Terence Corcoran: Why the global fossil-fuel phase-out is a fantasy akin to time travel

From The Financial Post

Terence Corcoran

June 21, 2019
1:59 PM EDT

To produce the power needed to offset fossil fuels, Canada would have to build two and a half $13-billion hydro dams every year

Judging from the headlines, Canada and the world are on track to ratchet up renewable energy and begin the rapid scale-down and ultimate phase-out of fossil fuels. Most energy analysts consider the fossil-fuel phase-out to be a scientific, economic and political fantasy, akin to levitation and time travel, but the movement keeps making news.

Governments everywhere — from Canada to the United Kingdom to states in Australia — are declaring climate emergencies and committing to variations on zero emissions. The international organization promoting emergency declarations claims “a fast transition to zero emissions is possible.”

Canada’s Green Party, said to be gaining ground, has a new platform plan, headlined “Mission: Possible,” to eliminate fossil fuels by 2050. A proposed Green New Deal in America aims to eliminate fossil fuels from the U.S. power grid by 2030 and phase gasoline out of the transportation sector.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says Canada’s oil industry is on its way out: “It’s the direction the world is headed.” The newly announced Liberal and Conservative programs are leaning in the zero-carbon direction, although less explicitly.

The magnitude of the implied decarbonization effort takes us beyond the possible and into the world of junk science fiction

So what are the carbon zeroists talking about? Aside from massive amounts of government intervention — almost a total takeover of the economy — the practicality of it all looks a bit impossible, to put it mildly. As the graph below suggests, the required technological and economic change could be a little overwhelming.

The general scale of the operation is hinted at by Climate Mobilization, an organization promoting climate emergency declarations: “Only WWII-scale Climate Mobilization can protect humanity and the natural world.”

In keeping with the analogy, here are some indicators of the magnitude of the coming Green World War III.

In Canada, for example, Vancouver energy consultant Aldyen Donnelly calculated that to achieve the “deep decarbonization” Canada is aiming for will require massive expansions of non-fossil fuel sources of energy.

To produce the electric power needed to offset the lost fossil fuel energy, Canada would have to build 2.5 hydro power dams the size of British Columbia’s $13-billion Site C project somewhere in the country “every year for the foreseeable future” leading up to the proposed 2050 carbon reduction targets. The geographic and cost obstacles send that prospect into the realm of the impossible.

On a global basis, the magnitude of the implied decarbonization effort illustrated in the graph takes us beyond the possible and into the world of junk science fiction. In 2018, world consumption of fossil fuels rose to 11,865 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe). To get that down to near zero by 2050 as proposed by the zeroists would require a lot of alternative energy sources.

University of Colorado scientist Roger Pielke Jr. did some of the rough numbers. “There are 11,161 days until 2050. Getting to net zero by 2050 requires replacing one mtoe of fossil fuel consumption every day starting now.” On a global basis, such a transition would require building the equivalent of one new 1.5-gigawatt nuclear plant every day for the next 30 years.

Read the full post here.

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Tom Halla
June 23, 2019 2:28 pm

The math on replacing our current energy use with renewables is so bad, I have the opinion that either the advocates of “going carbon free by 2050” never did the math, or did, and want to crash the economy by an attempt they know would be futile.

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 23, 2019 3:22 pm

I am really quite relaxed about all this, simply it is obviously impossible. So, it will not and cannot happen. And judging from all the “plans” aiming for a “carbon-free” future that almost every government in the world is now shelving or postponing we really ought not worry at all. And just laugh at all the silly kids “going on strike”, for heaven’s sake. All this will just cost us a bit of money – we can afford it. We get a cheap laugh, if you think about it..

Reply to  AndyE
June 23, 2019 4:37 pm


I would feel the same as you and laugh, but the UK’s outgoing, utterly disgraced Prime Minister Theresa May, is desperate to salvage a legacy from the wreckage of her inability to deliver a Democratically mandated exit from the EU (Brexit) and as a final act of defiance she will lumber the nation with a £1Tn commitment to net zero carbon by 2050.

The tragedy is, she’ll undoubtedly succeed and the good old taxpayer will be stung for the bill.

The whole fiasco beggars belief.

Reply to  HotScot
June 23, 2019 5:05 pm

Theresa May has a legacy.

The destruction of the Conservative Party

Reply to  Ve2
June 24, 2019 12:39 am

The Tories are just a bunch of fox hunting etonians who have learnt to dance to the tune of the fake news media. They serve no one but the press and themselves. We now get two types of policy from the Tories: the selfish and the utterly stupid fad (like Climate or LGBTXYZ)

Rich Davis
Reply to  Ve2
June 25, 2019 2:01 pm

What we see with the case of the Tories or squishy center-right parties everywhere is a case akin to times long-past when it was dangerous for politicians to be known as atheists. They would pretend to be devout Christians while ticking the box on every one of the deadly sins. They needed to be hypocrites to be acceptable in society.

Today’s established religion is Climate Change. Politicians now need to pretend to be devout greens and hide their obscene carbon footprint. Their actions prove that they are not true believers, but only deplorables are heretics who reject the one true faith. The new hypocrites are happy to genuflect to the Climate Change idols if it earns them power and wealth. Not having any actual convictions other than the urgency of attaining and maintaining power and wealth, they are prepared to stand for anything at all, even the most absurd alarmist twaddle. Is there anything more nauseating than a politician?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  HotScot
June 23, 2019 5:36 pm

She is securing her place in history as a scoundrel and thief with few in history to rival her, considering she is doing this to her own people.
It is not like people who know better are not speaking up, as we have from day one.

Reply to  HotScot
June 23, 2019 9:52 pm

It is 31 years until 2050. What is done now can easily be undone during that 31 years. Some other government will cancel that tax within a few years. “Thus spake the Prophet!”

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  AndyE
June 24, 2019 1:27 am

I think the increases in the cost of power are locked in by contract for many years and decades to come, in some cases.
These leaders can put in motion spending that massive beyond belief.
If you life there and you are phlegmatic about it, I sure do not know how.
You either have zero money or way more than enough, I think.
And must not give much of a crap for all the people in energy poverty.
Your people, many of them, no matter who you are.
You oughta maybe think on it a little harder.

Dave Ward
Reply to  AndyE
June 24, 2019 2:40 am

“It is 31 years until 2050. What is done now can easily be undone during that 31 years”

I hope you’re right, but my big concern is how far down the road (and the consequent damage done) will our “leaders” drag us before the “U” turn?

Ian W
Reply to  AndyE
June 24, 2019 3:26 am

Nicholas McGinley
June 24, 2019 at 1:27 am

the increases in the cost of power are locked in by contract for many years and decades to come, in some cases.

A future Chancellor could insitute a tax on any profits from such contracts that could encourage the contractors to ‘default’.
At some stage reality has to impinge even on the venal ‘do you want fries with that’ politicians.

Reply to  HotScot
June 23, 2019 11:24 pm

One day the chickens of these people will come home to roost. They have zero evidence and all they do is parrot “All the scientists say blah blah..” as if it’s proof, but it’s nothing more than a lie. All those profiting from this scam should be made to pay it back or get blown out the airlocks. They’re worth nothing and all they generate is expense.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  HotScot
June 23, 2019 11:39 pm

the good old taxpayer will “ALWAYS” be stung for the bill.

There, fixed it for you 😉

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  HotScot
June 24, 2019 3:17 am

Gilmour is donating this $21MM to Climate First that funds Climate Causes.
…..” we don’t need NO EDUKATION…..we don’t need NO THOUGHT CONTROL…..”

……” all in all we’re just another dick in the wall” Or was that brick?
Entertainers are MORONS

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
June 24, 2019 12:53 pm

Yes, David Gilmour is an idiot when it comes to science, although he is a genius on the guitar, and not a bad song writer either. At least he’s only spending his own money. This puts him a notch above the hypocrites and politicians.

Jan E Christoffersen
Reply to  HotScot
June 25, 2019 11:46 am


The current socialist (NDP) British Columbia government has mandated 100% all-electric cars by 2040. The problem is the NDP probably won’t be in power 21 years from now and all of these loony politicos likely will be dead or at least senile.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 23, 2019 4:18 pm

Tom, this has been a mystery that I have pondered for a long time. Even if at first it may seem plausible, it can’t really be the case that there is a conspiracy to crash the economy. Conspiracy theories discredit us skeptics too often. Sure there are crackpots who may be trying to destroy western civilization, but they will never come close to having any way to make their pipe dreams a reality. Sure there are committed socialists also trying to use climate change as a vehicle. But it’s not rational for us to believe that the majority of the powerful players pushing this scam are colluding in such a self-destructive manner. Human nature being what it is, this has to be self-interested behavior.

So I have pretty much come to the conclusion that politicians and crony capitalists understand more or less full well that they are riding a wave of irrational public opinion. They intend to use the opportunity to acquire power and get rich.

It’s a bit like the stock market. You can get rich selling failing companies short as much (perhaps more?) than investing in successful enterprises. The warmist opportunists don’t need to believe that the schemes they are selling will actually work. They just need to believe that the public will be stupid enough to believe they will work and will fund them for a while. (Long enough for them to get rich and scurry away from the wreckage). I doubt that there are any homeless former Solyndra executives panhandling in the streets.

They are not stupid or innocently clueless. They are incredibly cynical, selfish, and greedy.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Rich Davis
June 23, 2019 4:41 pm

There are some hard-core greens who profoundly oppose industrial society, and want to reduce the population to some level they consider “sustainable”. Cynical greed is less scary than this sort of nihilistic mysticism.
Some really want to mandate organic farming, an outgrowth of biodynamic agriculture, a mysticism favored by the NSDAP. Attempting to sustain current populations with that method of farming would result in famine.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 23, 2019 6:44 pm

Don’t forget the regular drumbeat of “Eat More Bug Protein” communiques issued by the UN.
Some very prominent people on the left have truly nutty ideas, and some have said things that it is hard to believe anyone would say.
I was reading the other day about the woman at the top post at PETA, describing in detail her logic and reasoning for her inescapable conclusion that the “world” is in such grave danger from people, that the only moral thing to do is work towards the rapid elimination of every last human on the planet.
Hard to top that for evil.
Makes Hitler look like Mr. Frickin’ Rogers.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
June 24, 2019 12:56 pm

To her and her ilk I say: You first, you hypocrite.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 23, 2019 9:10 pm

Most hard core greens embrace Marxism as political ideology of an all powerful state. Of course they see themselves in charge of that state.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 24, 2019 7:03 am

Nothing to disagree with there Tom, unless you seriously think that they are close to having the power to enforce their schemes.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Rich Davis
June 23, 2019 6:29 pm

