Pragmatic leverage points to tackle climate change

by Judith Curry

It’s time to move beyond the old debates and endless gridlock, and find pragmatic, new leverage points to tackle climate change. – Jon Foley

Jon Foley has an interesting essay entitled Breaking the Cycle of Climate Inaction.  Excerpts:

One reason we’re so stuck is that most of the climate solutions being proposed are beyond the capabilities and vision of national political leadership.

Let’s face it: Politicians in Washington can’t even pass a routine budget bill, and the United Nations can’t pass a resolution condemning Syria for gassing its own civilians.

[W]e need to match our climate solutions to situations where leadership is still effective. We need to find targeted, strategic opportunities to reduce emissions, matching solutions to effective leadership.

In the search for effective climate solutions, we need to look for what I call “planet levers”: Places where relatively focused efforts, targeted the right way, can translate into big outcomes.

In the search for planet levers to address climate change, we should look for ways to significantly cut emissions that don’t require grand policy solutions. We need practical solutions to substantially cut emissions that work with a handful of nimble actors — including a few key nations, states, cities and companies — to get started.

Focusing on cities presents a particularly good set of levers to address climate change. Cities represent a nexus point of critical infrastructure — for electricity, communications, heating and cooling, and transportation — that are already in desperate need of improvement, and shifting them toward low-carbon “climate smart” technologies is a natural progression. Done right, most of these investments would improve the health, economic vitality, efficiency and livability of cities. 

We also need to look beyond the energy sector for climate solutions. Yes, roughly 60 to 65 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions stem from burning fossil fuels. But that means the other 35 to 40 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions come from other activities, which presents enormous opportunities for alternative climate actions. For the most part, these opportunities have been overlooked.

With that in mind, consider the following planet levers to address climate change:

Tropical Deforestation. Tropical deforestation releases roughly 10 to 17 percent of global CO2 emissions. That’s roughly comparable to theentire global transportation sector — including every car, truck, bus, plane and ship in the world — which emits roughly 15 percent.

Between 2000 and 2010 nearly half of all deforestation emissions were likely coming from just two countries: Brazil and Indonesia. And within those two countries, most of their deforestation emissions were linked to only four commodities — beef and soybeans in Brazil, and palm oil and timber in Indonesia.

Recent studies show that deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon dropped by roughly 75 percent in the past five years, thanks to industry efforts to curb deforestation and grow crops elsewhere, widespread consumer pressure to produce deforestation-free agricultural products, and better enforcement of existing forest laws.

Agricultural Emissions. According to the U.N. FAO, roughly 75 percent of agricultural methane emissions come from livestock, and about 20 percent from rice fields. And roughly half of all of the rice emissions come from China and India alone. This presents tremendous opportunities to reduce emissions through targeted changes in agricultural policy and practice.

Likewise, nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture mainly occur in a few crops and a few concentrated regions. Current research suggests that the lion’s share of these emissions come from just a few countries (mostly China, India, the U.S. and parts of Western Europe) and from just a few large commodity crops (including corn, wheat, rice and a few others). Changes in fertilizer practices in a few crops and a few countries could make a huge difference, not only to climate change, but also to water quality, air quality and human health.

“Minor” Greenhouse Agents. Similarly, several other, lesser known greenhouse warming agents, including hydrofluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, SF6 and black carbon, are mostly produced in concentrated sectors of the economy, often in just a few locations.  In fact, the White House has been quietly working with China, India and the European Union on reducing emissions of several of these gases, including HFCs. While these gases are relatively small contributors to climate change, phasing them out is achievable in the near term.

Climate solutions based on these planet levers could dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions with pragmatic, targeted actions that move beyond old debates and the current political paralysis. None of them requires the U.S. Congress or all 193 members of the U.N. to make a decision. They don’t require a wholesale transformation of the entire global economy. They won’t encounter the full-fledged resistance of the fossil fuel industry. Instead, they focus on three or four regions at a time, with perhaps a handful of industries working in cooperation with nonprofit groups and local governments, to make tremendous progress on targeted emissions reduction. And most of these solutions would pay tremendous economic and health benefits that go far beyond their impact on climate change.

JC comments:  Foley’s essay echoes some of the points raised in Drew Shindell’s Climate Fast Attack Plan.  Even if you are unconvinced by the AGW and CAGW arguments, the risk of CAGW should be regarded as a possible scenario.  In that context, looking for do-able solutions that have ancillary positive benefits on health, the environment or the economy seems to be a sensible, no regrets approach.  CAGW purists didn’t like the Climate Fast Attack Plan, since they felt it would take our eyes off the CO2 emissions ball, which is where they think the focus should be.  Foley’s idea of coming up with some solutions to put in the ‘win’ column, even if small-scale, seems sensible to me.

For further info on Jon Foley, Andy Revkin did a nice profile on Foley:  Meet Jonathan Foley, ‘Climate Pragmatist.’    Foley has also has a  TED talk The Other Inconvenient Truth,  on global food demand and supply.  I like reading Foley’s articles, since the ‘pragmatism’ theme often seems to be missing in the policy discussion on climate change.

293 responses to “Pragmatic leverage points to tackle climate change

  1. He assumes high climate sensitivity to CO2, and that warming(changing) is bad. Neither are in evidence.
    ===============

    • David Springer

      JC comments: “Even if you are unconvinced by the AGW and CAGW arguments, the risk of CAGW should be regarded as a possible scenario.”

      So too it is possible that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are serving to preserve the Holocene interglacial period. Cooling is far more damaging than warming.

      Warmists are all gullible fools that should be ignored and wherever possible removed from positions of responsibility where their foolish actions may cause irreparable harm.

      • I guess Dilbert would say they haven’t been promoted far enough yet.

      • Whispery meeting in the corridors of power
        in the building of Climate Machinations and
        Grant Proposals: ‘Okay, so our next CAGW
        manoeuvre could be ….’

      • Walter Carlson

        David…what makes you convinced that ,warmists, are gullible fools?? I would say that antiAGW people are gullible fools!! And, offer for proof, how readily they slurp down the Koch/Scaife/Exxon kool-aid. Let any of the ‘think tanks’ funded by K/S/E make an antiAGW statement, no matter how ridiculous, and these gullible fools fondle it without scientific PROOF.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Michael Ghil – http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/tcd/PREPRINTS/Math_clim-Taipei-M_Ghil_vf.pdf – suggests that climate sensitivity is λ in the diagram linked to below.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Ghil_fig11_zpse58189d9.png.html?sort=3&o=16

      We are not in Kansas anymore Toto. This is one of the problems – leading edge science is suggesting reasons for the hiatus that further suggest non warming at least for a while yet. People have noticed the hiatus but are not yet quite up to speed on the mathematics of chaos. Climate is wild and λ could be extreme – in as little as a decade. That’s one mathematically certain possibility. One probability in a probability distribution. It translates to a political conundrum that will continue in a poorly defined climate debate.

      Yet there are pragmatic approaches that have been argued for over a number of years now. I have been arguing for 20 years that in Australia we should be focusing on ecological conservation and restoration of ecosystems and on farming – rather than continue the utter waste of resources and time that has been fruit of the AGW obsession.

      Globally – if we got serious – we could merge UN organisations – UNESCO, FAO, WHO, etc. to form a body that is holistic in scope, lean and focused and funded by the MDG commitments that developed countries by and large fail to honour. We could restore our honour and make progress on many fronts on human development, ecological conservation and energy innovation.

      Last century was the century in which the human race commenced an epic journey across the galaxy. It was also the bloodiest century in human history. A peaceful and boundless future for the human race is the prize within our reach this century – if we have the vision and the will.

      • What percentage of the global CO2 does Australia contribute? I submit other than “looking green”, you Aussies cannot have any significant affect on global climate. So why would you want to harm your economy and citizens? And that assumes CO2 attribution is even correct!

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The only cost so far would be 0.7% of GDP for the Millennium Development Goals commitments. If you look again you would find that the US government has committed to this. I believe in doing what you say – pretty much a core ethical commitment – right after not molesting children or beating women. So either back out – or live up up to budgetary commitments. My own government is in the same quandary and I would have the same advice for them.

        Australia of course has huge agriculture and mining sectors. A significant player in coal and soon to be the world’s largest exporter of gas. We have a significant potential for landscape and soils management to make inroads on emissions. As well as a huge role regionally in providing aid (including for Indonesia to reduce clearing), peacekeeping, conservation assistance, a model for peaceful and democratic governance and top tier economic management.

        We have just pulled out of Afghanistan after 12 years of a low key presence in Urozgan Province providing security and training – building roads, schools and medical facilities. Some 26,000 Australians have served in Afghanistan – 260 were wounded, 40 were killed in action. The war has cost Australian lives and more than $7.5 billion. We currently have a seat on the UN Security Council. Australia is America’s best friend in the world – and you have fewer friends every President it seems.

        If you want to go into details of pragmatic mitigation – try this. I am happy to discuss.

        http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation
        .
        If you want to whine about about how it might not be a problem from a position of utter ignorance – and how insignificant Australia is – it seems not at all germane to any rational response.

      • Nope. Not until there’s an equal analysis and emphasis, with all the Precautionary Principle bells and whistles, of the dangers of damage and overshoot and opportunity costs and omissions of pursuing a radically incorrect strategy of “mitigation”. The PP is not one-tailed, IOW.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation.’ Wally Broecker

        AGW is incorrect. It is simply not how climate works. As I have been at some pains to explain – it works with slow approaches to tipping points and sudden shifts between states. The essential physical theory is the theory of dynamical complexity.

        There are a couple of implications. It is likely not warming for a decade to three more – and the outcome of the climate shift then is intrinsically unpredictable. The knowledge is simply not there – and anyone who insists it is is without doubt arguing from ignorance.

        It seems obvious to me that the effects of CO2 have been minor. Removing ENSO in 1976/77 and 1998 and decadal variation – we are left with 0.1 degrees C at most that might be greenhouse gases. It is a simple and obvious exercise.

        e.g. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/rc_fig1_zpsf24786ae.jpg.html?sort=3&o=26

        Note the large transitions between ENSO states at the beginning and end of the warming period. This is actually a characteristic of dynamically complex systems best defined as dragon-kings.

        ‘We develop the concept of “dragon-kings” corresponding to meaningful outliers, which are found to coexist with power laws in the distributions of event sizes under a broad range of conditions in a large variety of systems. These dragon-kings reveal the existence of mechanisms of self-organization that are not apparent otherwise from the distribution of their smaller siblings…

        We emphasize the importance of understanding dragon-kings as being often associated with a neighborhood of what can be called equivalently a phase transition, a bifurcation, a catastrophe (in the sense of Rene Thom), or a tipping point.’
        http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.4290

        Details are unknowable but the risks of inducing climate shifts – with unpredictable but potentially extreme consequences – by increasing CO2 emissions from 4% to 8%, 16%, 32%, etc as economies grow this century rise to a mathematical certainty.

        Such large potential changes in the atmosphere coupled with ‘no regrets’ actions puts the precautionary principle in its true light. Where there is an unpredictable risk of adverse consequences and where responses proposed have net positive benefits without consideration of external costs of emissions – it makes policy sense to proceed with the responses.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        That’s a percentage of natural CO2 flux.

      • DayHay,

        What percentage of the global CO2 does Australia contribute? I submit other than “looking green”, you Aussies cannot have any significant affect on global climate. So why would you want to harm your economy and citizens? And that assumes CO2 attribution is even correct!

        Dead right. Australia’s carbon restrain laws and regulations are costing us about the same as our total Defence budget, but will deliver no benefits whatsoever. These explain:

        http://jennifermarohasy.com/2013/08/why-the-ets-will-not-succeed-peter-lang/

        http://joannenova.com.au/2013/08/in-the-next-37-years-labor-will-spend-60000-per-australian-to-change-the-weather/

        Excellent interview with economist Henry Ergas:

    • Exactly, Kim. He assumes as an axiom that CO2 presents an existential threat that MUST be countered. With zero evidence that it has noticeable effect OR that it would be catastrophic if the ‘Temperature of the Earth’ did rise a couple of degrees as postulated.

      Bob Ludwick

    • Walter Carlson

      Well, Kim, of course if you have another scientifically credible explanation, please share it…msybe you should also FEDEX that explanation to IPCC. Thank you sooo much for sharing :-)

  2. Also, he confuses ‘lever’ with ‘fulcrum’. If he could find a fulcrum, he could move the world.
    ===========

  3. JC comments: “Even if you are unconvinced by the AGW and CAGW arguments, the risk of CAGW should be regarded as a possible scenario.”
    ============================================

    Judith, the risk caused by CO2 emissions is 0 (zero) for purely physical reasons. This is the central point, where there is no uncertainty. Let me remind you that the IPCC present their “greenhouse effect” as self-heating of the Earth surface (by 33°C). According to them, the Earth surface heats itself(!) and that with twice as much power as the Sun heats the Earth, the so called “greenhouse gases” serving only as passive reflectors (http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-1-1-figure-1.html). An absolutely crazy unscientific idea.

    I do not think a scenario based on an absurd impossible process should be regarded as “possible”.

  4. Streamline the nuclear power approval process so that this emissions-free source is once again competitive with coal and gas. Maybe not “too cheap to meter” but it could be too cheap to ignore.

    • Speed, I agree. Professor Bernard Cohen, in 1990, showed that regulatory ratcheting had increased the cost of nuclear power by a factor of four up until then, and probably for no benefit. Regulatory ratcheting has probably increase costs by at least a factor of two since … for a total of 8 times increase in cost.

      Nuclear fuel, when used in light water reactors which is the current generation of reactors, is 20,000 times more energy dense than fossil fuels. Nuclear fuel in breeder reactors could, potentially, be up to 2 million times more energy dense than fossil fuels. Greater energy density provides enormous benefits and potentials costs savings. The regulatory constraints have prevented nuclear making the advances it could and should have made over the past 50 years.

      We can have much cheaper energy if we stop blocking development. It cost about $1 billion and ten years to get a new design approved. Every design change also costs a huge amount. It makes it very difficult to compete with such imposts. For comparison, imagine where air travel would be now if we’d imposed a $1 billion cost and 10 year delay on every new aircraft design and similarly high costs on ever design change.

      Bernard Cohen (1990), “Cost of Nuclear Power Plants – What Went Wrong?http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html

      • Speed,

        Further to your comment, if we have cheap energy, then the impacts of global warming would be net positive, even for average surface temperature increases up to about 4 C or more, according to Richard Tol (2011) Figure 3:
        http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

        Envisage flattening the energy cost curve on Figure 3. Then the sum of the impacts of: Storms, agriculture, water, sea level rise, health, energy and ecosystems would be a positive impact.

        Cheap energy is the key. Get cheap energy and AGW is not an issue (if Tol’s figure is correct)

      • David Springer

        What are the nuclear regulatory restraints in China and Russia?

        Your argument falls apart when nuclear powers with no burdensome regulations are considered. Perhaps it’s time to accept the fact that nuclear power is not the panacea that its cheerleaders would have everyone believe.

      • At a cost reduction rate of 10% per doubling of capacity, the cost of electricity from small modular reactors would be equal to the cost of electricity from new coal plants (in Australia) when 3 GW are installed world wide, and half the cost of coal generated electricity when 200 GW are operating world wide. Markets and prices rules. Remove the impediments, allow the costs to come down, and the markets will do the rest. Utilities and countries will roll out the cheapest option. The anti-nuclear activists will become irrelevant. Nuclear paranoia will die.

      • Personally, I would never advocate for a zero-regulations environment for nuclear power. But serious revisions to the regs are in order, IMO.

        “Nuclear Power in China

        (Updated 30 October 2013)

        Mainland China has 17 nuclear power reactors in operation, 30 under construction, and more about to start construction.
        Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world’s most advanced, to give a four-fold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 58 GWe by 2020, then possibly 200 GWe by 2030, and 400 GWe by 2050.
        China has become largely self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle, but is making full use of western technology while adapting and improving it.
        China’s policy is for closed fuel cycle.

        http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/China–Nuclear-Power/

      • Jim2,

        Yes to all that. I’d add that Jordan has just signed a contract to build two 1000 MW reactors, to be commissioned by 2020, and UAE has four 1400 MW reactors under construction to come on line in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

        But therse are all the large ones. It will really take off and the costs will come down more rapidly when we can start rolling out the small modular reactors, like the mPower.

