Just the facts, madam, just the facts won’t do

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Climate science is hardly the only issue on which the public has a vastly different view than the relevant experts. Chris Mooney writes:

Surveys that measure the public’s views on evolution, climate change, the big bang and even the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun yield a huge gap between what science tells us and what the public believes.

But contrary to what many scientists think, more information doesn’t necessarily lead to the public accepting the scientific view:

Take climate change. The battle over global warming has raged for more than a decade, with experts still stunned by the willingness of their political opponents to distort scientific conclusions. They conclude, not illogically, that they’re dealing with a problem of misinformation or downright ignorance — one that can be fixed only by setting the record straight.

Yet a closer look complicates that picture. For one thing, it’s political outlook — not education — that seems to motivate one’s belief on this subject. According to polling performed by the Pew Research Center, Republicans who are college graduates are considerably less likely to accept the scientific consensus on climate change than those who have less education. These better-educated Republicans probably aren’t ignorant; a more likely explanation is that they are politically driven consumers of climate science information. Among Democrats and independents, the relationship between education and beliefs about global warming is precisely the opposite — more education leads to greater acceptance of the consensus climate science.”

This point was also made in a study by Nyhan and Reifler: “When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions”. From the abstract:

Corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions among the targeted ideological group. We also document several instances of a “backfire” effect in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.

I.e. as this Boston Globe commentary sais:

Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information, they can entrench themselves even deeper.

The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study. The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.

To avoid this from happening, Michael Tobis suggests (though arguing from a slightly different perspective, informational conformity,) that

Each of us should go digging in our souls for our inner conservative. (…)We should be especially kind to people who are conservative but sane, who understand and appreciate the science. (…) What is crucial is to get people to understand that this is real, that it is interesting, that it raises difficult questions. Even convincing them that it is a big deal is secondary. We have to make it permissible to be conservative and to respect the climate sciences.

The Boston Globe continues:

Most of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over time by careful, rational consideration of facts and ideas, and that the decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of soundness and intelligence. In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to any new information.

Of course, both sides of a debate usually think that they are right and only the other side is driven by their preconceived notions. In reality, these kinds of mechanisms are all too human and affect everyone (though not everyone to the same extent, let me hasten to add).

Luckily, the process of science is self correcting in the sense that over time, wrong propositions will be discarded if the evidence keeps pointing in another direction. So far, the body of evidence has painted an increasingly strong picture of the direction and causes of the changes in our climate. The chances for this broad and consistent picture to be radically wrong are very small indeed. Let’s not forget either that in science, you’re rewarded for showing the consensus wrong; not for merely repeating what everybody else sais.

I remember a talk I attended about cloud formation. I asked the speaker if they had found any relationship between cloud formation and cosmic rays. The speaker replied: “No, unfortunately not”. I was slightly bemused by that reply. Why would he have wanted to have found such a correlation? I think the most likely answer is that it would have meant a good chance for a high impact article, since it would have strengthened a hitherto weakly supported theory.

In a recent discussion, I asked Jeff Id what he considered ‘socialist’ about climate science. His reply:

– Just the preferred and demanded solutions and the continued support of organizations with socialist tendencies, IPCC,UN, Copenhagen etc.

Well, that clarifies where he’s coming from. He’s afraid of

our march toward world-wide socialist governance.
and therefore the science must be bunk.

Mooney writes:

It’s critical that experts and policy makers better understand what motivates public concern in the first place; and in this, they mustn’t be deceived by the fact that people often appear, on the surface, to be arguing about scientific facts. Frequently, their underlying rationale is very different.

Thus, for instance, resistance to climate science in the United States seems to be linked to a libertarian economic outlook: People who resist what experts tell them about global warming often appear, at heart, to be most worried about the consequences of increased government regulation of carbon emissions.

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164 Responses to “Just the facts, madam, just the facts won’t do”

  1. Jeff Id Says:

    I would appreciate if you didn’t make false accusations about my position.

    and therefore the science must be bunk.

    What’s bunk is your comment.
    —————
    Just because I don’t support your leftist politics Bart, does not change the science. Why do you keep saying it does?

    But the Mann 08 amd 09 hockey sticks are definitely bunk. And I’m not thrilled with last years Antarctic warming paper either, let’s hope our rebuttal is finally let through review.

  2. Bart Says:

    Jeff,

    I thought your reply to my question was quite clear.

    And indeed, just because you have a different opinion on the politics doesn’t change the science.

  3. Jeff Id Says:

    Nope, your original article painted skeptics as unable to see the science because of political ideology. In fact your first comment at TAV was something about me not wanting people to see the ground data. Oddly enough you hadn’t read the post and didn’t notice that it happened to be a fully documented global temperature reconstruciton. Including code and data using an improved anomaly method which is guaranteed to result in a HIGHER trend.

    You’ve been after the same angle since you first went to TAV.

    My article was in reply to your last accusations, where I clearly stated that science is separate from data, yet you took several shots at getting me to say the ‘science is socialist’. And from the reply take the part where I talk about scientists solutions being preferentially socialist (and they are) and say – ‘so the science is wrong’ as tho it were my opinion and my opinion is based only on politics.

    And that my blog friend … is bunk!

    If you misrepresent me with deliberate efforts to discredit my reasonable scientific views, we will have some fun.

  4. Tom Fuller Says:

    Well, I hope you two settle your differences amicably. Jeff is not a denier of science and Bart may be running into linguistic filters here, although you’re sometimes quick to label me as well.

    When the scientific ‘experts’ take political sides, and now they do, they are going to have political opponents regardless of the science. Those opponents will certainly look for flaws in their scientific (and other) arguments, because they’re on the other side of the political fence. Not because they are anti-science.

    Who chose to make this a political argument?

  5. Jeff Id Says:

    My guess is that our disagreements on the science are only in our certainty of model feedbacks and on the ‘doom’ from a bit of warming.

    Both of these are still hotbeds in the mainstream although IMO too many are ready to accept feedbacks as they are currently used.

  6. willard Says:

    > My article was in reply to your last accusations [...]

    Bart, how could you Make Jeff Id Do It?

  7. adriaan Says:

    There is a nice discussion going on at http://claesjohnson.blogspot.com/

    Enjoy!

  8. DeNihilist Says:

    Dr. Bart, in all honesty, I really believe that the fight about “warming” is over. All reasonable people accept that it has warmed. Over at Anthony’s blog, Mosh and Zeke have a post about temp constructions, aside from a very few comments, it is quite muted. As they say at the end of the post, tools have been developed to move onto the bigger questions now.

    How much of the warming is manmade? What areas of the warming, i.e., UHI, min temp, max temp, etc, is causing the most warming, etc.

    Politically, there will always be arguements as to the best way to tackle any problem. it is just so. I feel that it doesn’t really have an effect on the belief in science, just the way to apply that science.

    It would be quite refreshing, if one day, one of the better known lights in climate science, actually would write a post regarding some of the good that is expected to come from a warmer globe, because it will not be nothing but doom and gloom. I feel that this would be a great bridge to build.

  9. On the blogroll « the Air Vent Says:

    [...] But Bart hasn’t figured out why we discuss the skeptic side of climate science.  Our thoughts are not within his realm of experience as  we can tell from his post here.  To him, it’s all anti-science propaganda. [...]

  10. Bart Says:

    Jeff,

    Regarding our first conversation over at your blog a while ago, I found it odd, if not rude, that you plainly said “you don’t have to read it” about my post. My rather defensive reply was in response to that comment, not to your post, which indeed I hadn’t read yet at that point (obviously…). But sure, it did reinforce the wisdom of “first count to ten before commenting”.

    You frequently bring up socialism in connection with discussions about the science, as you did in the article where we started discussing again. I just saw your ranting and raving about socialism and how that’s the awful thing about the climate science community, which raised an eyebrow for me, as in, what the heck is socialist about the science?!? You seemed to confuse politics and science, and our little discussion reinforced that state of confusion. At least that’s how I see it.

    You seem quick to see shots taken at you, but apparently fail to see the shots you deliver to others.

  11. stupmy Says:

    I often ask people about their beliefs of climate change, being a professional engineer I meet many well educated and influencial people, from scientists through to politicians, or extremely practically minded people. To my interest, nearly every highly respected experianced engineer I have met (and am talking people at the very top of their respected fields) are sceptical of climate change (unless using it as a revenue stream!). Their explanation is that they have lived long enough to see many scientific concensus be proven wrong, or have proven scientists wrong themselves, and all have an incredible ability to smell what they percieve as BS, and thats what they smell. Some have a very good understanding of the climate to know strong negative feedbacks and increased drought etc… are unlikely, but others can just sense BS – whether right or wrong, its the message they get through the media and govt reports etc… they all have incredibley sharp minds and have practical problem solving brains with Logic so sharp its scary!

    I myself work with historical rainfall and temperature data, and often read govt reports based on climate models that contradict the observed data, relationship and trends – this to me undermines the quality of the science presented, and no one seems to have taken the time to even check the models against reality!?! People experianced enough to know the real data inside and out, will quickly see the problems in the model based reports, whereas a graduate wet behind the ears wouldnt know the difference.

    As engineers we are regually exposed to reports that use models too crude for regional predictions making regional predictions over good quality real data and better accurate forecasting methods – it is this kind of thing experianced and well educated people pick up on. As engineers we have all come across models that arnt worth the code their written on and understand the limitations of even very detailed models based on well estalbished laws of physics. I think it is all these elements that undermine the belief in the well educated.

    a) a lack of analysis of real data in preference of broad brush model projections in the reports we often deal with

    b) knowledge of the limitions of modelling even with well known systems, as we also work with models (hydrological, pressure systems, hydraulic, heating systems etc….)

    c) an understanding that models need to be tested thoroughly before given any credit – and this hasnt been done. Standard practice in engineering is to test a model to destruction AND BE HONEST ABOUT THE LIMITATIONS! Verification, calibration, validation, sensitivity analysis and testing of models are all common concepts to us

    d) the IPCC make crazy statments about confidence when discussing un-proven models that often contradict observed data – I mean claims I wouldnt dare make about validated well tested models based on well established equations / laws. (obviously the IPCC dont have clients that want accurate results or its your ass!)

    e) a general skepticism of any thing we are presented, which holds without convincing evidence – and climate models dont currently qualify! sorry

    I myself and many others dont question the radiative physics of co2 and that it should cause some warming, the question is – are the climate models accurate? are they force fitted (a no no in engineering models that is apparently ok for climate models)? Have the climate models REALLY been tested rigorougly and proven? I have seen no evidence, only a handfull of papers that find they have many limitations. How can different models have different climate feedbacks and forcings yet all still match the observed record some how??? (oh yeah, force fitting!) Many people see right through this, and if well respected, others will pick up on it. And many of these people really have earnt their stripes and are more respected by the public than some scientist on TV. You might not like my observations, but its what I see out there in the real world. Many of these have no political alliance, which comes from their general skepticism, they dont have much respect for either side and politics in general as they know thats all BS too!

    I and others may be wrong or right, but we base our decisions on what we see. We accept the physics of co2. But there is no convincing evidence that climate models are useful tools, they dont account for natural cycles, dont include unknowns (for obvious reasons), plus they are forcefitted so the climate response may be completely off. The reliance on models is the downfall of modern AGW in my view. The underlying physics of co2 is sound, its just what happens next.

    If we dont have faith in the IPCC and their models, we have no faith on the solutions. End of story. I hope my observations enlighten your thoughts on the subject.

    As a very smart scientist once said “if you want the truth of the matter, ask an engineer”!

