Michael Shellenberger’s Smack-Down of Alarmism

Guest “attaboy” by David Middleton

Dec 4, 2019

Why Climate Alarmism Hurts Us All

Michael Shellenberger

I write about energy and the environment.

In July of this year, one of Lauren Jeffrey’s science teachers made an off-hand comment about how climate change could be apocalyptic. Jeffrey is 17 years old and attends high school in Milton Keynes, a city of 230,000 people about 50 miles northwest of London.

“I did research on it and spent two months feeling quite anxious,” she told me. “I would hear young people around me talk about it and they were convinced that the world was going to end and they were going to die.”

In September, British psychologists warned of the impact on children of apocalyptic discussions of climate change. “There is no doubt in my mind that they are being emotionally impacted,” one expert said

“I found a lot of blogs and videos talking about how we’re going extinct at various dates, 2030, 2035, from societal collapse,” said Jeffrey. “That’s when I started to get quite nervous and worried. I tried to forget it at first but it kept popping up in my mind.”

[…]

I did research and found there was a lot of misinformation on the denial side of things and also on the doomsayer side of things,” said Jeffrey. 

Since early October, Jeffrey has posted seven videos to YouTube, and joined Twitter. I discovered her videos after googling “extinction rebellion millions will die.”

“As important as your cause is,” said Jeffrey in one of the videos, an open letter to Extinction Rebellion, “your persistent exaggeration of the facts has the potential to do more harm than good to the scientific credibility of your cause as well as to the psychological well-being of my generation.”

Why There’s No Apocalypse in Science 

In my last column, I pointed out that there is no scientific basis for claims that climate change will be apocalyptic, and argued that environmental journalists and climate activists alike have an obligation to separate fact from fiction.

If you haven’t read that column yet, I hope you do so before continuing.

[…]

“The global energy system today, as modeled by IEA, is tracking much closer to 2˚ of warming this century than previously thought,” notes Ritchie, due to lower use of coal.

[…]

Forbes

The full article is well-worth reading. Mr. Shellenberger does a great job in pointing out how the apocalyptic exaggerations by the media, activists and some scientists are possibly (I would say definitely) causing more harm than anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

His article featured this graph from the UN FAO:

“UN Food and Agriculture concludes food production will rise 30% by 2050, and technical change outweighs climate change in every single one of FAOs scenarios. UNITED NATIONS FOOD & AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION”

Basically, even if the climate models were right (they aren’t), technological advances will more then compensate for any negative AGW impacts on food production.

Mr. Schellenberger had another great article in Forbes a few days ago…

Feb 17, 2020

If They Are So Alarmed By Climate Change, Why Are They So Opposed To Solving It?

Michael Shellenberger
I write about energy and the environment

Nobody appears to be more concerned about climate change than Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders, student activist Greta Thunberg, and the thousands of Extinction Rebellion activists who shut down London last year.

Last year, Sanders called climate change “an existential threat.” Extinction Rebellion said, “Billions will die.” And Thunberg said, “I don’t want you to be hopeful” about climate change, “I want you to panic.”

But if Sanders, Thunberg, and Extinction Rebellion are so alarmed about carbon emissions, why are they fighting to halt the use of two technologies, fracking and nuclear, that are most responsible for reducing them? 

Sanders says he would ban both natural gas and nuclear energy, Thunberg says she opposes nuclear energy, and Extinction Rebellion’s spokesperson said in a debate with me on BBC that she opposes natural gas. 

And yet, emissions are declining thanks to the higher use of nuclear energy and natural gas. Carbon emissions have been declining in developed nations for the last decade. In Europe, emissions in 2018 were 23% below 1990 levels. In the U.S., emissions fell 15 percent from 2005 to 2016. 

[…]

Can They Be Serious?

What gives? Why are the people who are most alarmist about climate change so opposed to the technologies that are solving it?

One possibility is that they truly believe nuclear and natural gas are as dangerous as climate change. This appears to be partly the case for nuclear energy, even though neither Sanders nor Thunberg offers anti-nuclear rhetoric anywhere nearly as apocalyptic as their rhetoric on climate change. 

Before progressives were apocalyptic about climate change they were apocalyptic about nuclear energy. Then, after the Cold War ended, and the threat of nuclear war declined radically, they found a new vehicle for their secular apocalypse in the form of climate change. 

Though nuclear energy has prevented the premature deaths of nearly two million people by reducing air pollution, and though nuclear weapons have contributed to the Long Peace since World War II, many people remain phobic of the technology.

In the case of natural gas, neither Sanders, Thunberg, or Extinction Rebellion claim it is more dangerous or worse than coal. They simply argue that we don’t need it, thanks to renewables and energy efficiency.

[…]

Why Alarmism Requires Opposing Technology

What’s happening with climate change is not the first time those who are most alarmist about an environmental problem have been most opposed to solving it.

In the early 1800s, the British economist Thomas Malthus opposed birth control, even as he raised the alarm over overpopulation and the threat of famines.

After World War II, scientists and environmentalists in Europe and the U.S. opposed fossil fuels and the provision of chemical fertilizers to poor nations even as they raised the alarm about soil erosion, overpopulation, and famine.

And today, environmentalists oppose the building of hydro-electric dams and flood control in poor nations, even as they raise the alarm about climate-driven flooding.  

In every case, alarmists claim some moral basis for their opposition to technical fixes.

[…]

The End of Civilization

Apocalyptic environmentalists like Sanders, Thunberg, and Extinction Rebellion insist that if we don’t enact their agenda, industrial civilization will come to an end. But if they are so concerned with protecting industrial civilization, why do they advocate solutions that would end it?

[…]

Do Sanders, Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion and other apocalyptic greens really believe that, by raising the alarm about the end of the world, they will persuade societies to choose the low-energy path?