      • PL – I also am a big fan of small nuke power plants. Not just for for base load around the cities; but also for mines, industrial complexes, remote villages (US that is), and other off-the-grid applications.

      • David Springer

        Word to the wise. Don’t hold your breath waiting for cheap safe nuclear power. The United States is light years ahead of everyone else and if it could be done we’d do it. But it just isn’t cost effective for land based power when other options are available. Shipboard power during wartime when fossil fuel supply can be disrupted is a perfect application. On shore where fossil fuel is readily available it’s not. Deal. Not emitting CO2 is not an economic advantage but rather is rather a blatant attempt use warmists as useful idiots.

      • David Springer and others : Economics are important, but so are strategic issues. For countries dependant on fossil fuel imports, diversification into nuclear could be a very cost-effective strategic option. Nuclear fuel is a minor part of the total cost, so countries without their own supply could store many years’ worth of fuel in advance. And it’s much easier and more cost-effective for nuclear than for fossil.

      • Mike Jonas,

        +1

        There is another related benefit. The 20,000 times higher energy density of the fuel that makes it easy for countries to store many years or decades of nuclear fuel at little cost and requiring little storage space, also reduces the amount of shipping required to move fuels around the world.

        A tonne of uranium has as much recoverable energy as 20,000 tonnes of coal. That’s now. In the future, when it is more economic to start using breeder reactors, the ratio will increase to around 1 tonne of uranium is equivalent to 2 million tonnes of coal. Not only would the amount of shipping be reduced by a factor of 20,000 to 2 million, but the amount of fossil fuel used to drive the ships that transport the fuels would be reduced by that much too.

        Many people seem to have their blinders screwed to their heads.

      • “It cost about $1 billion and ten years to get a new design approved.”

        Wrong. The cost is essentially infinite, as there is no evidence, at least in the US, that ANY expenditure of time and money will result in the approval of a new design, if approval means all the permits required to construct and operate the plant.

        Bob Ludwick

      • Bob Ludwick,

        Which shows how ridiculous the regulatory system is. The system is preventing lower cost electricity that, would avoid 22,500 fatalities per year in the USA if it replaced coal. Oh, the damage the greenies have cause, eh?

        Thanks for enhancing my point.

      • Walter Carlson

        Modular nuclear power plsnts could be just whst our country needs. Our aircraft carriers have used nuclear power plants for 40 plus years. This type of smaller power plant would generate a third the kilowatts of superheated steam power plants with almost no potential danger. Buried below ground and using molten salt, each power plant could serve a city of 30 to 40 thousand population. Of course, as soon as discussed by congress, ALL fossil fuel groups would attack the concept the way agw deniers attack legitimate scientists!!

    • [previously posted in wrong place in tree]

      Speed,

      Further to your comment, if we have cheap energy, then the impacts of global warming would be net positive, even for average surface temperature increases up to about 4 C or more, according to Richard Tol (2011) Figure 3:
      http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

      Envisage flattening the energy cost curve on Figure 3. Then the sum of the impacts of: Storms, agriculture, water, sea level rise, health, energy and ecosystems would be a net positive impact.

      Cheap energy is the key. Allow the world to have cheap energy and AGW would not be a major issue (if Tol’s Figure 3 is correct).

  5. Lance wallace

    Has Foley calculated the decrease in global temperature expected from his proposed interventions? Can’t we ask this of everyone coming up with these solutions?

    • Lance

      The answer is very small fractions of one degree. It’s a waste of time for the effort and cost involved.
      Judith, have you ever done the calculation of the end results of these mitigation measures?

      If you haven’t you will be genuinely shocked at

      A) the infinitesimal reduction
      B) how few climate scientists HAVE actually done the calculation. I asked twelve following my article here a couple of years ago on ‘the futility of carbon reduction.’

      Tonyb

  6. I’m with Richard Muller on this one, and Bjorn Lomborg. An author who writes about practical solutions to AGW and doesn’t mention the words “nuclear”, “fracking”, “natural gas” even once cannot be taken very seriously. Practical solutions if they are politically correct.

  7. “It’s time to move beyond the old debates and endless gridlock, and find pragmatic, new leverage points to tackle climate change.”

    As usual ,assuming facts not yet in evidence.

  8. Yesterday, while on the freeway, it occurred to me that the overhead of most of our roads, especially highways, represents tremendous potential siting for solar collectors of some sort. Perhaps, rather than putting selected areas up for bid, why not simply allow “homesteading” of any highway overhead by anybody capable of showing proper insurance coverage for whatever risk their solar structures represent to traffic below? Both “Proof-of-Concept” and actual production solar installations could be sited by whoever gets there first.

    • AK, you write “Both “Proof-of-Concept” and actual production solar installations could be sited by whoever gets there first.”

      Solar power is very unreliable, and intermittent. It is not economic unless the power can be stored. So until the storage problem can be solved, any such scheme will not be economic to ordinary people, unless the government provides large subsidies.

      • Steven Mosher

        Then nobody will do it.

        AKs point is that this space could be licenced

        Now, you think it makes no sense. Good for you. You are not being asked to fund ANYTHING. what he suggests is licencing or leasing the space of highways. If some poor dolt tries and fails.. well then so be it.

        Here is hint. Anybody thinking about doing that business will not listen to you. Dont let that bug you

      • I would absolutely be for licensing space to solar energy providers as long as they are paying for it and taking the risk. I’ve never been against solar per se, what I am against is taxpayer money used for it.

      • Jim Cripwell | November 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        “Solar power is very unreliable, and intermittent. It is not economic unless the power can be stored.”

        Until you can find a way to make the sun shine at night you are still only generating power 50% of the time. Even if the storage problem is solved, solar will never be economically competitive except in niche markets.

      • Every year I find time to look at the growth of solar power installations globally. Every year I find that it increased 30%. 2013 is no different.

        Solar is not reliable in the sense that baseload plants are. But it produces energy when people are consuming it. And it is growing like the famous fable of the lilypads on the pond. The day before the pond is covered, the lilypads only covered half….

        30% a year adds up pretty quickly….

      • Tom Fuller,

        That’s brilliant. Solar growing at 30% a year and now it’s reached 0.7% of global electricity supply (or there abouts). Get real!

        When do you expect solar power will supply say 50% of global electricity? have you considered what transmission and/or storage system would be required to for solar to provide even 10% of global electricity and what it would cost? Please advise?

      • Still needs back-up, still has low power density, and omigod how the pond suffers choked with lilypads. Maybe your 30% is a measure of the pathological effect of the madness over CAGW, and maybe you actually do have a good point. I dunno, but I do know you’re not very wrong very often.
        ============

      • And please, look at Spain’s, at Germany’s, and at Britain’s infatuation with solar energy. Do I have to bring up Solyndra and its sisters?
        ==============

      • Tom, it’s already a many regrets policy in many places.
        ==========================

      • On windmills, Don Quixote got it righjt … Knock ‘em down!

      • @Peter Lang,,,

        have you considered what transmission and/or storage system would be required to for solar to provide even 10% of global electricity and what it would cost? Please advise?

        I know you don’t listen to me (and vice versa), but I’ll point out that I have, as well as addressing some of the other issues involved in exponential reduction of cost/price for solar power. So have Joule Unlimited (link above).

        Basically, the answer is to convert solar energy to chemical. I’ve mentioned three primary options, over and over.

        Methane: use solar power to produce hydrogen via electrolysis. feed the hydrogen through dark bioconverters, along with atmospheric CO2, to produce methane. Feed the methane into the existing (now and later) distribution and power production system.

        Coal: Use available sunlit space to grow Azolla, which can be carbonized and powdered, then fed into coal-fired power plants. The plants might have to be originally built to take carbonized biofuel as well as powdered coal, but I doubt that would add more than a tiny fraction to the cost. And I’ll bet that with even a small economic incentive several somebodies would work out cheap conversion kits for existing coal-fired plants.

        Liquid (gasoline, diesel, etc.) Joule Unlimited already has pilot bio-processes in production. That’s not something I push very often, not because I don’t agree, but it’s (usually) a waste of my time considering how often Dave Springer does it. In addition, the same bioprocesses mentioned above to produce methane from hydrogen could probably be easily modified to produce these fuels.

        They could also be modified (this I’m certain of) to produce carbohydrates such as glucose, which could be used as food, especially for meat animals. For that matter Azolla also makes excellent fodder, although AFAIK it would required substantial supplements, except perhaps for sheep. And sheep could be used for wool as well as food, wool still being the most comfortable fabric on the market for certain uses.

      • @Peter Lang…

        When do you expect solar power will supply say 50% of global electricity?

        Growing at 30%/year, in 40 years it will be at ~250% (that’s 2.5 times) current “global electricity supply”. If the latter has grown by a factor of 5, it’ll be at ~50%.

        You asked me once whether I had a “feel” for numbers. Evidently you don’t, at least in terms of exponential growth. Maybe you should study a little biology.

    • Today as I was walking through 18″ of new snow and waiting for the next 10″ and 50 klick winds I thought AK is a NUT ;>)

    • AK, so you would have the drivers driving in the dark. I suspect the carbon costs of the increase in accidents, due to loss of natural light, would more then offset the power generated.

      • In the future, there will be no accidents. Cars will navigate just fine with IR lidar, once we get rid of the incompetent carbon-based driving computers and replace them with a competent silicon ones. The silicon driver will only need 40 hp in a 1500 kg vehicle, which will get 60 mpg without a hybrid drivetrain.

        It’s just amazing how we never see the obvious coming. Like the brilliant urban planners of the 1930’s who demanded dirigible ports in all major cities.

      • Doc, I’ve driven on freeways where one direction is right under the other (i.e. eastbound I70 in St. Louis just west of the Blanchette Bridge). During the day, I can see just fine. There may be times when it’s appropriate to turn on my lights where I wouldn’t have to in the open, but they aren’t that much.

        And anyway, just make the “homesteaders” responsible for maintaining a certain level of light on the road, and let them work out the cost-effectiveness (or not). My guess is there’d be plenty of attempts, and some of them would be cost effective.

        And you’ve forgotten the safety improvements involved in blocking heavy rain/hailstorms and deep snow. That would probably make up for it.

  9. Our hostess writes “the risk of CAGW should be regarded as a possible scenario. In that context, looking for do-able solutions that have ancillary positive benefits on health.”

    I have great difficulty understanding this. If we are talking CAGW, then we are, presumably, talking CO2. CO2 is a colorless, odorless gas, which in concentrations that are going to result from the burning of fossil fuels are never going to reach the level which has any affect on health. So what are “do-able solutions that have ancillary positive benefits on health.”?

  10. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    On the same theme:

    An Open Letter From
    Climate-Change Scientist

    With the planet warming and carbon dioxide emissions rising faster than ever, we cannot afford to turn away from any technology that has the potential to displace a large fraction of our carbon emissions.

    The time has come for a fresh approach to nuclear power in the 21st century.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution

    Dr. Kerry Emanuel, Atmospheric Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Dr. James Hansen, Climate Scientist, Columbia University Earth Institute

    Dr. Tom Wigley, Climate Scientist, University of Adelaide and the National Center for Atmospheric Research

    Summary  Accelerating common sense!

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  11. The authors very premise is false.

    He says our political elite cannot solve basic problems. That is because our political elite cause these problems.

    The budget impasse and violence in Syria are created by our political-financial elite.

  12. We are being leveraged whether climate change is happening or not. This report says that CO2 emissions are continuing to decelerate:
    http://www.pbl.nl/en/publications/trends-in-global-co2-emissions-2013-report

    The finiteness of fossil fuel resources will obviously impact the global economy. If CO2 emissions in the last year slowed down to 1.1% from an average annual increase of 2.9% over the last decade then the recession of 2008 is appearing to be more and more a chronic fossil-fuel related issue.

    The pause in emissions observed has to do with the plateauing and decline in high-grade crude oil supplies. It also is partly related to a shift to natural gas, which has less carbon content per energy delivered.

    During this transitory period, we have options to either go after low-grade oil sources such as tar sands and heavy oil, look for other fossil fuels such as coal and unconventional natural gas, or go for alternative energy schemes.

    It really is a Systems challenge that we are facing. The challenge is not to go overboard and burn low EROEI hydrocarbon sources that due to their low efficiency will put the CO2 emissions through the roof.

    That is the point that geophysicists such as Raymond Pierrehumbert are trying to make:
    Raymond Pierrehumbert, “U.S. shale oil: Are we headed to a new era of oil abundance? – Slate Magazine.” [Online]. Available: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/02/u_s_shale_oil_are_we_headed_to_a_new_era_of_oil_abundance.html.

    • ” If CO2 emissions in the last year slowed down to 1.1% from an average annual increase of 2.9% over the last decade then the recession of 2008 is appearing to be more and more a chronic fossil-fuel related issue.”

      I don’t think the recession had that much of an effect, though slower growth + recession is pegged as the bulk of US reductions.

      http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dlashof/us_co2_emissions_have_been_fal.html

    • David Springer

      “During this transitory period, we have options to either go after low-grade oil sources such as tar sands and heavy oil, look for other fossil fuels such as coal and unconventional natural gas, or go for alternative energy schemes.”

      Why can’t we do all the above instead of just one of them?

      Duh.

    • Whatever route we go, we have to understand the energy returns that they individually could possibly provide us — which has never been a subject of anything more than passing interest.

      For example, who do you believe when it comes to projecting how much oil that the North Dakota Bakken formation can provide us?

      • The ones investing money in their development.

      • David Springer

        Ragnaar | November 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm |

        “The ones investing money in their development.”

        Bingo!

      • Wrong. No one invests in the entire infrastructure. To understand that takes more knowledge.

      • I believe the producers. I also believe the actual production figures – TO THE MOON, ALICE!!

      • The production figures of crude oil are leveling off and the PTB will do anything they can to hide the decline.

        An analysis for estimating Bakken output
        http://entroplet.com/context_bakken/navigate

        This assumes an eventual total of 60,000 wells.
        At a nominal coverage of 2 wells per square mile the total area looks like this:
        http://contextearth.com/wp-content/comment-image/400.jpg
        Which covers almost the state of North Dakota. Ain’t that special for a production output that will barely get to 2 million barrels per day.

        I doubt it will ever get that far, or last that long.

        We always have jim2 to do the newspaper clipping and believing anything that anyone with a stock ticker after his name tells him. Good for him.

        Wow, does that make me a skeptic?

      • Yes, WHT, the actual production figures are simply made up and published to throw people off the truth that only the Peak Oilers can divine. Right.

      • What I can’t fathom, WHT, is how persistent you are with your fantasies. Fess up and admit you have no idea what nat gas and oil production will be in 10 years. You’ll feel years of weight lift off your shoulders. You are a bright guy, there are a lot of productive bright-guy things to do. Pick one.

      • What’s the problem jim2, can’t you understand how oil flows out of the ground?
        http://entroplet.com/context_bakken/navigate

        Don’t you have any hobbies apart from clipping newspaper articles and quoting 2-bit hustlers?

      • Ignorance is bliss, WHT:

        “Dennis Gartman sees possible demise of solar energy

        Monday, 4 Nov 2013 | 5:05 PM ET
        Dennis Gartman of The Gartman Letter discusses the drop in U.S. oil, the “amazing changes” in the industry and his trade on crude.

        If crude oil prices continue to head lower, it could mean the end of the alternative energy industry, commodities trader Dennis Gartman said Monday.

        “I’ve never been a proponent of solar, nor of wind. I’m much more a proponent of crude oil, natural gas and nuclear power,” he said. “The amount of time that we have spent, the amount of tax dollars that we have spent, the amount of rhetoric that we have exhausted to try to support wind and solar makes absolutely no sense to me.

        “So, if crude oil makes its way lower, I think it spells the demise of the solar energy phenomenon.”

        The editor and publisher of the widely followed Gartman Letter, who made the comments on CNBC’s “Fast Money,” also said that West Texas Intermediate crude could continue its downward trajectory toward $85 a barrel.

