parks and Wildlife, as World Heritage officials, even as Judges in our courts. I tried the judicial route at high cost, won at first, lost when our leftist government appealed. After that came retirement age, handed over the baton and looked — nothing happened. The generational effort was not there. Floodgates open. School curricula swung hard left. University standards sagged. Large public relations and advertising campaigns started, funded by said billionaires. This threatened democracy, so they changed the definition of democracy.
This beast named IPCC gained traction with leftist government support and the equivalent of bribes to the wavering. You know the rest.

Here is the lesson. Just as we lost agenda control over 20 years, we can now regain control over the next 20 years. This is certain because the left has shown its hand and the hand is empty.

Go for it, youngsters. You know, deep down, what has to be done. Geoff

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
October 29, 2018 3:52 am

Geoff Sherrington

Well said.

Steve Borodin
October 29, 2018 3:14 am

An open-minded approach from the London School of Economics. Now that would be an innovation. It is almost as rare as diversity in the diversity-preaching BBC.

Reply to  Steve Borodin
October 29, 2018 4:46 am

Steve Borodin

Diversity at the BBC is now being shoved down everyone’s throat.

Chris Evans is leaving the Radio 2 breakfast show and, as much as I hate him, he seems to attract listeners. Evidently he’s going because his salary is now reportable in an effort to equalise the pay gap between men and women. Zoe Ball is his replacement, she’s marginally more acceptable to my mind but watch the listening figures plummet as low as her salary.

The Simon Mayo drivetime show was ‘reorganised’ to include Jo Whiley; since when does equality mean two highly paid DJ’s are needed to run a single show in a time when Evans is moving on, yet he runs his own show?

Barely months following a cascade of complaints to the BBC about the ‘Mayo, Whiley’ show, Mayo has now tendered his resignation in a tacit admission of failure, not his, the BBC’s. Jo Whiley is being given her own late night spot, where she excels however I can’t help but think that given the opportunity, she could have run the drivetime show on her own as she is a personable and accomplished presenter.

Instead, they are bringing in the irritatingly Evans-esque Sara Cox as an expression of diversity. The two most popular shows, breakfast and the drivetime now being run by second rate presenters. Again, watch the listening figures plummet.

As a microcosm of minority pressure group social policies ruining the country, BBC’s Radio 2 is outstanding and manifest. It used to recruit on the basis of the best candidate for the job which is entirely gender neutral. Now positive discrimination is no longer a spectre, it’s reality, people are recruited and promoted on the basis of their perceived social inadequacies, not that being a woman, or disabled, are considered inadequacies to people in the real world.

And the lady in waiting for the next top Radio 2 job? Yes, the odious Vanessa Feltz is ready and waiting to take over the Jeremy Vine show. And whilst she is possibly the worst interviewer I have ever heard, she has the outstanding qualities required by the lefty BBC; she’s female, she’s a large lady and of course, she’s Jewish, which makes no difference to any of us except the BBC loves Jeremy Corbyn and, of course, his insistence that Labour isn’t anti Semitic must be supported by virtue signalling from the liberal BBC.

Nor is this me having a go at the presenters themselves because of their backgrounds or genders, it’s just that they are lousy candidates for their new (or prospective) jobs. It is a go, however, at the BBC for thrusting their London centric, do gooder, liberal ideology down the throats of the British public.

Perhaps I will change to listening to Evans on Virgin Radio where he might be given the opportunity to return to his illiberal, naughty and fun roots of late 80’s Greater London Radio where he was an outstanding DJ.

Anyone remember the Rumpy Pumpies? Delightfully executed by Evans and his co presenter Hotlips Holly (Holly Samos)……..live on radio! 🙂

Reply to  HotScot
October 30, 2018 7:12 am

The only consolation is knowing that the BBC is losing 700 000-plus subscribers every year, deservedly.