Rich, there are people who discredit us by claiming anytime we identify clearly malignant intent on the part of some of the people advocating for this, we are claiming some sort of conspiracy.
And then the word “theorist” automatically gets tacked on, to take into purely out of the realm of the analytic and into the land of talking points, memes, and one liners.
In the movie “The Usual Suspects , Kevin Spacey played a character who spoke at length about the criminal underworld, and touched on several points, told the story of Kaiser Soze before, while wagging a finger at clueless Dave Kujan, intoned “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”.
Oliver Stone made the movie JFK nearly 3 decades ago.
In it he made about the most complete and airtight case for a conspiracy to kill JFK as could be made.
It was a case that had a credulous audience, as almost every adult in the country who had seen it or studied it back in the day knew that JFK was not killed by a lone gunman assassin.
But something funny happened: People who never doubted for a second that there was a conspiracy, and left the theatre after the movie more sure than ever, gradually over a few years morphed into people who scoffed at the notion it was anything but a lone nut acting alone.
And somewhere along the line the idea that groups of people get together to collude became akin to believing in lizard men walking among us.
If you think people need to believe there is a massive connecting all of these people, you do not understand people very well.
If you think that people never have organized agendas to make some particular thing happen, you must live in another universe than the one I inhabit.
The entire MSM uses identical language which changes from day to day, and they all repeat the same stories as each other in this identical language. The New York Times has meetings and send out memos wherein they decide on the news and the narrative that has been predetermined.
The Democratic party sends out letters and memos.
All manner of groups and organizations get together all the time (they call them “meetings”) to discuss and strategize their plans going forward.
Honest people do this, and so do shady ones.
But no one needs to get a memo to glom onto a big fat gravy train.
They are all mostly working for the same team, but there needs to be no discussion among the various factions to see what we see.
You called someone who made a good point a conspiracy theorist at the start of your comment, but by the end pointed out exactly what sort of people these are.
There are people in this world who commit heinous acts for chump change compared to what is at stake here.
You know that, but it seems that on one level you have drunk the Kool-Aid, or perhaps just let “the Devil” convince you he does not exist.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
June 24, 2019 5:53 pm

No, Nicholas, I did not call Tom a conspiracy theorist and it was not my intention to imply it either. I was observing that there are many people who seem to be conspiring to crash the economy, but that I think it’s a mistake to take that at face value and be unnecessarily accused of paranoid delusions about conspiracies. My theory is that most of them don’t actually want to crash the economy, they just want to be parasites off of it. Generally the parasite does not wish to kill the host. It’s not in their interest to do so. They just don’t worry too much about the “necessary” risks they impose on their host. Our parasitic politicians don’t worry about the risks they impose on the economy so long as they can gain or hold onto power and/or get rich off of the scam.

The people pushing these impossible schemes are bright enough to make it into the elite levels of government or business, so it beggars the imagination that they would be too stupid to understand that their schemes are impossible.

What makes perfect sense to me is that they see an opportunity to gain power or wealth playing to popular delusions. Obviously there are millions of people who are not bright enough to to realize that the Green New Deal can’t work. There are also millions of people who will pay to have a “psychic” tell their future. To get rich, it is not strictly necessary to sell a good product. It is only necessary to sell a product. No one ever went bankrupt underestimating the intelligence of the general public.

You can make a case that there are socialists trying to ride the wave of climate change to destroy western civilization and I’ll happily agree with you about that. Maybe we’ll disagree on how many there are and whether they stand a chance to succeed. I’m just saying that most of the people in power who are riding the Climate Change wave are not conspiring to destroy western civilization. Trudeau, Macron, Merkel, and all the other mediocrities are not conspiring to crash the economy. That would be to kill the goose that is laying their golden eggs. They are just sociopaths focused on their own power and wealth.

And of course the MSM are the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. Whether they are actively colluding or just playing follow-the-leader, there’s no new insight there.

Lee L
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
June 25, 2019 12:41 am

A conspiracy is people conspiring to direct outcomes to their liking.
This is also known as a political party.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Lee L
June 25, 2019 3:56 am

Not really. A conspiracy implies secrecy and illegal or at least unethical acts.

People acting independently on their perceived self-interest are not engaged in conspiracy. (Climate “scientists” seeking grants, politicians pandering to irrational public opinion, crony capitalists taking advantage of idiotic wasteful government schemes).

People acting publicly to advance their preferred opinions and policy choices as in a political party are not engaged in conspiracy either.

This is not to say that political parties are immune from conspiracy. But let’s not erode the meaning of words.

Reply to  Lee L
June 27, 2019 9:23 am

A conspiracy is a group of two or more people planning to commit a crime at a future date, according to the law dictionary.

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 23, 2019 4:57 pm

Show a Greenie the math and they get their knickers in a twist and sling insults at you.
I know because it happens to me.

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 23, 2019 7:31 pm

I’ve known Terry Corcoran since 2002, when I wrote the first article published in the Financial Post opposing the now-defunct Kyoto Protocol.

Terry is a solid citizen with a good grasp of the facts. Here is my note to him.


A very good article Terry, and very close to the truth.

In fact, belief in catastrophic global warming IS “a fantasy akin to time travel” because atmospheric CO2 changes LAG temperature changes at all measured time scales. I proved this in 2008 and closed the loop on most of the science in June 2019.

To allege that CO2 is a major driver of global temperature is to say that the future is driving the past. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but not much.

Regards, Allan

“CO2, Global Warming, Climate and Energy”
by Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., June 2019
Excel spreadsheet:

joe- the non climate scientist
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 24, 2019 5:08 am


Reality vs pipe dream

Mark Jacobson has been a leading advocate of the 100% renewables. However if Mark jacobson study had any validity, he would easily command a 7 figure income with most any power company. That aint happening.

Every industry, Every manufacturing process, etc has been for centuries and will continue to develop systems, that are more efficient, smaller and more reliable. Think about computers, engines, etc.

Renewables are just the opposite of progress, Less efficient, larger footprint, less reliable
But somehow, the promoters think that is a good idea and that it is progress

Reply to  joe- the non climate scientist
June 24, 2019 10:00 am

Same with the supposedly marvelous Electric Vehicle™ (which already died at least once because it lacked the reliability, (relative) ease-of-use and economics of an IC-powered vehicle. It still hasn’t made it. For me to consider one, it must show me at least a 400 mile range (at either freeway speeds or stop-and-go city driving) before needing refueled, and fully 100% refuel in <10 minutes. I'll consider a reduced range if pulling a travel-trailer size load at freeway speeds. Anything less is a step backwards, and we have already been there, there's no need to go back to there. Despite all the hype, the actual performance of any EV I am aware of just creates a road hazard for those who are actually out there to drive, not out there to virtue-signal.

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 24, 2019 6:10 pm

“To crash the existing economy” along with some 80% of population is the key. A zombie “civilization” thus “created” doesn’t need a reliable power grid, gas stations and muffler shops, internet or functioning government — just toil and sweat and tears…

Rhoda R
June 23, 2019 2:44 pm

You can throw all the facts you want at the activists but it will get you no-where. They are religious fanatics. But governments should know better. Should.

jon jewett
Reply to  Rhoda R
June 23, 2019 5:01 pm

There is a point when it leaves the land of “religion” and enters the land of “cult”. When they start destroying heretics like Willie Soon and calling for war crimes and prison for the rest of us, they have entered the land of the “cult”. And in the end game, they are as suicidal as Jim Jones.

Robert Wager
Reply to  jon jewett
June 23, 2019 10:59 pm

That would be David Suzuki who called for imprisonment. Number one rule of science, follow the data. The data shows climate models run far too hot and do not match balloon and satellite data. In other words models are not data.

June 23, 2019 2:56 pm

Why not just let the market figure this out, since when the price point for fossil fuels becomes too high somewhere between 2050 and 2100, the emissions reductions will happen anyway as we find alternatives like advanced atomic power. But if the activist scientists, media and politicians artificially meddle with natural resource and business cycles, then the West won’t have the capital to invest into future solutions. It doesn’t take rocket science math to figure out that solar and wind are not going to get us to the promised land, so any attempt to throttle the western economies in favour of Asia and third world countries who don’t and won’t scale back their use of FF’s is a suicide pact for all the peoples of the good Earth.

Reply to  Earthling2
June 23, 2019 6:17 pm

With hundreds of years worth of fossil fuels left, what makes you think prices are going to suddenly start rising?

Reply to  MarkW
June 23, 2019 7:10 pm

Suddenly? I said maybe between 2050 and 2100. That is 30 to 80 years from now.

Kaiser Derden
Reply to  Earthling2
June 23, 2019 8:46 pm

and you said too high … how about a number ? or are you just slinging BS dates and vague price statements (too high ?) out there to troll the thread ?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Kaiser Derden
June 24, 2019 1:16 am

In constant dollars oil is cheaper now than ever.
We have more of it in proven reserves than ever (and we know this is a fraction of what is under the ground).
We have a longer number of years of supply in proven reserves than ever.
And we are using more per day than ever (I think).
And all of these things are true despite the fact we have been on the verge of being about start to get to the time that we begin to perhaps maybe someday soon run out. For as long as there has been oil we have been about to run out!
So we are using more than ever faster than ever, but the amount we have on hand is larger than ever, in volume and years of supply at current rate.
Who saw this coming?
That is the person who I would perhaps consider is maybe not 100% guessing wildly.
Nah…him too.
I think no one has any idea of what is under the ground that no one has found yet.
But I do know the underground volume, and sea floor area and volume…is a whole hell of a lot bigger than most people have any realistic conception of.
All of the oil we have ever taken out of the ground is a volume about the size of a medium to large mountain. Smaller than Everest.
The relative size of this volume to Earth, if scaled down so the Earth was the size of a billiard ball (I worked all the math out several years ago), if Earth was a billiard ball, all the oil ever pumped from the ground in over 150 years would be an invisible speck comparable in size to a large bacteria, but somewhat smaller.
And that is a fact.
BTW…a scale model of Earth exact in every detail, but the size of a cue ball, would feel like a smoothly polished cue ball. Marianas trench to the top of Everest, not far from each other, make the largest relief on Earth about 12 miles or so, out of a diameter of ~8,000 miles.
And only tiny areas stick up or are carved out that much.
Less than the thickness of a sheet of paper.

Oil taken from Earth is as a bacteria to a cue ball.

Reply to  Kaiser Derden
June 24, 2019 10:09 am

“…too high…” is the point where something else, anything else, can do it better for less money. That’s all the market knows, there is no hard, firm figure. Will we ever get to such a point? Who knows? Even if I knew, I wouldn’t short any company making an honest living off fossil fuels, ‘cuz in the end they’re only in business to make money, and if things work out so that company owns the rights to The Next Big Thing (NBT), they’ll produce it when the economics are right, and a highly profitable FF company could become an even more profitable NBT company, so my short contract will cost me money, not make me money. And this is the biggest fallacy of the divestment nonsense: their short-sighted bullying to move the future away from fossil fuels could actually delay any such move, if it ever comes.

Reply to  Earthling2
June 24, 2019 7:19 am

Compared to the amount of fuels left, that’s suddenly.

Reply to  Earthling2
June 24, 2019 7:21 am

After accounting for taxes and inflation, gasoline is the same price now that it was back in the 60’s. If it hasn’t risen at all in the last 60 years, what makes you think it’s going to rise to unaffordable levels in the next 30?

Reply to  MarkW
June 26, 2019 12:42 pm

There was a post here a few weeks back by DM that said we currently had 46 years of proven reserves of oil, (not gas I believe or coal) at our current price point for WTI. Of course that varies up or down a fair bit if the price goes down, or up. Ironically, if the price goes down, there is actually less reserves and the opposite if the price goes up for the simple fact that more will be found if the price is higher. But then at some point, whatever the price, some kid in a college dorm will invent some new process to make say, synthetic fuels economically more viable than FF’s. It will happen some day, but probably not soon. 80 years is a long way out for everything, including climate and the price of FF’s.