        “I think over the course of the next several months, it could be and probably shall be,” Gartman said. “I’ve been bearish for several weeks now because the term structure had turned, I think, egregiously bearish, where the front months were losing relative to the backs. You’re actually beginning to see that now in Brent also. I think that’s fascinating, that Brent is about to go to a contango instead this enormous backwardation.” ”

        http://www.cnbc.com/id/101168914

      • All the fracked oil wells are showing 40% to 60% declines the first year — analysis of the historical numbers points to the reality.

      • Webster, “All the fracked oil wells are showing 40% to 60% declines the first year — analysis of the historical numbers points to the reality.”

        I guess that is why they are planning to drill another 8,000 wells. Dummies will never learn will they Webster.

      • David L. Hagen

        WebHubTelescope
        Re: Energy Return On Investment for shale oil
        Low energy return on investment (EROI) need not limit oil sands extraction
        Posted by Rembrandt on June 10, 2013 – 4:27am TheOilDrum.com

        Mine mouth (e.g., extraction only, excluding refining) net energy returns (NER) for the entire industry were found to be 5.23 GJ/GJ in 2010. In situ NERs were approximately 3.5 to 4 GJ/GJ in 2010 while mining NERs were approximately 5.5 to 6 GJ/GJ.

        Source: Brandt A.R., J. Englander and S. Bharadwaj (2013). The energy efficiency of oil sands extraction: Energy return ratios from 1970 to 2010. Energy Volume 55, 15 June 2013, Pages 693–702

      • The reality is that oil and nat gas production has gone up more than you ever imagined, even in your wildest dreams. You can’t bring yourself to admit you can’t predict where technology will take this. You can’t model it, even with a supercomputer. It’s unpredictable – but recent history shows the trend. I am amazed you continue with your diatribe, when surely just about anyone who has been around here awhile knows the truth of the matter. I should think you wouldl be embarrassed to continue on like this given the reality of the matter. Go figure.

      • The prize is crude oil, not natural gas, and that is rapidly depleting in places like the Bakken. According to recent presentations at the Geological Society of America meeting in Denver:
        http://www.tgdaily.com/general-sciences-features/81138-report-scientists-wary-of-shale-oil-and-gas-as-us-energy-salvation

        I did my own analysis, which any non-sucker can do if they don’t want to be played for a fool
        http://entroplet.com/context_bakken/navigate

        Same outcome as described by Hughes, peak definitely before the end of the decade and that would be with 60,000 wells, which is an enormous coverage area.

        Fracking Bust and a Wicked Decline.

      • Webster, “Fracking Bust and a Wicked Decline.”

        Well, I am sure you know best having been self published online, but HESS seems to think that certain stacked well patterns on a single platform can produce an oil drainfield of sorts so that the residual trickle will be enough to let gravity and pressure do its thing. While that is not enough to keep the world’s SUV’s fed, it is enough to make plenty of money will the price per barrel in those lower numbers that appear to be in the near future.

      • Cappy,
        A “residual trickle” will not power the USA’s economy, let alone the world’s ,and especially those countries without access to that trickle.

        http://www.climatecentral.org/news/fracking-boom-leading-to-fracking-bust-scientists-16680

        Though it’s true that oil production in fracked wells declines very quickly, any production peak in any of these tight oil fields would be market-driven, not driven by geology, said EIA analyst John Staub.

        “To fully drill-out the Bakken, for example, (total wells would be) in the 40,000 range,” he said. “They’re drilling 1,800 wells a year now. There’s a long ways away to fully drilling that out. David’s (Hughes) come in and talked with us. Yes, the wells decline quickly, but there are a lot of opportunities to drill wells.”

        One can enter 40,000 wells and 150 wells per month in the interactive page and see what comes out:
        http://entroplet.com/context_bakken/navigate

        The Bakken will “power” the oil economy to the tune of 1.2 million barrels per day, out of a needed 20 million barrels per day, for a couple of years according to the best observational evidence.

      • Webster, the Bakkan by itself will not fuel America very long but the methods being developed in the Bakkan will allow more recovery of “depleted” fields everywhere. That allows more time to consider rational transition instead of knee jerk Webster transitions. It also should allow the US economy to recover from the latest round of linear no threshold modeling inspired stupidity.

      • Crude Oil (WTI) USD/bbl. 93.90 11/5/13, 22:34:30

        http://www.bloomberg.com/energy/

      • captdallas 0.8 or less | November 5, 2013 at 9:17 am |

        Webster, the Bakkan by itself will not fuel America very long

        Neither will Eagle Ford. And that’s about it. Slim pickings while you try to hide the decline.

  13. “nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture mainly occur in a few crops and a few concentrated regions. Current research suggests that the lion’s share of these emissions come from just a few countries (mostly China, India, the U.S. and parts of Western Europe) and from just a few large commodity crops (including corn, wheat, rice a few others)”
    So we only have to stop fertilizing the areas where most of the World’s agriculture takes place, and the crops that feed most of the World’s population. Yeah, that sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it.

    • Well, the world’s population can always switch eating India’s unwanted methane emittin’ cows.

    • Not eating cows is a cultural issue that needs to be addressed. I don’t have a problem with cats, dogs, and horses either, it’s just that dogs and cats are too slim of pickin’s to bother with unless you are on the verge of starvation.

      • Well, if they eat the cows they’ll have a garbage disposal problem, and a shortage of dairy products, and no fuel with which to cook. Worshipping cows is a pragmatic matter, very sustainable, and bovine, to boot.
        ====================

      • By dung, I think you have a point there.

      • Try eating a cat sometime, and see who comes out of the deal in better shape. Fluffy has switchblades.

    • Corn, wheat, and rice – the Funny Foods!

  14. Here in CA, our government is demanding 33% renewables by 2020 (the original # I heard was 20%, but that didn’t include hydro or nuclear, which are bad energy sources). It is also demanding a million homes worth of energy storage, though they don’t know how to do it, nor what it is going to cost. In addition, CA has an aggressive push towards electric cars (but reading above, that’s a relatively small part of the problem). And of course, the government wants to build a High Speed Rail train that no one will ride since it would take 2 – 3 times the duration of a plane flight it intends to replace.

    Here is a link to an article displaying the insane thinking of Californians who are in charge:
    http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_24331470/california-adopts-first-nation-energy-storage-plan

    All of this costs money, and lots of it with little return with regards to reducing CO2 emissions. Perhaps instead California could use a small fraction of that money to do some of these high leverage things instead of throwing away very good money for small returns. For instance, perhaps CA could invest in Fracking operations to drive down the cost of Natural Gas.

    Or perhaps it could invest money in more free flowing roads, since we all know that bumper to bumper stuff makes cars so inefficient. Who knows, perhaps the workers, who spend so much time on the roads will be once again be able to have dinner with their families

    Or perhaps it could help subsidize those stoves for the 3rd World Judy was talking about.

    Or perhaps it could build a research institute to figure out how to make thorium reactors work well.

  15. It probably does not matter what Mr. Foley says now that Obama has said this:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/01/fact-sheet-executive-order-climate-preparedness

    In fact it probably doesn’t matter what any of us say.

  16. Heh, before getting into so-called ‘no regrets’ policies, maybe we should consider ditching the policies we already regret.
    ======================

    • Kim

      I don’t know why some of you lot complain about Obama, he has reduced hurricanes to a near historic low just by signing this order.
      Tonyb

      • Still waiting for the oceans to start dropping like he promised 5 years ago.

      • Tony,
        You have a great sense of humor. Do you put it into your books? If so it will be my pleasure to buy one because you are a first rate historian.

  17. I posted this a couple of years ago, but this is a sensible thread for reposting it.

    Elinor Ostrom made a distinguished career in political science comparing the outcomes of high-level administration to low-level administration in the cases of public goods provision and common pool resource management. She received the 2009 economics Nobel for this lifetime of work. As is usual, the AER invited her to develop her Nobel lecture into a lead article. It’s a very good introduction to her notion of polycentric governance and the empirical work she did that informs it:

    http://bnp.binghamton.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Ostrom-2010-Polycentric-Governance.pdf

    She died not too long after that. But she did write a paper on polycentric governance and climate change before she left us. It is here:

    http://elibrary.worldbank.org/doi/pdf/10.1596/1813-9450-5095

    It is closely related to much of what Foley says.

    • Thanks for this reference.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I have posted this a couple of times. It comes from the IASC – http://www.iasc-commons.org/

      Elinor Ostrom was certainly a beautiful mind.

    • From Ostrom’s paper on climate change linked by NW:

      “Instead of presuming that cooperation related to social dilemmas is an impossibility, the presumption should be that cooperation will occur in
      settings with several broad characteristics. These include the following:

      1. Many of those affected have agreed on the need for changes in behavior and see themselves as jointly sharing responsibility for future outcomes.
      2. The reliability and frequency of information about the phenomena of concern are relatively high.
      3. Participants know who else has agreed to change behavior and that their conformance is being monitored.
      4. Communication occurs among at least subsets of participants.”

      Conditions 1 and 2 don’t seem to be met for CO2 mitigation. People don’t agree on the need for changes and the information available is unreliable, to put it mildly. So Ostrom’s analysis seems like it should be saying that her preferred polycentric approach is not doable. I still have to read the rest of the paper, though.

    • StevePostrel, I think that is exactly right at the global level. I think this may be why Ostrom stresses lower level costs and benefits that have nothing much to do with CO2 per se.

      More broadly, I would suggest a distinction between environmental activist and environmental entrepreneur. The activist uses government to create change by using the government’s unique regulatory and revenue powers, whereas the entrepreneur looks for an unsatisfied want that could be satisfied through appropriate self-organization around shared benefits and costs, trust and reciprocity. I can think of Ostrom has advocating for more environmental entrepreneurship at the local/city level that contributes to the global goal as a consequence (even though that consequence is not the primary motivator for self-organization).

      • > The activist uses government to create change by using the government’s unique regulatory and revenue powers, whereas the entrepreneur looks for an unsatisfied want that could be satisfied through appropriate self-organization around shared benefits and costs, trust and reciprocity.

        As if entrepreneurs did not use the government’s uniqueness. As if activists did not try to satisfy an unsatisfied want through trust and reciprocity.

        And where’s Goldilocks anyway in that story?

      • I seem to have pushed one of your buttons, Willard.

        The suggested distinction is meant to be two ends of a continuum; I easily agree that we find mixtures of these two characters.

      • NW,

        We ought to beware of our narrative wedges. In your story, the two frames were quite contrasted. I’m not sure many readers would have liked to be considered activists.

        Perhaps we ought to more explicit the need for an activity to be centered around shared benefits, reciprocity, and trust. That value has merit. On the basis of your own work, I believe we could say it has scientific merit.

        This value could become a principle to which both lobbyists and industrialists could abide.

        ***

        Another value we might need is pluralism, or perhaps federalism. By which I mean that we stop asking ourselves for an absolutely decision center and a single way to solve problems. This central model goes against how we know things work best. If this has failed in the field of artificial intelligence, I have no reason to believe it should work in political economy.

        Embodied cognition might have many similarities with what Ostrom seems to say.

      • Steven Mosher

        Ostrom

        a number of us plusOne her work. sadly it generates little traction.

  18. I notice that once again nuclear gets short shrift. This is a typical “green” (not) shortcoming.

  19. I guess that curtailing Brazilian and Indonesian sovereignty is “do-able”. After all, they are just “tropical” (brown and all). That’s so much more agreeable than living with wind turbine noise or riding on public transportation.

    Sanctions should be tried first, but we can always escalate if they fail to show responsibility.

    Then we can target those awful Chinese and Indian corn, wheat and rice growers. They don’t need to grow those crops because they can buy them from the US. That’s better for the trade balance anyhow. Science has proven that vital cereal grains should only properly be grown at higher latitudes. We should have a unilateral enforcement mechanism for this.

    Climate change can change the world for the better as long as we all believe, and as long as we are willing to take the steps required, like ensuring compliance by all.

    • The brown part of it didn’t enter my mind, but I do have to wonder how practical it would be to try to tell other sovereign nations that they have to stop industrializing. Perhaps some of this could be subsidized, but the US is such a massive debtor nation, I can’t imagine this working very well.

  20. The Federal government can’t pass a budget. The UN can’t condemn the use of WMDs. And the science community can’t be bothered to check obviously dodgy studies.

    Foley is correct that science should try for something a bit simpler. I would suggest that the science establishment muster up maximum effort and try something new and different — to have data and code available. If they can manage that, then perhaps they could move on to even greater deeds — such as replication of important studies.

    And finally, if the establishment can move enough mountains to achieve the heretofore impossible (transparency and replication), then it might then focus on something truly extraordinary — establishing that models have predictive skill before they are used. Frankly, I think that may be a bridge too far.

  21. The first obvious point (apart from doubts about climate science) is that CO2 has benefits which are being ignored. Satellite observations show that the planet’s land biosphere has increased over the last few decades in spite of deforestation etc (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/300/5625/1560.abstract). The most likely candidates for that surprising result are (1) warmer temperatures, (2) an increased hydrological cycle resulting from the warmer temperatures but not coded into the climate models (https://www.sciencemag.org/content/317/5835/233.abstract), and (3) increased atmospheric CO2 levels.

    The second obvious point is that the largest CO2 emission increases, and probable future increases, are from China and India as they continue to lift their people out of poverty. This is immensely beneficial and something that the world needs to encourage and to promote to many other countries. While these living-standard increases are driven by fossil fuels, the suggestions put forward here by Jon Foley would have about as close to zero effect as it is possible to get.

    Given the above points, the following points are pretty irrelevant :-

    Tropical deforestation : Jon Foley reports that tropical deforestation has declined 75% over the last 5 years. That has had no detectable effect on the level of atmospheric CO2. There is no reason to suppose that the last 25% will have any detectable effect either.

    Cutting agricultural methane emissions has no lasting impact on greenhouse gas levels. Methane has a half life of about 7 years as it turns into CO2 (http://phys.org/tags/methane/). The CO2 is then recycled through the agricultural system, emerging again as methane farts, giving a net zero impact.

    Nitrous oxide emissions : Zero impact on global temperature. Water quality, air quality and human health may be very good reasons for acting, but not global warming.

    “Minor” Greenhouse Agents : Zero impact on global temperature.

    Foley’s idea of coming up with some solutions to put in the ‘win’ column may be sensible, but the specific ideas that he came up with won’t work. My suggestions would include (1) genuine climate research (not just CO2), (2) energy research, (3) educating girls in poor countries.

    • Tropical deforestation : Jon Foley reports that tropical deforestation has declined 75% over the last 5 years. That has had no detectable effect on the level of atmospheric CO2. There is no reason to suppose that the last 25% will have any detectable effect either.

      Tropical deforestation : You take out a green tree and you plant some other green things in its place. You take care of the green things you planted. You never took care of the tree you took out.

      How do you know the Earth is worse off because you replaced some green things with other other green things that you water and fertilize and make sure they are doing well?

      The alarmists take developed areas out and say it is all bad.
      How can it be all bad. People are growing green stuff there and helping it grow. Before, there was green stuff there but it did not have any help.

      When your Alarmist Response is extreme, you need to take a few deep breaths and look at actual data and Think.

  22. Svend Ferdinandsen

    What climate change?
    I find it hard to see any climate change other than what always has been happening. If it was not for the climate research you would not know of any change.

  23. Apart from Foley’s assumptions on the cause of what he sees as a potential climactic threat to the planet (ie. he assumes there is a threat), this paper is simply another whinge for someone else to do something

    So tedious – to paraphrase: “I’ve cleverly stated the problem … all that you others have to do now is fix it”

    For over twenty years now, such pointless crap has been endlessly regurgitated. Ho hum

  24. By that same logic, you should always buy the extended warranty. Just in case.

    • I bought extended warranty twice, that I recall.
      In one case I did not need it.
      In the second case, I needed it, but my problem was not covered.

      The money I saved for not buying extended warranty in the many other purchases is much more than what I lost with a few purchases.

      They do extended warranty to make money, not lose money.

      That is true with all insurance. They do it because they make money.
      Except for the Government, they do insurance to lose money so they can raise taxes.

      I do house and car. Car, sometimes, depending on age and mileage.
      I do life insurance, I am sure someone will collect on that.

  25. Too many people assume that action on CO2 is necessary and then address the how and what if that has to do with accomplishing it.

    It is not really known that action is needed and it is not really known if action will cause more harm than good.

