2014 → 2015

by Judith Curry

Before ringing in the New Year, its time to reflect on 2014.

At the end of each year, we see summaries of the the top ten most significant developments, biggest stories, etc.  I’ve seen a few of these summaries already in the climate/energy space, not much that I’ve spotted that are worth linking to.  The best IMO is by Breakthrough: The Year of Our High Energy Planet: Top Breakthroughs of 2014.

The main storyline from my perspective is that U.S. national and international policies on climate change have seen substantial action.  Whether this ‘action’ is mere rhetoric or will be translated into enduring policies remains to be seen.  At the same time, on the science front, we’ve seen the ‘hiatus’ dominating the science discussion, and also a very rational AR5 WG2 report that expresses much more uncertainty about AGW impacts.  In other words, climate/energy policy  has developed a life of its own that seems increasingly disconnected from actual scientific research (although unsupported alarmist versions of the science continue to be used as justifications for the policies).

Climate Etc’s greatest ‘hits’

At the end of each year, I take a look at the WordPress function that allows you to compile statistics on blog post ‘hits’.  In looking at the stats for 2014, there were some surprises.  Here is the list of top Climate Etc. posts for 2014:

Nate Silvers’ 538: inconvenient statistics
Mann versus Steyn 
Causes and implications of the pause
Steyn et al. versus Mann
Understanding adjustments to temperature data 
My WSJ op-ed: Global warming statistical meltdown 
Fraudulent(?) hockey stick 
APS reviews its Climate Change Statement
The 50-50 argument
The legacy of Climategate: 5 years later 
Lewis and Curry: Climate sensitivity uncertainty 
Spinning the ‘warmest year’ 
IPCC AR5 weakens the case for AGW

I’m relieved to see that at least some posts of substance made the greatest hits list.  Unfortunately most of the greatest hits (i.e. public interest) comes from ‘climate wars’ issues.  Anything related to Michael Mann and Climategate gets picked up by Mark Steyn, which guarantees a lot of hits.  The Nate Silver/ RP Jr ‘won’ 2014 by a long shot; that was picked up by PJ Media if I recall.

A post at WUWT pointed me to the new WordPress stats page.  Some interesting CE stats for 2014:

  • overall ‘hits’ up about 20% relative to previous years
  • 109,000 comments (comparable to previous few yrs)
  • 750,000 individuals visited the site (up ~50% over 2013)

I would like to take this opportunity to the thank the Denizens who provided guest posts in 2014:  Zeke Hausfather, Rud Istvan, Donald Morton, Planning Engineer, Carol Anne Clayson, Pete Rose, Matt Skaggs, Vitaly Khvorostyanov, Will Howard, Marcia Wyatt, Tom McClellan, Robert Ellison, Tomas Milanovic, Donald Rapp, Nic Lewis, Roger Pielke Sr, John Christy, Richard McNider, Dave Rutledge, Douglas Sheil, Dagfinn Reiersol, Garth Paltridge.

And also to thank all of the participants in the blog – readers and commenters.

2015

Several relevant topics re 2015: predictions, and plans.  We haven’t yet seen the punditocracy make predictions for 2015.   And I am not going to make any predictions.

Well maybe a few.  Somewhere I stated that I figured the 2015 sea ice extent would be about the same as 2014, continuing a recovery in the European Arctic but continuing low extent in eastern Arctic.  In terms of global temperature, I expect the hiatus to continue at last another decade, but won’t pretend to predict year to year variations.  In terms of U.S. politics, I expect the Republican dominated Senate to hold more congressional hearings related to climate/energy issues.  I don’t expect much to be accomplished in the Paris UNFCCC meeting.  And finally I predict that Michael Mann’s lawsuit against NRO/CEI/Steyn won’t be resolved in 2015.  BTW, the uncertainty monster  won’t let me bet much $$ from my own pocket on any of these predictions

Now for plans, which I have slightly more confidence in making.  During much of 2015 I will be on sabbatical from Georgia Tech, exploring new research directions and working on the 2nd edition of my text Thermodynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans.  In principle I will have more time for blogging, but for the next 3 weeks I am busy preparing a proposal and preparing a talk.  I can’t really predict how busy I will be in terms of travel and external obligations, but I hope to have more time for blogging.

With respect to the blog, I felt that 2014 was a year where most of my posts responded to the issues du jour, rather than setting my own agenda (which is what I did the first two years of CE, largely with the uncertainty monster theme).  Definitely not as satisfying/interesting for me.  I am hoping to have more time to devote to developing new themes.  Last weekend, I went through my file of draft posts (over 100), ranging from nearly completed posts to a file with a few web links, and knocked the list down to 77.   I’m also expecting to have more time to participate in the Comments.

I’m spending more time on twitter, which increases my exposure to a younger and broader demographic.  I’m starting to get the hang of it.  However it can be a black hole for time.

Happy New Year

And finally, my very best wishes to all my readers for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

My new year’s resolution is to improve blog moderation, so mind your blog etiquette.  Oh yes, and more cartoons (couldn’t find a good one for new year).

591 responses to “2014 → 2015

  1. I’d be really interested to know why you expect the hiatus to last another decade. Is it a prediction of a favored model? The gist of a family of models? Or something quite different, such as your sense of the social pressure influencing the ensemble of models we see?

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      I suspect it’s just wishful thinking, like my predicting oil will be above $100 a barrel before the end of 2015.

      • Just look at the temperature graph – HADCrut4 will do – there’s a ~60-year cycle since 1910 and maybe earlier. Call it the ocean cycle, call it the stadium wave, call it whatever … the AGW crowd deny its existence, don’t know what causes it, and just hope it doesn’t continue. I can see it is there, I don’t know what causes it, I hope it doesn’t continue (colder is much worse than warmer for humanity), but I know of no reason why it wouldn’t. So for the next decade or two the expectation is colder.

        The oil price is affected by weak demand and surging production. The Saudis have taken the headlines, but it’s the shale and heavy crudes that are causing the glut. The oil price will, I suspect, move quickly towards the marginal price at supply-demand equilibrium. I don;t know what that price is, but general opinion seems to be of the order of $40 in today’s dollars. When that has put the weakest producers out of business, the price will recover to the full equilibrium price, said to be of the order of $70 in today’s dollars. It will “stay there” until the new shales and heavy crudes hit their peak – maybe 15-20 years’ time?? [I put “stay there” in quotes, because the price will continue to be volatile for all sorts of unanticipated reasons.].

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        If I could forecast cycles, I would be filthy rich. If you believe you can, take your skills to the stock market.

        I’m not sure you think we can’t gave have both cycles and AGW, but if you do you are wrong.

      • Is there a betting market for global warming? http://www.intrade,com which used to take bets on just about everything, was shut down in 2013 although they hope to reopen in the future.

      • Absolutely. If climate scientists could predict future climate with any sort of useful resolution and on a meaningful time scale, they too could be billionaires. That would give them a ridiculous edge on the stock market.

        But they can’t, so they aren’t.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Long-term projections are more about magnitude of change than on-the-spot accuracy, be it the climate or the stock market. For example, I wouldn’t bet on what the S&P 500 will do tomorrow, because I know day-to-day market forecasting is a crap shoot, but I would (and do) bet on what this index will do over the long-term because I am confident of my projection the S&P 500 will out perform the bond market.

      • Financial bubbles are the enemy of stability in a dynamically complex system. You manage expectations with interest rate policy.

        Leading to stable growth.

        Capitalism is resilient and will recover along with the stock market – better to try to avoid asset bubbles.

        Climate is a very different complex system.

    • Extending the hiatus fits with the 60 year cycle. Extending the warm period fits with the 1000 year cycle. We have not been warm as long as the Roman or Medieval Warm periods, we will and then it will get cold again.

    • Denizens will correct me, but I believe it’s from the Stadium Wave (search for Dr. Curry’s post on this if it’s new to you.)

    • For the first time in the satellite era, TSI has dropped and solar activity is down. The change is modest compared to total forcing from GHGs, but diminishing solar output could compensate for rising GHGs for a decade if the trend continues. The IPCC is only calling for 0.3-0.7 degC of additional warming by 2035, so a continuing hiatus might require natural variability and unforced variability to negate only 0.15 degC of warming over the next decade.

      • There are other factors, possibly more important to climate impact, that go along with solar activity level. TSI (total solar insolation) is the one that everyone watches the most but it only changes by a very small amount. Two watts (out of 1300+) at top of atmosphere and much less difference at the surface.

        But a second factor is magnetic field that moves with TSI but it is much more effected wrt to change in magnitude. Solar magnetic field deflects (or not) cosmic rays. Hypothetically cosmic rays influence climate by more or less formation of cloud condensation nuclei in the upper atmosphere when they impact and create a shower of secondary particles of lower energy.

        One last change that accompanies TSI change is the relative power of different frequencies which compose the solar spectrum. Of note is that during high activity the level of extreme ultraviolet varies by 100 times as much as TSI while power at lower frequencies the visible range decline so the result is no much change in TSI but a great deal of change in the power spectrum.

        The thing of note here is that EUV is almost totally absorbed in the ozone layer high in the atmosphere which may have secondary temperature effects in the lower atmosphere.

        Food for thought.

    • @An Igyt

      Repeat of 60-year Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation. Complete with drought in Texas just like in the 1950’s. It became apparent to the casual observer in the mid-late oughties (2005-2009). I called it in 2007. Maybe lucky but if you don’;t believe anything fundamental has changed since 1950 then that’s how you bet – cycles repeat. Curry has been betting that way since I guess 2010 or so. A little late to the game but better late than never. By 2025 global cooling might be be the catastrophe du jour just like it was by 1970 or so. [shrug]

    • Basil Newmerzhycky

      Mike Jones,

      No one denies the cycle. The 35 or so years of warming and 25 years of slight cooling.

      But looking at Hadcrut4 or GISS data clearly shows its like taking 6 steps upward and 3 steps downward. And that creates the TRENDLINE that is the most important thing to focus in on.

      The up and down cycles are not equal, nor are they even newsworthy. Their causes (PDO, AMO etc) are “NOISE” in the overall clear upward trend.

      • Heh, the cause of the pause is not ‘newsworthy’. Perhaps a correction notice deep in the Macy’s ads.
        ====================

      • Well, the TSI changed about 0.6 W in the 20th century.

        Applying a 3 times water vapor multiplier, which the sun has but CO2 apparently doesn’t, that is over a 0.6 °C temperature change (.65 actually) or just about all the warming. And it leads the temperature change (which you would expect given the ocean inertia). Between natural cycles and TSI we have explained the 20th century and why the 21st has disappointed warmists.

      • This graph seems to explain more than most:

      • RG – nice chart.

        The ocean warms so slowly (low surface area to thermal mass) that changing forcings is like throwing a rock in an odd shaped tub. The land/ocean/atmosphere system sloshes around (natural cycles) redistributing the energy until a new equilibrium is established.

        http://www.nccr-climate.unibe.ch/research_articles/publications/article_en.html?ID=180
        The IPO flattened out during the Maunder Minimum when forcings were steady for an extended period.

        This is what would be expected from the “Slosh factor” theory.

      • Basil. How about adding – on the left side of your graph – a plot of temperatures all the way back to the peak of the MWP.

        Then, we’ll see how significant the trend over the past 104 years speaks to us.

        Bonus – I see a downward trend in temps, from 1850ish to 1910.

        I see an upward trend from 1910 to present. OK. From 1910 to approx 1945ish, the temp rises approx. 0.7C. (Note – that is all before the consensus view that AGW began around 1950).

        From approx 1975 to the peak (recent decades) the temp rises approx. 0.8C.

        OK – so the A, in AGW, can be considered for 0.1C.

        Or not.

      • These charts combined give a huge amount of useful data, reaserch into the “hiatus”, and future model validation.

      • Basil Newmerzhycky

        PA,
        All that your graph (below) showed was that in the past 3 decades none of the warming was associated with any solar activity.

        Gary,
        Here is that chart: Main trend that sticks out is that each warming episode (1910-1940 and 1970-2000) gets steeper and every cooling trend (1880-1910 and 1940-1970) gets shallower. If we are already 14 years past the most recent warming peak (most of it in a cold phase of the PDO), the most alarming thing that stands out is that unlike past episodes, THERE IS NO COOLING. What is the explanation for that…other than the cooling trends have become so shallow that they no longer cool…just briefly level off.

      • Basil – Looks like you didn’t read my comment. Let’s try again:

        How about adding – on the left side of your graph – a plot of temperatures all the way back to the peak of the MWP.

        Then, we’ll see how significant the trend over the past 104 years speaks to us.

      • “The up and down cycles are not equal, nor are they even newsworthy. Their causes (PDO, AMO etc) are “NOISE” in the overall clear upward trend.”
        It’s not clear that the PDO causes an upward or downward trend in the average surface temperature. Maybe it’s that the rest of the Earth uses the PDO region to approach a regime equilibrium with the cause being mostly the rest of the Earth. I think with most data, we can by weight get half of it to show up on either side of a line. But that’s a guess that what the data represents is a linear system. That we are on some unchangeable trajectory that will continue. Why the AMO and PDO might not be referred to as noise:

        Average 30 year rainfall isn’t going help a farmer if the AMO is positive and the PDO is the wrong sign. It’s more useful to know what phases we are in. While there is value in knowing the average temperature trajectory in 1/10s per decade, economically I’d say there’s more value in knowing the AMO and PDO phases and then predicting annual rainfall.

      • Basil Newmerzhycky

        Gary H:
        “How about addina plot of temperatures all the way back to the peak of the MWP…Then, we’ll see how significant the trend over the past 104 years speaks to us.”

        OK…done. Looks quite significant. Your point?

      • Wow! Such a high level of accuracy and resolution from a thousand and more years ago, long before thermometers were thought of!
        What do we need satellites and the like for?

      • Basil Newmerzhycky

        Fatboy,
        I agree with you. Take it up with Gary, he’s the one that wanted that chart.

      • Basil
        I take it you’ve used Mann’s old trick of massaging down the MWP down to make the present look warmer.

      • Tuppence

        Basil has used a well known graph. It uses novel highly smoothed 50 year centred proxies such as tree rings- set against highly variable instrumental records in the modern era. A classic case of apples and oranges.
        I wrote about it here and that chart is the last graphic

        https://judithcurry.com/2013/06/26/noticeable-climate-change/

        Basically paleo information is a very coarse sieve through which slip annual and decadal variations. It fails to notice the true extent of many climate related events as I mention in the article. Some might say as well that proxies such as tree rings are only useful in measuring approximate levels of precipitation. They are a questionable thermometer due to micro climate concerns and that growth only occurs during parts of the short growing season.

        tonyb

      • Basil Newmerzhycky | January 4, 2015 at 3:47 pm |
        PA,
        All that your graph (below) showed was that in the past 3 decades none of the warming was associated with any solar activity

        Huh? Really? The step response of the climate system to a step change in input is going to be a century+ long ramp up in temperature (integral response).

        What is important is the current temperature relative to the equilibrium temperature for the current forcing level. If you are below equilibrium warming will occur (energy will be absorbed by the – mostly ocean – surface).

        The other problem is the stadium waves/natural forcing issue.

        The 20th century featured a long term transient response to solar input, a primarily 60-70 quasi-sinusoidal oscillation (with some oscillations at other intervals), some short term transient response to solar input, and weak late century CO2 forcing. And most of the action happened during a time when data was spotty. We won’t get into aerosols, CFCs and other issues that muddy the waters.

        That is why the 21st century is so exciting. The TSI is headed downward. The CO2 forcing is headed upward and the natural variation is doing what it does naturally and variably. The horse race has started, place your bets.

  2. daveandrews723

    My hope in 2015 is that the news media will start doing their job and realize that the science in not settled when it comes to AGW. The politics surrounding the debate is one thing, but the facts are the facts and the media’s first responsibility is to present the facts, as well as opposing and conflicting views/opinions from responsible parties. The “pause” or “hiatus” or whatever you want to call it, along with sea ice extents, are important realities that give strong evidence that scientists who claim to understand the effects of rising CO2 levels really do not understand it at all.

    • +1

      Everyone here needs to get onto their local reporters (and political representatives) and give them this message, with explanations as requested of course. Only when we get a mindset change in the media can we get a full mindset change in the public.

      • Basil Newmerzhycky

        Fortunately the only media that buys the bad science presented by skeptics here is FOX and other far right wing/oil/energy friendly outlets that pretend to be news.

        As 2014 becomes the warmest year on record, its going to make a lot of “pause” proponents look very foolish that even Fox-like outlets will begin ignoring these bogus claims. Heck, even Rupert Murdoch recently acknowledged AGW.

        “I have to admit that, until recently, I was somewhat wary of the (global) warming debate. I believe it is now our responsibility to take the lead on this issue.”
        Read more at http://www.woopidoo.com/biography/rupert-murdoch/carbon-neutral.htm#5XsTheA5uE1c0ch6.99

        and

        http://topangaonline.com/forums/read.php?6,5617

      • So, Basil, you reject satellite temperature records that are backed by radiosonde data? Is that true?

      • “As 2014 becomes the warmest year on record”

        Waves to C&W stuck under the bus.

      • Basil Newmerzhycky

        Jim,

        I don’t reject them, they are useful in the short term but you cannot use them well by themselves to study “climate” since their history is just under 30 years.

        Also, more importantly, they are not like surface based temperatures. They are remotely sensed temperature ranging from the surface up thru near 10,000 ft. A 0.5 deg anomaly at the surface is not the same as a 0.5 deg anomaly averaged over the first 2 miles above the earths surface. As you go up from the surface, the degree of heat is reduced.

        I don’t have the algorithms in front of me, but a basic example is that a 0.5 deg C temp change at the surface might be only half that amount averaged from the surface thru 10,000 ft.

  3. Concerned Citizen

    Best wishes in 2015! May truth and data prevail.

  4. Happy New Year to all! Make this a year for studying Natural Variability!
    Way too much time and money has been wasted studying CO2!
    http://popesclimatetheory.com/page16.html
    Way too much about almost nothing.

    Water, in all of its states, is abundant and Water, in all of its states, does regulate Earth Temperature.
    http://popesclimatetheory.com/page76.html

  5. “I don’t expect much to be accomplished in the Paris UNFCCC meeting.”
    Yet I predict that it will be hailed by the attendees as “a tremendous success”, having “made important strides towards establishing a process for the framework of a global agreement to reduce total emissions starting in 2030”. And that they should all get together again in a year, someplace warmer, perhaps Sydney.

    Best wishes to Dr. Curry and all Climate Etc. denizens for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

    • I cannot disagree, Harold.

      Although I do believe it’s also worth noting that during the course of the last five years, the UNEP/UNFCCC Big Names (e.g. Steiner and Figueres) have succeeded in redefining success to such an extent (particularly during the last two years) that it has become as amorphous as “climate change”.

      The latter of which – and here’s my prediction for 2015! – based on my observations, is likely to be swamped by (the even more amorphous, all-encompassing and, of course, oh-so-conveniently undefined) “sustainable development”** in the days ahead!

      **See, for example, my UN word-salad of the day: sustainable development will end poverty, as well as evidence of an earlier (but only modestly successful at that point) Pachauri prediction:

      IPCC’s extreme sausage: unkosher and unsustainable treife

      Notwithstanding any and/or all of the above, I heartily endorse – and echo – your best wishes to all.

      • I wouldn’t say that the redefinition of “success” is limited to the UN* family of bureaucracies. Witness the triumphal claims concerning the recent Obama-China agreement, in which China agreed that it would continue to develop as it has been doing, but maybe when its growth has matured in another couple of decades, it might begin to emit less. Truly a success to have convinced China to do what it had intended to do all along; must have required all of the US diplomatic power.

        And mosomoso…great idea! We can also suggest a spot such as Manaus, in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. After all, such places are dear to the hearts of these organizations, rather than developed locations such as Paris, London, Rio… And shouldn’t they all see the rainforest before its disappearance in X years? Perhaps Greenpeace can raze a few hectares in order to clear some room for its next PR stunt.

        After that, perhaps Thule. In the winter, of course.

    • Why not Detroit? Delegates will be able to see first hand the fruits of lowered emissions. It should be a very cheap venue, hence sustainable. The old Packard plant could be hired for events, hence recyclable. Mid-winter timing would give experts a chance to show how one can dress for cold, rather than burn fossil fuels, hence insulable. Impoverished locals would receive attention and sympathy, hence Pope Francisable.

      And if it were known that all future climate conferences were to be held in Detroit in mid-winter…why, the whole sport of climate change tackling might take on a less urgent tone. A great many delegates might suddenly determine that this little patch of the Holocene is no worse than any other patch, just different. We’ll have progressively smaller conferences with fewer sputtery jet trails.

      If anyone complains about the venue, just say it’s the sort of sustainable climate conference we want to leave to our grandchildren and our grandchildren’s grandchildren. And the rest of the grand-guys.

      • mosomoso

        What a brilliant idea! We could refine it further by ensuring everyone travels by electric cars. They might need to turn the heat off though as that drains the battery quickly.

        tony

      • Brutal. Best comment of 2015!

        +many

  6. The big policy question for the new year is whether the Congress can stop EPA from regulating CO2. The ultimate contest. So here’s to a great New Year.

    • Agreed:
      1. In the Clean Air Act section mentioning Greenhouse Gasses, amend to specifically exclude CO2 (i.e., Carbon Dioxide).
      2. Specifically exclude CO2 as a “pollutant”.
      3. Require any administration or government agency claiming regulations are required to prevent damage a) to document those anticipated damages and the cost of regulation, and b) to testify under oath to their veracity. Under penalty of perjury, of course.
      4. Upon conviction, the perjurer shall be excluded from any position of employment or trust by the government. (The “you bet your career” clause.)
      5. A “get out of jail” clause would be activated if the damage were actually to occur.

      • Mind you, the EPA seem to have their uses. I read in Newsweek that they monitor hundreds of ‘superfund’ highly toxic waste sites which means that I in 6 Americans live within 3 miles of such a site.

        So do they see co2 in the same light as toxic sites?

        Tonyb

      • Tonyb: Mayhap they see CO2 as useful to “Progressive” politics.

    • Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe wrote an op-ed that appeared in the WSJ a few days ago declaring actions taken by the EPA unconstitutional. It’s significant because Tribe taught Obama at Harvard Law and he has been one of his strongest supporters. He also happens to be about as far left ideologically as one can be without being a card carrying communist (I don’t intend that to be inflammatory. The Democrat Party has moved way left in recent years in my opinion, but Tribe is even further left than the “average” Democrat).

      Anyway, if even a strong Obama ally like Tribe thinks the regulatory apparatus being imposed by the Obama EPA regime is unconstitutional, I suspect there’s going to be some legislative changes.

      • ==> “The Democrat Party has moved way left in recent years in my opinion,”

        What is your evidence for that?

      • From the article:

        But polarization is not a one-way street. While Republicans have become more conservative, Democrats have grown more liberal. The Pew Research Center’s values surveys, spanning 1987 to 2012, show that Democrats as a whole have moved to the left in recent years. They are much more socially liberal than they were even a decade ago, more supportive of an activist government, more in favor of increased regulation of business.

        Under the more centrist Obama administration, the leftward movement of Democratic voters has been of limited political consequence. Most of the change on social policies such as same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization has come at the state and local levels. However, looking ahead to 2016, the viability of liberal Democrats has emerged as a critical question for the Democratic Party. Even as conventional wisdom coalesces around Hillary Rodham Clinton as the establishment candidate, the success of prominent progressives — Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio come to mind — means the party could face an ideological divide in 2016.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/are-the-democrats-getting-too-liberal/2014/02/28/c0d42d7c-8d26-11e3-95dd-36ff657a4dae_story.html

      • Joshua,

        For starters, the failed $787,000,000,000 Stimulus Bill, signed in February 2009. Next in line try the failed effort to impose national health care. There are more.

        Keep warm,

        Richard

      • Joshua, The biggest leftward move of all of politics is personified by Obamacare. Liberals have as their agenda government control of the economy. Obamacare moves 1/3 ofthe US economy into government control. Whatever ones views on political issues are the fundemental difference between left and right is that the right is opposed to government intervention whenever possible and the left believes in government control whenever possible. Obama is currently issuing regulations at a record pace and will expedite them in 2015. There is one big esception and that is illegal immigration. In that case Obama is ignoring the laws he doesn’t want to enforce as the Democrats sees a huge new voting base in their pocket. The right is divided between big business wanting cheap labor and regular rightists who are either xenophobic or see cheap labor as a threat. Polls have shown, for years, that 65% of the public is opposed to illegal immagration and that goes across party lines. Please do not interpet any of this as being my position as I have a different take on all of it.

      • ==> “They are much more socially liberal than they were even a decade ago,”

        As opposed to? The electorate as a whole is more socially liberal than they were even a decade ago.

        Ordvic –

        ==> “The biggest leftward move of all of politics is personified by Obamacare”

        The ACA is fully in line with concepts that were fully supported by very influential mainstream Republicans not very long ago.

        The ACA is mainstream within the “liberal” side of the spectrum. It is ideologically in line with the ideology of moderates on the left side of the spectrum.

        Many of the separate elements of the ACA get fairly widespread support, even as the political concept is significantly more unpopular.

        Consider the incoherent logic of the following quote, that jim2 seems to think is evidence of the Democratic Party moving “way left.”

        Under the more centrist Obama administration, the leftward movement of Democratic voters has been of limited political consequence.

        Consider that the article jim2 uses as evidence of this “way left” shift notes that the Obama administration is centrist.

        More evidence of what jim2 offers as proof of the “way left” movement of Democrats:

        Even as conventional wisdom coalesces around Hillary Rodham Clinton as the establishment candidate, the success of prominent progressives — Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio come to mind — means the party could face an ideological divide in 2016.

        So a greater split between the more moderate and more liberal segments of the part, where the more moderate segments dominates, is jim2’s evidence for a “way left” movement of the Democrats?

        ==> “Obamacare moves 1/3 ofthe US economy into government control.”

        This statement is false. It should be apparent why. The failure to identify why that statement is false underscores why I am questioning the notion of a “way left” movement of Democrats. These are rhetorical games, as opposed to carefully considered analysis.

        I am asking for evidence, not rhetoric.

      • Danny –

        Interesting link. Thanks.

      • Evidence of Democrats moving “way left?”

      • Evidence of Democrats moving “way left?”

      • Consider that the notion of moving “way left” or “way right” would logically be in relief against the general electorate. It’s important to consider whether a Party has moved. Is the entire country more “way left” now than we were before blacks or women were given voting rights? If so, then do you think that not wanting blacks or women to have voting rights = having a “conservative” ideology?

        If the balance of the electorate as a whole pretty much stays in the same place, then a move “way left” or “way right” would show up in how people identify with the parties; along with a “way left” or “way right” movement, we’d likely see a larger isolation from the general electorate.

        Consider that as the Democratic Party moves “way left,” unless the general electorate has also moved “way left” in step with the Party, fewer people would identify with the Party.

        Consider that if the Republican Party were moving “way right,” unless the electorate has also moved “way right” in step with the Party, fewer people would identify with the Republican Party.

        OK. Now look at this chart:

        http://www.people-press.org/2012/06/04/partisan-polarization-surges-in-bush-obama-years/6-4-12-v-14/

      • Josh, you should of said a chart would do ;-):

      • Interesting..

        Let’s look at the trends in movement, among Dems and Repubs respectively, over the last 20 years – across the different questions in the polls.

        Over the first 10 years, it looks like there may be a general trend across both parties towards a more “liberal” ideology There are some exceptions, of course – notably with the question about best way to ensure peace – but largely what we see is that there is not really a movement towards greater polarization.

        Starting in 2004, it looks to me like what we see is the following for each of the questions in turn, in terms of movement towards or away from conservative ideology:

        1) Republicans up 23, Dems down 7
        2) Republicans up 27, Dems down 8
        3) Republicans up 18, Dems up 6
        4) Rs up 29, Ds up10
        5) Rs up 7, Ds up1
        6) Rs up 1, Ds down 14
        7) Rs up 7, Ds down 3
        8) Rs up 22, Ds, even
        9) Rs even, Ds up4
        10) Rs down 8, Ds down 10

        Hmmmm.

        So is would seem that in terms of movement relative to 10 years ago – that Rs have moved “way right” much more than Ds have moved “way left.” Only with questions 6 do we see Ds moving farther to the left than Rs moved to the right. On questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8,9, and 10, we see that Rs moved farther to the right than Ds moved to the left (noting that on questions 3, 4, 5, and 9, Ds moved to the right along with Rs).

      • Ordvic –

        My point is that you need to view that chat in context.

      • I disagree with your assessment that people would leave if the parties moved either left or right. Reagan moved the party right and rejuvenated it, conversely Obama moved the party left (of Hillary) and rejuvenated it.

      • Sorry – let me fix that:

        So is would seem that in terms of movement relative to 10 years ago – that Rs have moved “way right” much more than Ds have moved “way left.” Only with questions 6 do we see Ds moving farther to the left than Rs moved to the right. On questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8,and 9, we see that Rs moved farther to the right than Ds moved to the left (noting that on questions 3, 4, 5, and 9, Ds moved to the right along with Rs, and on question 10, Rs moved to the left along with Ds).

      • Ordvic –

        ==> “I disagree with your assessment that people would leave if the parties moved either left or right. Reagan moved the party right and rejuvenated it, conversely Obama moved the party left (of Hillary) and rejuvenated it.”

        What do you mean by “rejuvenated?” How are you measuring rejuvenation?

        Initially, Obama brought more young and minority voters to the polls. That doesn’t mean that he rejuvenated the party as a whole. Those people he brought to the polls would likely have already identified as Ds. Did his candidacy increase the #’s of people who identified as Ds? Look at the numbers.

      • Joshua – how am I to keep my position in the top five if you keep this up??? The article did characterize Obumbles as a centrist, but we all know that is malarkey. He has put more useless Federal regs on the book than I like to think about. Onerous ones too, like regs against coal and Obumblecare. Lefties are all about control of peoples lives and individual freedom has suffered a stunning blow under Obumbles.

      • From the article:

        Cupp immediately frustrated the panel by not spiking the easily set-up opportunity to bash the Republican party by suggesting that extremism is a two-way street. “But why doesn’t anyone bring up the splinter in the Democratic party when folks like [Sen.] Ben Nelson (D-NE), [Rep.] Heath Shuler (D-NC) and [Sen.] Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) leave,” said Cupp. “I think you’re right, that it’s hard to be a moderate these days, but it’s hard to be a moderate on both sides. I think both parties are pushing to the extremes a little bit. And I think it’s a little disingenuous to just suggest this is happening because of the tea party on the right when clearly it happens on the left as well.”

        You could nearly hear her fellow panelists digging their fingernails into their respective desks and chomping at the opportunity to scoff at Cupp’s assertion.

        http://www.mediaite.com/tv/s-e-cupp-shocks-msnbc-panel-suggesting-democratic-party-moved-left-but-she-is-right/

      • Ordvic –

        I will grant you, that there is a possibility that the decline in R party ID is because the electorate, as whole, moved farther to the right than the Republican Party.

        But the data don’t really speak to that. Looking at the chart I linked, we see an increase in Independents that coincides with a decrease in the numbers of those who identify with the Republican party. Is that because people think that the Rs are too left-leaning (certainly some evidence of that with the emergence of the Tea Party), or because people think that the Rs have moved too far to the right? The fact that there wasn’t a corresponding increase in the #s who identify with the Ds might be related evidence; we might think that if the drop in #s was because people thought the Rs were too conservative, there would be a corresponding increase in the #s who identify as Ds – but that isn’t something that we can assume directly. We’d need more info to determine whether the drop in R ID #s was because the electorate moved to the right relative to the Republican Party.

