Unintended consequences of energy policy on biodiversity

by Judith Curry

Mitigation, adaptation, and the threat to biodiversity.

Several years ago, Conservation Biology has published a paper with the provocative title Mitigation, adaptation, and the thread to biodiversity, by European biologists James Patterson, Miguel Araujo, Pam Berry, Jake Piper, Mark Rounsevell. Excerpts:

[W]ith the mounting recognition that mitigation and adaptation are vital for society comes a growing concern that biodiversity conservation will become an acceptable casualty in the fight against climate change. If the overriding priority is to preserve human welfare and prosperity at any cost, we foresee human actions compounding other threats to biodiversity. We argue that ultimately win–win–win goals should be sought, where mitigation and adaptation are considered on equal footing with biodiversity conservation. Opportunities for win–win–win solutions exist , but they are not pursued in many current and planned strategies (Fig. 1).


JC note:  click on the figure to enlarge, this is a fascinating figure.

Thus far, adaptation has occurred in limited ways, and as a result, the majority of conflicts with biodiversity conservation stem from mitigation schemes.

In both examples governments are keen to see the projects implemented, not least because they will help in meeting carbon-reduction targets. The decisions to go ahead will hinge on whether they can circumvent the national and European conservation designations, which ultimately means that after an “appropriate assessment” is carried out, and if this is unfavourable, they will seek acceptance that there are “imperative reasons of overriding public interest” for the developments. The key is public interest, and the onus becomes to demonstrate that conserving biodiversity is in the public interest. But herein lies the problem: how can one convince decision makers that biodiversity is worth conserving? One approach is to adopt the ecosystem services paradigm. This concept employs a utilitarian valuation of all aspects of biodiversity and outlines the services or goods that are vital for human society. Although there has been little uptake of it in conservation planning and assessments thus far, the use of such a concept has considerable utility for conserving biodiversity.

Examples of win–win–win schemes do exist, however, and there are viable opportunities to apply this approach. Even the increasingly controversial bioenergy sector shows promise for producing low-input, high-biodiversity biomass on degraded soils. Perhaps the best example can be seen in forest management, and in particular, the conservation of biodiversity-rich forests. The promotion of carbon trading to preserve old-growth tropical forests from deforestation activities would have significant positive effects for mitigation (reducing one of the largest emissions of carbon to the atmosphere each year), adaptation (e.g., reducing floods and erosion), and biodiversity (protecting some of the richest ecosystems on Earth). Nevertheless, there are too many proposed schemes of other types (e.g., large dams) that could have detrimental effects on biodiversity. Until we recognize that conserving biodiversity is in the interest of local and global communities, the very schemes put in place to prolong our welfare and prosperity may, perversely, curtail them.

JC comments:  This article is an important reminder that we need to consider the unintended consequences of climate change policy.   Climate change mitigation/adaptation as an end in itself can lose sight of why we are even doing this in the first place: protection of ecosystem services would seem to be an important rationale for addressing climate change.

This article further highlights the wickedness of the climate change problem, as we contemplate and begin implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation policies.

And finally, identification of win-win strategies provides common ground so that individuals from a range of different constituencies can find reasons to support them.

211 responses to “Unintended consequences of energy policy on biodiversity

  1. A warmer world sustains more total life and more diversity of life. Aren’t you glad?

    • +100 Another article of the type ‘Why worry’.

    • More life but less diversity.

      • DS- More life but less diversity.

        Maybe. But there are only so many new species which can be added into a system with fixed energy resources until at some point (and unless there is a regression of complexity) viability minimums of population size and numbers will be reached. Then no more increase in biodiversity.

        Yet, the recently proposed Biology’s First Law says that increases in biodiversity are inevitable even in the absence of evolutionary pressures (such as variations in niche environments). So, cold is a limiting factor. For now, IMO, warmer means more life and bio-diversity.

  2. Great post. If you add *religion* to the list of characteristics of “wicked” and “messy” problems, you get a hyper-wicked, hyper-messy problem.

    • There seem to be problems with the currently popular “ecosystem services” concept:

      “Actually “nature” never does anything to “provide services” – that’s an artificial human construct. We exploit bees doing what they do for our advantage but that does not mean “nature” is “providing” any sort of service at all. We are simply good at exploiting that which we find around us and/or altering it to better suit ourselves. It is extremely foolish to anthropomorphize the unimproved environment and pretend it is “serving us”. What you see is what you get – exploit it or improve it because it is a dangerous and hostile environment in its unimproved state.
      “Ecosystem services” are imaginary values applied by pagans and gaia-cranks to “protect” things from humans who would otherwise improve them or modify them to make them better suit our purpose. They were invented because tales of forest fairies and angry spirits no longer work to suppress human development”

      “… ecological economics are misconceived, that ecological conservation and protection cannot be justified on strictly economic grounds. Claiming that nature provides $33 trillion in ecosystem services is unpersuasive, given that most of nature’s services greatly exceed demand and are thus provided for free.”

      • Tourism is the largest industry on the planet. Many ecologies are visited by high paying tourists and the number is growing. Coupling tourism and ecology management is a no brainer. I talked with a Ranger from the Kruger National Park who was very keen on charging Western/Middle Eastern/Japanese men very large amounts of money to shot lions. The old males are culled anyway and getting paid to do it allowed them to hire more rangers.
        Sports fisher(wo)men and hunters have a direct stake in biodiversity and stable ecologies and happily pay for licenses that support ecological protection.

      • Stable ecologies and biodiversity are contradictions in terms. One of the most stable and least diverse ecologies in the world is the Pacific Redwood forest. If conditions stay the same for a very long time a few species become so well adapted they take it over to the exclusion of everything else. When conditions are unstable evolutionary pressure rises and some of the allelic oddities generated rarely by normal recombination get lucky and have a leg up on the mainstream population. This is more or less the basis for Steven J. Gould’s punctuated equilibrium.

        In another example a huge asteroid killed the dinosaurs allowing for the radiation of mammals. Mammals went on to become climate scientists who are, even now, becoming dinosaurs. That’s called the circle of life.

        I kill me sometimes!

      • That deserves a +10 for humor.

      • David,

        you keep killing yourself and you may end up as our resident zombie.

  3. Left out of that chart is the question of desirability of biodiversity in urban areas. Do we want bears and mountain lions prowling Manhattan? Raccoons are currently a nuisance. Do cockroaches and bedbugs count as ‘biodiversity’?

  4. Two takeaways from the article.

    One – Wind, bio-fuels and hydro are graphed as the worst for bio-diversity. So what’s a good animal loving CAGWer to do? Since conservatives don’t buy into the C in CAGW, we get to just sit back and watch the inevitable cat fight.

    Two – “One approach is to adopt the ecosystem services paradigm. This concept employs a utilitarian valuation of all aspects of biodiversity and outlines the services or goods that are vital for human society.”

    Welcome to the world of conservatism. Hunters, fishermen, loggers, learned long ago to “employ the utilitarian value” of nature while respecting and preserving it.

    • “Two takeaways from the article.

      One – Wind, bio-fuels and hydro are graphed as the worst for bio-diversity. So what’s a good animal loving CAGWer to do? ”

      Why is sea wall worst than wind mill?
      What possible advantage to nature would a wind mill have?
      Improve life for rats who can live fat and easy eating bird carcasses?

    • “Hunters, fishermen, loggers, learned long ago to “employ the utilitarian value” of nature while respecting and preserving it.”

      Presumably this is why passenger pigeons were hunted to extinction, the North Atlantic cod fishery virtually collapsed, and vast areas of the world have been denuded of forest. All with economic consequences for ordinary working people and indigenous peoples. Yay for the rose-tinted spectacles of “conservatism”.

      • Learn the difference between commercial and sport hunting, fishing etc.

        Want to take a guess at the leading habitat restoration organizations? Here is a hint, it isn’t WWF, Greenpeace, Sierra Club or NRDC.

      • I don’t believe that the distinction between “commercial” and “sport” was made in the original post. But are you suggesting that there’s no connection between “conservatism” and big commercial interests? Interesting point of view.

        In any case, there’s no such thing as a “sport” logger.
        And it is “sport” hunting that has been responsible for the extirpation and extinction of top predators all over the world, with knock-on conservation problems caused by over-population of large herbivores such as deer.

      • Jeff,

        I didn’t say there was no link between commercial entities and conservation, nor use the term big. I just said there was a difference. In the US, sport hunters and fishermen not only contribute to state conservation efforts through license fees, those belonging to groups such as Ducks Unlimited, which I believe is the single largest contributor to restoration efforts in the US.

        As for sport loggers, there are a lot of individual loggers in my neck of the woods. My neighbor across the street is one. Logs family owned land part time and has a full time job. He puts a lot of effort into maintaining the land and forest.

        So exactly why is it you are pushing a story line which no longer exists?

      • Tim,
        For every example of good conservation practice by hunters, loggers, etc. that you (and I) can cite, I can cite an example where they have behaved irresponsibly. Just recently we’ve heard that a raptor species is likely to go extinct in England due to its illegal persecution by grouse hunters: its reproductive success this year was zero. My point being that any notion that (as your stated) “hunters, fishermen, loggers, learned long ago to “employ the utilitarian value” of nature while respecting and preserving it” is rose-tinted wishful thinking.

        Not all, but many hunters, fishermen and loggers only respect and preserve that which they can hunt, fish or log. Anything which interferes with their hunting, fishing or logging is simply not tolerated. Yes there are exceptions to this, but those exceptions are not sufficient to counteract the effects of those who choose to persecute (legally or illegally) top predators and other undesirable species.

      • Jeff,

        Must have been someone else who made the utilitarian comment. Wasn’t me

        I can’t speak on hunters in England. I am not the best person to discuss hunting in the US as I am a very occasional hunter. But I still know lots of hunters and fishermen and they do not fit the picture you paint. Yes there are assh@les here who hunt out of season, shoot raptors, bait fields where is is illegal and other bad practices. They are the exception. In the PNW, even the top predators are making comebacks. I am 15 minutes from downtown Portland, and have bear, elk, coyotes, ducks, geese, blue heron, deer, etc within a mile or two of the house. We even had a bobcat living in the woods across the street for a few years.

      • Apologies, it was someone else who stated that, you just defending the position it appears. As I said, for every example, there’s a counter example. But the overall global trends, based on a range of metrics, is that biodiversity is declining. Whilst I’m not suggesting that hunters etc. are responsible for all of this, they have played their role.

      • Jeff,

        Could be we have more we could agree on than disagree.

    • Funny that solar panels don’t rate a mention on the chart. I guess that their manufacture has an up front cost in terms of energy and carbon usage, probably enough to make it a win – lose – lose in an overall context.

      Obviously the more the world population increases the greater the pressure on the environment. It reminds me of people who cut down a beautiful tree so that they might enjoy an unimpeded view of the lake nearby from their homes.

      To be honest, I am not a fan of human beings in general, they are too insular and apt to rationalise being a SOB with respect to other humans less fortunate than they are and/or their treatment of animals as being purely for their consumption.

      • That’s why I appreciate Hayek – a sort of conservative or libertarian who advocates for a social safety net. He advocates it for social stability, something the Chinese understand, so in a way he is looking out for himself. But it works out for the poor also. Nevertheless, he did have a heart.