Perhaps. But they may also fear, consciously or unconsciously, that the outsized role played by natural gas and nuclear means that climate apocalypse can be averted without any of the radical societal transformations they demand. After all, if nations were to simply use natural gas to transition to nuclear, there would be little need to stop traffic in London, moralize about the virtues of foregoing meat, flying, and driving, or deploy renewables. 

Forbes

My only serious disagreement is with this…

And yet, emissions are declining thanks to the higher use of nuclear energy and natural gas.

Emissions are declining thanks to the higher use of natural gas. However, the only viable path to low-carbon energy production would require a massive expansion of nuclear power production. The fact that the alarmists oppose both natural gas and nuclear power is prima facie evidence that they are Enviromarxists and that the Green New Deal is just like Stalin’s grave: A Communist plot.

I also have to give a mini-attaboy to the midget oligarch for getting in Bernie’s face last night, I think he even called him a Communist…

Sanders and Bloomberg split over fracking

Ben Geman

Tonight’s Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas laid bare the candidates’ differences over fracking as Bernie Sanders defended his push for an outright ban and challenged concerns that it could hurt Democrats politically.

Driving the news: NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Sanders what he would tell workers in Pennsylvania, a swing state where natural gas extraction via fracking is a major industry. Todd cited this New York Times piece on the politics of fracking there.

Sanders, who is leading in national polls, replied he would tell workers of the need to act “incredibly boldly” in the near future to prevent “irreparable” global damage from climate change.

‘The Green New Deal that I support, by the way, will create up to 20 million good-paying jobs as we move our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” said Sanders.

The other side: Michael Bloomberg, whose has donated heavily to anti-coal and other climate efforts, said he did not support a ban a fracking, the technique that has enabled the decade-plus surge in U.S. oil and natural gas production.

“If we enforced some of the rules on fracking so that they don’t release methane into the air and into the water, you will make a big difference, but we are not going to get rid of fracking for a while,” he said.

“We want to go to all renewables, but that is still many years from now,” Bloomberg said.

[…]

Axios

94 thoughts on “Michael Shellenberger’s Smack-Down of Alarmism

  1. Some simple math is useful to understand these problems and their scale. For example:

    1. A barrel if oil is approx 1.7Mwh energy equivalent – ref
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrel_of_oil_equivalent

    2. The world consumes 100 million x 365 barrels of oil a year. ref
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_oil_consumption

    3. Therefore the world consumes 100,000,000 x 365 x 1.7 Mwh of energy equivalent from oil.

    4. The world currently generates 25,000 x 1,000,000 Mwh of electricity per year. ref
    https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/electricity-facts/20068

    5. Therefore we can divide 3 by 4 to find how much additional energy we need relative to what we currently generate.

    100,000,000 x 365 x 1.7 Mwh
    ———————————
    25,000,000,000 Mwh

    So.. lots of zeros cancel and we get the ratio.

    620
    ——- = 2.48
    250

    So we need an increase of 2.48 times what we currently generate plus what we currently generate to get off oil assuming of course 100% efficiency everywhere. So 3.48 times current energy production. There is no other option than nuclear if you believe in math.

          • Superglued hands to doors to prevent people using them. Superglued hands to roads to block traffic.

            Metaphorically I note lips superglued to foolish ideas about “renewables” and minds superglued to ideologies of elite management and deprivation for the masses.

            It is interesting how the “oppressed” quickly replace, in both seating and behaviour, the spaces previously occupied by their “oppressors”. These alternative futures look an awful lot like patterns of the recent past.

            Perhaps the real solution is a completely new pattern of life. Recycling is not always the best thing to do, especially when it comes to ideas.

        • Nicholas McGinley February 20, 2020 at 11:19 pm

          I missed the super glue thing.
          Can you elaborate?

          I could use a good laugh – Nicholas, earnest:

          Xtinction rebellion in fact is highly chemical industries affine: about super glues –

          Construction Adhesives
          Epoxies

          LOCTITE® – Henkel Adhesives
          Henkel’s LOCTITE® brand is the trusted choice for engineered, high-performance adhesive, sealant and coating solutions. … LOCTITE® is the world’s leading brand for adhesives, sealants and surface treatments. … LOCTITE® is the trusted choice for high-performance adhesive, sealant and …

          https://www.google.com/search?q=LocTite&oq=LocTite+&aqs=chrome.

          • OK, now I remember…gluing themselves to building doorways and roads and such.
            There are a millions ways to be a jackass.
            A million and one if you are a jackass with a bottle of glue.

        • https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/02/10/we-must-fight-climate-extremists-before-they-upend-society/#comment-2913882
          [excerpt]

          The Lenin’s, Stalin’s, Hitler’s and Mao’s are already out there – wolves in sheep’s clothing, just waiting to seize power. Then you will see their true brutality.

          Do you think it’s a coincidence that these 20th Century killers all pretended to be human until they seized absolute power and terminated their opposition, real and imagined? Do you think Pol Pot of Cambodia was an anomaly? He is the norm.

          The Canadian Liberals’ and the American Democratic Party’s current policies are straight out the quotes of Vladimir Lenin.
          https://www.azquotes.com/author/8716-Vladimir_Lenin

          “Truth is the most precious thing. That’s why we should ration it.”

          “We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us.”

          “There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel.”

          “Free speech is a bourgeois prejudice.”

          “The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses.”

          “People always have been and they always will be stupid victims of deceit and self-deception in politics.”

          “It is, of course, much easier to shout, abuse, and howl than to attempt to relate, to explain.”

          “Democracy is indispensable to socialism.”

          “The goal of socialism is communism.”

          “The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”

          “Trust is good, but control is better.”

          “As an ultimate objective, “peace” simply means communist world control.”

          “One of the basic conditions for the victory of socialism is the arming of the workers Communist and the disarming of the bourgeoisie the middle class.”

          “One man with a gun can control 100 without one.”

          “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”

          “Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.”

