EconTalk: Christy and Emanuel

by Judith Curry

John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about climate change.

 

The podcast and transcript can be found [here].  Excerpted below are the opening statements and their final statements, regarding policy impliactions.

John Christy’s opening statement: Thank you, and it’s a delight to welcome both of you here at the U. of Alabama in Huntsville. Ultimately the question before us is a moral question, not a scientific question. Is it good to enhance and [?] human life. Today and for the foreseeable future, the reliable energy that enhances human life and which is economically viable comes from burning carbon. That will continue no matter what our country decides to do. Does extra CO_2 cause climate problems? The observations tell us not much is happening to the climate that hasn’t happened before. Now, a fundamental aspect about the scientific method is that when we understand a system, we can predict its behavior. That has not happened for our climate system. It is true that we have an expensive climate modeling industry that shows scary changes. But they are unable to replicate the actual climate system today. In fact, 100% of the latest climate models overshoot the key target variable of climate change detection. And there is no model that has been rigorously validated for reliability. We are not bad people for burning carbon. Indeed, from my experience from living in Africa, I can say with conviction that we are good people, because of the immeasurable enhancement to human life that carbon now provides.

Kerry Emanuel’s opening statement:  Well, thank you for inviting me here. It’s delightful to be with you all this evening. In the middle of the 19th century, the gifted Irish physicist, John Tyndall, made a remarkable discovery using a laboratory apparatus–it was [?]–that is that all of the absorption of infrared radiation that takes place in our atmosphere is done by a tiny amount of gas that makes up less than 1% of the atmosphere. That was quite a shocking revelation at the time. And not long after that, the Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius, found out that the climate is heavily regulated by one of the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, whose mass represents four ten-thousands of our atmosphere–a tiny trace. And calculated that without that four ten-thousands part of our atmosphere that is carbon dioxide, the earth would be a snowball. We wouldn’t be here. We couldn’t survive. This is not in dispute, this finding of the scientific community. It was not made with supercomputers. It was made with pencil and paper, and it can be replicated today. If that tiny amount of greenhouse gas is what is making our planet habitable, then there would be no surprise that if we double or triple it, we are taking a risk with the climate system. And that’s how it has to be viewed. It’s a risk. So, going forward, we are taking a risk. Not with ourselves–not with me. I’m old enough that it doesn’t matter. But with future generations. And a rational people deal with a risk rationally. And my whole program is to try to de-tribalize this debate. You know, it’s not about this is going to be a climate catastrophe on the one side, or nothing on the other. And it’s also not about trying to do something about it–it will be an economic catastrophe on one side or won’t have any effect on the other. That’s not the way the world works. The world is more complex. We have a set of poorly quantified risks for action, and a set of, maybe, as poorly quantified risks in taking action. That’s the problem we have to deal with. And that’s what I’m here tonight to talk to you about it.

Russ Roberts: Let’s talk about policy implications of this conversation. What I understand, Kerry, is in your view there’s a small chance of a really horrific action, and therefore we should act. Again, Robert Pindyck in a recent EconTalk episode–he’s an economist, that’s his assessment of the risk that’s involved. This is not really a scientific–it’s partly a scientific question but at some point it becomes a philosophical question and–John Christy, you called it a moral question. But it’s a small chance of a horrific risk. We should try to do something about it. It sounds to me, John Christy, that your view is that, well, it would be great if there were something we could do about it that was likely to work; you don’t think the risk is very high and you think the risk of the solution is likely to be worse. So, John, I’ll let you go first. Does that summarize your view of the difference between the two of you?

Christy response: Somewhat. The risk of something bad happening by making energy expensive is real. People will suffer if energy prices go up. We already know that. There’s just no question about that. And as I said, living in Africa, I know what energy [?] does–it kills people. And so anything we can do to allow energy to expand into those areas that do not have it, it’s going to enhance human life and welfare. So, solutions to–if you are really concerned about the carbon dioxide then how can you create energy that is affordable–that’s the only kind that really works in the economy–what choices are out there? And the big one that can answer the question is actually nuclear power. We’re sitting right here between a couple of big power plants, actually. And it’s difficult. It’s a bet the company move[?] right now for the few that are trying to build nuclear power. And that’s probably going to change. 

Emanuel response: Well, I actually agree with that. I think it’s a mistake to do anything that increases world poverty. The history of this is very clear. Economic gains particularly in developing countries are largely, very strongly tied to the consumption of energy. So, we have to be clever about how we attack this risk. And I’m not of the camp that says, we should just go cold turkey on fossil fuels. We can’t do that. Nobody in their right mind would suggest we do that. But we should try to approach this risk as intelligent people by exploring all kinds of alternatives. The experts I talk to are and I’m certainly not one say it’s a question of doing a lot of little things that amount to a big thing, like building more energy efficient buildings. Even in developing countries. It actually ends up saving people money because they are not consuming as much energy. Energy is still going to cost something. Migrating away where it’s practical from fossil fuels toward renewables. So there are some parts of the world, including Africa, where it actually makes sense to have a supplemental supply. Can’t do everything with solar power, or maybe wind. I’m a big proponent, I get into lots of trouble with my colleagues over this, but like John, I’m a big proponent of nuclear energy. I’m so tired of being told we can’t do it. France went from almost no nuclear to 80% nuclear in 15 years. Are you seriously telling me that the United States can’t do, cannot do, what France did? I don’t think so. There’s one other piece of technology which would allow us to burn at least natural gas as much as we want to, if we could only get there, which is to capture the carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it. And I think it makes a lot of sense to put some money, not to jeopardize the economy, but some research and development money, into trying to develop this technology to the point where it might some day make economic sense to do that. We are not that far from being able to do it even today. So these are sensible things. We don’t have to bet the farm. We just do sensible things.

 

JC comments

In case you missed it the first time around, my EconTalk interview with Russ Roberts can be found [here] .

Russ Roberts did a very good job of moderating this discussion and probing the areas of disagreements.

Kudos to both Christy and Emanuel for participating in this.

235 responses to “EconTalk: Christy and Emanuel

  1. David Springer

    The problem with Emmaunuel’s opening is that he states CO2 is responsible for the earth not being a snowball. I agree with that. The problem is that CO2 only serves to ignite the water cycle (melts the ice) and once there’s a lot of water vapor in the atmosphere water vapor itself sustains the liquid state of the ocean. I mean c’mon. Consensus is that water vapor is 70% or more of the greenhouse effect. So once we have a liquid ocean covering 70% (thanks CO2) of the earth’s surface it’s self-sustaining and the CO2 is no longer needed.

    • David Springer

      Yeah. That part of Emmanuel’s comments was a red herring.

      There is no scientific evidence that our planet would be a “snowball Earth” without the few hundred ppmv CO2 in the atmosphere.

      In fact, the Ordovician “snowball Earth” period occurred when CO2 concentrations were several thousand ppmv.

      Most estimates put the CO2 GH effect at between 5C and 7C out of 33C, but this does not mean that Earth would automatically be that much colder if there were no CO2 at all.

      Right?

      Max

    • If CO2 is responsible for earth not being a snowball, and 90% of the time the earth is in an ice age, shouldn’t we make sure enough CO2 survives the end of the Holocene by pumping even more of it into the atmosphere?

      • David Springer

        @sunshine hours

        Yes, the rational response based on climatology would be, as far as every ppm of anthropogenic CO2 is concerned:

    • -The problem with Emmaunuel’s opening is that he states CO2 is responsible for the earth not being a snowball. I agree with that. The problem is that CO2 only serves to ignite the water cycle (melts the ice) and once there’s a lot of water vapor in the atmosphere water vapor itself sustains the liquid state of the ocean. I mean c’mon. –

      You agree and I disagree.

      manacker | March 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
      -Most estimates put the CO2 GH effect at between 5C and 7C out of 33C, but this does not mean that Earth would automatically be that much colder if there were no CO2 at all.-

      Wiki:
      “By their percentage contribution to the greenhouse effect on Earth the four major gases are:
      water vapor, 36–70%
      carbon dioxide, 9–26%”
      So 9% of 33 C is 2.97 C and 26% is 8.58 C

      I don’t believe CO2 adds 8.5 C and perhaps most estimates are 5 to 7 C.
      I think it’s closer to 3 C. But let’s assume most people are wrong and CO2
      adds 9 C.
      If CO2 adds 9 C and we allow that Earth is currently 15 C, so 15 minus 9 is 6 C.
      Of course it will argued that water vapor also would also be reduced, but let’s begin by looking Earth which has average temperature of 6 C.
      What does Earth look like with average temperature of 6 C.
      ” Average global temperatures were probably 4 to 5° Celsius colder than they are today at the peak of the Pleistocene.”

      http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/152981/

      So according to above recently had about 10 C as average temperature
      Reference above also says:
      “The data suggest that during most of the Earth’s history, global temperatures were probably 8 to 15° Celsius warmer than they are today.”
      So average global temperature of 23 to 30 C during most of earth’s history.

      What happens with earth at average temperature of 30 C and how’s different when it’s 10 C. It seems to me in world average temperature of 30 C one has more the world in tropically conditions, and in 10 C world we less area which is tropical.
      And we also don’t get say 15 C increase in temperature in Tropics when it is
      a 30 C world, nor does the poles become much colder when we in colder world of 10 C, rather it’s expansion area of polar region climate and contraction of tropical regions.
      So it seems fair to say that if Earth had average temperature of 6 C, that regions, like Europe and Russia will be frozen most of the year, but as our north pole melts in the summer, it seems that even in the such cold world, Europe and Russia might also melt during the Summer.
      So Russia is has currently average temperature of around 0 C, and it could instead of average temperature of say -20 C, but this does not mean during the summer ice would not melt.
      Now if go down to say Florida, where currently average temperature is say somewhere 15 C, it could have average temperature of somewhere near 0 C, so in winter it could snow a lot, but again get fairly warm in the summer.
      And as go south past the Tropic of Cancer, Average temperature may get above 0 C, but during winter it can still snow and have freezing days during the winter [not be tropical- tropical plants die and will not grow. Though of course without CO2 no plants can live- nor would there be any animals].

      So if you have average temperature of about 0 C at 30 degree latitude
      and say average of 10 C at equator [no winter or summer season as have in Temperate Zones- though seasonal difference due weather patterns].
      Giving average tropical zone less the 10 C- maybe 5 C.
      Then one has a world well below average of 6 C. If half the world: 38 degree latitude north and south is less than 5 C and rest of world is -20 C
      Then average global temperature is -15 C.
      And in such a world it would snow and rain and still have a significant amount of water vapor. May less than 1/2 as much as we have, but still a lot of water vapor.
      In such a world in regions polewards you have drier condition and less clouds and therefore have wide swings in temperature. A wide swings in day and night temperature are lower average temperatures.
      And also in tropics with cooler average temperatures you will less clouds forming, but one still get fairly high humidly at those lower average temperature.

    • That seems likely silly. What greenhouse gas ignites the nitrogen cycle on pluto?

    • David Springer

      The earth has been in a snowball state several times where the tropics were at least slush if not frozen. It’s controversial how complete the freeze. This shuts down all the normal atmospheric carbon sinks but it doesn’t shut down vulcanism. So CO2 grows and grows to possibly several percent over millions of years and dark volcanic ash accumulates on the surface. The combination is believed to begin a melt. Once a melt gets started a positive feedback kicks in where white ice is replaced by black water or dark soil which thermalizes far more solar energy by virtue of being dark colored and as the air warms it evaporates more and more water further increasing GHG effect. Once there is a liquid ocean covering most of the planet cloud cover becomes a negative feedback that limits the maximum temperature through shading the ocean surface. We can see this ceiling temperature nailed every transition from glacial to interglacial cycle today at least as far as temperature proxies in ice cores going back a million years are accurate. CO2 today contributes an estimated 9% of the GHG effect. It’s so little because it competes with water vapor for the same wavelengths. Absent water vapor overlap it would be 26%. So as less and less water is in the air CO2 becomes more and more important. The earth probably can’t get into a snowball anymore because the sun is warmer by a couple percent since the last snowball episode 650mya and the sun just keeps growing warmer as it ages but maybe a perfect storm of super-volcano, asteroid strike, and continents arranged just right…

    • Hmmm, sounds about right. How would you like your snowball earth?
      ==========

    • - David Springer | March 25, 2014 at 1:42 pm |

      The earth has been in a snowball state several times where the tropics were at least slush if not frozen. –

      The tropics is 40% of surface area of Earth. There is currently long lasting glaciers in the tropics. The evidence that they ever was snowball Earth is not strong. There is some evidence the glaciers flowed into the tropical ocean- this does seem to me to compelling evidence of snowball earth.
      Those who think there was snowball are not certain how much of tropics had sea ices.
      Some have claimed it was complete global coverage of sea, though it seems me more would claim there remained corridor of tropical ocean which remain ice free.

      Currently we in an ice box climate and have been for tens of millions of years. Most of earth’s history during last 500 million years has been much warmer than our present average temperature. And is believe that average global temperature have as much 30 C and large periods of time which global temperature has been around 25 C. But there also have been periods which have been as cold or colder than our Ice box climate which we have been in for tens of millions of year- and for periods as long or longer than our global climate conditions.
      It is commonly understood that our Ice box climate has to do global topography- it is due continental building- it matter of various geological processes. And that things such greenhouse gases or sun activity are not causing our Ice Box climate.
      I don’t believe result of tectonic plates- mountain building and configurations of land masses are such that they cause the coldest possible conditions on Earth. Or I don’t believe that they have not been geological conditions in the past, particularly if willing to extend back to a billion or more years, which could caused even colder conditions than we have at the present. And they are also other factors which could cause the planet to become cooler. For example very powerful volcanic activity in the past are numerous and well known, also we evidence of huge impactors which have hit earth.
      Also possible the galactic environment could large variation, which could affect the Sun and environment between the Sun and our planet. And possible changes confined to solar system could have had cooling effect.
      So it seems possible that snowball earth may have occurred over 500 million years ago, but I don’t there enough evident of this occurring or what kind of snowball Earth is was.