John the Econ
October 29, 2018 3:28 am

Capitalism has a way of solving these problems. Except the real problem is that the greens absolutely hate capitalism. They would rather wallow in (other people’s) poverty and pain than have to live with the idea that somebody somewhere was making a profit by solving problems like this. I see this phenomenon time and time again in my university town.

Plus, if these problems were to be solved on their own without the need of their special socially just guidence, then what would they do?

October 29, 2018 3:43 am

The UK Telegraph had a classic of the genre recently, all about the impending “transition” to electric vehicles, but the key to it is … research (to make it work)! How about doing the research before doing the transition?

Walt D.
October 29, 2018 3:44 am

Affordable Green Energy
An oxymoron for morons!

October 29, 2018 3:45 am

It would all be so simple if engineers just got on with it and solved the problems.

We just need to pass a law requiring engineers to just get on with it and solve the problems… (/sarc)

Reply to  David Middleton
October 29, 2018 4:20 am

Engineers did get on with it and solved the problems.

But that wasn’t what they really wanted.

Cheap energy? Think about my pension funds in Shell!

Nah. We need a bogey man.

Here he comes now

RADIATION!!!! invisible, silent, only detectable with instruments no one owns, and so new no one knows its really no big deal.


STOP NUCLEAR POWER. (it doesn’t make nuclear weapons, but who knows that)

WE CANT BE SURE ITS SAFE. (but we are sure its safer than renewables)

NUCLEAR WASTE WILL LAST THOUSANDS OF YEARS (as against natural uranium and thorium which lasts millions).

etc. etc.

The whole art of political narratives is not to solve the presented problem. It is to attract attention to the problem for a completely different reason.

Climate change is not to be solved – it’s to be used to make cash out of, and to justify more central government spending and more taxes.

Reply to  Leo Smith
October 29, 2018 5:27 am

Hence the /sarc tag… 😉

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  Leo Smith
October 29, 2018 10:27 am

There are two fundamental safety issues with current reactors; inflammable materials in the core and pressurised, volatile coolant. I don’t say that LFTR is necessarily the only solution to both, but it is one which has been tested and is known to work. If you regard thorium as too experimental then LFUR ought to work as well, no reason why not.

The key advantage of molten salt is that if it overheats it can’t go on fire or explode. Which is basically what happened and both Chernobyl and F-shima. The reactor designs and causative factors may have been different but the containment breaches resulted from the same processes, steam escape and explosion of hydrogen produced by combustion of zirconium fuel pin cladding in water or steam.

Up until Chernobyl, nuclear engineers were confident that the worst case scenario with an out of control reactor was a meltdown. They were horribly wrong about that. Yet, the cause of the explosions should have been so obvious that a layman could have predicted it. The engineers didn’t. This in spite of the preceding Windscale fire which should have clued them to the fact that ANY inflammable material in the core, even metal which only ignites at high temperature, is a Bad Idea.

John Endicott
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
October 29, 2018 11:35 am

Up until Chernobyl, nuclear engineers were confident that the worst case scenario with an out of control reactor was a meltdown.

Chernobyl was a Russian design, different to those used in the west. What happened at Chernobyl literally couldn’t happen to a western reactor as western reactors don’t have the same design flaws.

As for Fukushima’s reactor, TEPCO was warned years earlier of the risks of failure for reactors of that type in seismically very active areas in a 2004 report by the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) report. TEPCO did nothing in response. Further, TEPCO was also warned their seawall was insufficient to withstand a powerful tsunami, but the seawall height was not increased in response. In short, there were problems with the type and location of the reactor that TEPCO was warned of and did nothing about.

Bruce Cobb
October 29, 2018 4:07 am

Politics may have failed, but rationality has not. If one approach does not work, the logic is to try another.