I think the key word is affordable oil in 30-80 years as compared to a new replacement whatever that is. I can’t underestimate the ingenuity of mankind to invent solutions to problems. My point was, and not making any exact predictions, is just let the market take care of it and things will look after themselves. And not inventing new carbon taxes to make the price artificially unaffordable. We will never run out of fossil fuels due to this economic truism, since something is sooner or later going to come up that is a better technology than FF’s, although I think mankind will always use carbon based fuels for at least the next 1000 years or longer, but maybe not fossil fuels.

William Astley
June 23, 2019 3:02 pm

Roy Spencer has a nice graph (Cost of Green Stuff to Achieve Percent of CO2 reduction) which illustrates what is going to happen.

Astronomical cost to achieve less and less and the vertical where the scheme fails for basic engineering reasons.

The green schemes become exponentially (ridiculously expensive) expensive at the point where the grid requires batteries and become vertical (impossible, scheme does not work) at the point where the scheme tries to replace hydrocarbon burning to produce heat issuing electricity.

Here is a second point that needs to mathematically quantified.

The green schemes produce electricity. It is impossible to use green scheme electricity to replace hydrocarbon burning for heat sources.

The problem is burning hydrocarbons to produce heat is the most efficient energy transfer possible 90% to 95% efficiency and the green schemes require hydrocarbon backup electricity production which are only 30% to 40% efficient.

Reply to  William Astley
June 23, 2019 4:27 pm

A good example of this is if you were to put some solar PV panels on your roof to heat water with electricity, and ditch your natural gas water heater which is near 94% efficiency. What a waste of solar panels and monies converting to solar for cheap NG which means we all have more money for future solutions. A better case would be to have solar/thermal water heating for both domestic hot water and home heating. Much more efficient on a btu basis for the same heat at a much lower cost. Electricity is a premium product and to waste high cost solar PV for low grade heat is just crazy.

Russ Wood
Reply to  Earthling2
June 27, 2019 8:11 am

Having a house fitted with solar water heating (in South Africa) isn’t quite what it appears to be. Given days of cloud and rain (i.e. weather) the solar panel acts as a water COOLER, radiating electrically heated water’s heat into the atmosphere. OK, it’s a cheap panel, without a circulating pump, but it does show that even in a sunny climate, you can’t run even a household on sunshine!

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Desaru
Reply to  William Astley
June 23, 2019 5:05 pm

William A

The system efficiency of any electricity generation source above 35% and heat pumps is more than 100% with a few provisos about the local climate. This is truly a viable engineering solution for some cold climate regions.

When I was in Bishkek not long ago a buddy and I went through a large scale replacement fantasy for all resistive heating in the city. They are critically short of spare electricity but waste vast amounts of it with resistance heaters installed on the circulation pipes of low pressure boilers.

Replacing all the low pressure boilers with heat pumps would free up the equivalent of a new power station. This led to an investigation into the return of energy from electric sources as it is energetically cheaper to move heat than to produce it.

The return is between 10:1 at temperatures above about 5 deg C ambient to 1:1 at -40 C if the latest working fluids are used (-25 for the previous generation). Taking 1 MW of coal (or something else) and turning it into electricity at 40% efficiency and then running a heat pump delivers more than 1 MW of heat into the homes. That’s a good deal. With an average of 3:1 (which is modest) there is a net gain in terms of the heat involved.

When their plentiful hydro power is applied to the same system the return is very good: 3:1 up to 6:1 depending on the severity of the winter. These technologies are improving all the time. Low grade heat for “space heating” is one of the solvable problems (not that it gets much attention). Combined with better architecture the results are impressive.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Desaru
June 23, 2019 7:01 pm

Bishkek has 6 months a year with avg daily low below freezing. Some of those months bellow 20F
Heat pumps are said to stop working well below 30F.
In the US they are mostly used in the South, which has many cool and some chilly and a few really cold nights. And also lots of hot weather.
I was wondering, how do they make their power?
Have they considered or tried cogeneration?
Using the waste heat from power plants to heat homes by sending it through pipes all over town.
Better than just wasting that heat that is typically considered waste heat.
Works best were people are in small densely populated area.
Just wondering/

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
June 24, 2019 10:54 am

Units affectionately termed “mini-splits”, the ones often marketed in the good ol’ U. S. of A. with a label on them that says “Inverter Technology” or something, really are very good machines. They are variable-everything, and advertise useful heat production even at outdoor air temperatures as low as -15°F (it varies depending on the manufacturer). This is sufficient for nearly all of the contiguous 48 states; e.g., Pittsburg, PA has a winter design temperature of only -8°F. I don’t know the actual COP of any particular models of even brands, and SEER is difficult to assign because the standard requires steady-state operation of at least 30 seconds, and as I already said they are variable everything, they don’t stay at a particular set of conditions for that long unless you force them, and then you lose the advantage of variable everything. So places that don’t have easy access to natural gas, or where the price of natural gas is artificially inflated due to taxation or other capricious government interference, I would recommend something like a variable-everything mini-split. I don’t know of a more efficient way to transport heat!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
June 24, 2019 7:28 pm

I have been looking very closely and mini split systems and I agree with you.
They have an amazing SEER rating and at a very low price compared to a similarly efficient whole house central system replacement.
For less money you can put a more efficient system in which consists of a separate unit for each room or pairs of rooms or whatever. Which allows far better control and thus far better savings after the purchase.
Central systems have to be sized for the entire house, and neither under or oversized or there is a risk of them to either not be able to cool the house quickly or even at all on hot days when left off while one is away, or not running for long enough to dehumidify the air.
Having a separate thermostat for each room makes a lot of sense, and do be able to do that, and save money to boot?
Potential downsides are having to have multiple openings in outside walls, and multiple new power circuits, and several units around the outside of the house, but to me these seem trivial. There is another thing I like about them: The outside part of the unit is designed to be fixed to a wall well off the ground. Far preferable to me than having a large unit sitting on the ground outside.
And finally, as if that is not enough, it means down the road some units will be lightly used and last far longer, and so when it becomes time for a replacement, it need not be done all at once.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  William Astley
June 23, 2019 5:41 pm

Which part of “every watt of wind and solar needs a dispatchable fossil fuel back up on standby at every moment, 24/7/365” is not penetrating the dense bone enclosing these folk’s ridiculously tiny brains?

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  William Astley
June 23, 2019 6:34 pm

The radical Left in the US has a plan for that spending problem.
It’s called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).
The basic gist of MMT is that the US dollar is a fiat currency. All the US Treasury’s debt instruments are denominated in US$, thus the printing presses can just be cranked up to provide what money is needed for every Green scheme.
The actual possibility that this MMT nut school may actually run US monetary and fiscal policy someday has all the billionaires on a real estate and land buying binge, and land and real property are things that hold value during hyper inflation.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  William Astley
June 23, 2019 8:45 pm

Burning fossil fuels to produce heat is convenient, and currently inexpensive, but it is not efficient. A heat pump running on electrical power transfers far more heat at equivalent input. Most heat pumps have a coefficient of performance of at least 3, especially those that tap into the nearly constant soil temperature a couple of meters down as a source of heat. At a COP of 3 the heat pump takes one unit of work, and adds to it two units of heat and transfers the whole lot into a house.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
June 24, 2019 5:43 am

I ran the numbers, for a single location (Ft Polk, LA) just 10 years ago. At that time the cost of a BTU (converting from kWh) was almost exactly 3.5 times the cost of a BTU from natural gas, and that was after I applied the 80% efficiency factor for plain old fashioned once-through furnaces or water heaters (96% efficient condensing furnaces are now common and affordable). While a 3.0 COP heat pump is common, 3.5 COP heat pumps are rare. So my advice to them was, for all new buildings, install natural gas furnaces (the most efficient available). Now if natural gas is not readily available, so that a new building has to pay to install significant natural gas piping, your mileage will vary. But most places in the USA, the ratio of electricity-gas $/BTU is even higher. My advice still holds.

Richard Patton
Reply to  Kevin kilty
June 24, 2019 6:43 pm

And where do you think the electricity to power your heat pump comes from? It is a lot more efficient to get your heat directly from burning fossil fuel than to burn fossil fuel to generate electricity to run your heat pump. To top that off the cost of electricity keeps going up while the cost of Nat Gas keeps going down. I am SO glad I changed from baseboard heating to a Nat Gas furnace a decade ago.

June 23, 2019 3:04 pm

Hydrocarbons are well suited to purpose… and CO2 is a mischaracterized enemy of Gaia and Carbon-based life.

Linda Goodman
June 23, 2019 3:11 pm

“Most energy analysts consider the fossil-fuel phase-out to be a scientific, economic and political fantasy, akin to levitation and time travel, but the movement keeps making news.”

I’m no genius, but even I know they keep making news because their globalist masters OWN the news. There’s no other way their insane bulls*it can take over the world.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Linda Goodman
June 23, 2019 8:46 pm

And Adolf H and his thugs were jeered, ran out of town, and laughed out of Munich after their Beerhall Putsch in 1923.
No one was laughing 15 years later in 1938.

Today’s Neo-Marxists thugs bent on acquiring power via first Democracy must not be tolerated, EVER.

Ty hallsted
June 23, 2019 3:12 pm

The problem is that the zeroists aren’t interested in data or numbers or they wouldn’t be pushing for it. They are either interested in the money train, the votes or the power or have defective dot-connectors and have been duped by the aforementioned.

Clay Sanborn
Reply to  Ty hallsted
June 23, 2019 4:58 pm

The power. I see CAGW, Climate lawsuits, etc. as one of possibly several – certainly the most promising for the evil doers – to start a One World Order in which numerous nations sign over some sovereignty to the U.N., or other such global governing entity. Once the US, for example, has allowed global laws controlling guns, fossil fuels, and/or any number of commodities or rights to be taken over by a global power, it is merely a slippery slope to eventual control over all things, all freedoms. Think of it as a litigated and legislated version of taking over the world without firing a shot, at least not too many. And I believe this is how antichrist is ushered into absolute power at the helm of such evil.

John Doran
Reply to  Clay Sanborn
June 24, 2019 2:16 am


David S
June 23, 2019 3:18 pm

We need to go forward with the plans to be carbon free, and we can’t let this “reality” monkey business get in the way. /sarc

John F. Hultquist
June 23, 2019 3:19 pm

Nukes and dams are so last century.

require building the equivalent of one new 1.5-gigawatt nuclear plant every day for the next 30 years.

Site C project somewhere in the country “every year for the foreseeable future

These sorts of projects are not what the transition to zero emissions folks are expecting. They are looking for all types of solar and wind, including but not limited to, industrial scale projects. They believe the outside of buildings could be clad in solar cells, autos can be painted with solar cells, likewise ships and airplanes. Blades and generators will be embedded into tall buildings; see:

comment image

They believe agriculture and living quarters will be redesigned and rebuilt to use almost no energy.

fuzzy image of future

Other miracles will come about as needed.

Note please – – I am only conveying some info.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Desaru
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
June 23, 2019 5:22 pm

John F

What you are communicating is the vision of a more efficient future. I concur. Nothing wrong with better efficiency. What has not sunk in is what happens if wind and solar are relied upon without grid level storage. I won’t repeat the details. You are aware.