      • David Springer

        gbaikie

        I started to take you seriously until you wrote the current “ice box” conditions have prevailed for tens of millions of years. The current ice age is less than 3 million years old.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternary_glaciation

        Your mistake means you’re pretty much illiterate on the subject of ice ages. Provide links to back up your diatribe since you can’t get basic facts right.

        In particular

        http://www.snowballearth.org/week9.html

        there are three models of snowball earth in the peer reviewed literature described at link above. One has no sea ice inside 30N and 30S latitude. The next has a thin ice layer extending to the equator and the last has sea ice 500 meters thick at the equator. Physical evidence can be interpreted as supporting any of them. The problem is the evidence is 650 million years old and time has erased or degraded it very badly. But even if the ocean was just very cold but not frozen that still means the air was close to freezing at sea level and wouldn’t be able to hold much water vapor due to low temperature.

    • David Springer | March 27, 2014 at 6:40 am |

      gbaikie

      I started to take you seriously until you wrote the current “ice box” conditions have prevailed for tens of millions of years. The current ice age is less than 3 million years old.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternary_glaciation

      Of the last 100 millions years, it has been the coolest in last 3 million years, but it’s also been the coolest in last 20 to 30 million years.
      Or 60 to 50 million years ago was warmer than 40 million to the present.

      So some time about 3 million years ago we may have had a relatively ice free Antarctica. but glaciated a couple times during last 10 million years:

      And this:

      http://www.google.com/imgres?imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FGeologic_temperature_record&tbnid=jn8TTXWdXoi3JM:&docid=AnzpDsO3zGbloM&h=520&w=726

    • -In particular

      http://www.snowballearth.org/week9.html

      there are three models of snowball earth in the peer reviewed literature described at link above. One has no sea ice inside 30N and 30S latitude. The next has a thin ice layer extending to the equator and the last has sea ice 500 meters thick at the equator. –

      Key word is models. And if there is 3 models, there is near certainty that at least 2 are wrong.
      I am open to possibility of condition occurring on earth that one could call a snowball earth, but I not am convinced that there is a particularly time when there was one.
      And as I said, there are problems with this theory- and having 3 models does not help in my confidence in it.

    • David, you are so right! I almost stopped listening when I heard him essentially attribute the entire GHE to carbon dioxide. There might be 3 or 4 molecules of CO2 per 10,000 molecules of air, but at 298K and 50%RH, there would be 96 molecules of water vapor which absorbs IR at 19 different wavelengths in the IR. CO2 being a linear molecule does not absorb IR except when it is bent or stretched and only at about 7 different wavelengths. Furthermore, water vapor absorbs at all the same wavelengths as CO2 except one. CO2 is a significant contributor to the GHE only in those environments where water vapor is absent, very cold and very dry, and also very dark, and where there are no clouds. He’s a climate scientist at MIT?

    • CO2 molecules outnumber water molecules in the upper atmosphere, where water vapor is limited by the low saturation vapor pressure, and this is where radiation to space matters, so CO2 plays a big role in how much energy is radiated to space.

  2. “Kudos to both Christy and Emanuel for participating in this.”

    Especially Emanuel. Most of these guys wouldn’t get within 50 yards of a skeptic.

  3. “Well, I actually agree with that. I think it’s a mistake to do anything that increases world poverty. The history of this is very clear. Economic gains particularly in developing countries are largely, very strongly tied to the consumption of energy. So, we have to be clever about how we attack this risk. “

    Amen, brother. Of course, since we’re not yet able to be clever about how we attack the risk…and in fact have been decidedly un-clever in our attempts thus far, we all need to take a deep, cleansing, C02 emitting breath, and admit the obvious: that currently we’re not in a position to do much of anything that’s going to make the least bit of difference.

  4. Judith Curry

    Thanks for posting this (rather timid and very civil) debate between Christy and Emmanuel.

    Christy has first-hand experience living in the underdeveloped world, where energy is not available to most people.

    It appears that Emmanuel agrees with Christy’s viewpoint that we should not deny the populations of the underdeveloped nations the access to a reliable, low-cost source of energy.

    Today the only viable option is low-cost fossil fuels and (for a portion) nuclear power.

    Emmanuel states he is a big proponent of nuclear power, and it certainly makes sense in many cases.

    However, many of these underdeveloped nations have unstable governments and are poor risks as far as nuclear proliferation is concerned.

    And some have their own sources of fossil fuels.

    Solar/wind/ etc. may have some very small localized application, but will not provide an overall solution.

    So it is likely that most of the energy will come from fossil fuels.

    And this will be the case until an economically competitive and environmentally acceptable alternate to fossil fuels is developed.

    That seems to be the main “take-home” from this debate.

    Max

    • “we should not deny the populations of the underdeveloped nations the access to a reliable, low-cost source of energy”

      If those in developed nations switched to nuclear power, then low cost, low sulfur coal and natural gas would still be available for the underdeveloped nations.
      We cannot deny people the route we have taken to wealth.

    • DocMartyn

      Agree that nuclear power could be an answer for a part of the underdeveloped world, with two exceptions:

      – nations with unstable governments where proliferation concerns could be an issue

      – nations that have a ready supply of inexpensive natural gas which would be more economical than nuclear

      This would cover electrical power generation.

      But these nations would still need to use fossil fuels for transportation.

      Max

    • Doc Martyn

      PS And I agree 100% with your statement:

      We cannot deny people the route we have taken to wealth.

    • Manacker,

      Agree that nuclear power could be an answer for a part of the underdeveloped world, with two exceptions:

      – nations with unstable governments where proliferation concerns could be an issue

      Why are you concerned about proliferation concerns from modern light water reactors?

      Have you looked into what is involved in extracting material that is suitable for weapons from light water reactor used fuels?

      Have you wondered why all regimes that want nuclear weapons construct dedicated facilities to produce the materials that are suitable for weapons?

      In exploring these issues I’d recommend the authoritative sites, not Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other anti-nuke activist organisations.

      My point is that any country that wants nuclear weapons will not use civilian nuclear power plants, nor use the spent fuel from them. It is not suitable. The isotope ratios are not suitable for weapons and it is far to difficult to extract the isotopes needed.

      I am not an expert on this, but that is my non expert understanding. Therefore, I do not consider either proliferation concerns nor used fuel management as significant issues (other than that they are significant political and public concern issues). The only real issue is the economics. And we could address that if we wanted to.

  5. Thank you, Professor Curry, for this information.

    Near the beginning, John Christy makes an important point: “the reliable energy that enhances human life and which is economically viable comes from burning carbon.”

    To reduce the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2), we must therefore:

    1. Reduce the quality of human life
    2. Reduce the number of humans, or
    3. Find another reliable energy source

    • World leaders thought they were saving the world from nuclear annihilation when they agreed in 1945 to:

      1. Unite Nations
      2. Hide the source of energy that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki,

      Unaware that neutron repulsion in the Sun’s core is also the creator and sustainer of life.

    • @omanuel … Please advise if you were being serious about number 2 :-
      .. 2. Reduce the number of humans, ..
      I hate to think what your methods would be if you were being serious!

    • Peter Yates,

      The only viable solution is # 3. This can be accomplished quickly by:

      1. Admitting neutron repulsion is the source of energy, or
      2. Addressing in public precise data [1] that suggest it is.

      1. “A journey to the Core of the Sun: Accepting reality

      https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/Chapter_2.pdf

    • I don’t think that either Christy or omanuel agrees with the Erlichs and their solution to the “Population Bomb”.

      There is a workable solution:
      – Dispense with dictators and dictatorships (wherever found)
      – Let human beings develop to their full potential

  6. Robert I Ellison

    As I keep repeating – climate is wild. messing with it is – as Wally Broecker said – like poking a wild beast with sticks. There are a certain inherent risk to this newly dominant climate paradigm.

    The only risk from doing something comes from the idea of ‘putting a price on carbon’. Dealing with black carbon, sulphur dioxide. nitrous oxide, tropospheric ozone and methane – doesn’t have the same high profile but are in fact much easier to deal with in the short term, bring positive environmental and health benefits and promise short term progress.

    Another obvious way forward is with trade and development – which brings with it not merely immense social benefits but reductions in population pressures and improvement in conservation and the management of agricultural lands. The latter are huge carbon sinks.

    The final strand in a comprehensive policy with broad social, economic and environmental objectives is accelerated energy innovation – wherever that takes us. I would certainly suggest r&d on a broad ‘blue sky’ front.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Merde.

      As I keep repeating – climate is wild. Messing with it is – as Wally Broecker said – like poking a wild beast with sticks. There is a certain inherent risk to this newly dominant climate paradigm.

    • I’m not so sure.

      I think climate is timid and boring.

      After all it takes a variation of nearly a hundred W/m^2 ( locally at the NP ) to give us ice age cycles, and we fret about a few W/m^2 per century.

      Weather is a beast, with its afternoon thunderstorms and large diurnal variation. Weather over days is a beast with its cold fronts and hurricanes.

      Climate is a dawdling bunny rabbit.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘According to Fig. 5, a series of intense El Nino events
      (high red color intensity) begins at about 1450 BC that will
      last for centuries. In that period normal (La Nina) conditions
      have but disappeared. For comparison, the very strong
      1998 El Nino event scores 89 in red color intensity. During
      the time when the Minoans were fading, El Nino events
      reach values in red color intensity over 200.’ http://www.clim-past.net/6/525/2010/cp-6-525-2010.pdf

      We have a change of 85W/m2 in SW from snowball earth to blue-green planet. 100W/m2 is probably overstating it a little.

      Do you neglect hydrology? There are serious shifts in rainfall patterns – see figure 5. Not just the Minoans – wet to dry Sahel some 5,000 years ago – megadroughts and megafloods.

      ‘Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies…

      What defines a climate change as abrupt? Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.’

      http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=R1

      It is all very innocuous enough – until the climate transitions abruptly into a new state and someone gets hurt. It seems clear to me – Al – that you need to broaden your perspective.

  7. “John Christy, the originator and keeper of the satellite data, has demonstrated that, even after accounting for the orbital decay noted by Wentz and Schnabel, there remains no significant warming in the satellite record.” ~Patrick J. Michaels

  8. “We’ve enjoyed a living standard in the last 100 years, which is the envy of the world. India and China are now going through what we went through. One byproduct of that success is CO2. Why do we want to deny that same opportunity to the most vulnerable, whom we will consign to a lifetime of hunger and poverty.

    “As Dr. John Christy told us just last week, having lived among the world’s poor, their lives there are brutal and short. Those who kick the poor in the teeth while pretending to soak the rich do not merit the votes from either.”

    [Congressman John Linder, Hearing On Protecting Lower-Income Families While Fighting Global Warming, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, Washington, D.C., March 12, 2009]

  9. Emanual@5:10 is wrong to say Arrhenius calculation is not in dispute. The Arrhenius calculation basically says that carbon dioxide holds up the water vapor. This is completely disputable since related concepts such as climate sensitivity are based on paleoclimate reconstructions, which, even if assumed to be accurate, still don’t provide any predictive skill in forecasting climate change over interglacial resolutions. In his defense, perhaps he has concluded that the physics of the climate are more stochastic rather than deterministic, and accurate prediction over decades to hundreds of thousands of years is not possible due to chaos, he could be right, but alas, he could be wrong…who knows. What we do know, however, is that he doesn’t know and any claims to the contrary that rest on such assumptions are clearly false.

  10. Having recently returned from a 3 week tour of Burma (Myanmar) along the Irrawaddy River, where 80% of the 60 million people live on < $1 a day, I can affirm the impact of the harm not having base load electricity generation has upon the daily lives of people.

    The obvious impact of no base load electricity generation is cooking, currently the default of biofuels as in charcoal, resulting in deforestation, transforming once timbered regions to savannas. People walk, ride, carry forest derived fuels further and further each year consuming more fossil fuels to retrieve the means to cook a meal.

    However odious, literally and figuratively, forest derived cooking fuels are, the most dramatic impact of no base load electricity generation is upon communication. It does no good to have a television, radio, computer or cellphone without electricity. There is no way to connect with immediate let alone distant others. There is no way to connect to an outside world other than by walking or riding some liquid fossil fuel powered conveyance. Liquid fossil fuels are shipped up River and there fore are limited in amounts and quite costly: $4/liter of diesel.

    The people we met and talked to, in the villages along the Irrawaddy River wanted to touch our skin. They had never before seen a white person. When asked about their ages, as they wanted to know how old we were based upon our appearances, they revealed that their 59 years old was very old, roughly in appearance to someone who was 89 years old in our group. We all looked young to them. most of us well over 59. I muse to myself that life is hard and takes its toll on the human body early and often.

    As Burma is opening to the outside world, almost like their indigenous flowering Morning gGory, there is a need to communicated to learn and understand those around themselves as well as the world in general. Fundamentally, there is no functioning internet and one needs electricity for the internet to be sustained. No internet, no effective communication in this day and age.

    Without fossil fuels, especially coal since it is cheap compared to the "renewables", there is no way to produce electricity for any 5 year or 10 year plan of economic and social development. Without liquid fossil fuels there is no way to push or pull the barges that can carry goods up River to the communities along its shores. Shallow water "long tail" boats do much of the hauling and ferrying now with diesel outboard engines polluting the people who run the engines and the atmosphere already choking from wood fires, and dust off the deforested induced savannas.

    We now hear from the IPCC wise ones that biofuels are not such a good thing:
    "Its previous assessment on climate change, in 2007, was widely condemned by environmentalists for giving the green light to large-scale biofuel production. The latest report instead puts pressure on world leaders to scrap policies promoting the use of biofuel for transport."