      • Unless they are making up silly statements for socio/political purposes, then they make up a lot of claims sounding like they are founded in math e.g. Shellenberger claims:

        ‘Over the last four years, my organization, Environmental Progress, has worked with some of the world’s leading climate scientists to prevent carbon emissions from rising. So far, we’ve helped prevent emissions increasing the equivalent of adding 24 million cars to the road.”

        I would like him to show the math on that one.

    • Good grief! We’ll just use the sun…it will be free…and clean…and we’ll hold hands and sing Kum By Ya…

    • And without Nuclear we will need that much power even AFTER they have built enough “Renewable Energy Plants: to provide power during the 50% of the time when the power is not available. It will be absolutely necessary to have all of that fossil power available or build one hundred times that amount of storage capacity AND hundreds of new transmission lines crossing the country. You are talking hundreds of trillions of dollars total expenditure. In other words, not bankruptcy, but civilization destruction,

    • You need to get your maths somewhere near right before they are believable. Sweeping away efficiency by assuming all 100% gets you far, far ,far from a realistic comparison.

      A modern medium sized motor ICE vehicle has a claimed combined cycle fuel consumption of 8l/100km. There is 159l in barrel of oil so the ICE vehicle requires 80kWh of oil to do 100km. By comparison, a Tesla 3 has a claimed combined cycle of 18.2kWh/100km. So of the order, 5 times less energy than the ICE vehicle.

      Transporting solar power from panel to EV would be around 80% efficient. A similar efficiency is involved in transferring oil from well to refinery then to ICE vehicle. So the 5X less energy still holds.

      Intermittent ambient electricity sources will remain unrenewable until there is economic storage. That requires a maintenance free battery that has a life of 30 years or so and cost under $100/kWh. But your 2.48X increase in electricity to cater for conversion from oil to electric is way off the mark.

      In fact if only hybrid vehicles were offered, that simple change would halve the fuel consumption for motor vehicles operating in traffic.

      • The accepted value of thermodynamic efficiency of a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine is in the 25% range. Diesel engines do a bit better. The battery in an electric vehicle recharges with an efficiency approaching 90%, as does the motor. Therefore, at the point of use, it is about 80% efficient under optimal conditions. However, the source of the electricity also has to be considered.
        Coal-fired power plants are 35-40% efficient, with the newer, supercritical plants above 40%. If you get your electricity from a natural gas turbine, the efficiency is above 50%. Photovoltaic cells are quite inefficient at 10-20% but the sun is free when it shines. You would have to cover your lot with PV panels and buy a large battery to charge up your own Tesla. Windmills are also theoretically limited in efficiency and intermittent sources of energy. The wind is free while it blows, but like the sun, it does not operate all the time in most locations.
        Once you compare the entire system using oil to power an ICE car to using another source of electrical energy to power a battery+motor car, the efficiency is not even close to your factor of 5. The best way to compare is by cost. Does it cost less (without subsidies or taxes) to buy a gasoline powered car and drive 200,000 miles; or a Tesla and drive the same distance (plus the second battery so you can charge the car at night using electricity generated during the day)? Can you drive the same distance in a day? (not even close). Are you reducing pollution significantly using the second route when you account for the need to buy a big battery along with the car?

        • Like I stated, ambient intermittent unrenewables remain that until battery costs get below $100/kWh at current cost of oil and coal. That would reduce the cost of EVs to be comparable with ICE vehicles. It would also enable home made electricity generation cheaper than the grid can supply – at least in countries that have high penetration of grid connected intermittent generators.

          The conversion efficiency of solar panels does not matter in this equation. As that is already catered for in their rating. You do not rate a power station at the rate of fuel burn; rather it is the rate of electricity sent out. Losses in delivery from solar panel to car battery is about 20%. As stated above, losses in the oil to end use fuel are as higher or higher than solar panels.

          I only used the Tesla as an example for the energy consumption per unit travelled. It is by no means what I regard as cost effective transport. Batteries have a long way to go before they get to the energy density and overall cost to match current ICE powered vehicles economically.

          Both wind and solar deliver low cost energy if all their production can be utilised. The fundamental issue is that they require massive amounts of storage to provide electricity on-demand rather than as-produced. The current cost of storage, in any form, makes ambient intermittents an uneconomic source of electricity in most circumstances.

          There are remote mines in Australia already using solar power as a substitute for oil. They have the diesel generators but solar panels pay for themselves in a short period by reducing the amount of fuel burnt. Diesel generator fuel cost is around 50c/kWh in remote parts of Australia. Solar generated power has no fuel cost and little maintenance. So with a saving of about 48c/kWh solar panels can recover their project cost inside two years in high insolation locations.

          • Basic and insurmountable problems with your thesis.
            Clean Power Plan Will Collide With The Incredibly Weird Physics Of The Electric Grid
            bit.ly/2GDxNfm
            “…Storing electricity in expensive short-lived batteries is not a little more expensive but tens of thousands of times more expensive than storing gas in tanks or coal in piles adjacent to idle but readily available long-lived power plants.”

            The “New Energy Economy”: An Exercise in Magical Thinking

            March 26, 2019
            https://www.manhattan-institute.org/green-energy-revolution-near-impossible
            “…About 60 pounds of batteries are needed to store the energy equivalent to that in one pound of hydrocarbons. Meanwhile, 50–100 pounds of various materials are mined, moved, and processed for one pound of battery produced.[54] Such underlying realities translate into enormous quantities of minerals—such as lithium, copper, nickel, graphite, rare earths, and cobalt—that would need to be extracted from the earth to fabricate batteries for grids and cars.[55] A battery-centric future means a world mining gigatons more materials.[56] And this says nothing about the gigatons of materials needed to fabricate wind turbines and solar arrays, too…”
            On top of everything else, there’s this.
            Duke Energy application points finger at solar for increased pollution
            http://bit.ly/2qU0grH

            …“After committing $2 billion in tax credits, and more than $1 billion in electricity overpayments for solar power, we now learn from Duke that nitrogen oxides have actually increased, and that CO2 may be headed in the wrong direction,”

            ELECTRIC VEHICLES EMIT MORE CO2 THAN DIESEL ONES, GERMAN STUDY SHOWS
            * Date: 23/04/19
            http://bit.ly/2ZYdUXJ

          • Solar displacement of diesel at remote mine sites is not theory. The Degrussa Mine solar project, costing $40M, is delivering annual fuel savings of $9.9M.