    We need to figure out more before we do more stupid fixes for something that may not be broke and using fixes we know will cause much harm and fixes that we are really sure cannot help because we don’t have any way to force the rest of the world to be stupid like Germany and US.

  26. In the search for effective climate solutions, we need to look for what I call “planet levers”: Places where relatively focused efforts, targeted the right way, can translate into big outcomes.

    In the search for planet levers to address climate change, we should look for ways to significantly cut emissions that don’t require grand policy solutions. We need practical solutions to substantially cut emissions that work with a handful of nimble actors — including a few key nations, states, cities and companies — to get started.

    Yes. Excellent. And here is an obvious one: remove the unnecessary impediments that are blocking the development of nuclear power. Allow competition to do what it does best – make products that are fit for purpose at least cost. A wise US President could get the energy revolution started just by wise leadership. There’d be no turning back.

  27. I read the essay carefully before commenting. I find it completely muddled.
    First, he accepts the most recent IPCC findings without question, concluding actions must be taken.
    Then he points to the failure of ‘grand bargains’, notably in the climate sphere Kyoto. Key CO2 emitters China and the US did not sign up. None of the nations that reduced emissions in practice. The US did because of a change in electricity generation economics toward CCGT.
    Then he points to places that could make a difference. Offering as examples Indonesian palm oil ( green biodiesel) and China/India rice production. What he does not explain is what economic incentive Indonesia to change, or how UN will command it to do so. Or what political incentive China and India have to curtail open paddy major staple rice and starve their own people?
    Then what he does not mention are things like nuclear electric generation, which amazingly Dr. Hansen himself now recognizes must be part of any practical mix, and which China and India are starting to recognize by spending more research dollars on next generation nuclear (India, Kalpakam FBR, China LFTR).
    Gives a bad name to fuzzy logic. Even if AGW were a problem worth seriously adressing now (a doubtful proposition) Kumbiya ain’t a solution.

  28. Focusing on cities presents a particularly good set of levers to address climate change. Cities represent a nexus point of critical infrastructure — for electricity, communications, heating and cooling, and transportation — that are already in desperate need of improvement, and shifting them toward low-carbon “climate smart” technologies is a natural progression. Done right, most of these investments would improve the health, economic vitality, efficiency and livability of cities.

    Focusing on efficiency is a distraction. It has a role to play, but cannot achieve a lot. We have to have fuel switching from fossil fuels. And renewables also cannot do much. They are another major distraction.

    Richard tol (2013) https://www.sussex.ac.uk/webteam/gateway/file.php?name=wps37-2012-tol.pdf&site=24 says:

    The Kaya identity helps to understand trends in carbon dioxide emissions and options for
    emission reduction. It has that total emissions (M) equal the number of people (P) times per
    capita income (Y/P) times the energy intensity of production (E/Y) times the carbon intensity of
    the energy sector (M/E). This implies that emission reduction can be achieved by population and
    economic shrink. The latter proved to be an effective strategy by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
    China sometimes argues that its one-child policy is its main contribution to international climate
    policy (Ryan 2012). Governments seeking re-election would, however, focus on improving
    energy and carbon intensity.
    Because energy is a cost and energy use has no intrinsic benefit (as opposed to energy services
    such as heat, light and transport), energy efficiency has improved steadily for as long as we have
    data (Fouquet 2008). Emission reduction would require accelerating that trend beyond what is
    the revealed preference, which implies a cost to the economy (unless the energy market is
    distorted). Improving the carbon intensity of the energy sector requires switching to energy
    sources that, at the moment, cannot compete in the market. Again, this implies a cost.
    Alternatively, carbon dioxide can be captured before being emitted and stored underground.
    There is no inherit benefit to this at the scale required, so again a cost is implied. Of course, these
    are the direct costs only. As energy use is pervasive, general equilibrium effects are substantial.

    What I think Richard Tol doesn’t appreciate is that we could (and will eventually) have cheap, low-emissions energy. But its development is effectively blocked because of nuclear paranoia which has been caused by 50 years of anti nuke activism.

  29. JC said:

    I like reading Foley’s articles, since the ‘pragmatism’ theme often seems to be missing in the policy discussion on climate change.

    There is no pragmatism if you ignore nuclear energy. It';s just more of the same old greenie ideological rhetoric, IMO. I’d make the same point to Tol and Lomborg.

    • Steven Mosher

      ‘There is no pragmatism if you ignore nuclear energy”

      sure there is is. There is limited pragmatism, but its pragmatism all the same. If you are iceland you can ignore nuclear and be pragmatic.
      If you are the ivory coast, you can ignore nuclear and be pragmatic.

      Pragmatic MEANS one solution does not fit all.

      • ‘There is no pragmatism if you ignore nuclear energy”

        sure there is is.

        Nonsense! Your argument is equivalent to what the renewable energy advocates argue all the time – i.e. “every little bit helps”. This is non-pragmatic nonsense.

        David Mackay addresses the fallisy of ‘every little bit helps':
        http://www.thesciencecouncil.com/david-mackay.html

        David Mackay “every BIG helps”
        http://www.withouthotair.com/c19/page_114.shtml

        We’ve established that the UK’s present lifestyle can’t be sustained on the
        UK’s own renewables (except with the industrialization of country-sized
        areas of land and sea). So, what are our options, if we wish to get off fossil
        fuels and live sustainably? We can balance the energy budget either by
        reducing demand, or by increasing supply, or, of course, by doing both.

        Have no illusions. To achieve our goal of getting off fossil fuels, these
        reductions in demand and increases in supply must be big. Don’t be distracted
        by the myth that “every little helps.” If everyone does a little, we’ll
        achieve only a little. We must do a lot. What’s required are big changes in
        demand and in supply.

        “But surely, if 60 million people all do a little, it’ll add up to a lot?”
        No. This “if-everyone” multiplying machine is just a way of making something
        small sound big. The “if-everyone” multiplying machine churns out
        inspirational statements of the form “if everyone did X, then it would provide
        enough energy/water/gas to do Y,” where Y sounds impressive. Is
        it surprising that Y sounds big? Of course not. We got Y by multiplying
        X by the number of people involved – 60 million or so!

      • So peter, you are suggesting Nuclear for Iceland?
        Suggesting it for every country in africa?

        without looking at the individual cases?
        thats not pragmatism.

        My argument is not that “every little bit helps”. but rather, you have to look at individual cases.

        and finally
        My argument is that you are not a pragmatist. you are a shill.

      • Mosher,

        You are wrong! Your comment is just a diversionary tactic. You don’t start with the tiny exclusions and waste your time arguing about them. You start with what is most important – Pareto – paraphrased: ‘20% of the countries will account for 80% of the solution’. Start with the solution that will have the biggest affect. Clearly that is nuclear power replacing coal, initially. (e.g., as per comment in previous thread 15 Gt CO2 avoided by 2045 just from replacing coal fired electricity generation). And much more can be done as well in parallel. Cheap energy is the key. Did you read the links I gave you in response to your previous question? Have you read the comments I posted on the ‘Open Thread Weekend’? If you haven’t read those, I understand why you are asking these questions that would be largely answered if you had read them.

      • I just saw this comment by Mosher (typical insult from him when he’s been exposed as making stupid comments):

        A shill, also called a plant or a stooge, is a person who publicly helps a person or organization without disclosing that they have a close relationship with the person or organization.

        Wikipedia gives the definition of shill as:

        A shill, also called a plant or a stooge, is a person who publicly helps a person or organization without disclosing that they have a close relationship with the person or organization.

        So, Mosher is accusing me of being a shill, but without any evidence. It’s just name calling.

        Perhaps he’d like to state which person or organisation I am a shill for.

  30. So , once again we must “do something”, about, “we must find a solution” to “Climate Change”
    If we “do something” or “find a solution” to Climate Change what are we going to replace Climate Change with?
    What are we going to “solve”?

    If we stopped all food production, all energy production and wound down civilisation until only the remnants of humanity are left to go back to the caves but the climate keeps right on changing what then?

    If we as a species eventually are able to force some semblance of control onto Nature’s climate change regime, who gets to decide just how much change should be permitted in the global climate?

    Who gets to decide where it rains and how much and how often?

    Who gets to decide just what temperature the earth should be running at ?
    Who gets to decide where it is to be warmer or cooler around the planet?

    Who gets to decide where those great global climate controlling ocean currents and heat sinks and sources should be diverted to “control” the global climate?

    Who adjudicates the conflicts and massive wars that will erupt as nations find they are on the wrong end of the decisions and are being forced to live with a climate not of their choosing and perhaps a climate that even threatens their very existence so others can enjoy a climate that is to their great benefit?

    Who will held responsible for the deaths of billions from cold or heat or starvation in the loser countries arising from the decisions of those who decide the global climate should be modified and altered to benefit another group of nations or a specific and very powerful and influential political group?

    I keep on seeing this constant meme that we need to ” find a solution” or “we must do something” to counter or neuter or control the so called climate change.

    What exactly are we supposed to solve as a changing climate has been a part of Earth’s most basic characteristics for all of it’s 4.5 billion years of existence.?

    And in fact the very Climate Change that all the unthinking, seemingly ignorant promoters of “we must do something” meme want to eliminate has led to the rise of intelligence by constantly challenging life in all it’s forms to adapt to those changes in the global climate.
    When a species has failed to adapt to the sometimes immense past changes in the global climate, it perishes.
    But in perishing it makes available a new large niche for a more adapted species to occupy.
    And that is how our species, a species with a level of intelligence above any that have previously existed in our world’s evolvement down through the aeons of time but which is likely to be far from the end of the line in intelligence levels as far as Nature is concerned [ Is there ever an end to anything that involves Nature? ] has evolved and come to dominate, at least in our self centred view, all life on this Earth.
    [ Maybe one should ask the 350 million year old termite species of this earth if humanity is the dominant species,! The answer I would think would be No!, But we will let you keep on believing that it is.]

    Our species one outstanding and defining characteristic that single us out over and above all other species that have ever existed is that we are the only species ever on this Earth to have learnt to both control and use energy to our species great benefit and it’s drive towards being the dominant species.
    And for that we are “Humanity”

    Even here the drive to control and use energy was in the end driven by the need of our species to be able to adapt to and live in what in our natural state were hostile and ever changing climatic conditions as human kind spread across the planet and into every conceivable location.
    In locations where the climate and temperatures and water and food availability are readily conducive to human occupation, the use and development of energy and the development of that use was low and stagnant for the entire couple of hundreds of millions of years that it took for our species to evolve.

    Only in a harsh climatic challenging locations where humanity could barely survive if at all without significant energy use did the more advanced development of energy and it’s use take place..
    And with that development of energy use came civilisation, driven by the constant changes in the local, regional and global climate and the need for humanity to both adapt to and find means of coping with those challenging, changing climatic conditions.

    The ever changing global Climate has driven and forced life on this earth to rise from a bacterial level to a level of high intelligence and perhaps futuristically will lead to an ever increasing series of intelligent species which may not be humanity as we know it now.

    So now our so called intelligent species, ie; humanity or at least some sections of it which seem to driven more by paranoi than intelligence or rationality want to stop climate change, the very item that through it’s challenges and it’s winnowing of unsuccessful and unable to adapt life forms has led to the rise of intelligent life on this planet.

    If they succeed then Earth’s life forms over the future aeons of time just slowly sink into an never changing torpor and for sentient life on this earth that means a slow downward death spiral to extinction until once again only the bacterial species are left in an endless never changing global climate.

  31. Pouring cold water on nuclear power:
    http://nyti.ms/1iEGIXr

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Judith Curry points to “Pouring cold water on nuclear power:”

      Cold water on nuclear power? Details follow:

      Q  What needs to happen before [Fuskushima's melted-down] reactors can be considered “safe”?

      A  Some areas have radiation levels that are still so high that they are inaccessible to humans. Workers will have to continue pumping coolant water into the reactors for years, until the molten fuel reaches a state in which it can be air-cooled. Therein lies another problem: Nuclear officials admit they are not sure exactly where the fuel is resting.

      Q  What’s the major concern now?

      A  Water. This summer, Tepco finally admitted that as much as 300 tons of contaminated ground water was seeping into the Pacific Ocean every day. The ground water flows down from the hills behind the plant and mixes with water that is being used to cool the reactors.

      Q  Was it the reactors’ design, their location, or simply a lack of planning that resulted in the crisis?

      A  Tepco had ignored warnings that the area was prone to very powerful tsunamis; waves as high as 46 feet easily breached the plant’s 19-foot protective seawall, while its backup power generators, located perilously close to the ocean, were quickly rendered useless.

      Conclusion  In the quest to keep costs down, Tepco, aided by Japan’s toothless nuclear regulators, had failed to prepare Fukushima Daiichi for a major natural disaster.

      It’s mighty tough to balance sobering nuclear-power risks against the sobering risks of global climate change.

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      Cold waters indeed.

      • “A Some areas have radiation levels that are still so high that they are inaccessible to humans. Workers will have to continue pumping coolant water into the reactors for years, until the molten fuel reaches a state in which it can be air-cooled

        How typical that you recycle lies. The reactors had uranium oxide or plutonium/uranium mixed oxide fuel and did not melt during the accident, but the Zirconium cladding, melted and oxidized away away, allowing the fuel pellets to drop to the reactor vessel floor. The loss of cladding allowed the release of radioactives in the aqueous and gas phases.
        This oxide fuel was never molten, nor is it molten now, given that it is surrounded by water.

      • Doc Martyn,

        I’m a bit out of date, but I believe the fuel pellets are, as you say, at least surrounded by water.

        Molten? Hardly – although I believe at least one US expert pushed the story in the media.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        DocMartyn asserts [wrongly?] “The Fukushima reactors had uranium oxide or plutonium/uranium mixed oxide fuel and did not melt during the accident”

        Assertion by DocMartyn, links by FOMD.

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        What does UOX/PuOX corium look like? The world no longer wonders!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Further amazing corium experiments.

        Note  The core flows at Fukushima involved UO_X/PuO_X masses hundreds of times greater than these experiments.

        These are remarkable experiments, eh DocMartyn?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fan appears to offer caution on the Nuclear option. Are we to infer that Hansen and Fan have agreed to disagree?

      • ” This video shows the top view of a churning molten pool of uranium oxide at 2000°C ”

        The melting point of uranium oxide is 2,865°C.

        “These are remarkable experiments, eh DocMartyn?”

        These are displays of very stupid people doing very stupid things for very stupid reasons.

        They are only classified as ‘experiments’ by people who are charlatans, like you John, people like you.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        A final piece of the thermodynamic puzzle is that complex eutectic mixtures that include plutonium/uranium/zirconium oxides (plus compounds originating in stainless steel, concrete, etc.) generically melt at appreciably lower temperatures than the native plutonium/uranium oxides/zirconium.

        It is a pleasure to help increase your thermodynamical appreciation of eutectic melting-point depression, Doc Martyn!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • France!
      ======

      • kim,

        What! Are you a died in the wool Francophile?

        May I remind you, Sir, that of the 180+ reactors presently operating in Europe, France operates a piddling 58! And they only produce 63 GWe!

        You just wait until the rest of Europe catches up with those damned Frenchies! Then you’ll see what’s what!

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

    • Why is it that there seems to be a total blank out by all the catastrophic climate change and energy pundits re Lockeed Martin’s Skunk Work’s Fusion reactor project?
      LM’s Skunk Works division, developer of the U2, the 3000 kmph cruise Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft, plus drones and other still “black” projects in a number of non aerospace fields has announced a fusion reactor project which seems to be already quite advanced .

      At the Google “Solve for X” forum in February this year, Charles Chase of LM’s Skunk Works fusion reactor project outlined a program that is projected to achieve fusion in their truck sized reactor by 2017 [ if they haven't already done so but have yet to achieve the break even energy input / output levels ] and then be into commercial Fusion reactor production by 2022 / 25 or thereabouts.

      Lockheed Martin announces compact Fusion Reactor plans
      http://www.fusenet.eu/node/400

      Lockheed Martin are one of the giants of the world’s aerospace firms and they don’t go around making claims that they will never meet .
      Their ” black” projects Skunk Works [ registered name by the way ] also has a reputation of meeting it’s project’s specifications.
      The Solve for X forum seems to be the only time that any details of this project have been publicly released.
      If LM succeeds then the world’s energy problems and the so called accompanying and badly misnamed “pollution” from the highly beneficial to plants and therefor global food supplies, CO2, will be a thing of the past and mankind with Fusion power technology at his disposal will never be short of energy ever again.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Their ” black” projects Skunk Works [ registered name by the way ] also has a reputation of meeting it’s project’s specifications.”

        huh? you have no idea how many black and covert projects out of the skunk works failed.

        the black program
        D-21 tagboard is just one example.

        as for failures in covert programs ( blacker than black ) we never talked about the programs much less the failures.