    Before long so too will others learn that the fossil fuels, especially in comparison to the green renewables, are the wiser choice for the near future.

    All we need to do is wait for the message to sink in: there is no such thing as a cheap sustainable green fuel just like there is no such thing as a free lunch.

  11. Emmanuel is apparently a master of the circular argument. How do we know CAGW is accurate? Because Arrhenius did the calculations with a pen an paper and got the same answer as the climate models. How do we know the climate models are accurate, every one of which has been programmed and tuned by those who accept Arrhenius’ prediction as accurate? Because they agree with Arrhenius’ prediction.

    But then there is that annoying fact that the GCMs now have a history of continued divergence from reality for over 17 years.

    So here’s a counter proposition. We don’t know either one is accurate, and can’t validate either one empirically. The models clearly cannot predict temperature with any accuracy. But they do accurately reflect Arrhenius’ prediction.

    Therefore, the only thing the GCMs prove is that Arrhenius was wrong. Not that there is a GHE, but that he understood the climate enough to predict its effect.

    Hey, Mosher was right, the GCMs are useful after all.

    • Arrhenius was the discoverer of luminiferous eather… no?

    • Of contumacious water.
      ==============

    • “But then there is that annoying fact that the GCMs now have a history of continued divergence from reality for over 17 years.”

      Looking for prima facie evidence of a popular delusion? We need look no further than the energetic dismissal of the significance of this.

    • pokerguy,

      But El Nino!

    • It’s pathetic, how desperately these guys are hoping an el nino bails them out, however temporarily. Bet you the self avowed skeptic Gates for all his hifalutin energy imbalance tap dance, is right there with them…

      We’ll likely get one this year, but it will probably be short lived given the cold PDO (nominally warm right now due to a patch of warm water off Alaska, but not enough to matter). Then guess what happens….

    • Pokerguy, I am afraid you are wrong, what they are praying for is a big volcano. They could model a slight cooling out to 2030-40 as the effect of aerosols and have a huge TCS/ECS; they have the algorithms primed and ready to go.
      A big volcano would see them all into retirement.

    • Doc,
      I like it. Or alternatively, they could just pray for a miracle.

    • You are quite comical with your nonsensical statements. A single El Nino year means rather nothing in terms of proving or disproving the long-term energy gain to Earth’s climate system. For at least the past 40+ years the climate system has been gaining energy, without pause on decadal timeframes. The only time the system loses any significant amount is actually during an El Nino event. Thus, ironically, an El Nino, while raising temperatures temporarily in the troposphere, actually represents a huge amount of energy leaving the system and is hardly proof of anything related to AGW. This energy comes nearly completely from the IPWP. The warm water and energy nearly spill right out of the IPWP as the thermocline in the western Pacific rises. Study this chart well, to see this effect quite clearly:

      http://iridl.ldeo.columbia.edu/maproom/ENSO/Time_Series/Heat_Storage_West_Pac.html

      But from a broader perspective, which is what is required to really get a feel for what increasing GHG forcing is doing to the planet, we must measure long-term steady accumulation of energy in the climate system. To measure it, we need many tools as energy takes so many different forms, with the least important the least reliable being sensible tropospheric heat. When looking at the broadest measurement of energy in the system, we see that it is highly probably to be showing a substantial increase over 40+ years. An El Nino later this year will just release a bit more than normal from the IPWP, and as it passes through the troposphere to space, temperatures will spike and great commotion will be had, when in fact, that is energy leaving the system, not proof of long-term AGW.

    • R. Gates,

      “A single El Nino year means rather nothing in terms of proving or disproving the long-term energy gain to Earth’s climate system. ”

      Don’t tell us. Tell lolwot and the rest of the Klimate Konsensus Khorus around here.

    • Obedient magic gas.

  12. I liked Emanual’s comment on flying into hurricanes: more pleasant than some Delta flights.

  13. The key point that comes out well in this exchange is that there is not only a risk in AGW but in AGW policy. I like to emphasize the three issues of market failure, analytic failure, and government failure, the last two being problematic to government solving any alleged market failure.

    • I’d like to invoke the Precautionary Principle about the coming catastrophe of policy from the warming madness. But wait, there’s no ‘pre’ about it; it’s a Cautionary Tale.
      ===================

    • I’d like to invoke the Precautionary Principle about the coming catastrophe of policy from the warming madness. But wait, there’s no ‘pre’ about it; it’s a Cautionary Tale.”

      Were it not so dangerou, one could also say the whole thing’s a caution, in the old, colloquial sense of the term. That is funny, absurd.

    • @ Barnes and Rob Bradley

      Barnes says: “In short, to raise cultures out of poverty requires access to abundant, affordable, and reliable energy.”

      Rob says: “The key point that comes out well in this exchange is that there is not only a risk in AGW but in AGW policy.”

      Jerry Pournelle has said, often and accurately, that cheap, plentiful energy is the key to freedom and prosperity.

      Someone needs to explain why Barnes, Rob, and Pournelle or wrong, and that a restricted supply of expensive energy is actually desirable, or why for 60 years the effect of EVERY energy related policy that has been advocated or actually enactd by progressives/greens/Climate_Science has been to increase the cost of energy and/or reduce its supply.

  14. Emmanual virtually admitted that there since had been no advance in the science since Tyndall and Arrhenius at the middle of the nineteenth century. Max Planck and quantum theory did not exist then so our knowledge of IR has immeasurably increased. To the chemists of the day all CO2 was the same because the burning of s fuel. always produced the same CO2. Wrong.Carbon is an isotopic element and so, to a physicist, there are many different kinds of CO2. In particular, the absorption and radiation properties of CO2 vary greatly. It seems that the IPCC never bothered to investigate those different forms, so greenhouse gases and
    global warming turn on 19th century science!.

    As Emmanual said, it is just pencil and paper science, and it is as long as you go on believing that all CO2 was the same.

    • 98.7 percent of all CO2 is the same, Carbon-12 bound to two Oxygen-16 atoms.

      The IPCC is safe to ignore 1.3 percent of carbon dioxide that is isotopically different from the popular form.

      Perhaps you could provide us with the knowledge of how much difference there is between the different forms of CO2 in terms of their spectra?

      How much do they vary greatly?

      Carbon is an isotopic element? Yeah, and rain is wet. Thanks for expanding my knowledge, or not.

    • Bob Droege: Thanks for your reply.. Isotopes have more neutrons, hence more mass, hence different natural vibration frequencies, hence greater absorption or emission of IR. The IPCC should have investigated this, solved the 1940 singularity and been much wiser.

    • I’ve been trying to find what wavelengths are emitted by condensation and deposition of water vapor. Do these vary by pressure/temp?

      Is it plausibe we could observe these and calculate cloud processes (determing where clouds form and dissipate, geographically and vertically) by changes in these wavelength at ToA?

    • No, Alexander Biggs, some isotopes have fewer neutrons and have less mass, and greater absorption and emission does not follow, just different frequencies.

      How much do the frequencies change? Not much.

      What is the 1940 singularity?

    • ‘Not much’, heh. Four hundred parts per billion is ‘not much’ either.
      ===========

    • But Kim, does it change the amount absorbed and emitted?

      Does changing the concentration from 280 ppm to 400 ppm change the amount absorbed and emitted?

      Is the concentration important or the total amount?

      “Henry’s driving fast and straight on twisty mountain roads”

      Am I really replying to a bot?

  15. Can the warmists, lukewarmers, skeptics and dragon-slayers agree on a simple point.

    Building a Westinghouse AP1000, in the USA, costs $7 billion.
    If built in bulk the price would fall by up to half.
    You could probably get 150 reactors for less than the stimulus package, $700 billion.
    150 AP1000 reactors would be en ought to completely replace all coal burning power stations. 250 reactors would completely replace all petroleum liquids, petroleum coke and natural gas, about a trillion dollars. This spending would revitalize the US engineering and free up natural gas and coal for liquid fuels for transport.

    Who thinks this is the wrong way to go?

    • Robert I Ellison

      It is all perfectly safe – of course.

      http://www.nextgov.com/defense/2014/03/los-alamos-nuke-waste-heads-texas-temporarily-after-radiation-leaks/80956/?oref=ng-dropdown

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2013/02/25/whats-inside-the-leaking-tanks-at-hanford/

      http://enenews.com/tv-drums-of-radioactive-waste-may-be-smashed-and-opened-after-roof-collapse-at-leaking-u-s-nuclear-site-official-we-believe-theres-been-a-breach-its-a-very-serious-thing-seismi

      http://enenews.com/alarm-unusually-high-radiation-levels-found-nuclear-site-govt-weve-never-level-like-amount-employees-sequestered-place-unclear-radiation-released-video

      It is all perfect nonsense. When we are concerned about low levels of lead in dust or mercury and cadmium in fish – it seems that a proliferation of ingestible or inhalable nuclear products is perfectly OK. Radiation releases to air and water don’t even need to be accidental.

      “NRC’s regulations allow certain levels of radioactive materials to be discharged into the environment. As part of its license application, a licensee performs calculations of its expected releases, and NRC reviews these calculations to verify their validity and conformance to NRC requirements. NRC’s review and verification are documented in reports, and the licensees are required to monitor their discharges. Most of the systems used to discharge these radioactive materials are not classified as “safety related.” According to NRC officials, the amount of radioactive materials from underground piping system leaks has been small relative to these permitted discharges. Furthermore, the officials noted that a leak of tritium in and of itself is not a violation of NRC requirements.”

      There may indeed be better nuclear technologies – closed fuel cycle, gas cooled and factory sealed.

      http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Working-together-for-high-temperature-reactors-2103147.html

      Why rush into inferior technology?

    • Me, In spades, and I’ll tell you why.

      The GE ABWR is a much superior design than that Westinghouse mouse trap.

      No stinkin steam generators nor any pressurizers to mess with.

      Put me down for 150 of those instead.

    • I agree.

      But don’t just think of the US and the large economies. The small economies and small electricity grids can easily handle the GW scale units. We need smaller units. Smaller units are also best for the large economy. They can be built more quickly, small units, more factory built components so better quality control. They have many of the advantages of gas turbine units. Smaller, more flexible, less capital needed up front. shorter time from order to production and revenue generation, just-in-time ordering, faster learning so a faster rate of cost reduction and technological development.

      The ‘mPower’ seems ideal. 180 MW is about the same size as the larger gas units. The cost of electricity would be half that of coal fired generation by about 2050 at a cost reduction rat of 10% per doubling of capacity.

    • DocMartyn

      Good plan, but as the old German student song goes:

      “Wer soll das bezahlen?”

      (Who’s going to pay for that?)

      Presume the 250 reactors, which “would completely replace all petroleum liquids, petroleum coke and natural gas” for “about a trillion dollars”, would be either powering electric automobiles or electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen as an automotive fuel cell fuel.

      If so, you’d better add another trillion or so to replace all automobiles and/or put in the electrolysis plus hydrogen distribution.

      And let’s ASS-U-ME that all future nuclear plants that are built are fully competitive with natural gas or coal plants that would otherwise have been built, so the total added investment is around $2 trillion.

      And what would this accomplish?

      In 2012, US population was 314 million (US Census Bureau) and CO2 generation was 5,290 million tons (EIA), for a per capita CO2 generation of 16.8 tons.

      In 2000 the population was 281million and CO2 generation was 5,620 million tons, for a per capita CO2 generation of 20.0 tons (so per capita CO2 emission has decreased quite a bit without any specific CO2 abatement measures).

      The US Census Bureau projects that US population will reach 374 million by 2040

      http://www.census.gov/newsroom/cspan/pop_proj/20121214_cspan_popproj.pdf

      Over the same period US CO2 generation is projected by EIA to reach 5,691 million tons (CO2), for a per capita CO2 generation of 15.2 tons, based on a business-as-usual scenario.

      US Population is expected to increase to 560 million by 2100. Let’s ASS-U-ME that per capita CO2 generation would continue to decrease slightly, at a slower rate than it did from 2000 to 2012, but at the same rate projected for 2012-2040. We would then arrive at a CO2 generation of 6,900 million tons or a per capita generation of 12.3 tons on a business-as-usual basis.

      On this basis, the USA would generate a cumulative 540 GtCO2 from today to 2100.

      Now let’s assume (optimistically, IMO) that these CO2 abatement actions could truly result in an 80% reduction in the cumulative CO2 emissions of the USA until 2100, or a cumulative reduction of 432 GtCO2.

      That’s a reduction of 55 ppmv in the atmosphere by 2100.

      Without these actions, it is estimated that we would reach 650 ppmv by 2100, so with them we would reach 595 ppmv.

      At a 2xCO2 ECS of 3ºC, this would result in a theoretical reduction (at equilibrium) of the global warming by 2100 from 2.2ºC to 1.8ºC, or a reduction of global warming of 0.4ºC.

      For a guess-timated investment of $2 trillion.

      Not a good deal IMO, Doc.

      Instead of doing this, why don’t we simply fix the broken permit process for new nuclear plants and give modest tax incentives to industries or individuals that implement “no regrets” initiatives to reduce CO2, such as:
      – replace new coal-fired power plants with nuclear or natural gas (where a gas supply exists)
      – replace newnormal automobiles with hybrids
      – replace Diesel for new heavy transport with natural gas
      – install energy savings initiatives (waste recycling, better building insulation, etc.)

      And, at the same time, support (with taxpayer funding) some basic research work hopefully leading to an economically competitive and environmentally acceptable alternate to fossil fuels, in order to accelerate this process.

      That would be my idea of money well spent, because it would amount to hundreds of millions or maybe low billions, rather than 1000 times this much.

      What do you think?

