My interview with Mrs. Green

by Judith Curry

This is definitely among the most interesting interviews that I’ve done.

The link to the podcast of my interview is [here].

Up until 2009 (pre-Climategate), I was frequently invited to attend ‘green’ workshops and address ‘green’ audiences.  Post Climategate, I don’t think I’ve had any opportunities to address a specifically  ‘green’ audience, so I was very intrigued when I was invited to be interviewed by Mrs. Green for a one hour segment.

Who is Mrs. Green?  Her real name is Gina Murphy-Darling,  From her About page:

Gina Murphy-Darling loves being Mrs. Green. She was born to inform, and to engage individuals and businesses in the movement toward global sustainability. As the creator and voice of Mrs. Green’s World Radio Network, Murphy-Darling is a trusted voice in the green movement among experts and mainstream Americans.

Unlike most people that I have encountered in the ‘green movement’, her motto is:

We challenge people to think, but we don’t tell them what to think

Bingo.  I figured I should be able to relate to this person.

I looked at several of her previous interviews, both of which are superb:

Climate Heretic

Here is the text from the blurb advertising my interview:

Dr. Curry is a professor and former Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and President (co-owner) of Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN). She has been known for her work on hurricanes, Arctic ice dynamics and other climate-related topics. But over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. According to one article in Scientific American, Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Black­board. Why a climate heretic? Because she has come to question the way climatologists react to those who question the science. She thinks there’s a lot of “crankology” out there. Honestly? I can’t wait because she is all about not lumping in the good with the bad and wants us to think – not tell us what to think!

I am not typically regarded as a person that a leader of the ‘green movement’ would be excited to talk to.  IMO that says more about the green movement than it does about me, but that is a topic for another day.  It says a lot about Mrs. Green:  not only does she acknowledge complexity in environmental issues and seek to understand the controversies, she is prepared to actively engage with a ‘heretic’!  It will be interesting to see the reactions of ‘greens’ to this interview.

We talked about the Scientific American ‘climate heretic’ article [link] and the nutty Scientific American survey asking whether I was a ‘dupe’ or a ‘peacemaker’ (which blessedly seems to have disappeared).  We also discussed at length my WSJ op-ed and the paper with Nic Lewis.  We discussed uncertainty and complexity, and Mrs. Green has a keen appreciation for the complexity of environmental issues.

The most intriguing part of the discussion IMO is discussion of time scales, which arose in the discussion of our climate sensitivity paper.  Mrs. Green is much more interested in dealing with the environmental problems of the here and now, rather than those that might occur in future centuries or even the next 70 years.  This allowed me to discuss the opportunity cost of focusing our resources on carbon mitigation, which ‘might’ make a difference in our climate say 100 years from now, rather than focusing on policies and investments that can make a difference now, in terms of pollution and reducing vulnerability to extreme weather events.

This interview ranks in the top two of my interview experiences; the other one was with Russell Roberts and my EconTalk interview [link].   The reasons these two interviews stand out for me is not only the skill of the interviewer, but their perspective on the issue, which stimulates the discussion into interesting directions.

And finally, her use of the word ‘heretic’ for the interview, when combined in my head with the recent tragedy in France (post on this coming tomorrow), triggered the memory of this cartoon drawn for me by a French cartoonist in response to the Scientific American article:

heretic cartoon

 

In case you don’t read French, the caption states:

“Sorry boss, she won’t burn”

 

 

 

282 responses to “My interview with Mrs. Green

  1. This could be a big step forward. Green Curry!

  2. Just started, but I have to address this:

    00:06:10

    The fact that we’re not getting any closer to any kind of “solution” that the advocates for mitigating emissions have been preaching for just reflects the complexity of the issue.

    My immediate reaction was that we’re progressing a a very good clip toward technology that will make the problem go away. Perhaps that explains the urgency felt by the “advocates for mitigating emissions”, because it doesn’t match the “kind of ‘solution'” they’ve been “preaching for”.

    • I doubt that you are correct as far as technology goes.

      • Cost of solar PV (cells) came down around 20% last year, to around 70¢/watt (max). Even if you assume 15%/year, that’s <3¢/watt by 2035. Calculate it yourself (0.85y^x20*70).

      • Sounds good for cloudless daylight.

      • So multiply by 4 for good locations, 5-6 for mediocre. The point is that even at those costs, it’s competitive with fossil for many purposes.

        Including using the energy to drive fuel creation from atmospheric CO2

      • AK,

        Please read the recent posts by Planning Energy. It is not the cost to make the energy it is the cost to get the energy where it is needed when it is needed that counts and renewables are nowhere near there now.

      • @rogercaiazza…

        I’ve read them. You’re raising non-issues.

        If fuel is made from solar PV energy (and ambient CO2) at the collector site, storing and transporting it is no problem. IMO that’s the best option. For electricity, feed it into combined cycle gas/liquid fuel turbines. High efficiency, fully dispatchable, cheap, and completely free of fossil carbon “pollution”.

        If the solar PV is combined with a nearby pumped hydro storage system, the result could be fully dispatchable and as easily shipped as energy from the Hoover Dam.

        And pumped hydro doesn’t need special configurations of land. It can be used anywhere there’s a height difference (300-700 meters) between areas of flat land. The reservoirs are contained in turkey nest dams. It can even use salt water.

        Lots of suitable areas in the south-east hills of California, closer to LA than Hoover dam.

      • AK | January 10, 2015 at 3:31 pm

        Those costs do not scale. As long as application is low, and materials are readily available, they might hold. But, if you ever tried to produce them in massive quantity enough to make a significant dent in our energy appetite, bottlenecks would occur, and costs would skyrocket. Not to mention all the toxic waste produced during production of solar cells. This is no panacea.

      • Those costs do not scale.

        More 1gnorant fluff:

        The Continuing Exponential Growth Of Global Solar PV Production & Installation

        Global Solar PV has been growing exponentially, although it has not followed a well-behaved exponential curve. At this point in time, it has been growing faster 41% per year since that original article in 2007. A growth rate of 41% per year is the same as a doubling of production/installation every two years. Like I said, it did slow down from 48%, but not much.

        If a growth rate of over 41% continues until 2022, then the world will be producing/installing over 0.5 terawatts of solar PV panels per year and maybe as much as 1.0 terawatt per year. At this rate, solar PV will become THE major source of power throughout the world. Further, when including any additional growth in production/installation, this will happen in a few years, easily within the next decade. Total global power use is less than 20 terawatts. (This is all of the world’s power use, not just electricity.)

        Obviously not the “last word”, but a good place to start. It isn’t just that price is declining exponentially, volume is expanding.

      • In roughly 2007 to 2009, there was an under-supply of purified bulk silicon. This was not a shortage of the raw material silicon. There is plenty of silica sand. It was a manufacturing shortage that has since been remedied… and then some. Silicon solar PV panel manufactures learned to produce panels using less silicon. Purified bulk silicon producers scaled up their production and have also dramatically reduced their production costs. Lower-cost purified silicon, and PV panels using less of it, have since resulted in much lower-cost silicon PV panels.

      • AK | January 10, 2015 at 3:31 pm |
        Cost of solar PV (cells) came down around 20% last year, to around 70¢/watt (max). Even if you assume 15%/year, that’s <3¢/watt by 2035. Calculate it yourself (0.85y^x20*70).

        http://i2.wp.com/cleantechnica.com/files/2011/06/solar-pv-cost-trend-e1307699390407.png?resize=500%2C377

        AK you are kind of right and kind of wrong. Solar efficiency increased about 3.8 times (380%) over 30 years. It will increase about 43% in the next 20 years. That is going to put a big dent in your downward cost trend.

        Solar efficiency can only reach 100%. The closer you get to 100% the less efficiency gains cut costs.

      • AK,
        You are making two mistakes.
        Mistake one is your presumption that solar PV technology works everywhere. Clearly there are places where solar makes sense but just as clearly trying to make solar work in upstate New York where I live downwind of Lake Ontario is one place it won’t. Firstly, it is pretty high latitude so available winter sunlight is low and secondly anywhere near the Great Lakes means if you are lucky it is just cloudy but if you are not then it is snowing which will cut solar availability even more. (Don’t get me started on rooftop solar which is going to get buried in the snow and will be zero for days on end.) Consequently you are going to have to produce enough solar generated energy to store it for the winter season and that multiplies what is necessary.

        Mistake two is claiming the costs are cheaper now for something that is not being done. Where is fuel from solar PV and ambient CO2 being converted, stored, and transported? IMO that approach makes a heck of a lot more sense than concentrated solar power but I would like to see utility scale demonstration projects before assuming it is as cheap as you claim.

        One other point is that pumped hydro is a great technology but there are not that many places where it can be built in the US in general and in New York State in particular. If you can convince the wing of the environmental movement that switching off fossil fuel is important enough to build the world’s largest pumped storage facility near New York City, then I will believe it is easy. But if you read the story about the Storm King Mountain pumped storage environmental decision (http://library.marist.edu/archives/mehp/scenicdecision.html) you will see just how hard it is to find a place that is appropriate for pumped storage.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        It is not the cost to make the energy it is the cost to get the energy where it is needed when it is needed that counts and renewables are nowhere near there now.

        OMG, you have to be joking.

        Let’s talk about coal. This is used to power generators that get electricity to my neighborhood after many miles of very high voltage wires followed by inefficient “pigs” (transformers on poles) near me that step the voltage down to something me and my neighbors can use.

        What about solar? Well, I have 7.5 Kw of solar power on my roof, some of which I use during the day, e.g. to run my air conditioner, pool filter, etc., and the rest which my immediate neighbors (who have no solar) use. Furthermore their use avoids the inefficiencies of step-up and step-down of voltages since we’re on the same “pig”.

        Renewables (specifically solar) can send their power a couple of hundred yards away without the inefficiencies of transformers to step the voltage up and back down . Coal has to send high-voltage power many miles which then has to be stepped back down.

        Tell me again about the cost of getting the energy to where it is needed.

      • Vaughan Pratt | January 12, 2015 at 2:18 am |

        OMG, you have to be joking.

        Renewables (specifically solar) can send their power a couple of hundred yards away without the inefficiencies of transformers to step the voltage up and back down . Coal has to send high-voltage power many miles which then has to be stepped back down.

        Tell me again about the cost of getting the energy to where it is needed.

        The distribution network loses about as great a percent of power as the transmission network. The pole transformer by government standard is supposed to be about 99% efficient. Electricity distribution is dependent on voltage, wire size (resistance) and the amount of conversion. If you run 15 amps/120VAC 500 feet on 12 gauge wire your % power loss will be greater than the public utility loss from the generator to your house. The voltage at the end of the wire at 15 amps will be 108 VAC assuming you started with nominal 120 VAC that was actually 120 VAC. If you used 14 or 16 gauge house wire the results would be ugly.

        Actual utility AC power varies from 123 VAC in the middle of the night in my area to so low the UPS beeps.

        By the time your solar gets from the panels to up to a power pole you have lost about the same % of power that the utility did coming the other direction.

        The only objection to home solar is the utility by back programs for your “excess” solar. These programs should actually reimburse for the amount of usable power returned and not the total power returned.

        Perhaps Plant Engineer has some figures about what percent of the home electricity bought back by the utility is actually usable grid power.

      • Vaughn Pratt:
        Notwithstanding all the transmission and distribution line inefficiencies my concern about renewables is the need for storage. For the 30 days a year when the snow pack is 5 inches or more any roof top solar in my area will provide zero energy. When you total up the costs to implement storage to cover that deficit believe solar is very poor here. In your instance that is not true so rooftop solar makes sense there.

      • @rogercaiazza…

        Mistake one is your presumption that solar PV technology works everywhere.

        No, I’m assuming technological improvements allowing the energy to be transported from locales where it makes sense.

        Where is fuel from solar PV and ambient CO2 being converted, stored, and transported?

        More arm-waving. Given that such fuel will be similar to but better than existing natural gas and liquid fuel (gasoline, kerosene, diesel, etc.), it can go right into the existing storage/distribution/generation networks. That’s one of the beauties of this approach.

        Mistake two is claiming the costs are cheaper now for something that is not being done.

        Oh no! You’re misunderstanding where I’m coming from. I’m talking about what’s probably (IMO) going to happen in the next decade or two. Remember the original assertion I offered to start this sub-thread off:

        My immediate reaction was that we’re progressing a a very good clip toward technology that will make the problem go away.

        Not that it’s available now, but that routine R&D, learning curve, and economic growth is all it will take to make it happen over the next 1-3 decades. If the whole things isn’t stifled by too-early punitive regulation.

      • AK | January 12, 2015 at 9:36 am |
        @rogercaiazza…

        Not that it’s available now, but that routine R&D, learning curve, and economic growth is all it will take to make it happen over the next 1-3 decades. If the whole things isn’t stifled by too-early punitive regulation.