      • Josh, sorry several of my comments went missing (prolly from my end). I’ll try to respost. Your charts showed a confirmation of polarization. The question is not whether the repbs moved right more than dems, it was if the dems moved left. The Pew chart shows 94% leftward move by dems and 92% right move of repbs ala polarization. The only two movements away from polarization is immigration and gay rights that I think you’d agree with me is a good thing. The context of the questions as you assert is prolly right more rightward movement. However, in my opinion the country has moved gradually left my entire lifetime. Even Goldwater championed gay rights in his last years and said he was decieved by the chief justice regarding his civil rights vote. He was told it was unconstitutional and later regretted the vote. So in my opinion the right is actually less right than what I remember in my youth, it’s just that the country has moved left and it makes any right move shift look exaggerated.

        As to ‘rejuvenated’ you are prolly right. After Jimma Carter the repubs moved right and Reagan was a unique politition that offered hope. I think that ultimately led to repb majorities in congress not seen since the late forties early fifties. George W also ruined the Republican brand and Obama offerred ‘hope’ (stole that from Bill Clinton, don’t know how he got away with it. So he did rejuvenate but it wanned as you said. We’ll have to see if he is looked at more fondly in the future (sorta like Harry Truman) and it helps the dem view of things. After the Reagan revolution it’s been just a bunch of Reagan wanna bes including W, I think Romney was the only outliar there.

      • Josh, I made 3 posts that didn’t make it (prolly from my end). I’ve given up. Your points are well taken though.

      • ordvic –

        ==> “Your charts showed a confirmation of polarization. The question is not whether the repbs moved right more than dems, it was if the dems moved left. The Pew chart shows 94% leftward move by dems and 92% right move of repbs ala polarization.”

        But when I look at the data, I see 10 years of relatively little increase in polarization followed by 10 years of dramatically increased polarization more due to Rs moving right than Ds moving left

        ==.> “However, in my opinion the country has moved gradually left my entire lifetime.”

        It is hard to imagine anti-war protesters in the streets at the volume in the 1960s. It is hard to imagine pro-labor demonstrators in the streets like there were in the late 19th early 20th century. Consider the reactions to Nixon opening relations with China and Obama establishing an embassy in Cuba? Consider the reactions to Reagan’s immigration policies and the reaction to Obama’s immigration policies. Consider the reaction to Reagan’s tax hikes and Obama’s tax reductions. In each case, I’d say, the reactions suggest a country that has moved to the right.

        ==> “Even Goldwater championed gay rights in his last years and said he was decieved by the chief justice regarding his civil rights vote.”

        This is what you cite as evidence of a move to the right?

        Consider that Buckley tried to distance conservatives from the extremism of the John BIrch society while today influential conservative actively court groups like the JBS. Consider the many mainstream Repub politicians who attest that moderates are no longer accepted in the Republican Party (I can give you a list if I must).

        ==> “So in my opinion the right is actually less right than what I remember in my youth, it’s just that the country has moved left and it makes any right move shift look exaggerated.”

        My point, ordvic, is that we should try to gauge our anecdotal views with evidence.

        ==> “George W also ruined the Republican brand”

        And what do you attribute that to? Him moving to the left?

        ==> “I think Romney was the only outliar there…”

        Heh. Well, we might agree about Romney’s level of truthfulness.

      • Joshua at Jan 1, 2015, 2:36 pm writes: “The ACA is fully in line with concepts that were fully supported by very influential mainstream Republicans not very long ago.”

        Consider that this government has a track record of using laws for political agendas. This is not unprecedented:

        1) Under “Climate Change”, note the “Executive Authority” allocation to favorites and contributors such as Solyndra, A123 , Abound Solar, Beacon Power, BrightSource Energy Inc., Evergreen Solar, …
        2) Under the ACA, note the power of IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board) to decide whether or not to insure certain health issues.
        3) The Federal Government now controls health care. They can control not only price, but also who gets healthcare.

        Comedian Jack Benny once has a bit where he was given a choice: “Your money or your life”. His response was “I’m thinking about it.”

        The ACA empowers government to change the question: “Your money and your life”.

        Think about that.

      • The last chart on the first page of this Pew data shows that in 1994, 30% of the Democrat Party held “mostly liberal” or “consistently liberal” views. By 2014, 56% claimed to hold those views. So that’s a 26 point leftward movement in 20 years. In contrast 45% of Republicans held mostly or consistently conservative views in 1994, while in 2014 the number had risen to 53%. So in the past 20 years, the Democrats have become 26 points more liberal while the Republicans have become 8 points more conservative. The Democrat Party has moved dramatically farther leftward while the Republican Party has moved modestly rightward, according to respondents. Yet ironically, you rarely hear the media discuss how far left the Democrat Party has shifted in the past 20 years. You hear ad nauseum how much more conservative the Republican Party is.

        http://www.people-press.org/2014/06/12/political-polarization-in-the-american-public/

        You also see it in the organizational makeup of Congress. The conservative Democrat “Blue Dog” caucus of Congress was the largest Congressional Democrat caucus in 1994. In 1994 avowed socialist Bernie Saunders founded the Progressive Caucus with 5 other like minded Democrats. Prior to the November, 2014 elections, the Progressive Caucus had around 80 members and the Blue Dog Caucus was down to about a half dozen members. That’s a pretty radical. leftward shift in 20 years.

  7. From midyear…

    The real story as observed by Francis Menton is that, “under the banner of so-called climate justice, the U.N. is doing exactly the opposite. It is doing its best to hobble, hinder and obstruct development of the cheapest and most reliable sources of energy in the third world [e.g., first coal and now ignoring the natural gas revolution].”

    Without access to energy service, the poor will be deprived of the most basic of human rights and of economic opportunities to improve their standard of living. People cannot access modern hospital services without electricity, or feel relief from sweltering heat. Food cannot be refrigerated and businesses cannot function. Children cannot go to school in rainforests where lighting is required during the day. The list of deprivation goes on. ~Francis Menton

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      So why do deniers oppose mini grids, consisting of wind and solar power backed up by diesel power, as a way of providing electricity to isolated villages in the third world?

      • I did not know they did oppose it, or that skeptics had much of a say in what happens in isolated villages in the third world. As always, one has to see the numbers. The combo sounds expensive.

      • According to wiki, a 1888, was used for generating electricity in 1888. “Wind power,” says wiki, “has been used as long as humans have put sails into the wind. For more than two millennia wind-powered machines have ground grain and pumped water.”

      • Matthew R Marler

        Max_OK, Citizen scientist: So why do deniers oppose mini grids, consisting of wind and solar power backed up by diesel power, as a way of providing electricity to isolated villages in the third world?

        Could you quote some, with references and links? Maybe we can understand why from their writings, if indeed there are any such opponents of minigrids among “deniers”.

      • Max

        Why should ‘deniers’ oppose mini grids?

        Tonyb

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Why do I think deniers oppose mini-grid consisting of wind and solar backed by diesel? Because my search of leading denier organization sites (see list below) turned up only negative views of renewables in general. If any said renewables aren’t good, except for mini-grids, I missed it.

        Heartland Institute
        Global Warming Policy Foundation
        Competitive Enterprise Institute
        Americans for Prosperity
        Climate Depot

        BTW, Climate Depot claims the Vatican has been infiltrated by followers of the radical green movement. Does anyone know who these infiltrators are?

      • Curious George

        Max, you are venturing into a dangerous terrain. Let me paraphrase your approach: Why do I think Max lacks any intellect? Because my search of the Internet on Max_OK intellect failed to come up with any positive results. If there are any, Google missed it.

        You have a full right to your opinions. But please don’t present them as facts. Happy New Year.

      • I can’t speak for deniers (I don’t even know to which side of the debate you are referring to with this disgracefully pejorative term). Personally, I oppose isolated villages being forced by ideologues to use inefficient unreliable energy if cheaper and more reliable energy could be made available.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Curious George said on December 31, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        “Max, you are venturing into a dangerous terrain. Let me paraphrase your approach: Why do I think Max lacks any intellect? Because my search of the Internet on Max_OK intellect failed to come up with any positive results.”
        _________

        Curious, you didn’t use my full name in your search. Google “Max_OK, Citizen Scientist” and you will get positive results.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Mike Jonas | December 31, 2014 at 4:05 pm

        ” Personally, I oppose isolated villages being forced by ideologues to use inefficient unreliable energy if cheaper and more reliable energy could be made available.”
        ____

        For a village in the middle of nowhere, what could be cheaper and more reliable than wind and solar power backed up by diesel ?

        Don’t say just more diesel alone, because if that goes, the village has no power. Moreover, diesel pollutes the environment and makes lots of noise

        Don’t say hooked up to a large grid, when the village has no means to reach it. And even if hooked up to a large grid, there’s no guarantee it would be as reliable as the village’s mini-grid anyway.

        Also, the birds knocked down by the wind turbines could provide some food for the village.

        Mike, obviously you haven’t thought this through like I have. But you did say “if”.

      • Have them build a solar concentrator plant. That way, they don’t have to cook the birds.

      • Max,

        Where do you pull this stuff from?

        Oh yeah, you infer it. Nice.

        Unless you can post some evidence, I’ll add this to the list of crap you throw out, hoping to see what sort of response you get.

        As for providing power to “isolated villages”, I know for a fact (as in some of my Mercy Corps donations support it) that one program that is meeting with success is the provision of small scale solar, mostly in the form of laterns and charging stations.

        As for mini-grids – my understanding is they can be rather expensive, particularly when you account for the duplication of generation capacity. The lack of reliable generation from the solar & wind component means the diesel “backup” is running more than half the time. Have you bothered to consider how that “backup” operates? Of course you haven’t. News flash Max – diesel generators require diesel fuel to operate. What exactly is it about “isolated” villages do you not understand?

      • Curious George

        “you didn’t use my full name in your search. Google “Max_OK, Citizen Scientist” and you will get positive results.” Zero results. A citizen scientist should know that adding AND-terms to search criteria does not expand a result set; it narrows it.

      • Cost of transmission lines in India is more than a million USD per mile. Lots of villages are more than a mile from the existing grid. Rural electrification using solar is their best bet.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        timg56 said on December 31, 2014 at 5:27 pm

        “Max,

        Where do you pull this stuff from?

        Oh yeah, you infer it. Nice.

        Unless you can post some evidence, I’ll add this to the list of crap you throw out, hoping to see what sort of response you get.”
        __________

        timg56, I’m pleased it’s hard for you to tell whether I’m trolling or not. I want to thank you for the compliment and wish you a Happy New Year.

        The truth is I am not trolling here, and I will be happy to help you learn about hybrid mini-grids. A good place for you to start is the World Bank study titled “From the Bottom Up: How Small Power Producers and Mini-Grids Can Deliver Electrification and Renewable Energy in Africa.” While the this study covers more than just hybrid mini-grids, it has much information on these systems and puts them in context. A few excerpts are presented below and a link to the study follows:

        “The term hybrid power system refers to the use of two or more fuel sources (generally one of which is a renewable fuel, and the other a fossil fuel) to generate electricity.1 Throughout the world, there are thousands of mini-hybrid systems in operation. For hybrid mini-grid systems, the power system will typically combine a diesel generator with a solar, wind, or a mini-hydro generator. The diesel generator is generally used as a backup source of supply during periods of high loads or when there is little renewable power available.”

        “In some hybrid systems, the renewable generator will provide up to 80 percent or 90 percent of the total generated electricity. While the economics of hybrid systems are very site specific, there are four general justifications for installing
        new or retrofitted hybrid systems. They can:

        • Supply electricity at lower cost than either a pure renewable system or a diesel-only. (figure A.1)
        • Provide electricity for more hours of the day than a pure diesel system.
        • Improve the operational efficiency of diesel generators by allowing them to operate at higher capacities, which in turn causes them to use less diesel fue per kilowatt-hours (kWh) generated.
        • Extend the lives of diesel generators by reducing the number of hours of
        operation”

        “Hybrid systems often have lower life-cycle costs compared to diesel-only or renewable-energy-only systems. For example, the levelized cost of electricity from a diesel-only system used in a remote island in Thailand was calculated to be $0.84/kilowatt-hour (kWh). An optimized hybrid system with batteries,inverter, and solar panels powering the same load lowers the levelized cost to $0.57/kWh (Greacen and others 2007). Similarly, in Senegal, ASER (Agence Sénégalaise d’Électrification Rurale, the rural electrification agency) with assistance from GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, the German aid agency) has installed, under the PERACOD6 program, 35 hybrid mini-grid systems using a standard configuration (5 kilowatts peak PV/48 kWh battery/15
        kilovolt-ampere [kVA] diesel generator) with plans under way to install 41 more by the end of 2014. It has been calculated that the lifetime levelized cost of a pure diesel system serving an isolated mini-grid will be $0.98/kWh, whereas the hybrid generating system that uses PVs, batteries, and a diesel generator will have a lower lifetime levelized cost of $0.69/kWh.”

        http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2014/01/17/000461832_20140117160104/Rendered/PDF/840420PUB0978100Box382118B00PUBLIC0.pdf

        P.S. If this link doesn’t work, I will try again.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Curious George | December 31, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
        “you didn’t use my full name in your search. Google “Max_OK, Citizen Scientist” and you will get positive results.” Zero results. A citizen scientist should know that adding AND-terms to search criteria does not expand a result set; it narrows it
        ________

        Curious, I don’t know what you are doing wrong but it’s something.
        I get results Googling either “Max_OK” or “Max_OK, Citizen Scientist”.

        Here’s an example from The Blackboard, a blog where climate discussions get hot:

        Max_OK (Comment #52995)
        September 28th, 2010 at 8:52 pm
        lucia (Comment#52962) September 28th, 2010 at 2:02 pm
        Hu–
        Yep. I have a bad cold and am busy trying to finally figure out what’s causing the huge memory surges at my blog. I may have to ask someone to help me out.
        ——-
        I hope you feel better soon.

      • Berényi Péter

        Costs. Operating a diesel generator is insanely costly to start with. So called renewables like solar &. wind are even more expensive, with a disproportionate environmental footprint, and inherently unreliable, so they require backup. On a mini grid equipped like this, cost of electricity can’t possibly go below 1.3$/kWh, an utterly uncompetitive price.

        Ask this: Why are those villages isolated in the first place?

        Because there are no ports, roads, railways connecting them to the world, that’s why.

        If you have money to spend on subsidies, finance those goodies, then let the private sector build coal fired power plants, or whatever the cheapest solution at the moment, that would provide electricity to the entire region at a fraction of the cost. That’s how it was done in Europe, Northern America and Japan, and that’s how it should work worldwide.

      • Berényi Péter

        Tom Fuller | December 31, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
        Cost of transmission lines in India is more than a million USD per mile.

        OMG. In that case they are doing something awfully wrong. Corruption, probably.

        Actual costs are not even half of that, elsewhere.

        see:

        THE TRANSMISSION LINE COST CALCULATION
        Juho Yli-Hannuksela

      • Curious George

        Max, thank you for a shining example of your intellect. I hope that you are a better citizen than a (re)searcher.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Max_OK, Citizen Scientist: Why do I think deniers oppose mini-grid consisting of wind and solar backed by diesel? Because my search of leading denier organization sites (see list below) turned up only negative views of renewables in general. If any said renewables aren’t good, except for mini-grids, I missed it.

        That’s an answer of sorts. You asked about the motivation behind something that does not exist. In my readings the opposition is to laws and policies that require second-rate power sources and permit only minigrids. I do not know whether I am a denier or not (“denier” is an appellation applied to another), but I advocate minigrids for the places where they are likely to be more secure or more quickly approved than large scale grids.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Matthew, thank you for a fair reply.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Berényi Péter | January 1, 2015 at 6:06 am |
        ” On a mini grid equipped like this, cost of electricity can’t possibly go below 1.3$/kWh, an utterly uncompetitive price.”

        “Ask this: Why are those villages isolated in the first place?

        Because there are no ports, roads, railways connecting them to the world, that’s why.”
        ______

        Berényi was not fooled by the World Bank’s real life examples ($0.57/kWh and $0.69/kWh).

        Berényi you got me on the reason why those villages are isolated in the first place. I would have never guessed it’s “because there are no ports, roads, railways connecting them to the world.”

      • Obviously Max’s Deniers who oppose mini grids for isolated villages are the same Deniers who get million dollar checks from the Koch funded climate change denial machine. I’ve never met them, but Michael Man assures me they’re out there. ;)

        Personal, I don’t oppose mini grids OR renewable power for isolated villages. If that’s there best option, then go for it. What I oppose is forcing high cost limited electricity solutions on developing nation when a full up electric grid would be a better one. How many of those ‘isolated villages’ are more isolated then Arizona or New Mexico? Instead of a thousand villages, each with it’s own grid, would it be better to built 20 full size power plants and run grids out from there? That’s basically how it’s been done all along. And if some villages are too far, then sure, go for the mini grid there.

        Max might want to spin this as ‘Deniers’ opposing a solution, but it isn’t those skeptical of CAGW that have put in place restriction on what can be built. I might not think a wind turbine is the best solution, but I’ve never stopped anyone from building one. What have the Greens stopped from being built for those isolated villages?

    • Any global agreement will have to make allowances for the poorest nations to use coal when necessary. As long as the developed world focuses on reducing emissions, the small amount of increased emissions from the developing world will not really matter.

      • Joseph,

        The problem is that emissions from the developing world will not be small. Problems are so simple to solve when you ignore reality. Have you bothered to look at population numbers for the world? Where do you think most people reside? Once you figure that one out, check on median age groups – ie the percentage of the world’s population by age cohorts and how they are distributed.

        You don’t even have to try that hard to be able to provide informed comment. The fact that China produces more CO2 emissions a year than the US and the EU combined tells you how much developing world emissions will matter.

      • Tim, I wouldn’t include China being among the poorest nations or India for that matter. But I think each of these large nations will eventually realize that relying primarily on fossil fuels with the associated pollution along with having to get these increasingly scarce resources is the wrong route.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        I guess it’s taking timg56 some time to digest that World Bank study I recommended after he asked me for info on hybrid mini-grids. That would explain his silence on the subject.

      • Interested Bystander

        Joseph,
        In 2011 the Wold Bank estimated that 2.2 billion people lived on less than $2/day. That was about 31.6% of the world’s population. Energy, lots of energy, will be required to boost their living standards to even a modest level (say $10/day), which I believe everyone agrees is a desirable goal. To keep world-wide emissions constant as this occurs will require significant emissions reductions by developed countries. Now imagine a significant portion of the desperately poor moving to the standard of living China has today. If this occurs, it is easy to envision the equivalent of another China from an emissions standpoint. Now what would developed countries have to do to counter this? Is this many people climbing out of poverty an unreasonable pipe dream? I don’t think so. According to the World Bank significant progress has already been made. It reports that the Millennium Development Goal target of cutting the 1990 poverty rate in half by 2015 was met with five years to spare. Much of China’s emissions today helped meet that goal. Now imagine India, Vietnam, parts of Africa, etc. being as successful as China. Get the picture? It won’t just matter, it will really matter.

      • Energy, lots of energy, will be required to boost their living standards to even a modest level (say $10/day),

        Actually I don’t think it will take a lot energy to get to $10/day. For instance, the median income for workers in United States is somewhere around $40,000 a year. With growth in income of 3% a year. That means a increase of $3/day in one year. And our emissions are actually going down and have been for a while.

      • Interested Bystander

        Joseph wrote, “Actually I don’t think it will take a lot energy to get to $10/day. For instance, the median income for workers in United States is somewhere around $40,000 a year. With growth in income of 3% a year. That means a increase of $3/day in one year. And our emissions are actually going down and have been for a while.”

        Comparing the emissions of countries where the residents earn $2/day or less with the US which had a 2010 per capita income of $48,377 per year ($123.54/day) is like comparing apples and oranges. Digging out of extreme poverty is a very energy intensive endeavor. For example using World Bank data, in 2010 Nepal had a per capita income of $1.63/day and Vietnam $3.65/day. Vietnam used ten times the electricity and had about 17 times the fossil-fuel based CO2 emissions. To carry the example further, in 2010 China had a daily per capita income of $12.15, which is not that much beyond the $10/day we discussed earlier. China’s per capita emission level was more than sixty times that of Nepal and between 3 and 4 times larger than Vietnam’s level, and of course, China is the leading CO2 emitter. How fast did its emissions increase as it was digging out of poverty to the extent it has been able to so far? From 1990 to 2010 China almost tripled its per capita CO2 emissions. What will happen when China figures out how to attain the same level of per capita income as the US? Let us hope for tremendous advances in energy-related technology in the meantime.

      • Right bystander but China is the world’s manufacturing hub which is very energy intensive That’s one of the reasons our emissions are going down.. I don’t expect the rest of the developed world to adopt that model

      • Interested Bystander

        Joseph wrote, “Right bystander but China is the world’s manufacturing hub which is very energy intensive That’s one of the reasons our emissions are going down.. I don’t expect the rest of the developed world to adopt that model.”

        Of course, you have a right to your opinion, but the work I’ve done in economic development leads me to believe otherwise. Naturally, all countries successful in digging their way out of poverty will have at least slightly different paths, but compared to where they were every path will be relatively energy intensive. Energy use is a key ingredient. Just consider the countries that have been successful to one degree or another–Korea, China, and the other Asian Tigers. By the way, in these examples manufacturing is typically an important element. I’ve talked with a few manufacturers operating in China and they had already calculated the financial situation that would prompt them to move their operations from China to other lesser developed countries in the region. That is as costs in China increase, manufacturer of the items with thin margins begins to shift. Basic textiles is an example. Just consider Vietnam and its attempt to grow incomes. Its energy use is expanding rapidly as is its manufacturing base. It is one of the countries that will pick up some of the manufacturing that leaves China. Of course, some manufacturing such as electronics will likely remain in China even as costs increase (mainly due to accelerating wages) because of the valuable infrastructure in place, but the less sophisticated items from a manufacturing point of view are likely to shift to lower cost areas. Admittedly, some of this shifting will be within China itself as manufacturing shifts away from the coast toward the interior of the country. But the result from an energy standpoint will be the same because new energy-based infrastructure will be required to accommodate the shift. The simple point is that digging out of poverty requires energy, and many would see it as a responsibility of wealthy countries to help residents of the poorest countries to better their lives. If we are to see world-wide CO2 emissions fall at the same time poorer countries grow their income much will have to be done. Developed countries will have to reduce their emissions at an unprecedented level. This will be a challenge that I don’t believe we are ready for yet.

        By the way, US manufacturing as a percent of the economy (as measured by real GDP) has been relatively steady since 1960 with a slight uptick. That is manufacturing today is a larger portion of the US economy than it was in 1960. (See Figure 1 of http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2014/02/us%20manufacturing%20past%20and%20potential%20future%20baily%20bosworth/us%20manufacturing%20past%20and%20potential%20future%20baily%20bosworth.pdf for more information.) Of course, manufacturing labor has fallen as capital has been substituted for labor but manufacturing output has grown with the overall economy. If anything, this has probably resulted in a larger demand for energy. Fortunately, efficiency gains in vehicle fuel economy and electricity use has helped out a great deal.

        I think we have about exhausted this topic. I hope to hear from you on other topics in the future. Happy New Year.

      • Oh and Vietnam has also attracted a lot manufacturing.

  8. ==> “but I hope to have more time for blogging.”

    Looking forward to your response to Gavin (you know, the one you said you would provide, said you wouldn’t provide, and then said you would provide), and also your post providing your views on Salby.

  9. Judy,

    I think your blog is one of the best and most informative blogs on the net. Thanks for all of your very good work and sharing your knowledge with your readers.

    JD

  10. Athropolis:

    December 31, 2014 weather report for
    ALERT, NUNAVUT, CANADA

    Weather report as of 39 minutes ago (15:00 UTC):

    The wind was blowing at a speed of 5.1 meters per second (11.5 miles per hour) from North in Alert, Canada. The temperature was -32 degrees Celsius (-26 degrees Fahrenheit). Air pressure was 1,011 hPa (29.85 inHg). Relative humidity was 67.3%. There were overcast at a height of 853 meters (2800 feet). The visibility was 6.4 kilometers (4.0 miles). Current weather is Light Snow Moderate Low Drifting Snow.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Waggy, that’s enough wind speed for cost-effective application of small grid-connected wind turbines to provide heating and lighting without polluting the atmosphere.

      BTW, wind and solar power also work in the Southern Hemisphere, where it’s now summer.

      • Curious George

        Link, please. Just curious – would those wind turbines be lubricated? Have you ever driven a car in those temperatures?

      • George
        They are running three wind turbines (nameplate 900kW) at Scott Base in Antarctica, but they are part of a ~8MW grid with McMurdo.

      • Curious George

        Link, please. That must be a cheap source of power.

      • @maxok
        that’s enough wind speed for cost-effective application of small grid-connected wind turbines to provide heating and lighting without polluting the atmosphere.

        So if it can just be arranged for the wind to stay at that level indefinitely, wind power with no subsidies or other privileges will be viable.

  11. Thank you for a great climate science blog. Happy New Year to Dr. Curry and all.

  12. I’m really looking forward to the Salby post. Hope you have time for it soon!

  13. “In other words, climate/energy policy has developed a life of its own that seems increasingly disconnected from the science.”

    Agreed, which is compelling evidence it’s not really about the science, and likely never has been. I’d say 2014 wasn’t a particularly exciting year for the climate wars…the most important event imvho being the Republican takeover in the U.S.

    If we can get a Republican into the White House in 2016, the alarmists will be dead in the water…at least for a while.

    • I suppose it depends on what you mean by exciting. The Obama Administration started regulations to control CO2 emissions from mobile and stationery sources. It doesn’t get much bigger than that.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Sorry to alarm you, pokerguy, but Hillary will kick GOP butt.

      • Max

        I look at the seemingly never ending succession of mediocre candidates for the presidency over the years who then invariably become mediocre presidents.

        Surely with the depth of your political class you can do better than yet another Clinton or yet another Bush?

        Tonyb

      • TonyB,

        As a close watcher of the American political scene, with the exception of Ted Cruz, there is not a single candidate commonly mentioned for 2016 who will make a whit of difference in the path of Leviathan in the US.

        Now there are some Republican governors who could make a real difference, but that is why you are not hearing anything about them. Governors like Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Actual conservatives are a threat to the leadership of both US political parties.

        And even with conservatives like Walker, you run the risk of them getting elected as a conservative, but governing as a progressive. The Romans perfected the system of bringing outside insurgents into the folds of government, and converting them once they got a taste of real power. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

        Or to quote The Who – Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

      • Possibly max. But despite paying the requisite lip service, I have the sense she’s not drunk the global warming cool-aide in the copious amounts Obama has. Obama’s fighting for his so-called legacy with his phone, and his pen, and his tin foil hat. Hillary’s too shrewd for that.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Tonyb said on |December 31, 2014 at 12:50 pm

        “Max
        Surely with the depth of your political class you can do better than yet another Clinton or yet another Bush?”
        _____

        Tony, don’t you know we Americans like to be first in everything.

        First to have both a man and his wife as presidents.

        or

        First to have brothers as presidents.

        and

        First to have a father and his two sons as presidents.

        Can the UK match that?

        I guess you did have some kings and kings who were related.

      • Max

        Good try but that’s small beer.

        Queen Elizabeth the second is the 32 nd great grand daughter of king Alfred the great, the first English king from the mid 800’s

        http://www.britroyals.com/royaltree.htm

        Tonyb

      • Happy New Year!!!

        and watch out for those bankers bailing-in your funds

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Tony, those monarchs weren’t elected like our presidents.

        This is OT, but I wish your royal families had used more imagination in choosing names for their kids. The UK has had 8 kings named Henry, a bunch named William, some Edwards, etc. This repetition makes it hard for me to remember who’s who.

        Henry also was the name of 5 kings in France and 6 kings in the Holy Roman Empire. Altogether I count 19 kings named Henry. Were all these guys related?

      • Max

        Some might say( al gore for instance) that certain presidents weren’t elected)

        It is traditional to call a new member of the royal family after an ancestor.

        It’s great to have so many with the same name as in a quiz about the royals the answer is invariably either Henry or victoria…

        Happy new year Max

        Tonyb

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Tony, my favorite TV quiz show, Jeopardy, requires answers to give both the name and the number for the monarch. If the monarch is far back in history, the only answer I ever get right is Henry VIII.

        Happy New Year to you too. Keep warm. Don’t drive.

    • pokerguy,

      “If we can get a Republican into the White House in 2016, the alarmists will be dead in the water…at least for a while.”

      If a Republican wins the presidency, it will very much depend on who it is, Most of the primary contenders, Bush (shudder), Christie, and even Romney again, are progressive Republicans who can be counted on to say conservative things to get elected, but govern as progressives. You may notice the deafening silence from them on issues like the imperial immigration amnesty, Obamacare, quantitative easing, and even energy policy.

      They have no objection to central economic planning, they just want to be the ones doing the planning. (Hence the slogan “repeal and replace Obamacare.”)

      • Hey Gary,
        No real argument except to say that climate change policy is not popular except among progressive elites. I have a hard time imagining even someone like Hillary Clinton devoting much more than lip service to
        Global warming at the expense of increased fuel costs and fewer jobs. As I think about this more, the only candidate i’d really worry about on either side would be Elizabeth warren, and I can’t see her winning in the current environment. Could change of course.

  14. Happy New Year and thanks for providing such an excellent arena for learning and discussing these issues without the cloying Gaian fundamentalism so rampant elsewhere.

  15. Continuing thanks for this blog, Dr. Curry.

    One interesting development this year was a mention of the hiatus and a discussion of research on natural variability attempting to explain the hiatus, in the NY Times of all places – even though the piece was buried in inside pages.

    “There’s been a burst of worthy research aimed at figuring out what causes the stutter-steps in the process — including the current hiatus/pause/plateau that has generated so much discussion.”

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/26/a-closer-look-at-turbulent-oceans-and-greenhouse-heating/?_r=0

  16. Schrodinger's Cat

    I was hoping that Dr Curry would speculate on whether she expects any change in the warmist/sceptic position over the next year. Perhaps others who are part of the climate academic scene would care to make predictions….?

    • Well the big issue here is what happens over the next 5 years in terms of pause and the Arctic sea ice. If things go as I expect (albeit with a low level of confidence), the warm side will be forced to acknowledge the importance of natural variability as a rival for AGW in explaining the climate since 1950.

      • They do acknowledge variability but only for the years when metrics are not moving in the expected direction or at the expected rate.The challenge seems to be extended the logic of those arguments to cover the warming years.

        Sea ice volume rather than extent looks like the one to watch.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        If it goes the other way, what will deniers and skeptics do?

      • Continue to challenge, question, and audit. That is the job of the skeptic.

      • If warming resumes, will skeptics come up with 50 reasons why, just as the warmists have in a vain attempt to explain the pause?

      • Judith

        Phil jones admitted the importance of natural variability in his paper from
        2006 in connection with the remarkable temperature rise from 1690 to 1739 which came to a shuddering halt with the winter of 1740

        Tonyb

      • I predict that another 5 years of “pause”, or another 10 for that matter, will not result in ” the warm side [being] forced to acknowledge the importance of natural variability as a rival for AGW in explaining the climate since 1950.” That would be the death knell of an entire, massive industry, and a devolution of power away from government. Never gonna happen.

        CAGW is a political movement, not a scientific theory. If you want to predict how its adherents will act, you have to take that into account.

        There may well be increased acknowledgement of the impact of natural variability, but NEVER as a rival to CAGW. It will always be only an excuse for why the effects of globalclimatewarmingchange are no where in evidence, and why models are increasingly wrong.

        But give us one or two years of noticeable warming in the reported surface temps (I thought they were a bad metric anyway?), and watch for the thermageddon headlines and pal reviewed papers to come.

        The only things that can really derail the CAGW freight train are the election of genuine conservatives in the western countries. And there are very few of those to elect even if the voters wanted to, so CAGW will be with us for a long time.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        JC
        you don’t think “2014 warmest year on record” spin might energize the warmist argument
        I don’t see them yielded much ground with that rhetorical arrow in their quiver

      • Curious George

        Natural variability does not provide money to warmists. Taxpayers do.