      Max

    • DocMartyn

      Let me add that I completely support Peter Lang’s idea of fixing the broken permit process in the USA for new nuclear power plants in order to make them fully competitive with coal.

      This would be part of the “no regrets” approach that I outlined above (which came from an ASME report).

      Max

    • Radiation is inherently bad. The form is very important. There actually seems to be health benefits to moderately high exposure.

      Ingested isotopes with large biological half life are what we need to be concerned with. Tritium is disipates in the atmosphere quickly and even if inhaled doesn’t stay in the body long.

    • Sorry,

      Radiation is not inherently bad.

  16. I’m convinced by Tyndall’s experiment. When lodging inside a piece of laboratory apparatus I shall henceforth be very wary of any CO2 increases.

    In fact, I’ll try to spend as little time as possible inside closed glass receptacles.

    • Robert I Ellison

      I am not convinced that moso proclivities don’t include viewing the world from inside a bottle.

  17. OK, this may be off topic, but we may have found the perfect alternative fuel, from a progressive perspective.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10717566/Aborted-babies-incinerated-to-heat-UK-hospitals.html

    Dedcarbonization macht frei.

    • @ Gary M

      Looks like the Brits are leading the charge toward a ‘sustainable’ population. Since the ‘sustainabilists’ figure that we are around 6.5 billion in excess, just think how many coal plants that they could shut down while ‘killing’ two birds with one stone, so to speak.

    • Soylent Green Fuel is people!!!

  18. “The modelers insist that they are unlucky because natural temperature variability is masking the real warming. They might be right, but when a batter goes 0 for 10, he’s better off questioning his swing than blaming the umpire.” ~Richard McNider and John Christy

  19. The world has a number of options regarding the climate/energy equation. The UN is not leading in looking for options (as it should be). Wealth transfer does nothing for either climate or energy advancement. All it does it transfer financial resources from one jurisdiction to another, usually without safeguards that any intended purpose will be met. The two best current options for the long-term improvement of the equation are nuclear power and hydroelectric development. Both are more climate neutral, and both can provide long-term and significant energy to various regions. The burning of fossil fuels would be faster and cheaper, but are not acceptable to many people. Hydro power seems to be the forgotten source of significant energy.

    A long-term plan could be a compromise. For example, the US and Europe could go nuclear, and as new capacity is developed, developing nations could use carbon-based fuels that “replace” the savings in developed areas ( a very different form of “carbon permit”). Over time, CO2 and other atmospheric components would remain stable until energy is switched over world-wide. This may take a century, but it would be a goal. In the meantime, the resources wasted on current renewables and purely academic exercises (modelling) should be shifted to innovation in sources of energy, such as thorium. Wind and solar power are not viable on any extensive scale – a clear example of industrializing something that has not passed the economic test of market viability. I know this is pie-in-the-sky but the short-term solutions are non-sustainable and costly. The only real drawback to a long term plan is that it doesn’t fill the pockets of crony capitalists who support the governments currently in charge.

    • Your energy issue needs finer parsing. There are more electricity generation options (nuclear, CCGT) than transportation fuel options. And word has it that AR5 WG2 will finally conclude that converting food to biofuel is not such a good idea. That leaves problems for which the UN has no solutions.

    • A long-term plan could be a compromise. For example, the US and Europe could go nuclear, and as new capacity is developed, developing nations could use carbon-based fuels that “replace” the savings in developed areas ( a very different form of “carbon permit”).

      While this may sound good, China already outproduces CO2 in the US, and the combined output of CO2 from China and India by 2050 according to Richard Muller is something like 2 or 3X that of US and Europe combined.

      If we are really concerned about CO2, and I agree we ought to be concerned, the answer is to push forward with cheap alternatives for electric generation. I doubt for the foreseeable future anything but gasoline will be used for transportation (even methane is a tiny molecule, and so require innovations to make it safe).

    • R2Dtoo,

      I mostly agree. But don’t agree with: “A long-term plan could be a compromise. For example, the US and Europe could go nuclear, and as new capacity is developed, developing nations could use carbon-based fuels that “replace” the savings in developed areas”.

      The developing world’s energy consumption and emissions will swamp the developed world’s this century. Therefore the focus must be on policies to allow the developed world to move to sustainable energy and low emissions (if that is required).

      The way to achieve these, IMO, is to allow nuclear power to be come cheaper. The developed world, especially the USA, could achieve that by removing the bureaucratic and regulatory imposts on nuclear power which are making it far more costly that it could and should be.

      Nuclear generated electricity could be half the price of coal fired electricity in Australia (where coal is cheaper than in USA and nuclear is prohibited by law), by 2050, if the impediments were removed and nuclear energy costs could achieve cost reduction rates of 10% per doubling of capacity.

      In the future, nuclear power will produce trans port fuels (petrol, diesel, jet fuel) from sea water. “Jet fuel from sea water”. Look at links to US Navy research and articles by John Morgan.

    • @edbarbar | March 24, 2014 at 9:18 pm |
      I doubt for the foreseeable future anything but gasoline will be used for transportation (even methane is a tiny molecule, and so require innovations to make it safe).
      **** Ed, we’ve been piping and otherwise moving methane around the planet for roughly two centuries. I’m thinking using it for vehicles isn’t going to be that big a deal.

      From the article:
      About Natural Gas Vehicles
      What Are They?

      NGVs, or Natural Gas Vehicles, look like any other vehicle. The difference is, NGVs operate on natural gas as opposed to the fuel we typically pump into our vehicles’ tanks.

      Found in reservoirs deep below the earth’s surface and ocean floors, natural gas is formed by the decay of organic matter. Natural gas reserves come from large quantities of plant and animal remains that have accumulated between layers of sediment on the bottoms of lakes and oceans over millions of years. The pressure from the layers of sediment and the heat from the earth’s core convert the organic materials into natural gas, petroleum and coal. All oil deposits contain natural gas, although natural gas is often found without oil.

      NGVs typically use one of two varieties of natural gas: Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The preferred fueling method for light to medium NGVs, CNG stations dispense between five and ten gallons per minute. Heavy-duty NGVs with weight and range requirements typically fuel up on LNG, which allows them to store more fuel on board with less tank weight. L/CNG stations can service both types of NGVs by converting LNG into CNG.

      http://www.cleanenergyfuels.com/about-clean-energy-natural-gas-fueling/aboutngv.html

    • I commute to work and typically I use gasoline, natural gas, jet fuel, natural gas and then gasoline to get there.

      • David Springer

        car to airport, bus to terminal, jet to destination, bus to car rental, car to work

        you forgot the travel by foot which is powered by what… peanuts?

    • “I doubt for the foreseeable future anything but gasoline will be used for transportation.”
      _____
      ? I suppose all those with electric and nat. gas powered cars should toss them out?

      • David Springer

        “I suppose all those with electric and nat. gas powered cars should toss them out?”

        No of course not. People can keep their toys. I have electric boats and airplanes and helicopters too. I even have some powered by rubber bands. But he said transportation not recreation.

    • Sounds like you are living in the past Springer…but I guess we knew that.

      http://automobiles.honda.com/civic-natural-gas/

  20. The ole WUWT ENSO meter has rather quickly swung to the Nino side. Still in neutral territory, but movin.

  21. The take-home point from Emmanuel’s presentation is the indisputability of the 19-th century surmise that trace concentrations of CO2 make the global surface temperature habitable. That utterly fantastic claim sweeps aside everything that has been learned about non-equilibrium thermodynamic systems during the last century!

  22. Judith, thanks for posting this. Had escaped my attention while preoccupied on other matters. I find both positions a bit too black and white, that is, un-nuanced.
    Energy prices have and will continue to rise–at least for petroleum and equivalents. As previously guest posted here, a good guess by IMF is $200/ bbl by 2020. The short term US nat gas low is an artifice of landsmen contracts that specified use it or lose it. My US SWAG is between $5 and $6 by YE 2015 just to keep sufficient rigs drilling to replace steep frack decline curves in existing wells. Posted here previously concerning the geophysics, not the pricing.
    So the biggest issue facing both the developed and the developing worlds is not CAGW, nor coal versus renewables for electricity, nor energy prices per se. The developing world cares less about the electricity it does not have than the transport fuels without which it struggles. I think it can be proved absolute scarcity in liquid transportation fuels arises by 2020. Horribly disruptive for agriculture (diesel tractors), and commerce generally. Not a cliff event. Just every year gets tougher than the year before- but the negative compounding is at a rate of about 5% pa based on conventional reserve decline curves. Again, previously posted here.
    CAGW misdirects both research and adaptation funding concerning this issue, something not very well discussed in this most interesting session.

  23. “And not long after that, the Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius, found out that the climate is heavily regulated by one of the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, whose mass represents four ten-thousands of our atmosphere–a tiny trace. And calculated that without that four ten-thousands part of our atmosphere that is carbon dioxide, the earth would be a snowball. We wouldn’t be here. We couldn’t survive. This is not in dispute”

    Dear Kerry Emanuel:

    Actually It is in dispute. Arrheniuns (1896) On the Influence of Carbonic Acid… Clearly says that the hypothesis of greenhouse gas effect was never tested, Page 239 second paragraph. Furthermore, Arrhenius (1896) page 267, second paragraph does not say that his work is correct. ” I lay it now before the public and the critics.” Therefore you should stop referring to the work of Tyndall and Arrhenius as an accepted and validated science.

  24. Thanks for this and other recent posts. Lots of good stuff. I don’t know where to start so will hold off for now.

  25. Emmanuel said: “I’m so tired of being told we can’t do it. France went from almost no nuclear to 80% nuclear in 15 years. Are you seriously telling me that the United States can’t do, cannot do, what France did? I don’t think so.”

    The fact that it is the warm and his climate science consensus team that are telling him this “can’t be done” or shouldn’t is not missed by the general public. When the warm become genuinely concerned about the most important issue evah, the rest of us will too. Since they aren’t, it ranks last in the order of concerns in polls (especially among the young, FOMD).
    Strangest of all is the fact that nuclear power has broad bi-partisan support- most Republicans and even many Democrats are in favor. You could start tomorrow if you wanted to, heck you could be a long way to being done by now.
    If only there were a movement of people who gave a $hit about CO2. Oh well, at least this means there is no cause for concern.

    • Emanuel was part of the Hansen open letter supporting nuclear power, and trying to get greens to support this. They take the effects of fossil fuels seriously, and have concluded that renewables are not going to be there soon enough with this being an urgent problem, and time mattering. Going nuclear also doesn’t mean every country immediately. The advanced countries that can already handle this option account for 75% of the fossil fuel use, and enormous reductions could follow their transition, leaving less advanced countries to take this path later in the century when they are more ready.

    • Jim, I don’t disagree with anything you’ve written here. I would, however, point out that this has been obviously true for the past two decades. James Inhofe and the Koch brothers are not preventing nuclear power, yet they are the bugaboos of the warm. People notice.
      Unfortunately for the warm, they have hitched their wagon exclusively to a political movement that will walk away from the issue if nuclear is the solution. Couple that with the fact that they’ve enthusiastically trashed their credibility with policy makers who would support rational responses and you end up with the weird stasis we have now- a movement that is increasingly shrill in its demands for “action” as long as the action is ineffective.
      Folks like you are the only ones who can break that stalemate and you won’t do it by shouting at “deniers.” IMO, nuclear is inevitable with or without the global warming issue and the only thing we’re really discussing is the veracity of the Malthusian argument that a future with low-cost energy would be an environmental disaster due to over consumption. And that debate is already over.

    • Techno-Optimists vs Malthusian Doomsayers was never even a sporting contest, yet the punters arrived in droves.
      ==================

  26. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Peter Lang advocates [insanely] “Removing the bureaucratic and regulatory imposts on nuclear power which are making it far more costly that it could and should be.”

    Ideology by Peter Lang, inconvenient science-and-economic facts 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}

    • Fan, OTOH I suggest you read Caldeira, Emanuel, and Hansen’s letter to enviormental groups supporting safe nuclear power published in the NYTs in an article by Revkin.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      ordvic advocates [wisely!] “Read Caldeira, Emanuel, and Hansen’s letter to environmental groups

      Good advice by ordvic, link supplied by FOMD!

      Yeppers, that Hansen letter reminds folks:

      • liberalism is civil, diverse, science-respecting, and adaptive, and

      • globalized markets can be irrational, inefficient, and immoral, and

      • the Tragedy of the Commons is real and sobering, and

      • everyone can see that the oceans are rising, the waters are warming, and the polar ice is melting … without pause or obvious limit … and so we know that global warming is real.

      No wonder this guy is sponsoring what will be a mighty interesting conference … `cuz he’s got an eye to the future (as should we all).

      For forms of government,
         let fools contest;
      What’ best administered
          is best.

      —   Alexander Pope

      As evidence, we see that countries like the Netherlands remain prosperous, happy, free, long-lived, well-educated, and healthy — despite their heavy taxes, regulated economies, and scant energy resources.

      How is that, the world wonders? Maybe all that is needed for freedom and prosperity, is for their citizens to be honest, healthy, well-educated, and good workers? Perhaps hybrid economies and pragmatic politicians achieve these goals best?

      Thanks for the good reading advice, ordvic!

      \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}

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      FAn,

      I do like your sense of humor. Keep it up!

    • Fan, thanks and glad to keep you on message :-) Ditto Gates!

  27. Good discussion, well moderated.
    I liked the part where Emanuel was asked what he could say to change Christy’s mind, and he said he was a climate scientist, not a psychiatrist. I don’t think he meant it in a bad way, but it got a laugh.

    • At the end they were asked about their opinions on best sources of information. Emanuel said definitely not blogs. Plenty of good climate science books these days. Christy oddly said his best source is congressional testimonies because those people can’t lie. Well, they can also leave out a lot of the truth, which is just as good. I would not call this a good source. It is very skewed by the questions asked, and the considerations deliberately left out of the answers. Emanuel’s answer made a lot more sense.