Huh? Hard to untangle that gordian knot of illogic, but I’ll try. First, attempting to characterise the CAGW monster as merely trying first one thing, and then another is laughably absurd. It has always been, first and foremost, a political ideology, dressed up in a variety of costumes, especially the science one, but also the humanitarian one. The ipcc has been the perfect front for them, and a complete sham all along. So, they are admitting that lying has failed, but “rationality” hasn’t.
Aeeeeuuuugh? The entire basis of Greenie ideology has been lies, including the idea that “green energy” was going to “save the planet”. So the “logic” now is to try to sell “green energy” on the basis that it could, someday, if we only just wish harder, like Peter Pan, actually be cheaper than nasty, evil, fossil fuels. Of which coal is, they figure, already “dead”, being the evilest, most vile of the nasty dirty fossil fuels. They really really despise coal, because there is lots and lots of it, and it’s relatively cheap.

Brian RL Catt CEng, CPHys
October 29, 2018 4:20 am

The laws of physics cannot be changed by the laws of men. No amount of subsidy can change the amount of energy that is available from inadequate wind, water and solar sources, variable at the cube of velocity for wind and water and with an 11% duty cycle for solar PV in the UK, least when needed most when it’s darkest and coldest. Overall intermittent at around 35% average duty cycle. This may still be made slightly more efficient, but the enrgy sources are woefully inadequate in terms of the overall energy that can be captured when needed and the resources required to collect what there is. Storage is not a serious option, the amounts of phsyical rsurces and their cost are mind boggling, and also controlled by the physical absolutes of elctrical or pumped storage, not efficiencies. Subsidy cannot change these ultimate physical limitations. Just enrich subsidy farmers to the wholly avoidable hence unnecessary energy poverty of the public, when better solutions are available on every measure of energy policy, from a gas then nuclear transition, without lifetime subsidy, in science and economic fact. But people don’t seem to like the harsh realities of the laws of physics expressed in terms of what is and is not possible. MOst engineerswho have studied the field know this, including the UK DECC’s CHief SCientist from 2008-2014, Sir Davd MacKay FRS, a very green and pleasant man whose last public appearnce spelled out the reality his book had made clear to those with the education and time to get through it.


In summary “Nature cannot be fooled”, as Feynman said. The other corollary also applies. “It’s easy to believe if you know nothing”, the problem with the masses being fed fase environmentalist beliefs by a mainly technically illiterate media, plus corrupted scientists exploited by politicians and the subsidy collectors they serve with the laws they pass. It’s a simple case of legalised extortion, a climate change protection racket.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Brian RL Catt CEng, CPHys
October 29, 2018 11:01 am

It’s a simple case of legalised extortion

This implies their policies are driven by greed. In fact: greed is just what happens in a market economy; people take advantage of subsidies to make money. They couldn’t otherwise make money from renewables. Policies of the “technically illiterate media, plus … politicians” are driven by ignorance and stupidity, not by greed.

October 29, 2018 4:49 am

The problem with “green” energy is when it is enacted by politicians, California being a leading example. Texas shows the opposite policy, a free market electricity grid where engineers can do anything that is practical and economic. Arizona is currently fighting against activists wanting the state to imitate California.


Reply to  Ron Clutz
October 29, 2018 6:31 am

Here is the strategy of the far-left – who took over the green blob after the fall of the Soviet Union:

1. Promote the same failed Marxist economic models, now cloaked in green. Relabel as “Progressive”.
2. Destroy the economy by reversing industrial progress – unleash the neo-Luddites.
3. Destroy the reliability of vital energy systems – Californicate the grid!
4. Drive up all costs, because societal needs from food to fuel to shelter all require energy.
5. Increase societal anxiety, including Winter Deaths that especially target the elderly and the poor.
6. Destroy the economy, and live like kings atop a ruined state.


Here is how modern politics works:

The far-left is winning, especially in the developing world, where over 100 countries are pseudo-Marxist dictatorships, based on their leftist phony rhetoric, but are actually just military dictatorships, run for the ruling elite and their armed thugs – see Zimbabwe and Venezuela… and North Korea, Cuba, the Soviet Union countries and many more..