  5. Judith writes- “This article is an important reminder that we need to consider the unintended consequences of climate change policy.”

    I agree with the basic point, but Imo it is most important to remember that the “we” is made up of 200 different nations with different and often conflicting goals that will not be impacted by any climate change in the same manner. When “we” know that climate change will impact nations very differently, does it make sense to believe a consensus on what actions will be implemented and when by the world’s governments is likely?

  6. Ah yes, the ol’ “But, unintended consequences,” wrapped up in a binary mentality.

    Yes, the bio-diversity consequences of mitigation and/or adaptation policies are important considerations. They should be a part of a comprehensive and full-accounting of costs and benefits. So, with that said, what is the value of the chart without an accompanying comparison to the bio-diversity impact of continued, or increased, use of fossil fuels with the current technologies, with projections of likely future technological developments?

    I love it when folks argue as if: (1) any policies are susceptible to unintended consequences and, (2) coincidentally, only those policies they disagree with have unintended consequences.

    • oops.

      #1 should read….”any policies are not susceptible to unintended consequences.

      • The usual smarmy sniping.

      • Given the nature of the deniers, you wonder why the option of “bury your head in the sand” doesn’t show up in the figure.

        They can keep their brains cool while ignoring the transition from a fossil fuel based society that is occurring around them.

        BTW, mitigation and adaptation are conflated terms when it comes to fossil fuels. One takes mitigation measures to prepare for future scarcity, and adaptation is one form of risk mitigation. One adapts to the noise of windmills and adapts to their variability.

      • WHT –

        What kind of a person goes through life, paralyzed by the potential of “unintended consequences” for any action they might take?

        The answer is that no one does that. If they did, they would be completely non-functional.

        Unintended consequences are a part of life, inextricably. So what we have to do is compare, as best we can, the potential for unintended consequences from any of our actions.

        So what kind of a person thinks that the notion of “unintended consequences” is some kind of profound realization rather than a banal fact of life?

        The answer is some kind of Utopian who is stuck in a binary mentality.

        Finally, what kind of person selectively cherry-picks the potential “unintended consequences” of some actions without considering the “unintended consequences” of the available, alternative actions?

        Hmmmmm. I think people can figure out where that is going.

        Selective reasoning is selective.

      • Windmills kill birds.

        (An unintended consequence?)

      • manacker

        Windmills kill birds.

        (An unintended consequence?)

        I’d say of course. I can’t imagine that anyone would build windmills for the specific purpose of killing birds.

        So how would you evaluate the negative impact of biodiversity from windmills relative to, say, drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico or strip mining?

      • The birds adapt to getting killed. The way they adapt is that they reduce the breeding population until they reach a new steady state where the number of new birds equals that murdered by the criminal wind turbines.

    • Joshua

      “So, with that said, what is the value of the chart without an accompanying comparison to the bio-diversity impact of continued, or increased, use of fossil fuels with the current technologies, with projections of likely future technological developments?”

      simple think. Who is the audience of the piece? continued use of fossil fuels is a lose lose lose. The chart is not aimed at convincing skeptics. They cannot be convinced. the chart is aimed at people who believe that the solution involves both mitigation and adaption. Currently people evaluate mitigation and adaptation within a limited framework where the costs and benefits do not include a biodiversity benefit. This chart tries to bring in stakeholders in the biodiversity tribe.

      You’d be surprised Joshua there are people who care about the planet from other perpsectives than “its getting warmer, and the seas will rise”
      rather than subordinate their concerns or dismiss their concerns including their concerns seems a laudable goal.

      Of course that complicates the calculus,

      • steven –

        Currently people evaluate mitigation and adaptation within a limited framework where the costs and benefits do not include a biodiversity benefit.

        I believe that is true – and from that perspective, this kind of chart is useful in deepening analysis. Of course, we’re taking the veracity of their cost/benefit analysis at face value there….

        This chart tries to bring in stakeholders in the biodiversity tribe.

        Really? Where do you see anyone entering the tent of stakeholders? I see an empty tent, next to tents of “realists” and “skeptics” and “progressives” and “conservatives” with people spilling out through the seams. I see people welcoming people into their tents, and calling anyone else, “slime.” In that last respect, steven, you are certainly not an outlier.

      • You’d be surprised Joshua there are people who care about the planet from other perpsectives than “its getting warmer, and the seas will rise”


        I think that there are people in many tents who are care about the planet from a variety of perspectives. It seems that once again, you are fantasizing about me, steven.

        I also think that there are people in the different tents who are more than willing to subjugate their authentic concern about the planet for the more proximate goal of “winning,” a so-called “debate.”

        I think that all of here are concerned about the planet. I think it is freakin’ human nature to be concerned about the planet. I can’t think of anyone that I’ve ever met who isn’t concerned about the planet.

        So what is interesting to me is to see how frequently people throw out fallacious arguments about how only people they agree with are concerned about the planet, and the people they disagree with are eco-Nazis who only care about causing more children to die.

        Think of the children, steven, that those totalitarianstatisteco-NaziprogressivewarmistalramistcatastrophistfraudcapitalismhatingelitistAGWreligionists are trying to starve.

      • Joshua

        ‘I think that there are people in many tents who are care about the planet from a variety of perspectives. ”

        Really? nothing in your behavior indicates this except your recent admission.

        ‘I think that all of here are concerned about the planet. ”

        Really, almost all of your behavior suggests that you think otherwise.
        Of course now you suggest otherwise, but nothing in your past behavior
        contains the slightest hintthat you believe this.
        You continually make up beliefs for yourself to win the debate about Joshua. Funny that you dont see that. Its your form of confirmation bias.

        ‘So what is interesting to me is to see how frequently people throw out fallacious arguments about how only people they agree with are concerned about the planet, and the people they disagree with are eco-Nazis who only care about causing more children to die.”

        How frequently is this argument made? Now of course you take people to task for not doing due diligence. Go now and count all arguments made.
        count the types of arguments and count their occurance. How frequently
        ( both in raw count and percentage) do you see this argument being made?

        Again, you are making things up to shore up your perception of yourself and the debate.

      • Really? nothing in your behavior indicates this except your recent admission.

        Once again, steven, you are substituting your fantasies about me for reality.

        Oh, I forgot, you have a “window into my soul.”

        Too funny.

      • How frequently is this argument made?

        Often. In practically every thread here at Climate Etc. Look at Doc’s comment above – which is entirely consistent with many posts we can read here daily, and on the flip side, read at “realist” sites from the diametric perspective.

        IMO, we all here have similar values. However, due to the our “motivated reasoning” (e.g., selective approach to acquiring data, confirmation bias, etc.) our values get translated in diametric ways because we have a predilection to maintain our identifications.

      • Fascinating how much you want to make the discussion about me, isn’t it steven?

        What’s up with that, anyway?

      • And Joshua

        For the record

        “Think of the children, steven, that those totalitarianstatisteco-NaziprogressivewarmistalramistcatastrophistfraudcapitalismhatingelitistAGWreligionists are trying to starve.”

        rather than think about them, I focus on doing something. When you join people who take action you will find that the focus on 2100 has a real effect on doing things today. When you ask for money today to solve a real problem today, and you are told that the only problem that matters is 2100, then you’ll have standing to discuss this with me. Until then please go in peace and make up more things to believe about yourself. I’ll look at your actions and come to a different warranted conclusion: namely you dont care. not about the planet, not about children. Go tell yourself you do. I’m sure you’ll find it convincing. Search your soul for confirming evidence. you’ll find it. Don’t listen to others, they cant be right about you.

      • I’ll look at your actions and come to a different warranted conclusion: namely you dont care. not about the planet, not about children.

        Quite right, steven. You can tell from my actions that I don’t care about the planet or children. Or at least I only care about them in the sense that I’d like to see the planet destroyed so that children can die. Especially poor children.

        And you can tell this because you have a window into my soul.

        And because you have so much evidence about my actions – certainly enough to judge. And because you are such a good judge.

      • And steven – why is it that you are so interested in making this about me?

        Is it because, like Willis, you are the truly noble, and have an obligation to fight “slime” whenever you encounter it?

        You see, my friend, you are trapped in your own fantasies. You can’t get out unless you stop fantasizing about me.

      • Why is everybody always fantasizing about little joshie? Or is he the one fantasizing about himself? I guess he can’t be blamed for not wanting to admit to himself that he is slimey.

      • Absolutely obsessed.

        What’s up with that?

      • Joshua

        ‘Oh, I forgot, you have a “window into my soul.”

        whats funny is that you think you have an inside track, special access, to your thoughts and beliefs.

        Lets discuss confirmation bias and motivated reasoning.

        “The mechanisms are also diverse. They include dynamics such as biased information search, which involves seeking out (or disproportionally attending to) evidence that is congruent rather than incongruent with the motivating goal; biased assimilation, which refers to the tendency to credit and discredit evidence selectively in patterns that promote rather than frustrate the goal; and identity-protective cognition, which reflects the tendency of people to react dismissively to information when accepting it would cause them to experience dissonance or anxiety. ”

        when you are challenged about how people view you, you engage in a biased information search. You inspect your soul and say “I dont believe that I question Judiths integrity” You utterly disregard the consensus view of you. You discredit our experience of you and priveledge your own experience of yourself. You might consider that you are mistaken about what you believe and feel. That you believe things you dont even know you believe. ordinarily this gets pointed out on the psychiatrist couch
        Here the whole blog is your shrink.

        Notice too how in all these discussion you’re goal is identity protection.
        Accepting that we are right about you must cause you some anxiety.

        On your way out make sure to pay your bill and set up an appointment for next week,

      • steven –

        whats funny is that you think you have an inside track, special access, to your thoughts and beliefs.

        Still working on that one, eh? Seems like you double down the most on your most laughable arguments. Why is that, steven?

        Yes, steven, I think I know what I believe much, much better than you know what I believe. I also think that you know what you believe much better than I know what you believe. Don Monford knows better what he believes much better than either of us know what he believes.

        Seriously, bro, that has to be the worst argument of yours I’ve come across yet. It actually is worse than your argument that you have a “window into my soul.”

        when you are challenged about how people view you,

        I’m not questioning how people view me. You’re entitled to view me any way that you’d like. What I’m laughing at is that you think that you know what I believe about Judith’s integrity better than I know what I believe about Judith’s integrity.

        Your argument puts you smack dab in the middle of “skeptical” territory here.

        you engage in a biased information search. You inspect your soul and say “I dont believe that I question Judiths integrity”

        You haven’t been paying attention. It isn’t a matter of “inspecting my soul.” It is a matter of observing my thoughts and my beliefs. My belief is that I don’t know enough about Judith’s integrity to formulate an opinion. I don’t know her. I’ve never met her. I have never heard anything about her that would lead me to question her integrity. I have no reason to believe that she lies about her research. I have no reason to believe that she deliberately falsifies her science. Your discussion about whether you think I have judged her integrity is irrelevant. What is relevant is whether I have judged her integrity. I haven’t. I don’t have enough information to do so.

        Now sometimes I am tempted to think that I have a basis to judge her integrity – if she formulates conclusions that I am in disagreement with, but then upon further thought, I realize that was motivated reasoning at work. Motivated reasoning allows a person to think that they have sufficient evidence to draw conclusions when, in fact, the evidence was lacking. You know, like your belief that you have a “window into my soul” to understand my beliefs better than I do.

