Mitigating CO2 emissions: a busted flush?

by Michael Kelly

One graph I caught up with this week has convinced me that climate change mitigation by supressing carbon dioxide emissions is a busted flush that history will look back on with great ridicule, even if the worst of the climate alarmist predictions come to pass.


Even a water-tight, globally binding and comprehensive treaty in Paris later this year will not change the situation. BP’s most recent analysis [link] of a 20 year forward look for the world’s energy needs also includes the hard data for that last 25 years that the world has been debating carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. Several things leap out from this analysis:

(i) It shows an approximate 40% growth of energy usage over the last 20 years when climate mitigation has been a matter of public debate, and predicts a further 40% growth over the next 20 years on a business as usual basis. To the extent that half of China, much of SE Asia and a growing number of Africans have emerged from grinding poverty over that period, I regard that as a good thing. I am not in any way condoning human profligacy in resource and energy consumption elsewhere.

(ii) The sum total of all the renewable energy does not make serious inroads to this. Indeed Roger Pielke has a graph from last year’s BP data showing that the ratio of non-carbon energy to carbon energy in the world economy has been fixed at 12-13% for the last 25 years, indicating that the carbon energy usage is growing at quite precisely seven times the rate of non-carbon energy to maintain the ratio. [link]

(iii) Note that the contributions of renewables are nugatory, so far and going forward.

(iv) Note the size of the blip represented by the international financial crisis in 2008-9: we would need to multiply the downturn in energy usage by a factor of more than ten to get even onto a linear track for an 80% decarbonisation of the global economy from 1990 to 2050. If we think of the human misery of that crisis multiplied ten, it is a very unlikely call. Who will vote for that?

Two other factors have to be factored in. I have often pointed out that most proposals for carbon dioxide emission reductions that would make a measurable reduction to perceived adverse future climate (and I return to this rather hollow proposition below) comprehensively fail the engineering reality test (see link and link). Last week I heard a distinguished international environmental lawyer and former Prime Minister of New Zealand describe the tortuous nature of the international negotiations on a climate treaty, and that was the last nail in the coffin of climate mitigation in my book [link]. I do not disagree with his stress that New Zealand to do its bit, but only provided it is kept in perspective in terms of consequential pain inflicted on the New Zealand economy and the well-being of its citizens: for each of the last ten years, the carbon dioxide emissions of China have increased by the total amount of New Zealand’s emissions every seven weeks!

The ultimate hypocrisy of carbon oxide emission reduction is exemplified by the use of aluminium in the UK economy. Because of the commitment of the 2008 Climate Change Act, the UK is committed legally to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% of the 1990 levels by 2050. Many wind farms are now in operation subsidised by everyone to pay the rent for 20-25 years occupation of land and air-space of the land owners. The cost of electricity has gone up at twice the level of inflation over the last decade, in part because of these subsides, which are set to grow further. [In the UK, a household is described as fuel poor if it spends over 10% of its disposable income keeping warm in winter – that number has trebled since 2006!] Four of five aluminium smelters, using gas-field electricity have closed down because of this extra cost, and have relocated to China, with a direct export of jobs. The lost production is now imported from China, incurring the transport emissions, but the aluminium itself is made there using coal fired electricity, so making the original global problem of CO2 emissions worse! People in the UK pat their backs on emissions reductions but point the finger at the Chinese! The UK is showing leadership in hypocrisy!

The more I think of it, the project to decarbonise the world economy is a modern version of the biblical Tower of Babel in engineering project terms. Until we get a much clearer idea of what we will get for our money, whether it is $10T or $100T spent on carbon emission mitigation in terms of measurably improved climate in the future, just who would invest their pension money there! If we don’t know the end point, and the cost to get there, the Tower of Babel is the correct analogy. $10T spend on the poor would give the bottom billion an income of $1000pa for a decade, and I find it easier to anticipate the positive outcome for mankind, even if the poor are thwarted in part by corruption in the countries occupied by the poor.

The most important and urgent exercise to undertake now is to scope and cost adaptation actions on the basis of the possible future climates. The Dutch have lived with sea level rise for centuries and they should be our guide. If I live to 100 and see in 2050, I will look back on this time as a modern equivalent of previous manias, such as the South Sea Bubble or the Tulip scam. If the climate has got more dangerous, we will be better able to tackle the challenges. If not more dangerous, we will have nothing but scorn for this period in history. Place you bets. Every time that someone comes up with a neo-Malthusian scare (over population, resource exhaustion, …. ), I quote my hero in this regard: the first Baron Macauley in a 1830 debate on Malthus’s original proposition stated:

“On what principle is it that, when we look we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?”

He was right then and yet to be found wrong, and I say amen to his view now.

Biosketch. MichaelKelly  is Professor of Solid State Electronics and Nanoscale Science in the Division of Electrical Engineering, University of Cambridge.He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1993 and won its Hughes Medal in 2006. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was formerly the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

JC note:  This is an invited guest post, please keep your comments relevant and civil.

263 responses to “Mitigating CO2 emissions: a busted flush?

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    The title pretty much sums it up.