The left gains political power by promising imbeciles lots of free stuff. Then they destroy the economy, create widespread poverty and live like kings atop a ruined state – because you can’t be kings without lots of peasants.

It is really no different in the developed world. Get elected by lazy greedy imbeciles, destroy the economy with fake green energy and other crazy policies, and live like kings on top of a ruined economy, looking down on all the peasants.

October 29, 2018 7:00 am

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” –H. L. Mencken

Steve O
October 29, 2018 4:58 am

“The best hope for limiting emissions comes from the application of science to the energy market. That means finding sources of energy that can be made available to all the world’s citizens, at a price they can afford, enabling them to switch away from the carbon-intensive fuels such as coal that are the main source of the problem.”

— If only there were an economical, large-scale, zero-carbon energy source with which we had over half a century of experience. Of course, if a bunch of luddite wackadoodles opposed that technology our of irrational fear we’d have to find something else. So, if only there were TWO economical, large-scae, zero-carbon energy sources….

Bruce Cobb
October 29, 2018 5:13 am

Some years ago a group of scientists launched the Global Apollo Programme to Combat Climate Change

Heh. They “launched” it, eh? I’ve never even heard of it until now. I guess they must’ve used pixie dust and unicorn farts to power it.

Walter Horsting
October 29, 2018 5:15 am

Check out Seaborg.co 20-foot 30-ton shippable Molten Salt Reactor good for a city of 200,000…

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Walter Horsting
October 29, 2018 6:26 am

Still looks like it’s in pipe-dream stage. Wake me when it actually becomes both viable, and at a cost similar to coal or gas (doesn’t have to be cheaper).

October 29, 2018 5:19 am

Anthony or Moderator
Your menu tab only sends me to the funny posts. I am unable to access any of the pages or anything else. If I open a post I can then scroll down to the very end and reach the search button. Is my iphone acting up or is something wrong with your site or have things been changed? I have been in a discussion with someone about the unprecedented drought which Europe is in right now and could really use some information. Thank you for any assistance you could provide.

October 29, 2018 5:55 am

As proof of these people’s utter ignorance, they don’t even seem to be aware of the advanced nuclear technology
represented by molten salt reactors. The Chinese understand the revolutionary technology and so do the Indians and both govts are forging ahead full speed to commercialize -as are about half a dozen companies.
Moltex Energy has provided an estimate of the economics of their design, which cleverly makes use of some existing nuclear reactor components already in production.They claim a levelized cost of less than 4 cents per kWhr, cheaper than any othe energy technology. Production of the reactrs will occur in factories, and site
preparation is minimal, no coling body of water needed – they can be sited anywhere – within cities, etc. Totally safe and able to load follow, these reactors replace not only baseload generators, but peak load generators as well. Build costs roughly $2 1/2 billion per gigawatt. This is proven technology, been around for 60 plus years, but never practical when saddled with carbon moderators or stainless steel reactors vessels. There are a dozen or more distinct designs, which solve the practicality issue in a variety of ways. Moltex Energy forsakes expensive advanced reactor metalurgy and uses existing stainless steel fuel rods, in a sacrificial manner – they are removed from the system and replaced when 5 years old. Brilliant.

October 29, 2018 6:04 am

“We can switch to renewables when engineers solve the problems”.

Yes, and had we WAITED, we would not have wasted BILLIONS on non-working solutions. Yet, here we are, wasting away. WHY?

October 29, 2018 6:24 am

I think we need to canvas the U.S. forests with live cam continuous video images of clear cut forest operations with cutting, hauling, loading, shipping, and unloading at UK boilers. Some pictures of displaced animals would also be helpful.

Gary Pearse
October 29, 2018 6:49 am

“Politics may have failed but rationality has not.”(!)