There is much to admire in the green world. Let’s say “greener” in the medium term. Fantasies are fun and so is progress. Look how much better the world is compared with 40 years ago in terms of pollution and mindless wars and energy efficiency. It is difficult to hide large-scale misbehavior these days. The population of the planet is much more aware of its common heritage and future prospects.

The coughing and gasping of the Old Ways is not pretty. Isolation from the world is virtually impossible and in any case, there is less and less interest in doing that. People want to be free to travel, experience and integrate. Isolationist regimes are invariably hated by the general population and for good reason. Cliquing and cloaking are for protecting what, exactly?

Maybe you have heard of the expression “a sane nationalism” which means a valid and reasonably expressed national pride that does not engender claims of primacy or finality or superiority. To get there from here will see disintegration of a slew of shibboleths. The same is true on the technology fronts. Common understanding of technology is one or two generations behind actual technology. Many proposed futures are founded on obsolete understanding of when is already on the market.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Desaru
June 23, 2019 6:20 pm

Efficiency is good, but only to the point where the cost of the energy saved exceeds the cost of the efficiency improvements.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Desaru
June 23, 2019 7:50 pm

“People want to be free to travel, experience and integrate.”

Where I live, people want to be free from having anyone who wants to, do whatever the hell they want, in our back yard.

Free to decide when enough is enough.
Wait and see how it works out for you.
Please do not advise us what we ought to think.
The US has had to come to the rescue of a lot of people more than once.
Been the only country willing to step up when people were being slaughtered, while snotty brats who lived next door yawned and sneered at us.

Free to decide we do not want tens of millions of people coming here who hate us and refuse to work and refuse to integrate. Even a handful out of every hundred is too many.
We want everyone who comes here to renounce all other allegiances and rulers, “every prince and potentate”.
In fact, we demand it.

Free to make sure that the people coming are not criminals at 100x the rate of the people that are here. In this regard, anything besides far less likely is unacceptable.

People who I know do not accept that others have the right to determine for us what we ought to find acceptable.

“There is much to admire in the green world. Let’s say “greener” in the medium term. Fantasies are fun and so is progress.”

No, I think not. The world we live in over hear is plenty green.
The “greens” are not green, they are not smart, kind, charitable, or fair minded.
They are barely rational, and in some cases as far from rational as it gets.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Desaru
June 24, 2019 10:17 am

“…too high…” is the point where something else, anything else, can do it better for less money. That’s all the market knows, there is no hard, firm figure. Will we ever get to such a point? Who knows? Even if I knew, I wouldn’t short any company making an honest living off fossil fuels, ‘cuz in the end they’re only in business to make money, and if things work out so that company owns the rights to The Next Big Thing (NBT), they’ll produce it when the economics are right, and a highly profitable FF company could become an even more profitable NBT company, so my short contract will cost me money, not make me money. And this is the biggest fallacy of the divestment nonsense: their short-sighted bullying to move the future away from fossil fuels could actually delay any such move, if it ever comes.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Desaru
June 24, 2019 10:24 am

…a valid and reasonably expressed national pride that does not engender claims of primacy or finality or superiority…”

You’re descending into Newspeak (again?). Any citizen of any country who does not believe the place they were born and raised is NOT the best place to be born and raised is not a nationalist. So trying to tell me “…nationalism… does not engender claims of primacy…” is an oxymoron. Now, by our (USA) constitution every citizen of every country is free to bask in their ignorance, but anyone who wants to become a citizen of this country had better believe this is the best country to be a citizen of, and if you don’t, then why do you want to become one?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
June 23, 2019 7:27 pm

Yeah, anyone who has seen the videos of wind turbine catastrophic failures is likely not onboard with having them connected to inhabited structures, let alone crowded high rises.
The noise and flickering alone will make life impossible for some people, even if nothing goes wrong.

As for the economics,
Are the people clamoring for this the ones doing the least research on how it is going where it has already been installed on a large scale for many years?

June 23, 2019 4:01 pm

Musk (of Telsa, et al fame) is claiming the human species will die off in 30 years of so. All one needs do is merge Musk with the Greens and the issue simply goes away — literally.

June 23, 2019 4:02 pm

“To produce the electric power needed to offset the lost fossil fuel energy…”

“On a global basis, the magnitude of the implied decarbonization effort illustrated in the graph takes us beyond the possible and into the world of junk science fiction.”

Obvious nonsense. It says that to replace our current 2.5 Tw or so would require building stations capable of producing 2.5 Tw. Well, we did it once. In fact, over 30 years, most of those stations will need to be replaced anyway with power from some source. Why is FF possible and renewables not?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2019 5:22 pm

I will give you an example.
Victorian government has announce the building of a 530Mw wind project the will power 340,000 homes

Current Victorian nameplate capacity is 1737 Mw.
Two nights at 3:00am ago the actual output was 49Mw, an efficiency of 2.8%

An additional 530Mw at 2.8% equals an increase of 14.95Mw to the renewables for a total of 63.95Mw.

The demand at the time was 4762Mw of which wind with the additional output would have contributed 1.34%.

Reply to  Ve2
June 23, 2019 5:34 pm

Corcoran doesn’t base his argument on any particular deficiency of renewables. He’s just waving hands in horror at the prospect that we might have to make an effort comparable to what has already been done, and will have to be done again anyway, because of finite power station lifetimes.

But yes, renewables don’t operate 24/7. We knew that. But on the other hand, they don’t require a vast infrastructure to mine and transport their fuels.

Robert Austin
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2019 7:46 pm

Photovoltaics and wind require vast areas of land and are often located far from energy demand locations thus requiring extensive and expensive distribution infrastructure. Without viable means of storage, you can’t make an energy silk purse out of the renewables sow’s ear.

Reply to  Robert Austin
June 23, 2019 8:13 pm

Like Corcoran’s post, this is just handwaving. How much land? How much is land that is denied to other profitable use? Coal is often located far from energy demand locations (eg Wyoming) and it is a lot easier to transport electrons than coal.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Robert Austin
June 23, 2019 8:38 pm

And they are vulnerable to damage, and they do not last anywhere near as long as other commercial power facilities.
Oh yeah…and they cost way too much and raise everyone’s bill.

Reply to  Robert Austin
June 24, 2019 8:14 am

The Stokes’ Maxim is seen here. Since the FF power system was built & obviously works, an equivalent renewable system can be built and work. Denying that is just hand-waving.

Reply to  Robert Austin
June 24, 2019 10:43 am

@Nick Stokes June 23, 2019 at 8:13 pm

Such calculations have been done, many times, and many times those results have been posted or linked to here on WUWT. You can do your own internet search and compare various results, and do your own calculations if you like, but really that’s all beside the point because, why do we need to? Why do we need to take a step backward to 4 centuries ago when the only available power, other than biomass fires, was wind and/or solar? Thoroughly unreliable, insufficient wind and/or solar? Because I know your answer already, you’re going to tell me “…because Climate Change™…” and I’ll grant you the climate changes, but the only place you’ll find any kind of climate change that might require massive mobilization in advance, is in computer models. In other words, “…waving hands in horror at the prospect…” of 1.5°C (or 2, or 4.5, or 7 or whatever, it really doesn’t matter because in the end you still wouldn’t be able to detect it without ultra-sensitive instruments) increase in average global surface temperature.

Mr. Stokes, you do very well at data and figures, so actually pay attention to your data, and for each set of data and each variation in that data, tell me what it really means in the real world. Because it really is nothing, all the global warming since 1850, or 1950, or 1719, or whenever, is still just so much hand-waving.

R Shearer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2019 8:15 pm

The supply chain for the generation and placement of wind and solar is every bit as complex if not more so than that of fossil fuels, and on top of that their utilization still cannot be guaranteed, except that we know their production will be far less than nameplate.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2019 8:31 pm

Grid scale storage Nick!
Why does every warmista begin every conversation like they have no idea what skeptics are talking about?
As if this is the first conversation you have ever had with anyone raising this issue?
You are upset he did not lay out the entire case?
I did not find it very illuminating either, and in fact it was silly. I made fun of it in my first comment.
But for you to be critical that no specific criticism was raised?
We talk about this from every possible angle and with all conceivable nuance for nights and days on end, over and over again…for years!
The EROIE is awful…it barely pays for itself.
It is intermittent, and there aint gonna be no grid scale storage that will remove the need to keep spinning reserves and full back up dispatchable power on hand all the time every day for ever.
The noise harms. The flicker ruins our sense of calm. The birds and bats that die are unforgivable. The are not lasting as they should. They may only last half as long as sold on. Failures rates are high and are reportedly understated by a factor of 2. They require huge amounts of land, and are an eyesore that will never go away. They are horrible!
And they don’t help.
And they often won’t work.
Sure a few places have pumped hydro, but you need a lake at the base of the dam and the top!
Who has that?
Here in the US people have tried and are still trying every day to get them to deconstruct Glen Canyon Dam.
And I suppose all the others as well.
Why are warmistas against everything that works?
Against anything and everything that gives plentiful, reliable, and affordable energy?
Including the only one which can be built anywhere power is needed, and makes zero CO2, and is the safest power ever invented?
And back schemes that will save little if any CO2 production in the end?
Why are people who claim the world is at grave risk acting like they do not believe it for a second?
Asking you Nick.

Mike Bryant
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
June 24, 2019 5:30 am


Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
June 24, 2019 10:14 am

Nicholas McGinley, good comment. Don’t know about other countries, but building any new hydro-plant, let alone a double-lake required for a pumped-storage facility, is impossible now in the US for a gauntlet of reasons. Nick sometimes (& obviously) gets out of his expertise.

Eco-looney Maxim — batteries are the solution to anything.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
June 24, 2019 7:07 pm

And from Stokes?

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2019 6:06 pm

Do the arithmetic Nick.
” stations capable of producing 2.5 Tw. ”
… but add that needed to meet the growing demand.
… then add all the non-electric use of carbon-based fuel. {think agriculture, forestry, mining, slow oven barbecue}
What sort will you build? Wind + solar. Where? Land area? NIMBY!

Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2019 6:22 pm

Because when you build renewables, you also have to build an equal amount of FF to provide power when renewables aren’t producing power. Plus you need to build enough battery reserve to carry the load while the FF are coming up to speed.

In other words, you have to pay 3 times as much in order to get less reliable power.

Reply to  MarkW
June 23, 2019 6:30 pm

“Because when you build renewables, you also have to build an equal amount of FF”
No, you don’t.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2019 6:38 pm

Or hydro. Wind and solar need 100% backup, if one actually wants a reliable grid.

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 23, 2019 7:14 pm

You might as well say that for every FF station, you need another to provide backup for when it is down. But you don’t. Power networks have always operated with some redundancy, and now have the benefit of increasing connectedness.

It may be that renewables will need some extra backup – nothing like 100%. Even so, it doesn’t relegate them to the status of science fiction. It’s a bit of added cost. Just as FF has the very large added costs of mining and transporting fuel.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2019 7:26 pm

Unlike wind and solar, the downtime on conventional power sources can be scheduled, and the actual v. nameplate delivery of power for conventional is much higher than for wind and solar.

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 23, 2019 8:10 pm

“Unlike wind and solar, the downtime on conventional power sources can be scheduled”

Not our experience! Victoria, January.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 23, 2019 8:44 pm

For someone like Stokes who often seems to have encyclopedic knowledge and 100% total recall, it is like you never heard the litany of problems and deficiencies and shortcomings and costs and very real harms.
I find it impossible to accept you are not being deliberately obtuse, Nick.