      • Steven Mosher | November 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm |

        “Their ” black” projects Skunk Works [ registered name by the way ] also has a reputation of meeting it’s project’s specifications.”

        huh? you have no idea how many black and covert projects out of the skunk works failed.

        Why did you preface a statement that absolutely proves his claim with “huh?”?

        Basic SOP for a drive-by is that you aim the gat out the window.

        :)

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        ROM asks “Why is it that there seems to be a total blank out by all the catastrophic climate change and energy pundits re Lockeed Martin’s Skunk Work’s Fusion reactor project?”

        It is a pleasure to answer your question ROM!

        “Fusion will be there when society needs it”
         — Lev Artsimovich

        Answer  The past sixty years of extravagantly optimistic projections have not yielded practical designs for fusion power production. Continued optimistic projections for fusion power — when unsupported by theory, experiment, or concrete design paths — are rationally discounted.

        Thank you for your thoughtful question ROM!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Cold water?? It’s only negative comment (outside the video, possibly, which I didn’t watch – I rarely do) is that nuclear is currently uneconomic in the US and on the nose in Germany and Japan so its future lies with China, Russia, India, Iran and North Korea. Well, I wouldn’t bet on it. Economies and fashions change.
      Last Feb, the US approved the first new nuclear plant in a generation (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/09/us-usa-nuclear-nrc-idUSTRE8182J720120209). There was a suggestion that 4-6 more units may come online by 2020 (http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-T-Z/USA–Nuclear-Power/#.UnbdkeKn7HE). The UK has just announced their first nuclear power plant in a generation (http://news.yahoo.com/uk-looks-nuclear-plant-secure-energy-114744576–finance.html).
      Methinks the tide has turned.

      • Yeah, I wondered at the ‘cold water’, too. My ‘France’, above was for Andy Revkin’s warping of the discourse with his last remark about the coming nuclear powers. Mike Flynn solidifies the point above.

        By the way, I have lots of respect for Andy Revkin’s curiosity and intellectual integrity.
        ==============

    • Dr. Strangelove

      What a ridiculous anti-nuke propaganda by CS Monitor. What areas are inaccessible to humans? Inside the blown nuclear reactor? Even in operating nuclear plants, it is not advisable to go inside the reactor.

      Pumping coolant water? All nuclear plants have cooling pools where spent fuels are submerged and kept. They are not air-cooled.

      What’s the radiation level of the contaminated water? Forget to mention because it is in safe level? People actually drink contaminated water in nuclear plants to prove it’s safe. The banana is also radioactive.

      Basic design flaw in Fukushima. The backup generators are in the basement below sea level. They got flooded and failed. Easy to correct. Put the generators high above sea level and reactors underground below sea level. During emergency power outage, let the sea flood the reactors to cool. You have unlimited supply of cooling water flowing by gravity.

      A magnitude 9 earthquake and 30-foot tsunami hit the badly designed Fukushima plant. Despite all the bad things happening at the same time, not a single fatality due to nuclear radiation. It’s hard to imagine a better safety record. Just walking outdoors is more dangerous. 50 people get struck by lightning every year in US alone.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        SimplyInfo posts “[In-depth analysis of Fukushima corium flow]“

        These resources show plainly that TEPCO’s corporate disclosures in regard to the Fukushima melt-down are entirely untrustworthy (similar to BP’s untrustworthy disclosures in regard to the Deepwater Horizon blow-out).

        It has been a pleasure to help provide both of you (and Climate Etc readers too) with better access to more nearly complete scientific information, Dr. Strangelove and DocMartyn!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Dr. Strangelove

        The high radiation readings are inside the Torus room. It doesn’t tell us anything about safety. It’s like saying it’s very hot inside the volcano. Is it unsafe? Only if you go inside the crater.

        The highest radiation dosage received by Tepco workers is 198 mSv by only one person. Typical radiation therapy for cancer patients is 80,000 mSv. The natural radiation in Ramsar, Iran with population of over 30,000, is 250 mSv. Radiation in Fukushima plant is not dangerous unless you go inside the blown reactor.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Dr. Strangelove claims [without reason or evidence]  High radiation readings inside the Torus room don’t tell us anything about safety.”

        Claims by Dr. Strangelove, links by FOMD.

        Are Fukushima’s torus rooms *really* supposed to be filled with corium, Dr. Strangelove? The world wonders!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Dr. Strangelove

        The Ignorant wonders: “Are Fukushima’s torus rooms *really* supposed to be filled with corium?”

        The whole world knows the obvious answer: Yes, because Unit 1 Reactor blew up. It’s all over the news media. It would be a miracle if the whole building (not just the torus room) is not filled with corium.

        That it resulted to not a single radiation fatality and only one person got 198 mSv of radiation dosage is proof of the safety of nuclear plants.

    • Advancing nuclear power really is a pragmatic approach to CAGW, but it also switches the partisan advantage so the Romm ditto heads will fight on. Just remember who the forces of “stasis” really are and you’ll understand why most of us are sanguine about the “danger” of global warming.
      I’ll worry when we see actual evidence of concern from the so-called “climate-concerned” (those Joshua would call fake “believers” if he were really interested in the issue).
      Recall also that the “renewables” fans claim their fantasy product has seen vast improvements in costs and efficiency in the last 20 years. Which only means that nuclear was even more obviously the right choice to replace coal back in 1988. In other words, after looking at Hansen’s climate prognostications 25 years ago, the climate movement consciously decided to spend the next quarter-century advancing a political agenda instead of a climate one.

  32. the need to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions is becoming ever clearer

    No data supports this. NO DATA SUPPORTS THIS!

    DO NOT DO SOMETHING STUPID WITH NO DATA THAT SUPPORTS WHAT YOU ARE DOING!

    • It’s kind of like a bait-and-switch. Never dwell on why you need the wiz-a-matic 38, just declare that you need it, and immediately ask which color do you want.

      It’s an old sales technique from carnival days. Still works.

  33. It is hard to believe anything the IPCC tells us, here is a list of their major mistakes/errors;
    (1) Why did the IPCC ignore the 0,5C global temperature rise between 1910 and 1940?
    (2) Why did the IPCC ignore the subsequent temperature fall detween 1940 and 1970?
    (3) What happened to the peak 1940 heat after 1940?
    (4) How could the IPCC describe the peak heat of 1940 as normal?
    (5)Is it a coincidence that the 1970 to 1998 temperature rise looks
    remarkably like a lagged version of the 1910 to 1940 rise?
    (6) How does the IPCC reconcile the assumed high heat capacity of CO2 with its measured specific heat?
    (7) The IPCC was not set up as a scientific research organisation bcause, at the time the ‘science was settled”. Does the IPCC still believe this?
    (8) How long will the present ‘pause’ last?
    (t)…. ….

    The credibility of the IPCC depends on the answers to these and similar questions.The Sankay report is suspect because it accepts the IPCC report foe basic data,

  34. I do get tired of climate alarmism in new wrappers. And the way “we” can “just do” things if we are smart, nimble etc and play with the right global levers etc…it all smacks more of repackaging the impractical rather than getting practical.

    I note that Mr. Foley uses no awful jargon to christen some new system or paradigm of his invention, and I do thank him for that. But having seen the effects, here in Oz, of abandoning grazing lands and old timber country to fire-prone killing grounds for feral animals, I would suggest much caution. Once the photo op has passed for a rubbish new National Park or reserve which should never have been declared, enthusiasm and funds pass on to new photo ops. To paraphrase Tacitus, they make a mess and call it wilderness. Or they make a fire-trap and call it carbon sink.

  35. Let’s face it: Politicians in Washington can’t even pass a routine budget bill

    You cannot have too much faith in politicians,you must always prepare for the worst eg Popper.

    “I am inclined to think that rulers have rarely been above the average, either morally or intellectually, and often below it. And I think that it is reasonable to adopt, in politics, the principle of preparing for the worst, as well as we can, though we should, of course, at the same time try to obtain the best. It appears to me madness to base all our political efforts upon the faint hope that we shall be successful in obtaining excellent, or even competent, rulers.”

    The foremost problem is that to reduce altruistic influences by defending their political majority,which is by bundling the policy in an infinite reel of redtape reducing the efficiency and entraining the wrong fixes eg Haldane.

    Regulatory and legal frameworks share common roots. Both are complex, evolutionary systems, shaped by history. They are the result of a set of well-intentioned historical actions by technicians charged with filling cracks, creating certainty, shaping incentives for the common good. Both legal and regulatory frameworks have many of the characteristics of a classic public good.

    But the cumulative consequences of even well-intentioned actions may not always deliver outcomes which necessarily serve society well. That is because such actions are typically a response to events and circumstance. The resulting frameworks have a history of path-dependence (David (1985)). This history-dependence may “lock-in” sub-optimal technologies, such as QWERTY keyboards and VHS video-recorders.

    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/speeches/2013/speech646.pdf

  36. Curious George

    The risk of CAGW should be regarded as a possible scenario? The Aztecs of Tenochtitlan bravely fought the risk of the sun not rising the next day: they had to sacrifice a noble human at the sunrise. To counter the risk of CAGW, let’s build a pyramid in Washington, DC.

  37. Well, nothing else seems to have worked so far, so my suggestion is – prayer.

    Warmism has all the trappings of a religion, so it should be their mission to pray for us unbelievers. Prayer is obviously effective, as it has been widely used by people of all persuasions since the dawn of mankind. Evidence of its effectiveness has been widely reported in many texts, by many people of unchallengeable veracity and righteousness.

    It is supported by 100% of those scientists who believe in it, and is supported by the world’s religious leaders, including the Pope. For those who criticise prayer as having no scientific basis, I can only say that you can’t perform an experiment involving prayer. It’s too tenuous, like the atmosphere. It has to be taken on faith.

    Warmists could adopt the motto “Salvation through Sacrifice”, and could set the standard by sacrificing their all, for the rest of us. I’m sure that mass Warmist prayers to halt Climate Change would be at least as effective as reducing the levels of certain trace gases in the atmosphere. Prayer by itself appears to have no negative effects to unbelievers – so we would raise no objections.

    I have one minor caveat. History has shown that a motto such as “Salvation through Sacrifice” could be interpreted literally by the more radical Warmists, who might call for the sacrifice of the “unbelievers” or “denialists”, in the event that Warmist prayers were proving ineffective.

    I would not be in favour of that particular outcome, naturally.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

    • Problem with that is that when prayer doesn’t work, the next step is usually sacrificing virgins.

      • Harold,

        As long as it’s only virgins, I’m OK. I was more worried about unbelievers. I could be in a spot of bother.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • “Harold
        Problem with that is that when prayer doesn’t work, the next step is usually sacrificing virgins.”
        Joshua must be sweating.

      • Fantasizing about me again, eh Doc?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Mike Flynn asserts [wrongly] “I can only say that you can’t perform an experiment involving prayer.

      Incorrect claim by Flynn, links by FOMD.

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • AFOMD,

        I apologise. Of course you can. As your link shows : –

        “Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.”

        Obviously, this would not apply to Warmist prayers.

        They would work, just as surely as CO2 warms the world.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

  38. Remember government failure and analytic failure, not only market failure.

    In the old days the term was “no regrets” …. Virtually all public policy in the name of climate change is regrets.

  39. There is a quite subtle shift taking place in the language of the skeptics right across the luke warmist and skeptical forums and blogs over the last few months.
    The warmists and all their demands, claims and proposals for control of the climate are becoming objects of considerable ridicule and derision exemplified in the changing nuances of the language now being used by the skeptics.

    The warmists and their golems in the media, bureaucracy and politics have about exhausted their most damaging forms of attack against the skeptics and don’t seem to be able to counter or fight back any more in any meaningful or significant way.

    The Skeptics are feeling that the end of the Great Global Warming scare and scam is in sight and they are driving home that feeling with an increasing vengeance.

  40. Retrograde Orbit

    Fascinating …
    The way the skeptics feel about the warmists, the warmists feel about the skeptics.
    Maybe there is still hope for climate consensus after all?

  41. JC,

    Even if you are unconvinced by the AGW and CAGW arguments, the risk of CAGW should be regarded as a possible scenario. In that context, looking for do-able solutions that have ancillary positive benefits on health, the environment or the economy seems to be a sensible, no regrets approach.

    False antecedent feeding a non-sequitur.

    If you are unconvinced by AGW and CAGW arguments, you are under no obligation to regard CAGW as a possible scenario, anymore than being unconvinced by UFO and LGM arguments yet requires that you accept Space Alien invasion as a possible scenario.

    Even regarding CAGW as a possible scenario is meaningless. Possible does not mean probable.

    Even regarding CAGW as probable does not require that you see GHG mitigation as desirable, let alone achievable. Adaptation …I

    Is this your function, JC? To be the one who brings the deniers in line with the policy objectives? It doesn’t matter if the reasons to do it are false, demand that it be done anyway?

    • The Chatty Judith Doll 2.0 hasn’t come out yet.

      Maybe they’ll be available this Christmas.

      Andrew

    • JJ,

      Based on a recent meteorite strike in Russia, it’s obvious that one should regard getting hit on the head by a meteorite as a clear and present danger.

      Quickly, don a hard hat! Hide in a cave!

      I haven’t any time to worry about CAGW. I’d rather worry about things that have happened, and thus may happen again, rather than a Warmist apocalyptic vision of the unknowable future.

      I’m with you, I think. If JC’s intent is to lead the unbelievers back to the fold, she’s not making a good fist of it, what?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

  42. Independently from one’s convictions about climate, it is natural to think about our (human) possible influence on it; it goes together with thinking about production of energy, use of our natural reserves, pollution and health matters, etc… A common feature of such issues is that they need to be thought about at planetary scale.
    Is it serious for someone living in the US to claim that since there is no leadership in his country (so he says), he should ask Indonesians and Brazilians to develop at a slower rate to make him happily continue to spend twice as much energy as they do (per capita)? Is it serious to mention energy issues without discussing nuclear power? It is fine to say that there is no leadership, either at national or international scale, and to say that one must be pragmatic, but then one should propose purely national solutions to what one considers to be a (purely national?) problem. Sorry to be a bit sarcastic, I hope you get my point.

  43. Retrograde Orbit

    JJ
    Please consider:
    There are experts on climate science out there (and they are not crackpots like the UFO enthusiasts or the ghost hunters) and these experts warn us of CAGW. Throwing expert advice into the wind is generally considered foolish. And I think rightly so.
    What Judith is saying is that we – even if we don’t agree – take there warnings as a possibility into consideration.

    • “and they are not crackpots”

      You sure about that?

      Andrew

    • Retrograde Orbit,

      Name one expert on “climate science”. Just one.

      Oh, wait. Define “climate science” first. Unfair I know, but you brought it up.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Retrograde Orbit,

      You said : –

      “There are experts on climate science out there . . . ”

      Is this similar to “The truth is out there . . .” from X-Files?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • RO,

      Please consider:
      There are experts on climate science out there (and they are not crackpots like the UFO enthusiasts or the ghost hunters) and these experts warn us of CAGW. Throwing expert advice into the wind is generally considered foolish. And I think rightly so.

      Since you are so keen on expert advice, here’s some more:

      “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”. – Richard Feynman

      When you’re digesting that, try real hard not to confuse irony with meaning.

    • there may be a really, really , really small chance that Chicken Little is Right. This almost never happens. This could be a major first.

    • There are experts on climate science out there and they are crackpots like the UFO enthusiasts or the ghost hunters and these crackpots warn us of CAGW.

      Throwing false expert advice into the wind is generally considered what you should do with it and think rightly so.

  44. There won’t always be books for UK’s elderly to burn to stay warm in cold winters. You don’t need to speak German to know coal-fired power plants are being built in Germany because it is the pragmatic thing to do when the Left says ‘Nyet’ to nuclear.