        You utterly disregard the consensus view of you.

        You have no idea what the “consensus” view of me is. None. You only know how some folks here, folks who disagree with me on many issues, and folks who have a substantial track record of formulating beliefs without a sufficient basis in evidence, judge my character, and draw conclusions about what I “believe” even though they don’t have sufficient evidence.

        You discredit our experience of you

        I’m not “discounting” your experience of me, or that of anyone else. Your experience of me it what it is. Perhaps it is of value to you, and as such, it is of whatever value you place on it. If you think that your experience of me is important, than it is important. But it isn’t particulary important to me. And anyway, that is a side issue; I am discounting the laughable notion that you think that you know what I believe better than I know what I believe. And I also discount your laughable argument that you can judge me on the basis of blog comments, without actually knowing anything about me beyond haveing read what I’ve written in blog comments.

        and priveledge your own experience of yourself.

        Same weak reasoning, steven. It is fascinating that you are persisting with the same weak reasoning, over and over. I am privileging my knowledge of my beliefs over your knowledge of my beliefs. Your experience of me is what it is. It is limited, indeed, far more limited than many, many other people whose judgement of me I value because they know me

        You might consider that you are mistaken about what you believe and feel.

        Of course I consider that. I consider that all the time. But I also know that I don’t judge Judith’s integrity because I don’t have the knowledge to judge her integrity. I also know that no matter how hard you try to pound on this laughable argument of yours, it simply won’t fly, at least not for me, although it will for people who, like you, think that they knwo what I believe better than I know what I believe. You don’t have a window into my soul, steven. You don’t know me. You can’t judge my character. You can’t know what I believe beyond what I tell you that I believe.

        It is similarly laughable that you would think that you know how I feel better than I know how I feel.

        That you believe things you dont even know you believe.

        Of course I might believe things that I don’t even know that I believe. But I know what I believe far better than you know what I believe.

        I don’t believe that I have sufficient information to judge Judith’s character. I don’t know her. I don’t have the information to judge her professional integrity. Just because I feel that her reasoning is often selective, specifically when it comes to evaluating the non-scientifically technical aspects of the climate wars, does not mean that I have a belief about her integrity.

        Like everyone else here, that I don’t know, I assume she is someone of normal integrity. No more and no less. That she is selective in her reasoning, IMO, does not speak to her integrity, any more than your continuing to promote this laughable line of argumentation is any kind of comment on your integrity. I don’t know you. Your insistence on making laughable arguments tells me nothing about your integrity – only that you insist on making laughable arguments. You might do that and be Ghandi-like in your integrity. My assumption is that you simply don’t realize how laughable your arguments are. The fact that you are unaware is not relevant to evaluating your integrity.

        ordinarily this gets pointed out on the psychiatrist couch
        Here the whole blog is your shrink.

        You don’t seem to understand the process of a psychiatric analysis, steven. Psychiatrists are trained to reflect back to people what they are unable to see about themselves without interfering with their own transference. Not only are you not trained (at least I assume) to engage in such a process, and not only is it laughable to think that a blog exchange is a way to determine and/or reflect back to someone what they can’t see about themselves, you are, very obviously, not objective or capable of not transferring your feelings. You make this quite obvious in your obsession with me. You make it obvious with your assertion that you have a “window into my soul.” You make it quite obvious with your tendency to insult me.

        Notice too how in all these discussion you’re goal is identity protection.

        We all have multiple goals here. We all have multiple motivations. Judith’s motivation is to build bridges. My motivation is to understand myself, my process of reasoning, and the issues being discussed. Identity protection is an inherent drive in all of us. It is not the only drive, but it does have an effect of biasing our reasoning. It is true of me and it is true of you. My guess is that it is no more true of either one of us, although I could be wrong about that.

        Accepting that we are right about you must cause you some anxiety.

        Accepting that someone who doesn’t even know me, and calls me “slime” because of blog comments I write – apparently because in those blog comments I note what is, IMO, Judith’s selective reasoning – must cause me anxiety? Nope. Now if you were right about me being “slime” it, or if you had any solid basis for making such a judgement, it might cause me some anxiety. But I know that you have no basis on which to judge me. If someone who knows me were to call me “slime,” I would consider the source, and depending on the source it might cause me anxiety; but coming from you, or PG, or Don Monford – based on blog comments? Sorry, bro, but it speaks to your reasoning, not my character.

        On your way out make sure to pay your bill and set up an appointment for next week,

        Check’s in the mail.

      • Read only the italicized parts of joshies comments and he comes off as a much nicer person. And you will save yourselves a whole lot of time.

      • Josh

        Why do you think people fantasize about you?

      • tim –

        Why do you think people fantasize about you?

        Truth told, it’s a bit of a poetic license thing there.

        It isn’t really so much that they are fantasizing about me, as it is that they are using their imaginations to distort what I say. If someone misunderstands me, or if I’m not clear, that’s something we can work out through dialog. If they insist on distorting my words despite my best efforts, I like a bit of response hyperbole. It’s kind of funny to watch them scramble in response.

        But how do you think I should describe it when someone like mosher thinks he, laughably, has a “window into my soul,” or that he understands my beliefs better than I do, or substitutes an distortion of what I’ve said to confirm his biases?

        I’m open to suggestions – with the caveat that I always give people the benefit of the doubt to begin with, and then respond with snark when they show they aren’t engaging in good faith (to be clear, I’m not justifying my juvenile behavior on the basis of theirs, just making it clear that I do give people the room to exchange in good faith if they’re so inclined.)

  7. I looked for “Removing wind turbines and using nuclear power instead” but it wasn’t in the chart.

    • +1000

    • Mike,
      Fukushima disaster is still at the forefront of most energy supporters minds. Granted most lives were lost to the tidal waves but the ongoing radiation leaks have moved the Japenese to move against maintaining existing nuclear power plants. US has a couple underway in the US southwest but the west is out of the question. Even San Onofre is shutting down. Now the war on coal will devastate that energy source. No good solutions.

      • Scott,

        Most lost to the tsunami? Try all.

        San Onofre is shut down because Mitsubitsi made a billion dollar mistake in the design and fabrication of the new steam generators. I suggest you pick a topic other than nuclear to comment on.

      • tim56,
        I know the stroy of San Onofre and the lessons of Fukushima,. If you are interested I can find a Tohyo Electric company facts and lessons of Fukushima presentation. I support nuclear power but am realistic of the poltical environment until energy shortages shut down air conditioning. I was also in the naval reserve and had interactions with Admiral Rickover.

        So not point in your being rude.

      • tim56
        attached below is the link to Fukushima;

        v/r Scott

      • Scott,

        My apologies for coming across as rude.

        I spent a good deal of time in the nuclear industry. One of my brothers, while on loan to WANO, was assigned to the Fukishima post accident evaluation team, until getting called back to oversee the construction of two new nuclear units in Georgia. (I assumed you meant SE above.)

        I haven’t delved deeply into the Fukishima post mortem. As I understand it, the plant survived an earthquake whose intensity was well above its original design parameters, only to see its emergency generators flooded out by a tsunami wave also well beyond design specs. Even this may have been survivable if the entire transmission and distribution network hadn’t been wiped out, preventing them from bringing power into the site.

        What is truly amazing was there not being a single fatality resulting from what happened. That people point to Fukishima and forget or ignore the 10,000 – 12,000 dead and missing from the tsunami is almost disgusting.

        I once pointed out to management of the utility I worked at how they were going about the PR on the nuke plant we operated the wrong way. Every couple of years we faced a ballot measure calling for the plant to be shut down. Each year the measure gained a bit more support, while the cost to oppose it pretty much doubled each time. The campaign focused on rolling blackouts and high bills, should the plant be shut down. In otherwords scare tactics. I noted that in France the utilities make a concerted effort to get the communities involved from the start and continue this policy throughout the life of the plant. I pointed to the results of the mock election held in Oregon HS’s, where the shutdown measure passed with about 80% of the vote (HS kids don’t pay electric bills). I said there was where the company should be focusing its efforts. Not on some high priced consultant firm every couple of years.

        None of the ballot measures were successful – though the trend indicated they might eventually win. However the company decided to shut the plant down anyway, when having to decide whether to replace the SG’s or dewatt the plant. (Natural gas prices were low at the time.) Fast forward a few years and the ratepayers have among the highest rates in the PNW. Even more interesting, had the plant kept operating, it would have recouped the cost of replacement steam generators in under a year, due to the Enron manipulation of the energy market. For Irony, they were later bought by Enron. What happened to my 401k is another story.

      • timg56
        Glad to connect in a positive way. I enjoy your posts and perspective on nuclear industry and the Navy. I support nuclear power and am heartbroken by the current political climate for new power plants. I don’t like dams and blocking rivers running free. But we have big energy supply problems . I also enjoyed your comments on hunting and fishing. We are to first order on the same side. Fukushima actually killed 12,000 with the tidal wave swept 16,000 out to sea a year ago. Still Japan takes an irrational respnse.

        v/r Scott

      • Scott, How long will it take for the worlds pile of radioactive waste to be stored properly?

      • Tom,

        What do you mean by stored properly? Nuclear power is already the safest way to generate electricity. What more do you want? Surely, this nuclear is the last priority to spend more money on improving its safety. Instead, the effort should be on reducing its costs so the whole world can gain the benefits of low-cost, clean, safest electricity.

        See summary of the authoritative studies into safety of electricity generation technologies here:

      • Tom,
        Total political issue. Yucca Mountain in Nevada could hold it all as could WIP in New Mexico. Both would store it in places formed over 60,000,000 years ago when shallow seas formed their geologic features. They would store it that long again. But political fights and NIMBY halt a rational response.

      • Tom,

        Who says it isn’t being properly stored now.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I’d suggest that there are better uses for the 99% of fuel left in nuclear waste than burying it.


        Leaving behind a small fraction of the waste which is dangerous for hundreds not hundreds of thousands of years.

        There are appalling examples of storage currently.

      • What is the shelf life of high level radioactive waste… what is the life span of a swimming pool? TEPCo. Fukushima, is about to try and remove the damaged fuel rods, how I have know idea. How long will that take? What are the known risks? You tell us.

      • After what I have been told over the past 50 years about Nuclear… I say: “Wash the car or you don’t get the keys.”

      • After 50 years you would be hard pressed to find an industry with a better safety record. Throw in another 60 years for naval reactors.

        Whether the subject is safety, reliability or environmental impact, commercial generation of nuclear power in the US has a track record unequalled by any other industry.

      • It’s your call Peter.

      • Horse on you, too.

      • I was not very clear. This will help.)


      • Tom,

        It’s your call Peter.

        What does that mean?

        I presume you mean you prefer to ignore the evidence and instead prefer to believe the irrational, scaremongering by the anti nukes and doomsayers. Is that what you mean?

        Did you read the link I posted? Did you follow up by going to the source studies? None of this is new. We’ve known nuclear is abut the safest way to generate electricity for at least 40 years. All the authoritative studies have shown that. The loony studies, mostly commissioned by the likes of Greenpeace and WWF, FoE, etc and anti nuke activists have all been discredited.