        Happy New Year to everybody. Including folks with their own New Years.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        oops…yielding

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Max_OK, Citizen Scientist | December 31, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        If it goes the other way, what will deniers and skeptics do?

        curryja | December 31, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        Continue to challenge, question, and audit. That is the job of the skeptic.
        _______

        In other words, continue to be a nuisance.

        Oh well, maybe in some small way, skeptics will accidentally make a contribution.

        JC, I wish you a happy, healthy, productive new year.

      • John Carpenter

        “In other words, continue to be a nuisance.”

        Max_OK, so am I right to believe that for you, challenging ideas is a nuisance in general? Or only for challenges to climate related ideas? Either way, you might want to challenge this kind of biased thought yourself… Oh wait, that would just be a nuisance to yourself, so I guess you won’t be considering that. Would it be correct for me to assume 2015 will bring only more stagnant thinking from you? See how that doesn’t sound so good? Maybe that just wasn’t a well thought out reply to Judy? You know, because she challenges ideas, which amounts to being a nuisance according to you. The real kicker was then wishing her a happy new year. Like my friend Joshua says…. classic denizen behavior.

      • Oh and Max, to also wish her a productive new year too. Now you want her to be a productive nuisance? Classic, I hope you see this Joshua, gotta love them denizens.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        John Carpenter | January 1, 2015 at 9:48 am |
        Max_OK, so am I right to believe that for you, challenging ideas is a nuisance in general?
        ____

        If nothing comes of the challenge, yes, it’s a nuisance and a waste of time for everyone concerned.

      • “If nothing comes of the challenge, yes, it’s a nuisance and a waste of time for everyone concerned.”

        Max_OK, interesting, so how do you measure whether ‘nothing comes out of it’? How are you deciding that?

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        When it changes a theory.

      • So something like trying to create a theory that pulls general relativity and quantum mechanics together is potentially nothing more than a big nuisance? Lots of people working on that and still haven’t come up with one. Nuisance work? We still challenge those theories and haven’t gotten them together. Waste of time for everyone concerned?

      • Hey John –

        I don’t know about “job,” but i do find value in challenging, questioning, and auditing. I think judith is only a “nuisance”to those who allow her to be.

      • Hey Joshua, happy new year to you my friend. No doubt there is value in challenging, questioning and auditing. The first two are the basis of science. The third is useful for verification. I’m trying to understand from Max_OK how this is a nuisance if it doesn’t change a theory. I’m sure he didn’t mean what he said, but what I am finding even more interesting now is how hard is going to hold this ground. Strange for a citizen scientist to take such a position IMO.

        Not sure what you meant by “job”.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        John Carpenter, I apologize for letting you flounder about trying to figure out what I mean by skeptics being a “nuisance” to climate scientists.

        I was referring to the climate skeptic blogs (e.g., WUWT and Climate Audit) and the self-identified skeptics who post on these blogs. I get the impression you mistakenly thought I meant anyone who ever questioned anything in science.

        I haven’t surveyed climate scientists asking whether they think the skeptic blogs are nuisances. However, my guess is most climate scientists would regard them as unhelpful if not nuisances. I’m not to saying the climate blogs have made zero contributions, but I can’t think of any offhand. If you want to name some, I’ll play skeptic.

      • Max_OK, thinks for clarifying. That is all I was after b/c you had made a very general statement and gave you opportunities to clarify where you didn’t. No problem.

        “I’m not to saying the climate blogs have made zero contributions, but I can’t think of any offhand. If you want to name some, I’ll play skeptic.”

        I can’t think of any blog that has made theory changing challenges that result in a theory actually changing. I also hardly expect any blog to answer that level of challenge…. Not really what blogs do IMO. However, a blog such as CA certainly has challenged some important aspects of paleo research and helped turned over an ugly underside as to how some scientists behave. Definitely worthwhile, though not theory changing. Definitely a nuisance to those defending what I and many others found as questionable behavior and practices. I do believe the blogosphere allows for a free discussion of topics by a range of different people at different levels of understanding and expertise. Regardless of whether Max_OK thinks they are a nuisance, you don’t know if some free for all discussion might result in someone thinking differently about what they think they understand and then exploring that idea in a scientific manner that ultimately could uncover something new. Confronting observations such as the hiatus has definitely resulted in folks reexamining their understanding. Not sure this challenges the GHE theory, but it does challenge the significance of it. You may find sky dragon slayers just as much a nuisance as I do, but it’s only as much of a nuisance as you allow it to be. I just don’t waste my reading that stuff.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        John, thank you. What you said seems fair.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Max_OK, Citizen Scientist: John Carpenter, I apologize for letting you flounder about trying to figure out what I mean by skeptics being a “nuisance” to climate scientists.

        I was referring to the climate skeptic blogs (e.g., WUWT and Climate Audit) and the self-identified skeptics who post on these blogs. I get the impression you mistakenly thought I meant anyone who ever questioned anything in science.

        I think it is incorrect to say of Climate Audit and WUWT that they are “nuisance[s]”, although your modifier “to climate scientists” may characterize how they are viewed by some climate scientists, especially those pushing for expensive policy changes. Some of the writings of Climate Audit have been published in peer-reviewed journals and addressed and quoted head-on in meetings of professional societies. Climate Audit has been been quite diligent in detailing sloppiness and inconsistencies in the work of Michael Mann — that may be perceived by Michael Mann as a nuisance but it is a signal service to science and to people who want to know more about the science behind particular policy claims. WUWT is more of a mixed bag, but the data analyses of Willis Eschenbach, Bob Tisdale and some others are almost always worth reading, and the comments by Lief Svalgaard and rgbatduke are always worth reading. RealClimate is also a mixed bag, with some good commentaries by the lead writers, but also a lot of dross. Anybody wishing to learn more by reading RealClimate should also read WUWT regularly, despite the dross at WUWT (which is matched by dross at RC.).

        The unfortunate fact is that the science relating CO2 to climate is full of holes; climate scientists since the late 70s have made exaggerated claims about what is known, about how serious the problems will be, about how useful certain expensive policy options will be, and so on. It is a great service to science itself, and to policy wonks and politicians and the public, to have these holes identified and described in detail. Some some climate scientists may find it a nuisance to have the lacunae and cavities described in detail and at length, but that is part of the process that makes science “self-correcting”.

  17. Happy new year to my favourite sane person on climate change. Following your blog has been both a pleasure and a relief because sanity appears to be in such short supply when it comes to this topic. May sanity continue to prevail in 2015 and may your sabbatical be both productive and renewing.

  18. WRT the Breakthrough Institute’s article, my nomination for the best for 2014 involves two recent articles (unfortunately paywalled):

    High-efficiency solar-pumped laser with a grooved Nd:YAG rod by Peng Xu, Suhui Yang, Changming Zhao, Zhu Guan, Huaxin Wang, Yichen Zhang, Haiyang Zhang, and Tao He Applied Optics, Vol. 53, Issue 18, pp. 3941-3944 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/AO.53.003941

    Abstract:     We test the performances of a Nd:YAG rod with a grooved sidewall in two solar pumped laser setups. In both cases, a Fresnel lens with a surface of 1.03 m^2 is used as the primary solar light concentrator. In the first setup, a ceramic conical cavity is used as the secondary concentrator. Maximum output power of 20.3 W is obtained, corresponding to a slope efficiency of laser output power with respect to focused solar power of 8.34%. In the second setup, a water tube lens is added in a copper conical cavity to further increase the solar energy concentration; from this setup, 27 W output power is obtained, the slope efficiency of laser output power with respect to focused solar power is 9%. In both cases, the performances of the grooved rod are compared with those of an unpolished rod. The efficiency and the beam quality with the grooved rod are superior to those of the unpolished rod.

    Development of solar concentrators for high-power solar-pumped lasers by T. H. Dinh, T. Ohkubo, and T. Yabe Applied Optics, Vol. 53, Issue 12, pp. 2711-2719 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/AO.53.002711

    Abstract:     We have developed unique solar concentrators for solar-pumped solid-state lasers to improve both efficiency and laser output power. Natural sunlight is collected by a primary concentrator which is a 2 m×2 m Fresnel lens, and confined by a cone-shaped hybrid concentrator. Such solar power is coupled to a laser rod by a cylinder with coolant surrounding it that is called a liquid light-guide lens (LLGL). Performance of the cylindrical LLGL has been characterized analytically and experimentally. Since a 14 mm diameter LLGL generates efficient and uniform pumping along a Nd:YAG rod that is 6 mm in diameter and 100 mm in length, 120 W cw laser output is achieved with beam quality factor M^2 of 137 and overall slope efficiency of 4.3%. The collection efficiency is 30.0 W/m^2, which is 1.5 times larger than the previous record. The overall conversion efficiency is more than 3.2%, which can be comparable to a commercial lamp-pumped solid-state laser. The concept of the light-guide lens can be applied for concentrator photovoltaics or other solar energy optics.

    Solar-pumped laser power appears to be gaining efficiency exponentially, with a very high growth rate. This is important for space solar power.

    Using lasers at ~1μm wavelength, feeding a standard silicon PV, an efficiency of around 50% can be achieved between the power of the laser in space and the PV leads of the surface collector. Assuming, of course, absence of cloud cover. And laser-based solar power stations can be small: a 10-Kilogram station with a 100m^2 focusing mirror at the claimed 9% efficiency could send 10KWatts of laser power, translating to 5KWatts at the PV leads. (Inversion wouldn’t lose much either.)

    And the station in geosynchronous orbit could be in 100% sunlight 100% of the time. No intermittency. If the laser is focused with a 3-meter mirror, the collecting PV area need only be 100 meters or so across. 10,000 square meters of collecting PV at 100,000 watts per square meter add up to a gigaWatt. Enough to be significant, not so big you’d risk a national economy building it.

    And that would require 200,000 10-kilogram space power stations. Enough to be a proof-of-concept without breaking anybody’s economy.

    Of course, there’s the cloud issue. And the issue of getting into space cheaply. But those problems can be solved.

    • @ AK

      “And the station in geosynchronous orbit could be in 100% sunlight 100% of the time. No intermittency.”

      Not exactly. From the Intelsat site:

      http://www.intelsat.com/tools-resources/satellite-basics/eclipse-seasons/

      “Satellites travel above Earth’s equator at approximately 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers). They therefore also travel at the same 23.5 degree tilt. As the Sun reaches the two equinox seasons, autumnal and spring, the satellites and their solar panels are blocked from the Sun by the Earth. During these events, the satellite must rely on its batteries to function until the solar panels are again exposed to the Sun. The time when the satellite is blocked from the Sun is called the eclipse period. The eclipse starts slowly. As the Sun travels from one of the Tropics to the equator, the satellite is blocked for a minute or two, at first. Gradually the eclipse increases until the Sun reaches fall or spring equinox and the satellite, and solar panels, are blocked for 72 minutes. As the Sun continues to travel to the other Tropic, the eclipse time becomes smaller and smaller until the solar panels are again exposed to the Sun 24×7. Eclipse season occurs twice a year. For station-kept satellites, the spring eclipse season runs from approximately 26 February until 12 or 13 April. The fall eclipse season runs from approximately 30 or 31 August until 15 October. For inclined orbit satellites, the eclipse season starts and ends a little earlier, depending on the satellite’s inclination. Satellites are designed and built with an extra percentage of battery capacity than will be needed when the satellite is at full load. This is to ensure that the satellite can function and continue to provide service to our customers, even when the battery power degrades over time. – See more at: http://www.intelsat.com/tools-resources/satellite-basics/eclipse-seasons/#sthash.iKhBf4az.dpuf

      So if your power sat is delivering 1 gigawatt to the grid on earth, you gotta figure that the solar array is supplying the downlink array with around 4 gigawatts, min.

      Therefore, if your power sat is going to deliver a gigawatt to the grid 24/7/365 it has to include a storage system with AT LEAST 5 gigawatt-hours of capacity if the battery is in geo, or 1.2 gigawatt-hours if the backup is on the ground. And it will be needed at least three months/year.

      • Bob Ludwick,

        5 GWh storage capacity is no problem. Here’s 48 GWh storage capacity. Just put one of these in stationary orbit and problem solved:

        http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/04/05/pumped-hydro-system-cost/

      • Pumped hydro storage in geostationary orbit?

        My calculator jus esploded calculating the head pressure required to pump water 22,000 miles straight up…

      • @Bob Ludwick…

        If it actually had to stay exactly over the same spot your comment would be right. However, the actual intercepted area of the beam would see virtually no difference if it’s a few degrees off. And regular station-keeping would be enough to twist its orbit around so it never gets in the Earth’s shadow.

        For geostationary spacecraft, thruster burns orthogonal to the orbital plane must be executed to compensate for the effect of the lunar/solar gravitation that perturbs the orbit pole with typically 0.85 degrees per year. The delta-v needed to compensate for this perturbation keeping the inclination to the equatorial plane small amounts to in the order 45 m/s per year.

        Regular station-keeping is something that has to be allowed for in any satellite design. Given it’s a power satellite, I’m assuming a tiny ion-beam engine capable of delivering a few μ-newtons of thrust. Might need resupply, a few grams of sodium, every year. That also needs to be allowed for, not too hard when you’re designing for 200,000 satellites.

      • @Peter Lang…

        Just put one of these in stationary orbit and problem solved

        Why not put it at the ground station. It’s obvious you’re not really interested (why am I not surprised?), but obviously, just like near-term nuclear fission power, space solar power will need energy storage to compensate for the difference between demand variations and its flat-out power generation.

      • @ AK

        “Regular station-keeping is something that has to be allowed for in any satellite design.”

        Correct. Station keeping to compensate for perturbations to the orbit caused by gravitational influences of other bodies, the thrust of the down links, the solar sail effect, etc. Geostationary orbits aren’t ‘stationary’. If you want your satellite to be ‘stationary’, you gotta keep nudging it back into place. I.e. ‘keep it on station’.

        The problem that Intelsat was explaining is that satellites in geo orbit are in the earth’s shadow during certain periods around the spring and fall equinoxes. When they are in shadow, their power comes from batteries. Station keeping thrusters do NOT address that problem. And can’t. If you put a satellite into an orbital location that is visible from a fixed ground site 24/7/365 it WILL be in the dark for significant periods of time over the course of a year.

      • If you put a satellite into an orbital location that is visible from a fixed ground site 24/7/365 it WILL be in the dark for significant periods of time over the course of a year.

        You clearly don’t seem to have thought this out completely. The correct version of your irrelevant statement is this:

        If you put a satellite into an orbital location that is visible from always in EXACTLY the same place seen from a fixed ground site 24/7/365 it WILL be in the dark for significant periods of time over the course of a year.

        But, as I mentioned, it doesn’t matter whether a powersat moves around, since the ground station is simply flat, horizontal PV. (As long as it always retains roughly the same angle to the ground site.)

        A geosynchronous orbit is one that retains its exact 24-hour period, so it doesn’t drift out of the sky. If it’s inclined to the equator, it will appear from the ground to move around in a circle (daily). By using station-keeping to move its orbit around, that circle can be one that never falls into the Earth’s shadow.

      • circle S/B ellipse, of course.

      • @ AK

        “By using station-keeping to move its orbit around, that circle can be one that never falls into the Earth’s shadow.”

        Actually, geo satellites in inclined orbits appear to move in a figure 8 pattern when viewed from a fixed ground site. (At least in most cases. I’m not sure about ALL cases.)

        The important part of AK’s quote above however is the ‘move its orbit around’ part.

        Station keeping is done to ensure that the satellite stays in the SAME orbit by correcting for the perturbations caused by other factors. Moving its orbit around means doing continual ‘burns’ to establish the satellite in new orbits. A whole different kettle of fish, delta V-wise, and one not achievable by ‘station keeping thrusters’.

        At any rate, it appears that it is time to have someone who actually KNOWS what he is talking about settle the AK/Bob celestial mechanics food fight, since it is obvious that that description applies to neither of us.

        Question: Do orbits exist for which both of the following apply, neglecting the minor station keeping necessary to correct for external perturbations and MAINTAIN the satellite in the desired orbit?

        A. The satellite remains in view of a fixed ground site 24/7/365 and
        B. The satellite remains illuminated by the sun 24/7/365.

        Any volunteers?

      • Actually, geo satellites in inclined orbits appear to move in a figure 8 pattern when viewed from a fixed ground site.

        You’re right, I was thinking of something else. AFAIK the question of using station-keeping to shift the orbit was worked out decades ago, in the ’70’s. By the late ’90’s, experimental field emission microthrusters were achieving a specific impulse of 10,000 seconds, equivalent to a reaction velocity of 100,000 m/sec. While much higher specific impulses have not (yet) been demonstrated (AFAIK), they almost certainly could, given a need for this type of station-keeping. The key point here is that powersats already have the energy, and they require only extremely tiny correction thrusts because they have plenty of time (months), so the objective is to limit reaction mass usage. I’m basically assuming a reaction velocity of around 1,000,000 m/sec, corresponding to a total adjustment of around 1,000 m/sec for a 10-gram annual reaction-mass supply. This works out to 10,000,000,000 Joules over 30,000,000 seconds (assuming 50% efficiency) requires 300 watts. This is a significant fraction of the energy the powersat is playing with, but not enough to seriously impact its effectiveness.

        And, frankly, I don’t believe it would require even a tenth that much, although it’s been decades since I actually did those calculations. And at that time, I was playing around with much bigger satellites.

        Unless I’ve made an order-of-magnitude error?

      • @Bob Ludwick…

        Two more things:

        First of all, WRT the non-problem you raise about an orbit that’s never in shadow, the Earth’s shadow is about 20° across at geosynchronous height. It sweeps back and forth between a center height of -23.4 and +23.4°. Whether or not it’s possible to find a geosynchronous orbit that doesn’t cross it, it would certainly be possible to find one where you could space out the powersats (200,000 of them) such that roughly the same fraction would be in shadow each night. Moreover, by using a range of orbits (east-west), it would be possible to space them out such that only a small fraction of the satellites shadowed any night would be in shadow at any one time.

        Second, and the reason I dismissed the issue with station-keeping, is that powersats will require a great deal more in terms of station-keeping than typical comsats. This is because their mass is so small relative to their primary collector size (whether concentrating mirrors or thin film PV), that they will tend to operate somewhat as solar sails:

        The total force exerted on an 800 by 800 meter solar sail, for example, is about 5 newtons (1.1 lbf) at Earth’s distance from Sol,[2] making it a low-thrust propulsion system, similar to spacecraft propelled by electric engines.

        While much of this force, unwanted for powersats, can be neutralized by clever orbit choice, IIRC the remaining station-keeping requirements are still orders of magnitude greater than a typical comsat.

      • @Bob Ludwick…

        So, asking the question another way. Postulating a total mass of the solar power satellite collector/downlink complex at around 50 kilotons and using whatever thruster technology you are aware of, how much energy and how much reaction mass would it take to keep the solar cells illuminated 24/7/365 while ensuring that the satellite remained in position to provide 24/7/365 power to the grid from a fixed ground station?

        I answered the question for the reference design I proposed. If you want the answer for some other design, scale it up or do the calculations yourself.

        I know it’s supposedly against the rules to question others’ motives, so I won’t accuse you of trying to hijack/divert the discussion with irrelevant arm-waving. I’m sure it’s simply because, not having followed the design requirements path I did, you don’t understand why you can’t just divert a discussion of 10-Kg powersats with some completely irrelevant demands for calculations WRT a different design.

        The 10-kg mass requirement actually grew out of the need for a reasonable-sized laser focusing mirror (~3 meters) which did not take up an unreasonable fraction of the total mass, while otherwise minimizing the mass of the whole, so that cheap prototype systems could be created and launched. Assuming 100g/M^2, such a mirror would mass about a kilogram, 1/10 the total. Assuming a similar ratio for the total collection area, we’re talking 100 square meters for the total satellite, with a mass of 10 Kilogram.

        Then, given the power requirements, we’re talking about a huge swarm of such tiny satellites, which has its own advantages and disadvantages (e.g. keeping one powersat’s station-keeping ion beam from damaging any others, etc.).

      • @ AK

        Thanks for the replies. A few ‘snarks’ but nothing outrageous.

        I bow to NO ONE in my WISH for a robust space program, including such things as power satellites. Where I have problems when reflecting on the realities of the system REQUIREMENTS is in convincing myself that the systems are POSSIBLE, from an engineering standpoint.

        The point to all my commentary was NOT to ‘hijack the thread’ or to be ‘Mr. Negative’, but to point out that the system block diagrams of ALL of the proposed schemes that I am aware of for collecting solar power in orbit and downlinking it to earth include at least one block in every major subsystem labeled ‘And Then A Miracle Occurs’.

        One of the examples above was the REQUIREMENT, given a 100 meter collection target, that the downlink transmitter be pointed and stabilized with a precision of tenths of an arc second. Or better. The HST, with a LOT of experience and the most precise guidance system ever orbited, can do a little better than that. But not a lot. Yet you propose a 3 meter ‘mirror’ (larger than the HST) weighing a kilogram as part of a satellite that weighs a total of 10 kg.

        I have no doubt that a ‘shiny piece of mylar 3 meters in diameter’ can be launched into geo orbit and deployed. I have a LOT of doubt that it will behave as a laser focusing mirror that will place its beam on a 100 meter target on earth and keep it there indefinitely. The mirror specs include a lot more than diameter. The amount that the surface is allowed to deviate from the ‘ideal’, for example. The HST primary mirror is made of fused silica, weighs 1800 lbs, and is ground to a surface tolerance of 1 millionth of an inch. It can resolve ~ .05 arc seconds. Your proposed 1 kg mirror is larger than the HST and has to meet essentially the same optical specs. A surface that does NOT meet the HST specs for shape and surface tolerance will be ‘shiny’ but will NOT act as a ‘focusing mirror’. It will not transmit ANY measurable energy from GEO to a 100 meter ground collector.

        Also, the pointing requirements for your 3 meter 1 kg mirror are roughly equivalent to the pointing requirements of the HST. Do you really believe that a HST quality pointing and stabilizing system can be included in your 10 kg payload, along with the solar collectors, downlink, station keeping thrusters, etc?

        Keeping the top of your 2 km inflated pyramid ‘in place’ with meter precision seems a bit optimistic to me. You said ‘Yes, considering it’s guyed all the way to the top.’ Guyed with WHAT that will retain a constant length under all conditions of heating/cooling/wind loading etc so that the top of the tower will never move more than a couple of meters?

        Using your projected efficiency of 50% for the 100 m diameter ground collection system vice my 20% lowers the power handling requirements from 650,000 watts/m^2 to 250,000 watts/m^2. Does that make it appreciably more ‘doable’?

        I guess that there is no need to flog the horse any more. You are convinced that it is a ‘simple matter of engineering and ingenuity’ and the political will to fund the program.

        My view is that proposing a block diagram for a system is a long way from producing the hardware that will ‘execute the block diagram’. The systems that I have seen proposed appear to me to be ‘workable in theory; non-engineerable in practice’.

      • @Bob Ludwick…

        Thank you for your response. I admit there are some problems I haven’t looked at yet, especially with the space-side designs. I’m not convinced the mirror problem will turn out to be that big a deal, but I certainly can’t say it won’t, at this point.

        As for aiming, IMO that will be resolved with experience, and the help of Moore’s “Law”. Although I can’t be certain I’m not getting a little over-confident. But like station-keeping, I suspect that’s a problem that will be resolved once the incentive is there.

        As for the collector tower, I’ve put more thought into that, or at least the type of structure it represents. Basically, most buildings today are simply static structures: they provide force in response something like wind force through simple deflection, or, in the case of guy lines, stretching and tightening the catenary. But in theory, a dynamic response system could measure the force, and provide tension in response, so that it never moves. Think of a tensegrity robot that, instead of moving or changing its shape, just maintains exactly its shape against varying deflective forces.

        Similarly, the connections of the guys to the tower would not be static but instead would have powered tensioners to maintain the tower’s position in response to changes in guy length and/or wind pressure.

        But suppose that isn’t feasible, and the top of the tower moves around by several meters. I doubt it would be hard to build a system that simply moves the collector system around contrary to it. Assuming the mobile part of the collector weighed 10 Kg/square meter, that’s only a 100-ton structure that has to be moved horizontally. And, AFAIK, it wouldn’t have to be very fast, to counter the movement of a 100-meter diameter tower.

        Using your projected efficiency of 50% for the 100 m diameter ground collection system vice my 20% lowers the power handling requirements from 650,000 watts/m^2 to 250,000 watts/m^2. Does that make it appreciably more ‘doable’?

        Certainly. The IBM “sunflowers” use solar power concentrated at ~1000 suns, equivalent to around 4 times that. And over half of the energy has to be shipped away as waste heat. They use micro-channel technology, but I suspect a more efficient design could be achieved with heat pipes, probably using an appropriate hydrocarbon mix rather than water or ammonia (which probably add to the cost of the PV for either micro-channel or heat pipe technology).

      • AK said,

        It’s obvious you’re not really interested (why am I not surprised?), but obviously, just like near-term nuclear fission power, space solar power will need energy storage to compensate for the difference between demand variations and its flat-out power generation.

        Clearly you don’t understand what you talking about. The storage requirements are totally different. With nuclear and fossil fuels the energy is stored in the fuel and used as required to meet demand. So, unlike renewables that have enormous energy storage requirements to make them comparable with fossil fuels and nuclear, for the latter you don’t have to store energy that has been supplied as electricity.

        Do you understand the difference now?

        I could say: ” It’s obvious you’re not really interested (why am I not surprised?)” too, but I wont.

      • AK said;

        200,000 of them [satellites]

        1. How much of the world’s energy demand would that provide (after losses including ground based storage to supply energy to meet demand 24/7)

        2. What’s the total system cost per MWh? (including storage)

        3. What’s the consequence when one of them loses direction control and zaps a person with it’s full power?

        4. What is the consequence when one of them lose direction control and points at a city?

      • With nuclear and fossil fuels the energy is stored in the fuel and used as required to meet demand.

        Well, if you spend all that money, etc. to build a nuclear power plant then don’t run it flat out 100% of the time, you’re just throwing away some of your investment. Same as with 100% 24/365 space solar power. Unlike fossil fuels, where the cost of the generating plant is small(er) relative to the cost of fuel.

        So, unlike renewables that have enormous energy storage requirements to make them comparable with fossil fuels and nuclear, for the latter you don’t have to store energy that has been supplied as electricity.

        But I wasn’t talking about “renewables that have enormous energy storage requirements to make them comparable with fossil fuels and nuclear,” I was talking about space solar power. 100% 24/365 solar power.

        I could say: ” It’s obvious you’re not really interested (why am I not surprised?)” too, but I wont.

        If you were interested, you’d have bothered to consider the difference between your straw-man solar panels, and other approaches such as space solar power.

      • More straw men…

        1. How much of the world’s energy demand would that provide (after losses including ground based storage to supply energy to meet demand 24/7)

        Since the power’s available continuously there are no ” losses including ground based storage to supply energy to meet demand 24/7″

        2. What’s the total system cost per MWh? (including storage)

        Depends on the cost of putting mass into orbit. Among other things.

        3. What’s the consequence when one of them loses direction control and zaps a person with it’s full power?

        Nothing. Which you’d have known if you’d been interested enough to look at the numbers.

        4. What is the consequence when one of them lose direction control and points at a city?

        Nothing. Which you’d have known if you’d been interested enough to look at the numbers.

        Instead, you just spew a bunch of uninformed straw-man BS. Since I’m not supposed to impute motivations, I’ll stop here.

      • AK said:

        Well, if you spend all that money, etc. to build a nuclear power plant then don’t run it flat out 100% of the time, you’re just throwing away some of your investment. Same as with 100% 24/365 space solar power. Unlike fossil fuels, where the cost of the generating plant is small(er) relative to the cost of fuel.

        Again and as usual, your comment suggests you don’t understand what you are talking about. If the nuclear plant is run at 60% capacity factor on average instead of 90%, the LCOE would be roughly 50% higher. That’s still probably orders of magnitude cheaper than your idea. Get it yet?

        If you can’t provide costs for the alternative systems you are comparing, you’r just talking nonsense.

        Please provide links to where the LCOE for your system (complete system including transmission, storage, capital, financing, FOM, and VOM) are documented.

        And please answer my four questions in my second comment (don’t simply dodge them because you don’t want to answer them)

      • Instead, you just spew a bunch of uninformed straw-man BS. Since I’m not supposed to impute motivations, I’ll stop here.

        Hypocrite!

        Now, please try again and actually answer the four questions. You dodged 1 and 2 and gave no back up for 3 and 4. I don’t trust your word for obvious reasons.

        Here they are again (with more detail to help you better understand the question):

        1. How much of the world’s energy demand would that provide (after losses including ground based storage to supply energy to meet demand 24/7) [To answer, provide the world annual energy demand, world annual electricity usage (TWh) and the TWh your 200,000 space solar systems would supply to the consumers (after all the losses). Provide a recognised authoritative source for the estimates, such as IEA, EIA, EPRI]

        2. What’s the total system cost per MWh? (including storage) [Answer in US$/MWh from a recognised authoritative source, such as IEA, EIA, EPRI]

        3. What’s the consequence when one of them loses direction control and zaps a person with it’s full power? [provide an authoritative source to back up your assertion and explain the power per m2 and the effect of that on a human]

        4. What is the consequence when one of them lose direction control and points at a city? [as for 3]

      • If you can’t provide costs for the alternative systems you are comparing, you’r just talking nonsense.

        No, I’m making projections based on leading-edge laboratory research.

        Please provide links to where the LCOE for your system (complete system including transmission, storage, capital, financing, FOM, and VOM) are documented.

        Since you know perfectly well that the ideas involved aren’t to that stage yet, you’re just engaging in sophistry. Like any projections of future technology, trying to compare these to current technology is like comparing apples to sprouting orange trees.

        I understand your frustration: if this technology does work out, any of the investment in nuclear fission you’re so eager for will probably become sunk costs. I’d say there’s a really good chance of that.

      • Oh, and as for your questions 3 and 4, the numbers are there in my original comment, figure out for yourself why the answers I gave are true.

      • AK,

        You’re making up straw man arguments again. And guessing at my motivation.

        I understand your frustration: if this technology does work out, any of the investment in nuclear fission you’re so eager for will probably become sunk costs. I’d say there’s a really good chance of that.

        That’s completely wrong assumptions. My problem with your pie in the sky ideas is that you make baseless assertion and claims that they are feasible, but run a mile every time you’re asked about the estimated costs. I suspect that cost of your ideas would be orders of magnitude greater than the nuclear option and could not meet the requirements for reliability.

        So I think you are one of those people who is totally impractical and has no sense of money. When it comes to cost and finances your are innumerate.

        I don’t believe there is any realistic prospect of your idea being viable in any time frame that is relevant for cutting global GHG emissions by the amounts the CAGW alarmist say is required by 2050 and 2100. On the other hand, nuclear is proven capable and the only rational argument is about costs relative to fossil fuels.

        You don’t seem to be able to deal with reality. You seem incapable of rational analysis that is relevant for policy analysis. Furthermore, you have a habit of dodging questions that are important and relevant but you don’t like to want to answer. And you use strawman arguing tactics, make up stuff and generally BS. Understand that is how I see your contributions and you’ll understand why I don’t take you seriously. I don’t think you are honest or trustworthy.

        Now, attempt to demonstrate I am wrong by answering my four questions.

      • AK,

        I admit I know nothing about the system you are advocating. But I am asking you questions and you’r dodging them. They are questions you should have considered before advocating the system.

        How may of your systems would be needed to supply the planet’s energy needs?

        How much would each supply after all losses (including storage and transmission) (in TWh per year)?

        What’s the cost to put each into space/

        What’s the cost for each ground based system and the transmissions network?

        How much storage is required (to deal with intermittency caused by clouds and whatever else)?