  28. Fernando Leanme

    Both distorted basic facts, both seem to back nuclear power, and both made an effort to seem more reasonable.

  29. I see some are doubting what Emanuel said about what happens when you take all the CO2 out of the atmosphere. Lacis showed this in a GCM. Normally you can run GCM for centuries with a stable realistic surface temperature, but take the CO2 out, and in 5-10 years it has dropped 30 C in global average temperature and is half-covered in sea ice due to a powerful water vapor feedback in response to any global temperature change. CO2 has an enormous role in the global temperature. Similarly doubling CO2 has an effect.

    • This is evidence of the GCMs being laughably wrong.

    • Jim D, that relies on the assumption that there was once zero CO2, the planet was frozen, and it was only when CO2 entered the atmosphere that the planet started warming up.
      This never happened, and if there was ever a ‘snowball Earth’ epoch, it occurred despite high levels of CO2.
      The bottom line is that you can’t deduce anything about sensitivity from that hypothesis.
      It’s like saying that if you build a train without brakes you’ll get a train wreck, therefore there must have been lots of train wrecks before brakes were invented.

    • Jim D

      C’mon, Jim.

      Nobody takes Lacis’ “CO2 control knob” postulation seriously (except maybe Richard Alley and Lacis himself)..

      The facts on the ground are falsifying it as we speak.

      And then there is the bothersome Ordovician “snowball Earth” period, when CO2 levels were 10 times what they are today.

      Max

    • With a very high degree of probability, if CO2 dropped to zero, or even just below about 150 ppm, we’d see another Ice Planet Earth develop relatively rapidly. Water vapor alone simply cannot sustain the GH conditions since a little cooling mean more condensation which leads to more cooling, and you’re off to the races. You need enough level of a noncondensing GH gas that can support a baseline level GH conditions.

      Iif no CO2 (in addition to all the plants going away), Earth turns back into a little rocky snowball, with the oceans frozen over nearly to the equator. Brrrr….

    • R Gates, but CO2 is not going to drop to low levels, is it?
      Nor is it going to cool down enough to lead to significantly more condensation.
      So the question is purely academic.
      And as we’ve never had very low levels of non-condensing GHGs, you can’t deduce anything about sensitivity from something which has never happened.

    • I thought Lacis’ 2009 paper did a beautiful job of showing the absurdity of the positive cloud-cover feedback the GISS (and other) models. His model runs had atmospheric water vapor dropping by 90% after CO2 was removed, but cloud cover increasing by 50%, resulting in a world that would be a perpetually cloud-covered desert. Makes a lot of sense…

  30. The people who are promoting nuclear reactors apparently believe that heat emissions play no part in climate change. Fossil fuels are burned for their hear content and supply 80% of our energy consumption. They give off a by-product of CO2. The heat emissions alone, ( along with the geothermal heat flow), are enough to account for the rise in temperature of air, land, and water that we experience as well as the melting of glaciers at a rate of one trillion tons a year. Heat emissions cannot be ignored as a major contributor, in models purporting to describe the effect of CO2 on climate change. If we eliminate fossil fuels we eliminate most of the heat as well as the CO2. Nuclear power, however, emits more than twice the total heat as its electrical output without the benefits of CO2 in the photosynthesis cycle.

    • You state the same stupid assertion, even though people have gone through the math with you many times. Our waste heat is trivial.

    • Doc Martyn,

      No offense intended, but I thought the UHI was due to heat – hence the Urban Heat Island appellation.

      If one attempts to measure heat with a thermometer, the waste heat emitted as a result of human activities and the humans themselves is a confusing factor. Of cours, all heat eventually becomes waste heat, and is radiated to space, in spite of those who proclaim it is trapped in some bizarre fashion by CO2.

      Without the heat produced by humans, as alluded to by by Philip Haddad, thermometers would of course indicate lower temperatures when used in the vicinity of thse humans.

      The question of whether thermometer readings tell anything of value about the heat content of the Earth is another thing entirely.

      I don’t believe Philips Haddad’s assertion is stupid prima facie. We might well agree to disagree, but to say our waste heat is trivial is not necessarily true. When you are bundled up in your high efficiency sleeping bag in the desert, with surface temperatures below zero, it’s only the waste heat from your metabolic activity preventing you from freezing to death.

      And a good thing too!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • DocMartyn,
      Waste heat is not negligible, and nucler energy is inefficient. Philip’s numbers look OK.

      The earth can easily get rid of waste heat rejected in dry form that ends up heating the atmospheric air. However, waste heat rejected in wet form such as water vapor or directly to the ocean remains and warms up the surface. This is an undisputed physics. Waste heat in wet form is approximately equal to 20% of our energy consumption, it is a lot.

    • Mike Flynn, to give you some idea about what the the UHI is, consider two situations:

      a) A breezy garden lawn, and
      b) An asphalt-covered courtyard surrounded by whitewashed walls

      Which one wouldn’t you walk barefoot across on a hot summer’s day?

    • Steven Mosher

      Mike Flynn

      UHI is due to several factors. Waste heat from humans ( 100 watts) and from human related processes ( exhaust heat from buildings, cars, etc)
      is a minor component of the total effect. The major impacts come from
      changes to the urban fabric.

      1. replacing natural surfaces with surfaces of lower albedo. This decreases the enegy reflected and increases the energy stored (during the day)
      2. replacing moisture bearing material with impervious material.
      This increases the heat storage capacity. Heat is stored during the day
      and released at night increasing tmin
      3. Changing the roughness factor. tall buildings do several things
      a) reduce the skyview at night, reducing escape of LW
      b) create radiative canyons during the day
      c) reduce turbulant mixing
      4. building material that reduces evaoptranspiration

      Waste heat is peanuts compared to these other factors.

      Use google. and read

    • Phatboy,

      Actually, I chose the asphalt surface. Even though it was technically the height of summer, the air temperature was around 10C or so, and the breeze was gusting to 60 kph or thereabouts.

      The previous night had seen the usual precipitous drop in temperature, so the grass in the shade outside the courtyard was just as cold as the the asphalt. I must admit I left my boots on, but I if I had to choose, the asphalt surface was at least out of the wind, in the courtyard. As far as I could tell, the walls were indeed whitewashed, rather than painted with modern paint.

      I guess your point is that if you put a thermometer on a hot surface, you will observe a higher temperature than if you put it on a cold surface.

      I assume that only Warmists would fall into that trap, but I may be wrong.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Stephen Mosher,

      I will forgive your poor grammar, and spelling mistakes, as possibly being the result of your inattention to detail. I am not immune in that regard.

      I would invite you to consider a simple example of the relatively insignificant contribution of waste heat in a specific setting. Come with me into an arid region where surface temperatures fall below zero at night. We will both dress lightly, as daytime temperatures exceed 40C.

      After the sun sets, I will attempt to avoid hypothermia by intercepting some of the waste heat from a wood fire – in spite of its peanut like influence.

      You may choose to avail yourself of the extremely overwhelming influence of the several hundred watts per square meter of the fabulous back radiation being emanated by greenhouse gases.

      I believe my waste heat will trump your natural back radiation. I have a suitable area in which to conduct such an experiment close to hand. I await your response.

      I will go a little further. Might you give me the benefit of your mathematical abilities, and quickly calculate the heat output of mankind and all attendant activities over a year? I assume this will be easy, as you have stated it is peanuts, but you have not defined the size of your peanut.

      I assume that for a person of constant mass, all energy consumed is given off as heat within a relatively short space of time – say 24 hours.

      Unfortunately, I don’t know the energy content of all food consumed by the world’s population. I don’t even know the world’s population itself. As you say, probably peanuts. You can no doubt tell me.

      It might be that 30 gigatonnes or so of CO2 enters the atmosphere each year as a result of mankind’s activities. Maybe more. I’m sure you have an accurate figure. Now, if all that CO2 came from the oxidation of carbon, you could easily calculate the energy released as a result. Add to that all the energy released as a result of non oxidative processes – nuclear power, hydroelectric, solar voltaic, and the rest, and you will be able able to calculate your peanut unit in terms of commonly accepted scientific units of measurement.

      Given that during the night the Earth gives back to space all the energy it receives from the Sun during the day, making due allowance for that temporarily stored by photosynthesis and other natural processes, maybe your peanut might loom quite large in the affairs of men.

      I don’t know for sure. I await your carefully calculated figures. Or are your peanuts merely Warmist Wafflings?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Peanut wafflings from Flynn.

      The heat from combustion is 0.3W/m2 – multiply it by the area of the Earth and the seconds in a year to get Joules.
      Is that beyond you?

      Let’s assume it is fairly constant – so it doesn’t increase the heat in the atmosphere merely maintains it at a steady state. To retain extra heat in the atmosphere – all other things being equal – you need to add greenhouse gases.

      An odd fact that very few people seem to get their heads around is that the heat from combustion and the heat from the core and radioactive decay is about equal to the added heat in the atmosphere from nominal increases in greenhouse gas forcing. That has implications for ‘radiative forcing’ that I won’t go into. It is a little above Flynn’s paygrade.

    • Steven Mosher

      Flynn and others
      Start here

      Two decades of urban climate research – Wiley Online Library

      Read that and all the references

    • Stephen Mosher,

      I am unable to find the answers to the questions I posed in the reference you provided. Only assumptions, guesses, estimates and modelling based on assumptions, guesses and estimates.

      Do you have any facts to back up your assertions, or just more Warmist assertions? Have I missed something here, or are you simply appealing to some supposed authority?

      Maybe it is a while since you read the study.

      Can you point me to the facts that support your peanut assertion?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Robert I Ellison,

      I gather you think that dreaming up a large number, dividing it by the Earth’s surface area to come up with 0.3, and claiming that multiplying it by the Earth’s surface area to come up with your original guess somehow proves that your dream has become reality. I disagree.

      You then proceed to write –

      “An odd fact that very few people seem to get their heads around is that the heat from combustion and the heat from the core and radioactive decay is about equal to the added heat in the atmosphere from nominal increases in greenhouse gas forcing. That has implications for ‘radiative forcing’ that I won’t go into.”

      It would appear that you believe that the atmosphere distinguishes between non existent greenhouse gas forcing heat, and real heat. I agree. Non existent greenhouse gas forcing has no effect on the atmosphere – or anything else for that matter – while actual heat from any source appears to heat the gases of the atmosphere, as evidenced by the fact that the atmospheric temperature exists.

      Whilst I admire your unswerving and absolute belief in the non existent, I am an unbeliever. Your greenhouse effect doesn’t seem to have stopped the Earth cooling for the last few billion years.

      The greenhouse effect doesn’t appear to work in the laboratory, at night, in the desert, when the temperature is below the freezing point of CO2, or on days with a Y in them.

      Believe as you wish, but please don’t take exception if I refrain from donating money to support your belief.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Robert I Ellison

      It would appear that you believe that the atmosphere distinguishes between non existent greenhouse gas forcing heat, and real heat. I agree. Non existent greenhouse gas forcing has no effect on the atmosphere – or anything else for that matter – while actual heat from any source appears to heat the gases of the atmosphere, as evidenced by the fact that the atmospheric temperature exists.

      This is of course very silly and nowhere near what I wrote. It is the mean free photon path this is the significant variable. Adding greenhouse gases decreases the mean free photon path – a simple matter of having more molecules in the atmosphere interacting with IR photons – increasing the quantum of energy in the atmosphere at any instant. All things being equal – the atmosphere warms. The source of the energy is quite irrelevant to this aspect of the problem.

      Did I say 0.3W/m2? I meant 0.03W/m2. Which I worked out from first principles from the amount of fossil fuels burnt and then converted to a unit power flux. You might like to compare this to the power flux from the Sun at the surface of 242W/m2.

      Then again you might prefer to wallow in the phantasmagorical all your life.

    • Robert I Ellison,

      Unfortunately, the atmosphere appears to cool at night.

      You wrote –

      “It is the mean free photon path this is the significant variable. Adding greenhouse gases decreases the mean free photon path – a simple matter of having more molecules in the atmosphere interacting with IR photons – increasing the quantum of energy in the atmosphere at any instant. All things being equal – the atmosphere warms. The source of the energy is quite irrelevant to this aspect of the problem.”

      I assume you actually didn’t intend for the first sentence to appear as it does, as this doesn’t really make sense. Your assertion that decreasing the mean free photon path causes the atmosphere to warm is quite simply odd. As I pointed out, the atmosphere cools in the absence of heat – whether from the Sun or man made.

      A full cylinder of compressed CO2 cannot be distinguished from an empty CO2 cylinder if both are in thermal equilibrium with the surrounding environment – regardless of the mean free photon path distance in the respective cylinders.

      As to your assertion that you worked out your admittedly mistaken figure from first principles, did you include all heat generated by organic life and decay processes, from radioactive decay harnessed and unharnessed, other non oxidative forms of chemical reactions, other exothermic reactions, and many other sources of heat, or do you just dismiss these as too hard, or just peanuts?

      You’ve got to be joking, Robert I Ellison! I wonder if chaos theory would have proceeded as far if Lorenz had not noticed that a seemingly insignificant rounding off led to significant and totally unexpected results.

      Believe in peanuts if you wish. Believe that the Earth is warming due to a greenhouse effect if you must. Belief you obviously have in abundance. Facts, not so much.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • 0.03 W/m2 is about right for combustion heat. It is 4 orders less than the solar heat we get. As such, it does that much less than the sun to our climate. It might affect the 4th digit of the mean surface temperature.

    • Jim D and Phil Haddad

      I think we’ve all gone through this once before.

      Jim D is right in writing that “0.03 W/m2 is about right for combustion heat”, if we figure that the total from all human sources is 125,000 terawatt/hours/yr.