        Can I encourage you to study this link:

        If you are not prepared to study it, and the cited studies, then your I’d suggest your contribution to the debate is simply that of the usual anti-nuke crowd.

      • Peter, You need to see the world we are living in for what it really is… that you trust. If this is true, what else is false?


        Nuclear is almost as dangerous.

      • Ok Tom, I am stumped. What is the relationship between Obama’s fake Twitter followers and nuclear power?

        If I can ask a follow on question, what is dangerous about either?

      • “What is the shelf life of high level radioactive waste… what is the life span of a swimming pool? ”
        Shelf life refers to time a product can be on shelf which sold
        to shoppers. It’s not related to radioactive waste, other radioactive
        waste could connected to products made from it- but I don’t think
        it’s what you mean. Of course with nuclear energy there is many products
        which dependent on their being nuclear reactors- many medical device
        use products which are radioactive. And NASA use radioactive material
        for electrical power and thermal heat generation- Such as Curiosity rover currently on Mars. No nuclear energy- no Mars rover.
        Of sheer volume of nuclear energy production is not requirement, but
        tends help a little bit in terms of lower cost. But if plan is not to to have
        any nuclear power- you are wiping up this access for the market for all such things which are dependent on it. So shelf life is actually an important issue- but I doubt it’s what you meant.

      • Chief,

        Spot on about recycling.

        I am curious about the appalling examples on storage. Are any of them in the US?


        The storage problem is a manufactured problem. With dry cask storage, you could put storage facilities in scores of locations in several western states. Put a fence around them and hire locals to drive the perimeter. There are several tribes who have offered to do this.

        Personally I think this makes more sense than to bury them under some mountain. Not only far less to go wrong, far cheaper to do.

      • Fake, fake…fake. “It sucks.”

  8. How about a society in which every person who claims ‘back radiation’ is a real energy flux is given remedial physics’ education.

    Very soon there would be no ‘consensus’ climate alchemy and the World would be a far better place……:0)

  9. Windmills farms are examples of the use of government power to promulgate elaborate tax shelters.

  10. The so-called win-win-win strategies are overhyped niche “solutions”. As is wind power. And solar.

  11. ‘Mr Standley will make money from selling his expensive power and we will all indirectly contribute towards his income by paying green charges on our electricity bills…

    Wind turbine owners get paid for the electricity generated even if they use it themselves. Any excess is exported to the local grid – which they are also paid for.

    Daily Mail, 17 September 2013

  12. FYI, the Economist is currently running one of its “debates” on this issue.

  13. I’m surprised this hasn’t popped up yet:


    “One of the most prominent of these critics is Judith Curry, a climatologist who heads the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was involved in the third IPCC assessment, which was published in 2001. But now she accuses the organization of intellectual arrogance and bias.

    “All other things being equal, adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere will have a warming effect on the planet,” Curry said. “However, all things are never equal, and what we are seeing is natural climate variability dominating over human impact.”

    Curry isn’t the only one to suggest flaws in established climate models. IPCC vice chair Francis Zwiers, director of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium at the University of Victoria in Canada, co-wrote a paper published in this month’s Nature Climate Change that said climate models had “significantly” overestimated global warming over the last 20 years — and especially for the last 15 years, which coincides with the onset of the hiatus.”

  14. Ridiculous idea – green roofs. Raise your hand if your local zoning board will let you grow grass on your roof… I didn’t think so.
    That’s a red herring just like the sea wall.
    The only Win-Win-Win solution I know of is reduce the human population by 90%. You go first, I’m right behind you. :)

  15. This blog should be renamed.

    Joshua Etc.

    And not because of him. He is, like the scorpion to the frog, only doing what is his nature. Seeking attention. The fault lies with those who lavish that attention on him, after first saying they have no intention of replying, and that his comments have no substance worthy of reply.

    It is their conduct that absolutely bewilders me.

    I really cannot figure out the obsession with responding to the exact same comments, the exact same way, over and over and over and over. Before I could just ignore his comments and read those who actually contribute comments on substance. But they are making that increasingly impossible because their obsession is infecting every thread the last week or so.

    Do me and others who read this blog for content, even content with which we disagree, a favor. Quit responding to him, or quit telling him you are not going to. Pick one. Or don’t. But it sure is boring.

    • I absolutely love how Gary writes long posts about me and people responding to me, repeatedly, as way of showing how much above he is than those who “encourage” me by responding to me.

      And he does this even though he has repeated evidence that his efforts not only pay fail to get people to stop responding to my comments, but also have no effect on whether I post my comments.

      This, my friends, is the “logic” of a “skeptic.” And Gary is, beyond any doubt, right up there with the best of them.

      (In case anyone missed it, Gary was on here prior to the election explaining how, in his careful and skeptical analysis, the polls were being “skewed” by the media to make Obama look like he was doing better than he was in reality – in an attempt to help Obama to win the election. When, in the end, it turned out that Obama actually outperformed the polls, and that in fact, they were underestimating his performance, Gary completely failed to show accountability for how he was so completely wrong about something that he was so sure about. Like I said, the logic of a “skeptic.” It can never be shown wrong, if you get my drift).

      • Joshua
        Imo- you overly generalize the behavior of those that are skeptical that the recommendations of the IPCC make good sense.
        Personally, I have at times enjoyed exchanges with you because you are a reasonably bright individual who generally seemed to support taking immediate actions to lessen the threats from AGW and I wanted to see if you could explain why you thought those actions make sense. You can often communicate the positions of those who fear AGW better than many who agree with you.
        Imo- you vastly over challenge Judith on points (imo) of no consequence. Somewhat like the kid yelling wolf, your repetitive (nearly constant) complaints about her positions over minor points has lessened your relevance to many readers.
        Personally, I wish you would comment more on the relative merits of specific policies being considered by various governments and why you believe them wise or wasteful. At the end of the day, that is where it matters.

      • Josh

        his long posts are brief in comparison to some of your run on posts. You appear bent on setting a personal record on this thread.

    • GaryM

      I agree. ‘You know who’ thrives on attention and like you I find it amusing that people say they will ignore him then carry on an interminable conversation with him.

      BTW I quite like him, but its surely past time to knock these circular, extended and non productive debates on the head.


      • This gets even better. Now maybe you can Gary can have a protracted conversation about how much it bothers you that people get involved in protracted conversations with me.

        Because, you know, having protracted conversations about why people have protracted conversations with me is sooooooooooo much more interesting and valuable than having protracted conversations with me.

      • Joshua

        The fact that I said ‘you know who’ should surely have made you realise I had my tongue firmly in my cheek and the comment would provoke exactly the response I got.

    • Gary –

      It is their conduct that absolutely bewilders me.

      It seems that you are trying to find a rational explanation, but surely you realize that obsessions are not rational behavior?

      I’d say that their reasons for responding so frequently (even after claiming that they won’t, don’t read my comments, don’t think my comments are worthy of responding to, etc.) is not that different than your apparent compulsive need to write over and over about your reasons why you don’t respond to my comments, and your pleading to get others to stop responding to my comments also.

      Obsessions take more than one form, Gary. What’s interesting, indeed, is why it matters to you so much. I mean really, just how difficult is it to simply scroll past my comments? But here’s a suggestion. Maybe if you plead enough to Judith, she’ll ban me. You know, an authoritarian approach and asking for an authority to step in might just be your cup of tea. What do you think?

      • “What do you think?

        I think your self-absorption is disgusting. People aren’t “fascinated” with you. The truth is, many of them can’t stand you. Some make the mistake of thinking they can reason with you. Of course that’s a major waste of time.

        Mosher has you down perfectly by the way.

      • pokerguy,

        Mosher is one of the main problems. The attention he pays is like crack to a crack addict. He doesn’t get that no matter how sharp his criticism, no matter how accurate, he is giving exactly what is sought. Attention.

        Whatever floats your boat. It’s his time. It is just funny how much he complains, right before going back to lavishing the very attention that causes the behavior he complains about. And he is by no means the only one.

      • PG –

        I think your self-absorption is disgusting.

        Enough so that you have to take a shower after reading my comments?

        It really is quite amusing just how much difficulty you and some other of my much beloved “skeptics” have in accepting responsibility for your own behavior.

        The truth is, many of them can’t stand you.

        And let me tell you, PG, I’m just broken up about it. And obviously, that is why the, like you, are so obsessed with me. Because you can’t stand me. Makes perfect sense. Tell me something, PG, have you ever given some thought to the % of your comments that are directed towards me, in fact, full of insults and directed towards me? Do you think that is something for which I am responsible?

        Mosher has you down perfectly by the way.

        Yes, indeed. I am “slime.” He has me down perfectly. You know, because he has a “window into my soul.” I have to say, among the hilarious things I’ve come across in these threads, that has to be one of the hilarious-est.

        Perhaps you should consider following Gary’s advice. All this paying attention to me just encourages me. Why if you stopped insulting me all these times in all these threads, I would just fade away, and stop causing you so much disgust and so much showering.

        Alls you’d have to do is stop accidentally” reading my comments. You can do it PG – I have complete faith in you.

      • Some of us enjoy jerking little joshie’s chain, Gary M. What Mosher and I know is that it really hurts his feelings. And he deserves it. So why don’t you worry about what you do and stop the silly lectures.

      • Yes, Gary –

        They do it to hurt my feelings. Because I am “slime.”

        It isn’t that they are obsessed with me, fantasize that I say things that I’ve never said. It isn’t because I point out their fallacious thinking and laughable arguments. It isn’t because I criticize Judith for what is, IMO, selective reasoning. It isn’t because I hold different views than they.

        Yes, that is why Don directs the vast majority of his comments here at this site to me (or about me). That is why steven thinks that he has a “window into my soul.” That is why PG showers after he reads my comments (accidentally reads them, of course). That is why some of my much beloved “skeptics” do as you say:

        lavish that attention on him, after first saying they have no intention of replying, and that his comments have no substance worthy of reply.

        It’s because it hurts my feelings, and that is something they enjoy doing.

        Because I am “slime.”

      • Our efforts to increase your self-awareness seem to be working, joshie. Now give us another 600 word essay on Judith’s selective blah…blah…blah… and all the fantasizing that everyone does over little joshie.

      • Don Monfort,

        “What Mosher and I know is that it really hurts his feelings.”

        You’re delusional. But even if it were true, what a sorry excuse for behavior. So the rest of us have to read the same drivel over and over again because you think you are hurting his feelings? Give me a break.

        Not only is that juvenile and pathetic, it’s pretty strong evidence that you are a terrible reader of human behavior.

        But at least you provide an entertaining example of (unintentional) irony in this tedious mess. Telling me to stop lecturing you (I wasn’t), for lecturing him. That’s hilarious. Or what? Are you going to hurt my feelings too?

    • +1000 – I can understand the ‘someone is wrong on the internet’ phenomenon, but when it’s Joshua, for pity’s sake…..

  16. OT, FYI: Letters in Tuesday’s Australian on Judith’s op-ed article, under the heading “Nature will refuse to be bound by IPCC prophecies.” Mine was somewhat edited.

    JUDITH Curry’s article (“Consensus distorts the climate picture”, 21-22/9) is a timely warning about the failings in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s reporting mechanism. There is surely no other area of scientific investigation where conclusions with such serious ramifications and consequent costs have been based on such debatable suppositions supported by denigration of dissenting views.