  12. Deech56 Says:

    The IPCC isn’t exactly alone in its prognostications. Almost all of the science in the WGI report is based on the peer-reviewed literature and the National Academy of Sciences reports similar conclusions (as do the other scientific organizations). A climate sensitivity of 3 degrees C, along with ocean acidification, will cause rapid and long-lasting changes. Maybe those who claim that there is good in this can point to studies that demonstrate their point.

    As far as the claims about engineers vs. scientists, this aricle that I posted at mt’s place could be of interest:

    When working with these multidisciplinary groups, I have observed a definite cultural difference between scientists and engineers. Basic scientists seem to be very comfortable with ambiguity and the unknown. Applied engineers, however, depend on and expect established knowledge and certainty.

  13. Jeff Id Says:

    Bart,

    I have thicker skin than it may seem, you are relatively new to blogland so I can understand where you wouldn’t have taken the comment more toughly. I believe I apologized for the accidental affront and explained why it was written. People have been taking shots at me for years now, I smirk and shoulder shrug or occasionally have fun with a blog post. Some try to bottleneck me into a corner and some discredit my thoughts because I won’t beat around the bush on the politics or the numbers. My self-defense mechanism is that I try to be open with both.
    —–

    The worst thing about a massive government funded science is the groupthink as to the best political solution and the strong wish to force us to accept it. I really do believe the proposed solution to global warming is far worse than anything global warming can ever throw at us and for you guys which largely hold the same ideology, you don’t even notice it.

    think about that, your solution is the worst idea I’ve ever heard and you hardly consider it. Aw, it’s just another tax Jeff or Jeff we just need to increase cost of production — I disagree. Let’s just force the small stuff first you say, but bad is bad and less bad is still not good. Your solution is in the wrong direction.

    The problem doesn’t even register to you guys, you just discuss preferred methods for limitation or try to say ‘how about less limitation Jeff’. As though agreeing with that would change any of the legislative results. The politicians do not share your goals Bart and again — less limitation misses the point.

    You are basically saying to us capitalists, here’s a gun, shoot yourself now so that you don’t unintentionally shoot yourself later. – I’d rather take my chances thanks.

    The point engineers and other non-climate sciences seem to recognize is that the huge question mark over feedback and CO2 atmospheric lifespan are enough uncertainty that the model result may not be anywhere near as dangerous as claimed. Perhaps that’s because we are not the ones who get to wait until the after ends of our careers to see whether we were right.

    In my engineering opinion, if you were right with your 3C sensitivity, the only available solution is a 100% push toward nuclear power implementation on a massive scale + mild or moderate research into storage and mechanical style solar. The storage and solar technologies aren’t close enough for massive investment, but they are close enough that they will probably work some day.

    Instead we get biofuel, implementation of solar, wind, wave and all kinds of stupid, and I mean really really stupid green crap that I can prove doesn’t work (and I mean PROVE) on the back of an ‘actual’ napkin.

    I wonder where are the climate scientists on this? Where is that cold hard science when it comes to actual result or improvement in emission?? Is it that climate science isn’t that cold to itself that unpopular energy solutions are no good? (no pun). Other sciences are forced to be cold by their results, not by choice! My best ideas have multiple times turned into poo by the evil reality that they didn’t work, climate science will not be proven wrong in times as long as our lifespans.

    Really, results make engineers, programmers and scientists cold yet climate science get’s little feedback from its results and it may take as many centuries as Gaia takes to change in order to alter this.

    In the meantime, I wonder if you would answer honestly and openly, why climate science is pushing energy solutions which don’t work. All in order to allegedly prevent the largest doom event ever predicted, and ignore the one solution that does work? In an honest apolitical world, this should be an easy one, but it’s not.

    As an example, Eli’s energy efficiency program, which a scientist has to recognize, does little or nothing to address the magnitude of the problem posed. And the harder it’s pushed the less result it will have. I studied his link, not knowing what the result would be and like I have done as an engineer so many times, Eli got his feedback and stepped in poo.. We clearly need more improvement than that to even slightly dent the problem, so I wonder, where is that cold science now?

    Your science has pushed you into a solution corner, yet the solution is flatly ignored in favor of pipe dreams and fake engineering and the ignorance of maybe we should ‘try everything’. The best we get is Nuclear is ‘part of the answer’ and improve efficiency and of course the worst part –limitation through taxation.

    We know what makes the water powered car work Bart, and it ain’t physics. We know how to maximize the solution to CO2 emission, we do know, but climate ‘science’ POLITICS won’t allow it. Instead you guys favor ‘limitation’ policy, ‘all of the above’, everything to avoid the Nuclear solution which is only unpopular in …..

    Leftist environmentalist movements!!

    While the proposed NON-WORKING solutions ARE popular in leftist movements.

    At least be brave, give us science of solutions and not the ignorant sophistry of ‘all of the above’ and maybe we can all still eat work and sleep comfortably tomorrow.

  14. Bart Says:

    Jeff,

    Most of your comment is about how difficult or expensive it is to seriously mitigate. That however doesn’t (or shouldn’t) change the science of the physical climate in the very least.

    You write:

    … the model result may not be anywhere near as dangerous as claimed.

    Did it ever occur to you that in reality things may turn out worse as expected? Uncertainty cuts both ways, and at some point damages will increase more than linearly with increasing temperature. Add to that that the uncertainty in climate sensitivity is likely skewed (i.e. it has a fat tail towards higher values, though not quite as fat as some think), and btw, climate sensitivity is constrained by measurements, it is not just a characteristic of a climate model. A very low climate sensitivity (of, say, 1 degree per doubling of CO2) is inconsistent with the large temperature changes that the earth has undergone in the past as a result of relatively modest changes in radiative forcing.

    So then you’d have to bank on the impacts being modest. Perhaps you’re quite a risk taker and am I more risk averse. Knowing that the equilibrium sea level at projected temperatures is much higher than society can realistically handle, but not knowing how fast sea level rise will proceed is not a comfort to me; to the contrary. If we knew, at least we could prepare an optimal strategy. The more we’re reaching in the dark about these important details of potentially far reaching effects, the more worried I am. When driving in a snowstorm (i.e. having a blurred vision of a potentially dangerous future), it’s advisable to reduce speed.

  15. Bam Says:

    Even though Bart already pointed it out, I just want to note that I would immediately kick any engineer out of my office who thinks in one-sided uncertainty estimates, especially if they come with the “I don’t think it will be all that bad”-line. I can only hope Jeff Id wrote his long comment after taking in a lot of beer (or wine). Especially when there are quite a few papers, in particular by David Archer, who criticise the IPCC estimate of CO2 lifetime as being significantly too low, while I only see some fundamentally flawed papers that claim it is too high. I noticed also that the EPA had something to say about that (and it’s quite devastating criticism if one were the reviewer and/or editor that accepted those papers). See comments 2-2 and 2-3 (and the response, of course):

    http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/downloads/RTC%20Volume%202.pdf

  16. Jeff Id Says:

    Did it ever occur to you that in reality things may turn out worse as expected?

    Nope. Models are running a tweak high.

    Why do you keep insisting that I believe ignorant mitigation efforts can change the physics of climate prediction? I’ve never even slightly implied that.

    Other measurements support a lower sensitivity.

    “Perhaps you’re quite a risk taker and am I more risk averse.” – No your not, what you aren’t doing is recognizing the massive damage to industry that you will guarantee. You guys don’t even weigh it in the equation beyond a handwave. And that risk comes with a lot more certainty than your models.

    If CO2 so dangerous, answer my questions about why the solutions never fit the scope of your defined problem. What about nuclear? It’s the only power source capable of doing anything real toward emission yet you ignored it again?

    If it were so very dangerous a problem, why not take smart steps rather than non-working ones like biofuel?

    It makes me think climate science environmentalism has gotten in the way of your logic.

  17. Tom Fuller Says:

    Hi all,

    As I think both Bart and Jeff are basically good guys, this is really interesting for me to watch.

    It seems to me that Bart is pessimistic about sensitivity and Jeff is pessimistic about the oft-mentioned solutions. I would counsel patience to both. We are getting more and better data about responses to forcings and should be able to eyeball sensitivity within a decade, don’t you think, Bart?

    And Jeff. at least with solar, the path to grid parity is charted. Next generation does it. Next generation will happen quicker than two years. We’ll know the answer. As for energy efficiency, I pasted the results of a survey on your site yesterday–industry executives are investing in it, so at least they think there are opportunities there.

    In our country, where free markets hold sway, we’ve reduced CO2 emissions by 10% in 2 years. Why don’t we see if we can make 5 years in a row with incremental improvements, fuel substitution and continued experimentation with pilot projects using renewables?

    Or would that mean we have nothing to say to each other for five years?

  18. Jeff Id Says:

    Tom,

    I appreciate the bridge building. I like Bart actually but there is too much hand waiving by those with something to gain in the solution department. I’m not saying you.

    You wrote – “And Jeff. at least with solar, the path to grid parity is charted. Next generation does it. Next generation will happen quicker than two years. ”

    I say no way, not even close. Can you back up this claim, because I bet big $$ the people who made it can’t. And I do believe mechanical/electrical solar will come around some day.

    “Why don’t we see if we can make 5 years in a row with incremental improvements, fuel substitution and continued experimentation with pilot projects using renewables?”

    I haven’t read your post yet but I wonder if you recognize that the 10 percent came in the form of massive industry shutdown? I hope it doesn’t continue, we had a lot of customers just vanish and most are still scraping along at 50% of before.

    In addition, I wish people would recognize that experimentation with implementing technologies that aren’t and cannot be ready, is just a waste of money. It’s just numbers, nothing else. Why waste money on biofuel and wind when the costs aren’t there and why not push the only working solution —- nuclear?

  19. Deech56 Says:

    Jeff Id wrote:

    “Other measurements support a lower sensitivity.”

    What other measurements? Knutti & Hegerl affirm a 3C sensitivity from a variety of measurements. Annan and Hargreaves confirm this number.

    Tom, is Bart being pessimistic? I cannot see how a 3C sensitivity is cause for relief. I see him as pointing out that there is as much of a chance of a much greater sensitivity (>4.5C) as a much lower sensitivity (<1.5C, and I hope I am assigning numbers to Bart's argument correctly).

    No, I am not an engineer but am involved in medical research, where uncertainties about animal models abound, but we find a way to live with them.

  20. Deech56 Says:

    Jeff Id wrote: “…but there is too much hand waiving by those with something to gain in the solution department.”

    These aren’t the climate scientists, AFAIK.

  21. Tom Fuller Says:

    Deech56, I think the most honest thing to say about sensitivity is that we don’t know what it is right now. I really do. You’re right about the climate scientists not doing the handwaving–that’s basically companies pushing their favorite solution.

    Jeff is certainly right about biofuels not being a real answer. I am pessimistic about wind. I am very optimistic about solar. I think we should be moving ahead on nuclear.

    But really, I think a five year moratorium on craziness while we see which way the cat is going to jump would be a very good thing… I’m trying to decide which is worse right now, Monckton or Cuccinelli… Romm or Lambert. I don’t want to be having that kind of internal conversation.

  22. Bart Says:

    Jeff,

    You keep going back and forth between the science and the policy, and it’s not at all clear where or if you distinguish these two different realms (which of course are interlinked, but still). This discussion would be greatly helped if you clarify when you talk about the science and when you talk about the policy/mitigation/technology aspects.

    I haven’t talked about what kind of solutions I suggest, and thus it makes no sense to say that I ignored any particular technology.