What did poli fail at? A Stalinesque decree backed up by force? Gulags for sceptics? Do we have a new definition of rationality? Here is the old one from Oxford:

“the ability to think clearly and make decisions based on reason rather than emotions”

October 29, 2018 6:50 am

Is there any sort of “Green Energy” that does not arguably have some effect on the weather/climate?

October 29, 2018 7:04 am

I read all the other comments first and I can’t believe no one has mentioned this:

It would all be so simple if engineers just got on with it and solved the problems.

Except there is no problem to be solved. While I’ll agree CO2 is a GHG, the modern temperature record shows temperature goes up and temperature goes down and temperature stays steady all while atmospheric CO2 levels increase at a steady pace, so CO2 clearly does not control temperature. The only other coincident response is a greening of the Earth. There. Problem solved.

October 29, 2018 7:10 am

Well, now that the climate obsessed have made it clear to the engineers what they want I’m sure it will happen overnight. The magical thinking it takes to be a climate extremist would embarrass a medieval Inquisition priest.

Dr Francis Manns
October 29, 2018 7:22 am

I priced three different solar Companies for 10 m2 panels on my roof in Ontario. All cited $30,000 to do it and could not connect to the grid. I would still get a bill, no rebate. It would never be paid off while the panels aged and died. The point is, Ontario is/was a centre for corrupt renewable businesses. We’ll probably never get our money back. A big box furniture store covered its entire roof with panels at my expense. I think the worst of it is that there is no need for R&D if the old tech is supported by subsidies. We gloriously and triumphantly voted the Liberal Party out the last election but the damage has been done by snowflakes and environmental lobby groups and their True Believers.

Reply to  Dr Francis Manns
October 29, 2018 7:45 am

Ontario also previously drove out the lowest cost providers of panels with its local content rules. The politicos and special interest knew exactly what they were doing with that. Cost effiency and competition is the last thing on their mind.

October 29, 2018 7:23 am

Nobody in the world is trying to come up with a different energy source. Nope, nobody. The greens seem to think that the solution will just magically appear when faced with .. ‘ you’ve been bad. No more heat for you in the winter ‘ ….. Greens, are not scientists or engineers. How long has the world been working on nuclear fusion? I am certain that if it worked, it’d be deployed big time. And it may in time, and when it does, it will replace fossil fuels. By way of comparison, it is like asking the Wright brothers to design an F 22 raptor when flight hasn’t been developed or to develop a quantum computer when we are still working with radio tubes for transistors. Many different technologies have to develop before a new level of product occurs.
I ‘just know’ the greens are sitting on how to make a square gravity wave. If only they would tell the scientific community how to do it!

Bruce Cobb
October 29, 2018 7:28 am

They can’t even decide if the “problem” of energy is one of science or of engineering.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 29, 2018 8:13 am

It is neither. It s a problem of not having enough socialism, or at least that’s their goal.

Dr Francis Manns
October 29, 2018 7:51 am

Our universities were polarised. Engineers went to work and artsies went into government. It’s the way of the nanny state.

October 29, 2018 8:01 am

If you actually wanted to solve climate change by finding ways to minimise disruption to our present societies and economies whilst maximising the reduction of emission, large scale international agreements are absolutely the worst thing to do. The best way to do it is to set a carbon tax and incentive (i) efficient energy usage and (ii) new ways to generate or produce non-C02 emitting energy.

The solutions are best found by 1,000s of people with the right incentives trying all sorts of things, not some massive, government-directed plan. The comparisons with the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Programme are misguided – and Apollo was probably very inefficient anyway.

But of course the goal of most activists is not to actually solve the problem but to use the problem to change the world to what they want.

October 29, 2018 9:24 am

The image is missing the money going into someone’s pocket.

October 29, 2018 9:27 am

Turning CO2 into money is what we are trying to do. Carbon Capture Utilization. We transform the CO2 into useable-saleable products. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQRQ7S92_lo&authuser=0
Not only is this good for the economy, but if preventing the CO2 from going into the atmosphere is good for the environment, then our CCU System is also good for the environment.
And there is more particulates in combusted coal exhaust that can also be recovered and sold. The coal ash has a number of uses. More jobs created.