        Would cloud cover prevent 50% of the power getting through to ground?

        What’s the FOM, VOM per MWh?

        What’s the effect on humans if zapped by your lasers? You say there’s no effect, but have provided nothing to back that up. So, why should I believe you?

      • My problem with your pie in the sky ideas is that you make baseless assertion and claims that they are feasible, but run a mile every time you’re asked about the estimated costs. I suspect that cost of your ideas would be orders of magnitude greater than the nuclear option and could not meet the requirements for reliability.

        Well, I can see how you have a problem, but IMO it’s due to an unwarranted assumption built into your POV and questions/demands: that somehow costs can be nailed down to some unchanging figure.

        You ask about estimated costs, but ignore the fact that costs of computing power, solar PV, and, evidently, even carbon-fiber composites are dropping exponentially. So any estimate of costs would have to have a target year, and a bunch of assumptions WRT how costs would evolve. I could do that, if I wanted to spend the time on scenarios that are still hypothetical, based on projections of what current research will continue to discover.

        In addition, I feel justified in questioning your motives when, after repeatedly stating that my comments aren’t worth bothering with, you jump into a discussion of one with blatant (attempted) ridicule, clearly a hostile act. So I’m not going to waste a lot of my time trying to explain things that, IMO, you could see for yourself if you bothered to try to understand my comments.

        Most of your questions/demands are based on invalid assumptions, contrary to explicit statements in my comments. As for the two about “danger”, AFAIK my entire target audience will have read my description of the design, and if the question occurred to them would immediately see why there’s no danger from that scenario.

        As for other such questions:

        •   What if somebody steals the radioactives from a nuclear power plant, and makes a bomb?

        •   What if somebody hacks into the control system for a nuclear power plant, and causes it to melt down/explode?

        •   What if somebody hacks into the control system for a gas-fired power plant, and opens all the stopcocks, causing a huge gas/air explosion?

        •   What if somebody tears the solar array off his neighbor’s roof and beats him to death with it?

        And so on.

      • AK,

        As usual you avoid questions you don’t want to answer. And as usual you demonstrate you haven’t even an elementary understanding of policy analysis. You frequently make disingenuous statements asserting your pie-in-the-sky idea is viable or will be in the future. But you haven’t provided an iota of evidence to support your claims. It’s clear from your answers it is all just wishful thinking on your part.

        And as part of your dodgy, dishonest debating strategy you resort to strawman arguing tactics, like this:

        Well, I can see how you have a problem, but IMO it’s due to an unwarranted assumption built into your POV and questions/demands: that somehow costs can be nailed down to some unchanging figure.

        [my emphaisis]

        I never said or implied any such thing. You made that up. It is dishonest. Again!

        Making baseless assertions about viability of your pie-in-the-sky idea but then dodging the most basic of questions – what’s the cost to meet requirements – demonstrates you are not honest.

        If you want, give costs based on current costs and projections for future costs with the basis for your assumptions and do the same for the alternatives such as nuclear. State and provide the basis for all your assumptions.

        It is simply ignorant to make the statement you make trying to imply your silly notion has any realistic chance of being viable on any time scale that is relevant to cutting global GHG emissions to meet the targets wanted by the CAGW alarmists. So it’s just silly.

        And your questions about stealing used nuclear fuel and making bombs shows how desperate you are to divert attention from answering the obvious question that any rational person would ask about any claim such as yours – i.e.

        what is the likely cost of your scheme when implemented to meet requirements. Provide assumptions and uncertainties. If you want to make comparisons with other technologies to meet the same requirements provide assumptions and uncertainty on an equivalent basis. If you can’t do any of this, just admit you don’t know anything about such matters and don’t care.

    • Solving the Cloud Issue

      One of the great advantages of space solar power is that it’s available 24/7/365. If you’re using microwaves to beam the power back to Earth, as the Japaneses are trying, you don’t have to worry about clouds. But there are other problems, such as the miles/kilometers across rectenna needed to collect the power, and the similar-sized antenna needed to send it.

      Using beamed laser power avoids this problem. At the wavelength produced by Nd:YAG (about one μ-meter), the atmosphere is as transparent as it is to microwaves, but clouds scatter it about the same as they do visible light. (1 μ-meter light is very near infra-red.)

      While I don’t claim to have the best solution to the cloud problem, my digging has unearthed a solution that seems feasible and reasonably cheap. Note that when considering a future technology such as Space Solar Power, you don’t need to specify the actual technology to be used against each problem, just one that could be used.

      Given a 3-meter laser focusing antenna in orbit, massing perhaps a kilogram, a simple formula gives the minimum size of the receiving station:

            Dd=2πrλ

      Where “D” and “d” are the diameters of the sending and receiving antennas, “r” is the distance, and “λ” is the wavelength. The radius of a geosynchronous orbit is about 42,164 km, minus the Earth’s radius of about 6,000 km works out to about 36,000 km. Allowing for inclined and non-circular orbits, let’s say 40,000 km for “r”. Given “λ” of about a μ-meter, 2πrλ will be about 251.4285714285714 meters^2. Allowing for some slop, that’s 300 meters^2, dividing that by 3 meters for the sending antenna yields about 100 meters for the receiver.

      Where to put that receiver so it’s always free of clouds? One good candidate is a couple kilometers up in the Eastern Atlantic. In many parts of that area, the typical height of the tropical inversion is around 500-1000 meters, so 2000 meters up will almost always be free of clouds. How feasible would it be to create a 100-meter across antenna a couple Km up over an ocean?

      A variety of technologies offer themselves, and I’m not sure the one I describe here is really the most cost-effective, but AFAIK it’s entirely feasible. Basically, I’m proposing a tower made from pressurized air, 100 meters across or so at the top, 400 at the bottom, and 2000 high. It will have an overpressure of about an atmosphere (10 tons/square meter), and be contained by a thin layer of inexpensive fabric, supported by internal tensile members, and guyed externally.

      Using carbon fiber composites, a tensile strength of 3 GPa (30,000 atmospheres, 300,000 tons/square meter) is completely doable, with a cost of around $10/Kg. It’s worth noting that the price has come down by about half between 2010 and 2030, so we can plausibly assume an exponential price decrease for these materials similar to that of electronics (Moore’s “Law”), and PV (“Swanson’s Law”). Dropping by half every 3 years, we could project a cost of $1.00/Kg by 2025.

      The area of (the side of) this truncated cone tower would be around 800,000 square meters. Assuming an atmosphere (10 tons/square meter) of tensile support inside, with an average length of 200 meters, that works out to 200*800,000*10/300,000 = about 5333 cubic meters of carbon composite.

      Assuming 1/6 atmosphere normal guying (equivalent to a force 6 tornado against the entire face of the tower), times 1.4 because it’s at 45° and rounding up gives 1/4 atmosphere (2.5 tons/square meter). With an average length of 1500 meters that works out to 1500*800,000*2.5/300,000 = about 10,000 cubic meters of carbon composite.

      Adding those and rounding up, we get about 16,000 cubic meters, times a density of 1.4 (see links above) yields 22,400 tons of carbon fiber composite, at $10,000/ton ($10/Kg) is about $224,000,000 for the tensile material. Assuming a gigawatt generating capacity, that’s 22¢/watt, not a bad price for the main structural material (the air is free, and the power for compressing it very cheap).

      The entire structure could float on the ocean. Assuming the full atmosphere of internal pressure is carried as loading, it would displace about 10 meters. If the guying is simply connected to the tower by floating struts, they could be made pretty cheaply (AFAIK, I’m not going to dig into it). Carbon fiber composites probably wouldn’t be necessary for tensile members involved in the floating structure, so they could be pretty cheap also. This would include connections to the bottom to keep it in position.

      These are, of course, back-of-the-envelope calculations. But they do suggest that this option could be used to create relatively inexpensive ground-side receivers for laser-transported space solar power.

      • OOps!

        It’s worth noting that the price has come down by about half between 2010 and 2030

        That should be 2013, of course, as documented in the link.

      • @ AK

        Well, it appears that no interested and competent third parties have stepped up yet, so:

        “Question: Do orbits exist for which both of the following apply, neglecting the minor station keeping necessary to correct for external perturbations and MAINTAIN the satellite in the desired orbit?

        A. The satellite remains in view of a fixed ground site 24/7/365 and
        B. The satellite remains illuminated by the sun 24/7/365.”

        You didn’t answer the question, and while I THINK that the answer is ‘no’, I don’t actually KNOW the answer.

        Second: All your figures re specific impulse do NOT address the question. Yes, I know that while ‘drifting’ geo satellites is done for operational purposes, those operational purposes usually involve moving them over another, more desirable ground location and have nothing to do with keeping their solar cells illuminated.

        So, asking the question another way. Postulating a total mass of the solar power satellite collector/downlink complex at around 50 kilotons and using whatever thruster technology you are aware of, how much energy and how much reaction mass would it take to keep the solar cells illuminated 24/7/365 while ensuring that the satellite remained in position to provide 24/7/365 power to the grid from a fixed ground station?

      • You didn’t answer the question, and while I THINK that the answer is ‘no’, I don’t actually KNOW the answer.

        Your question is irrelevant, and I addressed it above. Try looking.

      • @ AK

        A couple of questions re your laser downlink calculations.

        At your postulated 40000 km downlink distance, a 100 meter ground collector will subtend around half an arc second.

        Given the expected efficiencies of all subsystems of the on orbit collection system/ground collection system/ and a postulated requirement of delivering 1 gigawatt to the grid, does anyone have a plan for collecting the required number of gigawatts of solar energy on orbit, turning it into the number of gigawatts required to energize the downlink laser, building a laser with a 10 meter aperture that will produce the required downlink power, and keeping the whole shebang pointed at the ground station with a total pointing error of less than a tenth of an arc second under all conditions of sun loading, station keeping thrusters, etc?

        And could you keep the 100 meter collector at the tip of the 2000 meter pyramid from moving more than a meter or so under all conditions of wind/sun loading?

        At the ground station, how much energy would have to arrive at the surface of the 100 meter collector to deliver 1 gigawatt to the grid, after allowing for the conversion efficiencies of all the subsystems between collection surface and grid input? I suspect that 20% would be optimistic, but I would be happy to be wrong.

        Using 20% means that the 100 meter collector would have to handle 5 gigawatts of incident power, which in turn means that each square meter of the collector would have to deal with around 625,000 watts. Continuously.

        Just as an aside, if the anticipated MTBF of the on orbit system is not infinite, how is maintenance handled?

        And just as one more aside, are you confident that ANY powersat design that you have seen proposed would have a positive Coefficient Of Performance (if it actually worked) over the life of the system, given the amount of energy required to build, launch, and maintain it? I. e., will ANY of them supply more energy to the grid than is required to install and operate them?

        Feasible?

      • @Bob Ludwick…

        Given the expected efficiencies of all subsystems of the on orbit collection system/ground collection system/ and a postulated requirement of delivering 1 gigawatt to the grid, does anyone have a plan for collecting the required number of gigawatts of solar energy on orbit, turning it into the number of gigawatts required to energize the downlink laser, building a laser with a 10 meter aperture that will produce the required downlink power, and keeping the whole shebang pointed at the ground station with a total pointing error of less than a tenth of an arc second under all conditions of sun loading, station keeping thrusters, etc?

        In this design, based on the one proposed in the papers linked above, the laser is a tiny, mm-scale, crystal pumped with reflected sunlight. A non-paywalled discussion from 2011 is here. They used a Fresnel lens, obviously not appropriate for space, but very thin mirrors can probably work.

        I don’t know where you got the “10 meter aperture”, no such thing is necessary. I assumed a 3-meter focusing mirror, along with a much smaller convex mirror, to focus the output of a tiny laser. To intercept a 100-meter ground installation, at 40,000,000 meters, the effective size of the source as seen by the main focusing mirror would have to be 1/400,000 the distance. At 10 meters that’s 20 μ-meters. Note that this small size is produced by the convex mirror, it’s not the size of the actual laser.

        The aiming thing is in work, although it’s not completely there yet for geosynchronous heights.

        And could you keep the 100 meter collector at the tip of the 2000 meter pyramid from moving more than a meter or so under all conditions of wind/sun loading?

        Yes, considering it’s guyed all the way to the top.

        At the ground station, how much energy would have to arrive at the surface of the 100 meter collector to deliver 1 gigawatt to the grid, after allowing for the conversion efficiencies of all the subsystems between collection surface and grid input? I suspect that 20% would be optimistic, but I would be happy to be wrong.

        Be happy then. As I mentioned above, the efficiency would be around 50% (48.67%) between the intensity of the laser (leaving the main focusing lens) and the terminals of the ground-side PV. This allows for atmospheric absorption (virtually nil), energy loss between the 1.2398 eV photon energy of the 1 μ-meter light from the laser and the 1.11 V band gap of silicon, the ~0.4 volt drop to a typical open-circuit voltage, and the ~85% efficiency for actual operation. (Using 87% the figure is 49.81%.)

        I don’t have all this stuff at my fingertips ready to post, but I gathered the appropriate links and have spent the time dragging the numbers out of them on the off chance that you’re sincere in your interest. I was surprised at the efficiencies available, although I’ve seen higher numbers floating around.

        Just as an aside, if the anticipated MTBF of the on orbit system is not infinite, how is maintenance handled?

        Probably the same way re-supply for station-keeping reaction mass is: small satellites with bigger reaction motors, that drift around doing the necessary. Like resupply, when you’re talking about 200,000 satellites, it’s a regular function, not some sort of emergency.

        I. e., will ANY of them supply more energy to the grid than is required to install and operate them?

        Well, pushing a 10-kilogram powersat to escape velocity (<12Km/s) will require well under 1 gigajoule. Assuming it delivers even 1 KWatt to the grid (2 KWatt of laser, 2% of the >100 KWatt of sunlight intercepting its 100-meter collector), each powersat will return that gigawatt in about 1,000,000 seconds: under 2 weeks. One of the articles I linked referenced 30Watts/square meter, so we’re well within lab-demonstrated limits.

        Studies of rail/coilguns for pushing such objects to high speeds have shown it to be easy and (relatively) cheap. The big problem is providing a tube of vacuum between the muzzle of the vertical railgun and space. I’m working on some calculations for that, using relatively cheap, high-strength materials.

      • @Bob Ludwick…

        Response in moderation. Not sure why, it had only 2 links.

      • The answer to clouds is redundancy. Large distribution grids on the ground with a great many antennas. The laser in orbit can be steered quickly and easily such that it can steer itself as needed to a cloud free antenna. Power users draw from a grid not individual entry points.

        No real reason to do that however. Mining and manufacturing technology will become more and more automated dropping the cost finished goods so much that the prohibitive costs of stuff today, like solar power panels and continent spanning power grids, become inconsequential.

        Trying to plot solutions to problems anticipated 100 years from now where those solutions are crafted with methods and materials we have today is uber-stupid. We might all be living in the matrix in 100 years and not need more than a few microamps per virtual person. Virtual reality gets better and cheaper every day. At some point it must become better and cheaper than the real world.

      • Mining and manufacturing technology will become more and more automated dropping the cost finished goods so much that the prohibitive costs of stuff today, like solar power panels and continent spanning power grids, become inconsequential.

        I tend to agree with you, which is why I strongly suspect that space solar power will have to wait until people are tired of cluttering up the landscape with collectors.

        But it’s far from certain, and advances in laser technology (both solar pumped and supplied from PV/LED) may well make it cost-effective within a couple decades.

        What I found most interesting was the numbers around very tall constructions. Between tensegrity construction, and materials with multi-GPa strengths (both tensile and compressive), I suspect the cost of getting materials into space will be another exponential decline. The question is, how cheap how soon can we make that tube of vacuum into space?

      • Technology probably won’t be able to reduce the force of gravity or produce more thrust per unit fuel cost for conventional rockets. A space elevator or some other radical departure from the physical limits of rocketry would be needed. Mining and manufacturing of conventional materials requires only steady incremental advances in robotics and process control which is a more reliable technology track. That’s not to say there won’t be any huge, unexpected breakthroughs. If history is any guide there will almost certainly be some great surprises in store but the problem is they can’t be predicted and might not be applicable in way we can anticipate now.

        As far as solar energy collectors cluttering up the landscape I always figured they’d be floating in the ocean not taking up valuable space on land.

      • Technology probably won’t be able to reduce the force of gravity or produce more thrust per unit fuel cost for conventional rockets. A space elevator or some other radical departure from the physical limits of rocketry would be needed.

        Actually, the railgun concept is perfectly workable. Especially for small units (e.g. 10 Kg.). AFAIK no special technological developments would be necessary.

        The big problem is that the object so accelerated would need to find its way through the atmosphere into space. For that, we need a tube of vacuum, perhaps 100Km high. That, too, is doable, within present-day technology, although some cost reductions would be necessary before it would be cost-effective.

        But if I’m right that the cost of very high-strength materials is also on an exponential decline, that problem will solve itself.

        But there’s no point challenging me to back up what I said, I’m working on it, and when I have the ducks in a row (a plausible reference design) I’ll post it somewhere.

        As far as solar energy collectors cluttering up the landscape I always figured they’d be floating in the ocean not taking up valuable space on land.

        So have I. But even the ocean is a natural ecology (albeit mostly desert). And for, say, 60 terawatts at 60 Watts/square meter average (40% PV efficiency*15% daylight*~1000 Watts/square meter zenith sunlight) you’re still talking about 1,000,000 square kilometers. A small fraction of the (roughly) 400,000,000 square kilometers of ocean the Earth boasts, but still quite a bit of clutter. Compare that to some good fraction of a terawatt/square kilometer for laser power receptors (at demonstrated intensities), much less clutter.

      • Capital outlay for unproven technology like an orbital velocity rail gun makes it impractical even if technically feasible.

        One million square kilometers of open ocean is a drop in the bucket. The Pacific garbage patch is bigger. Over ten times larger in some estimates.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_garbage_patch#Estimates_of_size

    • Great technology, and worthy of resources spent in R&D.

      However, I spent far too many hours as a kid chasing ants with a magnifying glass to be confortable with space-based solar power! Please tell this nuclear engineer someone is thinking about the fail-safe, triple redundant targeting system for your GWatt beams.

      • Please tell this nuclear engineer someone is thinking about the fail-safe, triple redundant targeting system for your GWatt beams.

        10-20 Kilowatt beams, spread across thousands of square meters. Of course, if all the stations changed their targeting at once, there could be a problem, but this is a software issue not too much different than making sure the control system for a nuclear power plant doesn’t get hacked into.

        As for thinking about it, as yet any design for the aiming system is vaporware, and you’ll notice how many people already think of that first thing. I suspect it’ll be covered long before anything beyond a few proof-of-concept satellites goes up.

  19. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    Judith, a 2nd edition of your “Thermodynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans” is nowadays needed to elucidate between scientific facts and scientific speculations that has been appearing in last decade.
    I exchanged some emails with a researcher of the coupling (based in energy balances) between atmosphere and oceans and, in my view, she mixed inappropriately her hopes with the uncertainties in ARGO measurements.
    In my opinion it is important to clarify: are oceans acting as a thermodynamic capacitor?, i.e., are they accumulating the back radiation heat due to the growth of greenhouse gases?.

  20. I just noticed this from my wordpress report:

    Top 5 most active commenters for 2014:

    Jim D
    Kim
    jim2
    R. Gates
    Steve Mosher

    • OK, that means my New Years resolution is to get more of a life. Hopefully in 2015 I won’t be in the top 5.

    • Judith, could we get an idea of how many comments those users posted? I always find it interesting how much activity comes from the most active people.

    • That just has to be wrong. I don’t post as much, for example, as Rob Ellison. I haven’t been posting much lately. Maybe I posted a lot at the beginning of the year?

      • Good point, jim2, Rob E has used multiple names, as have a couple of others, Gates, tonyb, etc., so only those with consistent names would probably show up unless those were grouped.

      • This surprised me too.

      • Can you summarize by IP address? You could anonymize the addresses with a letter, for example.

      • Jimd

        At 10 comments per day, I’m surprised that you had the time to notice what others did…

        Anyway, I don’t publish under multiple names.

        I post under tonyb but sometimes when logging on, my web site address, climate reason, is used for reasons that are beyond me, it just happens automatically.. That’s hardly multiple ( unless of course I get paid by the number of names I use in which case it was certainly much more than multiple..)

        Tonyb

      • Can’t get by without the two ‘J’s,’ Judith Curry and Jo Nova
        and the informative and sometimes witty posters on their
        sites.- u know who u r, ) some here right now.

        Happy New Year to all. (But not Al.)

    • Ouch! I actually had no idea I was so addicted. I’m sure many will applaud that maybe:

      My New Year’s Resolution for 2015 is to not even be in the top 10 on CE.

      Happy 2015 everyone! Thanks JC for your efforts here at CE.

      • Gates,
        Keep em coming. I think all you warmest are at least slightly deranged, but I do find your comments generally entertaining and good natured.

      • JC SNIP

      • 2015 sent me this New Year’s card:

      • R Gates. I agree with Pokerguy (Dec 31, 2:30pm). I don’t agree with most of what you say, but I do learn from it directly or indirectly, and it is entertaining and good natured which I applaud. And to my mind it’s really important for there to be open debate not group think.

      • Mike & Pokerguy,

        Thanks for that. I’m not going away completely in 2015 (sorry Rob & Don), but I do make a promise not to be in the top 10 posters next year. My being in the 2014 top 5 hits home the point this has become an addictive outlet for me (since most the people in bars really don’t want to talk about sea ice and paleoclimate proxies!), and probably has left other areas of my life a bit unbalanced. When I do make the occasional post in 2015, I will make sure it is something of substance and worthy content.

      • Rgates

        I am astonished you are in the top 5 as you seemed to disappear (without permission) for several months.

        Perhaps you were busy preparing to attend the Heartland Conference? Or researching our restaurant and the menu options (don’t forget I am a vegetarian)

        happy New year

        tonyb

      • Tony,

        I”ve already got the restaurant picked out:

        http://www.watercoursefoods.com

        And they serve alcoholic beverages!

        http://www.watercoursefoods.com/#!menu-1/c1j6g

        Now you just need to purchase that airline ticket.

      • Rgates

        I am shocked that you suggest I come over by plane. To burnish my green credentials if I did it would be a solar powered version, but I would have to come at night when the fares are cheaper…
        Tonyb

      • Not ter worry,RG, we merry band at CE are members of
        the great unbalanced, kinda’ like see-saw climate itself.
        Congrats ter u, Jim 2, kim and co who came out on top
        in 2014.

      • I almost got you the exact same card, Gates, but I had it addressed to everyone in the top ten posters on CE.

      • R. Gates | December 31, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
        “When I do make the occasional post in 2015, I will make sure it is something of substance and worthy content.”

        Perhaps others will also make a similar resolution. The 350 odd comments on this post alone have 30,000 words (including header and etc.), which makes for a formidable challenge separating the words from the thoughts; or even finding the thoughts for that matter. Can’t help but wonder if some are using bantering and blathering as the equivalent of a “denial-of-service” attack.

      • HNY, beth. Hope you do well this year.

    • wow I’ve really been slipping.

      Judith, I think if you include all of chief’s sock puppets he will be well up on that list. ever since you mentioned your 10 percent rule, I have made a note to see whether commenters approach 10% on particular threads. my guess is that chief approached that or exceeded it on many threads.

      • Joshua,
        You count individual comments? Doesn’t that strike you as just a bit over the edge?

      • JC SNIP

      • Al –

        ==> “You count individual comments”

        Don’t have to. My browser (Chrome) has a nifty feather were if you type something into the search text box, it tells you how many times that item appears in the page (include the vertical bar at the end if you want to make sure that you’re only counting comments that someone made as opposed to replies to that person).

        ==> “Doesn’t that strike you as just a bit over the edge?”

        Yeah, it is a bit. But most of what goes on here is (probably more than) a bit over the edge.

      • Hi Don. How ya’ doing?

      • oops. feature….where… really need to stop drinking so early.

      • John Carpenter

        “My browser (Chrome) has a nifty feather were….”

        I use chrome as well and I immediately started looking for this feather you speak of… Kinda like the climate ward.

      • JC SNIP (mustn’t be mean to the trolls)

      • My guess is that is that a couple of days of Hugh Jass playing games with trolls – or Delta Dawn sending up visual tags – with a bit more class – makes no difference at all.
        Perhaps we should correct for content – lack of technical or proliferation of trivial snark. I suggest that would reduce Joshua’s count to about zilch.

      • I do exactly the same thing as Joshua (control-F) to find mulitiple occurrences of a search term (usually my name to find sub-threads I’m in). Over the top? No more than using a claw hammer to pull out nails. I think all the browsers give you a count of terms found in a control F search not just Chrome.

        .

    • Top 5 most active commenters for 2014:

      Jim D
      Kim
      jim2
      R. Gates
      Steve Mosher

      Interesting breakdown. 2 “realists.” 2 “skeptics.”

      And God.

    • Well done Kim. And thanks for not droning on as some do.

    • Mosher is possibly in the top 5 on other climate blogs as well, he is very active

  21. Judith, may you have a productive new year on well earned sabbatical.

  22. Dr. Curry thanks for a great blog. I’m not sure I’ve even commented during 2014 but I am a regular reader and look forward to more in 2015.

    Happy New Year!

  23. It is expected to snow in Las Vegas around noon today. Not unheard of this at this time of year but still a rare event.

    • “We cannot say that any single winter precipitation event of this nature (with attendant flood risk) is attributable to AGW; however, this latest Nevada event is consistent with our modelling and concordant with the IPCC’s counter-intuitive near-term predictions. It also typifies the increasing extremes anticipated by most of the peer-reviewed literature.”

      I’m studying to become a warmie. It’s not as easy as you think. (Actually, it is.)

  24. Will China simply “outsource” its pollution?
    From the article:

    The domestic economy is slowing, competition is increasing, and there’s widespread disgust and impatience with the smog pouring out of their stacks. In short, their lucrative business model for the past three decades is slowly dying. So what’s a manager of a Chinese steel mill to do?

    In November, Hebei Iron & Steel Co Ltd, a provincial-owned company and China’s largest steelmaker by production, announced that it was moving 5 million tons of its annual production — roughly 11 percent of the 45 million tons of steel it makes every year — to South Africa.

    The officials in Hebei Province who oversee the company may have felt they had no choice. First, they undoubtedly faced political pressure to reduce their environmental impact in China: reducing production of steel, cement and glass — all highly polluting industries, especially in developing countries — will have a direct impact on Xi Jinping’s pollution goals. (Starting in Hebei will have the added benefit of cleaning up polluted, neighboring Beijing.)

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-12-29/welcome-to-the-era-of-chinese-outsourcing

    • Very interesting, but not surprising. Global capitalism, without uniform regulations, is a race to the bottom.

    • Uniform regulations implies a World Government – like the UN. Actually, I can’t believe anyone would want a planet sized version of crony business-government. This would appear to be a failure to learn on your part, with an IQ between 50 and 69 perhaps?

      At any rate, what we really need is to pare down the UN so that it becomes a meeting place for world governments and no other functions or activities. Then, in the US we need to pare down the size and power of the Federal Government here. The EU should be dissolved, but that’s not my problem other than it provides a sucky economy that doesn’t contribute as much to trade with the US as it would otherwise.

      • jim2 – I agree with you on all points, except for my IQ, but I may be delusional. :) My statement regarding the race to the bottom contains no advocacy. I am more of a Milton Friedman guy and detest large, centralized, and powerful government – the kleptocracy. I consider the UN a rogue’s gallery of thieves, dictators, and murderers

        A Story of Capitalism

        I almost lost my cabin home in the mountains during a 7.0 earthquake. Five more seconds and it would have been destroyed. After a long night of trying to sleep outside enduring numerous aftershocks, I went to the local lumberyard. There was no power but everyone was there ready to work in the dark. I bought the materials I needed and my friends and neighbors helped me to make the emergency repairs needed to secure my house. We had no power for a week and no water for much longer than that – big earthquakes are tough on old underground pipes. Meanwhile, my wife and some friends went to the local chain store hardware outlet. It was also without power but was open with employees ready to work. They guided customers through the store, in groups, in the dark, with flashlights. It had been transformed, in one day, into a wonderland of pallets of radios, flashlights, batteries, bottled water, tarps, and any and all emergency supplies you could think of. Surprisingly, they were ALL on sale at close to cost!

        The chain store had the distribution network, trained employees, experienced management, and the community spirit to help us get through that natural disaster.

        Can government do that?

      • Justin – I apologize and withdraw my comment to you. I also am a fan of Friedman and Hayek also. HNY, fellow traveler!

      • jim2 – No problem! Apology accepted. I enjoy your posts and you are clearly a gentleman. HNY!

  25. To all a Happy New Year and beyond. Thanks for your tolerance (of me) and education (to me)!

    To this, a hearty second: “I would like to take this opportunity to the thank the Denizens who provided guest posts in 2014: Zeke Hausfather, Rud Istvan, Donald Morton, Planning Engineer, Carol Anne Clayson, Pete Rose, Matt Skaggs, Vitaly Khvorostyanov, Will Howard, Marcia Wyatt, Tom McClellan, Robert Ellison, Tomas Milanovic, Donald Rapp, Nic Lewis, Roger Pielke Sr, John Christy, Richard McNider, Dave Rutledge, Douglas Sheil, Dagfinn Reiersol, Garth Paltridge.”

  26. Happy New Year, JC! Thank you for this outstanding blog. May your sabbatical be productive, refreshing, and loads of fun.

  27. JC: “I expect the hiatus to continue at last another decade…”
    ____
    Wow, so even if 2010-2014 turns out to be the warmest 5 year period, and 2005-2014 the warmest 10 year period, and 2014 turns out to be warmest single year, we are still in a “hiatus”?

    Interesting kind of “hiatus”. So if this “hiatus” continues another 10 years, then 2015-2024 will be warmer than 2005-2014 and 2020-2024 the warmest 5 year period. A “hiatus” in a luke-warming sort of way. Nice!

    • If temperatures rise only trivially, we’ll get more “warmest year”s but it’s still a “hiatus”. I expect the temperature pattern to repeat, meaning that there will be some cooling overall, but like sunspots it’s not a precise pattern, no-one knows what causes it, and no-one can reliably predict it. Even with overall cooling, there can still be some “warmest year”s.

      • To be considered significant, which is another way of saying outside the bounds of measurement error, GAT must be greater than 0.10C per decade.

        The instrument record before satellites are dicey but if we presume they’re accurate in the past century there has been less than 1.00C warming which is not significant.

        The whole edifice of anthropogenic global warming rested on the 0.20C/decade that happened between 1980 and 2000. That needed to at least continue for the hypothetical AGW to have legs to stand on. The CAGW needs the rate to increase otherwise we have 2.0C per century which is not alarming. The warmunists need a couple decades of 0.4C at this point or the cause is dead in the water.

        The pause is killing the cause. It’s way off the radar except for zealots at this point.

    • Gates,
      I know you’re smart enough to understand this is about the failure of the models. Trivial temperature gains are the last refuge of panicked warmists.

    • There’s a lot of “ifs” in your comment. If we enter a new ice age , or if the earth ignites into a new star, I’m sure jc will revise her prediction.

    • R.Gates doesn’t like the word hiatus.

      Maybe plateau would suit him better?

  28. Happy New Year!

  29. Happy new year everyone!

  30. I really enjoyed this blog in the last year. There is so much to like: diverse viewpoints, vigorous argument, interesting and diverse guest posts, and pointers to more info. Most of the denezins are pretty interesting also. Great job, Judith!

    It was the Scientific American “climate heretic” article and a radio interview of you discussing cloud feedbacks that lead me to your blog.

  31. Happy New year to all !

  32. I wish everyone a happy healthy and prosperous 2015! Orange Bowl this evening – Go Yellow Jackets!

  33. Max

    Supplying electricity via renewables to African villages without electricity is a vastly different proposition to hugely expensive, inappropriate and inefficient renewables being used to supply electricity to first world countries which need great amounts of Relibable energy supplied Continuously and cost effectively

    We have just had three or four days of very cold but bright weather with very cold nights.