  23. Bart Says:

    Tom,

    No, I don’t think that in a decade from now we’ll have the sensitivity nailed, the reasons being:
    – The aerosol forcing will still be only very crudely known, which means that the net climate forcing will still have substantial uncertainty
    – The climate system will not be in equilibrium
    That precludes an accurate assessment of the sensitivity based on current climate data. Data from past climates, where the net forcing is better constrained and where the system has equilibrated, are better suited for sensitivity estimates. Note that the uncertainty surrounding climate sensitivity has hardly decreased for I believe decades, though it’s also been argued (quite strongly I find) that the constraints together do actually preclude the very low and very high values that have been occasionally reported.

    It’s not that I’m pessimistic about sensitivity (it’s just a number); rather, I don’t see any reason to think that the central estimate is way off, and if so, that it would be off in the low rather than in the high direction. I am pessimistic about the seriousness in the long run of business as usual emissions, and about society’s unwillingness to deal with this challenge.

  24. Jeff Id Says:

    I believe what is being ignored is my challenge to climate solutions. You want solutions, you presented efficiency, I challenged with a demonstration that it won’t do the job. Now I said how come you aren’t more supportive of the only working technology? Certainly, a scientist can see there is only one working answer from today’s technology.

    Your avoidance of it is beginning to answer the question. Apparentlyit is the political side of climate science (solutions) that is the science side of engineering.

    Just the facts.

  25. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Sorry to interrupt but, did you guys see the Lindzen PNAS paper last month on aerosols? They are saying that the heating from aerosols has been underestimated.

  26. Bart Says:

    “there is only one working answer from today’s technology”

    That is way too absolutist. There are multiple ways leading to Rome. Since it often comes up, I’ll do a post at some point outlining my opinions on nuclear and other proposed solutions. I’ve long planned to write more about solutions (though mind you, I’m not an expert on any of them). One thing is for sure: there is no silver bullet, and those promising one are engaging in wishful thinking.

  27. Jeff Id Says:

    The technology to do what you want does not exist Bart, that’s what I keep telling you. I explained that nuclear is the only thing which can substantially dent emissions today, and investment in new technology (especially storage) is the only path to get what you want.

    The rest is overpriced non-working rubbish, not that it will remain that way forever. Calling it absolutist does not change the energy science any more than calling a government socialist changes climate science. Tis what it is.

    I’ll look forward to your energy solutions post, if you do it right, it will be a short one.

  28. Deech56 Says:

    Tom Fuller wrote: “Deech56, I think the most honest thing to say about sensitivity is that we don’t know what it is right now.”

    First, what Bart said. Second, saying that we have a range of values based on past experiences and modeling is not the same as saying that we don’t know what it is. If there were no positive feedbacks to temperature change (regardless of the forcing), we would have a difficult time explaining past climate changes such as the beginning and ends of ice ages.

    As scientists, we deal with uncertainty all the time. That’s why we define results as probabilities. In a past life I worked in vaccine development, and had to deal with uncertainties due to differences in human vs. animal responses, efficacy rates of vaccines and side effects. Not to mention the naysayers who believe that childhood vaccines are more risk than benefit.

  29. Eli Rabett Says:

    Eli finds the usual suspects having moved over here. The point is NOT that efficiency improvements alone cannot do the job, but that they can contribute. The point is NOT that wind and solar alone cannot do the job, but that they can contribute. The point is NOT that Tom and Jeff are trying to do a job on us, but they are trying. Very.

  30. Jeff Id Says:

    Do ya see whatcher like Eli?

    The point is that wind and solar are useless, because of intermittence and price. Contributions from them simply delay the development of working technologies.

    Your green brain is pushing rubbish on us.

    How about Obama’s latest $1/KWH solar plan. I wonder if there was a better place for investment of $2 billion.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/greenthink/

    Maybe a chunk of a nuke plant? But if you want we can keep flushing money down the proverbial toilet -cause it’s green!!

    All of the above, is a crazy idea, because none of the above work.

    Except for one. And you guys don’t like that one for some reason. Make the choice Eli, nukes or hot weather.

  31. Eli Rabett Says:

    Gee, useless, guess Spain and Denmark who are getting like 14% of electrical and 20% from wind respectively are just dreaming.

    The interesting point about wind/solar and nuclear is that nuclear is well suited to support baseload electricity generation, solar is ideal for handling peak demand, being most available, when most needed, during the hot days.

    Of course, what does Eli know, he is only a bunny, Jeff is an engineer, and he is here to help us:)

    Oh yeah, FWIW, natural variability is too large to get much of a better read on climate sensitivity in less than a couple of millenia of observation.

  32. Jeff Id Says:

    Captain Rabett,

    The point isn’t whether you can make electricity, the point is whether you can make enough of it and cheaply enough to support industry.

    If you put our companies on high $$ solar, you will either close or chase many more across the world. It’s foolish to volunteer for electricity at 3X higher cost. But there is one ‘political’ viewpoint which supports this insanity, and it’s wrong.

    I’m an engineer and I’m here to help.

    Solar will be there someday, why not put the money toward implementing technology that works or developing new. I wish it was there now but unlike you, I took the time to run some calculations. You should too, especially before promoting situations like the huge half percent savings from your government Dow program –even that percentage is likely a scam.

    numbers will lead you to the rabbit hole.

    When solar is ready, we will be on the same side. Until then, one should study before speaking.

  33. adriaan Says:

    Dear all,

    I have run a comprehensive analysis of the energy use of our household. (Dutch). It is almost impossible to reduce the energy consumption of a given society. I replaced all light sources by the best available LED light sources, and I got a reduction of 5% at a cost of 200 Euro. Since we have a 100% energy tax, it does not pay to reduce your energy consumption. I only hope my LEDs will fulfill their expected life, otherwise I will get a very badly scaled eneregy balance…

  34. Tom Fuller Says:

    Silly Rabett, your tricks are for kids. We’re having a real discussion here and your attempts to distract us are like a child whining.

    Jeff and I disagree on the utility of renewable energy sources and energy efficiencies. Yet we manage not to call each other names. Bart and I disagree on the level of uncertainty regarding feedbacks, forcings, sensitivity and other things. Yet we manage not to call each other names.

    Then along comes you to say we are trying to do a job on you. Go back to your cereal box and leave the conversation to grown ups.

  35. adriaan Says:

    I am also running a number of solar cells.
    Do you really want to know about their performance….

    Do you really?

    On a Sunny day in January, I got a nearly measurable amount of energy from my PV. When full sunlight hits the PV, yield will be limited by the weakest cell in your setup. This cell will assimilate much of the generated energy, and burn. And this will happen every time when a leaf is falling on your PV system. Just today, a storm came along and covered more than 50% of my cells with leaf fragmenst, risking the blowout of many cells.
    I had to go out onto the roof to clean the surface of the cells in order to prevent cell damage.

  36. adriaan Says:

    Dear Tom,

    Eli Rabett is a joke, and should be treated as such.

  37. adriaan Says:

    Eli,

    There is no future without nuclear energy. No model, calculation or fantasy can avert this.

    If CO2 is the culprit, nuclear is the answer.
    If CO2 is not the culprit, nuclear is still the answer.

    Open Yucca, and start reprocessing old stacks into MOX fuel, you silly Americans! Start building fast breeders.

  38. sod Says:

    Eli is right, Tom and Jeff are wrong. Denmark has 20% electricity production from wind. they have it NOW.

    and Denmark is not breaking under the financial strain of it.

    Eli made a real argument. Tom just didn t get it.

    —————–

    looking at the way, the “sceptics” are handling stuff at the moment, gives a completely different picture:

    Monckton is asking WuWt readers to bombard a university with requests for disciplinary action against Professor Abraham.

    May I ask your kind readers once more for their help? Would as many of you as possible do what some of you have already been good enough to do? Please contact Father Dennis J. Dease, President of St. Thomas University, djdease@stthomas.edu, and invite him – even at this eleventh hour – to take down Abraham’s talk altogether from the University’s servers, and to instigate a disciplinary inquiry into the Professor’s unprofessional conduct, particularly in the matter of his lies to third parties about what I had said in my talk at Bethel University eight months ago? That would be a real help.

    Monckton got the facts wrong, and was giving misleading citations from scientists. Abraham made a presentation, correcting those facts.

    so Monckton has nothing but Bully methods left…

  39. DeNihilist Says:

    Prof. Rabbit and all, re: wind power and Denmark –

    “In 1998, Norway commissioned a study of wind power in Denmark and concluded that it has “serious environmental effects, insufficient production, and high production costs.”

    Denmark (population 5.3 million) has over 6,000 turbines that produced electricity equal to 19% of what the country used in 2002. Yet no conventional power plant has been shut down. Because of the intermittency and variability of the wind, conventional power plants must be kept running at full capacity to meet the actual demand for electricity. Most cannot simply be turned on and off as the wind dies and rises, and the quick ramping up and down of those that can be would actually increase their output of pollution and carbon dioxide (the primary “greenhouse” gas). So when the wind is blowing just right for the turbines, the power they generate is usually a surplus and sold to other countries at an extremely discounted price, or the turbines are simply shut off.

    A writer in The Utilities Journal (David J. White, “Danish Wind: Too Good To Be True?,” July 2004) found that 84% of western Denmark’s wind-generated electricity was exported (at a revenue loss) in 2003, i.e., Denmark’s glut of wind towers provided only 3.3% of the nation’s electricity. According to The Wall Street Journal Europe, the Copenhagen newspaper Politiken reported that wind actually met only 1.7% of Denmark’s total demand in 1999. (Besides the amount exported, this low figure may also reflect the actual net contribution. The large amount of electricity used by the turbines themselves is typically not accounted for in the usually cited output figures. Click here for information about electricity use in wind turbines.) In Weekendavisen (Nov. 4, 2005), Frede Vestergaard reported that Denmark as a whole exported 70.3% of its wind production in 2004.

    Denmark is just dependent enough on wind power that when the wind is not blowing right they must import electricity. In 2000 they imported more electricity than they exported. And added to the Danish electric bill are the subsidies that support the private companies building the wind towers. Danish electricity costs for the consumer are the highest in Europe. [Click here for a detailed and well referenced examination by Vic Mason.] ”

    From this source;

    http://www.google.ca/#hl=en&source=hp&q=denmark+wind+power+problems&aq=2&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=denmark%2C+wind&gs_rfai=&fp=2417f974a4bd404b

  40. Scott A Mandia Says:

    Bart,

    Most blogs I read do show that those that identify with conservative/libertarian world-views do not accept the science because they cannot accept the solution: government regulations.

    The fact is that fossil fuel is warming the climate and the likely impacts are going to cost many trillions along with the loss of many lives which are, of course, priceless. The poorest people will suffer first and most while US citizens will suffer last and least while causing most of the problem. Where is our human conscience?

    If carbon were priced correctly, meaning the true costs were factored in, then renewables would be competitive. As of now, carbon, especially coal, is so cheap and so subsidized that it is easy to hide behind the “it will ruin the economy argument.”

    Almost half of the US trade deficit is imported fossil fuels and we subsize these undustries to the tune of about $80 billion per year. It is absurd for anybody to complain about the cost of alternative energies when carbon is unrealistically priced.

    I agree with JeffID on one point: We need nukes and we need them now. We also need to develop 4th gen nuke plants to utilize waste as power and to maximize efficiency of that fuel.

    What is most disturbing to me is how we all speak of 3C warming as if it is something we can “deal with”. It is not. 3C is catastrophic in my book for the race as a whole and for the geopolitical fallout of mass migration cuased by starvation and inhospitable climates. And, at the rate of inaction of our policymakers, I think 3C is optimistic.