    It’s not as if there is questioning of changing global temperatures, or indeed that man’s activities may contribute to same. John Cook’s statistics (“Hardly any experts doubt human-caused climate change”, 21-22/9) support this point, but nothing more.

    On the other hand, a number of scientists question whether humans are the primary cause, whether the effects will be as catastrophic as the IPCC and some of its contributors would have us believe, and whether humans have any real ability to reverse that change.

    Nature can be a contrary beast and refuses to be bound by the IPCC’s grim prophecies. The IPCC will dissemble to maintain its waning credibility, and those governments captive to its influence will continue to commit billions of dollars tilting at windmills.

    John Quilty, Warnbro, WA

    LETTER writer K. de Courtenay asks “where has Judith Curry been all these years?” (23/9). For almost 40 years, Curry has been a climate scientist, specialising in tropical cyclones and Arctic sea-ice. She accepted the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming story promoted by her peers, but was curious about the strong criticism in some quarters.

    But when she checked out Steve McIntyre’s climate audit blog several years ago, she discovered there were questions about the credibility of the IPCC consensus, and began to explore them and became aware the situation was uncertain.

    Curry blogged yesterday that “I’ve stepped outside the system, in the interests of seeing the ‘system’ reformed and opened up to consider scientific disagreement and debate”.

    She has taken a lot of flak from the consensus crowd, but has continued to take concerns about the modelling and science into the public arena. We should all be grateful.

    Michael Cunningham, West End, Qld

    JUDITH Curry seems to have forgotten the first rule of science – follow the evidence. The IPCC collates evidence from the published literature and 97 per cent of that evidence says that humans are causing significant warming of the planet.

    If 97 per cent of the evidence points in one direction then it is not surprising that the IPCC comes to a consensus view. Curry’s ideas do not warrant equal time because they don’t have equal evidence.

    Robert Day, East Fremantle, WA

    JOHN Cook’s defence of his study on climate change consensus misses the fact that most sceptical scientists agree that CO2 in the atmosphere contributes to warming. The important questions ignored by Cook are: how much warming is attributable to man-made CO2; why have all the temperature predictions been wrong; and will any warming be disastrous?

    Despite the large sums spent on research, the hypothesis that man-made CO2 is causing global warming hasn’t been proved.

    Bob Greenelsh, Bulimba, Qld

    LIKE Fred Cehak (Letters, 23/9), I don’t know if climate change is crap because the so-called experts are not in agreement. On the subject of crap, many letters demonising anyone having the temerity to question the party line on climate change, contain their fair share of bull – like the experts who told me it was never going to rain again, so I got rid of my umbrella, macintosh and gumboots.

    I should have listened to my baker, who can sort the wheat from the chaff.

    David J. Syme, Mollymook Beach, NSW

    – See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/letters/nature-will-refuse-to-be-bound-by-ipcc-prophecies/story-fn558imw-1226725501220#sthash.0NXuBqsc.dpuf

  17. I think the lose-win-lose for desalination is rather unfair. The Israelis have almost moved to 100% desalination for domestic potable water to take pressure off their stressed aquifers.
    On balance, the difference between causing long term damage to existing water sources, can only be good.

    • Doc: I agree that in populated, arid sea-coast areas, desal is win-win-win. However, the push for desal in non-deserts is a lose-win-lose that is a way to restrict growth by making water very very expensive.

      • Lose-lose-lose in Australia (except Perth), where we are paying for rusting desal plants which might never be used.

      • Faustino, I know about the Australian desallinaion plants, but I am not sure they were a waste of money.
        People need food and water to survive, and both are subject to weather events. If desal and grain stores were thought of a a form of risk insurance, he the costs are not huge. One big volcano or meteor and the worlds food production is going to take a huge hit and there is little slack in the system. Increasing the ‘buffering capacity’ of societies to survive episodic shocks isn’t a bad idea.

      • I agree with you on this one Doc. In Western Australia the de-sal plant is providing us with a good buffer. I would, however, like to see more changes in watering habits of the general public in the Perth metropolitan area and greater reliance on drought resistant public gardens with less emphasis on water hungry turf acreages.

      • Doc, the plants were built on the false basis that there was going to be an immediate ongoing lack of rainfall due to climate change. This, as CH would tell you, was always nonsense. The Queensland government undertook several massively expensive projects, as well as the desal plant, which have not been used – we had a huge flood in SEQ in 2011. It was a waste of resources on borrowed money which led to a downgrading in Qld’s credit rating, higher water costs etc, an imposition on the economy for no benefit. The whole water shortage issue goes back to an ALP election promise in 1989 to scrap a planned dam which would have removed indefinitely any need for further water harvesting measures. (It can’t be built now because of expensive housing developments on the site.) The costs are huge and the insurance isn’t necessary. Your point might have some general validity (I’m not convinced but am about to log off), but certainly doesn’t apply to Australian developments in recent years. The governments to a large extent responded to apocalyptic nonsense claims by (recently ex-) Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery, even wilder than the “we’ll never see snow again!” claims in the UK.

      • +9^99999999999999999999999999999

        And Labor gave us the politically correct ‘No Dams’ policy that has effectively blocked Australia building dams for over 30 years.

      • Turf acreages currently being maintained by the local councils through unconstrained pumping from the water tables, which represents unsustainable use of water that is aged in excess of 50 years.

      • Sorry Faustino, my last posting crossed with yours and relates to my comment immediately above yours.

        In respect of your comments, however, while it may be easy to speak with the wisdom that comes from hindsight (the de-sal plant in Qld would have been utilised if there had been no floods, which even Kim could not have forecast) I still believe that it will come in handy in the dryer years to come.

  18. Including ecological risk assessment in picking projects isn’t new. It’s not a “wicked” problem. Making compromises and tradeoffs under uncertainty is what humans do every day. The modern love of panic and crisis inflation is counter-productive.

    What is new is science academics thinking they know how to design and implement engineering and policy solutions. The fact that nothing of significance has been done to “save the planet” proves that the American skepticism of intellectuals is a feature, not a bug.

  19. If you were among those in the Third World who have a dream that someday your children might know the comforts of modernity, how would you spend your energy resources, knowing that with a single coal mine you can generate more electricity than all solar and wind power facilities combined.

  20. Brandon Shollenberger

    I loaded this page when there were 68 comments. Sixteen were made by Joshua. Ten were comments responding to Joshua that had nothing to do with the blog post but rather focused on him. I find that bothersome.

    • Wait’ll you see Kahan’s blog.

    • Brandon, I like Lucia’s policy of throttling the rate at which (and the length of the comments that) content-free and otherwise unremarkable posters can post. Deserved or otherwise, I understand that willard is one of these on her blog.

      I’m a big fan of everybody getting a chance to talk. I’m also a big fan of one person not drowning everybody else out with a bunch of “I’m really awesome, you guys, not so much” blog comments.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I agree Carrick. In willard’s case, it’s even better because he has a site he can post at length on. Links to it would let him write as much as he wants. That means lucia’s restrictions keep him from cluttering threads without strongly impacting his ability to express himself.

        I think everyone should get a chance to participate in discussions. I don’t think that means they should get to sabotage discussions. In Joshua’s case, it’s clear he doesn’t even try to avoid flooding topics. Look at how many comments he makes like this one. They’re snide, petty and contribute nothing. And at the same time he incessantly claims others are obsessed with him, he randomly insults people in conversations they aren’t even aware of.

        Moderation decisions can be hard to make, and I won’t suggest I know the best way to handle things. All I know is I visit this site a lot less because of maybe 10 posters. I’m not turned off by their views or any disagreements we have either. I just find they make attempts at meaningful discussions more tedious than I can usually stand.

      • I just find they make attempts at meaningful discussions more tedious than I can usually stand.

        Well, thanks for reading when you can stand it, brandon. I know it must be really, really tough, and I can’t tell you how much it means to me.

      • Ignore him and maybe he will go away.

        Yeah. Just follow Chief’s example.

        Too funny.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Now was I talking to you Joshua? Have I read past the 1st line of any any of your comments in this post? Tell you what – keep it to one liners and I promise to scan it in passing.

      • > Deserved or otherwise, I understand that willard is one of these on her blog [with a time penalty].

        It’s a bit more than that:

        If you have more to say on this subject (or any other), please post at your tumblr blog and provide the link here.


        The warning in the script may contain a misrepresentation, BTW. Not that it matters much, as it only adds a small but increasing penalty to those unwelcome guests.

      • Willard, Lucia did explain the time restriction issue on her site, when discussing comment moderation… that’s how I know something about it.

        But doesn’t the counter reset after a certain amount of time?

        If yours isn’t, it could be a bug in her script for you, because I believe it is supposed to work that way. As I understand, each “winner” of the throttled comments award on her blog get their own script, so the potential for variability is there.

        I would say—as long as there weren’t a semi-infinite number of “throttled”, in the interest of transparency, a list of all the throttled commenters (this could be presumably be generated automagically) would be useful.

      • Chief Hydrologist :

        Now was I talking to you Joshua? Have I read past the 1st line of any any of your comments in this post? Tell you what – keep it to one liners and I promise to scan it in passing.

        That sounds like a good deal to me too.

        Those are actually the first two Joshua comments that I’ve made it past the first paragraph on.

      • Carrick,

        All I know for sure is that I had to wait more than the time indicated by the message prompt. Must be something about the PHP function.

        Yeah, a blacklist would be nice. Considering the number of comments at Lucia’s has these days, and even with Brandon around, we can leave it to Boris for all I care.

        I liked this comment, for instance:

        I find it utterly unconvincing that there are a significant number of papers written on the effects of future warming by scientists who reject or have zero opinion on the consensus position. I understand that you don’t agree, that you have your own definition of implicit endorsement.

        But there’s a huge problem with your stance–you end up not even looking for implicit endorsement, and thus not even looking for a consensus. You can call it something else, but it’s not looking for a consensus. If you are looking for a scientific consensus, you have to look for implicit endorsement because, in every field I can think of, that is a strong determining factor in the strength of the consensus.

        BTW, I think it’s fine to argue that the SkS definition of implicit endorsement might oversell the consensus percentage, and I’d agree that it might. That’s very different from saying they shouldn’t be looking at all because those kind of endorsements are “irrelevant.” They are exactly relevant.


        Emphasis is Boris’.

        Seems that Tom Curtis made some apparitions too.


      • Those are actually the first two Joshua comments that I’ve made it past the first paragraph on.

        Aside from not being accurate (check the archives, my friend – it seems that perhaps you have similar shame-based issues as Chief does,and have trouble accepting your own behaviors?), I feel compelled to point out that it’s illogical for you to persist in a sub-thread talking about how you don’t like my commenting behaviors.

        But that’s alright, Carrick – I don’t mind giving you the attention you are crying out for, nor do I mind you attempting to distract me from my appointed tasks, nor do I mind you trying to divert the discussions I was having, and I’ll get over the pain I have to endure from reading your comments – even past the first paragraph sometimes.

        Sometimes in life, you have to endure some hardship to reach your goals.

      • Joshua, I think it has more to do with you simply not being very memorable.