      Doubling CO2 results in a “climate forcing” of 3.71 W/m^2 (Myhre et al.).

      So a 2 ppmv per year increase in atmospheric CO2 (at current concentration) results in an annual increase in forcing of 0.03 W/m^2, as well.

      3.71 W/m^2 * ln (397 / 395) / ln (2) = 0.03 W/m^2

      So the two are equivalent it seems at first glance.

      Jim D: please explain to Phil Haddad why the two are not really equal.

      Thanks.

      Max

    • Robert I Ellison

      Garrulous as usual but utterly off with the fairies. Do you think the two are causally related? Verbosity substituting for clarity and a scientific education beyond growing wheat seed in damp cotton wool?

      My figure was not mistaken – merely a minor and corrected typo – and it covers as I said combustion of fossil fuels. The heat from the core and from radioactive decay combined are of the same order – that is some 0.03W/m2. Biology is a net neutral. One process sequesters energy – another releases it. Over relatively short periods. Most of this energy comes from the Sun – and not too long ago. Exothermic reactions are balanced by endothermic – it is merely chemistry. Combustion is the exothermic reaction of most interest by far for climate – especially where it is combustion of fuels harvested from deep time. But every other energy source pales against the splendor and brightness of the Sun – drops in a shining heliosphere of coruscating torrents of energy.

      Frankly – I’m not surprised that it cools off at night.

    • @ DocMartyn

      @ Doc Martyn

      Based on this: “You state the same stupid assertion, even though people have gone through the math with you many times. Our waste heat is trivial.”, you seem to have lost patience with Phillip Haddad over his insistence that our waste heat may be accounting for part of the observed heating.

      You point out that the amount of heat that we produce would be insufficient to raise the temperature of the atmosphere enough to detect. And you are right.

      But our waste heat doesn’t heat entire atmosphere isotropically. To be detected, and influence the ‘Temperature of the Earth’, it only has to heat the atmosphere near where the measurements are being made (see the example of the monitoring station adjacent to the A/C unit). For the following I will be using rough numbers, since the data itself is ‘rough’, rounding, and at least one estimate.

      Rather than heating the entire atmosphere evenly, our waste heat heats the atmosphere immediately surrounding the points of consumption. That would be in urban centers. My estimate, referred to above, is that at least 80% of our energy is consumed, and dissipated, in urban centers. Also, our waste heat doesn’t heat the entire atmospheric column, sea level to space, evenly. It heats the bottom, where it is then diffused by wind, convection, and direct radiation to space. But the point is that the atmosphere in and around urban centers and for maybe a couple of thousand feet up is where most of the waste heat is concentrated. Most of the monitoring sites are in or immediately adjacent to urban centers.

      With that in mind, we have the following (US specific):

      The total area of the US considered to be urban is 100,000 square miles, or around 250,ooo km^2 (2.5e^11 m^2).

      The total mass of air above the urban area is 10,000 kg/m^2, but the bottom 2000 ft contains less than 5% of it, or around 500 kg/m^2.

      That gives a mass of about 1.25e^14 kg of atmosphere that is required to absorb and dissipate our energy.

      We consume around 3e^16 pw-hours/year, or 1e^17 kilojoules/yr. My estimate would mean that 8e^16 kilojoules/year are consumed in urban centers.

      The specific heat of air is around 1kj/kg-K.

      Shuffling all the numbers around, and hoping I didn’t hose the exponents, the bottom line is that our ‘waste heat’ is being generated at a rate that would heat the air in and around our urban centers, up to an altitude of 2000 ft. or so, at a rate of around 1.75 C/day if the air were confined to be heated. I suspect that outside of Western Europe the percentage of energy consumed in urban centers is even greater than 80%. Brazil, for example. Or Libya.

      Of course the air doesn’t just lay around waiting to be heated, but conducts, convects, and radiates the heat away rapidly enough that we don’t run around in shorts and flip flops in the winter time. On the other hand, the potential is clearly there to bias the temperature readings in/around urban centers when small fractions of a degree are considered significant.

      Because our excess heat is concentrated in what amounts to point sources, and those point sources are almost invariably located near to the temperature monitoring sites, you may want be a little kinder to Phillip and his opinion that waste heat accounts for a significant amount of our ‘warming’ unless you have convincing evidence that the heat is dissipated so rapidly that its net effect is smaller than our ability to detect. He may or not be right, but his premise is not prima facie ridiculous.

  31. Arrhenius was 100% wrong, same as the today’s propagandist!!! T

  32. The earth is warm, because: oxygen &nitrogen are transparent and let the sunlight trough, to ”WARM” the surface! Then, O2&N2 as PERFECT insulators are slowing cooling = they are the greenhouse gases!!! on the other hand, CO2 intercepts small amount of sunlight high up, where cooling is much more efficient – as a result small amount LESS of the sunlight comes to the ground = same as the H2O cloud effect -> brings day / night’s temp closer = less extreme.

    The truth will win on the end – scientist SCARED from the truth and their followers are not reliable = they mislead everybody else, even themselves : http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/climate/

  33. Charles Hart

    If the Warmers would agree to push nuclear like Emanuel the Skeptics would readily agree. China is now ahead of the US for advanced nuclear.

    “The nuclear race is on. China is upping the ante dramatically on thorium nuclear energy. Scientists in Shanghai have been told to accelerate plans (sorry for the pun) to build the first fully-functioning thorium reactor within ten years, instead of 25 years as originally planned.

    “This is definitely a race. China faces fierce competition from overseas and to get there first will not be an easy task”,” says Professor Li Zhong, a leader of the programme. He said researchers are working under “warlike” pressure to deliver.”

    “The Chinese appear to be opting for a molten salt reactor – or a liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) — a notion first proposed by the US nuclear doyen Alvin Weinberg and arguably best adapted for thorium.”

    “The thorium blueprints gathered dust in the archives until retrieved and published by former Nasa engineer Kirk Sorensen. The US largely ignored him: China did not.” [Note: I think Kirk also gets credit for "LFTR".]

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/am … k-to-them/

    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/ … ctors-2024

    • David Springer

      The United States built and operated a liquid flouride thorium reactor in the 1960’s. There is no race to be the first. The US was the first almost 50 years ago. To this day the US is the only country with any experience at all with a working LFTR reactor. China meanwhile has yet to catch up to where the US was in 1965. Don’t make me laugh. LFTR reactors are not economically viable at this time due to requirement to have a chemical processing plant on site to remove reaction byproducts from the fuel which would otherwise quickly render the fuel non-fissionable and by lack of materials able to handle the fuel for the long term. Specifically materials in the plumbing, pumps, and separators must be able to handle HIGHLY corrosive liquid salt hot enough to melt tin and simultaneously resist embrittlement by high neutron flux. No durable material that is up to the task and is economical to produce and maintain has been found. Commerical LFTR reactors are many decades away if ever. This is pretty much the story for all experimental next-generation nuclear power plants.

      • David Springer

        *Hot enough to melt tin.

        Also hot enough to melt zinc, magnesium, and aluminum. The Oak Ridge LFTR reached 650C operating temperature during 1.5 years of full power operation.

    • Fluoride was preferred to chloride as chlorine-35 absorbs a neutron to become chlorine-36, then degrades by beta decay to sulfur-36 and this causes all sorts of corrosion problems. We now have very cheap and efficient laser separation that would allow the reactor to run on chlorine-37.

      There are some nice molten salt reactors

      http://www.snetp.eu/www/snetp/images/stories/Docs-SRA2012/sra_annex-MSRS.pdf

      and this sub-critical study

      http://moltensaltindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Degwekar.pdf

      • David Springer

        None of those designs have been constructed. Not even running as research reactors. Wake me up when someone has a molten salt research reactor up and running. Until then my statement that only the US has actually done it is correct, it was in the 1960’s, it was shut down after 1.5 years of full power operation, and no other molten salt reactor has been constructed since then. Concept designs don’t count. Conceptually we also have solar power sats that supply all the energy we need and space elevators that make lifting mass into LEO orbit so cheap it’s like a helicopter ride. Concepts are pretty phucking far from practical commercial practice. You of all people should know that.

  34. Christy needs to be carefully punctuated as he uses fairly complicated sentance structures.

    People will suffer if energy prices go up. We already know that. There’s just no question about that. And as I said, living in Africa, I know what energy [?] does–it kills people.

    try punctuating it like this

    People will suffer if energy prices go up; we already know that; there’s just no question about that; and as I said (living in Africa I know what energy does) it kills people.

    Next example

    It’s a bet the company move[?] right now for the few that are trying to build nuclear power.

    This one is easy

    It’s a bet-the-company move right now for the few that are trying to build nuclear power.

    • Ian H

      Looks like somebody made some errors in transcribing what Christy said?

      He has made the statement about the “short and brutal” life in places that have no access to an energy infrastructure, based on his own personal experience living in Africa, so it’s pretty clear what he meant to say.

      Too bad the written text is garbled.

      Max

    • David Springer

      “I know what energy [?] does” should be “I know what energy poverty does”

  35. Wonderful information. Cheers!

  36. Christian song lyrics, christian music, christian chords, top christian songs,
    search for christian lyrics by title, artist, phrases, christian lyrics search by words in song.
    Love & Special Sauce to mind, the Santa Barbara, California resident’s creative lyrics and music stand
    on their own, and the aptly-named video for ‘Brighter’ features a cascade of
    artistic imagery, showcasing Mc – Avene’s talent for painting and some great puppeteering work.
    Only a cat probably has more lives than this song and its lyrics
    have had.

  37. Emanual starts his statement with “John Tyndall, made a remarkable discovery using a laboratory apparatus–it was [?]–that is that all of the absorption of infrared radiation that takes place in our atmosphere is done by a tiny amount of gas that makes up less than 1% of the atmosphere. ”

    followed shortly by

    “And not long after that, the Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius, found out that the climate is heavily regulated by one of the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, whose mass represents four ten-thousands of our atmosphere–a tiny trace”

    The average listener, not familiar with relative greenhouse effects of water vapor and CO2, would probably think that the first part of the statement “all of the absorption of IR ….” refers to the CO2.

    Somewhat misleading. Purposeful? As Emanual says, “I’m not a psychiatrist”.

    • David Springer

      Correct. Tyndall’s equipment was not sensitive enough to detect absorption of ‘calorific rays’ by CO2. The reference to an atmospheric gas is to water vapor which Tyndall was able to detect and measure but water vapor is seldom less than 1% of the atmosphere which Emanuel must certainly be aware of so he’s being purposely dishonest and misleading.

      The following is a link to the chapter on absorption of heat by gaseous matter in Tyndall’s magnus opus “Heat: A Mode of Motion”.

      http://books.google.com/books?id=MwwAAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA294#v=onepage&q&f=false

      Note that in the very detailed description of how to construct the experimental appartus Tyndall employed a chemical-filled filter cannister to remove water vapor from the gas to be tested. His galvanometer so sensitive that he had to take readings with a telescope because the heat from his body would change the reading if he got close enough to read the needle position with eyeballs-only. A number of things he did to get the primitive equipment of the time (~1850) able to measure IR absorption by gases but even so CO2 was still too weak.

    • Thinking on aqueous vapour and the role of the sun circa 1874.

      http://rsnz.natlib.govt.nz/image/rsnz_07/rsnz_07_00_0548_0469_ac_01.html

  38. “Look at the world of climate science. In this world dominated by collegiate atmospheric modeling, a fundamental challenge has been – as in science, in general – to match theory with reality. Professors Richard McNider and John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville clearly demonstrated this in a Feb. 20 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, which included a graph displaying the miserable match between climate predictions and observational reality.” ~Anthony Sadar and Susan Cammarata, Washington Times

  39. Warming Predictions vs. the Real World

  40. The real world is not scary. It’s reality! The world of GCMs is not scary. That’s a toy world. Western academia: that’s what’s scary: they just don’t care about the truth.

  41. The fact is that in a world of plenty, too many have next to nothing. Those ensconced within a largely left-leaning academia where rhetoric is highly esteemed must face the fact that their theories are partially responsible for a false reality that perpetuates the poverty of unseen others. ~Sadar and Cammarata

  42. Right now, the only really affordable source of power for Europe is coal. Germany is dropping its nukes, and replacing them with coal. To the extent that they use gas for electricity generation, they increase their use of expensive (politically and economically) Russian natural gas. Renewables have driven electricity costs so high that EU manufacturers are moving production to the US, which has cheap natural gas AND cheaper electricity prices, for the same reason: fracking for oil and natural gas. EU electricity prices driving prices too high from a Financial Times article of several months ago:

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4370d5c0-c22d-11e2-ab66-00144feab7de.html#axzz2U7e9ikUv

    Solar is economic right now, but only in rural areas not connected to grids. Ideal for Africa and India, among other places. And the growth in these areas will make solar, eventually, cost effective in places like the US. It may take 20 years, but when solar is cost effective, we will start to see it on rooftops, building sides, and eventually on windows, not blocking sunlight. We don’t have to put our selves in fuel poverty, but we do have to — in the long run — reduce emissions of CO2. In the meantime, we can reduce emissions of other things that warm the planet, such as black carbon from incomplete combustion of fuels (diesel exhaust, especially in the developing world, for example).

    • Jim Cripwell

      John, you write “Solar is economic right now, but only in rural areas not connected to grids”

      What do you do at night? Remember, all over the world, on average there are 12 hours of daylight, and 12 hours of night. Without the ability to store solar energy, in large quantities, I suggest it will have limited application. I suggest you look what they are doing at Ayer’s Rock in Australia.