    CO2 is increasing at much faster rates than in the past millions of years and it is more likely than not that ice sheet dynamics will react more quickly than in the past where 3C sensitivity was “observed”. Jeff, the cost of sea level rise alone should convince you that inaction is not a solution.

    Tom, we have waited too long already. How long do you think governments are going to take to do what is required and not what big business lobbies for? I think we are already doomed based on the glacial pace of action I see so far. 4C is coming.

    S. Fred Singer is a classic example of a person who was so abhorrent of regulation that he single-handedly delayed action on acid rain and second-hand smoke causing countless loss of life and suffering. Now he and other idealogues deny the science of man-made global warming causing more delays and more loss of life.

    Delay = death. Period.

  41. Howard Says:

    Bart:

    IMO, the most interesting factoid is that right-leaning folks with higher education levels tend to have more doubt on the consensus while left-leaning folks with higher education are more likely to have confidence in the consensus.

    Might this have more to do with the type of higher education used in the comparison rather than the politics? Higher education in engineering and applied science versus social and academic sciences may be the difference.

    Also, when you use examples like the sun revolving around earth, evolution and big bang as a comparison, it is a rhetorical trick of the same logical basis as comparisons with Nazi’s.

    The fact is, Bart, that the global warming consensus falls apart at the feedbacks. Trenberth hints about this in the purloined emails. Never the less, the climate sensitivity to changes in forcings are unknown.

    Instead of the consensus being excited at this wonderful opportunity for future discovery, they say: We are the consensus, the science is settled. We control the universities and journals. The powerful governments of the west give us money and the press acts as our sales force. Resistance is futile.

    You can talk all you want about facts, but you and all of your consensus friends have no earthly idea how the climate feedbacks work.

  42. DeNihilist Says:

    Scott, to me it is not inaction that is being called for, but the right action. I agree with Jeff, that wasting billions on wind energy right now, while it is still in its infancy is criminal. The bulk of that money should be going into building nuke plants. And moving them onto the next generation, and developing Strotium plants.

    Yes there are many who scream loudly that nothing is amiss with our planet, but seriously, if people like you cannot open your ears to really listen to what the sceptics are saying, i.e. CO2 does cause warming, we must start mitigating, better conservation (which has the same root word as conservative), then there will never be any movement.

    The funny thing is, is that we are on the same side, we just express our opinions in a different way. You talk about this horrible future desecration of the planet and the peoples, we talk about the present desecration of the people if we try to re-energize our world with technologies that may be 30-50 years out before they are capable of replacing fossil fuels. We talk about getting together and making the governments listen, that right now, this moment the solution is nuclear, to give us a chance to mature the other options.

    I find it funny, that a fairly quick solution is staring us straight in the face, yet for so many on “your” side, it is a no go. I use to be a dreamer when I was younger, but now I consider myself a realist. Build nukes, bury them, mature other options, BUT for God’s sake, help us save the freakin planet!!!

  43. Die Zauberflotist Says:

    I have three mortal fears: birds, bats and global warming. Wind power is the technology that will best rid us of these threats to humanity. Let us proceed hastily in its further deployment.

  44. Scott A Mandia Says:

    DeNihilist,

    I agree that we must use nukes and do so quickly. But in the US, only 20% of our energy use is electricity so nukes cannot solve the problem. Renewables are affordable and effective if carbon is priced correctly and many countries have already shown that these work.

    Yes, we need to conserve. We need real leadership to do so. There appear to be no statesmen in Congress anymore so I have serious doubts any real solution will be agreed upon before it is too late.

    Sceptics are few and far between. Most who call themselves sceptics are in fact denialists and obstructionists and do not deserve the time that they often get from journalists. So whom do you think is a sceptic and not in denial and who publishes in peer-reviewed literature?

  45. DeNihilist Says:

    Scott, I can only speak for myself about being a sceptic. The only thing that I have ever had published were a couple of sports stories in a local newspaper 30 odd years ago. :)

    I am not sceptical about the science, but am sceptical about the predictions of forcings and dire consequences, even though I readily admit that most of the science is beyond me. Why am I sceptical about those things? Just life and experiencing so many other scares that were always portrayed so much worse then they ultimately became. Also I am a Bhuddist/Nihilist. “All is illusion” But that does not mean that I do not value what has occured here on this planet. If anything, it has become more precious.

    You say that only 20% of your energy use is electric, but there is no reason why that cannot grow, in fact it has to, if wind and solar are to become a part of the solution. The technologies we have available right now could easily replace a lot of private vehicles with electric cars, heating and cooling for homes. In my field, we are starting to use more ECM pumps and motors, these alone provide up to 40% drop in energy usage from the previous AC style. In fact I don’t understand why you guys in the states haven’t harnessed the power of the sun in the desert to seperate H out of H2O! I mean if the Saudi’s and others in that area were really forward looking, they should already be building massive infrastructure to be doing just that, and become the world’s supplier of hydrogen fuel!

    I guess the biggest problem, is the infrastructure. Changes would be massive, but in the end, the benifit would highly out weigh the costs IMO.
    To me, just these few “low hanging” fruit options should not be hard to get most people on board with. Or we could just take RPJr’s advice, and realize that the majority of people support these kinds of initiatives already.

    But as my Guru was wont to say,”only third rate people become politicians”.

  46. Howard Says:

    Scott:

    Thanks for no longer advertising your credentials with every comment. Your appeal to peer reviewed literature was enough of a tell.

  47. Jeff Id Says:

    “Most blogs I read do show that those that identify with conservative/libertarian world-views do not accept the science because they cannot accept the solution: government regulations.”

    Scott,

    I have to answer that because claims that I don’t accept the science are what have driven me to reply to this thread.

    You may or may not be referring to me, but the science is separate from the solution. It always was and always will be. That’s why I can post a thread which ‘teaches’ you guys how to calculate a higher trend, and it is ‘teaching’, while at the same time disagreeing with the doom. I can write a thread about why global warming is real and again skip the doom part, all well within the bounds of known science.

    My conservative views are based on the aspect of what makes our societies healthy. I work very hard to separate them from science – a fact which throws lefties off pretty dramatically. We conservatives are supposed to be evolution, holocost, denying idiots after all, you’ve seen it on the news.

    My science, is based on numbers. I will change opinions on a dime (it means turn fast for the euro’s) for the right information. In my experience, I’ve been wrong a lot and have admitted it – on line, but at the same time I’ve actually run the energy calcs for different methods, and I haven’t run across a single greenie who has!!

    Think about that.

    Not one.

    none

    Eli?

    The climate science greens are selling energy solutions they know not, for reasons they claim to know equally to the science. I say do the calcs for both or don’t claim knowledge of both because it’s very obvious that you are screwing up on at least one.

  48. Jeff Id Says:

    Scott,

    “I agree that we must use nukes and do so quickly. But in the US, only 20% of our energy use is electricity so nukes cannot solve the problem. Renewables are affordable and effective if carbon is priced correctly and many countries have already shown that these work.”

    That’s why storage is important. Renewables, are not close enough for a carbon price to balance – without full scale destruction of economies.

  49. Tom Fuller Says:

    Some renewables, Jeff. Some.

    Hydroelectric is doing okay… And it’s growing fastest where energy growth is growing fastest…

    Geothermal is doing okay… The U.S. may triple its use of geothermal in the next five years…

    Combined heat and power is growing mightily (but there’s a bit of a scam involved here, as the heat often gets counted as savings and then thrown away…)

    Waste to energy should be growing quickly–but it isn’t sexy enough to get the financing…

    Biofuels? Well, you can’t win ‘em all, can you?

    Wind? If we could start over with wind and site them correctly for proper balancing (with pumped hydro near dams) and took it seriously instead of treating it like a gold rush, it could actually help.

    Solar? Well, that’s where I’ve got my money. Prices dropping, manufacturers coming on board with new capacity, each generation 20% more efficient than the previous one… I like solar.

    If you had those in with natural gas replacing coal fired plants, new nuclear, and (yes, Jeff) continued work on energy efficiency, it starts to look like a solution.

  50. Bam Says:

    DeNihilist, you stated:
    “Just life and experiencing so many other scares that were always portrayed so much worse then they ultimately became.”

    Try making a list of such scares (and do make it those that science predicted, not media-created nonsense like the cooling ‘scare’ of Newsweek), and then point to those where no remedial action was taken. You’ll find that in many cases of ‘scares’ that science indicated would come, a lot of remedial action was taken.

    Upon which some people then say “see, there was nothing wrong, just like I always said”.

  51. willard Says:

    I, for one, would like to be “teached” the calcs. Preferrably without the relentless republican mindframing, which almost willingly provides conservatism the reputation it has. One can dream alright.

    Maybe having to write the calcs on the back of a napkin would even help. A proof takes space and leaves no room for sport commentaries. A proof is good for the views based on the aspect of what makes our societies unhealthy.

  52. Jeff Id Says:

    Tom,

    I don’t hate your solution. I would completely eliminate wind, were it my choice and if we use Natural gas, it’s not going to solve the issue as presented with hundred plus year residence times.

  53. Jeff Id Says:

    Willard,

    I try and separate the science posts from policial ones at tAV. Not always successfully because there’s nothing as cathartic as a good rant. I think there are several posts on biofuel which may meet your needs.

    BTW, I’m a conservative, not republican, Bush sucked.

  54. Chris S. Says:

    Men might as well project a voyage to the Moon as attempt to employ steam navigation against the stormy North Atlantic Ocean.
    – Dr. Dionysus Lardner (1793-1859)

    This `telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a practical form of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.
    – Western Union internal memo, 1878

    That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.
    – Scientific American, Jan. 2, 1909.

    There is not the slightest indication that [nuclear energy] will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.
    – Albert Einstein, 1932.

    The point is that wind and solar are useless, because of intermittence and price.
    – Jeff Id, 2010

    If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.
    – Peter Ustinov

  55. willard Says:

    Jeff Id,

    It would be good to have the facts about biofuel right here. But it’s ok: I’ll dig for your articles, sooner or later. I’m sure there is a greeny somewhere who has dome some calcs too. Almost impossible there is not at least one.

    I can recognize you are a conservative. But somehow, your rants do not sound like Burke’s. And you must admit that relentless mindframing is what Republicans do best.

  56. sod Says:

    I would completely eliminate wind,

    yes, makes a lot of sense. what will replace the 20% electricity, that Denmark gets from wind a nuclear power plant?

    there is an interesting development in nuclear power: plants are required to pay the full cost, and to provide unlimited insurance.
    good luck!

  57. Jeff Id Says:

    Chris S,

    What my point is, if you read the sentence in context is today they are useless. I’ve repeatedly said that I believe solar will be a workable thing for our homes in the future – maybe 20 years or so – if energy storage comes around.

    You guys just need patients, these technologies will happen with or without our help or opinions. Forcing the implementation by government boondoggle, is not a good use of money. If you must spend it, which you shouldn’t, then put it to research.

  58. Howard Says:

    Chris S:

    You need examples of 20/20-hindsight to make your point. These types of rhetorical tricks are quite compelling to highly educated social scientists, no doubt.

    If you want an energy revolution, it makes more sense to reduce regulation rather than increase subsidies. Willard: the democrats and republicans are both conservative. Someone has mind-framed you into the ditch. Come out for some libertarian air.

    Right Sod, lets set up ridiculous obstructions to the real solutions and subsidize the boutique technologies favored by dilettantes. That’s sustainable!