Mark Pawelek
October 29, 2018 9:27 am

Greens opposing nuclear power don’t support renewable energy because of any climate threat. No one puts their economy at risk because they trust climate scientists on a ‘more likely than not‘ bet of dangerous climate change in 50 years time. Greens ‘believe in’ dangerous climate change because it’s a convenient way to sell renewable energy (to themselves as well as others). Our prior motives often drive our belief systems. Their commitment to renewables was based on neo-Malthusian, naturalism & scarcity obsessed worldview. They believe in wind and solar power because these forms are defined as ‘sustainable’. They believe sustainable energy is not limited by their fears of resource limits. It’s more like religious faith, or political commitment. A faith the nature is right. Nuclear power is seen are profoundly anti-nature. Their commitment to renewables preceded their climate concern. So greens fear of climate change is more a collectively induced hallucination. They will still oppose nuclear power on the basis nuclear power is unsustainable and polluting. That’s what they believe, whether it’s true or not.

Renewable energy is also their primary vehicle for climate optimism. Limits obsessives often become pessimistic. Pessimism leads to inaction not action. So they need to believe in sustainable, renewables just to keep going.

Roger Graves
October 29, 2018 10:11 am

“Nothing about the mainstream green position on climate change and renewable energy makes sense.”

Actually, it makes a great deal of sense. If the world is going to adopt wind and solar energy on a really large scale, we are looking at costs in excess of $100 trillion. Anyone associated in any way with such expenditures is likely to end up rich beyond dreams of avarice. From this point of view it makes a great deal of sense to be anti-coal, anti-nuclear, indeed anti anything that would detract from the continued and expanded use of wind and solar.

If you follow the money, most things are explained.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Roger Graves
October 29, 2018 10:46 am

The world is not going to adopt wind and solar energy on a really large scale. Because it is impossible. Wind and solar only make sense for electricity when they are free-riding other Dispatchable energy sources.

October 29, 2018 10:18 am

…we can switch to renewables when engineers solve the problems.”

Sounds reasonable to me. Rollback green energy programs now, founding only research until we find power sources that work better than fossil fuels and nuclear.

Alan Tomalty
October 29, 2018 10:37 am


In 2010 Mark Jacobsen and Mark Delucchi wrote the above 2 papers on going 100% green.
They didn’t dare to actually put in the TOTAL COST of going that route. It took subsequent analyzers to figure it out and they came to a number of $90 trillion. However even at that the paper had enormous flaws. I quote

1) ” and find that with
pumped hydro storage or sufficiently large water reservoirs, the
combination of wind and hydropower could virtually eliminate
back-up generation from gas-fired plants.”

1) This statement was made on the basis of 1 study on 1 location. Assuming that there are a lot of places where the above is not possible, then the whole concept dies.

2) “Interconnecting geographically disperse wind, solar, or wave
farms to a common transmission grid smoothes out electricity
supply – and demand – significantly”

2) The authors fail to mention the transmission losses over long distances and do not adequately account for the total capital costs of interconnecting by ignoring the head and regional office costs .

3) “The use of EV batteries to store electrical energy, known as
‘‘vehicle-to-grid,’’ or V2G, is especially promising, albeit not
necessarily easy to implement”

3) The authors gloss over all the problems involved including the non availability of massive storage batteries.

4) “Forecast weather to plan energy supply needs better”

4) Even 1 day weather forecasts can be wrong. Also winds are a very local phenomena. It is impossible to forecast total wind supply for any area.

5) “No such optimization analysis has been done for a 100% WWS
system in a major region of the world (let alone for all regions of the world) so this clearly is a critical area for new research. Although
we do not know exactly what the lowest-cost 100% WWS system
will look like in any particular region”

5) The authors condemn their own study with the above 2 statements.