  45. Retrograde Orbit

    Google it.
    “climate science” is used all over the place.

    • Retrograde Orbit,

      Yes, I’m sure lots of people such as yourself use it all the time.

      Given that climate is defined as the average of weather over a period of time, it could be said that climate is to science as witch is to doctor.

      So I repeat,

      “Name one expert on “climate science”. Just one.

      Oh, wait. Define “climate science” first. Unfair I know, but you brought it up.”

      Referring me to Google might indicate you are making assertions, unsupported by fact. Hand waving. Pious hopes.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

  46. Retrograde Orbit

    Here is what I am really curious about:
    Above somebody hinted that climate scientists may be the same kinds of “crackpots” as UFO enthusiasts or ghost hunters. I have seen them being accused of much worse things even, in this bog.
    Aren’t you guys ever afraid of being wrong? What if some day it turns out that they were correct all along? Will you write a letter of apology?

    • Retrograde Orbit,

      Why would anyone need to apologise to someone who managed to accurately calculate the average of a series of numbers?

      I presume that they would be required to apologise fulsomely to their boss if they got such a simple task wrong. It’s hardly rocket science, is it?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • It can not turn out some day that they were correct all along, because the AGW concept is unscientific and absurd. “GW” is unscientific, but still might be true by a pure coincidence, but “A” (CO2 warming) is physically totally absurd and impossible.

    • Here is what I am really curious about:

      Above somebody hinted that climate scientists may be the same kinds of “crackpots” as UFO enthusiasts or ghost hunters.

      No, they did not.

      There was no disparaging language at all used wrt to UFO advocates, let alone ‘crackpots’. Nor was there any reference at all to ghost hunters. You made that stuff up.

    • If it turns out they were right all along that will surprise me so much that I will likely not be able to respond. That would upset much of what I understand and it would take longer than I have to live to recover.

      That being said, there is no data that indicates they can possibly be correct.

  47. Retrograde Orbit

    To put this in context …
    If it turns out that the climate scientists were wrong all they will say is:
    “OOoops, sorry, I made a mistake. Let me correct this real quick ..”

    • RO,

      To put this in context …

      If it turns out that the climate scientists were wrong all they will say is:
      “OOoops, sorry, I made a mistake. Let me correct this real quick ..”

      LOL.

      Thus far, that is exactly the opposite behavior exhibited by those that dominate “climate science”, when they have been wrong.

      You certainly have an active imagination.

  48. “What if some day it turns out that they were correct all along?”

    What if that’s the same day the Mothership lands? I mean, think about the ramifications.

    Andrew

  49. I didn’t see the term “black carbon” in the synopsis of Foley’s arguments (did I miss it?). Too bad, because recent studies have found that it is second most important emission of humans, in terms of causing warming.

  50. The best chance to mitigate climate change is to severely reduce consumption of animal foods. About 1/2 of human induced warming is attributable to animal agriculture. Methane is 24 times more potent than CO2 and takes only 7 years to cycle out of the atmosphere. CO2 takes around 100 years to come out. Human pursuit of animal protein is the leading cause of methane release and a primary cause of CO2 concentrating in the atmosphere. Check the facts and act!

    “A 1% reduction in world-wide meat intake has the same benefit as a three trillion-dollar investment in solar energy.” ~ Chris Mentzel, CEO of Clean Energy

    “As environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.” Worldwatch Institute, “Is Meat Sustainable?”

    “The livestock sector emerges as one of the top contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. The impact is so significant that it needs to be addressed with urgency.” UN Food and Agricultural Organization’s report “Livestock’s Long Shadow”

    “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains… the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.” Environmental Defense Fund

    “It’s not a requirement to eat animals, we just choose to do it, so it becomes a moral choice and one that is having a huge impact on the planet, using up resources and destroying the biosphere.” ~ James Cameron, movie director, environmentalist and new vegan

    “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” ~ Albert Einstein

    21-Day Vegan Kickstart
    http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/kickstart/kickstart-programs

  51. Judith’s comments have really sorted out those that Deny that CAGW is even possible (see above). I am not sure how to classify these people. There must be a word for them.

    • Jim D,

      There is – rational. And you are . . .?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • Yes, I am.

      • Rational is saying that all the warming we have seen so far and more could be, just could be, due to CO2 with negative impacts from the sun, PDO and aerosols taking away from it. Remove these negative effects, and the warming would have been greater. To deny that is even remotely possible is irrational, especially when AGW comes with an explanation based on radiative physics and with paleoclimate observational support together with a century of trends in the atmosphere and ocean that fit these explanations better than any alternative theory, if such exists.

      • Jim D said: “…especially when AGW comes with an explanation based on radiative physics”
        ============================================

        The “greenhouse effect” as presented by the IPCC is not based on physics, it is an absolutely absurd notion, a flat-out lie.

    • Do you deny humanity will need more energy irrespective of what Western school teachers dream up as to what the future temperature of the globe will be in 50 years?

      • There’s a book, now: ‘Credentialed to Destroy’.
        ================

      • We’ve gone pretty far down a dead end road but, “no intervention will stop inviolable economic law from revealing what is real and what was mirage.” (David Calderwood)

      • More energy comes with more heat and higher sea levels if you obtain it the wrong way. What we have learned is that there is a wrong way and a right way to get more energy.

      • Al Gore may be what the Left considers a government energy expert but the productive do not have the luxury to place their futures in the hands of a lifetime politician from a background of privilege with delusions of grandeur and a cargo cult understanding of economics.

  52. “Focusing on cities presents a particularly good set of levers to address climate change. Cities represent a nexus point of critical infrastructure — for electricity, communications, heating and cooling, and transportation — that are already in desperate need of improvement, and shifting them toward low-carbon “climate smart” technologies is a natural progression. Done right, most of these investments would improve the health, economic vitality, efficiency and livability of cities. ”

    Right.
    So let’s have nuclear cities. Let’s beat the French!
    Target all nuclear energy and export the electrical energy.
    Certainly city folk are greater geniuses than the hicks!
    So make them the safest nuclear reactor ever. The worst
    nuclear reactors have been safer in comparison to any
    other type of power generation. But power design can make
    them safer and have longer life times. So make them so
    their operation life is designed for at least a century.
    Design them to withstand a nuclear attack, the worst
    possible flood, worse possible earthquakes. Make so invading
    armies would take a long time to breach the defenses.
    Make so Fort Knox security is poor in comparison.

    So biggest threat to shoddy work is politicians getting
    pals and family doing it. You need people involved
    who care about it being a high quality project.
    So people living near it should be able to oversee
    the project. So say the nuclear powerplant could be underground.
    And so in that case people living above it, would have greatest
    interest in making sure in it well built.
    So it seems to me that those living nearest the nuclear power
    plant should get significant cost advantage for the electrical power
    produced. So those nearest get the best price for electrical power.
    So they can’t resell the electrical power, but they sell what made
    from the electrical power. So you want people within say 10 km
    to get power at 1/2 the cost of those further than 10 km.
    Or say 80 to 90% of power is sold outside some zone, and
    a regular cost and those with region get it for 1/2 this price.
    Of course the main of electrical power is not wholesale it’s retail,
    but those closer to power plant would lower cost for retail,
    but in addition to this those out of the region would subsidizing
    or paying not to be near the powerplant [or those using electrical
    in the region would getting better price and so in that sense are being compensated for whatever risks they taking by being closer.
    The whole idea is this power plant would safer than any other power plant, but still the power plant is in sense paying more than the actual
    risk would be. The nuclear power is also in sense paying for the involvement of the local community their involvement in making it a successful project. Or community is creating an environment in which the people in the area want a nuclear powerplant.
    So one could say you have competitive bidding- regions which all want a a safe and efficient nuclear powerplant near them.

    So in such situation, nuclear power plants can provide near constant yearly power. But would design this powerplant to always be giving power
    to local region- so parts of powerplant may need to go off line, but there
    always be enough power provide for 10 to 20% of it’s total power.
    So another benefit of living near the power plant is always having electrical power. So in addition to cheaper retail price, they also get better service. So these customers may have brief outages from
    from severe events- storms, earthquakes, or whatever, but they get paid
    a significant for any outage. Or their power is restored first.

    “Tropical Deforestation. Tropical deforestation releases roughly 10 to 17 percent of global CO2 emissions. That’s roughly comparable to theentire global transportation sector — including every car, truck, bus, plane and ship in the world — which emits roughly 15 percent.”

    Right. Al transportation and forest are minor.
    Focus on the electrical power.be like Canada and France- nationally export electrical power rather than just import it.

  53. Here we go again.

    There is no such thing as a “no regrets” policy for reducing CO2 levels.

    All policies have costs, and some have benefits. You are making choices, which are tradeoffs. Something else has to suffer – always.

    It may be that a policy with another objective (such as increasing vegetation levels) has the side-effect of absorbing CO2. But any policy specifically aimed at reducing CO2 has costs, i.e. “regrets.” The resources that are allocated to it could have been used for other purposes.

    I was interested to read about his strategy for targeting cities to promote his dubious objectives. Mine, which is infested with wealthy greenies, has just announced a target of 90% renewable energy by 2020! The current level is 2-3%. Of course, there is zero chance that it will be achieved. But, our wallets are about to be raided again in pursuit of unicorns and righteousness.

    And as others have said, good luck with coercing sovereign nations and shutting down or hobbling production of basic foodstuffs across the world. That such warmongering, human-hating policies should even be suggested tells me that “pragmatic” as used in this article is a lie, pure and simple.

  54. Regarding ‘no regrets’ it should be realized that weak policies regarding carbon-limiting also can lead to regrets. Any weak carbon policy is not ‘no regrets’. There will be some regrets if the policy is too weak.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Again – no regrets is defined as something that has net benefits without considering external costs’ of emissions.

  55. Even if you are convinced by the AGW and CAGW arguments, the risk of abrupt cooling should always be regarded as a certainty. Rationalism.

  56. One reason we’re so stuck is that most of the climate solutions being proposed are beyond the capabilities and vision of national political leadership.

    A more immediate reason we are so stuck is that most of the climate solutions being proposed are beyond the constraints of engineering capability and physical reality; and are based on little more than wishful thinking.

    Solutions cannot come from politicians. They need to come from engineers.

  57. Someone needs to write an essay – Breaking the Delusions of Grandeur of Climate Action.

    “We” can’t get the democratically elected leaders of the rich west to do what we want (at least not fast enough), so let’s identify some “levers” in communist China, and chaotic India. Not to mention deforestation in third world autocracies.

    Let someone else worry about the who, how, how to pay for it, etc. We did our part by identifying the levers.

  58. Me own serf complaint regardin’ top down ,faceless
    power brokers, actin’ as our political green masters. (
    http://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/serf-under_ground-journal-7th-edition/

  59. Thank you moso and Peter from
    Beth-the-serf’s sock puppet Belinda. ).

  60. Chief Hydrologist

    Here are some levelised costs of generating plants.

    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/electricity_generation.cfm

    It is obvious why the US is pursuing gas generation – nothing else comes close. In other places all sorts of options might be viable – including wind.

    Nuclear in the US requires substantial cost reductions that might be achievable with 4th gen plants. These designs have major advantages in safety, efficiency, waste management and proliferation. They use most of the energy available for fuel producing much less waste that is dangerous for hundreds rather than hundreds of thousands of years.

    Wind has the advantage of not having fuel costs – this makes it the most economic option for standby power when available. In a power grid – there is always the need for standby power. Where there are a variety of sources – it pays to maximise the no fuel cost option when available.

    Solar power has this advantage as well. Levelised costs are high but improving all the time. Solar in places such as Texas has the advantage of the supply profile more closely matching demand. In a big system system there is room for all a variety of sources.

    ‘‘The scenarios described above have been developed in order to
    provide potential resources to be included in transmission needs analyses. By developing a range of scenarios, the intent is to define the range of potential future outcomes rather than to predict what will occur.

    In addition to supporting the transmission planning process, the development of these future scenarios and assessing likely resource additions by scenario provides useful information on its own. Perhaps the most notable feature of these scenario results is their similarity: natural gas generation and renewables dominate the expansion mix for all of the sensitivities. In sensitivities in which market prices are expected to stay low and no incentives are provided for renewable generation, most or all of the expansion units are fueled by natural gas. In scenarios with increasing market prices (due to increased fuel costs, emissions allowance prices, etc.) renewable generation additions are significant. As modeled, the capital costs for pulverized coal, integrated gasification combined cycle, and nuclear units are too high for them
    to be competitive under the future scenarios evaluated.’
    http://www.wecc.biz/committees/BOD/TEPPC/SPSG/Lists/Events/Attachments/443/ERCOT%202012%20Long%20Term%20System%20Assessment%2030Jan13.pdf

    • There is a hell of a lot of nonsense in this comment. It is a pity you write as if you know something about the subject, because you don’t, and simply copying and pasting bots out of a report doesn’t make you any more knowledgeable.

      LCOE of dispatchable and non-dispatchable technologies are not comparable. That’s why they are shown separately in the EIA report: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/electricity_generation.cfm. Many other costs need to be added to Non-dispatchable technologies for a proper comparison.

      The ERCOT analysis is a study for transmission system planning, similar to what the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) does regularly. There are many assumptions including about the expected likely future regulations and market distortions, e.g. subsidies, tax breaks etc., and the high cost of nuclear. This is as it should be for the intended purpose of this analysis and for the near term, but not relevant for am analysis to advise USA or global policy on how to get us to cheap energy for the future, and to give the world the least cost way to cut emissions (all externalities included).

      Gen IV nuclear plants are decades away from being commercially viable. There will inevitable be al long development time and many generations to go through before they are a commercially viable option (i.e. fit for purpose and cost competitive). For perspective, it’s taken 50 years to get light water reactors to where they are now.

      Wind is not an option for standby power. Standby power must have high availability – i.e., high probability of being able to deliver the power demanded when demanded and at short notice (like diesel and gas).

      The claims about solar power are pure spin, straight out of the solar advocates’ talking points. The reason solar is advocated is to cut GHG emissions, not to provide cheap, fit-for-purpose power. But the CO2 abatement cost with solar is exorbitantly high, e.g. up around $600/tonne in Australian cities and would be similar in Texas. Abatement cost above about $10/tonne CO2 cannot be justified on the basis of social cost of carbon or the optimal carbon price.

      Wind and solar power are a high cost way to reduce emissions.

      Nuclear will remain high cost as long as the impediments remain. Once USA starts unwinding them, it will take a long time, and much longer for the cost reductions to pass through into new design and operating costs and the cost of electricity – probably decades. That’s why we need to start asap. It will take decades to get the cost of nuclear power to where it should be, and would be if not for 50 years of regulatory ratcheting.

      There are over 40 small modular nuclear power plants designs in various stages of development from concept to operating demonstrators. But it is too expensive for them to go through the licensing process. The NRC has selected one design, the ‘mPower’, to take through licensing; the schedule is to have two units in operation in 2022. The estimated cost of electricity from such plants in Australia when the first few are in operation worldwide (mod 2020s) is $113/MWh (Table 4.38 http://www.bree.gov.au/documents/publications/aeta/Australian_Energy_Technology_Assessment.pdf (c.f. projected cost of electricity from new coal plants in Australia at that time is $84/MWh with no carbon price (Table 4.9)). [Note: The LCOE projections in the AETA report assume aggressive cost reductions for renewables and no cost reductions for nuclear.]

      If, for the sake of the exercise, we assume a cost reduction rate of 10% per doubling of capacity, then the cost of electricity of these plants would be cheaper than from new coal plants in Australia when 2.8 GW of capacity has been installed world wide. The cost of electricity would be half the cost of new coal electricity in Australia when 200 GW are installed world wide.

      As I said above, there are many designs wanting to compete but blocked by the enormous cost to get through licensing and the enormous commercial risk of getting blocked, for whatever reason. Once we can reduce these blockages to what is objectively required – rather than being dictated by irrational nuclear phobia – then competition will bring the costs down and improve the designs so they are suitable to meet the customers’ demands.

      If we assume the capacity of small nuclear power plants doubles every 2 years from 2022, then small nuclear power plants would replace all coal fired generation (or most coal and some gas generation) by 2045. That would reduce global emissions by 15 Gt/a below the projected emissions in 2045.