    • Joshua doesn’t want anyone to talk about the blog posts. Once you realize this its easy to skip his comments.
      Every once in a while he’s a useful foil for skewering warm idiocy. He’s like Susan Anderson at Andy Revkins. So easy to parody it takes a strong will not to.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I’d have an easier time skipping Joshua’s comments if they (and the responses to them) didn’t make up a third of the comments on the blog post. Also, if he didn’t repeatedly insult me by name in conversations I’m not involved in.

        Maybe it’s pointless to highlight this issue. For all I know, talking about it may just further the problem. I had just reached the end of the comments section of the page and realized I couldn’t even remember what the blog post was about. And it was entirely because of Joshua and the responses to him.

      • Joshua doesn’t want anyone to talk about the blog posts. Once you realize this its easy to skip his comments.

        This is fantastically hilarious.

        A large % of Jeffn’s comments on this blog are either directed too me, or about me. Same with PG, Don Monford, and a few others who proceed to blame me because they are obsessed with me.

        But not everyone has Jeffn’s keen insight, to realize that my real goal is to “distract” him and other “skeptics” from their important work of keyboard commando front line action against the AGW-cabal – you know, by posting the same comments over and over on blog sections that have no, zero, zilch, nada. niente, bupkis impact in the real world.

        That’s why “the team” pays me the big bucks, jeffn. Blame them. I’m just an employee doing what I’ve been told to do. That’s what capitalism is about, baby.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Seriously – nothing of any substance has ever been said by … Just another nasty little dweeb with some sort of madly delusional psych construct. Ignore him and maybe he will go away. At the very least it will reduce the number of pointless comments.

    • Josh’s high water mark.

    • Oh goody –

      Another sub-thread where people are having a discussion complaining about me, and about how much they are annoyed about protracted discussions where I’m the topic.

      It really is freakin’ hilarious.

      GaryM must be livid. Maybe he’ll start another thread discussing how much it disturbs him that people respond to my posts.

      I gotta hand it to you boyz. “Skeptical” reasoning really is a work of beauty and a thing of art.

    • Well – it’s time for me to hit my sac.

      Another day, another long line of climate “skeptics” distracted from their important work. The untold pain I’ve caused them from having to read my comments is just so fulfilling. It is just so much fun forcing them to read what I write, second only to forcing them to respond to m comments (and just ahead, of course, to forcing them to write comments to other “skeptics” complaining that they shouldn’t respond to my comments,)

      In short, a job well-done (and the reason I get paid so handsomely).

      Maybe I’ll give y’all a break tomorrow and not ruin your day of writing those important “skeptical” comments over and over. Who knows, a day without me and maybe you’ll just win that climate war. Just because you have delusions of grandeur doesn’t mean that anything isn’t possible.

      Or maybe I’ll come back again tomorrow because it was so much fun today. And who knows what you might see through mosher’s “window into my soul,” eh?

      Have a nice night (or day, as the case may be), boyz.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I have no idea what bearing this response is supposed to have on my comment. I suspect it has none. it appears to be nothing but substance-less spam intended to insult and provoke people. In other words, trolling.

        Judith, is there a way we can have comments sections be kept at least a little more on-topic?

  21. Following a transition to nuclear energy (and extraction of uranium from seawater) humanity could face peak resource challenges in about… 60,000 years. :)

    • Here’s one better. Check out the Focus Fusion project at LPPhysics. com . Its fuel, boron, would last until about when the sun went red giant (assuming 10X current global electricity use).

  22. Except in a sociopolitical scheme of things where the value of humanity itself is set to ‘0,’ we know that ‘large dams’ should be a good example of ‘adaptation’ — in fact, one of humanity’s best examples of adaptation. A country that is stymied when it comes to building a simple pipeline could never muster the political will to build a Hoover Dam

    • Wagathon, Dams in the West US kill salmon. Klamath dams are silted up and least cost is to team them down and let the salmon swim to the historic breeding areas. Higher value than cotton grown with subsidized water by corporate farms in a desert. Hoover dam filling with silt and big problems in the future plus Mexico has claims to water diverted to low value crops. Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite happens to be in a granite watershed so it has another century but eventually it too will silt up. nuclear energy and desalination are a possible solution.

      • Analogously Scott, Western civilization also is filling with silt.

      • I understand that silting is not that much of a problem. Lake Powell gets most of the silt that would make its way into lake mead.

        “Myth: Lake Powell will be filled with silt in another century.

        Reality: Although an estimated 65,000 to 100,000 cubic yards of sediment are annually deposited in Lake Powell, measurements conducted in the mid-1970’s showed a sedimentation rate at the dam of less than 1 cm per year. Calculations based on lake-wide sonar measurements indicated that the lake could hold a 700-year supply of silt, assuming no mitigating activities were pursued. When the need arises in the distant future, the life of the lake can be extended significantly by allowing silt to pass through the jet tubes and/or or the spillways. Eventually, the character of Lake Powell will change but for thousands of years the lake will keep providing water for recreation and thousand of acres of riparian habitat.

  23. identification of win-win strategies to a “wicked” problem?
    No such thing.
    There is only “I reap, You Pay.”

    “if it ain’t broke…” we’ll just have to break it so that we can earn big bucks fixing it.

  24. Figure 1 is interesting. Fossil fuel energy is responsible for 70% of GHG emissions (CO2-eq) yet the figure shows only two energy mitigation options (wind turbines and biofuels) and these have only a trivial role to play in GHG abatement / mitigation. Why are the technologies that could have a major contribution not included?

  25. We argue that ultimately win–win–win goals should be sought, where mitigation and adaptation are considered on equal footing with biodiversity conservation. Opportunities for win–win–win solutions exist , but they are not pursued in many current and planned strategies (Fig. 1).

    Why aren’t any examples of ‘win-win-win’ given that could actually make a significant impact on mitigation?

    I’ll tell you one: substitute cheap nuclear power for fossil fuel electricity generation. If cheap, this could reduce global emissions from fossil fuel use by 50% over a period of half a century or so.

    If the concern is loss of biodiversity, why focus on mitigation and adaptation to climate change. There are far more significant activities than climate change.

    I see this as another example of an ideologically driven agenda item.

    Show me the money!!!

  26. A few threads back there were comments on how great wind power in Texas is. It ain’t so great after all – the Federal tax payers are paying Texans’ electricity bill.

    “The federal tax credit that helped make Texas the leader in wind power expires at the end of year. Some people in the wind energy industry seem resigned to the possibility that even if Congress renews the credit, the days of such breaks are nearing an end.

    At the American Wind Energy Association conference held last week in Houston, there was optimism that President Obama’s reelection improved the odds that Congress will extend the production tax credit.

    “But few believe the production tax credit will be in existence in 2015,” said Steve Krebs, the vice president of OwnEnergy, who was part of a panel discussion.”

    (jim2-FIVE MORE YEARS???!!!)
    In an interview with StateImpact Texas, Glotfelty acknowledged that government incentives won’t last forever, but said they’re still needed at least for five more years to foster development of wind projects. With the uncertainty over the federal tax credit, such projects have nearly stopped. Some companies in Texas are cutting back their workforce”

    “Neeley, as well as the chairman of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), Donna Nelson, argue that the subsidies are making wind electricity so cheap that they’re artificially driving down electricity prices overall in Texas, thus lowering profits for traditional power made with natural gas or coal. Lower profits could mean there’d be less incentive to build more generating capacity in a state that the PUC has said will desperately need more electricity in coming years.

    “If the wind industry can’t survive without government support at this point, I don’t see any reason they’ll be able to do so in the future,” Neeley told StateImpact.”


  27. “· Before the wind started blowing heavily on Feb. 9, the electricity that was soon to be replaced by wind power was being supplied by gas turbines.

    · Once the wind began blowing, the gas turbines had to stop generating electricity to accommodate wind electricity. (An electrical grid cannot handle at any one moment more generation than is needed to meet demand.)

    · Owners and operators of gas turbines that were displaced by wind lost money from forgone sales. Owners and operators of coal- and nuclear-fired generation were likely also harmed, perhaps not because they were displaced on the grid, but because wind likely drove down prices.

    · The reason the wind turbines can force the gas turbines off of the grid is because the wind operators get subsidies from taxpayers. Therefore, they can offer electricity at a lower price than the gas operators.

    · This is not a case of the free market at work. In fact, because of the subsidies, wind operators can actually pay companies to take wind from them and still make a marginal profit—nothing free market about that.

    · Some gas turbines have to keep running on idle to be ready for when the wind stops blowing, to meet consumer demand. These gas turbines don’t run for free—somebody has to pay for the gas turbines held in reserve.

    · Buyers of electricity generated from wind on Feb. 9 may well have paid less for it than they would have had they continued to purchase from gas turbine operators—though most consumers who are on fixed contracts wouldn’t have noticed any difference. But the wind-generated electricity wasn’t cheaper.

    · In fact, it is almost certain that the wind-generated electricity cost more when the consumer payments, taxpayer subsidies, and the cost of the backup gas generation are added together. There is no doubt that it cost significantly more to generate electricity from wind than from natural gas.

    · Renewable energy subsidies transfer wealth from one set of consumers/taxpayers to another set of consumers/taxpayers in two ways. One wealth redistribution is from people generally south and east of Abilene to people generally north and west of Abilene, where landowners, cities, counties, taxing districts, and others receive wind revenue. Two, wealth is transferred from generators using gas, coal, and nuclear fuel to owners using wind and other “renewable” fuels eligible for the subsidy.

    · Renewable energy subsidies harm the reliability of Texas electricity markets by resulting in artificially low sales prices, victimizing conventional energy generators and investors. Why build a new gas-fired plant when spot prices might be below production cost because wind receives a $0.02/kWh federal production tax credit?

    · With the prospect of inadequate firm capacity, Texans might be forced to pay billions of dollars in subsidies to generators using conventional fuels through a capacity market.”

    “Now, because of renewable energy subsidies:

    1) we have to keep turbines using pollution-generating fuels sitting on idle in case the wind stops blowing—or the sun stops shining, etc., and

    2) we may have to spend billions of dollars in additional subsidies to ensure that the owners of plants using pollution-generating fuels build enough new plants to supply us with enough electricity to keep the lights on.

    Going forward, even though wind power is setting new records for use and breaking all the goals for it set by the state, it is still not a “mature” technology—despite the fact that it has been in use for thousands of years—and so it must continue to receive subsidies that may in turn mean more subsidies for conventional fuels.

    Consumers lose coming and going.”


    • So when the largest electric provider in Texas ($45 billion Energy Futures Holdings LLC) goes bankrupt it won’t cost customers or tax payers a dime. The government will step in and pay 100% face value for the debt because it will be deemed “To Big to Fail”.
      I don’t fault you for being skeptical about wind and solar but doesn’t it make you mad that these Wall St. crooks rip us off for billions over and over (Enron)?
      It’s easy to distract us with stories of expensive renewable energy projects while the real crooks steal us blind.

      • Sparrow,

        I don’t fault you for being skeptical about wind and solar but doesn’t it make you mad that these Wall St. crooks rip us off for billions over and over (Enron)?

        What makes me mad is the governments who instigate policies that waste an enormous amount of money implementing and then propping up for decades totally uneconomic technologies like wind and solar power. They damage our economy, delay implementation of what would be the economically best option over the long term and cost about two real jobs for every ‘Green job’ created and subsidised forever.