6) “How-
ever, it appears that eliminating fossil-fuel subsidies and charging
environmental-damage taxes would compensate for the extra cost
of the currently most expensive WWS systems only if climate-
change damage was valued at the upper end of the range of
estimates in the literature. ”

6) Since there are NOT going to be any climate change /global warming costs, this alone makes their whole study conclusion of a less costly future 100% renewable power system bogus.

7) ” Assuming that it is politically
infeasible to add to fossil-fuel generation carbon taxes that would
more than double the price of electricity, eliminating subsidies and
charging environmental damage taxes cannot by themselves make
the currently most expensive WWS options economical.”

7) The authors condemn their own study

8) “improving the efficiency of end use or substituting low-energy
activities and technologies for high-energy ones, directly reduces
the pressure on energy supply, which means less need for higher
cost, less environmentally suitable resources.”

8) The authors don’t understand my 4th law of economics
My 4th law states that any attempt by governments to lower energy usage by promoting energy efficiency is doomed to failure. the reason is simple. If an individual saves money by increased efficiency on energy ; that individual will either put the saved money in the bank or spend it. If he/she spends it it will involve using energy of some sort. If he/she puts it into the bank, then the bank will lend that money to someone else that will use the money to either buy products that use energy or some service that uses energy. Either way energy is not saved in the end.

9) “With sensible broad-based
policies and social changes, it may be possible to convert 25% of
the current energy system to WWS in 10–15 years and 85% in
20–30 years, and 100% by 2050.”

9) The authors numbers don’t add up. By 2030 the % of installed capacity of renewables will be only 40% according to the authors own figures. However their whole report is based on costs associated with 100% installed capacity by 2030.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
October 29, 2018 10:53 am

We can only save energy by not doing things or making energy use more efficient. This will lead to Jevons’ paradox, because we aren’t about to stop doing useful things. When energy efficiency improves, energy use will increase. This is an observation first described by Jevons over 100 years ago.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
October 29, 2018 12:17 pm

Energy use also increases when doing NOT useful things. I would say that a large % of energy use in an advanced industrial society is spent on frivolous uses.

October 29, 2018 12:13 pm

We don’t we just develop teleportation? It would be even more “fossil free”.

For the rest of energy needs, just invest in mutant giant hamster.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  simple-touriste
October 29, 2018 12:19 pm

Your comments added a lot to the discussion. NOT

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
October 29, 2018 3:52 pm

Who are you, again?

Never mind. Nobody cares.

[?? Not called for. .mod]

Reply to  simple-touriste
October 30, 2018 4:27 pm

[?? Not called for. .mod]

Nor were the MANY vicious repeated attacks against me.

About which you never seemed to care. Sad!

October 29, 2018 1:21 pm


In a few years it will be a runaway climate, unless we are able to extract CO from the atmosphere and convert it to a harmless substance, and our society will terminate itself.

The best way to do this quickly and affordably is with mass tree planting. It absorbs CO and water and makes the planet cooler… Why are politicians so corrupt they only think of economy and jobs when our environment is the most valuable asset we have on this planet?

[???? Carbon Monoxide = CO. .mod]

October 29, 2018 2:26 pm

The “wreckeconomics” of wind power. We keep getting told that wind generated electricity is getting cheaper. Simple engineering really, sticking a 4 MW generator atop a 100 metre high tower with 80 metre long blades blowing in the wind, and scattering hundreds across the countryside.
But what happens when the wind doesn’t blow? That requires 100% backup by reliable coal/gas generators so we now have 200% of required capacity – double the investment, with the only saving when the wind is blowing is the fuel cost for coal/gas.
What’s that you say? Cheaper batteries are the answer. So let’s double the number of wind generators to store energy for those windless days. Dream on.