          • No one disputes that for small scale remote locations, solar is more feasible than running power lines to such places.
            Particularly is it is a place that has no natural gar pipelines nearby, is a arid location at a mid to low latitude, etc.
            Conflating such individual locations with the whole of a country or the whole of the world is not valid.
            Other factors might include such things as such a user not running 24/7, but instead mainly need power when the Sun is shining…IOW during a standard work day.
            The comparison being made is versus diesel fuel that must be transported in running a small generator.
            That is nothing like grid scale power for an entire civilization.
            If the US (or any country) was running on diesel fuel powered small scale generators, the conversation would be different.

        • It is also leaving out a significant factor to ignore that, although wind is free, the devices that gather it and convert it to electrons in wires is not anything like free.
          They are expensive and resource intensive and have poor durability compared to what is required to turn burnable fuels into power.
          It is a similar story for solar power.

          And batteries are about the least durable device there is, when considered as part of a grid scale system of power generation, transmission, and distribution.
          Simply considering the cost of a battery without factoring in how long it will last is not intellectually honest.
          And other problems with batteries exist, such as the amount of them required to ensure a continuous power supply.
          There is probably no way to do so, taking into account the amount of turbines and cells required to recharge a battery bank after a period of low or no wind and low or no Sun.
          Occasionally weeks can go by with very little wind and/or Sunshine.
          Do we have enough of both of them to account for when one is absent?
          IOW enough wind and enough solar to do the job alone?
          So back up generation will always be needed.
          But those are hardly the only issues with batteries.
          Others include (to mention but a couple) how fast they can be drawn down without ruining them, the sheer scale of raw materials required for worldwide grid scale storage of enough power to ensure continuous supply, and the associated issue of raw materials for all the panels and turbines required to not just supply power but recharge batteries after they have been exhausted following a wind and Sun deficit.
          (By this point in the calculation, it is obvious the number of turbines required would dwarf what has already been installed. How many birds, bats, and insects are we going to allow to become extinct? What are the ecological sequalae of such an inevitable eventuality? What of people that need to live near these monstrosities? The health consequences of turbines may be vastly underreported and taken account of. The psychological effect of never ever again having peace and quiet and serenity…what about that? The loss of property value?)

          So the intermittency problem is probably intractable when all factors are taken into account, unless we have a superconducting (or something close to it) grid that connects all geographic points.
          The places where solar and wind power can be gathered in quantity are not the places where power is consumed in quantity.

          And then after considering all of the above, one must return to the issue of replacement costs, after realizing the amount of batteries, panels, and turbines, required to ensure reliable grid scale power in a system that is supplied by wind and solar as primary producers: How much to replace all of the above, and from whence the raw materials, including the energy to do the extraction, transport, refining, manufacturing, etc?
          And what of the labor force required for this, and the ecological consequences of unprecedented resource extraction?

          Let’s see someone create even one actual power ecosystem that is able to use wind and solar to make wind and solar power, and also power the industrial civilization required to achieve the construction and maintenance of such. A single state, or country…just one.
          Prior to embarking on what looks to many like sheer madness, in pursuit of the impossible…and for what?
          Let’s consider again the underlying rationale for all of this insanity:

          So far it is looking like several ecological and environmental catastrophes that are very real and unavoidable…to stave off one “crisis” for which the only evidence is in the imaginations and raving and made up “facts” of a small number of congenital liars, scientific and historical illiterates, and doomsday panic-mongering anti-humanists!

          So far not one single warmista has ever addressed, let alone countered successfully, the objections to the idea that CO2 is a pollutant and/or that some warming is a negative consequence for our species, our civilization, our planet, or for the biosphere itself!
          No one single one, not even once.
          The whole conversation is based on a fantasy.
          Anyone who disagrees, address the following:
          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/02/18/professor-respected-military-generals-could-convince-climate-skeptics/#comment-2920364

      • In fact if only hybrid vehicles were offered, that simple change would halve the fuel consumption for motor vehicles operating in traffic.

        An awfully optimistic assumption for the guy who just criticized the guy who explicitly stated he was making an optimistic assumption…

        There is simply no way that hybrids alone double fuel efficiency. Not even close. The only way you get a result like that is to wholesale replace larger vehicles with lighter ones such as the Prius AND you have to make some pretty absurd assumptions about traffic (hint: the world is larger than LA).

      • “Intermittent ambient electricity sources will remain unrenewable until there is economic storage. That requires a maintenance free battery that has a life of 30 years or so and cost under $100/kWh.”

        This seemingly simple and off the cuff statement encapsulates a large part of the problem of communication between people who want what they can imagine, and people who understand that reality comes ahead of imagination.
        A look at the history of batteries and the scale of improvements over that interval, and a look at the physics of what is even possible on a theoretical basis in terms of energy density, drawdown rates, lifetime, and raw materials availability, makes this not some small clause to this whole discussion, but one of (and only ONE, of the many) the show stoppers when it comes to all such “plans”.
        In fact they are not plans, they are speculations based on impossibilities…indeed a very long exercise in imaginative speculation, plus a generous helping of selective attention, whataboutism, wishful thinking, dubious logic, and some flat out lies sprinkled throughout, including in the underlying rationale for why any of this is even necessary or desirable, let alone possible.
        We are talking about policy prescriptions called for by people with little or no actual knowledge of the underlying subject matter.
        To put it simply, a bunch of people who have no idea what they are talking about are proposing things which are a combination of not possible and ruinously expensive, in response to exaggerations and speculations from people who are making stuff up.