        I’m with AK. The renewable technologies will be deployed when they are economically ready. If power is cheap enough and fossil fuel expensive enough some method of making liquid fuel is viable.

        The activists from what I can tell are trying to push unnecessary panic conversion to renewables now, to maximize the disruption and impoverishment of the western economies. They will then take credit for the conversion – as they do for any unwise or horribly expensive “beneficial” result of their policies.

        If the bulk of the conversion happens a couple of decades from now the greens look ineffective and won’t get credit for something that was going to happen anyway.

        Since it doesn’t make a lot of difference when it happens – we might as well let nature take its course.

      • Any other way is likely wasteful.
        ===========

    • AK, I hope your right!

      • Certainly I’m right. What you hope, as I do, is that we continue on that course “toward technology that will make the problem go away.”

    • You definitely are a dreamer. Won’t happen.

      • Huh? Say what?

        The problem with the activist agenda is they believe water flows uphill and 1 + 1 = 3.

        They have beliefs that defy available information, common sense, even the slightest grasp of economics, and rational thought.

        They claim:
        1. Renewable technologies are completive now
        2. Renewable technologies are getting cheaper and will be cheaper in the future (estimates are 3-10 times cheaper).
        3. We will still be burning even more fossil fuels in 2100 with renewables being 3-10 times cheaper. They believe people will actually spend 3 to 10 times more than they have to for the privilege of burning fossil fuel.

        Really? Really? You don’t say.

    • I share AK’s confidence in the progress of science and technology.

      That’s real science of course not narrative sciences like global warming science. Real science leads to breakthrough technologies. Narrative science lead to endless just-so stories that lead nowhere.

      • I hope AK is right, though I have doubts.

        But, if so, then we don’t need subsidies, FITs, offshore wind, carbon taxes or, the biggie, the destruction of capitalism and the introduction of socialism, to achieve zero CO2 emissions.

        We just have to wait for the price to fall and the market to work.

        Marvellous!

      • But, if so, then we don’t need subsidies, FITs, offshore wind, carbon taxes or, the biggie, the destruction of capitalism and the introduction of socialism, to achieve zero CO2 emissions.

        Well, I’ve posted many comments opposed to “carbon taxes”, and we don’t need subsidies for wind power (look at Texas). And the whole capitalism/socialism thing was the point of my original comment.

        But “subsidies”, in general, is a much more complex issue. Patent rights, for instance, are a type of subsidy. The inventor, or their funders, are allowed an exclusive monopoly on the results of their R&D for a while in return for their expenditure of time, effort, and money. Such subsidies don’t have to be at taxpayer expense.

        But even at taxpayer expense, they can have benefits. Why not subsidies for research as a way to stimulate the economy instead of just giving the money to banks? Why not allow businesses to allocate a portion of their taxes due to research of their choice, with some limited rights in the result (less than full patents, more than nothing), rather than giving it to the government to spend on congressional pork-barrels or whatever?

        There are many possibilities. Most of them, AFAIK, would be very unpopular with congresscritters. But if there’s enough popular pressure, they can still happen.

      • But, if so, then we don’t need subsidies, FITs, offshore wind, carbon taxes or, the biggie, the destruction of capitalism and the introduction of socialism, to achieve zero CO2 emissions.
        =============
        that is largely because no policy that is at odds with the market can survive over time in a competitive economy without eventually bankrupting the economy.

        it can work if your economy is isolated from competition, but as soon as you introduce competition the inefficiencies set you on the path to extinction.

    • AK,

      Cost of solar PV (cells) came down around 20% last year, to around 70¢/watt (max). Even if you assume 15%/year, that’s <3¢/watt by 2035. Calculate it yourself (0.85y^x20*70).

      you really haven’t a clue. You have never yet been able to substantiate your beliefs about system costs for largely renewable energy systems. You’ve not demonstrated you understand what you are talking about when it comes to economics. The ridiculous simplistic projections you make demonstrate you don’t have the most basic understanding of what you are talking about.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        AK,

        You’re in Peter Lang’s good books. He hasn’t called you any of a liar, a hypocrite, or a troll. Being merely clueless is not even a Peter Lang misdemeanour.

        Whether you want to push your luck with him is up to you. In some circles all three is the trifecta parimutuel.

      • Grains of rice, Japanese swords and solar panels

        Greenpeace did much better than many at projecting the growth of renewable energy sources in the 2000s. Their projections were very close to outturn for wind – the 1999 projections were a little below outturn, the 2002 projections a little above. However even Greenpeace underestimated the growth of solar. The projections were nevertheless startlingly better than those of the IEA, who have, as I’ve previously noted, consistently underestimated the growth of renewables by a huge margin. Growth of solar has been exponential, as has that of wind (at least until recently). Greenpeace appears to have done well by following the logic of exponential growth.

        […]

        Policy has played an important role in the development of solar to date mainly by providing financial incentives. It will continue to play an important role, but this will be increasingly around removing barriers rather than providing a financial stimulus.

        […]

        The rate of growth of renewables is intrinsically uncertain. But the biases in forecasts are often more towards underestimation than overestimation. If you’ve been in the energy industries a while it’s quite likely that your intuition is working against you in some ways. Don’t be afraid to make a projection that doesn’t feel quite right if that’s where the logic takes you.

      • The CO2 abatement cost with solar is about $200 to $600 /tonne when all costs are included. That cannot be justified. Even if the abatement cost could be reduced by a factor of 5 or 10 it’s not justifiable. And that is highly unlikely to be achieved.

        Furthermore, renewables are not sustainable http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/. They cannot power modern society. They rely on fossil fuels to sustain them.

        They provide about 1% of global energy and are going backwards (previously provided 100% of world energy supply).

        Regulations have been set up to favour them. But that is unjustifiable. The only reason for the regulations is ideology and gullible people who follow cultists beliefs.

      • AK,

        What is wrong with the bits you’ve quoted is that:

        1. The subsidies for solar and wind are huge. !00% for wind and much higher for solar.

        2. Exponential projections from a very low base are meaningless for sustained future projections, especially when you realise the cost is being funded by the tax payer and other electricity consumers.

      • What is wrong with the bits you’ve quoted is that: […]

        The bits I quoted were teasers, intended to get readers to follow the link and read the whole thing. “Fair use”.

        Intelligent readers who actually read with sympathy might gain something from it. Of course, readers who are just trying to advance their own agenda will probably just look for BS excuses why it shouldn’t be payed attention to.

        Exponential projections from a very low base are meaningless for sustained future projections,

        Actually, that’s exactly wrong. Such projections will often be correct, until the levels actually become comparable to 100%. (As in 10% is comparable to 100%).

        One useful comparison is cell phones: Are Landline Phones Becoming an Endangered Species?

        What if solar does that to fossil energy?

      • Note that you are arguing for that.

        Typical straw-man argument: don’t address what I’m really arguing for, which includes using the exponential price reductions in evolving new technologies to solve the problem without raising the price of energy.

        Instead, you raise a straw-man that has little or nothing to do with my arguments, and try to tar me with that brush.

      • AK,

        Typical straw-man argument: don’t address what I’m really arguing for, which includes using the exponential price reductions in evolving new technologies to solve the problem without raising the price of energy.

        Instead, you raise a straw-man that has little or nothing to do with my arguments, and try to tar me with that brush.

        I disagree. I say it is you that continually avoids the relevant issues and raises strawman. We are talking past each other.

        Without trying to misrepresent you, I think some of the points you make are:

        1. Renewables proportion of electricity supply is growing rapidly and exponentially. If that continues RE will be able to provide a major proportion of world electricity supply in the future and there fore reduce global emissions intensity of electricity by a large proportion.

        I disagree with you on your points for the reasons I’ve explained may times. You have not dealt with the issues I raise. You just repeat what you’ve said may times and I keep saying your points are irrelevant for the reasons I’ve pointed out. IMO it is you that is avoiding the issues I raise. You don’t respond to them.

        2. Renewables costs are decreasing rapidly. If that rates continues they will become cheaper than fossil fuels without any subsidies required.

        I disagree with that for the reasons I’ve explained and you have not addressed.

      • [Repost to fix formatting]

        AK,

        AK,

        Typical straw-man argument: don’t address what I’m really arguing for, which includes using the exponential price reductions in evolving new technologies to solve the problem without raising the price of energy.

        Instead, you raise a straw-man that has little or nothing to do with my arguments, and try to tar me with that brush.

        I disagree. IMO it is you who continually avoids the relevant issues and raises strawman. We are talking past each other.

        Without trying to misrepresent you, I think some of the points you make are:

        1. Renewables proportion of electricity supply is growing rapidly and exponentially. If that continues RE will be able to provide a major proportion of world electricity supply in the future and there fore reduce global emissions intensity of electricity by a large proportion.

        I disagree with you on your points for the reasons I’ve explained may times. You have not dealt with the issues I raise. You just repeat what you’ve said may times and I keep saying your points are irrelevant for the reasons I’ve pointed out. IMO it is you that is avoiding the issues I raise. You don’t respond to them.

        2. Renewables costs are decreasing rapidly. If that rates continues they will become cheaper than fossil fuels without any subsidies required.

        I disagree with that for the reasons I’ve explained and you have not addressed.

      • IMO it is you who continually avoids the relevant issues and raises strawman. We are talking past each other.

        I’d certainly agree that we “are talking past each other.” Perhaps I disagree with your notion of “relevant”. I certainly disagree with my best understanding of it, although I certainly don’t claim to understand very well where you’re coming from.

        Looking back to your original intrusion into a thread I started:

        You have never yet been able to substantiate your beliefs about system costs for largely renewable energy systems.

        As I understand this, you’re accusing me of failing to prove that certain exponential features, such as price decrease in PV or installed-base increase, will continue. Well, it can’t be proven. Or disproven. Only by hindsight will we know what happened, and even then we won’t know what could have happened.

        I’m starting with a general assumption WRT solar power (e.g. but not limited to PV): that the exponential decrease in cost, and increase in installed base, will continue, although perhaps with a slightly smaller growth rate. Then I’m asking/projecting: what sort of technological changes might happen (“have happened” after the fact) to support this?

        Obviously, such exponential growth is unlikely to happen in roof-top solar with feed-in tariffs. Many of the problems are obvious (intermittency, cloudy days, surface requirements). How might such problems be solved, and what would the solutions entail?

        Given that the technology doesn’t exist today, what seeds of technology currently on the lab bench might grow into the forest of solar energy a few decades from now? What current or rapidly maturing technologies might be combined, producing synergies* not envisioned today?

        I pursue these things because they interest me, and I bring them into comments because they might interest other readers, and they’re involved in my opinion WRT solving the “problem” of fossil carbon.

        *I recently discovered that the word “synergy” is an overused buzzword, but I’m using the word in its technical sense.

      • AK,

        Perhaps I disagree with your notion of“relevant”. I certainly disagree with my best understanding of it, although I certainly don’t claim to understand very well where you’re coming from.

        Looking back to your original intrusion into a thread I started:

        You have never yet been able to substantiate your beliefs about system costs for largely renewable energy systems.

        As I understand this, you’re accusing me of failing to prove that certain exponential features, such as price decrease in PV or installed-base

        No point going past this part until we’ve dealt with it.

        The last sentence quoted above is disingenuous, dishonest, a strawman.

        You say my response to was an “intrusion into you’re a thread you started”. Such arrogance demonstrates you are not open to criticism. You have a closed mind on your beliefs.

        You don’t understand very well where I am coming from. Well I’ve stated it hundreds of time. Why don’t you take note? In short, just for you, hear it is again:

        1. Nuclear power is a far cheaper way to substantially reduce global GHG emissions than renewable energy.

        2. Nuclear power has the capacity to provide all humans energy needs effectively indefinitely.

        3. RE cannot sustain modern society, let alone in the future as per capita energy consumption continues to increase as it has been doing since human first learnt to control fire.

        4. There is far greater capacity to reduce the cost of nuclear energy than renewable energy.

        5. The issue with nuclear is political, not technical. The progressives are the block to progress and they have been for the past 50 years.

        Is that clear enough?

      • @Peter Lang…

        You say my response to was an “intrusion into you’re a thread you started”. Such arrogance demonstrates you are not open to criticism.

        No, it goes to my approach to “relevant”: I started the thread to talk about the potential for technology to solve the “fossil carbon problem”. Not to argue over which potential solutions were “better”. I use solar PV and energy storage as examples because those are technologies where I see enormous potential for exponential improvement (both cost and installed-base). And wish to show other readers with open minds.

        I don’t necessarily disagree with you WRT the potential for nuclear fission, but I regard it as more mature technology (at least the heat→electricity portion), and I’m much more interested in the implications of exponential growth.