October 29, 2018 2:28 pm

“What is the alternative? The best hope for limiting emissions comes from the application of science to the energy market. That means finding sources of energy that can be made available to all the world’s citizens, at a price they can afford, enabling them to switch away from the carbon-intensive fuels”

As with so many things allegedly green or eco-sensible, this statement is pure fiction.

Without stopping at the first fiction premise where CO₂ is demonized and condemned and focusing strictly on energy production, this snippet is strictly fantasy nonsense. As so many other commenters point out above, Financial Times is pushing unicorns.

1) Greens and other eco-looney ignore all of the seriously major problems with most renewables while pushing this fiction.

a) A key eco-feature is to deny rational thought preceding any consideration of a renewable energy installation. Instead, greens and eco-looney push construction over any other choice.
— i) A practice that means no engineers have prepared lists of dangers, problems, concerns or issues with renewable energy installations.
— ii) Even when serious problems with renewable energy installations are identified, greens, leftists and politicians utterly ignore the problems

Renewables are massively land inefficient while producing unreliable poor quality electricity.

“If politics cannot solve climate change, perhaps science and economics can do better.”

A very apt statement that highlights greens, leftists and the eco-looney whole approach to climate and energy, even today.
* The problem being that economics are ignored, except when enticing renewable energy investors while scamming ordinary consumers.
* Politicians are involved, because they have been bought themselves, either through funds or through the enticing allure of greater political power.
* While science, i.e. real science, has been ignored, or demonized when inconvenient findings have conflicted with politician and eco-green zealots.

October 29, 2018 3:12 pm

An International effort — likened to an Apollo-like effort to put man on the Moon — but aimed at cheap clean energy for all is an excellent and probably necessary idea.

It has no downside, if the money for it is transferred from the currently mis-spent billions wasted on “global warming research”. Regardless of one’s position on the AGW issue, discovering a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy that does not pollute or use up our environment is a WIN WIN WIN.

Some newer technologies are close and just need to be pushed over the hump — some have not even been imagined yet.

We should get on with it.

Derek Colman
October 29, 2018 5:56 pm

We already have the solution to provide cheap and reliable electrity generation. It’s called nuclear energy. All we need to do is to get an international agreement to build all plants to the same design and it will become super cheap because the parts can then be mass produced, instead of using expensive one off components as now. The design can be arrived at by examining existing plants to find which design offers a solution which is cheap, reliable, durable, and safe. Of course the greens won’t agree because they do not want a solution. It would negate their argument that we need to destroy capitalism, which is their real aim That is why they are so anti nuclear.

October 30, 2018 6:16 am

They have a blind faith in BEVs replacing ICE cars and there’s no doubt there’s some excellent technology and engineering in putting thousands of Lithium battery cells together to add up to safe reliable battery modules and further combine those into a total car battery pack. The Tesla3 is cutting edge in that respect but you really need to delve into the battery module to appreciate the nature of the mountain they’re trying to climb-
No matter blind faith in technology solving the problem and just like solar panels it will all become really cheap for the masses once they ramp up production with economies of scale they cry. It’s nonsense when you recognise those lego brick individual Lithium cells are already mature technology and made in vast numbers and here’s the man close to the problem speaking heresy for the true believers-
Not to worry as these cheap BEVs for the masses are all going to be charged with solar and wind power one day and you just have to do some imagineering to see the future clearly like they do although you might like a wee bit more down to earth comparisons with the current state of play-

Dr Francis Manns
Reply to  observa
October 30, 2018 6:32 am

Artsies went into government and engineers went to work.

Marja-Leena Falenius
October 30, 2018 8:49 am

Sorry to say, but there is no such a thing than green energy, because to produce energy by windturbins does so much harm: it makes those Chinese people sick who dig up the necessary minerals, it produces huge amounts of pollution when these materials are transported to their destinations, it kills millions of birds and bats yearly, it distroys huge aereas of different types of land and forests, it leaves billions and billions of tons toxic waste, and makes people sick just to mention some of the negative consequencies.

So lets call it windenergy from now on, not green energy.

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