      The price of nuclear generated electricity can be expected to continue to decline. Gen IV plants would start to appear as commercially viable options, and produce hydrogen so that commercial synfuel for transport becomes viable also.

      But it all depends on unshackling nuclear as soon as possible.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The ERCOT report was on future generation capacity. The modelling used US industry standard software incorporating supply and demand as well as climatic factors. The money quote I provided speaks for itself. Gas is cheapest at projected prices in Texas for the foreseeable future.

      The transmission system is certainly an important part of the picture – the report includes a discussion of transmission planning from earlier reports as an essential framework for generation planning. The modelling takes up renewables when available because of the operational cost advantages – i.e there are no additional fuel costs for utilising as much of the energy as possible. The modelling assumes zero penalties for carbon dioxide emissions.

      The EIA page provides levelised costs for different methods – which includes utilisation factors for non dispatchable methods if you look closely.

      I make no assumptions about future markets and technologies – but simply put forward talking points on technologies in the context of industry planning for a specific system and provide a link to levelised costs in the US.

      4th gen nuclear has been under development since the 19060’s in Germany. There are 6 designs listed for development by the Gen 4 International Forum – http://www.gen-4.org/Technology/systems/index.htm – the ‘roadmap’ for Gen 4 shows adoption in the late 2020’s – http://www.gen-4.org/Technology/evolution.htm There is a video at this link with an introduction to the technology.

      General Atomics is spending $1.8 billion of their own money on a design scheduled for commercialisation in a decade which they suggest will be 30% cheaper than conventional nuclear – $60/MWh – or less than half the cost you are suggesting.

      http://www.ga.com/energy-multiplier-module

      The licencing advantage is that these are factory built and can have generic approvals. Something the Obama administration is working towards – with I would assume bipartisan support.

      But rather than repeating myself and entering another long winded discussion with you with your heavy on handwaving and abuse style – I will leave it at that.

  61. Dr. Strangelove

    Interesting chart by World Resources Institute. If we stop deforestation, that’s equal to 25% cut in CO2 emissions. Livestock not only emit 5% of all GHG. They also eat more food and drink more water than humans. There are more cows than humans by weight. We have too many cows. Eat less meat and more veggies.

    • Dr Strangelove,

      The answer to too many cows is obvious. Eat more beef.

      Termites are estimated to outweigh humans. I haven’t got the faintest idea of whether that’s good, bad, or supremely irrelevant. It’s all too much for me. I might just ignore it all, and keep enjoying life!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Dr Strangelove,

      I put a ‘grins’ in after “beef.” It vanished.

      The right and left arrows I used must be some formatting symbols. Should have just used LOL. Oh well.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

  62. The problem is that a small minority want to take control of everything because they have the belief that if they do nothing then both humanity and the planet will face catastrophe.

    In pursuit of that end they propose various styles of top down control which are likely to meet the same problems as all past such attempts in that they attempt ‘cures’ that are worse than the ‘sickness’.

    In fact, global population is likely to peak at around 10 billion and then decline, energy and resource supplies seem likely to hold up with advancing technology, it is looking more and more likely that human induced climate effects are not as advertised, freedom, prosperity and education are the best solution for local and regional environmental caretaking.

    So there isn’t really such a great problem at all. It is all a consequence of the ‘glass half empty’ mind set fuelled by a guilt complex in some of our elites.

    Freedom, prosperity and education are likely to lead to long term sustainability over time without all those panic mongers taking control and enforcing their misjudgements on everyone else.

    We need to pull back from all that manipulation, power hunger, greed and short sightedness being promulgated by a few elites who always seem to end up lining their own pockets whilst trampling on the ‘masses’ and making huge murderous errors in the process.

    This is an anti authoritarian viewpoint not directed to left or right of the political spectrum since history shows that blinkered authoritarianism can come from both sides.

    • I have used ‘a precious conceit of a Western elite’ to describe the destructive memeplex that has infested the developed countries, but, thanks to art, both ‘precious’ and ‘conceit’ are used in an archaic sense, so am usually not understood. In Andy West’s terms, the BRICs are succumbing to a constructive memeplex.
      ========================

      • Love your language, Kim.

        Not many people know how to use “precious” and “conceit” properly these days.

        Consider yourself an outpost of literacy in no-man’s-land!

  63. The “walk back” to contrite climate regulation based on speculative models and offsetting benefits like reduced SO2 and other general air pollutants (co2 is not a pollutant) goes back to the 60’s and 70’s. It’s a fallacy of science logic that we should scrap the science method over the critical alarmist claims and we might be better off for other reasons. For example lowering oil imports weakens O.P.E.C. etc.

    Better we destroy as much energy central planning and deregulate as much as possible. We have vast supply chains to open if not for Greenshirt extremism blocking supply. Therefore the article is completely off what is essential regarding energy policy and issues.

    It isn’t a choice between hard or soft climate socialism with experts leading the discussion. It’s about defrocking the climate bureaucracy completely of imagined authority and accounting for the abuses of the past 50 years in academics in particular.

  64. A climate project with ancillary benefits is not “no regrets” unless the ancillary benefits alone justify the project, in which case it is not a climate project. There is no free climate lunch.

    • David Springer

      Until someone produces a credible study of whether burning fossil fuels is a net good or net bad there’s no basis for even determining what might or might not be regrettable with regard to policy decisions. What if CO2 is the only thing stopping the Holocene interglacial from ending? Cheap nuclear power in that case would be a bad thing because it would cause an ice age to begin.

      So we know that fossil energy has a huge upside in improving living standards. Without it civilization would collapse and billions of people would die until the human population receded to that of the pre-industrial age. I suspect that’s what some if not most catastrophists actually want.

      • ” I suspect that’s what some if not most catastrophists actually want.”

        Interesting that you should notice this, while none of the ‘mainstream media’ have gotten around to it. For those interested, check out the recommendations of the ‘sustainability’ movement. And note that Prince Somebodyorother in England made a speech declaring that if he were reincarnated he would like to come back as a pandemic virus. He, by the way, was making the speech in front of a ‘Do Something About Climate Change Now’ crowd.

        Remember, that ‘sustainability’, according to the Experts, requires that we reduce the population of the Earth to somewhere between .5 and 1 billion. And, based on the policy recommendations of the climate/sustainability experts, they seem determined to achieve and enforce sustainability. By any means necessary.

        Bob Ludwick

    • Precisely.

  65. I think the way this thread has developed is interesting, in and of itself. There are all sorts of people saying, quite rightly IMHO, that there is no such thing as CAGW. However, we have to set this against the fact that just about ALL the learned scientific societies, and academic institutions who have declared their position, state that CAGW is the equivalent of an established scientific fact.

    It is all very well for climate skeptics to write about how CAGW is merely an unproven hypothesis, but it an entirely different issue to say what should be DONE to “force” organizations like the Royal Society, and the American Physical Society to discuss whether there is, in fact, any proper scientific basis for CAGW..

    We have the ridiculous situation where the Astronomer Royal, and former President of the Royal Society, Lord Rees, can publicly state, in effect, that the no-feedback climate sensitivity is a proven scientific fact. see http://theconversation.com/astronomer-royal-on-science-environment-and-the-future-18162. And no-one, who matters, has the courage to confront him, and say he is wrong. Which he is.

    It is a said state of affairs for science, physics, here in November 2013.

  66. No, until the fundamental corruption, moral hazard and rent seeking of the AGW movement is rooted out,nothing offered by climate obsessed people should be accepted. This post is based on yet another version of false claims about risk and the AGW promoter’s fixation on ‘communication’.

    • Hey hunter –

      Why’d you drop the sock puppet? Because everyone knew it was you anyway?

      • David Springer

        Hilarious. One anonymous coward questioning the motives of another anonymous coward with regard to cowardly anonymous handles.

  67. Berényi Péter

    1. Biofuel production on cropland has to be stopped immediately, for it is agriculture that does the most damage to the environment, not industry or mining. Reforestation of reclaimed low quality cropland is a win-win, irrespective of carbon dioxide or anything else. All biofuel usage should be banned, instead of being subsidized, it is as simple (and cheap) as that.
    2. No Climate Fast Attack Plan is credible until nuclear energy is embraced fully. Not the old fashioned Plutonium factories, of course, but ones with built in proliferation control, passive cooling, two orders of magnitude higher fuel efficiency and no long half life isotopes left in waste. With a more reasonable regulation it would be done by the market.
    3. Windmills has to be abandoned, because of their utterly inefficient land use and because they do much more harm to the environment than any other solution.
    4. Introduction of large scale solar power has to be postponed until a cheap and efficient energy storage system is developed. Its land use has to be restricted to dual purpose surfaces like rooftops, roads and parking lots.
    5. Black carbon (soot) emissions have to be cut back by replacing inefficient biofuel usage for cooking in poor countries by more advanced energy sources like natural gas or electricity.
    6. Biochar addition to tropical croplands has to be facilitated, not to “sequester carbon”, but to increase yields tremendously, which makes abundant food production possible on a decreasing cropland area.

    • Berenyi, you write “Biofuel production on cropland has to be stopped immediately,” I hops you swill agree with me that this EXCLUDES the production of cellulose ethanol.

      • Berényi Péter

        It depends. Cellulosic ethanol production has its own environmental issues, it is not cost effective yet and, if not restricted to waste products, needs a vast amount of land to be converted to cropland. At the moment it looks just as environmentally destructive as any other biofuel.

        Throwing billions of taxpayers’ money at it is unjustifiable.

      • Berenyi, you write ” needs a vast amount of land to be converted to cropland. ”

        Wrong. I suggest you google Project Liberty from Poet/DSM. They have studied what cellulose is not required for ploughing in to help next year’s crop. The estimate is a quarter of the cellulose currently produced growing corn in the USA, or 1 ton per acre. The first production plant is in the final stages of production, and the farmers have delivered the cellulose for processing. Production is due to start early next year; 20 million gallons per year. The plant was built with private funds, $300 million, and they estimate it will make a profit if the wholesale price of gas is more than $2 per gallon. It is currently around $2.60.
        If the plant is successful financially they estimate production of 16 billion gallons of cellulose ethanol by 2020, with no change whatsoever in farming practice; no extra land to be used. And the famers will get more money for their crops.

      • I should add, that is just a fraction of the US corn crop. Shell owns the Iogen technology, from Canada, and if you consider the straw available for cereal production in our prairies, surely the sky is the limit.

  68. The false middling of Dr. Curry could be included here;

    ” It’s a classic case of what I call the Hitler/Churchill fallacy – or, maybe more appropriately as far as the BBC is concerned the Mao/Stalin fallacy: the false idea that whenever you take two extreme positions the sensible, decent middle ground must lie at the median point between them.”

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100244090/how-the-bbc-persuades-itself-its-not-biased-and-why-this-is-a-nonsense/

    Dr. Curry might be the least offensive statist radical (compared to outright consensus promoters) but she in fact is a statist radical.

  69. Its not what is true, its what you can get the rubes to believe – and make money at it.

  70. The Chief keeps posting his standard comment (reposted many times before) that gas generation is cheapest option in ERCOT now and for the next decade. The analysis and report is good for what it is intended for and given current settings and their best guess about likely regulatiosn and other settings during the coming decade (the analysis includes sensitivity analyses on various likely settings beginning from the current base).

    However, that is not relevant to the case I was arguing about the future cost of electricity – out to 2050 and beyond – once we remove the impediments that are making nuclear power far more expensive than it could, should and probably will become once we remove (over time) the unnecessary impediments that are making it high cost and retarding its development. He hasn’t understood that.

    Chief also doesn’t seem to recognise, or at least he doesn’t acknowledge, that ERCOT is just one region in the USA (basically Texas), the USA is just one country of 195 countries in the world and the growth in electricity generation and emissions will come mainly from the developing not the developed countries in the coming half century. Furthermore, USA has cheap gas, but few other countries do yet, and an enormous amount of infrastructure would be required to bring gas to the developing countries; much less infrastructure is needed for nuclear power (just power stations and relatively short transmission infrastructure.

    The points I raised in my comments were about how to reduced global emissions and provide cheap energy for the world over the coming half century, not ERCOT’s planning in the next decade. We need to think beyond cherry picking examples that support the ant-nuke propaganda, which is what Chief’s comments were clearly intended to do – just like the anti-nukes do all the time.

    Chief also hasn’t understood or recognised how long it will take for Gen IV nuclear to become commercially viable and widely adopted.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Prevarication – handwaving and bad faith. Just what is expected from a shill like Peter Lang.

      The ERCOT report covers generation for the next 20 years – which is twice he has got something wrong just on this report. It is far from the only off the cuff erroneous whine from Peter on this.

      It reports modelling of a large system using standard US methodology – DOE standard data and software. Which is the only way to understand these systems and the possibilities. Gas is cheapest for Texas – with wind potential depending on energy pricing. This should send Dave Springer into pat your own back ecstatic tail spins.

      The other link was to the EIA with levelised costs for generation.

      Also in there was the 4th Gen International Forum and General Atomics – the latter of which is spending $1.8 billion of their own dollars comercialising a Los Alamos based design within a decade. This is fabulous nuclear technology that is just about good to go.

      http://www.ga.com/energy-multiplier-module

      Although Peter will accuse me either of actually quoting a major supply entity or linking to a flashy site.

    • The usual avoidance, dishonesty and nasty vitriol from Chief Snark.

      All your points have been addressed and rebutted. It seem your purpose is to keep repeating and keep misrepresenting in the hope that if you do so often enough some people will believe you.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Peter started off with an irrelevant response to one of my comments – it just was simply his standard rant that had nothing to do with what I was saying. Replete with the usual claims that I understand nothing, am lying, am a rabid anti-nuclear dissembler and steal candy from babies.

        I have examples of Peter’s intransigence – his refusal to ever admit error – the long winded and irrelevant rants – the insistence that only his point has any validity – the ready descent into abuse in the defense of the indefensible. 23 Kyoto gases comes to mind. The incredible length that he goes to to defend a claim no matter how obviously silly. There are 6 Kyoto gases btw.

        The ERCOT report he chartacterised by calling it a 10 year distribution study. This was the first error.

        It is not – it is a 20 year generation capacity report on system modelling for various sources. Gas is the cheapest option for Texas for the foreseeable future – with wind being a viable option depending on future pricing signals. Nuclear is not an option for Texas – and by extension – any of the US anytime soon. This contradicts Peter’s pet obsession – and hence the virulent abuse.

        The EIA page discusses levelised costs of various generating technologies. All the assumptions are described.

        http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/electricity_generation.cfm

        I show the ‘roadmap’ from the 4th Gen International Forum. I link to General Atomics.

        Peter isn’t worth responding to – and I keep promising myself I wont – it is just pure nuttiness. The only reason to is to try to maintain focus on the real issues.

      • A typical rant loaded with hypocrisy, abuse, misrepresentations, disingenuous statements and dishonesty. Here’s one example:

        23 Kyoto gases comes to mind. The incredible length that he goes to to defend a claim no matter how obviously silly. There are 6 Kyoto gases btw.

        The 23 Kyoto greenhouse gasses, their chemical formulas and their global warming potential: Table 26: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/sites/climatechange/files/documents/07_2013/national-greenhouse-accounts-factors-july-2013.pdf

        Gas Chemical formula Global Warming Potential
        Carbon dioxide CO2 1
        Methane CH4 21
        Nitrous oxide N2O 310
        Hydrofluorocarbons HFCs
        HFC-23 CHF3 11,700
        HFC-32 CH2F2 650
        HFC-41 CH3F 150
        HFC-43-10mee C5H2F10 1,300
        HFC-125 C2HF5 2,800
        HFC-134 C2H2F4
        (CHF2CHF2)
        1,000
        HFC-134a C2H2F4
        (CH2FCF3)
        1,300
        HFC-143 C2H3F3
        (CHF2CH2F)
        300
        HFC-143a C2H3F3 (CF3CH3) 3,800
        HFC-152a C2H4F2
        (CH3CHF2)
        140
        HFC-227ea C3HF7 2,900
        HFC-236fa C3H2F6 6,300
        HFC-245ca C3H3F5 560
        Perfluorocarbons PFCs
        Perfluoromethane
        (tetrafluoromethane)
        CF4 6,500
        Perfluoroethane C2F6 9,
        (hexafluoroethane)
        Perfluoropropane C3F8 7,000
        Perfluorobutane C4F10 7,000
        Perfluorocyclobutane c-C4F8 8,700
        Perfluoropentane C5F12 7,500
        Perfluorohexane C6F14 7,400
        Sulphur hexafluoride SF6 23,900

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘The targets for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol cover emissions of the six main greenhouse gases, namely:
        • Carbon dioxide (CO2);
        • Methane (CH4);
        • Nitrous oxide (N2O);
        • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs);
        • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and
        • Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)’

        http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/items/3145.php

        You will notice if you look carefully that most of Peter’s list are variants of HFC, PFC or SF6.