        I also regard the social/political obstacles to nuclear as an impediment I don’t feel like addressing. If you do, that’s fine, I wish you luck, and agree that unnecessary regulations should be streamlined or removed, but it’s not something I care to waste my time/energy on.

        You have a closed mind on your beliefs.

        That looks like projection on your part.

        RE cannot sustain modern society, let alone in the future as per capita energy consumption continues to increase as it has been doing since human first learnt to control fire.

        And that looks like denial. I’ve offered repeated examples of ways in which current technology could scale up to multi-terawatt levels, at costs that would be reasonable assuming continuation of the current exponential trends. In return I get repeated denial, straw-man arguments based on one tiny subset of solar PV (rooftop with feed-in and/or battery storage), denial of any sort of exponential arguments, insults, and denial.

        There is far greater capacity to reduce the cost of nuclear energy than renewable energy.

        Perhaps. I doubt it, but it’s not relevant to the original purpose of my comment and I don’t see any reason to waste time arguing about it. If nuclear fission offers another way to solve the “fossil carbon problem” without imposing massive world-wide regulatory shackles or increasing energy costs, that just offers another strand of support for my argument, which is that we don’t need socialism to solve the “CO2 problem”!

        Is that clear enough?

      • AK,

        Your comments are avoidance. They avoid what’s relevant. You talk endlessly about technologies that have not realistic prospects of achieving significant global GHG emissions reductions and then say you don’t see any point in talking about those that do.

        Perhaps. I doubt it, but it’s not relevant to the original purpose of my comment and I don’t see any reason to waste time arguing about it.

        And that looks like denial.

        Your comments are long irrelevant rants that continually use strawman arguments. and dodge the key points I made. A complete wast of time.

      • AK,

        I believe you cannot refute the five points I made. If you could have you would have eagerly done so. If you can’t refute these points, they stand:

        1. Nuclear power is a far cheaper way to substantially reduce global GHG emissions than renewable energy.

        2. Nuclear power has the capacity to provide all humans energy needs effectively indefinitely.

        3. RE cannot sustain modern society, let alone in the future as per capita energy consumption continues to increase as it has been doing since human first learnt to control fire.

        4. There is far greater capacity to reduce the cost of nuclear energy than renewable energy.

        5. The issue with nuclear is political, not technical. The progressives are the block to progress and they have been for the past 50 years.

        I’ve provided the evidence in many comments on previous threads, including in response to you. So you have seen them repeatedly and never managed to refute them – other than with unsubstantiated statements of your beliefs and opinions.

        Take one point at a time. Start with point 1 since it is the most important for GHG abatement policy analysis.

      • AK,

        That’s projection It’s also another example of your avoidance. You can’t debate the points, you can’t refute the points, you know you can’t, so you resort to that.

        You don’t have the personal or intellectual integrity to admit when you are wrong and when you are soundly thrashed in an argument.

        Pathetic!

      • Thanks for confirming. Walt Disney is the sort of source you rely on for your information. You sure are a troll, eh? You’ve got nothing to back up your beliefs. So now your trying to cover up your ignorance and avoid having to admit your wrong. Like a child.

        As I said in previous comment … Pathetic!

    • Solar Balloons Provide Electric Power

      CoolEarth created an innovative way to harness the sun’s energy. Instead of large expensive solar panels or costly concentrating mirrors, the company is using balloons made of metalized plastic films. Half of the balloon is transparent, letting the light in to be concentrated into a small high-efficiency solar panel by the concave interior. Each is two meters across and, depending on the source, estimates vary from 500 watt to 1 kilowatt.

      […]

      Through research, the team discovered two things. Solar is the only resource abundant enough to address all the issues the team considered to be the biggest problems. To harvest enough solar, the team figured out that we would need 100 miles by 100 miles of the earth’s surface covered in solar collection technology to power the entire world on clean renewable energy. Delving into more research, they found that the only material we make in enough abunance to cover this kind of area affordably is thin film plastic.

      […]

      So, the team went with that material. They tried different shapes, different layouts, and finally came up with the best shap – an air inflated balloon 8 feet across. Half of the balloon is clear, half is coated in aluminum. The sunlight comes through the clear material, bounces off the aluminum and at the focal point, PV material is used to collect the 400x concentrated light. Ultimately, a balloon is about two pounds of plastic that costs about $2.

      That was in 2009. They’re still working on it (2011), although right now they seem to be still on the ground:

      Cool Earth Solar CPV Technology

      Our cool technology is “reshaping solar energy” in a very literal way: Most of today’s solar energy systems take the form of flat panels or heavy mirrors or metal boxes-with-lenses and require significant amounts of heavy, expensive materials. Our inflated solar concentrators, on the other hand, are primarily made of inexpensive and free materials. This design approach radically reduces material requirements as well cost and time.

      […]

      Solar Concentrators Focus the Sun. Our inflated, tube-shaped concentrators are key to Cool Earth’s innovative design. Each 3 foot diameter concentrator is made of plastic film – similar to that used commercially for packaging and shipping. When inflated with air, the concentrator naturally forms a shape that focuses or concentrates sunlight onto a PV cell placed at the focal point. This means we need fewer solar cells and other more expensive materials to produce a lot more electricity. In fact, a single cell in our concentrator generates up to 30 times the electricity of a solar cell without a concentrator.

      […]

      The concentrators are so light and aerodynamic that they require a equally light weight and inexpensive supporting structure and solar tracker. The resulting system uses a minimum amount of material, has a small footprint, and causes the least disruption to the natural environment of any solar power plant.

      […]

      All in all, a simple, elegant and cool solution.

      http://www.coolearthsolar.com/sites/default/files/styles/header/public/photo%204.JPG?itok=n8JBOlKM

      • A far better solution to our energy problems than nuclear:

        Fukushima released 13,000,000,000 times more neutrons than initially estimated — “Obvious implication for human health” — Gov’t: “Neutron radiation is the most severe and dangerous radiation” known to mankind; Can travel great distances

        Tale of the Radioactive Boy Scout.

        At 2:40 a.m. on August 31, 1994, Clinton Township police responded to a call concerning a young man who had been apparently stealing tires from a car. When the police arrived, David told them he was meeting a friend. Unconvinced, officers decided to search his car.

        They opened the trunk and discovered a toolbox shut with a padlock and sealed with duct tape. The trunk also contained foil-wrapped cubes of mysterious gray powder, small disks and cylindrical metal objects, and mercury switches. The police were especially alarmed by the toolbox, which David said was radioactive and which they feared was an atomic bomb.

        […]

        At the shed, radiological experts found an aluminum pie pan, a Pyrex cup, a milk crate and other materials strewn about, contaminated at up to 1000 times the normal levels of background radiation. Because some of this could be moved around by wind and rain, conditions at the site, according to an EPA memo, “present an imminent endangerment to public health.”

      • Given how light these balloons are, they could be placed in the stratosphere, above the clouds, where sunlight would be continuous (during the day) and predictable.

        And at concentrations of 400x, it would be cost-effective to use high-efficiency solar cells: 40% conversion or better, with current technology.

        One of the biggest problems faced by current technology is due to the enormous size and scale of power generation. Failures are rare, and usually cause large shutdowns. By contrast, with this balloon system, there would be a continuous (hopefully low) predictable level of failure, leading to a regular process for replacement. Just part of the cost.

      • The systems described above use water cooling, but for use in balloons, heat pipes with self-rewetting fluids will probably be much lighter, cheaper, and therefore more cost-effective.

        Current experiments are with water/alcohol mixtures, which would probably be compatible with existing micro-channel cooling systems, but if something along those lines could be created using a mixture of short-chain hydrocarbons, it might substantially lower fabrication costs.

  3. A “Delayer!” I love it! YES! Let’s delay until we’ve thought it through!

    • Yes, Mann and co are now calling me a ‘delayer’ – much better, actually

      • Do you suppose they’re actually backing off? Or setting the stage for it?

      • I guess it depends whether you interpret “delay” as supporting things like the Keystone pipeline going through immediately or delaying that too until we know more. Delay works both ways, if you think about it.

      • Yeah…

        Let’s think through whether stopping the Keystone Pipeline will really reduce emissions, or just change who emits them.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Dr. Curry
        maybe I missed something…
        are you in a position to “delay” any governmental action?

        this may be an attempt by Mann to walk back the “denier” label
        because it’s been a PR disaster

      • In my WSJ op ed, i argued that urgent action isn’t needed; we have time to better understand the science, improve technologies and come up with better policy options. Hence the ‘delayer’. Joe Romm has been using this term for a long time

      • There is no reason of them to back off.

      • AK via JC, I should think one big question and consideration would be how much of present cost should be dedicated to taking the pipelines down once the stop flowing. That would include current pipelines.

      • […] how much of present cost should be dedicated to taking the pipelines down once the stop flowing.

        What are they made of? In archaeology, it’s always important to remember how easily whole cities built of stone can disappear when nearby settlements take the stone for their own building.

      • AK, I mean the honest delayers would say, we should delay not only measures that reduce emissions by the US, but also those that increase emissions unnecessarily (i.e. Keystone). They come to the “delay” viewpoint from the “we don’t know, so wait until we do” idea, so that would be their consistent view. Now, I don’t expect “delayers” to oppose Keystone, because they are not delayers from that viewpoint, but more from the “burn more and more and not less and less” viewpoint, which also argues for delaying any mitigation. Keystone is a real test of honesty here for those who want to use the uncertainty argument in a consistent way.

      • @Jim D…

        I know exactly what you mean.

        They come to the “delay” viewpoint from the “we don’t know, so wait until we do” idea, so that would be their consistent view.

        Well, the world’s current policy, until the ’90’s, was to treat the fossil CO2 problem as a non-problem. Thus, before we impact the economy with obstacles to better energy, we should have some idea whether:

        •       The project they’re throwing obstacles in the way of will actually increase fossil CO2 emissions;

        •       There’s really something wrong with emitting fossil CO2.

        Till then, why not business as usual. It isn’t as though it’s going to make much difference to emissions, much less climate for the next 3-10 decades.

      • AK, Ah yes, I met a guy over ten years ago who was building steel houses. They are not at all like the the steel buildings they make here in fact they just look like normal houses.

      • Opps, forgot, that was in Spain

      • AK, business as usual should not include acceleration by using even less efficient CO2 emitting fuel sources than today’s. That is a deliberate motion in the emitting-more direction that is also completely unneeded.

      • That is a deliberate motion in the emitting-more direction that is also completely unneeded.

        The beauty of a free-market economy is that nobody (like you) gets to say what’s “unneeded.” If people are willing to pay for it, it’s needed. Since we don’t really have any idea whether there’s anything wrong with “emitting-more”, why not wait and see whether the technology turns up to deal with it?

        And if you really want to do something about it, why not vote for more funding for more original R&D to deal with it?

      • AK, Ah yes, I met a guy over ten years ago who was building steel houses.

        Well, a century or more ago, railroad tracks kept getting torn up for iron for blacksmiths. Today, that’s not a cottage industry, but who knows?

        Anyway, who cares? The micro-ecosystems that grow up around abandoned buildings, railroad tracks, pipelines, and other such are just as interesting, and foster just as much genetic diversity, as without. Probably more.

      • Jim D.
        1. We know that if Keystone doesn’t go ahead, the stuff gets sold to China. CO2-wise, it’s a wash.
        2. “Business as usual” doesn’t mean selling yesterday’s products tomorrow. There’s still progress.

      • AK, you are not being consistent with the “we don’t know” way of thinking. By that, increasing CO2 may or may not be dangerous. Your way of thinking is more in the denial of any danger camp that has this more reckless attitude towards increasing atmospheric CO2 levels.

      • AK, you are not being consistent with the “we don’t know” way of thinking.

        Oh yes I am! We also don’t know the effects of stifling the Industrial Revolution. But we can make a pretty good guess…

        And it’s definitely not pretty! Except to socialists who are using the whole climate thing as a stalking horse.

      • Mike, delaying Keystone really does delay things very effectively, and maybe China will have time to think about it a little more too. They are embarrassed by their pollution already, so it is not a given that they will accept the Canadian gunk.

      • Jim D,

        Presume you’re aware that much of the Keystone Pipeline is already in place: http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/tag/keystone-xl-pipeline/

        At the right price, the product will be processed with or without the lacking portion of the Keystone. At the wrong price, it’s less likely. Keystone won’t create the jobs (volume) that some espouse, but not having it will not likely stop the product being processed depending on market conditions.

        It’s mostly a political football. http://theneweditor.com/uploads/MapofUSpipelines.jpg

        Added benefit is maybe the southern leg runs near enough to pick up Max’s contribution.

      • AK, stifling the Industrial Revolution. LOL. Great stuff. How about a new green energy revolution replacing the black energy revolution. New industries, widespread energy generation and profits in more hands, etc. Not tomorrow, but a few decades for now. Time for old energy to move over the way the horse and cart went, and make way for the new energy and fuels that also are better for the planet.