    • Jim, in Africa, they have small storage devices that store the solar, then they feed a single light bulb at night. That is how kids do their homework in some parts of rural Africa and elsewhere. They also charge the mobile phones which are becoming ubiquitous. It is part of the revolution in micro everything, not just micro finance:

      http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_24366538/nokero-has-sold-1-million-solar-light-bulbs

  43. What sort of fool confuses ‘burning coal and tar’ with ‘energy’?

    The two are far from the same, and making burning coal and tar expensive will very likely drive down the long term cost of energy as Moore’s Law takes over in solar, wind, ocean and geothermal.

    Therefore, Christy’s entire premise is false.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      What kind of fool mistakes his own fantasy for present reality?

    • Steven Mosher

      “The two are far from the same, and making burning coal and tar expensive will very likely drive down the long term cost of energy as Moore’s Law takes over in solar, wind, ocean and geothermal.”

      Moore’s law applies to silicon. It applies to silicon because of the functional relationship between size ( area of the wafer), feature size ( how small we can make a gate), and material cost. My sense is you’ve never built an
      ASIC. but on the odd chance you have tell me how defect density plays into the equaltion and metal layer count.

      Solar, AS A SYSTEM, has a diminishing proportion of its cost that will follow moores law. A good analog is the Hard Disk drive.
      A hard disk drive for example will be made of two subsystems
      A) the mechanical part
      B) the platter

      The mechanical part, actual metal moving parts doesnt follow moores law
      Say its 40 bucks. It follows, at volume, commodity value curves.
      the platter follows closer to moores law. So, the long term floor of the system cost is limited by the mechancial component. At some point you see a crossover into all digital drives.

      Returning to solar, if you are talking PV you’ve got a similar situation
      with one part of the system ( inverters, mechancial parts of panels )
      following commodity cost curves, while the cells may follow moores law.
      basically at the limit the silcon becomes “free” and the cost floor is other stuff. So while the silicon part of the system cost dominates you’ll look like you can follow moores law, but then you hit a wall. Go open an inverter.
      Look at the components in it. You wont find many that will follow a moores
      law cost curve.

      Wind, Ocean, GeoThermal. These are not the type of systems
      that will follow a moores law type of cost curve. They will follow
      A cost=weight type curve.

      • David Springer

        A bit of overkill there Mosher and not entirely accurate. Solar PV has a lot of potential to leverage a subset of thing Moore’s Law leverages. For one thing consider there’s economy of scale. How much is the per unit cost for a hundred of any given ASIC versus a hundred million of the same ASIC? SPV cells are semiconductors. What’s the cost of an ASIC with bleeding edge feature size vs. the same feature size a decade later? Yields skyrocket and price drops like a stone as manufacturing process is tweaked and improved. This should apply to solar PV. At a class a chipmaker was giving a small group of engineers many moons ago (I think it was AMD 25 years ago) the FAE doing the talking joked about the initial price of the technology he was pitching saying “We all know the ultimate price of VLSI silicon is five bucks so don’t let the introductory cost make you shy”. Artificial leaves are probably even more apt and synthetic biology is progressing just as fast as Moore’s Law for semiconductors. Gene sequencing has dropped in price by six orders of of magnitude in the past dozen years. Single chips the size of a postage stamp now have the equivalent of a million test tubes on them and reagents are moved around by electrostatic charges in micrometer wide channels. Results are read out of each cell with a laser. It’s extraordinary. Every time I read about it I think of how like Moore’s Law the field is progressing.

        Other alternatives such as fuel from foodstocks, liquifaction of coal, nuclear, solar thermal, windmills, etc. are pretty far removed from the Moore’s Law enabling factors so you’re on target there but you didn’t need to spray the guy with a mini-gun when far less would suffice to make your point.

    • Besame, besame Moore may.
      ==============

    • “what sort of fool…?” Still on our arrogance bandwagon, are we? Bart knows all….

      Back to substance: coal is very cheap in most parts of the world. That is why so much of residential China is heated with coal, unfortunately for the health of the people. But in power plants, you don’t get the black carbon and polycyclic hydrocarbons that you get when you burn coal in a residential heating stove, because the temperatures are much higher and you have pretty much complete combustion. So in most parts of the world, coal is the cheapest way to make electricity from a power plant, even with all the modern pollution controls. That is why China is building so much coal fired power, but much less nuclear power. And why the US isn’t building nuclear power.

      In the US (but not elsewhere), where tracking has produced so much cheap natural gas, coal is not the cheapest form of producing electricity right now. In the longer run, it isn’t clear whether coal or natural gas will be cheaper in the US for producing electricity. That said, looking out 20 years, I think photovoltaic solar will finally become affordable, and at that point, other ways of producing electricity will become legacy systems.

    • Heh, Moore’s Law vs Power Density. Hey, now, the Sun’s a Contenduh.
      =================

    • Steven Mosher | March 25, 2014 at 12:52 pm |

      Then let’s talk about Swanson’s Law, which is a special application of Moore’s Law, and see whether the stuff you pulled out of your butt matches with what people who actually do this for a living say.

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelkanellos/2011/11/09/is-there-a-moores-law-for-solar/2/ gets it dead wrong.. just like your conclusion did. “Shrinking a solar cell reduces the surface area exposed to the sun, which directly reduces the amount of power it can generate.” This is exactly backwards for the case of Concentrated Solar Photovoltaic (CSPV), where the higher the concentration (shrinkage), the more efficient the power conversion.

      Why does Forbes keep printing so much stuff that’s technically out of touch?

      http://www.ecn.nl/docs/library/report/2004/c04035.pdf has been out for years. You’d think anyone who wanted to comment intelligently on the topic would at least reference it.

      http://www.economist.com/news/21566414-alternative-energy-will-no-longer-be-alternative-sunny-uplands shows the progress of the price of solar to 2012.. and that’s without CSPV.

      And if you don’t think similar effects dominate in wind as higher altitudes are being reached, geothermal where the same horizontal drilling as makes fossil reserves more accessible now can be used, and tidal, with new materials and methods coming onstream, then by all means, continue to live in your vacuum tube world, getting left behind by the rest of us.

      Oh, and kim, if you don’t think solar, wind, or waves have sufficient power density, see how long you can withstand concentrated solar, high altitude wind, or rip tide waves.

      And if those don’t rock your world, there’s the fact that hydro power is 80% underutilized in the USA, and it is far cheaper than coal or oil. And if you want transportable fuels, fast pyrolysis is net carbon negative and getting cheaper by the same progression as Moore and Swanson.

      Where what’s in the ground, they’re not making it any more, and they seldom make it any cheaper, and that by not much.

    • Steven Mosher

      Bart im not talking about the size of cells but the total system cost.

    • Steven Mosher

      Just as I thought bart they are talking about module cost not system cost.

    • Bart R, I know how biological systems deal with damage caused by light flux, the photosynthetic complexes have repair system and are turned over with a half-life of days or weeks, do tell me how your concentrated solar converters are repaired and how often they are replaced.

      • David Springer

        Doc PV cells aren’t as complicated as eukaryotes. Think prokaryotes which don’t repair DNA they instead rely on massive replication and not being impaired by the death of a few individuals. Solar cells don’t self-replicate (yet) their performance degrades over time as damage accumulates. The rate of decay is well characterized by engineering weenies like me and taken into account by system integrators and facility managers. When performance degrades beyond some specified amount they’re designated end-of-service life. Sometimes you get lucky. EOL for some of our Mars rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) was 90 days and one of them is still rolling after 10 years IIRC. The other of the pair lasted 6 years before getting irrevocably stuck in the sand and then went silent a few months later.

    • Steven Mosher

      Just as an example bart the 30x improvement
      In cost in solar wafer is miles away from the 40000x
      Improvements in chips.
      A chip consists of wafer and the package. The typical package might cost 2 bucks and a penny per pin or ball.
      The wafer? Might cost you 30. Its the wafer cost that drops according to moores law. So the system cost is dominated
      By the subsystem that is subject to moores law.

      In a pv system the wafer will follow a moore like curve
      But the other components dont.

      Google mythical moores law for solar

      • David Springer

        I tend to believe there’s a lot of room for price to drop in net metering equipment and DC-to-AC conversion which, last time I priced building a personal system, was half the total cost. Standardization and economy of scale can go a long way. Especially standardization of net metering.

    • Comments from someone who has worked in electronics, including photo-electronics and power electronics, for over 30 years:

      The most important driving force behind Moore’s Law for computing has been the continual reduction in feature size on the chips, now down to about 20 nanometers. This means that the amount of current and power to represent a piece of information has been drastically reduced.

      Yes, there have also been steady reductions in the cost per unit area of the silicon used, but these cost reductions have been much, much slower. So silicon that must process a given amount of current and power, as with photovoltaics and power inverter modules, has gotten cheaper much more slowly.

      And while using concentrating optics permits more electric power per unit area of photovoltaic cells (this has been known for decades), this is only effective if the whole assembly tracks the sun, which wipes out the entire cost advantage – why it is not being used to any significant extent.

      The idea that anything like Moore’s Law applies to technologies other than semiconductors has absolutely no foundation.

      • David Springer

        “The idea that anything like Moore’s Law applies to technologies other than semiconductors has absolutely no foundation.”

        Wrong Curt. The first complete sequencing of the human genome took 10 years and $3 billion. It was completed in 2001.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Genome_Project

        The cost of gene sequencing has declined to where in February 2014 Illumina announced it had reached the milestone of $1000.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_genome_sequencing#Commercialization

        This is quite inline with Moore’s Law.

        As you can see it was so close to the rate of Moore’s Law from 2001 through 2008 it’s eerie. Like Moore’s Law is based on some law of nature or something. But then in 2008 it began outpacing Moore’s Law rather dramatically.

        Synthetic biology in general is advancing at this pace. That’s because laboratories with a million test tubes are now being built upon silicon wafers the size of a postage stamp, reactants shuttled around to test wells on the wafer through micro-channels using electrostatic charges, and results of a million individual tests read off with blazing speed using laser interferometry.

        Genetic engineering of synthetic organisms is poised to take off like a rocket into commercial application. The first organisms in the energy field have already been patented and are modified photosynthetic bacteria that directly secrete ethanol and diesel using no arable land or potable water in the process. The limiting factor at present is the need to have CO2 concentration much higher than atmospheric level in order to make the bioreactors efficient enough to be cost competitive with oil at $60/bbl. Price reduction in the clear flat plastic tubing used to expose the bacteria to sunlight will help and undoubtedly before too long another synthetic organism will be developed that concentrates atmospheric CO2 cheaply for utilization by the fuel producing synthetic organisms.

    • Curt | March 25, 2014 at 11:03 pm |

      Wow.

      I remember the same sort of argument coming from the vacuum tube set years ago. How the cathode ray tube display would never be replaced. How the price of gold would prevent integrated circuits from catching on very much. How computers were ‘too complicated’ or ‘just glorified adding machines’, could never be run without teams of experts, would always be limited to use in space, yada yada yada.

      Moore’s Law has been generalized and applied far more broadly than its original context. Swanson’s Law has held up well to date. Sure, it doesn’t move as fast as Moore’s Law, but then no one went out of their way to block the computer industry, the way coal and oil throw obstacles into the path of their perceived competitors.

      The point is, it is Swanson’s Law that governs the price of alternatives; non-renewables are subject to politics and make politicians subject to the whim of foreign tyrants. Energy security means getting off fossil, not merely digging into fossil in new ways. Economic security means letting the economy advance through technology change, not clinging to a smaller and smaller pie with more and more subsidies.

    • Webby, here, he’s one of yours – kindly sort him out.

    • Phatty, one Bart could take on an army of deniers.

    • One Bart could…

      Yeah, Webby.

      But he’d fall on his a– as he does regularly here.

      Max

    • -In the US (but not elsewhere), where tracking has produced so much cheap natural gas, coal is not the cheapest form of producing electricity right now. In the longer run, it isn’t clear whether coal or natural gas will be cheaper in the US for producing electricity. –

      In longer run if you confined to natural gas on the land [and shale deposits] there is simply more available energy from Coal. But include methane hydrate deposits being able to be mined, then appears to more
      total energy in oceanic methane deposit:
      “Recent estimates constrained by direct sampling suggest the global inventory occupies between 1×10^15 and 3×10^15 m³ (0.24 to 1.2 million cubic miles). This estimate, corresponding to 500-2500 gigatonnes carbon (Gt C), is smaller than the 5000 Gt C estimated for all other geo-organic fuel reserves but substantially larger than the ~230 Gt C estimated for other natural gas sources. ”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane_hydrates

      So 1000 trillion cubic meters about twice energy than global coal reserves.
      It seems with natural gas from shale use within a couple decades natural gas will gain against coal, but natural gas is still small portion of global energy as compared to coal. Mainly due to China massive use of coal.
      In terms of CO2 emission coal makes the most amount:
      “In 1999, world gross carbon dioxide emissions from coal usage were 8,666 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. In 2011, world gross emissions from coal usage were 14,416 million tonnes”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal

      – That said, looking out 20 years, I think photovoltaic solar will finally become affordable, and at that point, other ways of producing electricity will become legacy systems.-

      Not possible. The photovoltaic solar panel [not including other costs] is because various government subsidies are currently effectively free. Wide spread funding of solar energy can not done by government and is dependent on other sources energy financially supporting solar power. On that basis a lone, what say is impossible.
      And then you got fact the solar energy is simply not viable source of energy- and never will be.

    • Webby, are you saying you actually agreeing with him?
      If so, then you’ve just become an ambassador for the other side.

    • phatboy | March 26, 2014 at 3:43 am |

      Webby, are you saying you actually agreeing with him?
      If so, then you’ve just become an ambassador for the other side.

      You would do well to pay attention, phatty. That is a fine mind at work, able to logically reason with simultaneous concepts at play. I don’t know if I always agree with his version of hyper-capitalism, because I don’t know how practical it is ,but I would buy his book if he decided to write it.