        • I stated a fact – nothing about the possibility or impossibility of it being achieved.

          There is no one with the knowledge and foresight to confidently predict that a $100/kWh electrical energy storage system with a 30 year life is an impossibility. As far as I know I cannot see a technical solution now or even on the horizon.

          • I do not believe anyone can see a technical solution on the horizon, and that may be because there is none to be seen or had.
            As to some particular price point and lifetime being strictly speaking impossible at any time…
            That one specific aspect may not be able to be proven impossible to ever achieve at some point in the future.
            But that hardly matters.
            It is impossible now.
            There are other parts of what would be necessary to make it all work that are physically impossible, perhaps not as a law of nature but as a practical reality.
            The EROEI calculation is one part of it.
            If one cannot use the energy of a turbine to build not just a replacement but two of them in less than the lifetime of the device, how can it be a viable scheme?
            (IOW, at a minimum, one has to pay back the original build and also build a replacement. And if it is a breakeven sum, it contributes nothing besides the ability to make them. But we make them to power our civilization, not merely to have them around)
            Others have raised numerous other aspects of why wind and solar, or any low density and intermittent power source, are simply not up to the ask of powering our civilization.

            The worst part of it is, the people saying we must do these things know the least about the particulars of any of this of anyone involved in the discussion.
            Where on Earth they get the notion that these ideas are doable may or may not be a mystery, depending on whether or not one thinks their actual goals are what they say they are.

          • If this whole conversation was theoretical would be one thing, but we are talking about people who are in many cases and many places very close to controlling all of the levers of power.
            IOW…we are talking about laws being passed whether it is possible to still have a civilization or not once these people dismantle out existing power infrastructure.

      • Hello Rick,

        no it’s not as simple as that.
        If you replace the ice with ev then that adds to grid load, so it won’t be solar that is charging those vehicles but fossil fuel generation as the renewable contribution is already at available maximum. In the U.K. this is generally gas fired combined cycle plants which at best are 60% efficient (Less than that given the balancing they have to do). Unless you live in somewhere like Norway with mostly hydro generation, I don’t see any reduction in fuel load, be it ev or ice.

        • Iain,
          Unfortunately, in the UK, a large part of your energy is coming from Drax which burns wood instead of coal and in every way imaginable is far worse than burning coal.
          From WUWT;
          The Obvious Biomass Emissions Error
          February 7, 2019
          http://bit.ly/2YXSJre
          “…One of the largest industrial emitters of carbon dioxide in Europe is the Drax power plant in North Yorkshire, England.
          …In 2007, the EC ruled, “Biomass is considered as CO2 neutral. An emission factor of 0 shall be applied to biomass.”

          Except, it’s not.
          “”…In the name of cutting CO2 emissions, four of the six Drax generating stations were converted to burn wood chips over the last seven years, at a cost of £700 million ($1 billion). Hailed as “the biggest decarbonization project in Europe,” this facility now consumes about 9 million tons of wood pellets per year, shipped 3,000 miles from the US and Canada.
          An estimated 4,600 square miles of forest are needed to feed the voracious Drax plant, with acres of forest felled each day. Replanted trees will take half a century to regrow. Despite the decarbonization claims, the CO2 emitted from the Drax plant is far greater today than when coal fuel was burned.
          Burning wood for electricity is just one more foolish policy in the “fight” against global warming.”

          Europe is burning our forests for “renewable” energy. Wait, what?
          https://grist.org/climate-energy/europe-is-burning-our-forests-for-renewable-energy-wait-what/

        • If you lived in South Australia with your EV then your your energy source is 55% ambient and rising. Four synchronous condensers will be installed this year to reduce the reliance on gas plant for grid stability control. $1,53bn has been approved for a SA-NSW link rated at 800MW that will enable SA to use NSW as a battery of 800MW and infinite capacity. This will be enough to get SA above 80% ambient energy. SA already has a 650MW link to Victoria that is equivalent to a 650MW battery of infinite capacity. That has enabled the state to get above 30% ambient generation.

          None of this is in any way economic compared to coal fired generation but it gives the true believers comfort that they are doing their bit to save the planet. And the faithful are now the majority in Australia.

          If you live in The Australian Capital Territory, as most federal politicians do for a large proportion of their time, with your EV then your energy source is 100% ambient.

          As you point out, those living in Norway are already using 100% ambient energy in their EVs.

    • Hi Peter,
      there are plenty of options other than nuclear. Have a look at page 212 of “sustainability without the
      hot air” by David Mackay. The ebook is at:
      https://www.withouthotair.com/c27/page_212.shtml
      and it shows explicitly for the UK you can find renewables energy sources without nuclear power that
      can power the entire country and discusses how it would scale up.

      He also points out that using nuclear power is the easiest option available if you want to avoid CO2 emissions.

      • Hello Izaak,

        I don’t think that Mr McKay is aware of the technical aspects of renewable generation, i.e. no inertia and asynchronous generation, i.e. it does not support frequency. There is a given ball park figure of about 30% as to being close to the limit for renewable contribution to grid so as to maintain a stable and reliable grid. The State of South Australia is a good example of too much renwable generation.

      • Not just math…all of science.
        Gravity (and everything else in the world of so-called “science”)is a construct of the white supremacist colonialist slave driver plantation mentality.
        It is made up crap.
        Bring back the shamans!
        Here is all the proof you need:
        https://youtu.be/C9SiRNibD14

    • Peter Ashwood-Smith may want to check his math. Assuming that a barrel of oil produces 1.7 MWh means that the oil generates 1.7 MWh (6.12 GJ) of heat when burned. However, if this energy is converted to power to drive a motor vehicle, or to electric power, not all of the heat of combustion is recovered as useful work, due to that pesky Second Law of Thermodynamics.

      If a barrel of crude oil is refined into motor fuels such as gasoline, jet fuel (kerosene), or Diesel fuel, about 10% of the energy content of the oil is lost in the conversion processes (distillation, upgrading of gasoline octane, desulfurization, catalytic cracking of heavy oils). Internal-combustion engines typically convert about 35% of the heat content of the fuel into useful work to power a vehicle.