    There was no wind for the turbines and at this time of year the solar arrays barely function and not at all of course at night when Most needed.

    I can’t speak for the other organisations but I think you will find those are The prime global warming policy foundations objections.

    I am not at all averse to the notion of renewable horses for courses but the Uk has yet to get it right and I suspect most other countries are in the same boat.

    Tonyb

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Re comments by Tonyb | December 31, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      Tony, modern renewable sources of electric power are infant technologies. Until more experience is gained, not all installations will meet expectations. With advances in the technology and added experience, renewables should account for a growing share of the market for electric power, benefiting both the environment and the conservation of fossil fuels, as well as making countries less dependent on foreign sources for their energy needs. I don’t think anyone questions that these benefits are worth pursuing.

      There is no guarantee advances in technology will make renewables the primary source of electric power, but necessity is the mother of invention. Investments are always a gamble, but if you want to win you have to play.

      • “..not all [renewable] installations will meet expectations.”

        Maybe they should start telling the truth about expectations.

        I have no objection to people making voluntary investments in a technology that may be viable one day. But taxing consumers and increasing prices by government fiat is not what most people understand by “investment”.

      • I don’t think anyone questions that these benefits are worth pursuing.

        No, they cost too much and they don’t help anything.

      • Deploying infant technologies that have to be propped up with subsidies because everyone knows they are uncompetitive is not a gamble. It’s bad investing, period. End of story.

      • Max
        Wind and solar are not infant technologies. They have been around 30 years. If you go back to the previous generation sources, that time periods for nukes takes you from 1948 to 1978. They were fully developed by then. Sorting out issues in hydros (Niagara) or steam turbines was even faster.
        You are welcome to your opinions, but don’t play fast and loose with the facts.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        ChrisM, relative to other energy technologies, I believe it’s fair to say today’s solar and wind technologies are in their infancies, implying there’s potential for rapid development but not a guarantee.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Subsidies are as American as apple pie.

      I feel patriotic receiving my subsidy, a depletion allowance.

      People who oppose subsidies are un-American.

      • Well as I am not American, I don’t believe in subsidies as there is no such thing as a free lunch.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Americans love subsidies, particularly the tax deduction for mortgage interest. Americans also love Social Security, which becomes a subsidy when the recipient starts drawing out more than he contributed, including the interest earned on his contribution. Free education is a big subsidy too. Churches don’t pay taxes, so that’s another subsidy.

        Subsidy, Subsidy, Subsidy …… we love ’em !

      • It is the equivalent of a depreciation allowance for capital goods. A standard and quite unexceptional tax provision.

        I doubt that he does receive a depreciation writeoff against earnings. The way it works is that his parents receive royalties for a fracked well head on their Oklahoma farm.

        I’m don’t take anything he says as anything but rank fantasy. It all adds up to the intellectual sophistication of a 15 year old blogging from his bedroom.

        And instead of a few words of disparagement about old people and free market fetishists – Maxy – prove me wrong.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Now Rob’s a tax expert.

        On Oklahoma income tax I get an additional subsidy. I can apply depletion allowances to the lease bonus as well as the royalty income.

        Aren’t subsidies great ?

        Why am I talking to you? You don’t know anything about oil and gas wells.

        If I told you a well’s spud date was last Tuesday, you probably would picture a hole being filled with potatoes.

      • Far more expert than Maxy at tax, business and economic principles. In business you need to know something about how these things work. I did as well study micro, macro and environmental economics at university and have read Hayek amongst a few other trifles of 20th century economic thought.

        Which is pretty much why I discount anything that Maxy says. He really has not the slightest clue. Tell me which university did you attend – Maxy – and what did you study? Have we finished high school yet/\. Don’t tell me that you are a drop out.

        A depletion tax is the oil and gas equivalent of a depreciation allowance. It is a schedule of deductions you can make against gross income.

      • … depletion allowance…

      • ‘Emergence, order, self-organisation, turbulence, induction, evolution, criticality, adaptive, non-linear, non-equilibrium are some of the words that characterise the conceptual underpinnings of the ‘new’ sciences of complexity that
        seem to pervade some of the frontiers in the natural, social and even the human sciences. Not since the heyday of Cybernetics and the more recent brief-lived ebullience of chaos applied to a theory of everything and by all and sundry, has a concept become so prevalent and pervasive in almost all fields, from
        Physics to Economics, from Biology to Sociology, from Computer Science to Philosophy as Complexity seems to have become.’
        http://web.unitn.it/files/7_03_vela.pdf

        This is what I have been reading in economics this week – Maxy. Complexity theory crosses a few boundaries.

        What have you been reading?

      • Everyone so loves a braggart.

      • http://www.mineralweb.com/owners-guide/leased-and-producing/royalty-taxes/depletion-allowance/

        So Maxy, did you acquire by investment your royalty producing property?

        Who Can Claim a Depletion Allowance?

        If you have an economic interest in mineral property (which includes royalty income), you can take a deduction for depletion. You have an economic interest if both of the following apply:

        You have acquired by investment any interest in mineral deposits

        You have a legal right to income from the extraction of the minerals to which you look for a return of your capital investment.

      • So here’s the deal Maxy, in terms you might understand.

        Your depletion allowance is not a subsidy. It’s depreciation of a capital investment. Like if I buy a house and rent it out I can take a depreciation deduction on it using a schedule provided by the tax authority. If I buy it and live in it instead so as I’m not using to produce income then I can’t take a depreciation deduction.

      • Max doesn’t know anything about the oil and gas business, nor does he know anything about tax law and subsidies.

      • Curious George

        Jim2 – your comment is too long. Four words would suffice.

      • Good point. The first four words suffice.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Well, I’m glad to see I have experts here if I need tax advice, but I think I will continue to rely on a tax professional.

        Re Rob Ellison January 1, 2015 at 5:49 am
        ” Tell me which university did you attend – Maxy – and what did you study? Have we finished high school yet/\. Don’t tell me that you are a drop out.”
        _______
        I’m self-taught.
        _________________________________________________________
        Re David in TX January 1, 2015 at 11:18 am
        “So Maxy, did you acquire by investment your royalty producing property?”
        ________
        Inherited it.
        Uh oh, am I in trouble on depletion allowances ?
        __________________________________________________________

        David in TX | January 1, 2015 at 11:32 am |
        “So here’s the deal Maxy, in terms you might understand.

        Your depletion allowance is not a subsidy. It’s depreciation of a capital investment. Like if I buy a house and rent it out I can take a depreciation deduction on it using a schedule provided by the tax authority. If I buy it and live in it instead so as I’m not using to produce income then I can’t take a depreciation deduction.”
        _______

        WRONG ! Depletion allowances and depreciation reduce tax revenues. Deductions for expenses such as mortgage interest reduce tax revenues. Tax credits reduce tax revenues. All are subsidies because all reduce tax revenues.

        Yes, you can depreciation from the price paid for the rental property (not including land). If you sell the property at a gain, you will be subject to depreciation recapture, which can mean your depreciation was just an interest free loan which you now repay. Similarly, depletion recapture applies to capital gains on sales of mineral rights.
        _________________________________________________________

        jim2 January 1, 2015 at 11:34 am
        Max doesn’t know anything about the oil and gas business, nor does he know anything about tax law and subsidies.
        _________

        jim2 probably knows more about the oil and gas business than most here,
        but he’s also obsessed and wildly optimistic about the business, while I’m more down to earth. He also seems to fear renewable resources, which is odd as it contradicts his sunny outlook on the future for oil and gas. I see jim2 as both a fossil fuel Pollyanna and a fossil fuel Luddite, but mostly as just a fossil.

      • Really, Max, I am more of a simpleton than you think. I simply want cheap energy. I am perfectly happy to burn cheap coal and to let oil and gas contribute whatever it can. I think nuclear can be much cheaper than it is now so I’m for it also. I’m not for expensive wind and solar which will be even more expensive due to the need for storage and additional distribution infrastructure due to remote locations. Simple.

      • So Maxy is a drop out. Peace and love man.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        jim2 wants to pollute and pass the costs on to future generations. Why not, what have future generations done for him?

      • What number of unicorns am I keeping from “the children” Max?

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        jim2, I didn’t mean to lay a guilt trip on ya.

        I wish you a Happy New Year and many to come.

      • In very general terms, depletion is expensing a costs over an asset’s lifetime. This follows the principle of matching revenues and costs in each specific year. When an oil field is played out, empty, it would seem accurate to now value it at somewhere around zero. Ideally, depletion would have done that over the years it was deducted. Another way of looking this is to consider it an investment. You buy General Mills stock for $1000 using an after tax account. Years later you sell it for $2500 and use the $1000 as your basis which is compared to what you got from selling it. Is this a subsidy? You are in effect deducting your total purchase price in the year when you sell it and only paying tax on your profit, the $1500 difference. Let’s change the rules for another example. The depletion deduction is repealed. Royalty income is still taxable annually. Some day in the future, you will abandon your oil well. At that time we ask you what you paid for it? We deduct your entire purchase price at that time and not earlier. That’s thought by some to be a terrible mismatch of revenues with expenses on an annual basis. Seems unfair as well. But if it worked like this, ideally your loss upon abandonment would equal what you would’ve taken using cost depletion over the years. So again, we’d have a timing difference. Generally a timing difference is a subsidy of only the time value of money. There’s more than one kind of depletion. Percentage depletion complicates the situation and I’ve been trying to generalize what happens with cost depletion, matching of revenues with expenses.

      • What I find more amusing about Max’s stance is the idea that a tax deduction is essentially taking from the government what is rightfully the governments. I certainly agree that the government needs a source of income, but this idea that it is entitled to any amount of my resources is ridiculous. HNY, Max.

      • No Max. Depreciation isn’t a subsidy. Depreciation is a business expense. You get to subtract expenses from income. What remains is your taxable income. Tax credits, which are applied later, say for buying a high efficiency furnace for your office building, can be considered a subsidy.

        As to whether you are entitled to a depletion allowance on an inherited royalty it appears that inheriting the resource undergoing depletion is equivalent to buying it. So you get the allowance. But not everyone agrees. Opinions differ:

        http://www.mineralrightsforum.com/forum/topics/depletion-tax-credit-on-inherited-royalties

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Re comments by Ragnaar January 1, 2015 at 6:08 pm

        ‘When an oil field is played out, empty, it would seem accurate to now value it at somewhere around zero.”

        “Some day in the future, you will abandon your oil well”
        _______

        Ragnarr, I sure wish it was totally my well. Let me explain what I own.

        I along with many others own mineral rights in a 600+ acre section which has a producing oil and gas well. Years from now the well will be abandoned, but that doesn’t mean no more wells will ever be drilled in the section, so it’s hard to say when this 600+ acre “oil field is played out, empty.” In fact there was a well abandoned in this section many years ago. Anyway, if another successful well is completed sometime in the future after the exiting well is abandoned, I or my heirs will have an interest in that new well too, unless I have sold the mineral rights.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        David in TX January 1, 2015 at 9:44 pm
        “No Max. Depreciation isn’t a subsidy. Depreciation is a business expense.”…
        As to whether you are entitled to a depletion allowance on an inherited royalty it appears that inheriting the resource undergoing depletion is equivalent to buying it. So you get the allowance. But not everyone agrees. Opinions differ:
        http://www.mineralrightsforum.com/forum/topics/depletion-tax-credit-on-inherited-royalties
        ______

        Thank you, David. I am a member of a mineral rights forum and it’s frequently a valuable source of information, but on tax questions I prefer a tax professional. My guess is an inheritor of mineral rights is as entitled to depletion as a buyer. I will soon find out if I’m right.

        I agree, depreciation is a business expense, but if the depreciation is on a appreciating asset (real estate), it can amount to an interest free long-term loan, a loan you repay to government when you sell the asset. I formerly owned and sold rental property.

      • Inherited mineral rights. This seems to be on point:
        http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/natural-gas/publications/tax-treatment-of-natural-gas
        The general rule for inherited property is a basis step up. A reset to the FMV on the date of death. This does not apply to traditional IRAs, traditional 401(k)s, annuities and a few other things. I didn’t see anything at the link that challenged the general rule, but note the part about a sufficient basis establishment. I will also assume the rules make sense, that is have some basis in traditional accounting theory. The mineral rights should have stepped up to the FMV. Depletion would be allowed. Assume one inherited a single family rental property. Prior deprecation taken on that property becomes irrelevant. A new basis equal to the FMV on the date of death is used. Assume the same property was given to you. You are gifted the prior basis as well (usually significantly lower which is bad). Get the donors tax return and use their basis information for the property and use that. I am unaware of a situation where inherited property is denied the same deductions that a purchased property would get. Rental properties and mineral rights are not the only kinds of property that have this nice inheritance attributes. After tax appreciated stocks, your home, your 2nd home, a business you own also step up like this. Some people have called this a tax break.

      • Ragnaar:

        According to J. Paul Getty, “The meek shall inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights.”

      • To add to what I wrote earlier about matching revenues to expenses, why do that? Accounting theory is closer to reporting to management than doing income tax returns. Accounting theory makes more sense as we generally don’t let congress mess with our theories. Our goal is information that useful to management so we try to properly match revenue and expenses in the correct time frames. Congresses goal is to pretend to drive the economy to where it wants to go, and they can torture our rules, guidelines and principles when they do that. So when I say a rule makes sense, it aligns with GAAP reporting. So we have two sets of rules. Everything that makes sense that we learned back in college, and everything congress did that does not make sense. For instance there are passive loss rules. We might say you should be able to deduct them now, and congress said, wait a minute, let’s suspend them. While a business might rightfully deduct a loss to conservatively not overstate its net worth, an individual might not be able to take the loss. The $3,000 capital loss annual limit doesn’t seem to have a rational reason behind it. It’s arguably a case of you loaning the government interest free money. And the $3,000 has not been indexed for inflation for at least 20 years. So we have our beautiful and elegant accounting theories, congress writes and rewrites the income tax code, and then people like me ask, what have they done? Then we just deal with it when doing income taxes.

      • Max:
        I’d guess you show royalty income, a deduction for taxes and then a depletion deduction. The idea which in not necessarily a fact, is your asset is declining in value as it is used up to some extent. We hope you are getting and reporting royalty income. So in broad terms, your expenses are being matched to your revenues. Same as if you capitalized boxes of Cheerios and wrote them off as customers bought them. I like that example. You bought a warehouse full of Cheerios. You should not have to wait to write them off until you sold them all, nor should we accelerate your write off. You get the deduction as you sell each box. For real estate, it generally appreciates. Yet we get either a 27.5 or 39.0 year depreciation life. 1/27.5 per year deduction. Why? It’s complicated. It might not appreciate. The land may contain most or all of the appreciation and land cannot be depreciated, but some land improvements can. Assumption of appreciation is a bit risky compared to the one that it will do nothing or decline. It is partly a political thing. It’s more conservative to say that buildings decline over. Buildings built in the sticks may not see any appreciation as there isn’t much of a market there. So what we have for income taxes is a one size fits all approach without regard to varying circumstances. A mindless formula driven one. Should one buy and mineral rights? If done using a limited partnership (LP), you might want to look at the LP’s operating expenses (what you pay so the management can buy themselves yachts) and find out about the sales commission percentage charged for buying in. We may find they are being pushed because of the commission a broker earns on the sale. LPs are looked at warily by this accountant as I’ve seen so many not work out. Also look at the market for them if you wish to sell later. I’ve seen cases of there not being a market. LPs have been used to package all kinds of great ideas such as commercial real estate. Perhaps energy LPs will work out better than some other kinds did in the past. One of the body blows LPs absorbed many years ago was the introduction of the passive loss rules. Vehicles designed partly for current deductions with a hoped for long term gain suddenly had their losses deferred in many cases. That coincided with what I call the trying times for some LPs. Current deductions with long term capital gain rates might be the holy grail of income taxes.

  34. As for ‘the pause’ and ‘the return of the heat’, it is like watching Linus wait for the return of the Big Pumpkin … only more pathetic.

    Happy New Year and thanks for your time and blog.

  35. John Smith (it's my real name)

    discovering CE, I must admit, has been one of the highlights of my year
    don’t know if that speaks to the quality of my life
    or the quality of the blog
    what the hey
    I choose no.2
    cheers to all
    more ice and cold in 2015
    us “deniers” must be victorious at all cost
    no guilt
    although, of all the stuff I could be doing
    this has the smallest carbon footprint
    ‘cept for organic farming and making my own shoes from hemp
    I think I’ll do this

  36. Dear Dr. Curry,

    Thank for for your efforts on this blog and elsewhere. And thank you as well for your new year’s resolution is to improve blog moderation. Best wishes for 2015.

    MK

  37. Judith – best wishes for 2015. Thank you for your excellent blog, and while I hope it doesn’t go much longer (!because you and others succeed in convincing the MSM and politicians that we don’t know how climate works) I suspect that your input will be needed for several more years.

    • 2014 in USA, 2015 here. so Australia is a year ahead of America but Europe has just caught up to us.
      Thanks to everyone and our host for providing so much entertainment and education in my life through the year.
      I retired last year and miss work greatly but not the stress and paperwork.
      JC ” 2014 was a year Definitely not as satisfying/interesting for me.”
      But you made it great for everyone else. Keep going.
      Predictions as above
      AGW is not going to go away until we have a 5 year cold snap, not just a pause. Due to random walk theory this will happen. Please can it happen in our blogging lifetime.
      Moderation
      Don Monfort Snip, Joshua Snip, Mosher Snip, Angech Snip
      is a two edged sword. It will be a bland blog so let some through., just not -Snip [add your favorite here]

  38. Some great comments today by Judith. JC SNIPS rocks.

  39. The SOI and the polar annular mode are suggesting Pacific cooling.

    So where is ENSO going? The decadal pattern shows dominance of one state or the other for extended periods. Blue to 1976, red to 1998 and blue again since.

    The usual sources are predicting that SST have peaked.

    Let me look into my crystal ball. The recent pissweak El Nino like conditions will give way to intense La Nina.

    • Libertarian la Nina to the rescue!

    • El non-yo

    • ‘This study uses proxy climate records derived from paleoclimate data to investigate the long-term behaviour of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). During the past 400 years, climate shifts associated with changes in the PDO are shown to have occurred with a similar frequency to those documented in the 20th Century. Importantly, phase changes in the PDO have a propensity to coincide with changes in the relative frequency of ENSO events, where the positive phase of the PDO is associated with an enhanced frequency of El Niño events, while the negative phase is shown to be more favourable for the development of La Niña events.’ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2005GL025052/full

      Gee it’s pretty difficult science like stuff to show that these regimes persist for 30 odd years – that La Nina are more intense in cold PDO and vice versa – and that La Nina tends to follow El Nino.

      But of course it is all political. Progressive denial fits the bill and nature is the punchline.

      Here’s CO2 again.

      But of course – as Jimmy Dee suggests – they got the data wrong.

      • Continued cool upwelling – the big cool V in the central Pacific.

        More cloud.

        In a study that was widely interpreted as a demonstration of a positive global warming cloud feedback, Amy Clement and colleagues (2009) presented observational evidence of decadal change in cloud cover in surface observation of clouds from the Comprehensive Ocean Atmosphere Data Set (COADS). ‘Both COADS and adjusted ISCCP data sets show a shift toward more total cloud cover in the late 1990s, and the shift is dominated by low- level cloud cover in the adjusted ISCCP data. The longer COADS total cloud time series indicates that a similar magnitude shift toward reduced cloud cover occurred in the mid-1970s, and this earlier shift was also dominated by marine stratiform clouds. . . Our observational analysis indicates that increased SST and weaker subtropical highs will act to reduce NE Pacific cloud cover.’ As was clearly stated in the paper, the evidence was for a decadal cloud feedback to the PDO.

        By its nature – a negative PDO implies upwelling of cold water in the north east Pacific. Less negative seems to mean less cloud and less cooling – but still cooler with more cloud than the positive state. But it is very unlikely that the coolth has peaked – even in the current cool regime. Centennial coolth is quite likely.

      • It has been going down for 30 years. Lol. It can stay negative for less than ten years. You talk as though a PDO cool phase is a lock for decades. Nonsense.

      • Let’s not bother with wood for dimwits and its inbuilt hyper sophisticated statistics. Blue equals cool – red equals warm.

        http://cses.washington.edu/cig/figures/pdoi

      • Shouldn’t you at least give an attribution when you swipe someone’s graph out of their article?

        The source:

        http://www.drroyspencer.com/global-warming-background-articles/the-pacific-decadal-oscillation/

        The swipage:

        Nice graph. I liked it enough to want to find the original source. As it happens I like the source too.

      • You could always try asking politely – if you really want to know. Most people don’t.

        I almost never swipe from blogs. Really it’s just JISAO PDO with some notes.

      • I just checked it out. LOL. Wonder where this comes from.

      • Hard to tell who put in the labels. The original probably comes from here:

        http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/

        but hey, who gives a flying flux about proper attribution on blogs except me? I realize I’m not cut from the same cloth as most blog science practitioners such as yourself.

      • Yes it comes from the JISAO site as I said – with some annotations.

    • Thanks for laying that out Chief, I’ve been following it but didn’t really notice the cooling.

      Happy New Years to all at Climate Etc.!!!

    • Perhaps it will behave entirely differently – but I wouldn’t count on it,

      • The graphic does not reflect reality. The PDO can take on squared look: 1940 to 1985. It can also take on a V-valley appearance. It’s been drifting down for around around 30 years, so it’s likely to shoot up abruptly. May already being doing it.

      • There’s the weasel word “may.” Funny how often that shows up in climate “science.”

      • Yes. “May” is a weasel word.

        Only weasels allow for uncertainty. Non-weasels are overly confident.

      • ‘Climate in the North Pacific and North American sectors has experienced interdecadal shifts during the 20th century. A network of recently developed tree-ring chronologies for Southern and Baja California extends the instrumental record, and reveals decadal-scale variability back to AD 1661. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is closely matched by the dominant mode of tree-ring variability, which provides a preliminary view of multi-annual climate fluctuations spanning the past four centuries. The reconstructed PDO index features a prominent bidecadal oscillation, whose amplitude weakened in the late 1700s to mid-1800s. A comparison with proxy records of ENSO suggests that the greatest decadal-scale oscillations in Pacific climate between 1706 and 1977 occurred around 1750, 1905, and 1947.’ https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/biondi2001/biondi2001.html

        Data is available there – knock yourself out.

        NASA put the shift to cold conditions at 2008..

        ‘A cool-water anomaly known as La Niña occupied the tropical Pacific Ocean throughout 2007 and early 2008. In April 2008, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that while the La Niña was weakening, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation—a larger-scale, slower-cycling ocean pattern—had shifted to its cool phase.’ http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

        I’d put the shift at 2002 from biological and other considerations.

      • Once again, weasel words and their purpose, that Joshua may understand the goal is deception not communication of contingency:

  40. nottawa rafter

    Happy New Year to all. Celebrating New Year’s Eve the way it was meant to be celebrated, serving St. Julian Sparkling Grape Juice to the grandkids and playing trivia.

  41. Judith wrote:
    “Somewhere I stated that I figured the 2015 sea ice extent would be about the same as 2014, continuing a recovery in the European Arctic but continuing low extent in eastern Arctic.”

    It’s difficult to see much, if any, of a “recovery” in Arctic sea ice.

    In fact, the daily average for 2014 is about 84,000 km2 below 2013’s, according to NSIDC daily data:

    2014’s SI minimum was 94,000 km2 below 2013’s, and its maximum was 182,000 km2 below 2013’s.

    So where is the “recovery?”

    • recovery is in the European Arctic, like I said

    • So a recovery in the European Arctic, but a decline overall.

      Looksl to me like you’re just cherry picking, while avoiding the larger story.

      • Have wave will travel

      • Stadium wave will travel

      • Looksl [sic] to me like you’re just cherry picking, while avoiding the larger story.

        Looks to me like you’re just exposing your own ignorance of how complex (much less hyper-complex) interlinked non-linear systems work.

      • Nope, I have a hypothesis about how the sea ice will evolve over the next two decades, which was laid out in the stadium wave paper. So far the recent sea ice behavior is consistent with this.

      • Re: stadium wave
        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL059233/abstract

        Now, Judith, you’re judging your hypothesis on only 14 months of data? Really?

        Anymore it’s hard to tell the difference between you and Willard Watts. Seriously. The positions you take no longer seem a product of the science, but of politics and some need for a reflective approach that is quickly and simply against what most other people think, just for the sake of being against it.

      • “Now, Judith, you’re judging your hypothesis on only 14 months of data? Really?”

        yes. totally rational and acceptable.
        if the ice had totally vanished we would judge her hypothesis.

        as it stands the data is consistent with the hypothesis.
        That’s a weak but true statement

      • Decadal changes in Arctic temps and ice are fairly obvious.

        But where is it going and why?

      • John Carpenter

        “The positions you take no longer seem a product of the science, but of politics and some need for a reflective approach that is quickly and simply against what most other people think, just for the sake of being against it.”- Appell

        Huh, so far observations match her theory and instead a waiting patiently to see how it plays out, instead you find it to be a political product and some need to go against what most other people think (as if that is not to be done). Interesting way for a science writer to judge the evidence so far… Seems more like political science writing.

      • Davey, the little freelance whatever, is accusing you of scientific malpractice, Judith. Why don’t you give the little rascal a swift kick in the a$$?

      • “Now, Judith, you’re judging your hypothesis on only 14 months of data? Really?” No clue what is bothering you. Dr. Curry wrote a paper on this, which included a hypothesis. Presumably she thinks it is right or might be right. Now she’s watching the data to see how it does. She made no claim that it is confirmed yet.

    • David Appell,
      “So where is the “recovery?”
      6 of the last 7 years have been recovery in extent and Piomas is accumulating leaps and bounds so extent should continue further. Like Nick Stokes you take 1 bit of information 2013/2014 and ignore the bigger picture 2008/2014.
      Where is your pride?
      Word game wins give you a buzz but it is empty when you have to mock the facts with selective fiction.
      Have a good New Year. I am trying to be less snarky but it is hard.

    • This “the ice ain’t growing” meme is getting a little tired. Volume is the important number. But if you want to play the extent game, currently 2014 is about 150,000 km ahead of 2013 in ice extent on Jaxa and is ahead of 2013 and 2012 on NCIDC.

      • thanks for the picture, PA.
        David fits the bill for the Herald Sun Reader in Australia so it just might give him a clue on recovery.
        Or he may be a page 3 reader of the Sun in Britain, in which case, forget about it.

      • I play the global sea ice game. There are two poles with sea ice to consider. The total of the two is about a million square kilometers above the average of 1979-2008. There has been no significant decline in global sea ice in the past 35 years.

      • I play the global sea ice game. There are two poles with sea ice to consider. The total of the two is about a million square kilometers above the average of 1979-2008.

        There has been no significant decline in global sea ice in the past 35 years.

      • Basil Newmerzhycky

        A big mistake I see many make in the “sea ice game” is comparing the North Pole to the South Pole. The Arctic is total ocean so sea ice directly correlates with temperature but also has an influence from surface winds.

        The Antarctic is a continent and unlike the Arctic it actually has large scale GLACIAL ice. There is NO SEA ICE near the South Pole. Sea ice hundreds of miles away and increasing sea ice in the Antarctic is a lot trickier, and can even increase during WARMER temperatures, due not only to changed surface winds but also to extra freshwater that melts off into the sea from melting glaciers, since freshwater freezes at higher temperatures than saltier water.

        Someone claiming that the climate is not warming due to increasing ANTARCTIC sea ice is making a flawed argument.

        A more detailed description at Phys.org:
        http://phys.org/news/2013-10-antarctic-sea-ice.html

    • David: Winter ain’t over.

  42. 네에~~~ 까치.까치.설날은~~

  43. Geoff Sherrington

    Those gushing self-congratulations about their pop-star appearance ratings might reflect that they are causing damage to Dr Curry’s blog.
    Occasional bloggers, if they are like me, are really turned of by inane, repetitive chattering class material that has little to do with science, e.g. does One-upmanship have any valid place here?
    New Year resolution? Compose your comments off-line, let them sit for an hour before reading again. You will surprised to find that you are embarrassed by some of your writings. “OMG, did I write that?” Delete such and return with considered, checked commentary relevant to the topic chosen by the Boss.

    • Curious George

      Geoff – a nice resolution. But this is a blog, not a writing class, and a part of its attraction is a certain spontaneity. I frequently post half-baked ideas with typos (not that I am proud of it), but they keep a conversation going.

    • I have found that if you don’t respond in real time the blog moves on without you. Although composing a good comment well thought out is a good idea, it doesn’t seem to help my spelling much though – maybe a little.

    • Geoff, I fire off letters to The Australian, generally one or two a week get published. A reader had a story in the magazine area of the Aus in which he described how he spends a day over a letter, discussing it with friends, doing more research, polishing it etc. I can’t recall seeing his name in print though. My posts here are generally quick-fire, part of the flow, if I want to post something deeper I’ll do some research and draft with greater care. Room for both, but part of the attraction here is the entertainment – particularly on days when the bulk of posts consist of the usual suspects having the same interminable arguments which might best be left to private e-mails. kim, by contrast, shoots from the hip with almost unerring accuracy and wit. Plus 100 to him.

    • Impulse snipping does seem to be an infectious disease; if Dr Curry is actually able to moderate more in 2015 perhaps that will help. That doesn’t seem like a very pleasant job to me.

    • Geoff,

      Did you see this in December issue of Australian Science:

      The High Price of Obsolete Science
      By Geoff Russell

      The anti-nuclear movement co-opted the environment movement on the strength of theories about DNA, radiation and cancer that have long been proven false.

      The anti-nuclear movement grew out of the anti-
      war movement and opposition to atmospheric
      testing during the late 1950s. In particular, Nobel
      Prize-winner Linus Pauling calculated what he
      thought would be the number of cancers and
      birth defects that would result from the radiation released by
      atomic bombs detonated in the atmosphere. The maths would
      have impressed any non-mathematician, but the underlying
      assumptions about DNA damage and its carcinogenic impli-
      cations are now known to be false.
      In those days, DNA repair was at best a speculative hunch.
      All the world’s top scientists thought that DNA was incredibly
      stable and that damage was vanishingly rare and invariably
      resulted in harmful mutations. The picture that’s emerged over
      the past 30 years or so couldn’t be more different.
      DNA damage accompanies every move you make and every
      breath you take. It’s unrelenting. It’s now estimated that on
      average there are something like 10,000 pieces of damage to
      the DNA in every cell in your body – every single day. However,
      the near-perfect nature of our multifaceted DNA repair mech-
      anisms make it appear that damage is rare.
      Almost all the damage comes from normal cellular processes.
      A tiny fraction comes from naturally occurring background radi-
      ation or from radiation found naturally in food.