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 23, 2019 10:32 pm

“you never heard the litany of problems”
I certainly have. As here, usually not quantified. And yes, they have breakdowns and are noisy and have finite lifetime. So do FF stations.

The big downside is intermittency, which needs managing. But what is not conceded here is the big upside. They do not need fuel. That is huge.

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 24, 2019 1:43 am

The chance that 1 plant of a fleet of 100 fails, can be easily managed.
When 1 windmill runs out of fuel, they ALL run out of fuel.

There is a similar issue with FF plants during hot summers, when ALL of them run out of coolant water (and they have to switch to less efficient evaporation cooling).

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 24, 2019 7:26 am

On the other hand, you know when hot weather is coming months in advance.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 24, 2019 9:08 pm

Like I said, deliberately obtuse:
“And yes, they have breakdowns and are noisy and have finite lifetime. So do FF stations.
The big downside is intermittency, which needs managing. But what is not conceded here is the big upside. They do not need fuel. That is huge.”

Lets take these one by one:

-They have breakdowns, so do FFs:
You must by now, after all these discussions over many years, be as aware as anyone here, if not more so since you have the singular task of keeping a dozen plates spinning on every thread, of the huge disparity in the reliability of wind vs FF plants. Separate from the issue of intermittency, wind turbines break down a LOT. They have entire categories of weather related problems, while coal and gas plants have zero. What problems do occur are often catastrophic failures. Every service issue is a logistical nightmare due to the height and confined space alone. People die in those things while doing maintenance and/or service. Die horribly, I am quite certain. Sure, coal mines have cave-ins, fires…but wind turbines do not eliminate the need for coal!
That is hardly all I can think of, but lets move on.

They make noise, so do FFs:

Huh? That is all I can think of to say to that one. Coal plants/gas turbines have noise issues? Malarkey.
Wind turbines make a type of sound that is pervasive and cannot be shut out, and is widely disbursed b/c the turbines are. Huge areas are effected, and so huge numbers of people are being affected. We do not even have a clear idea of how serious it is, or if the effects are on those who are not conscious of it, or if is only the ones who are. But the ones who are reports, an many cases, completely ruined lives! No peace of mind, no escape from it, hard to even move because we are finding people do not want to live near these monstrosities, and it is being imposed on people who have no say in the matter and were minding their own business before having their existence turned upside down and inside out.
One large FF plant can have the same nameplate rating as up to 50 or even 75 of the turbines, and makes far more actual power, so in order to have enough turbines to have the same grid power as one large FF plant, so many people might be living under and next to these things it is hard to even know how to figure out how many. FF plants are so
benign most residents nearby are not even aware they exist.
They make no discernable noise at the distance of any residents of the area they are in.
You asserted an equivalence on this?
Back to ….HUH?!

-They have finite lifetimes, and so do FF plants.
Wow again. Are you really attempting to show you are not being deliberately obstinate by converting the huge disparity in the lifetime of these two types of power sources to an observation that neither last literally forever? The point I made was not even in the relative lifetime of the as advertised, which is already a very large disparity, but was directed specifically at the clear indications we are seeing that they do not last as long as they are sold as lasting. For a machine that so expensive that the payback time approaches the rated lifetime of the unit, to begin to look like they might only last a fraction of that rated lifetime, and many are turning out to fail while they still have their new car smell…the implication is that building them may be literally using more than they will ever supply back. Your assertion that once built they need no fuel, seems to me to indicate that perhaps your preoccupation with this aspect is preventing you from seeing that they are so inefficient it does not even matter! If they do not last long enough to make more energy that it took to create them, means they are in fact a spectacularly inefficient way to bur fossil fuels, so inefficient they raise the cost of power instead of lowering it. They are a net user of coal and oil!
An economist could look at the fact that they do not make power cheaper or keep it the same put raise the cost, and smell that something was amiss. I would think a person keyed in to CO2 production as a dangerous thing would note that the failure of countries that have built lots of turbines and panels to achieve the goal of reducing CO2 production would be likewise a tipoff that a big problem exists in underlying assumptions. Observing changes in cost is an accounting method, and so is observing net CO2 production. In the same way that measuring temp is an accounting method for energy balance. If I think I am using less energy in a room, but it keeps getting hotter instead of cooling off, chances are very high that more energy and not less is being used.
Costs are going up, and CO2 is not coming down, even as some processes that produce CO2 are being offshored (taking Germany in this example).
We have learned recently that some almost new offshore wind turbines are having the have blades remade, and older onshore units are wearing out prematurely, which is separate than the issue of premature failure due to defects or damage.

What it all adds up to is that this is looking like an epic boondoggle. The most expensive white elephant in history. And for naught. Not of the claimed harms have been eliminated or even substantially reduced, while whole new categories of new harms have been foisted on us all. We have been forced to pay massively for shooting ourselves in the foot.
IOW…it is playing out exactly the way skeptic have been warning it would. Some have thought it merely possible it would be so, and others thought it likely. But some of us were sure it would be like this.
To further make my point re lack of acuity in regard to your argumentation, you completely ignored most of the points raised.
And re the ones you spoke up about, you have made a weak case.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 24, 2019 7:25 am

Unless you are willing to sit in the dark, you do.
Nick loves to accuse others of hand waving. Yet that’s all he is capable of doing when defending his pay check.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 24, 2019 2:48 pm

No, you don’t.“

Who’s hand waving now, Mr. Stokes? I feel like I’m in a Monty Python skit, Arguments: £5. If anything, Mark W understates the case. Solar provides useful energy levels for approximately one quarter of the day, and not at demand peak so we can safely round that to one quarter of a day’s required energy. Wind in the best siting provides maybe 30% capacity factor, but not all of that can be used regionally so it’s exported, let’s use the same rounded number of a quarter of a day’s energy needs. So pay first for enough panels/windmills to meet demand, plus enough batteries to store three times that much power, plus enough additional panels/windmills to charge those batteries. Now you are already up to 8 times the system compared to a FF system. But that only gets you through one day, if you can count on the same production from your panels/windmills the next day. But you can’t. So pay for it all over again to get you through two days in a row, but what if the third day is cloudy also? Or the wind don’t blow? Again? You can do this as many times as you want, but then comes that unusual (but not unheard of, didn’t Britain just recently experience 21 windless days in a row?) summer and your batteries are exhausted and what do you do the next day? So the government, which created this mess in the first place by pursuing that mythical “net zero”, decrees thou shalt always have FF (or nuclear) backup sufficient to meet peak demand. So now you have bought a system 10x over (and that assumes $/kW investment for unreliables = $/kW for FF power plants, which isn’t so) to wind up with just as much FF power plant as we could have bought before all the pork barrel crony capitalist exercise in futility. So why should we waste the money?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2019 8:39 pm


Apparently the simple concepts of energy density and reliable availability simply elude you.
Let me help you here with your ignorance.
Professor Vaclav Smil is a name you need to become acquainted with via his writings.


“Energy and Civilization
– A History”
By Vaclav Smil

A comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today’s fossil fuel–driven civilization.

“I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next ‘Star Wars’ movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans’ ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. —Bill Gates, Gates Notes , Best Books of the Year

Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows—ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity—for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today’s fossil fuel–driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts—from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity’s energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil’s Energy in World History (1994). Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
June 24, 2019 10:34 am

But, but, but — batteries!!! They work for phones & laptops! So, batteries will save the day!


Eric Stevens
June 23, 2019 4:04 pm

All this construction requires energy – lots of it. And that energy has to come from fossil fuels. Hydro dams sound fine but if they are concrete they need enormous amounts of cement, the production of which requires high temperature kilns fueled by – you’ve guessed it: fossil fuels. Not all dams are concrete. Many are of earth fill – all carted into place and compacted by mobile machinery. There is no chance that the machinery will be electrically powered. Once again it will be fueled by fossil fuels. But even earth dams need concrete for generator houses, turbine intakes and discharges, and spillways. It is probable that the construction of a hydro plant will generate as much or more CO2 as its construction is supposed to save. The source energy replacement problem is something that doesn’t seem to have been factored in at all and it’s going to put a significant dent in the hoped for CO2 reduction.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Eric Stevens
June 23, 2019 8:52 pm

This may be true for a small and poorly cited hydro facility.
But why not have a look at the actual cost and return of a few before saying that.
Dams and hydro have other benefits, such as water retention, and at an elevation that enables irrigation where the river could not.
Flood prevention. This is huge.
Dispatchable power. Base load.
Very reliable.
Some hydro power stations are over 100 years old.
Hoover dam is coming up to the century mark, and will likely last a millennium if an earthquake does not destroy it.
Glen Canyon Dam catches all the sediment, so lake Mead is not getting much if any.
And where sedimentation does occur, well, we got dredges.
The entire East Coast of the US public beach area is dredged offshore and pumped onto the beach on a regular basis.
I wonder if it is sand, or something more like a usable soil?
That is the stuff deltas are built out of.
That’s a lot of topsoil!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Eric Stevens
June 24, 2019 12:41 am

I want to thank you for incentivizing me to look into the issue further.
I intuitively knew that a dam made of concrete, among the cheapest and most useful and durable materials ever invented , must be very cost effective.
I have only looked at the issue you raised re the energy required to make concrete and the power produced by a dam.
I looked at Hoover dam. I do not think there is anything unique about the concrete to power returned (EROEI is the proper term) ration, but I did review and learn for the first time all about many of the details I had forgotten or overlooked regarding lime, slaked lime, Portland cement, the history of each of these, Roman concrete including their usage of pyroclastic materials that made the concrete resist the ocean(some Roman concrete structures in the ocean are 2000+ years old and in excellent condition), the specific reason some aqueducts have resisted the elements and tremors for thousands of years in like new condition, etc.
I also found out about and watched a Myth Busters episode where they investigated whether dried concrete could be cleaned out of a concrete truck with dynamite.
They had limited success, but at the end of the show decided to have one last go at it with 800 lbs of explosive in the cement truck.
It blew up.
They did find the engine block after a while.
So…concrete does require energy to make. Mostly for the cement. Firing in kiln. But, many modern kilns make use of things like tires and other materials that are energy dense but hard to get rid of.
The ash from using coal (which is abundant and cheap out in the western US. They probably dug it up locally) can be used in the concrete and actually has desirable properties as an ingredient.
Other aggregates include fly ash, called pozzolan, and something called silica fume, which is just what it sounds like.
Makes for high performance concrete.
Slag from metal refining is also used, and has particular qualities that can be very useful.
So, the particulars are, that a cubic meter of concrete requires about 2.7 gigajoules of energy to produce.
Total, not just for the cement.
A modern kiln that is complex and efficient and highly optimized still requires about 3.3 gigajoules per ton of clinker and then grind it into cement.
But concrete is mostly aggregate: Basically, gravel and sand. But it also has a lot of water, which remains part of the chemical structure of the material.

MacGyver once made a airplane out of the motor from a cement mixer.
And on Penn and Teller, one time Teller was strapped blindfolded inside a spinning cement mixer with a load of bricks, and snatched one of them out of the air that was the signed broken half of another one.