        The ‘crooks’ as you call them are rally the incompetent governments that are driven to make irrational policies by incompetent, unquestioning, gullible voters – i.e; those who fall for the spin about solar and wind power being economically viable and low cost ways to reduce global GHG emissions. In most cases (yes, there are exceptions) companies are honest and doing what they’ve been encouraged to do by the policies implemented and the incentives provided by governments with tax payers money.

        By the way, have you ever worked out what the real economic cost of your solar panels is? The cost to the USA economy and the cost/benefit to the individual after subsidies are two entirely different numbers. I roughly estimate the average LCOE of PV systems equivalent to yours to be about $400/MWh. That cannot be justified on any grounds!

      • Peter – while I was googling this, I ran across info stating Texas HB 2026 was killed this last session. This would have ended, State I believe, subsidies for wind in Texas. I have to wonder who killed it? Has to be some business, I’m guessing, but could have been a well funded political group, also. Wish I had more time to search.

      • Peter,
        Back in 2011 I did the math and my benchmark was the 10 year (2% yield) bond vs. a 6.7 KW solar array over 25 years or my annual electric bill. I paid $24,000 (installed) for my array (no tax credits) and have generated 17.7 Megawatts and I have a $176 credit on my utility bill. Compare this to 2011 when my annual electric bill was over $2,600 (note 2011 was the hottest year on record in Texas so lets just say $2,0000 yr.). Just locking in my electric costs for 25 years seems like a better deal than trying to factor in the constant inflation in energy prices. Funny thing, since I actually designed the system myself I was able to win a energy saver contest and got a check for $7,500 so now my system should be paid off in 7 years and I get free electricity for the balance of the system life.

        One more thing, one of these days I’m going to hook this thing up to some batteries and drop off the grid. That’s a kind of freedom very few people have and it’s worth something. Kind of like having a gun means you don’t have to depend on the police when trouble comes knocking at your door.

      • Curious what price are you paid for your electricity? Or do you get the same price you pay?

      • jim2,
        I’m on net metering @ 11.2 cents per kWh with NRG. TXU charges .14 cents per kWh. You can find electricity for as little as .08 but you have to use 2,000 kWh a month to get that price.
        Since I burn wood for heat and use zoned A/C my system is actually a little bigger than I needed (on paper). The extra production should drop off at the rate of .5% per year due to normal panel degradation.

        Any of you Australians want to tell us about when TXU entered into your electric market?
        “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” G.W. Bush

      • Sparrow,

        You dodged my question again. I asked you about the economic cost to the nation, not the cost/benefit to the owner (which is after many hidden subsidies that are not apparent to you. I used your cost per kW, an allowance for the gird costs, reasonable assumptions for fleet average life expectancy and average lifetime capacity factor and and calculate LCOE of $400/MWh. That is ridiculous. It cannot be justified for any reason.

        So, instead of dodging the question to try to justify your decision, please focus on doing a realistic assessment of the investment in residential solar PV.

      • Peter,
        I have a plan. I’m going to use technology to make my life better. I’m going to go off grid so I don’t care what it cost the utility companies to loose me as a customer. I didn’t take a dime in subsidies or tax credits so stop trying to put a guilt trip on me.

      • “Peter,
        I have a plan. I’m going to use technology to make my life better. I’m going to go off grid so I don’t care what it cost the utility companies to loose me as a customer. I didn’t take a dime in subsidies or tax credits so stop trying to put a guilt trip on me.”

        I think the issue is pubic policy.
        It’s the laws passed by politicians which is the problem.
        Not the choices of people who are following these laws.

        And these laws aren’t changed they are going cause problems in the future. That the whole issue.
        For example:
        “As more people install solar on their homes, it becomes more important that everyone who uses the grid helps cover the costs of keeping it operating at all times.

        Under the current rules, roof-top solar customers benefit from a reliable grid, but use it at little to no cost. As a result, customers who can’t afford, can’t install or simply don’t want roof-top solar pay more.

        After a series of public meetings, we have submitted a recommendation to the Arizona Corporation Commission that would update the current policy — called “net metering” — so that future customers who choose roof-top solar get compensated at a fair rate for the power they generate and also pay a fair price for their use of the grid.”
        “Customers who have already made the choice to install roof-top solar will not be affected by this change.

        These customers will be “grandfathered” for 20 years.”

        So this kind of law would allow you your current arrangement for 20 years- which is fine, it’s really a problem, yet. And as you spend money with a expectation, laws should not change this.
        But People in investing in solar power in the future should not have the same expectation. It does much matter if people are given another say 2 years as future deadline to make the choice of getting this older arrangement.
        It’s not important because solar energy is never going to be a way to generate significant amount of electrical power. But continue long enough it’s going significant increase every one costs- including people who imagine they don’t need grid power.
        But point is if continued the result is predictable, it’s currently increasing the costs for people who want to buy grid power and increase further in the future

        Idea that people should be forced pay more because they aren’t investing in solar panels- as being good public policy is wrong and nutty.

      • Sparrow,

        Your comment to me says you think you don’t get any subsidies. You are just not aware of them. I don’t know how much you were subsdies for you installation, but you’ve just revealed how much you are being subsidised through feed in tariffs. These are highly subsidised by other consumers. You just don’t recognise it.

        I’m on net metering @ 11.2 cents per kWh with NRG. TXU charges .14 cents per kWh.

        I don’t know what the 0.14c/kWh is for. Did you mean 14 c/kWh for a retail price. You cannot compare retail price with your sell price. There is a lot to add between those two. I’d urge you to read this good explanation for the general public. It is for Australia but similar applies in USA:

        Who pays for solar power

      • gbaikie,

        Thank you for providing the excerpts from the “recommendation to the Arizona Corporation Commission”.

        You may be interested in the discussion of very similar policy issues and recommendations about how to address them in Australia in this short Discussion Paper: http://www.esaa.com.au/policy/who_pays_for_solar_energy

      • “Peter Lang | September 24, 2013 at 12:49 am |


        Thank you for providing the excerpts from the “recommendation to the Arizona Corporation Commission”.

        You may be interested in the discussion of very similar policy issues and recommendations about how to address them in Australia in this short Discussion Paper: http://www.esaa.com.au/policy/who_pays_for_solar_energy

        That’s interesting.
        Here’s the opposite view:

        This poorly educated creature actually thinks it like de-regulation:
        “He’s not alone in his assessment, though. An unusually frank January report by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the utilities trade group, warned members that distributed generation and companion factors have essentially put them in the same position as airlines and the telecommunications industry in the late 1970s. “U.S. carriers that were in existence prior to deregulation in 1978 faced bankruptcy,” the report states. “The telecommunication businesses of 1978, meanwhile, are not recognizable today.” Crane prefers another analogy. Like the U.S. Postal Service, he says, “utilities will continue to serve the elderly or the less fortunate, but the rest of the population moves on.” And while his utility brethren may see the grid as “the one true monopoly, I’m working for the day the grid is diminished.” ”

        It’s not de-regulation. It’s government interfering with the market- and wrecking them. It would like cell phone user getting paid to use phone networks. And the important part missing is It not about allowing other players to provide a network to part of network.

        But one could de-regulated it, and it might be a good idea.
        So you have individuals being able to sell power to the grid. And it doesn’t matter how the electrical power is being generated.
        Though no doubt there numerous government laws they would need to follow- perhaps these laws could be altered and improved. To get a good price, one could part of group which represents “small [or large] providers of electrical power. And I suppose also this or related group could also be in business of serving the entire consumer market of electrical power- laying the own lines [or other ways of distributing power]. Etc. Etc.

      • Et tu, gbaikie?
        Technology has no conscious, no ethics, no loyalty. It is relentless, it grows exponentially, is unstoppable and could propel mankind to immortality or enslave us. Our rules and laws will never prevent technology from reaching it’s manifest destiny. Economist call it creative destruction. Compare our 100 yr old centralized utility model with the internet. The internet is decentralized, stateless and digital. Only the blind can’t see what’s coming for the electrical grid.

      • gblaike,

        I am confused by your two comments. Are you saying that you think we’ll be able to do without an electricity grid, or have I misunderstood your point? Or did you misunderstand the point of the ESAA discussion paper?

        There is no way we can do without an electricity grid, especially with renewables. Remember that residential customers draw about only 20% to 30% of electricity. The bulk is drawn by industry.

      • Sparrow,

        I took the monthly kWh generated and totaled them over running 12 months period. See below for the 12 months ending:

        12 mo Ending kWh/12 mo h/kW/a CF
        Dec-12 9457 1411 16.1%
        Jan-13 9378 1400 16.0%
        Feb-13 9580 1430 16.3%
        Mar-13 9873 1474 16.8%
        Apr-13 9909 1479 16.9%
        May-13 9933 1483 16.9%
        Jun-13 10090 1506 17.2%
        Jul-13 10112 1509 17.2%
        Aug-13 10287 1535 17.5%

        Can you explain why the kWh generated by your system over 12 months has been increasing since you installed it? Is it just variations in weather, or have you been ‘tuning’ the system somehow?

      • Sparrow | September 24, 2013 at 1:35 am |

        Et tu, gbaikie?
        Technology has no conscious, no ethics, no loyalty. It is relentless, it grows exponentially, is unstoppable and could propel mankind to immortality or enslave us. ”
        Only people can have conscious, ethics, or loyalty.
        That a toaster or rock has no conscious, ethics or loyalty is only news to people who have confused view of Buddhism or something.
        People involved with technology do have such things as conscious, ethics, and/or loyalty.
        And all humans are technological. You could say they hardwired for it.
        Or assuming God exists, and is somewhat similar to humans, then as a guess God is also technological.

        “Our rules and laws will never prevent technology from reaching it’s manifest destiny. Economist call it creative destruction. Compare our 100 yr old centralized utility model with the internet. The internet is decentralized, stateless and digital. Only the blind can’t see what’s coming for the electrical grid.”

        This assumes government can not screw things up and make people miserable.
        I suggest you look around a bit.
        The many other countries provide good sample.
        N Korea is blindly example of what wonders can come from government.
        I can confidently say the condition of N Korea has nothing to with the Korea people or culture or technology or anything else. Just compare North with South Korea [once, one nation]

        I am sure that things will change in the future. I am as sure the government has never lead any technological improvement. First they ignorant of it. Second they aren’t very bright.
        What government can do, is stop interfering.
        Actual de-regulation would be a good start, if they had clue of what de-regulation was. And from speeches of many of them, it appears they do not know.
        But it’s pretty rare of them to say anything about anything which could be classified as rational or informative.

      • “Peter Lang | September 24, 2013 at 1:52 am |

        I am confused by your two comments. Are you saying that you think we’ll be able to do without an electricity grid, or have I misunderstood your point? Or did you misunderstand the point of the ESAA discussion paper?

        There is no way we can do without an electricity grid, especially with renewables. Remember that residential customers draw about only 20% to 30% of electricity. The bulk is drawn by industry.”

        The reference I gave:

        To show a contrast.

        But to try again make it as clear as possible:
        I think they are idiots.

        Uneducated, unethical, arrogant, spoiled, drug addled, greedy, idiots.