      How tiny is tiny? An MIT study (http://bit.lyllt4nxll)
      put mice in a radiation field 400 times stronger than normal
      background levels. The researchers calculated that this would
      cause an additional 12 pieces of damage per cell per day on top
      of the 10,000 that would naturally occur. As far as the researchers
      could tell, this extra damage was repaired.
      With a modern knowledge of DNA, things that were once
      impossible to believe become totally unsurprising. Consider
      Guarapari, a popular tourist destination in Brazil. Its beaches
      are rich in radioactive elements and emit radiation at levels
      that are ten times the maximum rate at the damaged Japanese
      nuclear reactor at Fukushima. In Guarapari, people play on the
      beach and cover themselves in the radioactive sand, but neither
      Guarapari nor any similar area is a cancer hot spot.
      In Japan, the government inadvertently killed people after
      the Fukushima accident by attempting to protect them from
      radiation rates very much lower than at Guarapari. In the middle
      of the night they bundled terrified elderly residents from nursing
      homes and ill people from hospitals onto ill-equipped buses.
      People died tragic and needless deaths from cold, falls, dehy-
      dration or deterioration of their medical conditions. People
      had their lives disrupted at best and devastated at worst.
      But it isn’t just the facts of DNA damage, repair and the
      Guaraparis of the world that contradict anti-nuclear fear-
      mongering. We now also know that lifestyle cancer risks dwarf
      anything associated with radiation exposures from nuclear acci-
      dents.
      Consider the Chernobyl screw-up, which actually increased
      radiation levels over large areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
      We know that there have been some 6000 cases of thyroid
      cancer over the past 25 years as a result. This wasn’t from the
      ongoing contamination but from radioactive iodine in the first
      days after the accident. There have certainly been predictions
      of additional cancers, but such predictions are based on models
      formulated before DNA repair mechanisms were understood
      in all their glory. They are subject to ongoing debate.
      On the other hand, we now know about lifestyle cancer
      causes and we know with certainty that if the three countries
      affected had swapped the Chernobyl accident for an Australian
      lifestyle there would have been something like six million addi-
      tional cancers during the past 25 years. Ukraine, for example,
      has an age-standardised cancer rate of 192 per 100,000 per
      annum compared with 323 in Australia.
      Experts might work themselves into a lather about the details,
      but the big picture is clear. Radiation is but a minnow among
      the big cancer sharks of obesity, red and processed meat, inac-
      tivity, sunshine, alcohol and tobacco.
      Even radiation from surviving an atomic bomb blast doesn’t
      compare with lifestyle causes of cancer. The survivors of the
      atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II
      suffered an average cancer risk increase of just 11 . By compar-
      ison, a Japanese population moving to Australia and adopting
      our lifestyle would experience an increased cancer rate rise of
      about 50.
      The Japanese have already experienced some of this rise in
      recent decades. In the early 1970s there used to be about 20,000
      cases of bowel cancer annually in Japan. While the Japanese
      population has grown by about 20, new bowel cancer cases
      hit 112,000 in 2012. What’s caused the extra 92,000 bowel
      cancers per year? The things known to cause bowel cancer,
      apart from unfortunate genes, are red and processed meat,
      alcohol (in men), obesity and height. The last factor, height,
      would surprise you if you hadn’t read this magazine last month
      about why some dwarves don’t get cancer (AS, November 2014,
      pp.22- 23). Of the known causes of bowel cancer, the one that
      has changed the most and therefore seems to have driven the
      bulk of the cancer increase has been the dietary shift to more
      red and processed meat. This doesn’t only cause bowel cancer
      but can have a double whammy by making people taller.
      The elephant in the room, of course, is how misplaced fear
      of radiation and accidents is impacting our response to climate
      destabilisation.
      The French nuclear roll-out of the 1970s and 1980s was
      about five times quicker than the current roll-out of wind and
      solar power in Germany. Not 5, or even 50, but five times
      faster! And it was no Ruke. Belgium did similarly and the Swedes
      did even better.
      Part of the anti-nuclear game plan has been to drag every
      nuclear reactor project through as many legal battles as possible
      to inflate construction times and prices. It’s been incredibly
      successful, and has kneecapped the only competition that fossil
      fuels have ever had. As a consequence, fossil fuels have Rourished.
      While the anti-nuclear movement infiltrated the environ-
      ment movement and kept it obsessively distracted over uranium
      mines, waste and other relatively trivial issues, coal production
      quadrupled between 1980 and 2010. This has been a spectac-
      ular “own goal” that has seen proudly anti-nuclear Australia
      generating about 850 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour over
      recent decades compared with the French output of just 70
      grams of CO2 per kilowatt hours for all of the past 25 years.
      The environment movement accepts the science on climate
      change, but their scientific ignorance has allowed them to be seri-
      ously misled about nuclear risks. As the world faces the prob-
      lems of a destabilising climate, the environment movement has
      been making matters worse for 30 years by opposing the best
      technology we have on hand to tackle a tough issue. All because
      of obsolete science. ”

      Geoff Russell is author of GreenJacked (http://tinyurLcom/oz39Ir4), which argues that the anti-nuclear movement co-opted the environment movement on the strength of theories about DNA, radiation and cancer that have long since proven false.

      • So smoking AND nuclear reactor meltdowns don’t increase cancer risk.

        Got it, Lang.

        Your opinion has been duly noted.

        DING!

        NEXT!

      • David (with hidden name),

        “So smoking AND nuclear reactor meltdowns don’t increase cancer risk.”

        I didn’t say either of those things. Your intellectual dishonesty (strawman tactics, misrepresentation) is duly noted. Credibility zero. Ignore from now on.

      • Peter, do you have a link to the Russell article? Thanks.

      • Hi Faustino,

        Wish you well for 2015.

        Here is the link to the Geoff Russel article (but you have to pay, so I scanned it). http://www.australasianscience.com.au/article/issue-december-2014/high-price-obsolete-science.html

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Tks Peter,
        Not much new info for experienced folk, but bears broadcasting.
        Geoff

      • The Geoff Russel article is a piece of trash and Russel himself is an uncredentialed nuclear conspiracy theorist that belongs in a padded cell. His diatribe disputes long standing understanding of biology from August sources such as US National Academy of Science.

        http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=030909156X

        Figures you’d be enamored, Lang. A natural pair bonding if I ever saw one.

        My fondest wish is that you’ll ignore me as promised. Won’t happen. But I certainly won’t stop exposing you as a nuclear cheerleader with delusions of competence.

        Happy new year, guv.

      • “David (with hidden name)”

        Lang, not hidden… It’s just Springer.

      • John Carpenter. Thanks for that. it makes sense now. Definitely no credibility. Just one of the anti-nuke cultists – ignore reason and carry one believing Greenpeace and witches.

        But isn’t it revealing that these clowns have to keep hiding behind pseudonyms. Perhaps David Springer has been put on moderation – again! Pity he doesn’t reflect on why that might be.

      • John Carpenter. Thank you for that. it makes sense now. Without knowing who it was I recognised at second comment he is not credible, balanced or rational and is simply another dedicated follower of the anti-nuke cult – a follower of Greenpeace and witches. Furthermore, he’s clearly a troll, as evidenced by his vitriol and nastiness.

        But isn’t it revealing that so often the cult followers hide behind pseudonyms.
        No I understand the reason Spr-ng@r has been put on moderation AGAIN! And comments that spell out his name go into moderation too.

        I wonder why he doesn’t reflect on why that might be.

      • ==> “I wonder why he doesn’t reflect on why that might be.”

        I don’t get the sense that David is big on “reflection.” But I’m quite sure that he knows the reasons why he has landed in moderation, and he clearly chooses to continue to violate the blog moderation policies regardless.

        He’s just another “conservative” with an interesting take on “personal responsibility.”

    • Good grief Sherrington it’s just a blog,

      • Geoff Sherrington

        David in tx,
        But it is an excellent blog after you separate the gold from the dross.

      • Not really.

      • The poor old fellow can’t even admit its a good blog site – let alone acknowledge what this site has achieved … for the betterment of humanity! Yet he goes out of his way to hide his name to try to sneak around the moderation and post his disagreeable and vitriolic comments.

        Poor fellow.

  44. Political Junkie

    Happy New Year Dr. C!

    From a frequent highly entertained and better informed lurker.

  45. David L. Hagen

    Thanks Judith for taking the lead and effort to restore the scientific method and further public interests by raising ethical and policy issues.

  46. Just watching an entertaining game, at least for yellow jackets fans so far, while reading the post and comments. Happy new year to all, and I hope the top commenters, as well as the next 20 or so, don’t get too much of a life:).

  47. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    BREAKING NEWS
    Pope Francis To Issue
    Encyclical On Global Warming

    Pope Francis plans to publish a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds.

    “A papal encyclical is rare,” says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences who revealed the pope’s plans when he delivered Cafod’s annual Pope Paul VI lecture. “It is among the highest levels of a pope’s authority. It will be 50 to 60 pages long; it’s a big deal.”

    The encyclical will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners.

    “There will always be 5-10% of people who will take offence. They are very vocal and have political clout,” says Dan Misleh, director of the Catholic climate covenant. “This encyclical will threaten some people and bring joy to others.”


    Environmental radicalism? (Score:5, Insightful)
    [begin sarcasm]  Apparently listening to the world’s scientists and acknowledging reality is now a ‘radical position’.

    Pretending that all is well with the climate, and that our only problem is that our entire scientific community is delusional, OTOH — that’s the reasonable and moderate position [end sarcasm].

    The world’s STEM professionals reject the willful ignorance of faux-conservatism … can old-fashioned science-respecting conservatism survive this accelerating rejection?

    The world wonders!

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

    • He might better issue an encyclical on how his subordinates might better restrain themselves from molesting choirboys.

    • The world does indeed wonder!

    • Fan

      Its fortunate that thanks to Henry the Viii we need take no notice of a religious edict of this kind.

      However, bearing in mind that humanity is bursting at the seams and placing great strain on Earths resources do you think he might reconsider the Catholic stance on birth control?. That would have a lot more effect than tilting at climate windmills.

      Happy New Year Fan

      tonyb

    • Until Pope Francis excummunicates Cardinal Mahoney for spending four decades covering up child raping priests and sending them to new parishes only to continue their crimes, he is just another fraud like Saint John Paul of Poland.

  48. A friend sent me a link to a NYT article that is pile of the usual anti-nuke scaremongering, misinformation, distortions, innuendo, and selective factoids without context or perspective, etc. And repetitious.

    I wished him a happy New Year, responded as below then called later and arranged to meet for a coffee (we met in 1965 at uni and have been friends ever since, but we do not agree on politics):

    The NYT article is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/23/science/nuclear-carbon-free-but-not-free-of-unease-.html?ref=science

    I said:

    “I suggest a New Year’s Resolution for you: Stop believing the cr@p propagated by the NYT and the Loony Left.

    The anti-nuclear rants are selective, disingenuous, misinformation, and just scaremongering – the same sort of ideologically driven scaremongering the Loony Left uses to scare people about catastrophic climate change that will occur if we don’t abide by rules, regulations and world control the Left wants us to agree to.

    I am surprised you swallow this stuff. You should know by now that nuclear power is the safest way to generate electricity.

    How Deadly Is Your Kilowatt? We Rank The Killer Energy Sources
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-deathprint-a-price-always-paid/

    Energy Source Mortality Rate (deaths/trillion kWh)

    Coal – global average 170,000 (50% global electricity)
    Coal – China 280,000 (75% China’s electricity)
    Coal – U.S. 15,000 (44% U.S. electricity)
    Oil 36,000 (36% of energy, 8% of electricity)
    Natural Gas 4,000 (20% global electricity)
    Biofuel/Biomass 24,000 (21% global energy)
    Solar (rooftop) 440 (“But in the end, the antinuclear movement didn’t kill the plant. Economics did.

    First, it’s an early design and it has operated for longer than its design life. (To get some balance and perspective find out how long do wind turbines last and what do they cost to replace per MWh of electricity produced through their life?)
    Second, regulatory ratcheting has caused the cost of nuclear power to be increased by about a factor of 8 over what it could and should be if regulations were fair and balanced across all electricity generation types.
    The regulatory ratcheting is caused by the anti-nuclear movement.
    Have you actually done any searches to find out about the relentless anti-nuke activities of these groups and what effect they’ve had on the costs of electricity from nuclear power plants like Vermont Yankee?

    >”In addition to market forces, enormous design and construction costs, questions about new federal emissions rules, uncertainty about the long-term storage of waste fuel, and public perceptions about safety after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan have all had an effect on the American nuclear industry.

    Oh yea. All the anti-nuke talking points in a sentence:
    Market forces, oh right. After the nuclear industry has been penalised by a factor of 8 increase in costs, highly restrictive regulations, 10 years and a billion dollars to get a licence approved even for small modular reactors. Give me a break. And meanwhile, wind and solar are subsidised to the tune of 100% to 500% and yet produce about 1% of global electricity.
    Enormous design and construction costs. What noinsense (in proper context). The newest and largest solar thermal power stations in the USA cost $19 per average watt delivered. New nuclear about $5 per average watt delivered through life.
    You really need to take these NYT articles with a grain of salt. Do what you are trained to do and read carefully and critically. Watch out for all these tricks the Loony Left employs to trick their gullible followers.

    >”questions about new federal emissions rules

    That’s due to Obama – the far Leftist president of the USA blocking genuine progress and dragging USA and the world backwards

    >” uncertainty about the long-term storage of waste fuel

    Yes, FUD (Fear, uncertainty and doubt) caused by the anti nuke movement. It’s totally irrational. The cost of waste management for nuclear is trivial. But tell me what it is for the other industries. Want to know? Then ask me to send you the properly comparable numbers!

    >”and public perceptions about safety after the 2011 Fukushima disaster

    True. Again due to the scaremongering, lies and deception from the anti-nuke movement.

    This article is just anti nuke spin. I’ve read stacks just like it over the past 30 years. They repeat the same disingenuous and misleading statements.

    I don’t understand why you swallow this nonsense. Why don’t you read critically and challenge what you read?

    Take a little while and watch this video. Hopefully it may influence your thinking.
    Professor Wade Allison, Oxford:

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Peter, you need another hobby or cause. This nuclear power stuff is a dead end. Why do you care anyway?

    • Wade Allison, an evidently senile emeritus physics professor at Oxford, drones on about biochemistry and genetics for 45 minutes totally out of his depth and field of expertise, if he still has a field of expertise in his dotage. He stupidly quotes Marie Curie failing to realize that Curie died of radiation poisoning. Holy doddering dolts, Batman!

      Fercrisakes Lang do you believe that UV exposure doesn’t explosively raise the risk of skin cancer? The biology is very well known about what ionizing radiation does to living tissue.

      The NYT article is spot on:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/23/science/nuclear-carbon-free-but-not-free-of-unease-.html?ref=science&_r=0

      • The risk of death or illness from exposure to ionizing radiation from nuclear power plants, fuel, waste, or accidents is exceedingly low and the fear of same is irrational. The linear hypothesis is total bunk. OTOH, the risk of death or illness due to exposure to the Sun’s UV rays is very real, measurable, and well documented.

        The big killers are non-communicable diseases like obesity, diabetes, mental illness (suicide, drugs, alcohol) etc. Non-disease risks include work-place and traffic accidents. In the third world death by disease, malnutrition, and violence are more common. Risk from nuclear anything is virtually zero.

        Nuclear power can, with a small land and carbon footprint, obtain and purify water, treat effluent, power industry and thus create wealth, and greatly improve the lives of the poor and middle classes all over the world.

  49. Geoff Russell’s claims in defense of the medical-radiation industries is total whitewash. He makes several false claims such as that “the underlying assumptions about DNA damage and its carcinogenic implications are now known to be false” or misleadingly and erroneously makes comparisons between “damage comes from normal cellular processes” and damage from background radiation or “radiation exposures from nuclear acci-
    dents.” He cites a study by MIT as if it is of any great significance when this propopanda institution (and others like it) had release fraudulent studies in the past about radiation.

    If you do scrutinize the actual evidence -rather than the biased flawed “research” data of the corporate establishment- you will recognize that all the big nations dedicated to nuclear power, medical radiation, and militarism using radioactive weaponry, such as Japan, France, Russia, and the US, have been carefully hiding or obfuscating the real scope of harm of ionizing radiation for decades (discussed in The Mammogram Myth by Rolf Hefti – more at http://www.supplements-and-health.com/mammograms.html ) to avoid culpability. Millions of people have died needlessly, and millions more will follow.

    It’s not that what Pauling and other researchers had said is fundamentally inaccurate, it’s that the various corporate propaganda nations (and their allies, mouthpieces, and ignoramuses) have become better in suppressing, denying, and obfuscating these well established facts.

    • Low dose radiation induced senescence of human mesenchymal stromal cells and impaired the autophagy process.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25544750

      This is a lovely study
      Domestic radon exposure and risk of childhood cancer: a prospective census-based cohort study.
      CONCLUSIONS:
      We did not find evidence that domestic radon exposure is associated with childhood cancer, despite relatively high radon levels in Switzerland.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3801468/

    • Dan…

      You do know some your claims are b*llsh*t don’t you.

      http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/natural.htm

      The average person gets about 120 Bq/kg from every bite of food they eat. Vegetable and fruits are generally worse than meat. Brazil nuts are about 444 Bq/kg. The average 1 square mile by 1 foot piece of dirt has 654 GBq of radioactivity. The planet contains a lot of material from a supernova and is radioactively pretty hot. 0.098 μSv is the banana equivalent dose – the dose from eating one banana and can be approximated as 0.1 μSv for banana equivalent dose calculations. The average person in the US gets a dose of 2000 bananas from the food they eat each year.

      The Mammography issue is sort of a red herring. Applying x-rays to a small piece of tissue as a single dose sort of a special case. The “radiation is bad” studies tend to focus on a whole body 0.1 gray single dose. That isn’t representative of most radioactivity exposure. A single dose is different than annual exposure. The average person has about a million DNA breaks per cell per day. The radioactivity has to overwhelm the repair machinery to increase the cancer rate. The US with a 3.6 mSv/y exposure rate has a higher cancer rate (318/100,000) than Ukrainians (192.9), or Belorussians (218) despite those countries being among the world’s heaviest smokers and living next to a problem area. The people in Ramsar Iran with a 30-230 mSv/y exposure rate actually have a lower incidence of lung cancer.


      The scary thing – almost half the us yearly dose is from medical tests. You should avoid the doctor like the plague.

      • PA,

        Plus many!. Thank for putting it so clearly and succinctly. I hope Dan reads it, and challenges his beliefs.

      • We evolved to cope with low levels of radiation – we are bathed in it. That said we do know it can damage animal tissue at some threshold and over time it can cause cancer. It is important to understand the assumption of the “linear hypothesis” regarding radiation exposure. Madam Curie, unaware of the danger, handled radioactive materials without the safety protocols we have today. Her entire lab, including equipment and personal items, is still radioactive today. Follow protocols! We do it every day at traffic intersections. If you stagger across a busy high-speed intersection, against the red light, you will certainly be killed or injured. In fact, this happens to children, the elderly, the mentally ill, and intoxicated people all the time, but we don’t ban traffic, we regulate and educate.

      • Well, JW there is no reason not to apply some caution and common sense.

        The linear hypothesis really takes a beating below 100 μSv per year.

        Between 100 μSv/y and 2000 μSv/y the data is mixed. Above 2000 μSv/y – radiation bad.

        Any study that includes x-ray exposure (mostly medical) skews the data, and some people like to skew the data. There aren’t natural sources of high x-ray exposure. The single short duration (seconds to fractions of a second) high intensity x-ray exposure of medical sources is unique. If it were really all that safe technicians wouldn’t run and hide behind lead shields.

        The X-ray intensity even in outer space is 10e-9 W/m2. X-ray machines produce output in the w/m2 range. A 2013 medical text lists a source as 4 w/m2 and the detector intensity at 1 w/m2.

  50. Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

    Peter, is Professor Allison’s video supposed to be a joke? I was flabbergasted when about two-thirds of the way through his “radiation is safe” argument, Professor Allison quotes Marie Curie saying “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is to be understood.” For heaven’s sake, doesn’t he know the woman died from aplastic anemia brought on by exposure to radiation.

    • And her husband was run over by a bus – does that mean we should live in fear of buses?

      • Buses are dangerous and city dwellers are wise to be aware of the danger.

      • Yes, but if we understand them then we don’t fear them.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        My God, you are as clueless as Allison. He’s trying to convince us that exposure to radiation is safe and cites a statement by Curie who later dies from exposure to radiation.

        It would be different if Curie had recommended everyone die, because getting older is a drag, and exposure to radiation is the best way to die.

        I didn’t know her husband was run over by a bus.

      • Max, why don’t you watch the whole video before sprouting nonsense about it.

        Happy New year, btw

      • A horse drawn wagon is not a bus. Be fearful of horse drawn carts if it is raining and your vision is obstructed.

        All sorts of interesting reading on the webs is available about all the interesting experiments with radioactive substances the Curies and their colleagues performed.

        Self inflicted radiation burns for 2000 Alex.

      • Bob, google “omnibus”.
        Besides, the point isn’t diminished.
        Understanding something and being aware of its dangers isn’t the same as living in fear of it.
        We’re only fearful of what we don’t understand – which was Curie’s whole point.

      • Plus, she may not have been aware of the full dangers of radiation, but we no longer have ignorance as an excuse for fear.

      • ==> “And her husband was run over by a bus – does that mean we should live in fear of buses?”

        My guess is that you don’t stand in the street in front of an oncoming bus.

        Just a guess, of course.

      • There goes the thread…

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        phatboy | January 1, 2015 at 5:11 pm |
        Max, why don’t you watch the whole video before sprouting nonsense about it.
        ________

        There’s nothing nonsensical about laughing at a colossal blunder.

        I did watched the entire video. I watched the flabbergasting part three times, because I had trouble believing anyone could make such a mistake.

      • Phatboy,

        You can easily find photos of the implicated vehicle on the web, it was not a people carriage.

        Ah, Marie Curie, amongst her discoveries is the fact that radiation kills, and thanks to her, we now understand that.

        And understanding radiation leads to the knowledge that there is time to fear radiation and times not to fear, the knowledge is key to the difference.

        Sometimes one alpha particle kills a cell, but sometimes it recovers, but two alphas always kills a cell. I wish I could find the study that supports that again. The conclusion being, one particle of radiation is sufficient to kill you. So smoke em if you got em. Or its just paint, no problem licking my paintbrush.

        The problem being that things that are dangerous were used without the understanding of those dangers.

        I might have understanding of radiation dangers, after all I work with radiation and am concerned with chemicals that can pass the blood brain barrier.

      • Bob, what exactly is the point you’re trying to make?
        That radiation is dangerous? We know that.
        So is fire.
        So is water.
        But we understand the dangers, and their benefits as well. We use them, we respect them, but we don’t live our lives in fear of them.
        Understanding frees us from fear.

      • Max, have you stopped to consider that the error may be with your misunderstanding, or perhaps your taking things out of context?
        If you’re sure there’s an error there then why not write him and ask for a clarification? I’m sure that if he had inadvertently made an error the he would welcome someone pointing it out.

  51. Climate Researcher 

    May I suggest that 2015 will be the year when astute climate researchers come to the realisation that surface temperatures are controlled by thermodynamic processes (sensible convective heat transfers) as distinct from radiative heat transfer. This is the 21st century new paradigm shift I first wrote about late in 2012. Momentum is gathering as other climate blogs like The Hockey Schtick, Clive Best and Tallbloke get onto the effect of gravity, even though they have not correctly explained the energy transfer mechanisms which can be explained by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. You only have to wonder a little about how the Venus surface warms when the Sun shines to start to realise that it’s not all about radiation absorbed by the surface.

    • The surface of Venus is isothermal. Pole to equator, dark side to sun side, all the same temperature. It has a day length of 125 earth days wherein the surface doesn’t cool during 125 days of darkness nor get warmer duing 125 days of sunlight.

      There are virtually no winds on the surface because the atmosphere, 90 times as dense as earths, is almost liquid and moves more like ocean currents and rivers on the earth.

      Venus is highly volcanic with a much thinner crust than the earth.

      Conclusion: The surface temperature of Venus is due to heat from the molten core and much thinner crust. The syrupy thick CO2 atmosphere serves to insulate the thin crust to a far greater degree than earth which allows the heat from the molten sub-surface to reach the interface between rocks and atmosphere.

      Write that down and then go away and slay Sky Dragons elsewhere please.

      • The winds on Venus would be Fujita 5 if they were tornadic. The whole atmosphere circles the planet in four days, that’s why the temperature between night and day doesn’t change very much.

        The earth’s oceans do a much better job insulating earth than than the clouds of venus.

      • Climate Researcher 

        David in TX:

        The surface of Venus is only approximately isothermal. A point on the equator passing through 4 months of darkness must cool by a little, and it does by about 5 degrees. It then warms back up by the same amount during 4 months on the sunlit side. The mean temperature on each side is thus equal, but specific temperatures range between 732K and 737K. There is no evidence of global cooling for Venus over the last few decades when measurements have been made.

        And, no, the temperature of the Venus surface is not due to heat from a cooling core. The dark side cools by 5 degrees in 4 months, so, if the Sun’s radiation stopped, the whole planet would cool right down, including its core, within just a few thousand years. So too would the core of our Moon, as well as Earth, Uranus etc. In fact, Uranus is a good example wherein there is no convincing evidence of significant net energy loss at top of atmosphere. Its 5,000K small solid core (55% the mass of Earth) is not cooling off or generating energy out of matter. All planets like this cool a little on the dark side and warm back up by the same amount on the sunlit side. Otherwise they would not all exhibit a gravitationally induced temperature gradient close to the quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the weighted mean specific heat of the gases and other matter involved.

        You could learn how the thermal energy gets down to the surface of Venus (restoring thermodynamic equilibrium as it does so) in the Amazon book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All” which contains the valid physics not generally known, but which is now starting to be discussed. Carbon dioxide from the less hot troposphere of Venus cannot help the Sun’s radiation actually raise the surface temperature. Nor can direct solar radiation (less than 20W/m^2) raise the temperature in the first place. You, and most people, need a paradigm shift in your thinking about planetary tropospheric, surface, mantle and core temperatures which are all supported by solar energy.

      • 5 degrees change between 732C and 737C over 125 days of constant sun is, to put it gently, an insignificant change that proves my point that the surface temperature has *almost* nothing to do with solar heating and everything to do with a thin crust floating over molten rocks with a very dense insulating atmosphere over the crust.

        Thanks for playing. Now go away.

      • No Bob. The lower atmosphere on Venus does not circumnavigate the globe in four days. That’s the upper atmosphere.

        You should know by now not to argue with me on encyclopedic knowledge such as this:

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

        The winds near the surface of Venus are much slower than that on Earth. They actually move at only a few kilometres per hour (generally less than 2 m/s and with an average of 0.3 to 1.0 m/s), but due to the high density of the atmosphere at the surface, this is still enough to transport dust and small stones across the surface, much like a slow-moving current of water.[1][22]

        The circumference at the equator is about 38 million meters. At 2 meters per second it would take 19 million seconds to travel all the way around. That’s 219 days not 4 days.

      • “There are virtually no winds on the surface because the atmosphere, 90 times as dense as earths, is almost liquid and moves more like ocean currents and rivers on the earth.”

        The atmosphere of Venus is 64 kg/m3 vs 1000 kg/m3 for water vs 1.24 kg/m3 for air. So… much closer to liquid than gas.

      • David,
        I didn’t say the lower atmosphere, I said the whole atmosphere, just like the wikipedia cite you posted

        “The whole atmosphere circles the planet in just four Earth days”

        Look what else your cite says

        “A runaway greenhouse effect may have been caused by the evaporation of the surface water and subsequent rise of the levels of other greenhouse gases.[8]”

        And this

        “The large amount of CO2 in the atmosphere together with water vapour and sulfur dioxide create a strong greenhouse effect, trapping solar energy and raising the surface temperature to around 740 K (467 °C),”

        Which is what causes Venus to be so hot

        I think that will be the last time I mention venus, I’ll use something like Aphrodite instead, so that certain searchers won’t find the posts and post their Uranus stories.

      • Actually the upper atmosphere circles the whole planet in 2/100ths of a Venusian day.

      • How can the whole atmosphere traverse the globe, Bob, when the surface winds average between 0.3 and 1 meter second.

        You got some ‘splainin to do.

        Good luck.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Climate Researcher: May I suggest that 2015 will be the year when astute climate researchers come to the realisation that surface temperatures are controlled by thermodynamic processes (sensible convective heat transfers) as distinct from radiative heat transfer.

      I think that the Romps et al study of lightning strike frequency is a step in the right direction. This isn’t an either/or, but the non-radiative energy transfer processes have not been studied enough.

      • Climate Researcher 

        Whilst it’s true that non-radiative energy transfers, that is convective heat transfer (where convection includes diffusion as in physics) have not been studied, it is relatively straight forward to determine what must be happening if we consider the process described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics wherein entropy increases as thermodynamic equilibrium is approached with its associated density gradient and temperature gradient. It’s all explained in the above-mentioned book.

    • Climate researcher… inner planet core temperatures are NOT maintained by the sun. You are utterly ignorant of planetary geology.

      Get a clue.

      Start here:

      http://lasp.colorado.edu/~bagenal/1010/SESSIONS/12.PlanetGeology.html

      • Climate Researcher 

        You have no explanation regarding the core temperature of Uranus. The explanation (based on valid physics) may be found in my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All” and I’m not reproducing whole chapters here. Despite my background in geology as well as physics, this is a matter of physics not geology.

      • Climate Researcher 

        If all planetary cores were just cooling off from arbitrary initial temperatures then there would be infinitesimal probability that the temperature gradients all just happened be based on the quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the weighted mean specific heat of the gases and other matter. And even if that were the case by sheer coincidence at this point in time, then it would not be the case in a billion years from now if cooling continued. Why is it that all temperature profiles from planetary cores out to where there is radiative balance with the Sun (somewhere in the tropopshere) just happen to have the right gradient to get the temperature down to just the right level at just the right altitude? I have explained what happens and why this is so in the book.

      • Planetary core temperatures are guesstimates. Ice giants Uranus and Neptune particularly so given the great distance away and paucity of close up observations. You can cherry pick any values that happen to fit your cockamamie hypothesis. The larger the planet the hotter its interior because most of the heat is from gravitational compression during formation 4 billion years ago. Unless they’re mass is still growing, which it isn’t, there is no more heat being added due to gravitational compression. The larger the planet the less surface area to mass and the slower it cools. But you know all that and still spout gibberish trying to hawk that stupid book. There are better ways to make money, Cotton, than making a fool of yourself in print. Go away.

      • Climate Researcher

         

        I suppose you Texans think that the core of our Moon (at about 1300C) is still just cooling off, despite how cold its dark side gets.

        Those who are genuinely interested in the correct physics explaining temperatures not for “cherry-picked” planets, but for all planets and satellite moons, even beneath their surfaces, can read it at WhyItsNotCO2.com.
         

  52. ‘Today, over one billion people around the world—five hundred million of them in sub-Saharan Africa alone—lack access to electricity. Nearly three billion people cook over open fires fueled by wood, dung, coal, or charcoal. This energy poverty presents a significant hurdle to achieving development goals of health, prosperity, and a livable environment.

    The relationship between access to modern energy services and quality of life is well established. Affordable and reliable grid electricity allows factory owners to increase output and hire more workers. Electricity allows hospitals to refrigerate lifesaving vaccines and power medical equipment. It liberates children and women from manual labor. Societies that are able to meet their energy needs become wealthier, more resilient, and better able to navigate social and environmental hazards like climate change and natural disasters.

    Faced with a perceived conflict between expanding global energy access and rapidly reducing greenhouse emissions to prevent climate change, many environmental groups and donor institutions have come to rely on small-scale, decentralized, renewable energy technologies that cannot meet the energy demands of rapidly growing emerging economies and people struggling to escape extreme poverty. The UN’s flagship energy access program, for example, claims that “basic human needs” can be met with enough electricity to power a fan, a couple of light bulbs, and a radio for five hours a day.

    A reconsideration of what equitable energy access means for human development and the environment is needed. As this paper demonstrates, a massive expansion of energy systems, primarily carried out in the rapidly urbanizing global South, in combination with the rapid acceleration of clean energy innovation, is a more pragmatic, just, and morally acceptable framework for thinking about energy access. The time has come to embrace a high-energy planet.’ http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/our-high-energy-planet

    Here’s a very sophisticated micro grid for western applications.

    http://www.kingislandrenewableenergy.com.au/

    Note the real time data stream.

    It cost $46 million for a 3.4MW peak load – it includes 6MW diesel generation. The savings in diesel are about 2 million litres a year. Frankly – running a system on biodiesel – without the wind and solar – would be a cheaper option.