OK, back to concrete and Hoover dam: Hoover dam contains 3,250,000 cubic yards, but since we have the concrete in meters, we convert that to 2,480,000 cubic meters.
One ton of coal averages about 21 to 22 gigajoules. Western coal is about $10/ton, but varies a lot.
and from above, 3.3 gigajoules per ton of cement, and cement is 10-15% of the concrete.
10-15% cement
60-75% aggregate
15-20% water (less water for stronger concrete, but concrete keeps getting stronger, probably forever, if it stays wet after setting. Dams do that)
8% entrained air

2,700,000,000j/m³ x 2,480,000 m³ = 6,696,000,000,000,000J/Hoover Dam
6.696 petajoules of concrete in Hoover Dam
Call it 6.7PJ/yr (I knew this girl name PJ when I was younger, and…um….wait…I better not tell that story.

Hoover makes a lot of power, averaging since the 1940s about 4.2 TWh/yr, or 15 PJ/year (Hey! same unit magnitude…per year! That is some coincidence, I’ll say)
But the dam has made as much as 10.348 TWh in the el nino flood year of 1984 (one year after Glen Canyon dam almost failed and the second straight year of extra heavy precip in the basin).
BTW, the whole thing with the water level in Mead, is all distorted and incomplete as it is typically reported.
Lake Powell has been letting over 100% of the amount that Mead is due for every year. Mead usage is off the chart is one problem. Some people want to keep Powell and Mead at the same level, but Mead is far shallower and hotter, and so evaporation is far far higher there. After 1983-1984, when Powell did emergency releases of all penstocks (890m³/s), and the river works (420m³/s), and both spillways(up to 1300m³/s) and still almost overtopped, and 90,000 cubic feet per second was released to Mead, the lake cooled so much that for years after the amount of evaporation was greatly diminished. Water in Powell was feet from the top of the dam. Hoover released 40,000 ft³/s and still caused downstream damage.
But some want to adopt a Mead first policy, keeping Mead full and using Powell for storage only when Mead was full up. This would be dumb and waste water. And power, and reduce the ability to control events as well.
One thing to keep in mind in all of this, is that before these dams were built, there were many years of severe flooding, and other years where the river pretty much dried up.
A problem at a diversion canal in 1903 caused the entire river to accidently be diverted into the Imperial Valley in California and filled the Salton Sea.
So, back to the calculation.
It appears that the dam produced enough power to make all that concrete in less that half a year.
Of course, that was only part of the cost. The dam was built using money on a 50 year Bond, and the power payed off the note, and for maintenance. Perhaps they priced the power to simply bring in as much money as was needed. I am pretty sure these big hydro projects drastically lowered the cost of power wherever they went in.
Far different story that the crap going on now!

Bill Murphy
June 23, 2019 4:18 pm

A global fossil-fuel phase-out is not fantasy akin to time travel. There is a very simple way to do it. Just murder 90%+ of all humans on Earth and voila! The elite, Woke survivors will have their socialist utopia fantasy — for a while. It’s not even a new idea. Several of them have already suggested it and a few are actively pursuing that plan. The only thing that needs to be worked out is who will be the murderers and who will be the murderees. That issue might provoke some rather nasty differences of opinion.

R Shearer
Reply to  Bill Murphy
June 23, 2019 8:21 pm

Hint: on average, the murderers have guns and the murderees do not.

June 23, 2019 4:27 pm

Please click on the url leading to the original publication. More information concerning the topic is presented.

[?? .mod]

Dave O.
June 23, 2019 4:35 pm

I’ll let China go to zero co2 emissions first and when they’ve demonstrated the feasibility, the rest of the world will follow.

June 23, 2019 4:55 pm

Hold on a minute, let’s just let California start running this ‘uncarbonizing’ trial now! Everyone meet back here in say 5yrs and let’s see where they are at. Proof will be in the pudding as we all know the fine citizens of that state, for the most part, are all on board and these results will motivate the rest of us in the necessity to ‘get cracking’ to replicate the California experience.

Clyde Spencer
June 23, 2019 5:04 pm

I am reminded of Disney’s First Law: Wish, and it will come true.

June 23, 2019 5:07 pm

Mark Jacobson, a PhD in Stanford w ho is an EXPERT in civil and environmental engineering would disagree with you. He believes the way to 100% renewable is doable.

Aldyen Donnelly describes herself as a “sailor”. Why are we listening to her in manners of climate science?

ROGER PIELKE, JR. is employed in the “Sports Governance Center” at U o C. Again, why are we listening to him?

And you yourself Corcoran. Why are we listening to you? You are a financial writer. Have you ever installed a solar panel? A wind turbine? Have you ever done electrical work in your own house? Are you able to do anything with your hands other than tap on a keyboard?

This type of journalism is the most malignant kind. You are trying to pass yourself off as an authority on things that you do not have expertise in.

[???? .mod]

Reply to  hazy
June 23, 2019 5:21 pm


Mark Jacobson, a PhD in Stanford w ho is an EXPERT in civil and environmental engineering would disagree with you. He believes the way to 100% renewable is doable.

Aldyen Donnelly describes herself as a “sailor”. Why are we listening to her in manners of climate science?

ROGER PIELKE, JR. is employed in the “Sports Governance Center” at U o C. Again, why are we listening to him?

Equally – Or more appropriately, I need to ask “Why should anyone listen to you? Why should anyone care when YOU strongly criticize (but yet vaguely and without justification!) several people who have chosen to cooment.

“A sailor” DOES use and install PV panels – more important, her/his installation MUST BE reliable and serviceable. A PhD at Stanford is mikely the LEAST EXPERIENCED of any reader in actual performance – since few PhD’s I’ve ever met in inutry can apply real world experience and actual performance and installation. And they NEVER have been able to justify and install and design products outside of their fanatasies in the classroom and lab. Never run cost-benefit analysis, actual construction failures and practices, actual times and budgets and performance – outside of their narrow (often self-claimed) expertise in the specific narrow field they wrote about to other PhD’s.

Reply to  RACookPE1978
June 23, 2019 7:40 pm

I’m not promoting anything, I am challenging their expertise. Completely different and it is the author’s responsibility to provide good evidence of their claims and the reason why he and their cited sources are authorities.

And what makes you say that Mark Jacobson is least experience? That sounds like donkey brain thinking right there. If anything else Stanford should command a little bit of respect that he’s been vetted by other experts in the field he is now teaching and researching in.

I can say from my own experience, having my own 2000 sqft house powered by a 5 kWh solar system, that not only is 100% renewable energy doable, 100% energy through just SOLAR may be doable in many parts of this country and other parts of the world.

But please. Provide your evidence why I should listen to 3 academic charlatans compared to one employed in Ivy league. Go ahead, I’ll wait while you try to give me a good reason.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  hazy
June 24, 2019 2:39 am

A 5 KWh system?
Why should we listen to you?
You speak incorrectly and imprecisely.
Solar panels are rated by watts, a unit of power, not power time times, which is a unit of energy.
You do not know the difference between power and energy, and underline the point by making this mistake while criticizing others for speaking out of turn without no credibility.
Jacobsen is a proven crank.
People do not command respect in discussions of ideas, having good ideas does than.
Being correct does that.
Knowing what you are talking about before opening ones fat yapper does that.
Most people know 5KWh is enough energy to run a single small appliance for an hour or two.
40 cents worth of electricity where I live.
5000 watts for the panels alone is no less than $5000 dollars retail, just for the panels (if you know where to get them cheaper, please do tell)
If you get a retail package system, like a 5300 watt solar grape polycrystalline expandable system, if you wait for them to send you a 10% discount coupon and try to finagle a few other discounts, you might get that for 10,000 dollars.
No rack, not installed. In the box, picked up or delivered (I would never get anything that delicate delivered, something you might not know if it is damaged until its installed and running).
A 500 watt panel array cost a lot more to install than the panels and inverter kit.
If you are an electrician and a very handy sort and do the work yourself, you might only have $5000 in additional expense.
If not, with labor and installed 5000 watts on the roof and hooked up will cost you $20,000 if you know some very cheap people to hire, and closer to 30K if you get chiseled like a lot of people do.
In most of the country, the amount of power you can expect to get from these will be 1000KWh/month or less. at 10 cents per KWh, these will produce almost $100 worth of power a month, avg, over a year. Less most likely.
So assuming you were going to take your $15,000-$30,000 dollars and leave in in a no interest cash account, you will get all your money back if these things run at 100% output with no losses in efficiency and nothing wears out or needs replacing and your insurance does not go up and you have no storm damage over all this time, you will be even for the panels in 20 or 30 years.
But it is impossible for those panels to last that long. They loss a few percent minimum per year in efficiency, and likely no part of that which is outside will not need replacing far before you ever even break even on the purchase.
If you had taken the 15 to 30 thousand dollars and put it in a decent basket of stocks and had an average long term return of 10% (there are high quality blue chip stocks that you can get a 6% dividend yield on and do dividend reinvestment and make way more than 10% a year, almost surely), well on the low end:
If you deposit $15000 into an account paying 6% annual interest compounded quarterly , how much money will be in the account after 20 years?
The amount is $49359.95 and the interest is $34359.95.
That is just getting 6% compounded quarterly , but stock like VZ or OXY or any of dozens of other, will raise the divi regularly. And the stock price will be higher in 20 years. Maybe by a whole hell of a lot.
1980 to 2000 market went up from 100 to 1400. That was after well over a decade of consolidation.
We had such a decade between 2000 and 2009.
We may be in the same situation as investors were in 1990. market up massively, but the real fun part was still ahead.
Same in the 1948 to 1968 period.
In any case, those panels can in almost no possible circumstance (except if you pay super high for power and are afraid to invest) do better than buying power from people who make it professionally, and put money where it is known to keep ahead of inflation and make a decent great return over time (just never sell during a selloff).
At the upper end, if you payed for labor and transfer switches and batteries (dumb), and got zapped for 20, 25, or even 30k (some have paid that much), those panels will be putting out a trickle before the panels ever come close to giving you that amount of power back.
And 30k invested for 30 years at 10%, which is the outside and upside case? Compounded annually only, that 30k you wasted on panels would have turned into:
If you deposit $30000 into an account paying 10% annual interest compounded quarterly , how much money will be in the account after 30 years?
The amount is $580744.5 and the interest is $550744.5.
STEP 1: To find amount we use formula:

A = total amount
P = principal or amount of money deposited,
r = annual interest rate
n = number of times compounded per year
t = time in years
In this example we have
P=$30000 , r=10% , n=4 and t=30 years
After plugging the given information we have

STEP 2: To find interest we use formula
, since
P =
we have:
Yup, well over $550,000

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
June 24, 2019 10:57 am

I’m not going to respond to the 2nd half of your post about putting the money into hypothetical investments that yield 10% yoy. There’s no such investment that does that without having high risk that gets obliterated by the cyclical boom/bust of the market.

What I will respond to is that a 5kWh system for me has provided nearly all the energy needs of my property and costs roughly 10.7k on average in USA after factoring in incentives. A far cry from the 30k you are trying to plug into your mess of a diatribe.

Theoretically you could take out a loan for the 10.7k over the 20 year period and those solar panels are rated to hold most of their capacity for 25 years, so again, what the F*** are you even talking about? And besides gas and coal plants DO NOT LAST indefinitely either. This part of your argument is incredibly f***ing disingenuous.