      Liquid fuels are not used much for electricity generation (except emergency Diesel generators during power failures), with most non-nuclear plants being powered by burning coal or natural gas. Coal-fired power plants are usually about 30% efficient, while natural gas is about 35% efficient in a simple cycle plant, or about 60% efficient in a combined-cycle plant (where hot, low-pressure flue gases from a gas turbine are sent to a waste-heat boiler to make steam to drive a steam turbine).

      So the above energy balance needs to be corrected as follows:

      From the oil consumption (line 2), subtract out petroleum-based fuels used for transportation (cars, trucks, planes), not electricity.

      Add in other fossil fuels (coal and natural gas) consumed to generate electricity.

      Multiply by the respective efficiencies to determine the amount of electric power obtained from coal and natural gas.

      This would result in the amount of power that would be lost if we stopped using coal and natural gas to generate electricity, and the amount of additional power that would be necessary from other sources (nuclear, hydro, solar, wind).

      I don’t dispute the fact that nuclear power would be the best option to supply the shortfall, but any calculation used to justify a claim needs to take into account the efficiency of each process, and not conflate energy use for transportation with energy use for electric power.

    • I agree it is a daunting problem to replace fossil fuels with renewables, but you have to admire the British for trying. They are in the process of commissioning the world’s largest offshore windfarm, Hornsea One. It consists of 174 skyscraper sized turbines, each with a power rating of 7 Mwh. They claim that the farm will produce enough electricity to power one million British households. Wow! That sounds impressive until you realize that there are about 27 million British households. And that’s not the whole story. The output from the farm is about 4 Twh, but Britain consumes 309 Twh of electricity annually, so this massively subsidized windfarm will only produce a little over one percent of demand.

      • And we are already hearing rumblings of the lifetime of the devices being woefully less than what is advertised as the lifespan of them.
        All around the world where these devices have been installed, they will soon start to be retired.
        And it seems we really do not have any idea how many of them fail prematurely within a short time of being installed.
        I await with baited breathe the reaction when it becomes apparent that so much money has been largely wasted, while if instead, for example, the money had been spent building nuclear power capacity, money would have actually been saved rather than wasted.
        Imagine buying a house, spending all of one’s saving and going into debt for 30 years for a mortgage, and finding out 15 years in that the house only lasts 15 years?

  2. Good comments, David. It is amazing how the socialist/marxist/communist crowd moves smoothly from one doomsday topic to the next. Nuclear war, overpopulation, famine, peak oil, now CAGW. Here’s a question: when the doomsday climate catastrophe fails to materialize (plants grow like crazy, Trump is reelected, fracking puts two cars in every driveway and two chickens in every pot, etc) what topic will the loonies switch to?

    • The climate change Scam has been going for 32 years.

      This old post looks at the fundamentals for successful pseudoscience

      In addition to being plausible ‘science’, a new scam will likely try to ban some technology. They really don’t like energy or travel (not for anyone but themselves anyhow!). In addition we know they love social control, socialism, and political correctness. Climate change touches so many sweet spots for them. Hard for me to imagine anything new matching the climate scam.

      • I agree. They like climate because it is so all-encompassing. It is the science of anything and everything, meaning that everybody gets to climb on board the claim train while demanding a slice of the pie.

        And attacking energy production and supply is as big as it gets. Affordable energy is the bedrock of the industrial revolution. Mixing my metaphors, they are hacking at the roots of modern civilization. It can only end badly if they succeed. Fortunately China, India etc will prevent them, but they will yet cause more human suffering.

      • MP

        “The climate change Scam has been going for 32 years.”

        This is true if we think just AGW. Before that we were going to ACC- ice age, fast.
        And maybe the ice age scare will come up again because ocean currents are switching to cool phase.
        So let´s see what´s going to be next panic. Climate cycles are so long and human memory short and open to propaganda. Anything believeable will work because “they” have media and UN to back up all what is needed. It´s easy to have some 112% consensus to panic all. Whatever it is.

  3. The alarmist scum are using exactly the same techniques as did the Nazis in the 30’s. Instead of a vile narrative targeting Jews dubbed over footage of rats scurrying about we have the alarmist narrative dubbed over footage of fires, floods and steam coming off cooling towers or selected footage of dead coral. The propaganda is aimed at those in our society who are the least educated or otherwise the ost easily frightened or influenced by what appears to be an authorative voice.

    ‘Alarmist’ is just the adjective here, ‘scum’ is the essential descriptor.

  4. I went looking for Lauren Jeffrey’s videos and there were none at the link and none on YouTube! Any suggestions?

  5. “As important as your cause is,” said Jeffrey in one of the videos, an open letter to Extinction Rebellion, “your persistent exaggeration of the facts has the potential to do more harm than good to the scientific credibility of your cause as well as to the psychological well-being of my generation.”

    XR doesn’t use any facts as the basis for any of their “arguments”. Their “cause” has never had any scientific credibility. The sooner young Lauren learns that, the better off she will be.

  6. I wonder whether Lauren Jeffrey’s apparent disappearance from the video scene has something to do with her parents trying to protect her from potential threats and media counter-attacks of the climate-doomsters.

    Maybe her relatives do not want her to be the anti-Greta.

    • … too much pressure and too many demands or expectations for a young person, potentially stealing away her youth, as the climate disasterites have stolen Greta’s.

      She didn’t sign up to be the anti-Greta icon.

  7. The Ext reb leader admitted she also used mind altering drugs because of her extremist,delusional climate change nonsense.
    OH and she traveled around the world to find these drugs and couldn’t care less about her co2 footprint to fulfill her mind altering quest.
    So is this the kind of crazy crank that any sane person should ever want to follow? Apparently yes if you listen to so many of today’s left wing loonies and clueless Bernie is leading the DEM pack as well.