    Village scale plant for a fan, a couple if bulbs and a radio are a lot simpler and can be based on wind, solar, biomass, methane, etc – depending on whats available and cheap. But building a high energy planet requires cheap and abundant energy. This might come from a technological breakthrough.

    ‘Fusion research is known for its huge projects — and its huge lack of tangible success. Big machines like the Princeton tokamak and the Livermore laser have indeed managed to fuse a few nuclei, but have required too much energy to get too little in return. A Brooklyn web developer named Mark Suppes recently created fusion in in his own home, using a much simpler device called a Farnsworth fusor. Accessing declassified experiments, and using open-source software, open-source hardware and crowdsourced funding, he has turned the traditional approach to scientific research on its head — and he makes it look easy.’

    It’s just funny enough to work. To be fair however – there are fusion projects on the books from the like of Lockheed Martin, Lawrenceville Plasma Physics and the massive ITER project.

    Plan B is to go with new evolution in existing technology. This is so far advanced from conventional nuclear that it is not the same technology at all. We are looking at factory built nuclear engines from any of a dozen manufacturers. With the US versions being fast tracked to generic approvals by the Obama administration. Needles to say – this is likely to continue under whatever brand of government there is in future. 400 would supply US power needs for 400 years using existing high level nuclear waste.

    Not quite too cheap to meter – unless Lawrenceville Plasma Physics comes up trumps – but a lot closer than some alternatives.

    • Chief, I went to the link of the guy using Philo Farnsworths’s fusor to make homemade fusion energy. It is indeed very interesting but the guy has now given up on the four year project as he said he’d need about two million to continue. You’d think if such a thing is possible there would be a race to get in on it. Sounds like one of those things that will be stuck on the shelf. In that case you’d be left wondering if it is a hoax or if you’re conspiracy minded that the industrial powers that be will somehow squash it never to see the light of day. We keep waiting for technology breakthroughs but somehow we’re stuck with fossil fuels. There is something amiss here I just can’t put my finger on it. There are so many web sites with all this promising looking technology and some with big investors (ala Bill Gates types himself included) and yet we’re not seeing any real results. It seems like this has been going on since at least the seventies when Jimma Carter was championing such a direction. The only thing I can think of is that there is some kind of flaw in our capitalist system that should make this happen or that it is corrupted by politics both with business and government.

      • David Wojick

        So our civilization is still based on fire. Food too. Fundamentals are hard to change.

      • Fission is up against human nature – fear. I like the idea of fusion but currently it only occurs in stars – nothing nearby and lots of gravity to sustain and contain the fuel. Renewables lack power density. The potential energy in refined fossil fuels is so good if it didn’t exist we would have to invent it.

      • Philo also created a 200 KW nuclear fission home electricity source the size of a pot-bellied stove. I worked at ITT and Philo is a local legend around there.

        We all could be independent of the grid. The government of course confiscated the two prototypes and they went to parts unknown.

        Philo also designed a nuclear rocket engine that was the basis for NERVA.

    • Rob, it is instructive to look at each country separately. Re Congo Republic.
      From the article:

      Congo also has extensive hydropower potential, but most of it remains untapped. Despite Congo’s rich energy resources, the electrification rate is low, especially in rural areas, mainly because of a lack of electricity infrastructure. According to the latest (2010) estimate from the World Bank, 37% of the country has access to electricity, leaving more than 2.5 million people without access.

      http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=cf

      So, it appears they have plenty of natural resources. So, what’s the problem? This is:
      From the article:

      In September 2006, during the United Nations General Assembly meeting, Sassou Nguesso’s entourage, including several members of his family, occupied 44 rooms which together cost £130,000. Almost £14,000 of room service at the Waldorf Astoria was added to Sassou Nguesso’s bill during a five-night stay, including two bottles of Cristal champagne charged at £400. The total was pointed out by the British newspaper The Sunday Times to be “comfortably more than the £106,000 that Britain gave the Republic of Congo in humanitarian aid in 2006.”[15]
      In July 2007, the British NGO Global Witness published documents on its website that appear to show that the President’s son, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, may have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of money that may derive from the country’s oil sales on shopping sprees in Paris and Dubai.[16] The documents show that in August 2006 alone, Denis Christel, who is the head of Cotrade – the marketing branch of Congo’s state oil firm SNPC – spent $35,000 on purchases from designers such as Louis Vuitton and Roberto Cavalli.[17] Attempts were made by Schillings Solicitors to suppress this information but the application failed.[18]

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

      So, the best thing that can be done is to help the Congolese is to get rid of the current government because that is the problem. Instead, we waste money on the world bank so the likes of this guy can get more money. Why isn’t the UN parked at his door demanding a resignation? Why? Because it is a useless waste of money and resources, that’s why.

      • David Wojick

        The luxury is rather appalling, but a major hydro program takes a few more zeroes on the numbers. Perhaps they cannot afford it.

      • Hi David W. If you check out the first link, the Congo has oil and gas, produced by … drum roll … the State Owned Oil Company. It’s this way in a lot of “poor” underdeveloped counties. It’s the thieves running the country that are the problem. And the UN does absolutely nothing for these billions of poor people. The UN should be pounding the drum for the thieves to be hanged, but the thieves are mostly in charge there. Cut off the UN, I say.

      • Correct. What the Congo needs, just like everybody else, is the rule of law, the protection of their rights ( …” to ensure these rights governments are instituted…”), and the ability to engage in the pursuit of happiness without some thug stealing the fruits of their labors. They are able to figure out everything else themselves.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Yes, let’s shape the Congo up and put it on the right track. Tell the Tutsi to get the hell out and stay out. If they give us any lip, send in the Marines. Tell the rebels and the government to shake hands and act like adults, or we will have our troops give ’em a good spanking.

        Hold elections for a new government, but if we don’t like the results, choose a dictator we can trust to do what we like. Train an army to keep the dictator in power. Attract foreign investors who are willing to fill the dictators pockets as well as fill their own pockets.

        After the country has settled down, again hold elections and wait for everything to fall apart. Choose another dictator and try to convince foreign investors it will be different this time.

      • Curious George

        Max – I suspect that this may be your best advice. Or else, what would you do?

  53. Climate Researcher

    Have a happy and relaxed New Year, everyone, comforted by the now proven fact that carbon dioxide does not warm at all because valid physics shows that all it can do is cool by a minuscule amount.

  54. Thanks again Judith for your wonderful blog. Here in France, I feel sad. Yesterday evening all French TV networks presented the best wishes to the nation of our president, François Hollande. In particular, he was amazingly confident, proudly telling us that the climate conference next December in Paris, will be a great success, and that France (that he quoted as a great nation), will show its strength in coping with climate warming. And you add on top of that that all governments hope to create new jobs (thanks to global warning), which are in great demand. I did even learn, a few days ago, that France plan to open a school for the training of technicians, who will be in charge of the maintenance of the eolien park. How can you be optimistic? Possibly by getting more details about the house that Al Gore bought on the US East coast, near the sea shore. Have all a great new year. Michel

  55. John Costigane

    Happy New Year, Judith.

    Your 2015 prediction for Arctic Sea-Ice extent is a welcome addition to the skeptic side, with a 365 day ding-dong in the climate wars guaranteed. .This could well be the last stand for the discredited Dangerous AGW nonsense.

    Such a victory could lead to better things for you and, more importantly, for America..

  56. Happy New Year Judith.
    Thanks for th support to scientific integrity and honest reporting. What a controversal set of competing theories. Is it a long slow thaw, a stadium wave or the first steps in a warming ocean world? Will the conveyor belt hide the ocean heating of 0.2 degrees for a thousand years or will the pause change to a long term cycle?

    So interesting.

    Thanks for bringing all these questions to explore.

    Will you go back to Chair fo Environmental Sciences or was the sabatical a more permanent change?

    Scott

  57. Matthew R Marler

    During much of 2015 I will be on sabbatical from Georgia Tech, exploring new research directions and working on the 2nd edition of my text Thermodynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans. In principle I will have more time for blogging, but for the next 3 weeks I am busy preparing a proposal and preparing a talk.

    I wish you success in your works.

  58. Judy,
    Congrats on a very successful year of blogging! Your sabbatical is well deserved, and will no doubt be very productive. I’m hoping that climate science continues to build on AR 5 in terms of migrating towards a more objective and formal approach to building logic structures in 2015. We will know we are on the right path when the IPCC ceases publishing graphical representations of expert opinion!

  59. 2013-2014 – the year fracking and other private sector efforts cut the price of oil almost in half, saved what’s left of the Obama presidency, and put an end to talk of peak oil (until next week).

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/395584/ironies-oil-victor-davis-hanson

  60. Max, et al,

    Happy New Year Everyone!
    Max, thought you’d find this of interest. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2015/01/01/utilities-in-new-mexico-across-us-work-to-meet-higher-2015-standards-for/

  61. I just had an opportunity to read Kim Cobb’s article in the GT Alumni Mag. Considering that Climate Science is a field in its infancy, considering that in 2014 we had the first opportunity (NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Mission) to measure atmosphere carbon dioxide with the “accuracy, resolution and coverage needed to identify its sources and sinks,” considering there is no data to support the theory, considering she is failing to follow the scientific process, and considering that no other field of science would allow advocating such drastic action based on such little evidence, I found her article to be both arrogant and disappointing from a Associate Professor at Ga. Tech.

  62. And finally:
    Not many punters here put much trust in the matters solar (CO2, thermo-dynamics, el Nino & Nina, etc. are main fixations), but it is worth to note that solar activity in 2014 was good, SIDC (International Sunspot count) ended year just under 80.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN.htm
    On personal note, I extrapolated the past SSN records (see formula), some 10 years ago and came with SC24 max at ~ 80, and never expected to get that close (NASA’s Hathaway at the time was talking of 200, but about a year or two later Stamford’s Svalgaard predicted 70, which looks good, though a bit on the low side).

  63. John Smith (it's my real name)

    perhaps
    in 2015
    through political change
    we can achieve a sustainable climate

    • “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Tongue-in-cheek I hope, John. HNY.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Faustino
        whatever do you mean
        I seek only sustainable hope and change
        it is for the children
        HNY to you

  64. After reading Steve McIntyres assessment of the appeal by NRO and Rand Simberg it sounds like they will lose that appeal due to incompetent attorneys. If the trial goes forward, I still see the crux of the case being Mann presenting a case of malice vs Styne presenting a case of fraud. Both cases, from what I understand, have a high legal bar. I personally think that the malice part is less interesting and onlookers would think the same. I don’t really know how strong that assertion is but it is really the crux of Mann’s case. Now proving fraud must be what Climate people of both sides would deem important. If Mann loses thatit would be a devastatingly and probably an unrecoverable blow for both him and the conformist climate club as the stick is so closely associated to yhe cause. If Styne loses it would be a personal blow and financial blow. However, I don’t see that as really a big blow to skeptics in that it is only one small particular in the overall question about uncertainty and not even related. I’m sure most skeptics understand temperature has gone up, it’s just a question of how much and how long.

  65. JC IS REALLY GETTING SNIPPY (I’ll save her the trouble)

  66. On the other hand the 2014 annual CET was warmest since records begun 1659 at 10.93C
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-dMm.htm
    …………. Dec Annual
    2012 4.8 9.72
    2013 6.3 9.56
    2014 5.2 10.93

  67. 2015 – off to a great start in Europe: we know that the EU is mad and likes to direct the minutiae of people’s lives, but this is ridiculous. The DT only quotes a brain-washed citizen in response to the implementation of the EU directive:

    “For coffee lovers it may feel like the ultimate breakfast-time interference from Brussels. In an attempt to improve energy efficiency filter coffee machines must now switch off after five minutes of percolating to prevent electricity waste. …

    “Marylyn Haines Evans, public affairs chairwoman of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, said: “Nobody likes to waste energy, and at a time when energy bills are increasing, having appliances designed to be sparing with electricity is definitely a good thing for your household finances. Coffee is one of the many products threatened by climate change, so it’s also good to know that when you’re making a cup, you’re doing your bit to cut down on carbon emissions too.”

    And Happy New Year to you too, Big Brother, we are grateful that you still allow coffee-brewing.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/shopping-and-consumer-news/11320629/Tepid-coffee-anyone-Europe-rules-percolators-must-shut-off-after-five-minutes.html

    • Faustini

      But just remember that Marylyn Haines Evans, myself and all the other eu citizens are Nobel winners so have much in common with Michael Mann so are obviously onboard with the concerns over climate change and those anti social coffee machines.

      Tonyb

      • ==> “Faustini”

        I do agree that in terms of logic, Faustino is a bit of an escape artist.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Tonyb
        HNY
        butting in here in regards to your concerns up thread about our American leadership selection process

        it occurs to me that we are developing royal bloodlines in US
        a Clinton/ Bush race is quite possible

        that unfortunate spat in the late 1700s may have been for naught

        perhaps it is the natural order of things
        any advice for your wayward brethren?

        that Duke, Earl, and Lord stuff gets a bit confusing

      • John

        From our side of the pond it would appear that many of those running for top office in the states are just not very good and it’s bivouac here not very good at an early stage.

        There must surely be better contenders than Bush, Clinton or Romney ( again? Wasn’t once enough?)

        The difference of course is that our royals are there by royal bloodline whereas you actually vote for the likes of Obama, the Bushes and Clinton.

        I assume that the power of the political parties and money/ contacts explains why certain people get put forward but it doesn’t explain why, with the depth of Expertise you must have, why there isnt a much larger pool and why better people don’t rise to the top of the pile.

        It seems to me that the States have abdicated their position as leader of the western world and that has serious repercussions for all of us and for your own power and prestige.

        I don’t see the current crop of politicians having the expertise, drive or vision to reverse your relative declne. As a friend of the States I sincerely hope I am wrong.

        Tonyb

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Tony
        I think a tradition of leadership is exactly the problem
        just take the climate issue
        You spoke to this in his your recent comment about an Apollo like campaign to solve the technical issues of clean energy

        a positive, the future is ours, response
        as a opposed to the negative, rear view mirror, be afraid junk we are handed now
        my God, the fools actually scare children in their attempts to indoctrinate

        this week is the 70th anniversary of my fathers wounding (likely third) in Wingen Sur Moder France

        He was a non-com rifle platoon leader
        12 years ago after his death I had dinner with a fellow in NYC who was a a young private in his platoon
        he described being sure that he was soon to die and how my father took him aside and said “don’t worry, we will prevail, we are going to win, you will be fine, I will see to it”

        that’s the kind of leadership example I yearn for
        I have problems with the fear mongering effete toads they offer up to us now
        I don’t know what happened
        just the corrosive effects of affluence…old story

        sorry for the rant
        but you, like I, know many fine souls who 7 decades ago braved a desperately cold winter to save the world
        it’s on my mind
        just wanted to do a bit of remembering

      • Tony –

        ==> “It seems to me that the States have abdicated their position as leader of the western world and that has serious repercussions for all of us and for your own power and prestige.”

        I’ve seen you write that comment, essentially, a number of times now. I’m curious to know what that means..it seems like a very empty argument to me.

        In your view, what, specifically. should American leaders have done to fulfill their “position as leaders of the western world?”

      • Joshua, quite right and HNY. Here’s an example of me using logic as an escape artist:

        Death in the Himalayas (almost)

        In Kathmandu in November 1972, everyone said to me “You must go trekking, you must go trekking!” I didn’t know what trekking was, but off I went, bus to Pokhara then heading up the Jomosom trail on foot with Annapurna South to my right. I was travelling very lightly, a light sleeping bag over one shoulder, a small shoulder bag over the other.

        On day three, I found myself on a narrow path cut into a steep rock-face. Below the path, the rock-face continued for about 100-150 feet, then there were dense uninhabited woods. If you fell, you’ld probably be killed, if not, you’ld die of your injuries in the woods.

        Being late November, with the snowline down to 9000 feet, the local herders were sending their animals back down from summer pastures to the valleys for the winter. They travelled unattended, as there was only one way to go.

        A long line of ponies approached me, each with a large pack on either side. I flattened myself against the rock-face to let them pass. One pony was, like me, reluctant to go to the edge of the path. It hugged the rock-face as it approached, refusing to move over. I was forced to step to the very edge of the narrow path.

        As the pony got nearer, it lost its footing, and lurched towards me. A pack struck me in the chest and lifted me off the path. I grabbed the pack and hung on. Unbalanced by my weight, the pony continued to stumble towards the edge – I was going to pull it over.

        I thought “Well, I’m probably going to die, but the chance of death is higher if I have a heavily-laden pony on top of me.” So I let go.

        Because I had been hanging from the pack, I fell vertically rather than tumbling backwards. I ascertained later that in that rock-face, there was a single small tree, growing out at an angle. My feet hit the angle between tree and rock, I fell backwards – my sleeping back to one side of the narrow trunk, my shoulder bag on the other. I stayed still for a while, not seeing how I could climb back to the path, but eventually managed to scale it. I had faced death and survived.

        Pretty exciting, this trekking stuff.

      • Joshua

        I think that America has lost its confidence, it’s self belief and sense of purpose and duty which is all tied up in the desire to lead and expectation that it will do so and make the world a better and safer place.

        We currently have a worrying vacuum in the west and there hasn’t been one of those for several centuries as the Brits took on the mantle of leadership from the Spanish and the US took it on from us after world war two.

        Well Joshua, do you think Americas best years are still ahead of it or receding into the past ? More to the poInt , are you satisfied that the recent crop of leaders is the best that America can produce?

        Tonyb

      • John

        I saw Joshua’s reply before yours. I think your second paragraph sums it up succinctly. It seems to me that America has lost its optimism and can do spirit and we are all the poorer for it.

        Tonyb

      • Tony –

        I should point out that you didn’t answer my question.

        I’m sure that if we had a vote here at Climate Etc., you’d win election to “leader of the free world” over any of the candidates available. As such, if you had been elected as president of the U.S. at the point where you feel out leaders let it slip downhill, what would you have done in their stead to maintain our preeminence?

        I’m still thinking that you’re making an empty – “kids aren’t like they used to be” kind of argument.

        Perhaps we might have had leaders that would have instilled a greater confidence among the American citizenry. If so, (1) do you think that would have been merely the result of their character, or do you think it would have the result of specific policies they would have enacted, and if so, what policies, and (2) do you think that Americans’ level of confidence somehow equates to world leadership? I don’t think so. Not saying that Americans’ confidence is necessarily a bad thing, but it seems to me like a pretty empty measure of quality of a country’s policies and leadership. I would imagine the Germans during the early part of Hitler’s regime were a pretty confident folk.

        At the onset of the Iraq War, America was a pretty confident place, pretty confident in it’s leaders who argued in favor of preemptive military action. How well do you think that worked out?

      • Joshua

        I am not sure a climate blog is the best place to discuss highly involved politics which would require many hours of discussion to advance to any conclusion.

        For what it’s worth I would date the loss of confidence to the Vietnam war and exacerbated by the poor response to the new Orleans storm and failure in somalia but there are no doubt numerous other straws in the wind that are relevant

        Iraq also has a lot to do with it. The mid east has evolved strong ruthless leaders for a good reason and removing them, no matter how unpleasant we find them, Has been counter productive.

        I fear a weak and aimless America much more than I fear AGW. I will bid you good night as its coming up to midnight when I turn into a pumpkin

        Tonyb

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        It’s not exactly that the US has abdicated it’s leadership role
        through trade agreements, the UN, EU, the rise of international advocacy groups, and for that matter the internet
        nation state identity is threatened
        most intellectuals think that’s good
        not being one, I don’t

        what takes the place of nation states remains undefined
        regaining a say for ordinary people in the new order is going to be a problem
        what little we had was fun while it lasted

      • tony –

        ==> “I am not sure a climate blog is the best place to discuss highly involved politics which would require many hours of discussion to advance to any conclusion.”

        Interesting. I would think that if you felt that way, you wouldn’t repeatedly make broad and vague assertions about U.S. leaders abdicating their role as leaders of the free world.

        I’ve asked you a relatively simple question a number of times now. I’ve approached it from more than one angle. And you have made comments in reply. But you still haven’t answered the question.

        My point is, tony, it’s easy to make such a proclamation, but it seems rather empty to me if you don’t ground the argument in something more in-depth.

        Pick just one of the possible examples – since you have written your disparagement of Obama’s leadership in the context of recent developments in the Middle East – maybe pick that context. Explain what you think Obama should have done differently, that would have improved America’s leadership status.

      • “Obama’s leadership” = oxymoron.

      • John Smith

        The story about your dad is inspiring!

        Do not fret about our future. There is a reason millions of people around the world want to come here and it is not just the wealth.

        We just tossed a bunch of bums out of the senate, did the same to the house a few years ago, won a bunch of governerships, and have an opportunity to fix an 8 year mistake. It’s going to be ok, just like that brave young soldier in the snow said 70 years ago.

      • JC SNIP

      • Joshua

        You never ask ‘simple’ questions. I said

        “I am not sure a climate blog is the best place to discuss highly involved politics which would require many hours of discussion to advance to any conclusion.”

        To which you in part replied;

        “Interesting. I would think that if you felt that way, you wouldn’t repeatedly make broad and vague assertions about U.S. leaders abdicating their role as leaders of the free world.”

        Look Joshua, I am not specifically blaming Obama. I suspect that I am far closer to the democrats than I am to the Republicans. I think the failure is one of leadership that has manifested itself , for whatever reasons, by America not taking an active part on the World Stage for some years, perhaps because their involvement has not always been successful in recent times..

        History tells us that you need a strong and relatively benign force–whether the Romans The British or the US- to keep some sort of world order. A need that grows as we become more interconnected.

        I am the President and only member of a ‘Plague on all your parties,’ party. Unfortunately many of our politicians are self serving, ignore the desires of those who elect them and are not very good in the first place. We have that in the UK at present, In general that is true of much of the EU , possibly because decisions are no longer made at sovereign state level but collectively and by bureaucrats.

        I perceive the same malaise in the US with the people your political process throws up. It matters more with you as you are currently the Wests natural leader. The application of benign power and placing controls on those who rule us is something I am acutely aware of at present, not only because we have a general election this year but because this is the 800th anniversary of Magna Charta

        It is self evident from the partisan responses that political comments create that this is not something that could be discussed sporadically a few words at a time in a non related blog as we are wildly off topic.

        Without expending millions of words on the subject with numerous arguments and counter arguments this is a case where we may have to beg to differ.

        tonyb

      • tony –

        Sorry, but I still think that your theme here hits on the “Old Man Yells at Cloud” theme:

        ==> “Look Joshua, I am not specifically blaming Obama. ”

        Yes, you made that obvious with your locating the start of this American abdication of leadership with Vietnam. I just offered the Obama example because you have specifically argued before that his lack of leadership w/r/t the Middle East is an example of this failure in leadership.

        ==> “I think the failure is one of leadership that has manifested itself , for whatever reasons, by America not taking an active part on the World

        Once again, tony – you keep saying this and I keep asking you for something specific. If America’s “decline” is due to some lack of leadership, then certainly, it seems to me, you should be able to give some example of what the proper kind of leadership would have looked like – other than with some vague allusion to leading the world. I’ve asked you to pick any example to illustrate your point. But you still haven’t done so and I’m beginning to get the sense that you won’t. Until you do, it seems to me that what you’re essentially saying is that you wish things were better but can’t really support your assertion of causality.

        ==> “History tells us that you need a strong and relatively benign force–whether the Romans The British or the US- to keep some sort of world order. A need that grows as we become more interconnected.”

        So how would that strong and relatively benign force have played out in your estimation? Give a scenario. What should the U.S. have done differently to manifest that strong and relatively benign force on the world stage?

        It is self evident from the partisan responses that political comments create that this is not something that could be discussed sporadically a few words at a time in a non related blog as we are wildly off topic.

        tony – you brought up the topic of American leadership, and have done so numerous times now.

        ==> “Without expending millions of words on the subject with numerous arguments and counter arguments this is a case where we may have to beg to differ.”

        It won’t take millions of words. Just give an example of what you’re thinking Americans leaders should have done to manifest a strong and relatively benign force.

        Or don’t.

      • Joshua

        You are again asking for simple sound bite answers to debate something that could take many nights over a beer in a pub without coming to any conclusion. If you ever come to this part of the world its a debate we could continue much more usefully than here.

        Years ago I travelled regularly to Syria, Iraq and Pakistan. I wouldn’t dream of doing so now. I actually met Sadaam Hussein and took an interest in his subsequent ‘career’. I also met Assad’s father and the Shah of Iran so can see the lack of security and that respect for the West has diminished exponentially. Some of them were evil men undoubtedly but better than what has replaced them I suspect and the full results of the intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq has still to play out.

        We can ask ourselves the question as to whether the West in particular, and in general the world, are happier, wealthier, safer and freer than they were x years ago. Do we look optimistically to the future?

        I suspect the answer for many is no. How much of that is due to Americas relative decline and apparent loss of confidence? As the Worlds policeman and prime promoter of ‘capitalism’ and western freedoms it bears some responsibilities.

        In particular since 9/11 its loss of confidence and poor decisions (in some matters) have exacerbated the concerns over freedom and safety with the wholesale exporting of jobs to China apparently also bringing in the less wealthy aspect, perhaps combined with the cost of fighting wars.

        The EU certainly hasn’t helped things and in general I see lack of good leadership as being endemic in the West. In that context you can see my comments about the poor quality of leaders in general in better context, as American leaders are more important than most, or were.

        Americas ‘Empire’ lasted a bare half a century. Is it really at an end already? Will we (the West) like what may replace it?
        tonyb

  68. John

    Third line down the word should be ‘obvious they are not very good…’ the word is not bivouac. the iPad has a mind of its own…

    Tonyb

  69. I see no good reason ti change my theoretical model from that underlined above. That is, it emphasises the importance of Carbon isotopes and neutrons in the CO2 molecule’s structure, affecting its energy absorbing capabilities and the importance of on/off capability in models.

    • “But progress to reduce emissions at least cost is being thwarted by the anti-nuclear activists.”

      The problem with global warming activists is they really don’t give a damn about the environment – they only give a damn about getting their only way.

      They really don’t care about CO2 or warming (if they did they wouldn’t lie so much), they just want to stop fossil fuel use and promote fashionable forms of energy.

      The cold fact is nuclear is the cleanest form of energy.

      The cold fact is we can stop CO2 PPM from rising anytime we want.

      The rainforest burning that generates 2+ gT of carbon per year destroys about 500 megatons of carbon sink. If we stopped rainforest destruction for 8 years (8 * 0.5 = 4) the additional sinking would bring the atmospheric CO2 rise – 4.2 gT per year – to a halt (actually it would be sooner – because emissions would be 7.8 gT instead of 9.8 gT). The “100 year” atmospheric carbon lifetime is really a joke.

      If at any time we stop deforestation the CO2 problem goes away. But this approach doesn’t blend with the warmer/greens policy agenda. They actually promoted biofuels which accelerated the rainforest destruction. Much of the ex-rainforest is used for palm oil, sugar cane, etc. for biofuel.

      • Oh say what is carbon saving about the burning of wood for
        bio energy? Drax in Northern Yorkshire switching from coal
        to biomass takes us back to the great deforestation of the
        Middle Ages, this time the felling of the tropical rainforests.
        To do what?

      • Well, you have noted one of the problems with environmentalist driven policies.

        It doesn’t look like they think through their solutions before they propose them. Either that or their stated aims are different than their actual intent.

      • Thank you, PA and Belinda, for your replies.

  70. To bring in the New Year, and provide some education for anti-nuke cultists who are posting here, I thought I’d take the opportunity to provide a summary of high level, relevant information.

    Nuclear power is the least cost and fastest way to substantially cut GHG emissions from electricity

    1 Energy supply requirements

    The most important requirements for energy supply are:

    1. Energy security (refers to the long term; it is especially relevant for extended periods of economic and trade disputes or military disruptions that could threaten energy supply, e.g. 1970’s oil crises [1], world wars, Russia cuts’ off gas supplies to Europe).

    2. Reliability of supply (over periods of minutes, hours, days, weeks – e.g. NE USA and Canada 1965 and 2003[2])

    3. Low cost energy – energy is a fundamental input to everything humans have; if we increase the cost of energy we retard the rate of improvement of human well-being.

    Policies must deliver the above three essential requirements. Second order requirements are:

    4. Health and safety

    5. Environmentally benign

    1.1 Why health and safety and environmental impacts are lower priority requirements than energy security, reliability and cost:

    This ranking of the criteria is what consumers demonstrate in their choices. They’d prefer to have dirty energy than no energy. It’s that simple. Furthermore, electricity is orders of magnitude safer and healthier than burning dung for cooking and heating inside a hut. The choice is clear. The order of the criteria is clearly demonstrated all over the world and over thousands of years – any energy is better than no energy.

    2 Nuclear better than renewables

    Nuclear power is better than renewable energy in all the important criteria. Renewable energy cannot be justified, on a rational basis, to be a major component of the electricity system. Here are some reasons why:

    1. Nuclear power has proven it can supply over 75% of the electricity in a large modern industrial economy, i.e. France, and has been doing so for over 30 years.

    2. Nuclear power is substantially cheaper than renewables

    3. Nuclear power is the safest way to generate electricity; it causes the least fatalities per unit of electricity supplied.

    4. Nuclear power is more environmentally benign than renewables.

    5. ERoEI of nuclear is ~75 whereas renewables are around 1 to 9. An ERoEI of around 14 is needed to support modern society. Only Nuclear, fossil fuels and hydro meet that requirement.

    6. Material requirements per unit of electricity supplied through life for nuclear power are about 1/10th those of renewables

    7. Land area required for nuclear power is very much smaller than renewables per unit of electricity supplied through life

    8. Nuclear power requires less expensive transmission (shorter distances and smaller transmission capacity in total because the capacity needs to be sufficient for maximum output but intermittent renewables average around 10% to 40% capacity factor whereas nuclear averages around 80% to 90%).

    9. Nuclear fuel is effectively unlimited.

    10. Nuclear fuel requires a minimal amount of space for storage. Many years of nuclear fuel supply can be stored in a warehouse. This has two major benefits:

    • Energy security – it means that countries can store many years or decades of fuel at little cost, so it gives independence from fuel imports. This gives energy security from economic disruptions or military conflicts.

    • Reduced transport – nuclear fuel requires 20,000 to 2 million times less ships, trains etc. per unit of energy transported. This reduces shipping costs, the quantities of oil used for the transport, and the environmental impacts of the shipping and the fuel used for transport by 4 to 6 orders of magnitude.

    There is no rational justification for renewable energy to be mandated and favoured by legislation and regulations.

    2.1 Nuclear cheaper and lower emissions than renewables
    Renewables v Nuclear: Electricity Bills and Emissions reductions by technology proportions to 2050

    The CSIRO ‘MyPower’ calculator shows that, even in Australia where we have cheap, high quality coal close to the main population centres and where nuclear power is strongly opposed, nuclear power would be the cheapest way to reduce emissions: http://www.csiro.au/Outcomes/Energy/MyPower.aspx

    “MyPower is an online tool created by CSIRO that allows you to see the effect of changing the national ‘electricity mix’ (technologies that generate Australia’s electricity) on future electricity costs and Australia’s carbon emissions.”

    Below is a comparison of options with different proportions of electricity generation technologies (move the sliders to change the proportions of each technology). The results below show the change in real electricity prices and CO2 emissions in 2050 compared with now.

    Change to 2050 in electricity price and emissions by technology mix:

    1. 80% coal, 10% gas, 10% renewables, 0% nuclear:
    electricity bills increase = 15% and emissions increase = 21%

    2. 0% coal, 50% gas, 50% renewables, 0% nuclear:
    electricity bills increase = 19% and emissions decrease = 62%.

    3. 0% coal, 30% gas, 10% renewables, 60% nuclear:
    electricity bills increase = 15% and emissions decrease = 77%.

    4. 0% coal, 20% gas, 10% renewables, 70% nuclear:
    electricity bills increase = 17% and emissions decrease = 84%.