        Does this mean that there are 23 distinct gases in the Kyoto Protocol? No – and Lang lacks an ability to resile from any nonsense once he pontificates on something. He will argue til the cows came home that black is white.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Yes – they are hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons (PFCs) amongst the 6 gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol. If Lang just manage to get the terminology right instead of needing to be right – there might be a smiggin of a chance for effective communication.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Peter insists we believe him rather than real industry players – or he will have a hissy fit.

    • [posted in the wrong place]

    • [posted in the wrong place
      Chief Snark,

      I responded and refuted your comments here http://judithcurry.com/2013/11/03/pragmatic-leverage-points-to-tackle-climate-change/#comment-408598. Continually repeating your drivel doesn’t add anything. You have shown over and over again you have little knowledge or understanding of energy or policy. Instead of being so arrogant, why don’t you re-read my response and admit you don’t know what you are talking about?

      Continuing repeating what has already been addressed and refuted, without acknowledging it has been refuted and without actually addressing the refutation, is disingenuous / dishonest.

  71. Kim suggested a joint paper. That’s not likely for obvious reasons. So I’ll summarise.

    1. If we want to massively cut global CO2 emissions over the next half century, policies like Kyoto protocols and carbon pricing are unlikely to succeed.

    2. What is needed instead is cheap energy.

    3. The effectively unlimited source of cheap, low CO2 emissions energy that is already proven (although not yet as cheap as it could and should be) is nuclear power. Renewables are unlikely to be able to make much of a contribution to the world’s energy demand in the foreseeable future, if ever.

    4. To make nuclear cheaper we need to remove the impediments that have been placed on it as a result of 50 years of anti-nuclear propaganda which has caused widespread irrational fear of nuclear power. The USA is best placed to lead the way on removing the impediments (over time).

    5. If we remove the impediments, so that commercial competition can be unleashed, the price could come down sufficiently so that nuclear could replace coal (or most coal and some gas) for electricity generation by 2045. This act alone would reduce global emissions by 15 Gt/a below the projected 2045 emissions – that’s a 1/3 cut of projected CO2 emissions from fossil fuels (EIA http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/tablebrowser/.

    6. The ERCOT study that Chief keeps referring to is irrelevant to this discussion because I am proposing we need to remove the impediments that are making nuclear too expensive; the ERCOT study is not dealing with that. It is assuming current and likely projected costs given current likely settings.

    7. Gen IV reactors will take decades to become commercially viable. They will come eventually, but it is not a near term solution. What is needed in the short term is to develop low-cost small modular nuclear power plants. Claims by Gen IV advocacy groups as to when they will be viable are about as reliable as the advocacy groups for anything else. They are just not plausible as is well known if you take note of the wise heads in industry.

  72. Chief Hydrologist

    1. It is evident that changes to standing plant is insufficient to address the broader facts of greenhouse gases. A much more inclusive multi-gas approach is required that includes agricultural, conservation and social practices.

    2. Cheap energy good.

    3. Gas generation is cheapest in the US. At $115.30/MWh – nuclear doesn’t come close for 20 years at least. This is a reason not to pursue nuclear in the US. Apart from the delusional feel good factor.

    4. Seriously – cutting the price in half by reducing red tape? Delusional.

    5. Ditto.

    6. ERCOT quite sensibly settled on gas – with some potential for windpower in the situation of increased gas pricing. It is called leaving your options open.

    7. It is not clear that he understands that Gen IV is small, modular reactors with immense technical advantages – including lower costs and generic approvals for factory built modules – over conventional reactors.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Power-Reactors/Generation-IV-Nuclear-Reactors/

    http://www.gen-4.org/Technology/evolution.htm

    A one size fits all solution – especially on based on wishful thinking – is no solution at all.

  73. 1. It is evident that changes to standing plant is insufficient to address the broader facts of greenhouse gases.

    It insufficient but it is the most important sector to target for the largest and earliest gains. Over time, only nuclear can allow the replacement of fossil fuel energy. There is no other realistic option. (Fossil fuel contributes 70% of emissions and virtually all the emissions from electricity). Virtually all analysists say CO2 from fossil fuels, especially electricity, is where most of the effort should be applied. How much

    A much more inclusive multi-gas approach is required that includes agricultural, conservation and social practices.

    How mu h can be achieved by “agricultural, conservation and social practices”, in what time frame (CO2-eq reductions by date) and at what abatement cost (in $/tonne CO2 abated)? I’ve asked this many times before and never received an answered to the question, so I suspect it is unrealistic.

    2. Cheap energy good.

    We agree.

    3. Gas generation is cheapest in the US. At $115.30/MWh – nuclear doesn’t come close for 20 years at least. This is a reason not to pursue nuclear in the US. Apart from the delusional feel good factor.

    You don’t know the 20 years. It’s a projection. And it is irrelevant. The USA will not be the main source of global emissions growth, the emerging and developing countries will be. But USA can lead the way in providing the technology required (on a commercial basis).

    4. Seriously – cutting the price in half by reducing red tape? Delusional.

    No substantiation. No recognition of time scale. Pathetic. Nuclear costs increased by a factor of four by regulatory ratcheting up to 1990 http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html; and probably at least doubled again since. No recognition of what can be done (e.g. build aircraft carriers in 100 days, from start to fully loaded with aircraft and weapons, 70 years ago!). This provides an idea of what manufacturing capacity can be unleashed if we removed the blocks to competition.

    6. ERCOT quite sensibly settled on gas – with some potential for windpower in the situation of increased gas pricing. It is called leaving your options open.

    Irrelevant, disingenuous, dishonest because I’ve addressed that about six times. It’s irrelevant to this argument. And Wrong! ERCOT hasn’t “settled on” anything. Its done a standard planning study based on the best current information for the short term (about a decade ahead). The purpose of the analysis had nothing to do with this discussion about global GHG emissions. Their aim was not to consider policy about how to cut global emissions or to allow cheaper energy for the world. ERCOT does not have jurisdiction over any of that.

    Do you not understand, or do you not take in what I’ve written, or are you simply dishonest? I suspect it is to a large extent the latter.

    7. It is not clear that he understands that Gen IV is small, modular reactors with immense technical advantages – including lower costs and generic approvals for factory built modules – over conventional reactors.

    They are small and large. Many different types. They don’t have technical advantages yet because they haven’t been built, although, no doubt, there will be enormous developments over time. Research and demonstrator reactors are not commercial power plants so it is dishonest to say they “have” some characteristic because they are not available yet and not proven. They are not cost competitive yet.

    This report by the UK government “Comparison of thorium and uranium fuel cycles provides and example of why the Gen IV are not even close to being viable yet, despite what the advocates would like you to believe. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/65504/6300-comparison-fuel-cycles.pdf

    I fully support moving to Gen IV as they become commercially viable, but I am opposed to delaying and waiting. It is delusional to believe they will be commercially viable any time soon. So, arguing to wait for Gen IV is arguing to delay for more decades.

  74. Chief Hydrologist

    Electricity generation in the US is some 34% of CO2 equivalent emissions of the 6 Kyoto gases. Even total replacement of sources with high cost nuclear plant addresses a fraction of the issue.

    The issue with social programs is the promotion of democracy, the rule of law, development, education, health services and safe water and sanitation, conservation and best practice agriculture. The cost of this to the west is 0.7% of GDP committed to by western countries but not delivered on. One of the outcomes is reduced population pressure – showing the benefit of broad based policy. As I have said repeatedly – these are ‘no regrets’ actions that have multiple benefits not related to greenhouse gases.

    e.g. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/10176217/The-underground-forests-that-are-bringing-deserts-to-life.html

    Some other idiot accused me of promoting unsustainble population growth in Africa with this. The world is full of them.

    ERCOT again?

    ‘In addition to supporting the transmission planning process, the development of these future scenarios and assessing likely resource additions by scenario provides useful information on its own. Perhaps the most notable feature of these scenario results is their similarity: natural gas generation and renewables dominate the expansion mix for all of the sensitivities. In sensitivities in which market prices are expected to stay low and no incentives are provided for renewable generation, most or all of the expansion units are fueled by natural gas. In scenarios with increasing market prices (due to increased fuel costs, emissions allowance prices, etc.) renewable generation additions are significant. As modeled, the capital costs for pulverized coal, integrated gasification combined cycle, and nuclear units are too high for them to be competitive under the future scenarios evaluated.’
    http://www.wecc.biz/committees/BOD/TEPPC/SPSG/Lists/Events/Attachments/443/ERCOT%202012%20Long%20Term%20System%20Assessment%2030Jan13.pdf

    You keep saying that ERCOT is irrelevant – but it was the core of my comment – along with levelised costs from the EIA – and I am not here to respond to your agenda. If you want to respond to a comment – have the courtesy of responding to the point and not go off on irrelevant rants.

    That in a major US distribution systems it presents different to yours is a clue that you should should rethink.

    4th gen is defined by the 6 designs selected by the 4th Gen International Forum over the next decade.

    ‘The Generation IV systems selected by the GIF for further study are:

    Gas-cooled fast reactor (GFR)
    features a fast-neutron-spectrum, helium-cooled reactor and closed fuel cycle;
    Very-high-temperature reactor (VHTR)
    a graphite-moderated, helium-cooled reactor with a once-through uranium fuel cycle;
    Supercritical-water-cooled reactor (SCWR)
    a high-temperature, high-pressure, water-cooled reactor that operates above the thermodynamic critical point of water;
    Sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR)
    features a fast-spectrum, sodium-cooled reactor and closed fuel cycle for efficient management of actinides and conversion of fertile uranium;
    Lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR)
    features a fast-spectrum, lead/bismuth eutectic liquid-metal-cooled reactor and a closed fuel cycle for efficient conversion of fertile uranium and management of actinides;
    Molten salt reactor (MSR)
    produces fission power in a circulating molten salt fuel mixture with an epithermal-spectrum reactor and a full actinide recycling fuel cycle.

    These systems offer significant advances in sustainability, safety and reliability, economics, proliferation resistance and physical protection.’

    Each of these systems was chosen for specific functions – including that of burning conventional waste.

    Thorium has nothing much to do with anything – except that it is an available fuel and could be used in some designs. The more interesting fuel is the 270,000 tons of conventional waste sitting around in leaky ponds and drums.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Power-Reactors/Small-Nuclear-Power-Reactors/

    God only knows what Lang is all about – but I am certainly a lot bored with it.

  75. Chief Hydrologist

    Oh God – another mad rant.

    http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/items/3145.php

    Now with professional aspersions. This one I will refer to the adjudicator – the next one to my lawyers.

  76. Chief Hydrologist

    Well I have referred it to Judith. Now do you want to try again Lang?

    • So, You feel your continual abuse is fine, eh, but if someone calls you out for your behaviour, that is not acceptable?

      If you going to dish it out, as you do continually, not just to me, you should expect to cop it back.

      And if you keep dodging weaving, misrepresenting and being disingenuous, I will call you on it.

  77. The first paragraph was intended to be a quote from Chief’s comment:

    I save my insults for those like you who incessantly berate and abuse. Do you think the attempts at abusive bullying of all and sundry have gone unnoticed? And yet you hypocritically accuse me in my modest response to unwelcome tirades. For what purpose.

    • Peter, you and the Chief are arguing about the best way to control emissions which means that you have not noticed one fact: there is no warming now, there has been none for 15 years, and there was none in the eighties and nineties either which makes it a total of 35 years. There has been plenty of emission and carbon dioxide level is at a historic high but it simply is not causing any greenhouse warming. Is this not enough to convince you that anthropogenic global warming by the greenhouse effect is a complete fairy-tale? How much time of no-warming do you actually need to admit that the emperor has no clothes on? Try to give an honest answer to this question: is it still possible to say that warming older than 35 years just may have been greenhouse warming? Not so, I say, we have seen enough to know that greenhouse warming has never been the cause of any global warming. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is plant fertilizer and it has been shown that increasing CO2 will lower the amount of water used by plants for photo-transpiration, I will not try to confuse you with theory you do not understand beyond mentioning that all this follows from what Ferenc Miscolczi published in 2007. He was disbelieved but what he predicted has come to pass.

  78. OK, Let’s get constructive. I’ve made suggestions in the past about how to stop the vitriol. Why don’t you make a suggestion this time – without blame or further abuse.

  79. Foley is a true believer and the leverage he seeks is to implement the hare-brained mitigation schemes costing the world trillions of dollars. People like that should be stopped and forced to listen to the science of warming. Scientific observation: there has not been any warming for fifteen years despite the fact that there is more carbon dioxide in the air than ever before. Scientific prediction of warmists: addition of carbon dioxide to air causes global warming by its greenhouse effect. Prediction is false, their science is not real, and must be considered a pseudo-science. But if you start to argue that fifteen years waiting for Godot is not long enough, you need to add an additional 18 years of no-warming time from the eighties and nineties. That gives us 35 greenhouse-free years since 1979. The reason you have not heard about this is that official temperature curves showed a phony warming called “late twentieth century warming” in that time slot. I discovered that researching for my book “What Warming?” and put a warning about it in the preface of the book. Nothing happened for two years but then the big three of global temperature – GISTEMP, HadCRUT, and NCDC – decided to stop showing this warming. They aligned their data with satellites that do not show this warming. It was done secretly and no explanation was give. Also, it required cross-Atlantic coordination among them. If you now look at the temperature curve you realize that these two no-warming periods would fit end to end if it wasn’t for the super El Nino of 1998 and its step warming in between. The super El Nino is a once a century occurrence and is the wild card in global temperature records. It brought so much warm water across that this created a step warming that raised global temperature by a third of a degree Celsius. Ordinary El Ninos don’t do that. They alternate with La Ninas so that the temperature rise from an El Nino is balanced by the temperature drop from the La Nina that follows. This can be confusing to people who still think that there is such a thing as volcanic cooling. What happened here is that the La Nina that would have balanced the temperature rise from the step warming was simply overwhelmed by the large amount of warm water brought over and is just barely visible as a small dip in the middle of the twenty-first century high. This of course is an exception to the rule that ENSO does not influence long term global temperature. The root cause of all this is the existence of the super El Nino whose origin is still not understood.

  80. Arno Arrack,

    I am arguing about more than just climate. My points are about:

    1. Climate change is a political issue. It has to be accepted as such; therefore, if we don’t try to steer it towards economically rational solution we are sidelined as ‘deniers’ not interested in the future of the planet and all that stuff. The politicians have to respond to public belief, as Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, was forced to do, against his better judgement, by the widespread public concern at the time. The issue cannot be avoided. It is best to steer the debate in the best or least bad direction. I believe that should be towards economically rational policies and to continually focus on the economic costs of the bad policies being advocated by the warmists and climate scientists. Mostly, the climate scientists do not understand the economic consequences of the policies they advocate.

    2. Secondly, There are many important benefits of nuclear power that have nothing to do with climate change. I am trying to assist people to understand the benefits and their importance so they are better informed and can go out and inform others. Nuclear replacing coal would not only avoid GHG emissions; it would also avoid about 1 million fatalities per year world wide, cut black carbon emissions, provide far great energy security because years or decades of fuel can be stored at little cost and requiring little space; the ability to store years or decades of fuel at little costs enables countries to avoid the dependence on shipping and piping fossil fuels. Shipping would be reduce by a factor of about 20,000 with existing generation of nuclear power plants and by up to 2 million when breeder reactors are adopted. High temperature nuclear reactors would also provide hydrogen which will be used to produce liquid transport fuels (like jet fuel) in the future. Another benefit of nuclear power is that it saves fossil fuels for other uses in the future. And, importantly, the earlier we begin to get the cost of nuclear down the earlier the world will be able to roll it out to reduce global emissions if the alarmists are correct and AGW turns out to be an emergency.