      • @Jim D…

        AK, stifling the Industrial Revolution. LOL. Great stuff. How about a new green energy revolution replacing the black energy revolution. New industries, widespread energy generation and profits in more hands, etc. Not tomorrow, but a few decades for now.

        I 100% AGREE! See above, and many of my comments in previous threads.

        But, arguing by analogy (and yes, I know the caveats), you can stifle a fire by throwing too much sawdust on it, or even gasoline under right wrong circumstances. Use moderation, and the fire will just burn much brighter. We don’t need pointless interference in free enterprise for the sake of a few ppb of CO2 50 years from now. What we need is much more enthusiasm for better technology.

        The answers are out there, we just need to find them, to provide the right incentives for people with the right qualifications to find them. What we don’t need is to stifle the Industrial Revolution by coming on too hard too fast with limitations where “global warming” is just an excuse.

      • AK, you keep talking about stifling the Industrial Revolution. That phrase has no meaning, and looks like raw rhetoric. The world’s economy has been evolving since the 19th century, and the Industrial Revolution is not a good name for the more advanced and diverse economy we are in now. Energy sources have also been evolving, as have regulations that rein in their effects on the environment. I expect this controlled evolution to continue.

      • @Jim D…

        Well, there’s no reason to stop the building of a pipeline just because of vague fears about a few parts per billion difference in atmospheric CO2 content 50 years from now. OTOH, regulation is generally a bad idea, so without good justification it shouldn’t happen.

      • AK, dirty and CO2-laden energy is a step backwards that should not be encouraged. There are better ways.

      • AK, dirty and CO2-laden energy is a step backwards that should not be encouraged. There are better ways.

        That’s your opinion. The investors in the project feel otherwise. Why should you be allowed to impose your opinion when you haven’t proven any real damage? Can you provide a link to anything even claiming that stopping that pipeline will have any effect on emissions? Much less enough of an effect to counteract the negative effect of government stopping people from doing what they’re prepared to pay to do?

        And what about the effect on actual CO2 content 50 years from now? Have you provided any sort of proof that stopping people from investing their money in projects with otherwise significant net benefits to society will even make a difference to CO2 levels? Has anybody?

      • At least he doesn’t confuse himself with Samson.

      • AK, the problem is per capita CO2 usage. Inefficient energy sources such as tar sands exacerbate that. If you think 700 ppm by around 2100 is safe, go ahead and make that argument, because that is where business as usual is headed allowing for per capita growth in addition to population growth. This kind of short-sightedness is a major problem with free-market thinking. Do the CO2 projections. It is sobering.

      • AK, the problem is per capita CO2 usage.

        No, the problem is interference in peoples freedom to invest their capital/energy/wealth in what they choose. CO2 projections have nothing to do with the future. The exponential improvement of technology will determine that.

      • AK, you say “CO2 projections have nothing to do with the future”. Why are you even on a climate blog? They have everything to do with the future, especially as we go towards 700 ppm. You are opting out of the central part of the conversation here.

      • Jim D, that’s quite a leap to 700. I know why it’s important but when do you expect we’ll be on that precipice?

      • They have everything to do with the future, especially as we go towards 700 ppm. You are opting out of the central part of the conversation here.

        Nope. Real CO2 concentrations in the future may have something to do with future climate. Today’s projections are based on a bunch of unwarranted assumptions and so have nothing to do with future CO2 levels.

        The key unwarranted assumption is that human technology won’t have a much bigger influence on how much CO2 gets dragged out of the atmosphere between, say, 5 and 10 decades from now.

        Try looking at the IPCC projections of the difference in 2050-2060 between their scenarios. Then consider that by then, our technology will probably be capable of draining the atmospheric CO2 down to 200ppm in a decade or so, if allowed.

        Oh! You say it won’t? Well, that’s a matter of future technology improvement, not how much you interfere with minor investments today. Tell me again (with links), I didn’t hear you the first time: how much difference to the CO2 levels in 2050 will it make whether the pipeline gets approved or not?

      • 700 ppm is achievable around 2100. It is not that big a leap in population or per capita CO2. In fact it represents a slow down over what both these growth rates have done in the past half century.

      • AK, you seem to be assuming that a spectacular level of mitigation will occur as some kind of free-market idea without any incentives . This is not a safe assumption to say the least. The free market is geared towards producing CO2 not removing it. There is no profit in removing it, unless you have implemented a policy with a rebate of some kind. You can’t just assume a policy will come into existence that reduces CO2. You have to support measures that make that happen, and perhaps you do, in which case we are on the same side. Regarding why tar sands are part of the problem, it is their inefficiency. They are not the only part of the problem, but each country should look at what they have control over.

      • Jim D:
        “…that is where business as usual is headed allowing for per capita growth in addition to population growth. This kind of short-sightedness is a major problem with free-market thinking. Do the CO2 projections.” We may ask if people suffer from short-sightedness and need to be guided in that respect. “What it (Congress) is very good at, however, is waiting till the last minute, delaying and — eventually, when all other options are exhausted — kicking the can down the road.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/01/22/congresss-addiction-to-kicking-the-can-down-the-road/ Not much help from that quarter. I suppose I could suggest Congress and other governmental entities increase uncertainty about the future for businesses. The Keystone pipeline indecision is an example of the difficulties of planning long term. That one can commit so much money to a project and face delays and a possibility of substantial losses. If I were asked about Keystone a couple of years ago and knew it would take our President about 2 years to flip a coin to decide, I’d increase the budget by 50% immediately and start thinking of contingency plans.

      • There is no profit in removing it, unless you have implemented a policy with a rebate of some kind.

        Not true. Hopefully, you’re saying that out of 1gnorance, rather than ly1ing.

        You can’t just assume a policy will come into existence that reduces CO2.

        No, I support policy changes. Just not punitive policies to hard too soon. I support policies that provide strong positive incentives for R&D.

      • AK, I don’t know what you are thinking. Perhaps you have some idea of starting a few 1000 km square orchards producing fruit or wood to sell and taking CO2 out of the atmosphere. I know there are energy production methods that are net negative like biomass burning with carbon sequestration, which is a good direction to go, but I am skeptical if that would be possible on a large enough scale to impact CO2 levels.

      • AK, I don’t know what you are thinking.

        I’m thinking of major industrial processes that involve dragging the CO2 out of the air and converting it to fuel, using solar energy (probably, IMO, from PV, although the Joule, Unl. processes seems viable.). To start with. Once those processes grow to maturity, the CO2 dragging can be tapped at a small percentage for sequestration, while by then such fuels would be cheaper than fossil fuels and thus no more would be dug up (from the seafloor by then; methane hydrate). What’s important is to tilt the playing field, slightly in favor of processes that can be tapped for sequestration, while allowing energy technology to grow such as to avoid raising the price of energy.

        And to tweak the whole IP system, patents, etc., to provide strong incentives for R&D towards carbon-free energy.

      • How green is my ethylene, depends on the methanogene.
        ==================

      • AK, when you talk about tilting playing fields, you are talking about policies. Your idea is quite fanciful, but perhaps some agencies can be persuaded to support the R&D and feasibility studies. How do you get this off the ground without people thinking you are just a crackpot? You need a demo. I think my forest idea is a more practical way of dragging CO2 out of the air using solar energy.

      • @Jim D…

        The navy’s been very helpful.

      • There will be manifold ways to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, yea, the ocean, just as there are now. Surely, someday too many ways.

        Some days I really hope climate sensitivity to CO2 is low.
        ===========================

      • Coaling stations, near and far;
        The ocean’s here, intake tube thar.
        ==========================

      • Anyway, I’ve got marinated duck breast that’s been cooking till a few minutes from now. Got better things to do than dig up links to old my comments. But anybody who finds: feel free to post.

      • Well, it’s Saturday night and I just got paid, so I’m gonna sit aroun’ here arguin’ with little jimmy dee, bout the Keystone pipeline.

        Why don’t you people just let the dogmatic drone from huffpo talk to hisself?

      • Don,

        Tell Jimmie Dee thanks and we hope he’s doing fine!

      • Planning Engineer

        To the extent that regions and sub-regions differ in their perspectives as to the ability to delay policy responses to CO2, that may be a great thing. It gives those with a lower sense of urgency an opportunity to learn from those who more aggressively address the problem. Poor strategies can be abandoned without imposing huge costs on everyone. Those who aggressively adopt innapropriate solutions can often be supported by the infrastructure from those don’t. When successful strategies emerge they can be rapidly emulated where appropriate.

        The German “experiment” could have shown the way, or stood as a cautionary tale. During that period and the follow up period the adverse impact on Germany was mitigated by resources from surrounding systems. Overall many benefit because their economies have not taken the hit that may have resulted from premature adoption of insufficiently mature technology.

        There is value in being a delayer or a procrastinator. Having everyone March in lockstep adopting unproven technology has great risks. While it’s good to learn from your own mistakes, it’s great to have the luxury of learning from others mistakes.

      • Jim D | January 10, 2015 at 4:46 pm |
        AK, business as usual should not include acceleration by using even less efficient CO2 emitting fuel sources than today’s. That is a deliberate motion in the emitting-more direction that is also completely unneeded.

        No one advocates less efficient. There is much work on improving combustion technology. If you can show evidence of people deliberately deploying or advocating the use of less efficient sources – bring it – show the links or other evidence. I’m not clear on what you are talking about.

        The activists are pushing for abandoning current investments and leaving resources in the ground. That is just going to make energy more expensive.

        However nuclear and other non-fossil sources have a place as long as they are economically competitive.

        We need to remove some of the handcuffs that add unnecessary and wasteful cost to nuclear installations.

      • PA, tar sands due to the difficulty of extraction and conversion to oil, emit more CO2 per final unit burned than current fossil fuels. It is a step backwards.

      • Jim D,

        Do you expect them to leave it in the ground? Even Max is okay (as I would be too) with depositing his mineral rights check.

        Just a few years ago, it wasn’t feasible to process the tar sands but technology caught up. Instead of not utilizing the resource why not offer an incentive for the clean processing (much like we do to subsidize renewables). Much can be done here vs. shipping it overseas w/o similar controls.

        We didn’t elect to have an economy built on fossil fuels, but yet here we are. Until an alternative is developed those with ownership interests have the right to have a return on their investment do they not?

        I’m not in the “drill baby drill” camp, but under the current level of knowledge singling out this particular resource (out of all the candidates) lacks fairness.

      • Danny, we need to compare global interests with individual ones regarding fossil fuels just by their nature. They are not like other mineral rights. The move towards cleaner forms of fossil fuels as a stop-gap gets things moving in the right direction, while other choices are clearly in the wrong direction.

      • Jim D,

        I get it. The problem I have with this particular project is using it as proxy (don’t build it and CO2 situation {not fully, but likely a “situation”} improves) when that’s just not the case. There are thousands of miles of pipeline across our country. This product will get used unless someone writes a very large check (to not use it), and I don’t forsee that happening. The policy of making it more difficult to transport will not affect the mining and processing.

        We have a fossil fuel based world wide economy. Yes, we need to transition, but there are more appropriate ways to do so.

        I see, understand, and support your general thinking (over time). Over 40% of this pipeline is completed (it may even be a higher percentage). We’re basically talking about crossing an imaginary line making this a federal issue. No presidential approval is/was required for the portions stateside as long as the guidelines were followed.

        Here, there are many public lands which store known (& unknown) reserves that are not allowed to be accessed. Should we/Canada not wish to allow the tar sands to be exploited then open the checkbook, make it a park, and it’s a non issue (at least temporarily).

        If you’re suggesting the “we” is more important than “I”, that I believe is a different conversation. Those standards need to be applied to any/all resources and not just the one until such time as there is more than correlation IMO. Are you of the mind that not allowing these tar sands to be transported will impact the market sufficiently to make a difference?

      • Jim D,

        Been thinking about this a bit more and doing some legwork out of curiosity so wanted to share these two pieces as I find it somewhat heartening.

        Please note the commentary under “Investor Takeaway” here:http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/01/12/lng-news-exxon-mobil-corporation-plans-enormous-25.aspx

        Which led me to this: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-21/exxon-mobil-agrees-to-report-on-plans-for-low-carbon-future-carbon-risks.html

        Now I just need to find the report Exxon has committed to providing.

        Best,
        Danny

      • Jim D | January 11, 2015 at 1:53 am |
        PA, tar sands due to the difficulty of extraction and conversion to oil, emit more CO2 per final unit burned than current fossil fuels. It is a step backwards.

        Jim D | January 11, 2015 at 10:00 am |
        Danny, we need to compare global interests with individual ones regarding fossil fuels just by their nature. They are not like other mineral rights. The move towards cleaner forms of fossil fuels as a stop-gap gets things moving in the right direction, while other choices are clearly in the wrong direction.