    5. 0% coal, 10% gas, 10% renewables, 80% nuclear:
    electricity bills increase = 20% and emissions decrease = 91%.

    Source: CSIRO ‘MyPower’ calculator

    Points to note:

    • For the same real cost increase to 2050 (i.e. 15%), BAU gives a 21% increase in emissions c.f. the nuclear option a 77% decrease in emissions (compare scenarios 1 and 3)

    • For a ~20% real cost increase, the renewables option gives 62% decrease c.f. nuclear 91% decrease.

    • These costs do not include the additional transmission and grid costs. If they did, the cost of renewables would be substantially higher.

    3 Conclusion:

    Nuclear is the least cost way to make significant reductions in the emissions intensity of electricity.

    The difference is stark. Nuclear is far better.

    But progress to reduce emissions at least cost is being thwarted by the anti-nuclear activists.

    • there are > 6 billion people many, too poor or in countries too poor to afford nuclear power stations. Wood and coal and oil remain the staple heat sources for cooking food or keeping warm depending on their needs and will remain so in future. Too many people is a problem. Reward those who do not have children is the way to go..

  71. GOOO OREGON DUCKS!!! OFF TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!

  72. The Precautionary Principle is often argued as a reason for taking action to avert possible negative outcomes (e.g. re alleged catastrophic global warming), without, in my view, taking sufficient account of alternative possible outcomes, probabilities, uncertainties and the costs associated with taking precautionary action. In re-reading Peter L Bernstein’s “Against the Gods – the remarkable story of risk,” I find that this issue was first addressed in 1662, probably by Antoine Arnauld, the main author of a work called “Logic, or the Art of Thinking.” Arnauld noted that the probability of being struck by lightning is tiny, but “many people … are excessively terrified when they hear thunder.” He continued with what Bernstein calls “a critically important statement:” “Fear of harm ought to be proportional not merely to the gravity of the harm, but also to the probability of that event.” This, says Bernstein, was a “major innovation: the idea that both gravity and probability should influence a decision.” This seems obvious to me, but is generally ignored by those who invoke the Precautionary Principle.

    • Well, the real problem with the precautionary principle is people only want to apply it to their favorite disastrous outcome to promote policies they want for other reasons.

      There are a range of outcomes with a range of costs. We could as likely be headed to global cooling as global warming. Global warming policies will make things worse and increase costs if it gets cooler. if the interglacial ends with temperatures getting disastrously cooler the costs will be very high.

      We should plan for the most likely (median) outcome – that the temperature will wander around like it has the last 10 or so millenia and have mitigation plans in place.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        “We could as likely be headed to global cooling as global warming.”
        _____

        “could as likely be”

        You can do better than that. I suggest:

        It’s somewhat possible we could be sort of headed in the general direction of what might be considered either cooling or warming, unless the temperature tires and decides to stand still. We cannot, however, ignore the possibility the temperature may just wander around aimlessly in no particular direction like a drunken sailor.

        Our mitigation plan should take into consideration the most likely outcome, whatever that turns out to be. On the other hand, we may all be dead by then, so a plan may not be entirely necessary unless something happens we don’t know about.

      • Lesson: beware of drunken sailors.

    • ‘In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.’

      The precautionary principle was first promulgated as Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration. Unless you have an inside line to God that says otherwise – changing the atmospheric composition qualifies as a serious threat. In the language of risk assessment – there is some risk of more or less extreme and abrupt change. Unpredictably – at either end of the warm or cool spectrum in accordance with wonders of complexity theory.

      Solutions are multi-dimensional involving development, land use, sustainable production systems, population, technological innovation and ecological restoration. Pretty much as people have been saying since the Rio Declaration in 1992.

      • johnfpittman

        Love this statement from Rio. What does lack of full scientific certainty wrt threats actually mean? Apparently as applied it means we deny energy to the poorest in this world condemning them to a more brutish life based on someone’s fears. Note the twist: full scientific certainty only occurs with simple well modeled systems such as gravity: repeatable experimental systems of knowledge. The environment, much less climate, do not even meet this criteria of knowledge. We are in the midst of the experiment, and personal fears that it can lead to risk means it is a serious threat?!? No the problem is either the definitions or the logic. To stop adding CO2 also has elements of risk. Solutions to a problem that may not exist, are not necessary to recognize population, emission, or ecological problems. Nor do addressing these problems need a Rio Declaration since they are already being measured. The Rio Declaration is a legal claim to authorize activities. It is neither logically correct, nor scientific. The definitions of what sustainability, threat, and scientific certainty are still being debated.

      • The acting upon irrational fears is a symptom of neuroses in humans. I think that what we have here is a social neurosis emergent in a sub-group of humans.

      • Unless you have a line to God and know otherwise – as I said – changing the composition of the atmosphere is taking far reaching action without knowing the consequences.

        The certainty is abrupt and more or less extreme climate change that may or may not be exacerbated by any of a number of anthropogenic changes.

        What is to be done about it is a different question.

      • Hi Rob. Assuming climate is chaotic, AFAIK, we don’t know the shape of the attractor. (If anyone has any papers to the contrary, I would love to read them.)

        At any rate, first we have to deal with the janky definition of CO2 as a forcing. In chaos theory, the driving energy determines the extent of system state on the attractor. Smaller driving energies confine the state to a relatively small area (or volume, etc) of the attractor. Upping the energy causes the state to visit points further from the “center” of the attractor.

        CO2 isn’t the source of driving energy of climate. The Sun is. CO2 is a cog in the climate machine, not the driving energy.

        So, you are left with the problem of what effect changes in CO2 concentration has on the behavior of a machine you don’t understand.

        For all you know, decreasing the CO2 concentration could move the state of the machine to greater, not lesser warming.

        So, by the precautionary principle, we should burn more coal. I’m being somewhat facetious, but this line of reasoning would indicate we don’t have a clue the effect on climate or raising or lowering the concentration of CO2 would have, unless we get to very low levels were a snowball Earth would materialize.

        Bottom line, the precautionary principle does not apply in this case.

      • ‘A principle that unites every kind of complexity theorist,and they are a richly varied class (see §3 and §5, below), is that observable ‘reality’ pertaining to any field, physics, biology, chemistry, applied mathematics, economics, etc., is complex but this complexity emanates from simple building blocks – of concepts, methods and rules of
        interaction.’ http://web.unitn.it/files/7_03_vela.pdf

        You need to think simple mechanism combining in ways in which behaviour emerges from complex interactions in surprising ways. Top down thinking in the language of complexity science is not of much interest or utility. The principle is that small changes in conditions drive the system past a threshold at which stage the components start to interact chaotically in multiple and changing negative and positive feedbacks – as tremendous energies cascade through powerful subsystems. Some of these changes have a regularity within broad limits and the planet responds with a broad regularity in changes of ice, cloud, Atlantic thermohaline circulation and ocean and atmospheric circulation.

        It has to make sense in terms of fundamental – and conceptually simple – physical mechanisms.

        ‘Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.’

        http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

        It all depends on whether we are changing the system or not? There are good ways to minimise the changes.

        http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation

      • Rob, the problem is that you don’t know the shape (paths) of the attractor. Making ANY change could put the state of the system on a point in a path that leads to a bifurcation (more complex the more dimensions, but you get the point). So, reducing the concentration of CO2, stabilizing it when it has been rising, or increasing the emissions rate ALL could set the state of the system on a path to a catastrophic change.

        The problem is neither you nor anyone else can predict what ANY CHANGE will foment.

        That is the reason chaos IS NOT a basis to invoke the precautionary principle. Chaos is trumped by our ignorance. Until we have more knowledge, the best course is to change nothing.

  73. “Nate Silver/ RP Jr ‘won’ 2014 by a long shot; ”

    In the end, Silver was pressured to sack RP Jr for his climate blasphemy.

  74. ‘A vigorous spectrum of interdecadal internal variability presents numerous challenges to our current understanding of the climate. First, it suggests that climate models in general still have difficulty reproducing the magnitude and spatiotemporal patterns of internal variability necessary to capture the observed character of the 20th century climate trajectory. Presumably, this is due primarily to deficiencies in ocean dynamics. Moving toward higher resolution, eddy resolving oceanic models should help reduce this deficiency. Second, theoretical arguments suggest that a more variable climate is a more sensitive climate to imposed forcings (13). Viewed in this light, the lack of modeled compared to observed interdecadal variability (Fig. 2B) may indicate that current models underestimate climate sensitivity. Finally, the presence of vigorous climate variability presents significant challenges to near-term climate prediction (25, 26), leaving open the possibility of steady or even declining global mean surface temperatures over the next several decades that could present a significant empirical obstacle to the implementation of policies directed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (27). However, global warming could likewise suddenly and without any ostensive cause accelerate due to internal variability. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, the climate system appears wild, and may continue to hold many surprises if pressed.’ http://www.pnas.org/content/106/38/16120.full

    We are talking here about dynamic sensitivity. Extreme sensitivity at decadal and longer scales leading to abrupt change in the system. ‘Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.’ NAS 2002

    Ghil, 2013, explored the idea of abrupt climate change with an energy balance climate model that follows the evolution of global surface-air temperature with changes in the global energy balance. The plot below originates from work for Ghil’s Ph.D. thesis in 1975 and was reproduced in a 2013 World Scientific Review article to illustrate a dynamic definition of climate sensitivity in a climate system that exhibits abrupt change.

    Ghil’s model shows that climate sensitivity (γ) is variable. It is the change in temperature (ΔT) divided by the change in the control variable (Δμ) – the tangent to the curve as shown above. Sensitivity increases moving down the upper curve to the left towards the bifurcation and becomes arbitrarily large at the instability. The problem in a chaotic climate then becomes not one of quantifying climate sensitivity in a smoothly evolving climate but of predicting the onset of abrupt climate shifts and their implications for climate and society. The problem of abrupt climate change on multi-decadal scales is of the most immediate significance.

    The 1-D climate model uses physically based equations to determine changes in the climate system as a result of changes in solar intensity, ice reflectance and greenhouse gas changes. With a small decrease in radiation from the Sun – or an increase in ice cover – the system becomes unstable with runaway ice feedbacks. Runaway ice feedbacks drive the transitions between glacial and interglacial states seen repeatedly over the past 2.58 million years. These are warm interludes – such as the present time – of relatively short duration and longer duration cold states. The transition between climate states is characterised by a series of step changes between the limits. It caused a bit of consternation in the 1970’s when it was realized that a very small decrease in solar intensity – or an increase in albedo – is sufficient to cause a rapid transition to an icy planet in this model.

    The model has two stable states with two points of abrupt climate change – the latter at the transitions from the blue lines to the red from above and below. The two axes are normalized solar energy inputs μ (insolation) to the climate system and a global mean temperature. The current day energy input is μ = 1 with a global mean temperature of 287.7 degrees Kelvin. This is a relatively balmy 58.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

    I go into some detail here to illustrate this notion of dynamic sensitivity. It is simple mechanisms interacting in accordance with complexity theory to change the emergent balance in the system. In the words of Michael Ghil (2013) the ‘global climate system is composed of a number of subsystems – atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere – each of which has distinct characteristic times, from days and weeks to centuries and millennia. Each subsystem, moreover, has its own internal variability, all other things being constant, over a fairly broad range of time scales. These ranges overlap between one subsystem and another. The interactions between the subsystems thus give rise to climate variability on all time scales.’

    We transition from simple mechanisms to complex systems with emergent behaviour. ‘Emergence, order, self-organisation, turbulence, induction, evolution, criticality, adaptive, non-linear, non-equilibrium are some of the words that characterise the conceptual underpinnings of the ‘new’ sciences of complexity that seem to pervade some of the frontiers in the natural, social and even the human sciences. Not since the heyday of Cybernetics and the more recent brief-lived ebullience of chaos applied to a theory of everything and by all and sundry, has a concept become so prevalent and pervasive in almost all fields, from Physics to Economics, from Biology to Sociology, from Computer Science to
    Philosophy as Complexity seems to have become.’ http://web.unitn.it/files/7_03_vela.pdf

    Complexity theory suggests that the system is pushed by greenhouse gas changes and warming – as well as solar intensity and Earth orbital eccentricities – past a threshold at which stage the components start to interact chaotically in multiple and changing negative and positive feedbacks – as tremendous energies cascade through powerful subsystems. Some of these changes have a regularity within broad limits and the planet responds with a broad regularity in changes of ice, cloud, Atlantic thermohaline circulation and ocean and atmospheric circulation.

    Dynamic climate sensitivity implies the potential for a small push to initiate a large shift. Climate in this theory of abrupt change is an emergent property of the shift in global energies as the system settles down into a new climate state. The traditional definition of climate sensitivity as a temperature response to changes in CO2 makes sense only in periods between climate shifts – as climate changes at shifts are internally generated. Climate evolution is discontinuous at the scale of decades and longer.

    Climate is wild as Wally Broecker famously said. ‘The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers.’ (NAS 2002) I doubt that the ‘new paradigm’ is much advanced as yet. It suggests little warming for decades from 2002 – and the shifts beyond that may be more or less extreme either on the warm or cool ends of the spectrum. This is quite a departure from the conventional forcing model and has immense policy significance as the planet fails to conform to the old thinking.

    I am sharing sharing much of this yet again in some detail – because – really – it’s all I got. It is the most most modern concept of climate science. It says on the one hand that the sceptics are entirely right – the world is not warming for perhaps decades due to vigourour internal variability at decadal to longer scales. It says as well that a slowly changing climate may give way to transitional extremes of weather before settling into a new and unpredictable climate state in accord with complexity science.

    The precautionary principle suggests we should reduce the pressures on the system. Common sense – somewhat lacking amongst the true believers – suggests that it is not as nearly as simple as taxing carbon dioxide. Solutions are multi-dimensional involving economic and social development, better land use practices, sustainable production systems, reduction of population pressures, technological innovation and ecological restoration.

  75. Just did the search thingy. I get 27 mentions so far in 2015 – but am totally outclassed by Joshua and Maxy. Jimmy D is making a slow start – but this may be a tortoise and the hare ploy.

    2014 was a hell of a year for me. A more or less catastrophically damaged left foot. In and out of hospital. In a total contact cast for the longest time. On my back much of the time – connected to the world through Wi-Fi. My ambition for 2015 is to get back on my feet.

    JC SNIP

    • Rob

      Good luck with your recovery over the coming year.

      tonyb

    • Yes, do get well, Citizen Hydrologist.

      • Hey Moso,

        Just watching DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB – on my laptop. She is busily dominating the lounge room with some national cricket comp game. Apparently there is a test or something starting Sunday. Probably not a written test – given some of the interviews I’ve seen on the news. Don’t know how much more I can take.

        It’s one of the funniest movies of all times – and there are spooky parallels with global warming. It’s all about keeping your bodily fluids pure through modern science and riding that bomb in. Yeehah. .

        Cheers

    • Rob, I’ve had several spells in casts, all but one heavy plaster rather than fibre-glass, including six months in a crutch-to-toe cast; and seven months when I could barely walk (agony after 100 metres) because of a protruding lumbar disk. Not seeking to compete, just to say that I can empathise on the basis of direct experience. My physical problems, including current ones, almost all arise from being run down by a car in 1965; but life goes on; it’s much better than the alternative. All the best with your recovery. And keep your posting-fingers busy.

    • jc snip

      • Joshua “just sayin” incoherent gibberish as usual, as always utterly desparate to one day finally score a point.
        Perhaps eventually he will prove less stupid than his comments hitherto, tire of his usual vaccuous polemic, and, like most here, develop an interest in seeking to get to the truth.

      • Ooooh. “hitherto.” That Tuppence must be a classy fella.

        I feel honored to know that I’ve even attracted his attention.

        Anyway, Tuppence, thanks for reading. I can’t tell you how much it means to me.

        Good luck in your “truth” seeking.

      • While the use of hitherto certainly improved the comment the improvement was more than totally annihilated by misspelling vacuous with two c’s a few words past hitherto.

    • I’m going for the gold this year motherJC SNIPer.

  76. For the perusal by JC and denizens in 2015. Perhaps this POV is so outside of mainstream climatology a giant jc snip is appropriate.
    ———————————————————-
    suricat says: January 2, 2015 at 2:41 am
    Will Janoschka says: December 29, 2014 at 4:36 am

    “Firstly, a happy and prosperous New Year to all! In whatever your endeavours may be. :) ”
    Thank you, best wishes back to you! Your expressions are clear and well worth pondering. For your pondering, my expressions from a different POV , EE, electro-optics engineer. I hope I can be as clear.

    (“Planck’s equation/integral uses a “surface property” (maximum) to formulate the “maximum surface spectral radiance”. That equation has nothing to do with what “is radiated” at any frequency, only with the maximum, with a finite impedance of space.”)

    “I find this confusing for the analysis of ‘atmospheric radiation’ because one can only ‘assume’ the total radiant energy passing through a ‘fixed hypothetical laminar area of atmosphere’, thus, ‘virtual watts’ passing through this ‘lamina’, with energy/radiance loss ‘assumed’ by the intervening atmosphere from a ‘previously’ ‘fixed hypothetical laminar area of atmosphere’ in the general direction of/from ‘the source’.”

    Indeed Planck’s equation cannot be used for any “radiation” (radiative flux). The equation can be used to calculate two opposing radiances, the difference of these radiances in each direction, and at each frequency band, determine both direction and magnitude of any detached radiative flux. That detached radiative flux has zero proper time and independent of the motion of the generator of each “radiance” The detached radiative flux “is” affected by both gravitational force and the actual velocity of the transferring media, (not significant in this atmosphere).

    “Due to scattering and refraction by atmospheric mass entities (lensing by suspended liquid mass entities and latent products are for another post) much of the energy from the source doesn’t achieve an emission through the second lamina, but is by to/ ‘assumed’ to be ‘replaced’ by losses to/from the neighbouring ‘laminae areas’ of the second lamina from the first ‘laminae areas’.”

    This is true except at radiative equilibrium at a particular frequency. Here the particular gas mass is already emitting in the opposite direction the exact amount absorbed, or that gas is changing sensible heat and temperature. The whole mess of changing direction and in and out wavelength is also consistent with Maxwell’s equations, and Kirchhoff’s laws.

    “Thus, “Plank’s equation/integral”, when used WRT ‘atmospheric physics’ is nought but ‘statistical assumption’ IMHO! However, I think you’ll agree. ‘We already know the “finite impedance of space”. It’s ‘the “speed of light” in vacua’!’”

    To the extent that c = (permittivity 0 x permeability 0)^1/2, in this near space. Way over yonder, not so much. How fast is space moving?

    (“Any change to this impedance, including antenna gain, and opposing radiance, at that frequency, must affect that number. A director, or lens can exchange solid angle, for a different surface area. “Radiance” remains the same.”)

    “I find that there are ‘exceptions’ to this. “Impedance” and “gain” live in different ‘scenarios’ (though, I like your ‘antenna’ analogy)!”

    “Opposing radiances at the same wavelength generate ‘podes’ (nodes) and ‘antipodes’ (anti-nodes) where ‘peak to peak’ amplitudes are either ‘amplified’, or ‘suppressed’ respectively! These are important details for understanding the behaviour of EMR.”

    No! The opposing radiances (field strength) need not be phase coherent as are standing waves (static reflection of one radiance from an impedance discontinuity)! The opposing field strength always limits the amount and direction of any resulting detached flux.
    For careful analysis Physicists use optical depth, the path length where transmission of modulation equals (1-1/e) 37% in each frequency band.This is fine for logarithm heads. I use the shorter 50% transmission and piecewise summation. At each 50% interval, there is a delta T which determines the flux “added” by the immediate lower level, (your lower “lamina”). However this lower lamina, being at radiative equilibrium passes “all” accumulated radiant flux without attenuation.
    The temperatures and delta temperatures are not set via thermal radiative flux, but by existing lapse rate whether dry or saturated, thus at each lamina, the temperature is above that for radiative equilibrium. This is how the convective and latent heat is added to the exit radiant flux. On this planet no exit radiative flux need originate from the solid or liquid surface.
    Beyond the sparky stuff, the hardest for me, is the observation that the whole tropospheric column can rethermalize with a time constant of six minutes at solar eclipse! What mechanism/phenomenon can move sensible/latent heat at the rate of 2 km/minute? I am convinced that all of the Clim-Astrologists together have not the competence to understand the atmosphere of this planet! All they have are fake statistics, with no meaning whatsoever.

    “Best regards, Ray.”
    The same, and what a “wonder”-full planet! Let’s all try to wonder already! -will-

    • Duly perused.
      Simple question from layman: do we or do we not have robust data concerning the radiative balance of the planet?

      • Simple answer is no we do not have robust radiative balance data.

        We can measure incoming radiation at top of atmosphere accurately enough because the sun is almost unvarying point source with an almost perfect black body spectrum illuminating a disk with a precisely known size.

        The converse is not true. We can’t estimate outgoing radiation to any better than +-4 Watts per square meter. Several reasons. First of all the earth isn’t a perfect black body radiator. It reflects a lot of sunlight in a wide range of frequencies which get scattered in all directions going through the atmosphere, it emits in a smaller range of mid-infrared from polar cold to tropical heat. So you can’t sample the power at a fixed frequency and extrapolate the power of the entire spectrum assuming black body like with the sun. Another is satellites can’t see the entire globe at once. Not even close to the entire globe because it isn’t a point source and looking directly down gives one measure while the same surface viewed at an angle gives another. Yet another problem is that the surface is dynamic with clouds and snow and vegetation changing the albedo and mix of emitted frequencies and power rapidly from season to season, day to day, and even hour to hour.

        So we have to sample, extrapolate, fold, spindle, mutilate, and punt into a model that estimates the total radiated power. We tune the model by comparing it to measurements and models of things like ocean heat content from a fleet of a few thousand diving buoys called ARGO. Yet ARGO only samples the ocean to depth of only half its average depth, missing shallow waters, missing everything underneath sea ice, and getting clumped together by currents and gyres instead of being evenly spaced.

        After all that and trying to cross check between disparate sources the ‘consensus’ is that there’s about a half Watt/m2 more power entering the earth system than leaving it. In point of fact due to all the assumptions, sources of error, and pencil whipping in the various models we really don’t even know the sign, to say nothing of the magnitude, of any radiative imbalance from day to day or year to year. It’s a joke. There’s at least an order of magnitude more noise than signal in our radiative balance estimate.

        So basically it’s insufficient data fed into computer models all the way down. We have a saying in the world of data processing, which is my profession, “Garbage in, garbage out”. It’s an apt saying in this case.

        Welcome to climate science – 10% data and 90% narrative. It’s not a science it’s an exercise in story-telling, ideology driven politics, and wealth redistribution.

      • Will Janoschkas

        We have no such data. To the extent that temperatures vary even from night to day there is no radiative balance anywhere. The concept of using any average temperature to get to the highly nonlinear radiative flux in or out is simply ludicrous.

  77. Pingback: Saturday Steyn | YouViewed/Editorial

  78. Basil Newmerzhycky

    Regarding the prediction:
    “In terms of global temperature, I expect the hiatus to continue at last another decade, but won’t pretend to predict year to year variations.”

    I can’t help but wonder if that prediction will go up in smoke in the next few weeks if 2014 end up being the warmest year on record.

    Even drawing a trendline now from 1998-2013 shows a slight warming trend despite being in a cool phase of the PDO most of the past decade.

    A better prediction might be:
    “When will global temperatures return to pre-1997 levels?”

  79. Actually if you forget the whole useless IPCC bottom up model approach and look at the natural cycles climate forecasting is reasonably straightforward and obvious.
    .The discussion needs to move on from discussing a pause to discussing the cooling trend because in fact we have had 11 years of cooling see
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1980.1/plot/rss/from:1980.1/to:2003.6/trend/plot/rss/from:2003.6/trend
    see my post
    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2014/07/climate-forecasting-methods-and-cooling.html
    for details and cooling forecasts. This shows that the late 20th century rise is simply the rise to the peak of the millennial cycle which peaked in the RSS series at 2003.6 give or take a couple of weeks no doubt.
    This corresponds to the peak in the solar activity driver seen at about 1991 in Fig 14 of the linked post. There is about a 12 year lag between the driver peak and the RSS peak. The lag will vary according to the climate metric used and the region under consideration.
    For convenience , realists and skeptics might wish to celebrate the anniversary of peak heat which I calculate as 4th July 2003 at about 4pm.
    .

    • Basil Newmerzhycky

      Cherry-picking a specific date is funny. Didn’t most skeptics claim warming ended in 1997-98? Now you’ve shifted the goal posts over a few years to 2003.6? There are quite a few points in the past century that one can cherry pick a small subset to claim a pause…and every one would end up being wrong,

      FYI, unlike HADCRUT or GISS data, the RSS data is vertically averaged temperature from the surface up to above 10,000 ft. Did you know that? The time lags that it takes heat to move that much higher, as well as the reduced amplitude of temperature change, plus is very short history (past 3 decades only) make it a pretty poor choice as using for a main determinant of any climate argument.

      Something you might want to note in your next science blog.

      • Basil

        Happy new year to you.

        Presumably as you disapprove of RSS you also disapprove of global sea level being measured by satellites?

        Tonyb

      • RSS does not measure the GMT. I’ve been told that whatever it does measure, it does it accurately. So it accurately measure something else. Good for it.

      • Some surface thermometers measure the volume of mercury, some the millivolts across dissimilar metals, just as the sats measure microwaves,

        It is a valid measure of temperature, just like the rest, and is checked against radiosonde data.

        The big advantage is that sats sample much, much, much more of the area of the Earth. Much better sampling!! Much better data. Much more reliable. Correlates with radiosonde data.

        What’s not to like? (It’s an inconvenient truth for a few people here apparently.)

      • JCH To see what is really going on split those linear trends at time 2003.6
        and take another look. Spencer has said he will shortly adjust his data and that the revision will be closer to RSS.

      • I expect an outcry from the “skeptics” when Spencer “adjusts” his data (not).

      • I’m sure he will. Will he acknowledge what RSS has acknowledged, which is the thermometer series are more accurate at measuring the GMT?

      • Basil,
        So even though the the IPCC – the foremost alarmist political pressure group – has acknowledged the plateau, you continue to deny it. That’s just ridiculous.

    • Dr. Page I find your view interesting and will make a note.

      If the raw data, 10 years from now, shows cooling I will be sure to remind people who called it.

      10 years from now the government climate data that is homogenized, pasteurized, sweetened, and condensed (they treat temperature data like milk) will of course show warming.

      • PA I don’t think you have to wait 10 years. My working hypothesis suggests possible noticeably sharper cooling in 2017-18.If that actually occurs my confidence would increase substantially see
        http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2014/07/climate-forecasting-methods-and-cooling.html

      • Well, my concern is that they can produce CGAGW (computer generated anthropomorphic global warming) faster than the raw temperatures can drop.

        If the RSS and UAH both decline that is a good indication it is cooling. I’ll keep tabs.

        It isn’t clear what the equilibrium temperature is for the current level of forcing. The warming of the ocean would seem to indicate the global temperature is below equilibrium for the current level of solar forcing.

        But the trend in solar forcing isn’t positive. So I’m in the wait and see camp.

        What do you assume the ECS is? Is it in the 1.8-3.7 W/m2 range for doubled CO2?

      • I think ECS is a theoretical construct which has little relation to the real world and in any event can’t be calculated because it is not a constant because it depends on the state of the system as a whole. Actually the IPCC agrees with me on that. In the linked post I say
        “Temperature drives CO2 and water vapour concentrations and evaporative and convective cooling independently. The whole CAGW – GHG scare is based on the obvious fallacy of putting the effect before the cause. Unless the range and causes of natural variation, as seen in the natural temperature quasi-periodicities, are known within reasonably narrow limits it is simply not possible to even begin to estimate the effect of anthropogenic CO2 on climate. In fact, the IPCC recognizes this point.

        The key factor in making CO2 emission control policy and the basis for the WG2 and 3 sections of AR5 is the climate sensitivity to CO2. By AR5 – WG1 the IPCC itself is saying: (Section 9.7.3.3)

        “The assessed literature suggests that the range of climate sensitivities and transient responses covered by CMIP3/5 cannot be narrowed significantly by constraining the models with observations of the mean climate and variability, consistent with the difficulty of constraining the cloud feedbacks from observations ”

        In plain English, this means that the IPCC contributors have no idea what the climate sensitivity is. Therefore, there is no credible basis for the WG 2 and 3 reports, and the Government policy makers have no empirical scientific basis for the entire UNFCCC process and their economically destructive climate and energy policies.

        The whole idea of a climate sensitivity to CO2 (i.e., that we could dial up a chosen temperature by setting CO2 levels at some calculated level) is simply bizarre because the response of the temperature to Anthropogenic CO2 is simply not a constant, and will vary depending, as it does, on the state of the system as a whole at the time of the CO2 introduction.”

  80. RSS is useful because it provides a consistent instrumental record of relative global change since 1979. The original data from the other non satellite temperature time series have been normalized ,reanalyzed and variously adjusted so as to be highly suspect .

  81. About the following statement in the article:-

    “At the same time, on the science front, we’ve seen the ‘hiatus’ dominating the science discussion, and also a very rational AR5 WG2 report that expresses much more uncertainty about AGW impacts. In other words, climate/energy policy has developed a life of its own that seems increasingly disconnected from actual scientific research (although unsupported alarmist versions of the science continue to be used as justifications for the policies).”

    That just about hits the nail on the head!!

    The climate deception is being driven not by science or real world observational data on climate but by our politicians and the powerful environmental movement and its supporters. To them, the climate science is irrelevant. All that matters is the propaganda in pursuit of their agenda.

  82. I read “Causes and implications pof the Pause.” You did a poor job of outlining observed facts. Left out completely was the observation that it has happened before. As I proved in my book “What Warming?” there was no warming at sall in in the eighties and nineties. Global mean temperature was constant from 1979 till the start of the super El Nino of 1997. That is an 18 year stretch, comparable to the current hiatus. ENSO was active during this period and produced five El Nino peaks, with La Nina valleys in between, Combined satellite data from UAH and RSS shows them very clearly. El Nino peak heights in the satellite view are 0.4 to 0.5 degrees, a;lmost double the height shown in ground-based temperature records. To get the global mean when total oscillation amplitude can be half a degree you must put a dot in the middle of every straight line connecting an El Nino peak and its adjacent La Nina valley. I did this in figure 15 in the book and found that the dots lined up in a horizontal straight line, lndicating no warmingfor 18 years. It’s not smart to ignore my work. Once you realize that it has happened twice you start looking for possible connections. At least you should if you have any scientific curiosity. Looking at the overall situation you will realize that the two no-warming segments are separated by the super El Nino of 1998. The mean temperature in both cases is a horizontal straight line but they don’t meet. That is because there was a step warming immediately after the departure of the super El Nino that raised global temperature of the new century by a third of a degree Celsius and then stopped. Jim Steele assigns such step-wise changes of temperature to rearrangements of ocean current systems, and that is easy to believe because of the presence of the super El Nino just ahead of it. Speculating a bit we can think of these two no-warming stretches as being originally connected but then separated by the intrusion of the super El Nino and the step warming that followed it. That step warming, by the way, is the only warming we have had since 1979. It has been wiped out in ground=base temperature curves that show phony warming in the eighties and nineties instead. I sptted that when I wrote the book and even put a warming into its preface but nothing happened and they are still showing that phony “late twentieth century” warming. The total warming for the conjoined no-warming stretches would be 35 years. Somewhere in your article you ventured some predictions without having any idea of what that hiatus is. It looks now like it represents the normal state of global temperature that is occasionally adjusted by such changes in oceanic circulation patterns that Jim Steele envisions. And if 35 years does not convince you, Ferenc Miskolczi located some NOAA temperature readings going back to 1948 that showed a 61 year stretch of constant absorption in the IR. Like the present hiatus, that data set also showed rising carbon dioxide in parallel with no warming.