But anyhow, you could get a 20 year loan to pay for the cost of your 10.7k solar panels and at the end of it, you still have solar panels. What do you have at the end of paying an energy company for your monthly service? Nothing other than you are forced to continue being a customer to them in the future. It’s the same concept of renting vs. buying. If you are wise enough to buy because you know you are staying put in a certain metro, it is financially beneficial to buy.

Solar allows people to become their own power company, to disregard this fact is the illogical libertarian ideology and makes you come off like one of those dumb Captain Planet villains who likes to loot and plunder.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
June 24, 2019 12:15 pm

Little of that is true.
Maybe none.
You have no idea what you are talking about.
And now you are just making stuff up.
You have not said one single thing that was informative.
Insults, invective, and self congratulatory lies.
And some glaring ignorance of basic parameters of something you claim to be an expert in.
Your math worse than your physics BTW.
Borrow money for solar panels!
Just another warmista liar.

Reply to  hazy
June 24, 2019 7:55 am

Instead of challenging their “expertise”, why don’t you challenge their arguments.

In your mind, having the right degree makes one unquestionable. Which causes me to challenge your belief that you are even using your mind.

Reply to  MarkW
June 24, 2019 10:59 am

What arguments? I’m not going to go through the catalog of their supposed research. That is the responsibility of Corocoran, which he didn’t even do in his original article. If he’s not going to explain why these people should be listened to, WHY SHOULD I?

And 2nd. You’re damn right I challenge their expertise. If my plumber tells me that the rash I have is lupus, I’m not going to listen to him as if his he’s an expert, I’m going to go to a doctor and get someone who’s had the education to properly diagnose my problem.

R Shearer
Reply to  RACookPE1978
June 23, 2019 8:28 pm

When challenged, Jacobson did what every scientist with integrity does, he proved his point with mathematics…oh no wait instead, he filed a $10 million libel lawsuit… oh shucks he dropped the suit when his bullshit became too obvious and he knew he could not win.

And by the way, the abbreviation for the University of Colorado is CU. https://www.cu.edu/

Reply to  R Shearer
June 24, 2019 8:20 pm

[Language, plus insulting comments. Mod]

Reply to  R Shearer
June 25, 2019 8:27 am

The lawsuit regarding Clack and Jacobson is not something laypeople can understand on a nuanced level. They are both supporters of renewable energy, however Clack seems to support nuclear energy and Jacobson fundamentally rejects nuclear as a future energy source. Clack misrepresented several times the level of hydro in the models Jacobson provided in previous studies to the point it pissed Jacobson off. Jacobson tried other ways to get him to see the error in Clack’s science, and Clack refused.

Was it right to sue Clack? How should I know? I don’t have intimate details and I am not a scientist to be able to discern that. Apparently the “errors” by Clack were nefarious enough that Jacobson felt the lawsuit was warranted at the time.

They’re both scientists. They are both directly involved in energy. It would not be incorrect to listen to both of them when considering policy. I never claimed anywhere that Clack was wrong, just that Jacboson should be listened to because he has outlined a plan to 100% RE and he has the education and prestige to back up such a policy. But you’re going to take a lawsuit between two nerds to discredit him? Yeah that’s real logical and unbiased thinking there.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  hazy
June 25, 2019 5:08 pm

“The lawsuit regarding Clack and Jacobson is not something laypeople can understand on a nuanced level”

Everyone here is laughing at you, and not because you are obviously new here, but because you wear your ignorance on your sleeve while crowing about how smart you are.

Laypeople can understand anything on a nuanced level, if they are erudite and informed or even just intelligent and willing to spend the time to understand it.
You do know who comprises juries who decide court cases, do you not?
And why would you think you know who is and is not a layperson?

Reply to  hazy
June 23, 2019 6:24 pm

Nice, lets ignore the physics, lets ignore the math, lets ignore the economics.
There is one expert who says it’s possible, therefore it is.

Have you ever heard of the logical error, appeal to authority?

Reply to  MarkW
June 23, 2019 7:43 pm

Not just one expert, but Jacobbson is Ivy League compared to…I don’t even know what Corcoran is and the others he cites in his article.

It’s all economic hogwash from some dude who can’t even see his own penis when he’s naked. The guy can’t even maintain a healthy body, yet he would prescribe to us why 100% RE is not the way to a healthy planet.

Reply to  hazy
June 24, 2019 7:56 am

Translation: I agree with him, therefore anyone who disagrees must be ignored. I can’t say why, but they must.

Reply to  MarkW
June 24, 2019 11:02 am

Actually that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is if someone is going to be arguing against someone like Jacobsson, they need to do 1 of 2 things.

1. Provide a counter argument from experts in the same field.

2. Ask all experts in the field and see what the general consensus is.

I’m sure both have been done, and the feeling I generally get from scientists is that solar+storage is one of the most cost effective ways forward towards the energy revolution.

Reply to  hazy
June 23, 2019 7:04 pm

Mark Jacobson’s study assumes something like a 1600% increase in hydroelectric capacity for 100% renewable to work.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  icisil
June 23, 2019 9:15 pm

Mark Jacobsen is on the take from Tom Steyer. Simple as that.
Jacobsen’s “energy engineering” is a bad joke and ethically unhinged.
He’s an embarrassment to Stanford’s CE department if they were being honest.

Reply to  icisil
June 24, 2019 10:18 am

hazy, if you’re going to claim that 100% renewables is possible based on the Jacobson study, you at least need to be honest about that claim being based on the assumption of US hydroelectric capability being increased (by adding turbines, etc) from 80 GW (existing) to 1300 GW. That’s more than a 1700% increase. A Dept of Energy study concluded that hydro capacity could be increased that way by only 15%. So that study is totally out of touch with reality

Robert Austin
Reply to  hazy
June 23, 2019 7:37 pm

PhD and idiot are not necessarily mutually exclusive titles.

Reply to  Robert Austin
June 24, 2019 7:57 am

Doesn’t Phd stand for “Piled Higher and Deeper”?

Reply to  hazy
June 23, 2019 10:13 pm

Corcoran was editor of the Financial Post, years ago when they started the Junk Science series. Articles debunking government “science”.
At the time, I suggests a series called “Junk Economics”, which is needed as much as “Junk Science”.
Not yet.

June 23, 2019 5:09 pm

At some point we have to go carbon neutral.
At least 3 of the big 6 mass extinction events were due to temperature too extreme for most life because of very high greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere. If you don’t believe me, go check out the Permian–Triassic extinction event.

Reply to  Simon
June 23, 2019 6:25 pm

As usual, Simon has to lie in order to make himself relevant.
There is no reason to go carbon neutral, and there is no evidence that any of the 5 mass extinction events have anything to do with CO2. PS: Despite the lies of the desperate, we aren’t currently in an extinction event.

Reply to  Simon
June 23, 2019 7:17 pm

Simon back again with a drive by comment .
Ask your self some questios ?
What level of CO2 in the atmosphere do you consider is going to tip the world over ?
Were the Dinosaur’s mining coal and pumping oil back in the Permian – Triassic era.
There is enough uranium to power the world for at least 500 years but the eco greens won’t allow that .
The theory of CAGW is an unproven theory that has been dreamed up to scare little boys like you Simon.
Get real Simon.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Simon
June 23, 2019 9:48 pm


I don’t believe you. Science is not about belief.

The 3 leading theories of the P-T extinction are, in order:
– meteorite impact
– Siberian Traps vulcanism,
– or methane release from marine clathrates.
And none are mutually exclusive, it could be all 3 in some combination. The resolution is that poor.

But note, none involve CO2.

So you are either ignorant or simply lying.

June 23, 2019 5:17 pm

“Doug MacKinnon: Will you survive the coming blackout?”


“The largest red flag on this issue in years just waved in South America. Last weekend, tens of millions of people in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay found themselves in a complete blackout. In one moment, they had electricity. The next moment, they had none, and they were catapulted back to the 1800s.”

Nicholas McGinley
June 23, 2019 5:34 pm

“…energy consultant Aldyen Donnelly calculated that to achieve the “deep decarbonization” Canada is aiming for will require massive expansions of non-fossil fuel sources of energy.”
No schist?
So, wait…let me catch up…if we want to achieve “deep decarbonization”, meaning getting rid of a “deep” amount of fossil fuel usage (they are what emits the CO2 when burned), it will require…and this is where it gets tricky…massive expansions of NON-fossil fuel sources of energy…?
She must be one smart cookie to have figured all of that out.
I wonder how much “Energy Consultants” make?

June 23, 2019 5:49 pm

It’s a virtue signaling frenzy being orchestrated by the UN. No conspiracy, the purpose of the IPCC is to find humans complicit in laying waste to earth and they are without question taking the lead. The US is going through a period (again) where Marxism/Socialism is rearing its’ ugly head and this time AGW is their boogeyman to save humanity. Western countries being targeted are too dependent on fossil fuels for either energy, income or both for them to REALLY stop without a viable plan. And there is no plan except “add more renewables”. That plan will disintegrate soon because they will learn how much sun and wind they really need, how much it will cost, and what the environmental impact will be (least of their concerns). I’m beginning to move into the camp of “let them try and see what happens” if it weren’t so misguided and impacting my finances.

Joel O’Bryan
June 23, 2019 6:09 pm

I know we’ve just started NH summer, but thr coming NH 2019-2020 winter is looking increasingly to be early and then brutally cold.
The point is the climate pseudoscientists at GISS and likely Hadley CRU know they’ve been on borrowed time to the coming cold downturn. And so the propaganda campaign has taken on a crisis modus operandi. Not because of a climate crisis, but because they know the climate hustle is about to suffer a crisis of public support. The climate hustlers have to get carbon taxes, energy power grabs, and cap and trades schemes in place before that happens.
Anyone of any sanity realizes fossil fuel use isn’t going anywhere. But that is not the Greenslime’s immediate goal. Its about more renewable subsidies and PTC for the Green slimer capitalists like Steyer and the Rockefellers. Its about power for Dumbocrats. Its about survival for the media to keep a crisis rhetoric to sell papers and online subscriptions and ad revenues. And the lawyers of course want billions in Tobacco style payout.
All of this financed by the middle class, and driving up electricity and fuels costs dramactically in a transfer of wealth to the elitist Greenslimers.

June 23, 2019 6:32 pm

It’s ridiculously infeasible, yet time travel (except for forward) is impossible. Significant forward skipping is merely technologically absurd.

Reply to  Patrick
June 23, 2019 9:44 pm

Forward skipping could be technologically non-absurd (although not quite there yet, in my honest opinion).

Of course, if the Green Fascists have their way, the power will probably be cut off to the refrigeration unit for your corpsicle storage unit (or massive neural network, or whatever). So, it seems that the idea is more politically absurd…

Reply to  Writing Observer
June 24, 2019 7:59 am

Every day I travel forward in time by 24 hours.

Reply to  Writing Observer
June 24, 2019 5:23 pm

I was thinking of traveling at relativistic velocities, which is a bit more plausible, but insanely wasteful.

michael hart
June 23, 2019 6:38 pm

Thank you, nice succinct article. Especially the graph. It’s one of those “a-good-graph-is-worth-a-thousand-words”.

The crazies, and far too many other people who haven’t stopped to think about it, still don’t understand what they are asking for/demanding. It just isn’t going to happen.