        Jim D, you apparently are unaware of how your views look to an objective observer.

        The US was founded on strong individual rights, including the right to own and operate private property basically any way you see fit.

        This is called freedom. There are some on the left who hate freedom some much it makes them see red. These leftists don’t want people to exercise their rights of property, free speech, etc. because the leftists have special knowledge and keener insight.

        The various arguments against fossil fuels are by and large theoretical. If property owners are going to be denied right to use their property as they see fit, there has to be a proven harm that vastly outweighs their rights. Their rights cannot be curtailed because a minority of the population wants everyone to do things their way.

        As far as the tar sands, new reserves will inevitably take more energy to extract than older easier to get to reserves. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t extract new reserves.

        It does mean that many of the activist arguments are idiotic. The average extraction cost of fossil fuel will slowly increase. Other sources will be more competitive in the future. The activists are like small babies that demand that things be done their way now. The activists will win long term because the economics are in their favor. The activists claims for CO2 emission levels in 2100 are stupid and indefensible. Forcing the US to convert now at a high upfront cost with inefficient and dirty renewable technology for no proven reason is stupid and indefensible.

        Technological improvements will incrementally reduce emissions. Non-fossil fuel technologies will become more efficient and cleaner, at that point they will displace fossil fuel based sources for most uses.

      • Danny Thomas, we will see what Obama does if it comes to him. It could still be reviewed for environmental reasons, including CO2, by the State Department, which is a way to delay it further, as far as I can see. Perhaps, and I am guessing, the Congress can pass something with enough pro-environment attachments in other areas of energy production that he will let it through.

      • Jim D,

        I always appreciate your sharing.

        I believe we agree that in the long term either market forces (scarcity as indicated by PA) will lead to higher costs and a transition towards alternatives. My issue with this particular topic is: 1). Inaction is effectively punitive. 2) The product WILL be processed so let’s make the circumstances as much to our benefit as possible.

        It’s time for renewed thinking. We subsidize renewables. Heck, we tax Exxon and give that money to their competitors (solar/wind). If we created an even playing field by providing Exxon with incentives (not punishment) for being a more environmentally friendly company that’d be more beneficial in numerous ways. If the profits were there I’d expect Exxon to be emblazoned on the side of every wind mill out there. It’s not the goals, as I believe we share mutual areas, it’s the approach.

      • Jim D,

        This might be it, but not sure as I don’t find a date. Interesting read on how a Fossil Fuel company is looking towards 2040: http://cdn.exxonmobil.com/~/media/Files/Other/2014/Report%20-%20Energy%20and%20Carbon%20-%20Managing%20the%20Risks.pdf

        Of note, the expect CO2/GHG to plateau within the time frame of the projections (2040) {see page 5, but I’ve yet to follow the footnotes}.

        Are you familiar (or anyone else) with worldenergyoutlook.org?

      • The delayers are the progressives. They’ve been delaying progress for 50 years – e.g.

        1. blocking nuclear energy developments and roll outs, forcing them to be shut down before necessary in US, UK, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Japan;

        2. wasting time mucking around with wind and solar power, which after a century are going nowhere fast – solar is about o.2% of world electricity and wind about 1%. Yippee. And sheep, goats and a goose think they are viable technologies for cutting global GHG emissions. Give us a break. Get rational!

      • Vaughan Pratt

        If people are willing to pay for it, it’s needed.

        If people are willing to pay the shooting of [insert target here], it’s needed.

        Unless your point is independent of the target, it’s a pointless point.

      • As I mentioned a few days ago, “Perhaps, and I am guessing, the Congress can pass something with enough pro-environment attachments in other areas of energy production that he will let it through.”
        Well, the games have begun. Dems want climate change acceptance and mitigation wording to be added to the Keystone Bill.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/13/climate-change-keystone-bill_n_6466380.html

      • Canadian oil is being moved to the US now by rail and truck. A pipeline would be safer.

    • This seems to be the new mantra of club climate consensus. I suppose they think that they got their milage out of ‘Deniers’ and are useing a new frequent flier plan:

      http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2014/09/05/ridley-climate-delayer-talking-points-in-wsj/

    • I think I was one of the first to be labeled a delayer by Joe Romm. It doesn’t have the same ring as denier, I must confess. Like being ‘tardy’ instead of ‘cutting school…’

      • Yeah…

        And “denier” sounds like it applies to the science; “delayer” clearly applies to the political/ideological action agenda.

        From “The Six Steps of a Short Con:” in the Study Guide for Wait Until Dark:

        5. The stress: The con artist applies pressure in some way (ie, time is running out) so that the mark has no time to think about what’s happening

        Or see here.

      • Be careful AK. Associating Climate activists methods with con game tactics is very close to calling their actions a hoax.

        http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/hoax

        You may end up in D.C. Superior Court for questioning the motives of the current generation of world saving geniuses.

      • Associating Climate activists methods with con game tactics is very close to calling their actions a hoax.

        Close but no cigar. I am calling it a con/scam/bunco. I have many times before. The scam isn’t in the vague and uncertain evidence that fossil CO2 may be creating an added risk. The scam is in trying to rush through a political/ideological agenda behind it that:

        •     Isn’t the only potential solution to the “problem”;

        •     Wouldn’t fix the problem;

        and

        •     Clearly has much more to do with a different agenda.

        “Clearly”, once you actually stop and look at the numbers (e.g. IPPC AR5 projections). And what did supporters of this (socialist) agenda do in response to questions? They called anybody who even suggests other solutions to their “problem” “deniers”. Even when they don’t dispute anything about the “problem”, just the proposed “solution”.

    • Keystone Pipeline the new polar bear icon (on
      the last iceberg) of Cli Sci ‘ We hafta’ git rid of
      the Industrial Revolution.’

    • The sooner we get the right market incentives in place the sooner we will be able to provide the power needed to get billions out of poverty and into developed world. We aren’t going to do that with fossil fuels because they are limited resources. So if you really want to do something about poverty you would support something like refundable carbon tax to reduce emissions and stimulate demand for renewables.

  4. Steven Mosher

    We are unprepared for weather that has a precedent. Less so for unprecedented weather. You would think people of good will could agree that starting with the present threat would be a good place to establish trust.

    • Steven,

      Please define “present threat”. From there, I think a conversation could be had about establishing trust.

      • Steven Mosher

        yesterdays weather

      • Yesterday’s weather is a present threat? I REALLY need your assistance understanding that one.

      • Steven Mosher

        Think harder.

      • Steven,

        I’m thinking that I don’t wish to assume what you’re thinking as opposed to asking what you’re thinking. I’ve tried that here before and find it often doesn’t end as I might have envisioned based on the assumptions I assumed.

        So still looking to you to fill in, please.

      • Well, the most likely weather for today is yesterday’s. Manana, you’re on your owna.
        =========

      • http://www.weather.com/weather/today/l/ASXX0112:1:AS

        http://www.weather.com/weather/today/l/USMT0229:1:US

        Miles City shows today is 15 degrees warmer than yesterday. So?

        No “weather” where I am is likely to be that which you’re experiencing. So still I have no handle on how these people of “good will” can come to any agreement if there is no understanding of the “present threat”. From my read here and elsewhere, there are seemingly reasonable folks each with a different perspective on that which is known as “present threat”. Lacking that, I expect no improvement in trust.

      • Yesterday’s weather:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Red_River_flood
        A problem that might be solved with existing knowledge. In the future it will rain and snow more or less, the Spring surge may be more or less. Farmers can contribute to the solutions and perhaps hang on to some more topsoil to boot. I am seeing a demand approach. Farmers might opt to in effect flood their fields for a substantial portion of a year of high flood levels and get compensated for doing so. I mean they might be able to not drain them in the Spring based upon hydrological and longer term weather forecasts. Western Minnesota agricultural can be highly dependent on drainage ditches that can culminate in the Red River Valley.

      • The Red River Valley, a valley so broad;
        That it should fill up is ever so odd.
        ======================

      • Ragnaar is smarter than Danny.
        err thats prolly not saying a lot.

      • Probably accurate. Raagnar seems like quite an intelligent person and I’m average at best. But I still don’t know you’re thoughts (as I have only my assumptions) so it’s harder to judge where you might lie on the scale.

      • Or, as someone might say, write (type) harder!

      • If Mosher would either learn or take the time to communicate effectively it wouldn’t take such hard thinking to decipher WTF he’s saying.

        Steven what you have to say is not important enough for most if not all people to take the time to decrypt it.

        For instance by “yesterday’s weather” being a “present threat” I have to somehow translate that from a foreign language, Mosher-Speak. I think what you meant is that polar vortex punching south to Mexico is a recurring threat. It happened yesterday and because it repeats it’s sort of a clear and present danger.

        But I could be wrong because I don’t speak your language.

        Why don’t you just write what you mean in clear and present English?

      • John Carpenter

        Danny,

        We aren’t prepared for today’s extreme weather. Witness Katrina or Sandy or Typhoons ripping through Indonesia. Why should we be worried about worse weather in the future if we aren’t even prepared for today’s (extreme) weather. So why not use that as common ground to work and deal with what we already know about today’s extreme weather threats? If we did that, we wouldn’t have to really do anything more to deal with future extreme weather that might be 1 or 2% more extreme due to AGW, right? Would you be able to tell the difference between one category 5 hurricane and another one that’s 1 to 2% bigger or more powerful? Probably not. 130 mph winds vs 132? 100 mile radius vs 103 miles? 25 ft storm surge vs 25.2? We really aren’t prepared for any category size hurricane today on coasts all over the world despite having centuries of knowledge/experience about past ones. No need to be alarmed about the future, we can’t handle what we already is gonna happen again.

      • …already know is…..

      • Danny, Mosher lies on the scale at about 8.4, with 10 being the real whoppers. (Just kidding, Steven.)

      • Don (John, Justin, Steven),

        The insight in to what Steven was NOT saying is appreciated. I followed his implication, but still not his words which leads to his further point of “good will” and trust. If we cannot voice the words, we’ll never make step two. But I guess that falls to me and lacking Steven’s words (only having assumptions) apparently the trust portion is just not that important so I’ll move on.

        I recall not one instructor standing up at the lectern stating “this is Climate 101”, read harder, think harder, class dismissed. Seems like a poor way to get a message across.

      • What the catastrophists mean, when they say extreme weather events are going to get worse, is that instead of raining cats and dogs, it’s going to be raining pitchforks. I will give you the link, later.

      • Two things stand out about the USA’s Great Flood of 1913: the huge scale of the disaster and the magnificent let’s-roll response, including ambitious engineering schemes which are keeping people and towns safer to this day.

        This guy gives progressives and community organisers a good name:
        http://www.communitysolution.org/arthurmorgan.html
        A puritanical toughie…but what a man to have on your side!

        You start by acknowledging past climate – in full! – and then you ask yourself who did what about it.

      • Danny, Steven is trying to work typical business as usual adaption in as “climate change” preparation. Communities respond to natural and other disasters as they can, preparing for reasonable disruption. Weather wise you can upgrade warning systems and evaluation plans plus try to steer construction plans toward less potential damage. That is business as usual. For some that would be disposable housing shacks and mobile homes that are easy to replace. To others than would be more expensive construction including earthquake, hurricane, flood and fire construction codes.

        You probably don’t get it because there is nothing really new in his cryptic suggestion.

        What he doesn’t mention is that basing long term planning on the current state of the art climate models would be a bit insane. Fukushima had prior warning. There was a high water line with monument installed well above the tidal wave that was dismissed. Weather amnesia as Judith puts it. New York and New Jersey had historic records of past tropical, extra tropical cyclones worse than Sandy. Weather Amnesia. New Orleans has been known to be at risk but the levies were poorl;y maintained. Weather amnesia.

        To make it seem like Climate Science has produced something useful, people like to spin things instead of saying it like, “Climate Science still sucks, we need to refresh our memories and listen to reason instead of the likes of Mikey Mann-omatic.

      • CaptDallas,

        As always thank you for your commentary. Now this is an understatement: “What he doesn’t mention is………………” Pretty much anything at all! LOL!

      • This lackadaisical may not be due to amnesia, but instead due to the fact that the Nanny State Fed will bail them out of any self-induced pain. And if the Fed doesn’t step up immediately, they will whine and cry until it does – as we witnessed New Orleans do when Katrina hit.

      • “lackadaisical stance”

      • Danny Thomas: “Yesterday’s weather is a present threat? I REALLY need your assistance understanding that one.” Let me give you an example of what Steven Mosher is saying. In New York, almost every conversation about the need for CO2 emission mitigation policies begins with statements along the line “We had a disaster with Superstorm Sandy and climate change is going to make it worse”.