    • “David Springer
      Doc PV cells aren’t as complicated as eukaryotes. Think prokaryotes which don’t repair DNA they instead rely on massive replication and not being impaired by the death of a few individuals.”

      Prokaryotes have extensive DNA repair systems; I have a patent for using the E. Coli DNA repair enzyme, Fpg, as a means for assaying DNA lesions.

      • David Springer

        Give me a break. You know DNA repair mechanisms in prokaryotes are not anywhere near as complex as eukaryotes. But it was a bad analogy as complexity of PV cells are orders of magnitude lower than prokaryuote cells.

        A better analogy would be to a phage but that still gives the PV cell too much credit. I’d argue a prion is more complicated than a PV cell and I’m pretty sure I’d win. Do the simplest phages have DNA repair mechanisms?

    • Dudes, less ad hom, more ad fact.

      The facts show the trajectory for alternative prices per unit energy heading down, and fossil prices per unit energy heading up; hydro power is so underexploited in most of the world as to be shocking.

      There’s five times as much hydroelectricity available as is being tapped, and tapping hydroelectricity in pumpable reservoirs is, as Chief Hydrologist points out, the best flood control measure one could implement in a world with way too many floods.. and it’s a pretty good drought control measure too, in a world with way too much of that.. and it can be used to store electricity generated off peak to reduce the amount of overcapacity needed and make all those intermittent alternative sources more economical.

      Coal energy arbitrage is actively used to aggressively deny alternative markets, where coal power actually pays neighboring markets to take its electricity instead of generating its own with alternatives. Subsidized legacy coal in electricity plants that have had their licenses to operate past safe end of life strategically paying surrounding energy generators just enough to NOT to build hydro power? What’s up with that anti-competitive anti-capitalism, indeed?

      By 2020, solar will be cheaper than coal. By 2024, solar will be cheaper than natural gas. It takes six decades between the time the decision is made to go with a particular energy generation form and the time it’s end of life; committing to coal or natural gas right now, today, is the less economical choice, and fiscally irresponsible, because by the time the plant is built, there will be a 50:1 ratio of cheaper solar/wind/hydro/geothermal/wave years of service committed to.

      Whinging that the price of solar will never be 40,000x cheaper, only 30x cheaper, in a half century? MISSES THE POINT. Coal and oil aren’t getting 30x cheaper.

      • David Springer

        Coal and natural gas aren’t getting more expensive to produce. Cheaper actually. Alternatives are still far more expensive. The solution lies in high technology without a doubt. High technology is produced by high R&D funding and high funding is produced by vibrant growing industrial economies. Energy prices rising is counter-productive to vibrant growing economy capable of producing the constant stream of better technologies. I other words don’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs before you have a better goose ready to go.

    • Webby, you claim to work with semiconductors, yet apparently don’t know about Moore’s Law

    • naq | March 26, 2014 at 10:14 am |

      One of the great things about Swanson’s Law: if 1/3rd of the current price of equipment is paid for by the taxpayer, and the cost of the whole drops to 1/30th, then the taxpayer can stop propping up the infant industry. Everyone wins.

      Just imagine the bellyaching if Big Fossil had to pay for the gifts of land and lost the tax holidays and other forms of propping up it enjoys?


    • phatboy | March 26, 2014 at 1:22 pm |

      Webby, you claim to work with semiconductors, yet apparently don’t know about Moore’s Law

      Exactly how many refereed publications do you have in the semiconductor or solid-state physics fields, eh LardBoy?

      Amazing how desperate these deniers are to get me in a gotcha situation. All I did was remark on how well Bart R handles rhetorical arguments.

    • And while using concentrating optics permits more electric power per unit area of photovoltaic cells (this has been known for decades), this is only effective if the whole assembly tracks the sun, which wipes out the entire cost advantage – why it is not being used to any significant extent.

      Actually, with inflatable systems made from cheap materials and control taking place at a micro- scale, the actual cost of such tracking assemblies could be made incredibly cheap. And all the control systems follow Moore’s “law”.

      On a wider-scale note, I’m glad I don’t have to prop up the exponential price decrease argument, I don’t have much time these days. Thanks Bart, David.

      • David Springer

        “systems made from cheap materials and control taking place at a micro- scale, the actual cost of such tracking assemblies could be made incredibly cheap”

        Yup. Leaves on plants follow the sun. A self replicating system of sun-tracking solar collection panels is already presented to us by mother nature. All the instructions contained in every single tiny cell of the whole plant in a code we’ve known since the 1950’s. Almost on a silver platter. We’re getting real close to being able to cut & paste from nature and add program control to turn simple cells into complicated self-replicating factories building everything from gallons of fuel to durable goods so cheap it is a quantum leap not a Moore’s Law progression.

      • A self replicating system of sun-tracking solar collection panels is already presented to us by mother nature.

        Along with whole ecosystems full of organisms highly adapted to eat them. And compete with them.

        All the instructions contained in every single tiny cell of the whole plant in a code we’ve known since the 1950′s.

        That was a self-serving fantasy on Watson’s part. There are still parts of the genetic “code” that aren’t understood. And as for the epigenetic stuff…

        We’re getting real close to being able to [...]

        Maybe. But IMO stuff manufactured from silicon, silica, and plastic has a number of potential competitive advantages.

    • Great conversation y’all. Once we start getting serious about technology, the whole conversation changes – from our capacity to harvest the CO2 in the atmosphere directly (why drill underground?) to dirt cheap solar, to nano-engine efficiencies that multiply our power capacities,

      We could enter a future in which computing power is so cheap and ubiquitous that wealth will be measured directly in energy (to power the computing that literally creates our virtual/real world real-time) – “Solar real estate” becomes a premier commodity – we will own, not land per se, but the “right” to harvest the solar radiation through an unobstructed tunnel of restricted space between a patch of ground and the sun. Cities, States, and Global Powers will fight for their right NOT to have ‘their” sunlight captured by scavenger stratosphere solar panels kilometers across – “shading” them and “stealing” “their” energy.

      The whole – too much CO2 in the atmosphere will be a quaint little issue – like running out of whale oil for lamps.

    • Curt | March 25, 2014 at 11:03 pm |

      The point about tracking assemblies is not entirely born out of ignorance. Bill Gross calls tracking assemblies the number one challenge for concentrated solar; but Bill Gross already whipped all the prior number one challenges, or adapted to technology as others found solutions he could take or leave.

      Wind is the enemy of tracking assemblies and solar mirrors, even the cheap kind, and non-imaging optics — while a great boon — don’t solve the whole problem, nor are without cost. However, people have baffled, blocked, vented, and prevented wind for centuries by countless means, and surely some adaptation from some of those measures, or some new invention, will solve this one highly specific issue.

      With that issued defeated, depending on the effectiveness and cost of the fix — or even possible side benefits, such as if windbelt frames were the solution, letting sunlight through edgewise while generating power from wind crosswise and deflecting dust too — CSPV has the potential to drop the cost of electricity generation perhaps a thousandfold, indeed as a quantum leap in cost. Is that going to happen? Who can say.

      However, actually standing in its way? That’s purely evil.

  44.  
    Piercing the Copenhagen fallacy:
     
    Considering that the climate models are the only support for the AGW premise, and the AGW premise is the only support for the climate models, exposing this simple fabrication is all that needs to be done to put an end to this circular argument that forms the basis for the entire climate change lunacy. (Norm Kalmanovitch)

  45. Here’s a good move on Exxon’s part- revealing what their exposure is if 80% of their fossil fuel reserves end up staying in the ground:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25286-exxon-to-disclose-extent-of-its-carbon-asset-exposure.html

    Bold and important move on Exxon’s part.

    • An analogy would be the Tea Party candidate for office who shares his credentials and accomplishments with prospective voters, knowing all of the resources that would be brought to the job and could be of benefit to all, will never be realized if voters choose the Leftist that promises everything but delivers nothing.

    • Hmmm, okay if you say so. Don’t really see that as at all similar, but whatever. It’s nice to know that Exxon is saying…”oh, by the way, our assets might actually be just 20% of what we’re reporting. Good on them…

    • so if oil companies do this, then the cost of their borrowing increases, they develop less fields, lower oil and gas is recovered, prices rise, people cut back, unemployment rises and the left rejoices.
      We can be sure that the left care about the poor as they always make sure that the set up to economic conditions to make so many of them.

  46. A blizzard ‘bomb’ is headed for NE USA. “Doesn’t Mother Nature have a calendar?” ~Philip Ross

  47. Emanuel:
    “John Tyndall, made a remarkable discovery using a laboratory apparatus–it was [?]–that is that all of the absorption of infrared radiation that takes place in our atmosphere is done by a tiny amount of gas that makes up less than 1% of the atmosphere.”

    Wikipedia (and every skeptic):
    “He [Tyndall] concluded that water vapour is the strongest absorber of radiant heat in the atmosphere and is the principal gas controlling air temperature. Absorption by the other gases is not negligible but relatively small.”

    Good grief, Emanuel doesn’t even understand the basics of the science. How do you get a PhD in the USA anyway – just by turning up and by spelling your name right? Surely not by reading books n stuff!

    • Water vapor is 95% of all greenhouse gases–i.e., not negligible. CO2 is measured in ppm — mostly natural — so, humanity’s contribution is de minimis–i.e., a negligible contributor to global warming.

      “There is no dispute at all about the fact that even if punctiliously observed, (the Kyoto Protocol) would have an imperceptible effect on future temperatures — one-twentieth of a degree by 2050.” ~Dr. S. Fred Singer

    • David Springer

      How to get a PhD in the US? Time and money can evidently take the place of talent.

    • David Springer

      Tyndall never even measured the IR absorption of CO2. His lab equipment wasn’t sensitive enough.

  48. Robert I Ellison

    ‘Clearly, it is time to change our assumptions regarding the inaccessibility of nuclear technology. In a modern society characterized by electronic information exchange, interlinked financial systems, and global trade, the control of access to nuclear weapons technology has grown increasingly difficult. The technical barriers to mastering the essential steps of uranium enrichment — and to designing weapons — have eroded over time. Much of the hardware in question is ‘dual use’, and the sheer diversity of technology has made it much more difficult to control or even track procurement and sales…

    The IAEA has categorized four potential nuclear security threats (or, more accurately, nuclear security risks): the acquisition of nuclear weapons by theft; the creation of nuclear explosive devices using stolen nuclear materials; the use of radioactive sources in radiological dispersal devices (RDDs); and the radiological hazards caused by an attack on, or sabotage of, a facility or a transport vehicle.

    The threat of nuclear terrorism is real and current. Some experts share the view of the Director General of the United Kingdom Security Service, who said in August 2003: “It will only be a matter of time before a crude version of a [chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear] attack is launched at a major Western city”…

    Sixty years ago, on a day in August, the dawn of the Nuclear Age in Asia left nearly a quarter of a million people dead, with two devices considered crude by modern standards. For six decades, we have managed to avoid a repeat of that event, but remain haunted by the prospect. It is my firm belief that we cannot move out from under the shadow of Hiroshima and Nagasaki until we are ready to make that move collectively, and build a system of security that transcends borders, that focuses on the equal value of every human life, and in which nuclear weapons have no place. May it not ultimately be said of our civilization that we created the inventions that led to our own demise.’

    http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/statements/2004/ebsp2004n013.html

    There are some 270,000 tons of high level nuclear waste sitting around in leaky drums and ponds. The illusion that this is a safe or mature technology has been around as long as the industry itself. Ultimately the technology exists to recycle that waste into much safer forms in the context of cradle to grave waste tracking. A safe nuclear technology is closed fuel cycle, gas cooled, factory sealed and returned to stable nations with stable geology for reprocessing and ultimate internment.

    The nuclear industry has a long way to go to demonstrate safety and security.

    • Re: nuclear waste. Yucca Mountain was dumped for political reasons, not scientific reasons.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘More than fifty years after the first commercial nuclear plant opened, the radioactive waste dilemma continues to persist with no end in sight. Americans have enjoyed the benefits of nuclear power but have failed to deal with its major burden. Most scientific
      experts believed early on that the issue could be resolved, and, in a purely technical sense, it might have been solvable. However, nuclear power and politics have always been intertwined, especially with regard to the disposal of nuclear waste. No single state wants to accept a repository, and under the U.S. federal system, forcing a state to do so is extremely difficult. At present, no one seems to know how to resolve the issue. Hence, for the time being and perhaps for a long time, the spent fuel rods will remain at the power plants by default. Perhaps the answer to dealing with radioactive waste will ultimately require a technological fix that will mitigate the political obstacles. Without a doubt, however, the generations that innovated nuclear power will leave the waste problem for later generations to solve, which is perhaps the innovators’ ultimate failure.’

      http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_14_04_04_beaver.pdf

      You would need a dozen Yucca Mountains and can’t get one.

  49. O.T, but for those of a certain rebellious, skeptical, Mikey Mann loathing mindset, superb news regarding Mark Steyn…who’s now got several highly impressive legal minds taking over his case.

    Steyn writes ”So I’m no longer an out-of-control full-bore crazy. Instead, I’m an out-of-control full-bore crazy who’s lawyered up to the hilt. Judith opined early on that Mann has picked the wrong guy by going after Mark Steyn. Prophetic words I do believe

    http://www.steynonline.com/6201/what-kind-of-fool-am-i

  50. Fantastic web site. Lots of useful info here.
    I am sending it to several friends ans also sharing in delicious.

    And certainly, thanks to your sweat!

  51. Many of us skeptics are now coming face-to-face with this harsh reality:

    “There isn’t one shred of evidence or even a pretense of science remaining in the global warming scam.”

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/time-to-move-on/

  52. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  53. Pingback: Assorted Links (3/31/2014) | Jim Garven's Blog

  54. Pingback: Curry versus Trenberth | Climate Etc.

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