  59. Bam Says:

    Jeff Id:
    If you believe energy storage is useful for solar, why not for wind? Plenty of companies working on that, I should note.

  60. Deech56 Says:

    Tom Fuller wrote: “I’m trying to decide which is worse right now, Monckton or Cuccinelli… Romm or Lambert.”

    Sorry I missed this, but my answer would start with, “Who misrepresents the science?”

    Monckton, clearly, does. Cuccinelli does, too, and he is using his elected position to attack Michael Mann and thwart the EPA.

  61. Bill Stoltzfus Says:

    I’m all for R&D into energy storage–it’s agnostic with respect to the generating technology, and you can extend the storage capabilities to regular batteries and vehicles and perhaps other things as well. Fund the renewables, but fund storage more.

    I don’t think solar and wind are ready to compete with fossil fuels yet, but if we give them some more time and money they might be. Funding renewables should be a high priority, though, whether they’re ready or not. Even if it takes 30 years, just imagine the future benefits for the nation that develops the breakthrough solar technology which helps it achieve parity with fossil fuels!

  62. adriaan Says:

    SOD,

    you are regurgitating the obvious lies as usual.

    Nuclear is safe, whatever you like to throw against it. A biofuel fired plant emits more radioactivity than a nuclear power plant.

    Solar and wind are silly solutions to a non existing problem. We did without them, we will do without them.

    There is no other alternative to coal, except nuclear.

    Accept it or cut free from the grid.

    Take the consequences of your silly reasoning, show humanity the way to go. In the mean time, I will switch on my Airco and watch TV.

  63. adriaan Says:

    There was once a beautiful initiative by EDF to establish a “Barrage nucleaire”. The idea was to to have a lake filled with water, pumped up from the river Rhone, during periods that demand for electricity from nuclear power stations (80% of the electric power in France is by nukes) was lower than the capacity of the power station.

    Of course, “Greenies” objected and managed to cancel the project. As they always do. Nowadays, “Greenies” are cancelling wind farms. (See P.Gosselin’s blog).

    I start to like “Greenies”

  64. adriaan Says:

    Everyone who thinks solar is efficient: buy a PV panel and good metering device. Log the output carefully, and calculate carefully. You will discover that without any state funding or tax benefits, you are producing nothing. Never when you need it badly. Storage means a reduction to 50% of the accumulated energy if your batteries are in optimal shape. They will not. And you need a lot of them.

    1 sqm of PV generates about 200 watts at maximum, during 2 h a day.
    the rest of the time it will provide you with 0 to 200 watts. During the night, morning and evening it will produce nothing. In my place, it means that during summer my investment of 30.000 euro is sitting idle for 12 hours a day. This only gets worse for periods not in summer. I have a 6000 Wp solar array.

  65. MapleLeaf Says:

    Nice to see a discussion about solutions. However, why do I get the impression that Jeff Condon is a naysayer/contrarian/obstructionist? Jeff have you read about the “wedge approach”? The big issue is coal– dirty, high carbon footprint and we still have mountains of the stuff. IMHO, we need to cut back on burning coal, the societal and environmental costs are just too high and are currently not factored into its price/cost.

    One the up side, I saw this on the BBC today:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science+environment-10646282

    So contrarians/obstructionists, the world is moving forward and moving towards exactly what you claim cannot be done, and it will do so with or without you. Now, do you want to be part of the solution or not?

    PS: Discovery magazine recently had an interesting feature on a “5-year energy fix”. A worthwhile read, I’m not a fan of nuclear, but was intrigued about the rapid development of so-called “micro-nukes”– that is nuclear technology that I could live with. They state that “micro nukes are more reliable than wind power, cheaper than solar, and much easier to operate than conventional nuclear plants”. That said, I do firmly believe that there is still very much a place for wind, solar, wave and geothermal power.

  66. MapleLeaf Says:

    Chris S great quotes….too true, and what Deech said at 22:27.

  67. Howard Says:

    Maple: Your lot are the obstructionists. Check out the NEPA CEQA roadblocking for every single insignificant project. Claims of a 5-year energy fix, what ganja are they smoking? You cant get permission to do a feasibility study in 5-years. Check out the real world beyond the smoky haze of pipe dreams.

    In the US, the greenies are the conservative obstructionists legislating their religion. They are so good at sales, they have people like you convinced that CO2 is the worst thing about coal and diesel.

  68. Bart Says:

    Adriaan,

    Does state funding influence the energy output of PV panels? Wow, never knew that such funding could be so powerful!

  69. Jeff Id Says:

    Bart,

    Adrian may have worded it poorly but on the basis of functionality he’s nearly right.

    MapleLeaf,

    What is obstrucitonist is the blocking of common sense energy generation. The limitation of development of all of the working sources Nuclear, coal, gas while taxing the existing sources.

    I am also not a fan of nuclear, but am simply not dumb enough to believe biofuel, wind, solar can replace our current energy. Run some numbers if you don’t believe me. Just don’t read a news article or some biofuel company’s web page and then try to sell the garbage to your friends.

    If you’re serious about CO2 destroying the world, shrinking sheep and the like, you have only one working choice and limitation policy ain’t it. A dislike for nuclear on some obscure reasoning, combined with a dislike of all fossil sources is to deny prosperity for our children. This is far more dangerous than anything your precious Gaia will throw at us from CO2 in my opinion and if you believe I’m wrong on this, as Bart does, then I’m even more right on energy policy.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/a-letter-from-london/

    Go RedWings!

  70. MapleLeaf Says:

    Howard,

    So much bluster and so little substance. Did you actually read the BBC link? Did you bother to read the magazine article? It seems not.

    Jeff,

    You really need to get over your obsession on biofuel. I did not mention it once in my post– it seems that you mention it whenever you can, and we all know why. Not to mention doing so makes you sound rather like Christopher Monckton.

    This sentence makes no sense:

    “The limitation of development of all of the working sources Nuclear, coal, gas while taxing the existing sources.”

    That is the crux of the problem Jeff, we need to limit the development of coal, that is not being “obstructionist”. That and the sources you list there are all existing– so I am not sure what you are trying to say. We need to make users pay the real cost associated with burning it, and people have ideas as to how one could do that. Any carbon tax would not be “flat”– for example, the carbon footprint of coal is much higher than that of methane/natural gas, so methane power would have a lower carbon tax/levy, whatever you want to call it.

    Now if you think companies are going to do all of this out of the goodness of their hearts then you are being naive. I have mentioned this to Tom before, but I have spoken to economists who work for the oil patch in Canada, and they are kicking the tires waiting for the US government to move forward, at which point the Canadian government will follow, and they can then run their models, price out scenarios, undertake feasibility studies etc. But before they can do that they need to know what the policy is going to be so that they can develop a competitive strategy. Of course the CEOS make a huge fuss and much drama, but when push comes to shove they have some very bright engineers and economists working for them who will make it happen at a profit, just has they have for every other federal legislation that has been passed down before.

    It is also worth noting that even the Alberta government has a price on carbon for major emitters. Surely you are not even more regressive and old school than the Alberta government?

    Ultimately addressing the carbon footprint issue means either helping a) China, India etc use much more renewables to build our Iphones, b) or we pay more money and have them built in N. America or Europe using cleaner and lower carbon energy., or c) we all simply buy less stuff.

    Either way it is going to cost us all money– I and many others would rather pay up front. But we all know that there are also many people are not willing to take some responsibility, and for who the concept of inter generational equity is a foreign concept. Fortunately, the world is moving forward on the energy issue, with or without you.

    You say “combined with a dislike of all fossil sources is to deny prosperity for our children.”

    Please do not use that insulting fallacy about denying our children “prosperity” by embracing cleaner and low carbon technologies– there you go sounding like alarmist Monckton again. And please do not make gross generalizations like “dislike for all fossil sources”. You try and sound like a reasonable moderate Jeff, but the more you rant and spout unsubstantiated nonsense like this that your true libertarian colours show, the same mindset that rewarded us with the GoM oil disaster.

    “This is far more dangerous than anything your precious Gaia will throw at us from CO2 in my opinion and if you believe I’m wrong on this, as Bart does, then I’m even more right on energy policy.”

    Uh, huh– you are not going all Dunning-Kruger on us are you Jeff? And actually it is our precious Gaia thank you. That fumble on your part is most revealing Jeff…most revealing.

    PS: I read your rant that you linked to. If you or Roddy wish to sell something to the ‘warmists’ Jeff, best not to make ridiculous statements like:

    “Second, let’s use some of those billions we haven’t wasted spent on wind and solar and carbon trading on inventing”

    “Subsidies for alternative energy are expensive.” [Any idea how much the Canadian government is subsidizing the tar sands Jeff? One estimate is about $1.4 billion annually]

    “My preferable moral imperative is providing energy to the worlds’ poor, not trapping them in the poverty that we have escaped by continuing to deny 1.3bn people access to electricity.”

  71. Jeff Id Says:

    Ya see Dr. Maple, the subsidy isn’t the problem, the fact that biofuel, wind and solar cannot meet our needs at all is the problem. Now solar may in the future, but never biofuel and the usage of wind is ridiculous. The energy density isn’t there and you only need the back of a napkin to figure it out.

    Finally, limitation is an ignorant way to govern, especially when there is an alternative, but it’s all you guys can think of. No matter what you do, coal plants are being built at an accelerated rate, the coal will be burned. We can either prepare for what I believe is exaggerated doom, or we can build Nukes and invest in research. The rest is a waste of our time and money.

  72. MapleLeaf Says:

    Jeff,

    “the subsidy isn’t the problem”

    You said it is– or at least implicitly did so by posting Roddy’s article. OK, so you disagree with Roddy on that point.

    ” the fact that biofuel, wind and solar cannot meet our needs at all is the problem.”

    Aah, binary thinking…black and white, all or nothing. And you just had to mention biofuels again. Really, you should consider writing a speech for Monckton sometime.

    “and the usage of wind is ridiculous”

    Why? Typical naysayers speak. Read the post by Chris at 22:27.

    “No matter what you do, coal plants are being built at an accelerated rate, the coal will be burned.”

    True, but to be fair we have not begun to enforce anything yet have we now, nor has China signed onto anything yet?

    I said I was for micro nukes, complete tree-hugging nutter I am. Large-scale nuclear is not a long term solution, you see, there is the wee problem of the waste– a rather important fact that seems to be lost on those oblivious to inter generational equity. If we can deal with the waste properly, then I am on board for large-scale nuclear. Question is, are you willing to part with your beloved money to pay the cost of disposing of said waste properly, and/or cleaning up after any major accidents should they happen.

    I have some deadlines to meet Jeff. You have a nice weekend cleaning your guns and all.

  73. Jeff Id Says:

    Leaf,

    Biofuel, is powered by chlorophyl which has a maximum theoretical efficiency of under 10 percent. If you work the numbers it doesn’t work.

    Some solar today reaches 20% claimed, but that doesn’t include stoarage and delivery. This combined with MASSIVE costs means solar isn’t nearly as ready as we would like.

    Wind has a problem with starts and stopps which requires powerplants to do unique things to take up the interim. Currently costs for wind are very high in comparison to results.

    Nuclear – large scale works – there are plenty of solutions to storage. But you can keep pushing the all of the above propaganda if you want, in my opinion it’s just numbers.

  74. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    For those who are interested in actual numbers rather than just rhetoric:

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/electricity_generation.html

  75. Eli Rabett Says:

    Marlowe, thanks for the link. One additional point Eli would like to make is buried in the text, the levelized cost of a particular technology in a particular location can vary wildly from the average cost over all locations. Thus, there are locations for wind, which cost substantially less than coal, but others that are wildly higher. It makes sense to fill all the low/medium cost niches first, and the same goes for solar and solar thermal.