        What I think Steven is saying is Superstorm Sandy was not as strong as previous storms which happened before the climate warmed. Because we couldn’t handle Sandy well maybe the debate should be how we spend the limited money available. For the folks who are saying emission mitigation is required now to prevent future catastrophe, I say shouldn’t we at least discuss whether we should spend the limited money available to adapt to the observed historical weather first?

      • jim2, And if the Fed doesn’t step up immediately, they will whine and cry until it does – as we witnessed New Orleans do when Katrina hit.”

        Most of the ones screaming for fema aid following Katrina were not even involved in the disaster. Since Bush happened to be president, the warm and fuzzies made a bigger deal of the situation than it was. In case you don’t know, Louisiana it a touch odd politically. State coordination is the general rule for disasters and they dropped the ball. New York and New Jersey political savvy doesn’t seem to be geared toward disaster planning either. Florida, California, Texas and the mid west states are used to dealing with these situations and paying into the FEMA system. Now it is time for some of the “lucky” states to contribute and start planning for the “unlikely”. .

    • Who needs “trust”?!?!? If you question them they’ll just call you a “denier”

      Er… “denier” “delayer”.

    • Are you referring to Wyoming Blizzard of 2013? Up to 100,000 cattle perished in October.

    • Please define unprecedented weather? What is the time frame over which is it unprecedented?

    • Humans have always searched for ways to make sure yesterday’s bad weather won’t happen again. So far none ever worked. Dancing, praying, chanting, burnt offerings, animal sacrifice, human sacrifice, economic sacrifice…None of these beats good strong walls and roofs.

      • None of these beats good strong walls and roofs.

        That’s what he’s advocating. And, AFAIK, other things such as levies, stormwalls, and not providing government subsidized insurance to people who build in threatened areas.

      • Post of Post cereals established a town in Texas called Post. He built a rain making machine. The locals claim they got so much rain Post was asked to shut it down. They are in a terrible drought, so the legend is looking shaky.

      • Shake it too much the prize is at the bottom,
        Truth and consequential springs are hottem.
        =================

      • Instead of worrying about the weather 100 years from now,
        prepare for yesterdays weather.

      • AK is also bright

        “That’s what he’s advocating. And, AFAIK, other things such as levies, stormwalls, and not providing government subsidized insurance to people who build in threatened areas

    • Steven,

      It’s disappointing to see this left as it is. Several folks were kind enough to take their time to attempt to interpret what you’ve intended to communicate. The terms were along the lines of: I think Steven means, or cryptic message, or varying definitions of yesterdays weather.

      The original reason for my questions to you was around the concept of “present threat” which I you’ve now modified to “yesterday’s weather”. But I don’t yet have a grasp on your concept of “present threat”. In my short time here, my impression is that you’re a bit of a warmer (as am I). But I have no grasp on the evidence that you find supports your position. Do you have sufficient evidence that GW/CC is man caused due to any of these:
      CO2 (if so can you provide attribution)
      Land use practice
      Solar Radiation
      Volcanic Activity/aerosols
      Urban development
      Natural Variability
      Other (please detail)

      Or, in your mind, are all these (and any others) moot and all that matters from your view is that we modify our behavior to address “yesterday’s weather” more adequately and do nothing in relation to the rest?

      To some, the present threat is all about CO2. To others, natural variability, and to others who knows…………

      So if we can’t even get to defining the “present threat” (I only have your “yesterday’s weather”) how do folks of good will proceed? I consider myself to be of “good will”, I’m finding my position of “I don’t know” when it comes to climate change is an honest one and equally valid (based on my novice understanding of the science) to those on the strongly AGW side and those on the strongly skeptic side. After all, if the science isn’t settled, it isn’t settled so where one stands seems to not matter (except to have a position from which to debate).

  5. Judith, kudos. This sort of engagement can go a long way to bring rational (quote) people on different sides of the debate towards common ground.
    re the Keystone pipeline, the latest developments change the balance but perhaps not the outcome. Like climate change itself this is political. What issues that are raised on economy, jobs, and environmental, the State Department review already addressed without any significant objections. The heavy crude will be used regardless, as AK says, it may affect where emissions occur, … not really(?) Some of the Canadian crude will be processed in the US Gulf Coast into petroleum products – a.k.a. gasoline, diesel, kero, jet fuel, bunker fuel oil and bottoms / asphalt. The balance will be exported, which would happen anyway. The US demand for these products will not change because of Keystone being built or not being built. Therefore U.S. emissions will not change – emissions change only when you stop using gasoline, diesel, fuel oil, asphalt, etc. Part of the Canadian crude will replace equally dirty Venezuelan heavy crude – a good thing, Wouldn’t you rather buy from Canada than OPEC member Marxist Venezuela. Part of the Canadian crude will go into export markets – it will go to export markets anyway, it’s just a question of how it gets there and pipelines are safer and cheaper than rail transport. Operating the pipeline has negligible effect on U.S. jobs; however, building Keystone is net positive U.S. jobs but not a biggy. The biggest effect is eliminating transport of crude by rail – from both Canada and Bakken light crude….economics, safety, and environmental (trains emit CO2) although that eliminates some jobs on the railroad. There is no actual basis for a (NIMBY) “not in my backyard” position / argument as the president postures, because there is no supportable basis for such an argument, not even “symbolic” one. So on balance any such argument is patently bogus and JUST playing to the environmental constituencies e.g., Tom Steyer et al. If the president continues repeating this line take it for what it is empty rhetoric. The State feasibility study already concluded that Keystone is net positive. The downside in vetoing will be demonstrating is for no good reason the administration is unwilling to work with Congress. And will serve as ammunition in the next presidential election.

    • The heavy crude will be used regardless, as AK says, it may affect where emissions occur, … not really(?)

      I didn’t say it. I just said let’s think it through!

    • in terms of costs/benefits, even if you take out the greenhouse gas emission factor (minuscule in any event), its still a tough call as far as I can tell, esp with the current low cost of oil. Seems to be a largely symbolic issue in the climate/energy wars; I wish they would expend all that energy on something more meaningful

      • Seems to be a largely symbolic issue in the climate/energy wars; […]

        All issues are symbolic in this kind of war.

      • I mentioned in my opinion the biggest factor is eliminating rail transport. If one life is saved or property damage avoided by eliminating a rail incident vs. pipeline then it makes the case. What is the value of human life. The IPCC is good at using cost/benefit of lives saved aren’t they?

      • Curryja said “Seems to be a largely symbolic issue in the climate/energy wars; I wish they would expend all that energy on something more meaningful…..”
        That is an excellent tie in to your interview with Mrs. Green. There is way too much simplification (which is exactly what the politicians like for their sound bites) on the Keystone (and climate in general) issue. I’ve been reading on the Keystone issue for years. I’m finally thinking that in the larger frame of things, it’s a non-issue. Except for chest beating.
        As with much of what I read, if I can paraphrase, “lots of talk, but not much being said.” It’s sad too, as I think most people really want to do the right thing.
        Thanks for your work.
        GeoffW

      • It’s not symbolic for the people who want to build it and the people who would get jobs and start businesses because of the economic opportunity.

      • There is significant increase in unit train transport of Alberta oil though St. Paul MN and many other locations. There is a backlog of grain shipments due to under capacity on rail lines in the Midwest. The price of rail shipping is increasing due to unit train transport of Alberta crude. Pipeline transport is by far safer than unit train transport.

      • dalyplanet:
        I had heard that, we are short of rail capacity in some places in Minnesota. We had a decent corn harvest.

      • dalyplanet/Ragnaar,

        Regarding railroads and oil, here is an article that supports your case. It is a little old, but interesting. BNSF could not keep up with demand for shipping oil and grain, not a bad problem to have. Warren Buffet bought BNSF in 2009 – he’s no dummy.

        http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304914904579437680173044774

      • Check out these BNSF tracks on the map! BNSF can ship oil from Canada to New Orleans! WB was a big Obama supporter. It’s good to have friends in high places! ;)

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BNSF_Railway#/image/File:BNSF_Railway_system_map.svg

      • There is so much more to this Keystone pipeline delay and WB than meets the eye Justin, if only I were 1% as well connected as WB.

      • Warren is not against Keystone and does not need to be against Keystone. He has the likes of Barry, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Al Gore, Robert Redford etc for that. If Pope Francis spoke out against Keystone (has that happened yet?) Warren would see His Holiness’ point of view…without himself being against Keystone.

        It’s like Big Oil isn’t against its true competitors, coal and nukes. It has the likes of Barry, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Al Gore, Robert Redford etc for that.

      • mosomoso

        You are seeing things clearly as they are.

      • The Keystone pipeline is as about as significant to Warren Buffet’s well-being, as a dime and a couple of nickels. He ain’t holding it up.

      • My main point about WB, BNSF, and the pipeline is that he probably knew that the company would make money hauling commodities including grain, oil, and coal. When he bought the rr I wondered what he knew that others did not. Railroads are so 20th century. Now I think I know. The comment about influencing the Keystone decision was just a joke. The devil made me do it! :)

      • Keystone is very meaningful. The issue is whether or not CO2 control will be Federal policy. Keystone is the precedent.

    • David L. Hagen

      Danley
      Jeffrey Brown shows 26 oil exporting countries out of the top 33 already are experience declining ratio of export capacity to production based on 2005-2012.
      That portends growing scarcity for oil importing countries!
      Thus it will be strategically important to have access to some oil rather than none, as long term availability becomes increasingly scarce.

      Increasing CO2 was projected to be positive through ~2070 with high CO2 sensitivity – but with actual sensitivity being about half that – means that increasing CO2 will benefit past 2100.

      And what is we see cooling for the next few decades?

  6. “Mitigation” is mentioned. Whatever happened to “Adaptation”? Cheaper, faster, better targeted, and does not involve “Command and Control” by the government.

    • Some adaptive measures are useful for both excessive warming and excessive cooling. Be sure to factor in the excess deaths from cold.

    • @ Pooh, Dixie

      “Whatever happened to “Adaptation”? Cheaper, faster, better targeted, and does not involve “Command and Control” by the government.”

      “……..does not involve “Command and Control” by the government.”

      Answered your own question.

    • It’s amazing how much importance is placed on mitigation (i.e. emisissions reductions), especially if it’s advocated in the name of human welfare. In the most optimistic scenario, where we eliminate all human carbon emissions, the least fortunate among us who would have been vulnerable to the dire predictions of a warmer planet would still have thier flanks exposed to everything else: weather disasters, earthquakes, wildfires, meteor strikes, rising oceans, environmental degradation, economic calamity, armed conflict, poverty.

      It seams the best strategy to address as many of these threats to human welfare as possible, is the same one that would best address global warming threats: the strategy of human robustness. Increase everyone’s access to employment, decent housing, emergency services, medical services, road/ energy/fuel/food infrastructure, national security. Give them more control over where they live, and more personal independence, knowledge, and ability to react to threats.

      So basically bring everyone up to living standards in the west. And as I see it there is no way to separate western life from cheep energy options. I’m sorry if you read this far just to find out I’m hot for the Koch Brothers.

      • SmokinFrog, above

        I fear you missed something. At stake is “Life (IPAB), Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (Opportunity)”

        We have seen in recent history that “Progressive” Politics is now bent upon regulating nearly everything, even if it must interpret existing laws in a most expansive manner. Regulation of energy is a political lever. Nuclear Energy is a short lever (~15%). Fossil Fuel is much longer (~80%).

        Government by Diktat is Totalitarianism: “Everything which is not forbidden is compulsory.” — T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

  7. “She was born to inform, and to engage individuals and businesses in the movement toward global sustainability.”

    Firstly, she should know stuff before informing. In the case of the climate, where eg very little is known of the hot ball called Earth and very few want to know, the informing cart is still waiting for the knowledge horse to push it from behind. As for climate change, experts find the subject of actual climate change (eg LIAs, major and minor pluvial episodes, Bond Events like 2200 BC) to be a bore and an obstacle to mysterious, hyper-expensive rituals called “action on climate” and “tackling climate change”. Presumably they want to avert a Sandy by reverting to a pre-industrial climate which produced a Great Colonial. Thanks, I’ll take a Sandy.

    It is odd that the notion of “global sustainability” is never questioned by the types of professional questioners who so often complain of “mindless conservatism”. Imagine the state of conservation if we had no synthetic fibres and were still slaughtering everything with fur (2 million of my cuddly koalas in a year!), or were still trying to clad ourselves with what we could wrench out of the soil! Who questions the organic movement and its potential for destructiveness and land gobbling? Who thinks their favourite heirloom plants and animals are not the result of rapid and intensive selection and breeding, closely akin to GM and Borlaug’s Green Revolution? Which inner urban bourgeois, inspired by the sexiness of their weekend inner urban market, still can’t see the waste, expense and likely chaos of localism and the locavore movement?