Ironically, if they hadn’t spent more than a generation sabotaging nuclear power then we would be a lot closer to it by now. They like to talk of 5 or 10 years to save the planet, but have pissed away 40 years.

Scott R
June 23, 2019 7:15 pm

Here in New Zealand our City Council politicians are busy taking advice from school kids and declaring “Climate Emergencies”. The capital, Wellington City, was the latest just last week. In the interim, our left leaning “green” coalition government is about to pass a “Zero Carbon Act” committing us to become carbon neutral by 2050. Last year we burnt through 439 Pj of fossil fuels (coal, oil, petrol, diesel aviation fuel, gas, wood). We would need to build 15 new 100MW nameplate windfarms at a cost of NZ$3 billion every year for the next 31 years to replace all fossil fuels with electricity equivalent by 2050. This may not sound like much to those of you in the US, but for a country of 4.6 million people it’s an impossible task to physically build them let alone pay for them!

Reply to  Scott R
June 23, 2019 10:13 pm

New Zealand is a pretty small place compared to some other countries. Wow all those wind farms are going to need more land and space than what you got. Every horizon will have wind mills on it. No problem just create some new land. As much as you need. LOL!

Dave Ward
Reply to  Jim
June 24, 2019 8:12 am

“Every horizon will have wind mills on it”

Then you can kiss goodbye to any tourism – assuming that people are still allowed to travel….

June 23, 2019 8:27 pm

When you meet and talk to people who are CAGW believers and zero CO2 emissions folk and examine their intellectual and critical abilities of thinking, you realise that they are not thinking in quantitative terms and genuinely believe zero CO2 emissions is both desirable and possible. They oppose our current industrial society and want to sacrifice the population for some dream of “sustainable” (I love that word) energy. Dangerously they are not doing this out of malice or greed, but just plain old-fashioned stupidity. On the fringes of the movement are certainly those operating out of greed and malice, but the plain heart is just those who cannot add up yet.

John Mason
June 23, 2019 8:35 pm

Most of Canada should want more CO2 or whatever means to avoid the next inevitable return of normal Ice Age conditions. Most of Canada will be under a mile + of ice.

We have this little break in ice age conditions and think our little blip since the little ice age breaks the trend. Well, it doesn’t. We’ve had 6 increases in temp since the end of Glaciation. Each blip is less high than the last one. The overall trend is still downward to return of normal glaciation conditions. Where I’m typing this right now a mere 10k years ago was under over a mile of ice. Our shores were back to the edges of the continental shelf. We will return to this normal climate at some point. The near starvation levels of C02 will come back. Antartica sitting at the bottom of the planet has shifted this planets climate and dangerously so.

The world population and governments should be afraid of the real climate emergency and that’s when temps start heading back to normal and CO2 levels start to go to extinction levels again.

The lack of any context or knowledge of historical climate from these politicians declaring a ‘climate emergency’ and then all youngin’s they’ve sucked in with this wedge issue makes me very sad for this ‘flat earther’ next generation. As they get older and realize the climate catastrophe did not happen even though their impractical green new deals never changed much of the balance of energy sources, perhaps they’ll wake up out of their Zombie like mindset and realized they’ve either been knowingly used or been led astray by the likes of the people with the rolls of quarters and Nike shoes on.

Poor little mental slaves…..

Kevin kilty
June 23, 2019 9:34 pm

Let’s neglect the problems of making a reliable grid, and for good measure suspend the laws of physics just so no unanticipated problems crop up.

We then have to overcome the following:

There isn’t the money,
There isn’t the raw materials available,
Nor is there sufficient manufacturing capacity,
There isn’t sufficient transportation available,
There aren’t enough sufficiently windy sites,
not enough labor,
not enough political will,
and not enough talent.

kristi silber
June 23, 2019 10:08 pm

Seems a bit misleading to talk about Canadian goals, then post a graph representing the whole world.

I don’t know the specifics of what the various green groups are aiming for. Completely phasing out FF by mid-century is ridiculous, of course, but that is not the same as net-zero emissions (though achieving that in the next couple decades would be difficult, too).

Replacing current and projected FF with comparable renewable energy is not a good way to look at it. It doesn’t take into account conservation, efficiency or carbon recapture. Similarly, judging our ability based solely on current technology is unjustified. There are all kinds of new technologies being developed.

While the stated goals of some of these groups are clearly not feasible, that doesn’t mean that the status quo is the only option.

Reply to  kristi silber
June 24, 2019 3:41 am

“judging our ability based solely on current technology is unjustified. There are all kinds of new technologies being developed.”

Well you don’t embark on a monumental task knowing you only have solar wind and lithium batteries at hand to attempt it- https://www.manhattan-institute.org/green-energy-revolution-near-impossible
but not to worry something will turn up while we trash the grid etc.

On top of that mindboggle the climate changers want to completely replace ICE transport with EVs and at the same time have to renew the batteries every 10-15yrs. That’s fairy dust policy for children and the mentally handicapped. Can’t happen but it will just beget Yellow Vests in the streets so is that what these crackers really want?

Kevin kilty
Reply to  kristi silber
June 24, 2019 5:38 am

The status quo is not what is was and never will be. You are apparently unaware of the enormous advances in energy transformation, manufacturing, transportation efficiency and so forth we have made since the first “energy crisis” of the late 1960s to late 1970s. These advances go on all the time driven by the market. What is possible and cost effective, the market will accomplish.

I mean no great disrespect, but people of your political bent rarely notice this slow revolution taking place, nor apparently do they understand it. No one is demanding a static world–we want a rational one. However, people enamored of left wing politics want revolutions commanded by “democratic politics” to produce instant change. You may admit that the goals of some of these groups are clearly not feasible, but you will undoubtedly vote in a manner that encourages and enables them just the same. Admitting such does not make you a reasonable moderate.

Conservation that locks away wealth in hopes that future advancement will make better use of resources, or make them redundant, is not economic thinking.
Efficiency makes no sense if it comes at the cost of an erosion of economics, reliability, and so forth. That is if it has an unfavorable benefit to cost ratio.
Carbon capture is a way to simply bury availability (refer to the thermodynamic use of this word) to no good purpose.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Kevin kilty
June 24, 2019 10:52 am

@Kevin Kilty:
“enormous advances in energy transformation, manufacturing, transportation efficiency and so forth we have made since the first “energy crisis” of the late 1960s to late 1970s. These advances go on all the time driven by the market.”

Here are a couple of such ongoing improvements: Toyota’s new Corolla, which has its new Dynamic Force 40-MPG ICE, and Mazda’s 2019 Mazda 3, with its 45 MPG SkyActiv-X ICE. Mercedes says it has a prototype 50-MPG engine working.

June 23, 2019 10:14 pm

Travel in time exists :

If applied, AOC’s GND will bring the US back to two centuries ago.

Eugene S Conlin
Reply to  Petit_Barde
June 24, 2019 9:43 am

I quite agree, it’s called progressing backwards (hence the adherents calling themselves “progressives”) – those who live in the real world (not “progressives”) term these actions “Regressive”

Howard Dewhirst
June 23, 2019 10:39 pm

Not governments every where, China and India are going the other way. India has opened 52 new coal mines since 2014 and China has around 300 on its books. The developed nations have reduced CO2 emissions by 2.3 billion tonnes,the developing world has increased them by 16.5 billion tonnes.

June 24, 2019 12:16 am

It’s a cult – practicalities don’t matter when you believe the prophets of your cult.

Wiliam Haas
June 24, 2019 3:59 am

Nuclear power is the only rational way to go. Phasing out fossil fueled power plants by replacing very old fossil fuel plants with Nuclear power plants over a 200 year period is the way to go.

June 24, 2019 5:25 am

“On a global basis, such a transition would require building the equivalent of one new 1.5-gigawatt nuclear plant every day for the next 30 years.”
No one is going to be building conventional nuclear plants once small modular molten salt nuclear plants go commercial. Three of these 500MW plants equals a 1.5 gigawat reactor and are built in factories , with no need for any bodies of water for cooling nor any extensive site preparation. They can be sited virtually anywhere as they are totally safe. The world could easilly build hundreds or thousands of these reactors per week. My estimate is that the U.S. would require 400 to 450 such reactors to eliminate all fossil fuel power generation and provide for a fleet of electric cars. One reactor installation per week should easilly be possible – roughly 4 1/2 years to eliminate all fossil fuels for power and autos. Cost would be less than $950 billion.

June 24, 2019 5:58 am

I attempted to calculate the total energy stored (used) in a daily basis in the UK domestic car fleet.

Maki g some assumptions like each vehicle has or used half a tank of petrol (gas) , energy in a litre of petrol is 34.5MJ.

Assuming that we could magically get all the energy from wind turbines into the vehicle fleet , how many wind turbines would we need?

Worked out at 50,000 offshore turbines, producing at average efficiency, every day.

Total installed offshore fleet in the UK is about 2,000.

As was stated – this is phantasy land.

No one has corrected my maths and conversion assumptions so I think I am correct – at least order of magnitude.

russell robles-thome
June 24, 2019 8:03 am

The world produces (about) 70 million cars each year. That’s 190,000 per day.

If we wanted 1.5 GW per day of nuclear power, it is only 30 small reactors of 50 MWe.

This is not an implausible number. All that is missing is the guts to change regulations so that companies can make a profit doing it, and to allow reactors and disposal sites to be permissioned quickly and cheaply.

June 24, 2019 8:32 am

The climate extremists don’t care that it is impossible and they don’t want to discuss costs. They simply want to tax and spend every penny they can rip from developed countries to transfer to the international globalist bureaucracy. It’s the transfer of money that matters. Not the climate or any change in climate. Since the advent of the “Great Society” of the 1960s, the US has spent trillions to “fight poverty”. Yet, to this day, Progressives will tell you that the poor in America are worse off now than ever and that we need to spend more money to help the poor. Trillions of dollars were not enough. We now must transform into a socialist society where they get all the money.

June 24, 2019 9:31 am

Just call it “World War G”

James F. Evans
June 24, 2019 9:46 am

The green new deal: manifesto for a command economy.

June 24, 2019 11:17 am

Governments everywhere — from Canada to the United Kingdom to states in Australia — are declaring climate emergencies and committing to variations on zero emissions. The international organization promoting emergency declarations claims “a fast transition to zero emissions is possible.”

This is the total insanity of the thing. Its not governments everywhere, of course. The governmentd emitting the most have no intention of reducing. They are proposing to increase, they are building coal fired stations in their own countries and financing and project managing their construction all over the world.

The madmen in Canada and the USA and the UK have the crazed idea that if those doing 15% of the world’s emissions reduce that 15% to zero, at the same time as those doing the other 85% raise theirs, this will somehow save the planet.

Think about it in basic arithmetic. Canad, the US and the UK do how much?

US 5 billion
Canada 600 million
UK 400 million.

Total 6 billion

So we take off this 6 billion fro the global 37 billion. Meanwhile the others increase by at least 12 billion, so the net result is about 45 billion.

And this is supposed to save the planet, when what the same people claim is that we are all doomed unless we get to zero emissions?

June 25, 2019 9:03 am

What sort of battery investment would be required to smooth this lot out when the total Oz wind energy output gets down between 2 and 4 percent of installed capacity- https://anero.id/energy/wind-energy/2019/june
Not to worry folks as it produces an average of 30% of installed capacity over a year. Duh!

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