  76. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    Absolutely Eli. And levelized costs are really only one metric for evaluating technologies (and not even the most important IMO). Ohter things to consider in no particular order:

    -public risk (what would the cost of nuclear be if nuclear liability wasn’t capped by Price-Anderson?). TBI guy Ulrich Beck has a lot to say on this.

    -financing risks (e.g. cost overrun potential, cost of carbon/NOx/SO2 caps)

    -construction lead times

    -implications for grid (i.e. need for new transmission lines, etc.)

    -baseload vs peak

    – reliability (e.g. distributed vs centralized generation)

    – community acceptance

    I think the whole nuclear vs. renewables debate is an area where resonable people can disagree. For myself I tend to side with Jacobsen rather than Brand. I’ll support nuclear when it can compete without the liability caps and demonstrate cost effective treatment and disposal of waste. Until then, I’d rather spend an extra $30 a month for renewables…

  77. adriaan Says:

    The point that is missed in this discussion is the fact that in the US reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel is not done. In Europe, we have Le Havre in France, which reprocesses the spent nuclear fuel, extracts the fissible elements and puts them to use in new fuel assemblies for the nuclear power stations. This reduces the amount of waste, burns a lot a useful isotopes in the reactors providing even more energy. Yucca mountain was shut down just before completion to prevent the expansion of nuclear. Now every US state has to find ways to store the radiactive waste. It is a crime to do this, to block storage and reprocessing. I am on “Atoomstroom”, which guarantees me that all electricity I use is 100% nuclear generated. They are marketing with a small 1 by 2 cm miniature barrel, which is indicating the volume of the amount of nuclear waste my yearly electricity use will generate.

    And they are by way the cheapest provider of electricity in the Netherlands….

  78. adriaan Says:

    Bart,

    State funding made it possible for me to have PV in the first place. By guaranteeing me that I will be paid for every kWH I deliver to the grid during 20 years!!!, they lured me into the installment I described. But I realize that my profit is being paid by my neighbours, who were not able to get their requests for this ridiculous subsidie granted (the subscription openend at 24.00 h, and was fulfilled by 4.00 am that same day).

  79. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    adriaan,

    how do you think the historic subsidies for nuclear (both direct and indirect) compares to what is given to renewables at present?

  80. adriaan Says:

    I dont give a damn. What interest me is lowering my operational costs, at whatever price. I am “mileubewusteloos” I burn wood for heating, about 15 to 20 cubic meter every year. I enjoy the cutting of the trees, the productions of the logs and the cosy fire.

  81. adriaan Says:

    And there is now abundant wood available after the last summer storm in the Netherlands :)). I will be very busy in the coming week, as I was in the last week..

  82. Jeff Id Says:

    Eli,

    “It makes sense to fill all the low/medium cost niches first, and the same goes for solar and solar thermal.””

    It does make sense to do this but the concept of solar cost saving is incorrect in an extreme using today’s tech. The solution isn’t there, but I beleive it will be. If you study the tech, it has good future potential – no pun.

    But today, it’s absolute C.R.A.P!

    Wind power is actually closer for short term implementation, but long term doesn’t fix the problem.

  83. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    hard to argue with that logic :P

  84. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    Jeff,

    If you include the costs of NOx and SOx controls plus a risk premium on the financing to account for possible carbon pricing, wind is already cost-competitive in many U.S. locations compared to new coal builds. It’s one of the many reasons why there haven’t been a whole lot of new plants built recently…

  85. adriaan Says:

    Jeff,

    Wind is crap, solar is crap. Neither can exist but by massive governmental subsidies. What the future may bring is simple: we can catch up to 20% of the solar radiation today. Quantum physics limit this to 40 % of the amount of radiation per square meter. Calculate a footprint on this using the UN data on personal energy use. The figure will haunt you, so big as it is.

  86. adriaan Says:

    Marlowe,

    You are probably unaware of this:

    http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/germany/Germany_Study_-_FINAL.pdf

    read it, and then come back.

  87. Eli Rabett Says:

    That’s just crap.

  88. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    Au contraire mon frere :). I see your RWI study and raise you:

    http://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/inhalt/45291/40870/

    http://www.wind-works.org/FeedLaws/Germany/MichaelEckhartACOREontheRWI%20studyofGermanFITs.html

    FIT isn’t without its problems but is that the best you can do?

  89. willard Says:

    A disclosure would be appropriate:

    Our Principles

    IER has earned a solid reputation for its scholarly approach to energy analysis and free-market energy and environmental policy. IER’s perspective is based on the following tenets:

    Free markets: History shows that private property rights, market exchange, and the rule of law have resulted in affordable energy, improved living standards and a cleaner environment.

    Objective science: Public policy, particularly in the environmental area, should be based on objective science, not emotion or improbable scenarios that invite wealth-reducing government activism, which often impairs society’s resilience to change.

    Public policy tradeoffs: Policies that attempt to correct “market failure” in energy markets must be tempered with the reality of “government failure.” It is inappropriate to compare idealized government actions with real-world market outcomes. Government policies are implemented by politicians and bureaucracies, not by unbiased and informed academics.

    Efficient outcomes: The welfare of energy consumers, energy producers, and taxpayers can and should be considered together.

    Impartial and unbiased: Government policies should be predictable, simple, and technology neutral. This approach will spur capital formation in the energy industry and promote technological innovation.

    Source: http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/about-us/

  90. willard Says:

    Even more interesting:

    http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/climate-change/climate-change-overview/

  91. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    Thank you Willard. In Canada we call it “the Fraser Institute” as well as ‘the federal government’…

  92. Jeff Id Says:

    Now that’s a bunch of circular green groupthink if I’ve ever seen it.

    I’ll tell you what guys, wind can work in limited situations. If it were applied with engineering care. Today however, IT IS NOT.

    Variability is an underestimated and uncontrolled cost. Some major US plants have added gas generation to take up the difference. Look up Denmark’s unique situation for variability to see what has to happen to make wind work in the US.

    The #1 problem with wind, is that you have to produce the same amount of energy from a different source, when the wind ain’t blowin’

    Try to shut down and restart a smelting plant……

    But you guys don’t like smelting either right?

    You need 2X capacity to rely on wind. Unless you chuck some of that wasted solar money into storage!!

    Maybe it’s only 1.5X if the plants are spread widely enough, but even then the variability is a big problem. BTW, the EPA overestimates the production from wind, underestimates the cost and misses the problems — as a matter of standard practice.

    Finally, wind is considered a limited resource by the EPA and won’t dent the requirement as posed by the IPCC.

  93. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    Jeff,

    last post here from me to you. peak vs. baseload matters. lots of people spending big bucks on squaring that circle re renewables. BUT wind and especially solar already make a lot of sense in many places as supplemental sources for peak and baseload power. I’m underwhelmed by your consistent lack of reference to facts/sources/reality….

  94. Tom Fuller Says:

    I find this fascinating, as I am writing two research reports, one on renewable energy the other on green technology apart from RE. I won’t bore you all with numbers, but a lot of you are a couple of years behind the times. You might check out REN 21, which released their 2010 Global Status Report yesterday:

    http://www.ren21.net/globalstatusreport/REN21_GSR_2010_full.pdf

    Renewables are worth talking about today because of hydropower, combined heat and power, ethanol and biodiesel. They’re worth talking about for the next 40 years because of solar, principally.

    Hey–maybe I can con you into buying this report when I’m done… at $4,500 a whack… well, maybe not…

  95. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    Tom,

    When talking about renewables it’s important to distinguish between end-uses. Ethanol and biodiesel are separate from the pack because of their potential to address emissions from the existing on-road fleet (whereas electricfication for new stock likely will make the most sense post 2020…

    also, hydro is already maxed out in most ‘optimal’ places and isn’t without it’s own costs (not a deal breaker but warrants caution). CHP is best viewed as an efficiency tech rather than a new source but that’s just my POV….

  96. Tom Fuller Says:

    Marlowe, hydro is going to double in the next 20 years. It’s just going to happen in developing countries, conveniently out of sight.

  97. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    Fair enough Tom. I was thinking more of the developed world. Aside from conventional hydro, I’d suggest that renewables and distributed models for power generation actually make a lot more sense in the developing world since they’re not already ‘locked-in’ by the transmission infrastructure (as it doesn’t yet exist in many places).

  98. MapleLeaf Says:

    Jeff, I never said that biofuels are a good idea. Now please stop putting words in my mouth and arguing straw men.

    As for wind energy, you should know that technology exists to use wind to “crack” H20 to make Hydrogen.

    http://www.physorg.com/news87494382.html

    You should know that they can store wind energy using hydro:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity

    Both those options can be used to store wind power. Then there are smart grids and using hybrids to store energy. Peter Sinclair has something on that; unlikely that you will be convinced though.

    I love the logical break-down of the contrarians’ arguments, on one hand claiming that AGW is not an issue b/c we can use technology adapt, and then in the same breath saying that tweaking current technologies or developing new technologies to reduce GHG emissions will not work.

    Engineers are smart and creative, and their best work seems to stem from being given a challenge.

  99. adriaan Says:

    Marlowe,

    Nice try, but what is the essential factor in this whole discussion?

    That I get paid for my PV generated electricity 0.28 E/kWh. Also wind generated electricity is paid far above market price.

    The industry that is assumed to be booming on renewable energy is only thriving because they generate something for which they get paid much more than other people who produce the same by other means. And if Germany is not proof of this ideocy, maybe you should look at the “success” of Spain and Danmark. The “Spanish trick”is very successful, and can and will be used at other places. I also have a Diesel powered generator… and I can feed the power I borrow from my neighbours, which costs 0.12 E via my converter back into the grid to gain 0.16 E/kWh.

    Of course, this is fraud, and I am not going to do it. But it is extremely simple to do, and thus it will be done.

    And did it not strike you that I am the greenest person on this blog? Electricity from nuclear, PV, heating by wood.
    I am completely carbon neutral. And I do not care a iota about CO2.

  100. adriaan Says:

    Maple,

    Since I am an engineer, do I qualify for your positive remarks?

    Hydrogen is impossible to use due to the low energycontent per m^3. The use of hydro has its limitations. Storage includes two conversions with losses, and imply that what you get out was at best a fraction of what went in. Try two serial processes with 90% efficiency. You will not be able to recover more than 81% of what you had. Many processes have a much lower efficiency. Try a good battery. You will lose more than 30% of what you put into it. The more steps needed for storing and recovering the lower the percentage that you will be able to recover. Every step has to be multiplied by the efficieny of the other steps. A 10 step process with 99% efficiency at each step will result in (.99)^10)=.9, ie 10 percent loss.

  101. MapleLeaf Says:

    Adriaan, “Hydrogen is impossible to use due to the low energycontent per m^3. The use of hydro has its limitations.”

    A good example of cognitive dissonance from the obstructionists. My wife says that I’m too pessimistic, but compared to you I am incredibly optimistic.

    Anyhow Adriaan, your fellow engineers are proving you wrong on renewables as we speak.

  102. sod Says:

    Renewables are worth talking about today because of hydropower, combined heat and power, ethanol and biodiesel. They’re worth talking about for the next 40 years because of solar, principally.

    you are wrong Tom, as always. solar will obviously be a significant part of the energy mix in 2050.

    anyone claiming the opposite doesn t know what he is talking about.