        I think people should be aware there have been such people which would actually want destroy the electrical grid. And they made laws which would cause much misery in US and in Australia [Germany, UK, Japan, etc].

        So it would very good idea to end these laws before they cause much more poverty. And I am glad Australia is now moving in the direction of removing such destructive laws.

      • gbaikie,

        Thanks. I now understand the point you were making. I missed it the first time.

        BTW, I agree.

      • To All:
        Kevin Kelly wrote a book called “What Technology Wants”.
        There is great wisdom and insight in his history of technology. 100 years ago we would call him a prophet, today we have a new name for people like him – futurist.
        Good luck and long life to everyone.

      • Sparrow,

        Yes to technology and innovation.

        No to irrational winner-picking attempts for ideological purposes.

        Governments and ideoleogues are hopeless at picking winners.

    • Energy Futures is private and more than likely will go into chapter 11. They have assets, even some wind generators. I’m guessing some other business will buy the assets, the investors will take a hit, and the grid will hum on.

      • Yes they have lots of hard assets. Nukes, wind, coal and about 90% of the transmission lines. All critical to the Texas economy and too big to fail. Have you learned nothing after the TARP bail out? The investment bankers will seize the assets for pennies on the dollar and write off the losses to offset their taxes (which would have helped pay down the national debt). In a couple of years they will package up the assets and take the company public again. While all this slowly unfolds according to plan the rate payers will hardly notice the little surcharges and fees that appear in small print on their utility bills. This is how it works in America. We think short term and they think long term. Thinking fast and slow.

      • If someone buys the assets, it doesn’t matter who. TXU died due to a bad call on the price of nat gas. Them’s the breaks. WHT might have advised them or they might have read The Oil Drum. Who knows, but it was a lousy idea to put all their eggs into the one basket of high nat gas prices and not take more moderate, hedged course. And yes, the buyer will probably get a good deal and make money. You’re just spreading FUD about this causing more fees. That’s already happened due to the “green” energy trap – although it ain’t the rate payers getting the green, they are giving it.

    • Wouldn’t it be better to save limited resources like natural gas for home heating, for which it is the most efficient option, rather than power generation which can be done by other less flexible energy sources?

    • It costs money to keep a “spinning reserve” for a nat gas plant. I’m not sure that’s the ultimate in flexibility. Anyway, the market should be left alone to determine what resources to use for energy.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      As incentives are rapidly winding back (e.g.http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21579046-wind-power-doing-well-it-still-relies-irregular-and-short-term-subsidies-blown ) – the mix between new gas and renewables depends primarily on gas prices. It will be interesting to see how this evolves. A return to 2008 prices for instance as a result of America boosting gas exports.

      ‘The scenarios described above have been developed in order to
      provide potential resources to be included in transmission needs analyses. By developing a range of scenarios, the intent is to define the range of potential future outcomes rather than to predict what will occur.
      In addition to supporting the transmission planning process, the development of these future scenarios and assessing likely resource additions by scenario provides useful information on its own. Perhaps the most notable feature of these scenario results is their similarity:
      natural gas generation and renewables dominate the expansion mix for all of the sensitivities. In sensitivities in which market prices are expected to stay low and no incentives are provided for renewable generation, most or all of the expansion units are fueled by natural gas. In scenarios with increasing market prices (due to increased fuel costs, emissions allowance prices, etc.) renewable generation additions are significant. As modeled, the capital costs for pulverized coal, integrated gasification combined cycle, and nuclear units are too high for them to be competitive under the future scenarios evaluated.’

      The high gas cost scenario result is – http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/ERCOT-bauhighgascosts_zps9ff39dba.png.html

      Water is also an issue in Texas. There are coal plants that use some 10% of the water of conventional plants – but these don’t seem economical without large increases (several hundred percent) in water prices.

      This report challenges several ‘skeptical’ shibboleths. The utility of current generation of nuclear for one. The ability of wind and solar to provide useful power another. Wind power is currently about 10% of the Texas electricity supply.

      In the ERCOT report – it is modeled using conservative utilisation factors – which are about to be substantially increased based on an accumulation of data. Wind and solar have a major advantage – the marginal cost of generation is zero – so these are picked up first in the ERCOT model when available to meet fluctuating demand. Solar has another advantage in that the generation of electricity more closely follows demand in Texas than does wind.

      Wind and solar have another major advantage as costs continue to exponentially decrease. See the graphs here.


      Gas prices seem likely to rise.

      Over the next several years, the EIA’s projections call for a steady rise in natural gas prices, said Mr. Sieminski, “continuing to go up to $5 or $6 in the longer term.”

      Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/us-report-predicts-rising-natural-gas-prices-in-2013-14-669602/#ixzz2flqsVmKv

      Levelised costs of various generation technologies are shown here – http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/electricity_generation.cfm

      It seems evident that the proportion of wind and solar installed in Texas in the future depends on falling costs of PV and solar, the ability to incorporate it into the supply mix and – the price of gas.

  28. consequences for not delivering GLOBAL warming should be spectacular; imprisonment of the protagonists / shaming their supporters. http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/water-vapor/

  29. “If the overriding priority is to preserve human welfare and prosperity at any cost, we foresee human actions compounding other threats to biodiversity. We argue that ultimately win–win–win goals should be sought, where mitigation and adaptation are considered on equal footing with biodiversity conservation. ”
    The usual illogical mush and anti-human sentiment that we have come to expect from the green entrepreneurs is trotted out again here.

    There is no such thing as a “win-win-win” in policy decisions. Every decision prioritises something over other things, principally in terms of resource allocation (but also including things like personal freedom).

    Without specifying just how many people, and which ones, should be allowed to get poorer, sicker and even deader (!) as sacrifices to Gaia they are once again glossing over the realities of public policy.

    In particular, they again ignore the fact that it is material wealth that best supports genuine conservation. And every time you sacrifice material wealth for conservation, you paradoxically endanger the very thing you are trying to achieve, as anyone who has visited a poor country knows.

    The diagram is weird. In what way do windmills do anything for mitigation, adaption or biodiversity? They fail on all three, IMO. Because,while win-win-win is impossible in public policy, lose-lose-lose is very possible indeed.

    BTW, the Dutch would no doubt be intrigued to learn that seawalls are a terrible thing. Are they suggesting that they be demolished?

    • Johanna,


      Excellent as always, and this bit is worth repeating:

      In particular, they again ignore the fact that it is material wealth that best supports genuine conservation. And every time you sacrifice material wealth for conservation, you paradoxically endanger the very thing you are trying to achieve, as anyone who has visited a poor country knows.

    • As others have taken over the franchise fer plus ones et al,
      I am awardin’ johanna the bronze Penguin Award, which is the
      highest serf award there is.

      • Aw, shucks Beth.

        I’d like to thank my parents and my agent, and most of all, Al Gore, who started me on the path to this prestigious award (although not for the reasons he might have wished).

      • Apt response johanna, ) and as only the third recipient of this
        prestigious award, at the end of the week yer might like ter
        contribute ter the pages of the up and coming open thread
        on me Serf Under_ground Journal theme, ‘Great Speeches
        and Commentaries in History’ Down the memory whole) is
        not an opshun. A serf.

  30. Joshua is no doubt funded by Soros and Big Green.

  31. Chief Hydrologist

    One of our activist slogans in environmental science school was that only rich people could afford environments. At one level people do whatever it takes to survive. At another level people place value on intangibles and pay to preserve vegetation, biodiversity, aesthetics and cultural and scientific values. It is for this reason – btw – that I have always discounted the value of the idea of ecosystem services. The intangibles are what count as any greenie knows. I recall when I was Vice-President of the Jervis Bay Protection Committee – we quite commonly put fairy penguins on the cover of our propaganda. Despite their being in no way remotely threatened. A cute little charismatic intangible.

    In many ways the wrong price is being paid for little benefit. In the mind of the greenie it is industry, farming and mining that is the environmental threat. In a sparsely populated land like Australia industry and mining are minor components of land use and rigorously managed – and farming is probably a force for good. Neglected public lands are a greater problem. We are in the process of handing as much of this as possible back to the indigenous population and paying them to manage it.

    Desalination is a case in point. It takes an unnoticeable amount of water from the oceans and returns half of it with an elevated salt content. This is discharged through diffusers that dilute the discharge by up to 100 times. There is no environmental impact other than energy use. Dredging in the Great Barrier Reef is another hot button topic. There is not a chance in hell with the most sensitive equipment that the the effects of turbidity can be detected 1km away – let alone over the 35km to the reef from Gladstone. The substrate is mobile and the benthos recolonises rapidly following disturbance of very small patches at a time.

    Disturbance to the reef is the result of run off from the land promoting recruitment of crown of thorns starfish and in a small measure to storms and warm water. Both of the latter associated with increased frequency of La Nina in the last decade. The real problems have far more disparate causes and diverse solutions than the focus on development or global warming would suggest.

    The 2002 Australian Terrestrial Biodiversity Assessment found that riparian zones are declining over 73% of Australia. There has been a massive decline in the ranges of indigenous mammals over more than 100 years. In the past 200 years, 22 Australian mammals have become extinct – a third of the world’s recent extinctions. Further decline in ranges is still occurring and is likely to result in more extinctions. Mammals are declining in 174 of 384 subregions in Australia and rapidly declining in 20. The threats to vascular plants are increasing over much of the Australia. Threatened birds are declining across 45% of the country with extinctions in arid parts of Western Australia. Reptiles are declining across 30% of the country. Threatened amphibians are in decline in southeastern Australia and are rapidly declining in the South East Queensland, Brigalow Belt South and Wet Tropics bioregions.

    Our rivers are still carrying huge excesses of sand and mud. The mud washes out onto coastlines destroying seagrass and corals. The sand chokes up pools and riffles and fills billabongs putting intense pressure on inland, aquatic ecologies. In 1992, the Mary River in south east Queensland flooded carrying millions of tonnes of mud into Hervey Bay. A thousand square kilometres of seagrass died off decimating dugongs, turtles and fisheries. The seagrass has grown back but the problems of the Mary River have not been fixed. The banks have not been stabilised and the seagrass could be lost again at any time. A huge excess of sand working its way down the river is driving to extinction the Mary River cod and the Mary River turtle. The situation in the Mary River is mirrored in catchments right across the country. Nationally, 50% of our seagrasses have been lost and it has been this way for at least twenty years.

    It is well known what the problems are. The causes of the declines in biodiversity are land clearing, land salinisation, land degradation, habitat fragmentation, poor grazing practices, exotic weeds, feral animals, rivers that have been pushed past their points of equilibrium and changed fire regimes.

    The latest terrestrial biodiversity assessment focuses predominantly on the theoretical threats from global warming. How could they not? Ironically – addressing these other issues at a fraction of the dollars we have thrown at global warming would do much more to mitigate climate change than anything we have done up to now.

  32. I have remarked before that the IPCC is not a monolithic organization. Authors have their own careers and reputations to consider. Gen. Sherman remarked that the art of war was to give an opponent two options; both of which are bad. Benjamin Franklin noted that we must all hang together, or we will all hang seperately. The sooner a rat leaves a sinking ship, the more likely it is to survive.

  33. JC note: click on the figure to enlarge, this is a fascinating figure.

    Control + will then enlarge it even more