    Have our Mrs Greens questioned much at all, and themselves ever?

    • Have our Mrs Greens questioned much at all, and themselves ever?

      Yes.

      • I’ll go further: listening to her comments, and the ad’s on her podcast, I’m going to predict that the “greens” will dismiss her as an oil industry shill.

      • How did that go? Or was it over too fast?

      • Listen again; listen harder.

      • Look, I’ll be fair. Mrs Green is running some vaguely cultish commercial operation which is going to be low-cost PR and sociable fun for its customers who don’t take it too seriously. Her soft centre, Repub-friendly, soft line, win/win approach is pitched just right for the people likely to have the money, while her business head is anything but soft.

        “Did you speak with a Mrs. Green’s World Champion prior to becoming a member? If so, enter the Champion Number here.” You can be a student sustainer for just 20 dollars annually or join her leadership circle for a mere thousand (annually). Businesses with 100+ employees can be in the green for a mere ten dollars a head (annually). She makes it very easy to pay online!

        Look, it’s like gambling in Vegas or buying rugs on your trip to Turkey. If you keep your head you’ll be shown some fun and just get mildly ripped off. All being well, in the case of the rugs, you’ll have floor coverings, friends and memories. In the case of Mrs Green or Vegas, you’ll have just friends and memories.

        I’m not knocking Mrs Green, the biz. It’s not as fanatically cultish as Amway or Apple, though, unlike those companies, it’s selling next to nothing (like bottled tap water with sky blue labels). But at least it’s making some money go round and people are entertained.

        On a more serious note, we need to be careful that moderates and lukewarmers aren’t keeping a very expensive, solution-rich climate show on the road, when thrift, conservation, modernisation and engineering are civilisation’s real needs. Yes, the climatariat makes noises in favour of those things…but maybe it’s time to skip the climatariat and just do those things. There’ll still be jobs for people who can tell us a bit about weather and get it right more often than wrong. Like Mrs Green, I’m seeing a win/win here.

    • John Smith (it's my real name)

      “sustainability” is 50 cent word and vacuous concept
      stasis is impossible
      Mann and the Greens keep trying to “delay” growth
      it won’t work
      the attempts grow ever more painful to watch

      • Mann and the Greens keep trying to “delay” growth it won’t work

        I guess I went too fast. I suppose it makes sense that calling their enemies “delayers” is projection on their part.

      • @ John Smith

        Don’t forget, one of the central goals of the ‘sustainability movement’ is the elimination of 90+% of humanity. By any means possible.

    • I’m with AK on this. Mrs. Green was a thoughtful and gracious interviewer. She worked with Dr. Curry to produce a good program segment.

      Dr. Curry presents well in a long format program like this. Discussing climate science doesn’t work well in sound bite format.

  8. The hammer and sickle is apt.

  9. Deniers to delayers to dallyers to dalliance?
    Ah, aknowledgment of the pause.
    Paige Brown, Blob Green, what’s next?
    Snow White and Rose Red.

  10. Judith, listened to the whole interview. Well done, and a fascinating exchange. Hope it drives many of Mrs. Greens listeners here to Climate Etc. You might want to think about a ‘top ten’ or ‘Hit 50’ of background posts for them. Sensitivity, feedbacks to CO2 beyond grey Earth CO2 doubling, “the pause”, ‘missing heat’, those sorts of things. Especially where MSM (most likely climate knowledge source for Mrs. Green’s listeners) has gotten and continues to get stuff wrong or misrepresented. Lines of initial rebuttal to “the science is settled” meme, which they will have gotten from the President himself.

  11. Thanks, Judith. And thanks to Mrs. Green. You two worked together very well. I’m looking forward to part 2.

    Cheers.

  12. Is there a reasonably reliable estimate of Mrs Green’s audience numbers ?

  13. Mrs Green is a very accomplished interviewer, and has a talent of eliciting understandable information from the guest. Dr Curry did very well. Good interview!

  14. With all available facts we should dispute the science we disagree with, but to seek to silence it is immoral.

  15. Ms. Green wants: sound bites, snippets, twitter tease.
    Judith Curry: if you are confused, you should be. We’ve over-simplified the problem and its solutions. How can we have decision making under deep uncertainty. We need to focus on weather (and short term adaptation) and addressing our vulnerability.

    There you have it folks. Ms. Green says she wants us to think, yet she seeks sound bites, snippets, and twitter tease; the very instruments of superficial thinking. Strictly radio entertainment.

    The question is: how does one advance the discussion (Rob Ellison’s query regarding meaningful discussion of the science), and how does one engage a broad audience?

    Now, if you are my near 40 year old children, then, the discussion of climate change not only is not interesting, their minds are kinda made up on CO2 emissions and a warming world; emissions are bad, global warming is just around the corner. Yet, they behave in ways to recycle more, use less resources, buy locally and then buy a BMW for reasons of convenience and expediency, because they can! I give up.

    It (climate change and all its iterations) comes down to intellectual theoretical rationalizations, and a practical world in which to live.

    Our kids inherit a world better than what we found, and such a world exorbitantly moves the needle closer to improved living standards. Now, we just have to have my children acknowledge that the rest of the world needs the energy resources they currently enjoy which includes fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

    I guess that when you have young children running around your house and needing your attention, the big picture devolves into the situation of the immediacy.

  16. Great comic. Treasure it. A thousand blog words could never convey so much.

  17. ‘There remains considerable meta uncertainty in the determination of climate sensitivity, including how the problem is even framed.’ Curry

    A misleading footnote in the history of climate science and another round of mis-framing of climate sensitivity. I am afraid that the Lewis and Curry paper was as far as I got with this post. There are much more entertaining and insightful ways to spend my time.

    The next abrupt, unpredictable and more or less extreme climate shift is due in a decade or so. At this stage it seems quite likely that we will by and large blunder on quite oblivious until and beyond the point where it hits. One day – one of these thresholds will be over a precipice.

    In the context of dynamic climate sensitivity – the idea that we have time to sort out ‘the science’ before committing to policy is as silly as it comes. Quite apart from the fact that abrupt change is the most solid idea in climate science – but not one for which we are likely to able to discern the changes in the simple mechanisms on which complexity is built anytime soon.

    The policy secret is obviously to move beyond the Hobson’s choice of taxes or not – to multiple goals with multiple objectives that are based on energy innovation, social and economic progress, sustainable production and ecological conservation and restoration.

    • Rob, you might be right. But your own nonlinear dynamics ‘chaos thesis means you can have no more idea about the timing of state transitions between strange attractors than anyone else. There are mo period doublings or other bifurcations evident in the admittedly rather poor resolution climate data from which one might make a guess.
      Or have I misunderstood your post?

      • 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.

        Some ideas are not all that relevant to climate – where we don’t actually have badly behaved nonlinear equations that can be evaluated at all. What we have is abrupt change at all scales in time and space for which there is overwhelming evidence and some clue as to how complexity evolves from the interactions of simple components.

        Abrupt change is unpredictable – but it does happen every few decades and we are creating changes in the system. It is unlikely to be more knowable anytime soon.

      • Hey Chief, even if I never agreed with a thing that you write (though often I do agree) you always supply some most interesting links. I am quite appreciative of the path you have presented here over the years.

      • nottawa rafter

        Chief
        Thanks for the link. Just like Bessie the Holstein, I have my cud to chew on for the day.

    • Climate-Researcher

      Rob Ellison

      There is no relevant uncertainty in climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide – it’s negative and less than 0.1 degree. See this site.

      • Tell someone who gives a rat’s arse. Oh right – there’s no one left is there.

        Doug is a leading exemplar of climate crankology. Why this stuff isn’t arbitrarily deleted – even more than it is – I have not the slightest clue. Is there a blog in the world where Doug is welcome?

  18. I can’t wait to hear the podcast (can’t hear wiyh podcast now. It’s cool Mrs Green wanted to interview Judith. I wonder what she (Mrs Green) thinks of nuclear energy.

  19. Mrs. Green appears to be a supporter that has not read much on climate change apart from things like the WSJ article. There was an awkward moment when she raised that her neighbor, Arizona climate scientist Overpeck, got all kinds of hate mail after his emails were hacked (Climategate), possibly not knowing that Overpeck was on the ‘other side’. Judith had to admit both sides had problems with hate mail, and she did express it as ‘both sides’ indicating that she agrees that she has some kind of antagonism against even mainstream climate scientists like Overpeck.

  20. A slightly more nuanced translation of the cartoon caption might be “Nothing can be done, boss. She doesn’t want to burn.” The sign ‘relaps’ on the stake means “heretic.”

  21. But over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys……………
    I would have estimated at almost 4 years…

  22. Planning Engineer

    Really enjoyed the podcast. I had quit making my family listen to any educational Podcasts on car trips, but may have to resume the practice for this one.

  23. I confess to having been puzzled by Prof Curry’s seemingly contradictory accepting of the consensus “everybody agrees” and the sentiment at about 18 min when she says “…This problem we really don’t understand…” After listening to all of the interview, I now have a better understanding of her position. Very good and worth spending the hour.

  24. She was born to inform, and to engage individuals and businesses in the movement toward global sustainability.
    ——————————————————-
    IOW, the contemporary version of the Club Bore.

    There is nothing worse (in a social context) than being trapped in a corner at a party or being seated next to someone at dinner who is “born to inform”.

    “Born to inform” implies that even at birth, she knew better than the rest of us. Arrogant and ill-mannered are more appropriate terms.

    And if they don’t apply, why are they on the website?

    • The good news is that there’s more silly green stuff than creepy green stuff on the Mrs Green website. The bad news is that there’s still lots of creepy stuff.

      I don’t tell anyone what to think, but I challenge potential punters to think that paying for any level of Sustainer status at Mrs Green is tossing money down a green hole. Not that you have to think that or think anything. But think it anyway.

      • You are kinder than I am bamboo-man.

        Anyone who allows themselves to be described that way is in the same territory as those who sell snake oil or eternal salvation.

        Just because some of them are intelligent and coherent does not detract from that.

  25. John Costigane

    Judith.

    Good to see you engaging with a broader ‘green’ audience. I was a green enthusiast before becoming a climate skeptic. The latter issue is a more pressing problem since its associated alarmism is a potential threat to the scientific enlightenment.

    For any green enthusiast joining-in, Judith is correct in her assessment of climate science. A lot of the people spreading the ‘doom and gloom’ have no scientific background, including even at the level of education. Therein lies the problem.

  26. Planning Engineer | January 10, 2015 at 9:23 pm wrote:

    There is value in being a delayer or a procrastinator. Having everyone March in lockstep adopting unproven technology has great risks. While it’s good to learn from your own mistakes, it’s great to have the luxury of learning from others mistakes.

    Hear! Hear! Furthermore …

    As the daughter of a (recently deceased) engineer (albeit electrical … and they know everything ‘cuz he always said so!) I freely admit that he and I had many differences on many, many matters over the years.

    But, with the passage of time, apart from my becoming his computer “tutor”, in his later years, one of the few issues we agreed on was “global warming” aka “climate change”.

    My Dad’s perspective quite possibly derived from his (pre-retirement) position with Canada’s (for all intents and purposes now defunct) crown corporation Atomic Energy of Canada Limited..

    And I must confess that until five years ago, when I stumbled onto the “battlefield” of CC, aka [C]AGW, I had never been .. well, entirely comfortable with Dad’s career choice. Notwithstanding the fact that his position gave him the opportunity to travel the world and mingle with many high and mighty (1st & 3rd world) muck-a-mucks!

    In hindsight and retrospect – considering what I now</em know about the UNEP and its ever-increasing army of NGOs, I have to wonder how much my own anti-nuclear views for so many years might have been formed, influenced and … uh, sustained by the pure unadulterated advocacy of – what has come to be known as – the green blob!

    • Oh, drat … I don’t know why it is that every time I neglect to test a comment locally before posting, it invariably contains a coding error :-(

      Pls make last para above:

      In hindsight and retrospect – considering what I now</em know about the UNEP and its ever-increasing army of NGOs, I have to wonder how much my own anti-nuclear views for so many years might have been formed, influenced and … uh, sustained by the pure unadulterated advocacy of – what has come to be known as – the green blob!

      • Very deep sigh …. OK … WP must be making changes … again…’Cuz the last one, I did check! .. and view from here was that it was fine. I give up!

        Or perhaps WP has decided to embark on an undisclosed anti-femitic campaign!

    • O Hilary, likewise from the daughter of a deceased electrical
      engineer with world patents’ technology, who was wont ter say
      ter his flibberty gibberty (Arts) daughters, ‘ I only deal in facts.’ )
      Luv yer blog. bts

      • Thanks, Beth! I should also have mentioned that one of the very best things my Dad ever taught me (and my sisters) was Bridge. Lessons I’ve never forgotten (even though in later years we used different coventions!) … But, as a consequence of which, I’ve always called a spade a spade;-)

      • That was no strumpet, that was three no trump it.
        ===============

      • Hilary, my father once bought a small statue, not that he
        was into the arts, ) it was a man, shabbily dressed, we
        call them ‘tramps’ sitting on a park bench. Caption below
        read, ‘ The man who wouldn’t lead trumps.’