  103. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    sorry adriann but i’m not particularly impressed by your posts thus far so let’s just agree to hit the ‘ignore’ button…

    for those who are interested in learning more about projections for renewables and other technologies I’ll suggest this as useful starting off point:

    http://www.iea.org/speech/2010/etp2010_launch.pdf

  104. adriaan Says:

    Dear Maple, Marlowe and SOD.

    If you throw a sufficiently large amount of money on any “renewable”(which is a contradictio in terminis, since energy cannot be renewable) energy source, it becomes possible and feasible. But I do not have that money. What I see is that I can use subsidies to lower my rapidly increasing energy bill. My bill rises due to silly taxations meant to lower CO2. I am already CO2 neutral. And I do give a shit about the global CO2 level, since it only has a minor effect on global temperatures. Most of the rise was by heating the thermometers and the fudging of the data.

    What I object to is the fact that the cost of my energy consumption is rapidly increasing due to the unproven idea that global temperature is rising as a consequence of CO2 release by burning fossil fuel.

    I want to have control on my own life without being patronized by ignorants and knowbetters who claim to have a patent on the truth.
    And Marlowe, I also found little information in your posts. As far as I am concerned you can “reset” yourself.

  105. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    i tried to hit the ignore button, i really did. adriaan. do you pay road tolls on every road you use? How about your toilets, phone and water? stop being such a wanker…oh and thank for the reminder on the second law of thermo…being an engineer appears to have its benefits :)

  106. adriaan Says:

    Marlowe,

    I pay taxes before I am alowed to use any road (300 Euro/month) , to flush my toilet (200 Euro/month) and for phoning (20 Euro/month). Yes. Sorry to be a wanker. And I love the first law of thermo.

  107. adriaan Says:

    Marlowe,

    And I forgot: I pay 19% VAT tax over the above mentioned taxes.

  108. willard Says:

    Dear adriaan,

    Forgive me for asking, but considering that you only care about your wallet and seemingly nothing else, why should anybody else care about you whining here?

  109. adriaan Says:

    Willard,

    My wallet may seem to be my only drive.
    It is not.
    It is the fact that I have to cope with legislation, imposed on all of us to force a way of thinking upon us. I will never succumb to this way of thinking, because it is bogus. The symptoms that represent my worries most adequately are the financial signals. Everyone understands what I am complaining about. No one understands why these taxes exist.

    If you are willing to pay 2$/kWh, be my guest, you can come to my PV. I will guarantee that you will get 100% CO2 free electricity.

    Both of us happy, win/win situation.

    But are you achiving anything for the environment? I do not think so. But you feel OK, I feel OK.

    Don’t be a hippocrite.

  110. willard Says:

    Dear adriaan,

    And so a most “essential factor” is finally coming out: having to cope with legislations that you feel “imposed”, that is imposed according to you “to force a way of thinking”, a way of thinking which you find “bogus”.

    This has nothing with engineering. This has nothing to do with economics.

    Have you ever considered living in Sierra Leone? It’s a most libertarian paradise, or so I’ve heard.

  111. adriaan Says:

    Willard, Marlowe,

    You both are following the classical pattern: first discuss, then patronize, and when that does not seem to work ridicule.

    Does not work with me.

    You both were ridiculous for me from the onset.

    The legislation which was being passed in recent years is so complex, that the people who wrote it do not have the foggiest idea about how it will work out in practice. I am studying this legislation, and I am finding ways to benefit from it. And there are ways, there are many ways.

    In the end, you are paying for measures that miss their target, while I will be benefiting from the loopholes in the legislation. All based on the bogus CO2 induced warming. But this legislation was meant to provide profit to some entities. Wonder who they are?

  112. adriaan Says:

    Willard,

    This is a silly argument. Do you want to live in Cuba, Venezuala?

  113. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    adriaan,

    you need to google the first rule of holes. if i were given to paranoid fantasies about the (manufactured) threat of agw as you appear to be, then i suppose i could understand your belligerence.

    OTOH, as someone who has had the (mis)fortune of developing similar legislation I sympathize with your complaint of complexity. i had the same complaint with the lawyers.

  114. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    oh and adriaan, if cuba and venezuala aren’t to your liking, try Texas…although i here wind turbines are rearing their ugly heads there as well….

  115. adriaan Says:

    Willard,

    My objections have everything to do with my engineering skills. It also has to do with economics. I have combined the two and decided that current legislation is going to rip me off, when I do not find alternatives. Alternatives exist, in the legislation itself, in the form of subsidies. There are also alternatives in the sense that I started burning wood in stead of methane for heating my house. I have a low temp floor heating system, coupled to my wood burning fire place. I designed and build it myself. It works, and saves me a lot of money. Also CO2, but that was and still is not my drive.

    It has made me very independent of government regulations. Only if the government decides that the price per kWh for PV electricity is not sustainable, I will get into problems. After all I invested quite a lot of money into it…

  116. willard Says:

    Dear adriaan,

    I don’t recall having discussed with you. Could you remind me where I did?

    But it’s not impossible to do so. Here are some hints:

    So you took advantage of a policy you find bogus. And you whine about that. Why do you whine about it is beyond me.

    And your whining makes you conflate two different issues: a policy that is bogus as a matter of fact, and the assumption that every policy is bogus.

    Finally, I will simply note that Cuba is a communist country, not a democracy, and that the position from where I could argue with you can make me live in any democracy that regulates policies to push forward what is deemed as right.

    A statist can live about everywhere. An anti-statist can live in Sierra Leone. Perhaps also Antartica?

  117. adriaan Says:

    Willard,

    You are trying to force me into a untenable position. That I will not.

    If you think that I whine, please be free to do so. I do not care at all.

    I was merely stating that I can find loopholes in any legislation, as any sound thinking person could do. And I will use them, that is why they are there.

    Not every policy is bogus, but at this moment 90% does have a sincere chance to be qualified as such. Laws that “have to be passed to find out what is in them” do qualify. And the last two memorable laws that have been passed in the US are qualifying.

  118. willard Says:

    Adriaan,

    I do think being against regulations is a very tough position to play coherently. Reading back your comments makes me realize that you might not be against regulations. That you feel legislations “imposed”, according to you “to force a way of thinking”, which you find “bogus” is unimportant, after all.

    This was whining, and not only that, it has nothing to do with engineering nor economics. Unless you find an engineer-level or an economical-level explanation using concepts like “imposing”, “way of thinking” and “bogus”, this is simply anti-statist.

    You still can have a positive import to the discussion. I find your resourcefulness in manageing your resources exemplary. And we must acknowledge the valid and strong argument that there is a constant battle of wits to take advantage of any regulation.

  119. sod Says:

    . And I do give a shit about the global CO2 level, since it only has a minor effect on global temperatures. Most of the rise was by heating the thermometers and the fudging of the data.

    you are uninformed. satellite data CONFIRMS the thermometers.

    your opinions are not based on facts. they are funny, but utterly worthless to this discussion.

  120. adriaan Says:

    Willard,

    Maybe I have to rephrase my story as follows to make my position clear:

    1. I am convinced that increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration is not the cause of global warming.

    2. I am convinced that many legislative products ( I refuse to acknowledge them as laws) are based on the assumption that CO2 must and should be banned.

    3. MSM are completely on board with this false assumption.

    4. The legislative products are so complicated, that even the people who designed them do not know what is inside.

    5. The legislative products cost me a lot of money. I will do everything to avoid this addional cost. And I can. By reading what is inside.

    Thes legislative products are enforced upon the people. We can not do anything about it. But we can read them and find out what is inside them. I did so, and I am profiting from this.

    Call me whining. What I want to make clear, is that it is not neccessarily so that you have to abide by the legislative product but that you can make a profit on its leaks and mancos. If I would be whining, I would have kept shut about it. I am the last person to benefit from the mass exposure of a legislative leak, which is shut down after its public exposure.

  121. adriaan Says:

    SOD,

    Your contribution is also utterly meaningless. You are deluded.

  122. adriaan Says:

    SOD,

    There is no proof that rising global average temperatures are caused by increased atmospheric CO2 concentration.

  123. willard Says:

    Adriaan,

    Here is the sentence that made me asked my first (rhetorical) question:

    > I dont give a damn. What interest me is lowering my operational costs, at whatever price

    You must admit that if what you want is to lower your operational costs, at whatever price, there is no real need to argue with you.

    Consider your answer to my question:

    > My wallet may seem to be my only drive. It is not. It is the fact that I have to cope with legislation, imposed on all of us to force a way of thinking upon us.

    This looks like a sincere reply, considering the many jabs you take at the CO2 regulations.

    Would you care to tell us how to make these two sentences fit together?

  124. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    adriann,

    sod provided a very relevant counterpoint to your bit about contaminated thermometers. or are they contaminated by the UHI as well? I’m starting to wonder about your credentials as an engineer. oh and reread the bit about holes and what willard said.

  125. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    adriann,

    sod provided a very relevant counterpoint to your bit about contaminated thermometers. or are the satellites contaminated by the UHI as well? I’m starting to wonder about your credentials as an engineer. oh and reread the bit about holes and what willard said.

  126. willard Says:

    Adriaan,

    We’ve cross-posted. Your last post is certainly not whining. I could quote all the sentences when you undoubtedly were, but I don’t think it worthwhile for now. As long as you step to the plate and argue openly against AGW, against MSM, and for free markets, I think your position can be heard. At least it does not sound like the usual: “look, I’m an engineer, and here how society should operate”, which does not sound right, nor credible.

    This last ploy can make start whining alright ;-)

  127. adriaan Says:

    Willard,

    I was just stating my drive. And it still is. But as you also noticed, I am not completely beserk.
    I have listed my ideas in a previous post. I do not believe that atmospheric CO2 concentration is causing AGW. As such, I give a damn about CO2. The problem, however is that CO2 effects have been incorporated into legislation worldwide. I can have a car in the Netherlands without paying the tax for having it, if it emits less than 90g/km CO2. This would save me 300 Euro/month for my car. But I need a heavy car because I have to be able to pull a heavy load.

    I am a law abiding citizen, but I will also venture on the borders of the legislative products that are so abound.

    And take note: I am greener than 98% of my countrymen, without endorsing the CO2 dogma!

    Marlowe:
    Sod is an idiot with whom I do not want to exchange thougths.

  128. adriaan Says:

    Willard:
    Thanks.

  129. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    is an idiot with whom I do not want to exchange thougths.

    Took the words right out of my mouth you did.

  130. dhogaza Says:

    Men might as well project a voyage to the Moon as attempt to employ steam navigation against the stormy North Atlantic Ocean.
    – Dr. Dionysus Lardner (1793-1859)

    This `telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a practical form of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.
    – Western Union internal memo, 1878

    That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.
    – Scientific American, Jan. 2, 1909.

    There is not the slightest indication that [nuclear energy] will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.
    – Albert Einstein, 1932.

    The point is that wind and solar are useless, because of intermittence and price.
    – Jeff Id, 2010

    Let’s see, Lardner was a science writer.

    The western union internal memo was likely written by business types.

    SciAm is a pop sci magazine.

    Einstein was a theoretical physicist.

    Jeff Id is an engineer.

    Which of these people should realize that betting against the ability of engineers to make the unlikely become mundane is very often a bad bet?

  131. adriaan Says:

    Dhog,

    I was wondering how long it would take before you would arrive after the beating of SOD.

  132. willard Says:

    Marlowe,

    I don’t think sod nor adriaan are idiots. They could not even play one on TV and be believable. Most of the times they can follow the puck. Adriaan may have a knack to push buttons, but sod is a natural talent.