  8. Its amazing the disconnect between the supposed climate crisis and the refusal to see nuclear as a non-carbon source of energy (or at least as a bridge to their renewable utopia). Likewise their hatred for all fossil fuels blinds them to cheap, clean & lower C-producing natural gas.
    By insisting upon intermittent, unreliable, weather dependent energy sources (wind & solar) they are making civilization more fragile. Maybe they are hoping for a collapse of civilization?

    And here is a Michael Shellenberger Ted Talk 5-2019 about an Epiphany on Renewables
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-yALPEpV4w

  9. On Youtube in the UK Just a statement that this Lauren Jeffreys channel has no cotent No
    crap about climate change No nothing

  10. Nuclear takes fossil fuels to mine the uranium. Oh by the way I heard a new one to me: Climate Whiplash.

  11. “I also have to give a mini-attaboy to the midget oligarch for getting in Bernie’s face last night, I think he even called him a Communist…”

    I watched the rest of the debate and I don’t think Bernie denied that he was a communist — correct me if I am wrong. . .

    JPP

      • Bloomberg may be a hypocritical elistst but it’s about time that someone name Sander’s actual philosophy. During his honeymoon in Russia he praised the system that killed 30 million Russians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Latvians and more other -ians than I can name. And whenever one of these tyrannies collapses there is Bernie saying “That’s not real socialism”. Sorry, Bernie but that is the most real socialism that ever existed. It can’t produce steel, it can’t produce food but it sure can produce graveyards.

      • He calls them all communists.
        Pocahonas warren nearly swallowed her false teeth such was the sharp intake of breath, and breadline Bernie looked like he had just choked on her teeth.

        Little chapete rlie brown look alike wittered on in mexicano so no-one could understand him and old Joe kept his head down.

        It was like a jerry spring show episode.

  12. Maybe there is disagreement over what is civilized.
    Perhaps, having too many people in the world is not civilized.
    Perhaps someplace like Cuba, is the only civilized place on Earth.
    Perhaps, the enormous riot known as US elections, is not civilized, nor
    is having a selection of more than 20 different brands of deodorants.

    –‘The Green New Deal that I support, by the way, will create up to 20 million good-paying jobs as we move our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” said Sanders.–

    Maybe ditch diggers which are given a high wage, are “good-paying jobs”
    And someone operating sophisticated million dollar machinery, are being over paid, and are evil and civilized.

    And I think Cuba is uncivilized garbage dump of a country.
    And country of China makes Nazis look almost civilized.

    But I tend think your world is far more civilized, than our world has ever been,
    and it seems to me that it’s quite possible these wack jobs imagine the world at some point in time, being more civilized.
    Which I would call reactionary, as in:
    “Reactionary means “characterized by reaction, especially opposition to progress or liberalism; extremely conservative.”
    Or I suffer no delusion that socialism or communism is something new to the world. Rather it’s mostly, lipstick on a pig.
    The lipstick is something somewhat new, but not the pig.

    • chaamjamal,
      Yes.
      He started out anti-nuclear but changed his mind.
      Schellenberger is a signatory to Open letters –
      Save Diablo Canyon,
      Save Illinois Nuclear,
      Save New York Nuclear, etc.

    • He was one of the original advocates for massive buildout of wind and solar, insisting that these were needed to prevent the end of the world.
      He has now taken up one of the positions, or maybe a few (he seems to move further every time he writes something) of the people he used to mock and belittle, those people being us skeptics.
      IOW…we were right, he was wrong.
      We should be building nuclear plants because it is a safe and inexpensive form of reliable and abundant energy, and there are better things to do with fossil fuels.There will never be a time where we only need energy from electricity, so it makes sense to stretch the supply of fossil fuels, and keep the price contained, by making use of nuclear and hydro power, and anything else that is abundant and safe and inexpensive.
      But I want to call attention to the fact that he was one of the people who have been wrong, big time, about things he claimed to be sure of and an expert on.

      I am not gonna say he is wrong about the things he has changed his mind about…but he is still wrong about the things he has not changed his mind about.

      In any case, it appears to me he thinks his status as a former true believer gives weight to his change of heart and new perspective on the subject of power and sustainability, as well as his apparent growing unease with the escalating alarmism and stridency of his former allies in the warmista mafia.
      I think he will have as much success at changing the mind of anyone in the alarmist camp, as any skeptics had at changing his mind back before his epiphany.
      Funny how it is that people who help in fomenting riots, have no special ability to end one by saying enough is enough.
      Alarmists are not susceptible to persuasion because none of this is about which ideas are true or what plans make sense.
      The evidence for this?
      The evidence is what has happened to anyone in the CAGW camp who has ever given voice to a more moderate position.
      Michael Shellenberger is just the latest example.
      I have seen zero evidence he is getting any traction whatsoever among alarmists.

  13. Peter Ashwood Smith,assuming your math is in the ball park, and I have no reason to doubt it,You should take your big brain and calculate how much , heat energy, and nearly all energy ends up as such, is added to the atmosphere every day since whale oil was popular. The satellites tell us that the atmosphere is warming slightly. It strikes me that its possible that we’ve been barking up the wrong tree. The question is–is this increasing heat source linked to increasing temperatures and is the link measurable ?That would put it in the same box as CO2.

    • I don’t know how many times I’ve posted over the years, but here I go again.

      All the energy used by mankind in a year is equal to a single, one, uno, hour’s worth of sunlight falling on the surface of the earth.

  14. Whenever I face a teacher, and they’re quite a bunch staffing the school where kid goes:
    -Say you, you can prove that there’s unprecedented global warming to the kids? Temperature, air, matter, that’s energy, otherwise you’re OK with thermodynamics. Now comes the real fun.

    So imagine you come one day home and your iron is at room temperature no matter how well you measure. My question is, when was it hot for the last time? Last week, one month ago, last year?

    Incoherent mumbling follows, finally yes, how this is related to global warming?