    • Engineers – annoying buggers. For some reason, they wanted things to work.

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

    Dr. Curry

    you are not the “delayer”

    (paraphrase of GW Bush intended)
    Mann needs to direct his new found power word in the right direction
    towards the Obama administration…they use this issue to adhere the base and take little real action
    the Democrats barely mentioned climate until about two years ago when pressured by deep pocket donors
    few politicians, of any stripe, are going to buy into draconian anti-growth measures given the current state of the science
    they’re not dumb
    they just think we are

  28. “We talked about the Scientific American ‘climate heretic’ article….” – JC

    I love how Judith just can’t let this go.

    What it says about self-perception is interesting.

    • Anonymous runts don’t have any experience with being interviewed. Stuff gets talked about. Stuff usually related to the person being interviewed.

      • Judith likes to bring it up herself as often as possible.

        My guess is that Judith likes the revolutionary/maverick angle it suggests….in contradistinction to the rather pedestrian reality.

    • Still wearing the Che Guevara t-shirt, are we? Just to prove that the wearer is “edgy” and cool? And the pre-frayed jeans, to show solidarity with the working class?

      Your personal attacks on Dr Curry are as water off a duck’s back to her (I hope). But more broadly, your attacks on civil and reasoned public discourse by resorting to abuse are the opposite of what this blog is about.

      Desist, sir. Did your parents never teach you any manners? Were you raised in a barn along with Mosher?

  29. Obama is the Delayer-in-Chief, demonstrated by the Keysonte XL pipeline’s six years of no decision

    Blocking that pipeline will result in more carbon dioxide emissions, not less. If the US refineries do not receive that oil, it will go to China or India. India has already tested the oil in its refineries, and it wants more.

    “At one such meeting, a Reliance executive assured the Canadians his refinery could handle Alberta’s tarry bitumen. How could he be so sure? The company had already procured a tanker of the stuff from a terminal in Burnaby, British Columbia, and ran it through the facility. Both Ashar and Browning have visited the Indian refiners and Indian Oil has since signed a letter of intent with an Alberta supplier, assuming Energy East will be built.”

    http://fuelfix.com/blog/2014/10/08/keystone-be-darned-canada-finds-oil-route-around-obama/

  30. I have just listened to the interview with Mrs Green. It was excellent and encapsulated the themes that Judith has been discussing here for years. I always felt it was important for me to speak, listen, read and write with great precision during my career. After listening to the interview and focusing on each of Judith’s sentences, I thought of someone else who was unfamiliar with her work and how they might react to what she said. I am convinced that the average person would have concluded “What is the complaint with her position?” and “How is she unreasonable or being characterized as anything but a scientist concerned about the integrity of the science.”

    If taken in isolation, without preconceived ideas of what her positions were going to be, how could any reasonable person disagree with the things she said.

    Mrs Green gets it. She even alluded to her cognitive dissonance. Good for her.

    I have a proposal. Lets get a transcript of this interview and pair it with the Mann piece above and run it for a few million people to read and then test their reaction as to which person they believe is the serious climate scientist.
    Slam dunk anyone?

    The climate establishment has to be the least self aware group known to man. Every time they open their mouths they detract from their purpose.

  31. Judith

    I forgot to comment on your discussion about climate sensitivity. While it is important in scientific circles to distinguish the two kinds of sensitivities, for the lay person it probably is not. In communicating with the public, I think it is sufficient to just explain that the estimates relate to how much temperatures will increase given an increase in CO2 . Making a distinction between the two measurements can create more confusion than needed. I didn’t grasp the significance of the 70 years reference since most of the discussions have been about doubling CO2.

    Other than that, the rest of the discussion was very interesting and informative.

  32. Stephen Segrest

    Very good interview but it misses an important point. Any policy actions to address AGW will be framed by Ideological Skeptics/Deniers as Socialism, Big Government, Worshiping Gaia.

    From adaptation policies (i.e., reversing the loss of wetlands in Louisiana that protect us from Katrinas) to fast mitigation policies in reducing methane, smog, black carbon (EPA proposed Regs).

    How do you determine an Ideological AGW Skeptic? They are the same folks who historically also have consistently opposed health protection on Lead, Mercury, Smog, Particulates, Acid Rain, Ozone Depletion, Fluoride, Coal Ash, and of course — Global Warming.

    • How can you tell a green fanatic? They support every restriction on lead, mercury, smog, particulates, acid rain, ozone, etc. regardless of the cost.

      See how easy it is to play this game, SS?

  33. Minor technical recording point – room echos are fine in stereo but very bad in monaural.. Talk surrounded by blankets and curtains if possible.

  34. Solar Energy is still nowhere close to being “fossil fuel replacement” because:
    1) Cost per kwh of generating capacity for solar is 1/3 or less that of fossil fuels. Thus the comparison is complete crap.
    2) Cost of backup increases the above cost another 2x (i.e. every kwh of solar generating capacity MUST have equivalent fossil fuel or nuclear backup)
    3) Costs of solar per kwh of generating capacity don’t include additional costs like transmission (solar plants require far more transmission grid than fossil fuel or nuclear plants), conversion from DC to AC, cleaning/maintenance costs (solar panels are not maintenance free, nor are fossil fuel or nuclear of course)
    4) Solar PV in particular doesn’t address much of societal power needs – which are thermal (can’t smelt steel with electricity for example)
    5) Present solar technology is relatively low on the time scale of what is achievable with solar PV generation – policies encouraging mass propagation of crap present day solar tech are populating the energy world with garbage.

  35. Up till now, most of the conversation / argument over climate change has been “catastrophe versus denial”, as if the only alternative to believing that mankind has nothing to do with climate change is believing that we are quickly headed for climate Armageddon.

    If I were paranoid, I would think that the intention behind the proselytizing of this false dichotomy is to intentionally avoid considering other viewpoints.

    But I’m not, so I won’t even mention it.

  36. Dr, Curry — Is there only the one short segment? or did the interview continue?

    • ??? its a 58 minute interview

      • Stephen Segrest

        When I first clicked the interview, it stopped at about 2 minutes in. When I re-started the file on my PC, it ran fine (about 1 hour). Just refresh if problems.

      • Glad to hear I am not the only one with the two-minute problem…definitely didn’t get the 58 minute version..trying again today.

      • Ah, go it now…used the “download this episode” link, which brought up the whole interview…running now in the background of my morning chores.

    • nottawa rafter

      It stopped on my phone after a couple of minutes. The entire interview worked fine
      on my PC.

  37. Mark P Schooley, MD

    CO2 is nothing. Water is everything.

  38. Congratulations, Professor Curry, on your continued success in keeping channels of communication open between believers and doubters of the AGW theory.

  39. For Tonyb and completely OT.

    Didn’t know if you could use this in your research: http://www.ibtimes.com/rapa-nui-population-decline-demise-easter-island-society-linked-environmental-1780450
    and: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/01/02/1420712112

    I do not find a link on your discussion on CO2, so if the offer still stands I’d appreciate it.

    Best,
    Danny

  40. I also listened to the whole thing. So nice to hear reason and open-mindedness in a conversation about climate.

    Mrs Green mentioned that she thought she should be able to rely on experts in order to inform her about what is going on with climate so that she can make the right choices. She could have been speaking my own mind. My interest in climate science was sparked by the massive cognitive dissonance I felt when confronted with evidence that experts I relied on to inform me of how things are had badly overstated their case and were not actually justified in making some the statements they did.

    Her ethos wrt the environment mirror mine almost exactly. It was most refreshing. I’d be interested if to hear what she has to say about GM foods- I’m pretty enthusiastic about them, but it’s a sore point for green types.

    And I completely agree with Dr Curry that by focussing on emissions, it takes the spotlight from issues and problems that really DO impact the environment. I also completely agree – we should make ourselves more resilient to the weather we already get than fool ourselves into thinking we are going to fix future weather by sticking up a few windmills or solar panels.

    I really enjoyed the interview. I look forward to part 2.

  41. rogercaiazza, “Mistake one is your presumption that solar PV technology works everywhere. Clearly there are places where solar makes sense but just as clearly trying to make solar work in upstate New York where I live downwind of Lake Ontario is one place it won’t.”

    Let me second your objections. I live a hundred or two kilometers East of you in the Green Mountain foothills in Vermont. Today, happens to be sunny, (it’s also about -7F) but mostly we haven’t seen much sun since October. Even then, we’ll have about 8 hours of useful sunlight with a maximum sun elevation of maybe 25 degrees. And I’m guessing that every solar collector in NorthWest VT has about two inches of fresh snow on it this morning. And maybe some ice (much harder to remove) because yesterday when the storm started was much warmer. PV or even solar hot water in this part of the world is pretty much a six month of the year thing. If your site has a clear Southern view, which many don’t because towns here are often built in narrow valleys. And, of course, any ground that isn’t cleared for agriculture is covered with 20 meter tall trees.

    You are also correct about the lack of suitable sites for pumped storage on the East Coast. The Appalachians tend to rise abruptly and seem to have relatively few sites where adequate vertical drop exists for serious pumped storage. The two exceptions that I’m aware of are the 100 meter or so drop from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario and the 300 meter drop on Schoharie Creek at Gilboa-Blenheim where they actually do have a pumped storage facility. GB is instructive because it illustrates the impressive amount of water that must be moved to store electricity and also the cost of the facility. It’s difficult to come up with an exact cost figure because the facility has three pieces constructed over the course of a century, but since the most recent — an upgrade to the generators cost $135M, it seems likely that building the facility from scratch would take a big bite out of a billion dollars. It’s going take a LOT of these 12 to 17GW batteries to provide adequate backup for solar and wind.

    In the Southwest, where the sun is more reliable and higher in the sky, the problem is water. They often don’t have enough for their current users. Not only can they use salt water, they will probably have to use non-potable water of some sort.

    I should make it clear that I’m not against solar. And I anticipate that by the end of this century it might be a major component in the human race’s energy framework. But there are huge problems that need to be solved before that can happen. And the costs will go way beyond the cost of the panels of solar cells.

    • Given the cost of storage PV would have to be almost free in order to compete with fossil. To replace fossil in the US we would need something like 500,000 MW-weeks of storage capacity, assuming local generation.

      • Unless I’ve made an order of magnitude error, at a 400 meter head, 25 meter depth (100,000,000 Joules/square meter), that works out to about 3,000 square kilometers for each reservoir: an area about 30×40 miles.

        Of course it would have to be broken up into small chunks for “local generation.”

      • I am not going to check your math, but pumped storage uses more juice than it generates, so you need to factor that into your system calculations. It takes a lot more juice to pump the water up than you get when it comes back down. Pumped storage is used because of the time of day price differential, not to store energy.

        Not sure what the size of the reservoir has to do with it. I helped build the pumped storage facility at Kinzua dam in NW PA. It has 900 ft of head so the reservoir is tiny. In principle one could build self contained pump storage batteries near demand centers using liquids heavier than water. Just put a tank on a tower. Topography ceases to be an issue. Cost remains.

      • Heh, put a standpipe in the windturbine tower.
        ====================

      • It takes a lot more juice to pump the water up than you get when it comes back down.

        From Wiki: “Pumped storage recovers about 70% to 85% of the energy consumed, and is currently the most cost effective form of mass power storage.[43]”

        Not sure what the size of the reservoir has to do with it.

        You specified MW-weeks, I translated into square kilometers at 400 meter head.

        In principle one could build self contained pump storage batteries near demand centers using liquids heavier than water. Just put a tank on a tower. Topography ceases to be an issue. Cost remains.

        In principle you could do the same with water. Documenting the calculations is a little more challenging than a blog comment.

  42. she won’t burn = elle ne veut pas s’allumer = elle ne veut pas prendre feu,
    ça veut pas chauffer = it refuses to warm

  43. The main difference the keystone xl pipeline will make is to reduce the amount of oil moving by train. since the trains are owned by a major obama contributor, obama opposes the pipeline. fund raising trumps all else.

    from a strategic point of view, Canadian oil is nearly identical to Venezuela oil. both are heavy oils. thus Canadian oil can be used at the gulf refineries originally designed to handle Venezuelan oil. this could be used to destabilize the unfriendly government.

    it depends on who is in the white house as to which government is seen as unfriendly. Canada or Venezuela. Venezuela’s leftist government in contrast to Canada’s rightist government. however, events may make this moot.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/francescoppola/2015/01/13/the-impending-collapse-of-venezuela/