    If Adriaan is 98% greener than his countrymen without agreeing with AGW, we could argue that being for AGW is independent from the choice to be green. We could even go further and say that being for or against AGW is mostly irrelevent from policy discussions. We have at least an existential proof for that: adriaan himself.

    Listening to his arguments, correcting when he goes too far, or at least providing counterpoints, as you did with the papers you cited, seems like the only way to render the discussion fruitful for anyone.

    There are no goals to be scored. There are no nets. There are no red lines. There are no referees. There are no fans. This is not hockey. It is unimportant. Only us read us. Everybody else is a dog.

  133. adriaan Says:

    Willard,

    I have to express my reservation about your conclusions.

    I am not the existential proof for your statement that “being for or against AGW is mostly irrelevent from policy discussions.”

    I am convinced that AGW is wrong.
    I look into existing legislative products for my profit.
    I find my profit, but it is mostly against the intention of the legislative product.
    No nets, I look for the holes, the gaps and the blackouts. But I do not endorse climate legislative products.

  134. willard Says:

    Adriaan,

    Sharp-eye! No you’re not. You’re simply proving that one can act green without endorsing AGW. To prove that being for or against AGW is mostly irrelevant from policy discussions, we would need to define first what means being “mostly irrelevant”, provide enough good-enough cases, and a powerful induction step.

    I’m simply saying that this would be possible. Your case argues for that possibility.

    And when I mean your case, I mean what you do, not what you say :-P

  135. adriaan Says:

    Willard,

    You have me cornered.

    Time out? (need sleep)

  136. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    Willard,

    where’s the tip jar :)

  137. willard Says:

    A precision:

    No, Adriaan, you’re not a living proof of the stronger thesis we might try to build. You’re still sharp-eyed.

    If we can have a conversation that leads to some kind of agreement for basic policies, we would have a speedier proof.

    PS: Still working on an Amazon Payments system, Marlowe ;-)

  138. sod Says:

    Electricity from nuclear, PV, heating by wood.
    I am completely carbon neutral. And I do not care a iota about CO2.

    i think your claim is wrong, as multiple of your other claims obviously are.

    but i agree with Willard. people “can act green without endorsing AGW.” and this is an importnmat point, as these people form a big group.

    but they need incentives, to do so. and that is exactly, what was provided to adriaan for solar.

    so in contrast to what he thinks, the policy is working perfectly on him. he is just wrong on another point.

  139. adriaan Says:

    Willard,

    The major problem I have with all the regulations, legislative products and so on is the following: There is so much money available for apparently “green”initiatives, that I could make a living out of showing other people and organisations how to reap the bonuses which are unintendedly build into the system, since no one is able to oversee the grand effects of their rulings.

    Put otherwise: If I follow my principles, I will have to pay a large fine for my lifestyle.

    If I follow the money, I can earn a large fee by exploiting what is legally possible in the so called Green stimulus programs, without compromising my lifestyle.

    It does not change my attitude: I will be consuming energy at the same level as I used to do. Only now it pays to use more energy.

    I am afraid this was not what was intended by the people who spent so much time and effort to formulate their legislative proofs of their incompetence.

  140. adriaan Says:

    Willard,

    Since I have a large pile of wood, I have ordered a terrace heater, wood fired. When we have cold evenings, I wil start heating the environment with my wood based heather, and still cashing on the electricity my PV genererates. CO2 production will rise accordingly.

  141. Eli Rabett Says:

    Adriaan, no more than with any other biofuel.

  142. Paul Kelly Says:

    Willard and Sod agree that people can act green without endorsing AGW. Sod even says these people form a big group.

    That large group of people is saying: We have found a way to live the replacing fossil fuel lifestyle that will prevent climate change without needing the climate rationale. We’d like to show you how.

  143. adriaan Says:

    Eli,

    I want to share some of my secrets with you.

    I also have one of the most advanced central heating units, with smoke condensors and recapturing of exhaust heat, combined with one of the most sophisticated ventilation units available. Emissions from these units are far below permissible levels, they are serviced by qualified engineers at the proper intervals and certified for continued protection of the envirnonment.

    My wood burning contraptions do not live up to the specifications of these high tech units. They emit carbon particles, remnants of the wood dust, soot. How much care I invest with getting these problems solved, it is not possible to start a wood burning process by low temperature/inefficient burning, producing soot.

    But I prefer to burn wood, since its is cheaper. It is also “CO2 neutral”. But is pollutes the environment more than 1000 times more than my advanced central heating, which is using natural gas. The government measures my gas consumption, and adds 100% of energy tax to my cost, in order to force me to lower my energy consumption. They just achieve the opposite. So biofuel is backfiring.

  144. adriaan Says:

    Steve Schneider just passed away today. Although I completly disagree with his ideas, I want to pay hommage to a great scientist. I hope his family, friends can cope with this immense loss.

  145. Eli Rabett Says:

    Adriaan, it is no secret that burning wood, even in a good stove releases particles and various volatile aromatics. You have a point?

  146. adriaan Says:

    Eli,

    My point is that the regulations seem to push me into using my wood stove preferably above my very clean natural gas central heating, shifting the balance from eco to not-so-eco. If that does not bother you, it is fine with me. But I thought soot was more of a problem than CO2. I can only conclude that the obsession with CO2 has second-lined other more severe problems. Problems which we can tackle, whereas CO2 is not. But maybe that is the essence of the CO2 debate: whatever we do, we cannot solve the problem, which is to be blamed on the people denying CO2 is the cause of AGW. Perfect circular reasoning.

  147. Eli Rabett Says:

    Soot is a short term problem. CO2 is forever (well, a long time).

  148. adriaan Says:

    Eli,

    Do you really believe this? This is absurd. CO2 is NO problem, soot is. Soot damages the respiratory tracks, causes people to loose 10 to 20 years of their life-expectancy.

    A short term problem?

    My A$$!

  149. Tom Fuller Says:

    Adriaan, not to mention affects on albedo of snow covered ground, such as in the Arctic.

  150. Eli Rabett Says:

    Adriaan, and you are exposing yourself to this? ROTFLMEO Eli thinks you have backed yourself into a corner.

  151. willard Says:

    Adriaan,

    I’m not sure I see how the regulations seem to push me into using my wood stove preferably above my very clean natural gas central heating. Could you provide a more detailed description of the regulations? Sorry if you already did that earlier, I am not previously checking.

  152. Bill Stoltzfus Says:

    willard:

    Adriann (and please correct me if I’m wrong in any of this) said several times that his main focus was saving money. In his post at #comment-6770, he said that in addition to personally paying for the natural gas to use in his very efficient furnace, the govt also taxed him at 100% for using said fuel. This makes his very efficient natural gas furnace not so monetarily efficient anymore, and he resorts to using his wood burning stove, which is essentially free.

    That makes sense to me, we all want to save money. If you had a choice between free heat and not-free heat, and your goal was to save money, which would you choose? That said, if you value not creating soot as a better outcome than the money you spend on the natural gas, you’d go with the natural gas.

  153. willard Says:

    Bill,

    I see. I have two questions, now. How does this relate to the solar panels? And how can anything compete with free wood?

    Adriaan seems to be begging for a ban on wood stoves ;-)

  154. adriaan Says:

    Willard,

    The solar panels came along by way of a massive subsidy by the Dutch Governement, which was combined with a granted pay back for excess dilivery to the grid at very high rates/kWh. I dis this, and got a large panel financed and granted pay back for a period of 20 years.

    The wood stove is a completely different story. Since I have access to a large amount of free wood, nothing can beat my stove in an economical way. I have built my stove myself, whith many provisions to reduce emissions, especially soot. It has two VHV static filters, but even then, it emits more than 1000 fold more soot particles than my central heating unit on natural gas does. Since my natural gas consumption is measured by the governement, and they impose a 100% energy tax on it, I prefer my wood stove. But I have the feeling that this is not the proper way to regulate energy consumption.

    And a ban on wood stoves is of course not in the question, since it would ban burning of 95% of biofuels. But it is not smart to promote biofuels looking only at the CO2 advantage (which, by the way is very difficult to establish beyound any doubt).

    Since money is the driving force behind many governmetal rules, money is also the rigth parameter to estimate whether these measures are fulfilling their purpose. I come to a different solution, following the money. Nuclear.

  155. Eli Rabett Says:

    Adriaan, of course, is why regulations and taxes are needed. The classical free rider, he only cares about his own comfort, and the hell with everyone else. Eli returns the compliment.

  156. willard Says:

    Adriaan,

    Help me out understanding the regulation issue you’re facing.

    You heat with a wood stove. It emits soot. Yet you say you are greener than 98% or your compatriots. Is your soot emission a problem?

    Your stove uses wood you already have. It is cheap as to be almost free. Yet you say that it’s the 100% tax that makes you not use natural gas. Should the government pay you for not using your wood stove?

    Either soot is a real problem or it is not. If it’s a problem, there are alternatives to wood heating. It would make sense to prevent people from emitting soot. The transition could even be subsidized. The same reasoning applies from a switch from natural gas to (more easily) renewable energy.

    You don’t reach that conclusion, Adriaan. You simply say that “a ban on wood stoves is of course not in the question”. Why do you think this is not relevant?

    What am I missing exactly?

  157. adriaan Says:

    Willard,

    The point I am trying to make is that is much cheaper for me to burn “green” wood in stead of using my very low emission central heating, despite the work it means for me to get the wood, saw and cut it into logs, and constructing my own stove. To my opinion, my natural gas fired central heating should be subsidised. It has the lowest emmissions and highest yield of what can be bought on the consumer market. Yet I will be taxed 100% for every cubic foot of gas that I use.

    This is silly.

    But if the government did not regulate it this way, the “green” alternative, burning wood and biowaste in large electricty generators would not be possible. So I am exploiting the regulations that have been expanded to allow for large scale biofuel burning. But biofuel burning is very bad for the envirnment.

  158. Eli Rabett Says:

    Adriaan, why should we give you money to behave rationally? (BTW, if you dry the wood, it burns better and there is less chance of you burning down your house, in which case we have to pay the fire department).

  159. adriaan Says:

    Eli,

    You rather give me money to behave irrationally? The entire CO2 debate is dumb, all incentives are wrong, and money is going to the wrong places.

    CO2 is just the scapegoat to be used to extort more money for things we already can have for less.

    And I am not dumb, as you suggest.

  160. Eli Rabett Says:

    Eli never said you were dumb adriaan, just mildly self centered and self satisfied. Given that Eli sees no reason to pay any attention to you.

  161. Krumhorn Says:

    Having come to the end of this thread, it is clear why the statists are losing this argument. The arrogance is appalling.

    I’ll say what Adrian couldn’t bring himself to say. My economic interests and the economic health of my country are all that I am concerned about. By saying that, I don’t suggest that most of us wouldn’t prefer to find cost-effective alternatives to fossil fuels. But there is a remarkable unity among the warmingists that promotes stupidly and destructively state-heavy solutions and leftie politics.

    That, right there, is more than enough reason to resist. And apparently, that is the prevailing view.

    ……..

  162. Bart Says:

    Krumhorn:

    My economic interests and the economic health of my country are all that I am concerned about.

    Thanks for your honesty.

  163. The Global Warming Culture Wars | The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media Says:

    [...] the outside and red on the inside. Several years ago, the Danish climate scientist Bart Verheggen asked Jeff Condon, an American climate skeptic blogger, what he considered “socialist” about [...]

  164. citizenschallenge Says:

    Science is humanity’s best strategy for keeping each other honest.

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