    Because it simply means that you don’t know what the warming was before they had accurate enough thermometers to record it. The “unprecedented” part stops here as we can not unfold back in time. And unless you can prove it to the kids, please refrain lying to them.

  15. As well as Schellenberger and the Climate Scientists named in the Forbes article attempting to rein in the catastrophism, Dr. Myles Allen,Lead Author of the IPCC Reports, tried to oppose Extinction Rebellion and the new apocalyptic meme with “Why protestors should be wary of ‘12 years to climate breakdown’ rhetoric” in The Conversation on April 19,2019,republished in The Guardian.
    No Catastrophe by 2030.
    No Catastrophe after 2030.
    The IPCC has been verballed.
    However with the silence of Climate Scientists and the concurrence of the MSM in its hysteria,the bird has flown, the train has left the station, and the horse has bolted ( at the risk of abuse of cliches).

  16. The Warmests do not want to solve the problem they call climate change because the climate is not what they want to change, what they want to change is the entire political system of the world and introduce a One World communist government under their control. So their target is not the climate their Target is YOU.

  17. Shellenberger’s hardly the saint here. He loves to cite nonsense claims about CO2 deaths caused by 1st world fossil fuel consumption based on garbage LNT analyses. He’s really just a throwback to some of the pro-nukes from the early 80’s who helped get the whole global warming hysteria stoked up in hopes that they would benefit. Ultimately we will have to go to nuclear to meet our energy needs (fission or fusion) because the only two sources of primary energy in the universe are gravity (anyone have a black hole in their pocket?) and energy/mass conversion. But when we make the switch should be determined by free market forces and not warring climate crusades or geekouts.

  18. Alarmism is a choice. A choice that quickly leads to mental illness. Why anyone would want to choose alarmism over optimism is the Really Big Question.

  19. Sanders probably doesn’t believe in an imminent climate apocalypse, but Greta might. When I was her age I believed pretty much everything adults told me. Well, you know how that goes: eventually you find out that they were stringing you on about a few things.

  20. What gives? Why are the people who are most alarmist about climate change so opposed to the technologies that are solving it?

    This is the right question with regard to natural gas use and nuclear. But there is another question which exposes the depth of the problem.

    Why are the people who are most alarmist about climate change so opposed to demanding that the biggest and fastest growing emitters stop and reduce?

    Why is it that the measures they do demand are, according to their own theory, totally useless?

    You have to explain all three. Why do they advocate doing the ineffective, and why do they refuse to advocate things that would be effective – in their own terms and according to their own theory.

    Its like people claiming to believe that the corono virus is a threat to humanity on earth, then refusing to advocate control measures by China or on travel, refusing to demand any normal pandemic precautions in the US, but demanding we all stand on our heads for five minutes every day. Its that irrational in terms of what they claim to believe and what they claim to advocate. Turn off standby, for instance. Electric cars. Wind turbines…. Make the UK carbon neutral. Or maybe Tuvalu….

    My own conclusion after many years of watching this is that they do not believe in the alarm in any real sense. The cries of doom have become a sort of religious mantra that is recited over and over again with increasing stridency. It has a purely emotional and tribal significance. The measures they advocate are mainly interesting to them not because of any effects they have in the real world, but as visible expressions of belief. They are like the pyramids or the Easter Island statues. They do nothing but mean a great deal.

    The other observation of course is that no-one outside activist circles in the US, Germany, the UK and Australia shows any sign of believing it either. Japan, China, India all building coal plants like there was no tomorrow.

    It is all a chapter in some future edition of Great Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

  21. One question that needs to be asked of Bernie and all others who advocate for 100% wind and solar is – how do they plan to manufacture solar panels and wind turbines without using fossil fuels given that those technologies depend of FF from cradle to grave. Someone also needs to show them pictures of Baotou and other mining sites needed for the raw materials as well as the cost and pollution created when disposing of supposedly clean/green renewables.

  22. What’s happening with climate change is not the first time those who are most alarmist about an environmental problem have been most opposed to solving it.

    This unfortunately has been blatantly obvious because these people generally don’t believe it themselves, but want to promote it as it suits their agenda and/or financial incentive. The longer it goes on the more they get from their agenda and further financially benefit from it so don’t want it to end. They don’t care about solving it for this reason and if they generally believed their lies, they would respond with practical solutions including reducing their own carbon footprint.

    Most of the warming over recent decades has resulted from changes in ocean patterns that reduce cloud albedo, increasing shortwave radiation into the ocean surface and causing ocean warming that shortly after warms the atmosphere. Sunshine levels have been increasing around the world confirming lower distribution of clouds around the planet. The AMOC, AMO, PDO and ENSO play a significant role in this.

    Global warming or climate change has been a scam for decades and reduced cloud albedo causes most of the warming not CO2.

  23. One large issue about grid storage batteries that I didn’t see discussed are the inverters required to convert the DC to AC. Megawatts and gigawatts of inverters won’t be cheap. Synchronizing them to maintain grid frequency won’t be a small task either. Ongoing maintenance will also be a nightmare. Switching a high power inverter off and removing it from an active grid is pretty frightening considering the arcing that could happen.

    • I have wondered if it would not be more economical to switch the motors and lighting and such to Dc ones?
      If one has rooftop solar panels for example, would it not make sense to have 24 volt DC lights, 24 volt DC refrigerator compressor, etc?
      Many of our devices are already low voltage DC, and we have umpteen little transformers and power supply devices that are really combination transformers/rectifiers for changing 120v AC to what in many cases is 24v (or whatever) DC.

    • It doesn’t even take the maintenance of a DC/AC grid. Switching a local distribution substation (serving a few thousand premises) off and on for the purpose of ‘load shedding’ (as in South Africa) doesn’t do it any good, either! A fair number of substations around South African cities have drastically caught fire in the last year, and often the fire prevents the substation from being switched back ON at the end of the ‘shedding’.

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