    • Another good title might be, Building Another Tower of Babel. To undertake the task of modeling the Earth’s climate should begin with an admission that understanding of anything that is a holistic process will be very limited. Humans lack the capability and capacity to perceive and analyze the relevant information and to manipulate in any meaningful way any of factors that are involved in such a heuristic undertaking.

  2. Sounds like very inconvenient truths to me. Carbon chemistry is a gift to mankind that just keeps on giving… I never cease to be amazed what is possible with the carbon atom and carbon compounds. Decarbonize our world?… only a fool would entertain that idea for a nanosecond

    • You so hit that nail on the head! They don’t just want to look the gift horse in the mouth, they want to shoot it!

  3. Thank you Professor Kelly for your post. In my case, you are preaching to the choir.

    The material on most proposals for CO2 emission reduction not passing the engineering reality check is very well done. Which along with the bizarre Treaty process and the increasingly tenuous case for CO2 driven climate catastrophe makes a compelling case that the politicians and bureaucrats at the UN are venturing into dangerous waters on mitigation of CO2 emissions.

  4. Well, isn’t it a good thing that man’s contribution is turning out to be mild warming and great greening of the biome?

  5. Pingback: Mitigating CO2 emissions: a busted flush? | john namnik

  6. If he wants to spend $10T, he can raise that through a relatively low $10 per tonne carbon tax in the first 25 years. He can distribute that to the poor countries, which seems to be his choice, but it may be better used for adaptation (think sea walls and coastal evacuation) and finding more sensible (or just sane) ways to generate energy. A continued growth rate along the lines he advocates gets us to 900 ppm by 2100, which most may regard as plain recklessness while quickly exhausting all the easy sources of fossil fuels and starting to tap the harder ones, and returning to coal for power generation instead of advancing wind, solar and nuclear. It really is step back towards the 19th century instead of the 21st century kind of forward-thinking that is needed.

    • Jim D– Are you advocating that US taxpayers fund the world?

    • If you were going to hand out $10 trillion to poor countries, but only to construct sea walls and windmills, first they’d think you were just being cruel, then they’d realize you weren’t serious and they’d steal the money for other economic development projects (or they’d just steal the money). It’s good to involve the UN in such a plan, they have the theft infrastructure in place.

    • Jim D

      So you are writing that you have some plan or think it is realistic to get the rest of the world to adopt such a carbon tax???? Really??

      You think US taxpayers should massively support CO2 mitigation worldwide? You believe that additional funds raised by higher US taxes should be spent on reducing CO2 more than say- taking care of the massive budgetary inbalance that the US faces in the next decade???

      BTW- many of the other nations that you believe should be giving their citizens taxes away also can’t blance their own budgets and have a worstening problem over the next 20 years due to demographics.

      • I am not saying it is realistic for the world to adopt a carbon tax, but if they do it won’t take much of one to get a revenue of the type Kelly mentions. Just putting things in scale for you. $10 per tonne is 10 cents per gallon.

    • “It really is step back towards the 19th century instead of the 21st century”
      The question is: what works and what not. Calling some technology “19th century” doesn’t prove it doesn’t work, while calling another “21 century” doesn’t prove it works.
      This name-calling is empty sloganeering.
      And besides, wind is a 15th century technology…

      • Kelly has a complete disregard of human ingenuity when confronted with a problem. While some are still not aware of the problem, most are, and people are already doing things, or know which direction to make better efforts in and which directions are dead ends. It won’t happen tomorrow, but given a few decades a transition from fossil fuels can be made.

    • Why tax our way into alternate forms of electricity production? As fossil sources gradually exhaust the lowest-cost alternates will be developed to replace them. Not necessarily lower than present, but the lowest for the times.

      The only reason to impose taxes, or award tax incentives, or impose government mandates favoring currently expensive low-CO2 forms of energy production is if CO2 is a problem. So far this seems not the case when considering predicted climate impacts of CO2 over past decades. Drought is not an issue as shown by the Palmer Drought-Severity Index, total cyclone energy is the same or falling, there is no measurable atmospheric hot spot as the models predict, the rate of sea level rise remains steady as it has for the past century or more, surface temperature remains unchanged for the past 15 or 20 years and so forth.

      I’ll hold with Kelly.

      • DHR

        Actually a case can be made to implement a gas or carbon tax in the US simply as a means of balancing the budget. Implementing an additional tax, and then wasting the money is a terrible path forward

      • We know the future presents some expensive problems, whether in adaptation or mitigation, and what better way to pay for them than to tax the cause. It helps to have a dedicated revenue stream rather than extract money from other parts of the economy.

      • JimD,

        I’m sorry, but I just do not grasp this line of thinking:”It helps to have a dedicated revenue stream rather than extract money from other parts of the economy.”
        Any “revenue stream” by defintion will be extracted from other parts of the economy, won’t it?

      • ==> “We know the future presents some expensive problems, whether in adaptation or mitigation,”

        ==> “We know the future presents some expensive problems, whether in adaptation or mitigation, ”

        Adaptation and mitigation alike, require a trade-off of short-term spending for long-term return.

        It’s facile for “skeptics” to argue about the “cost” of mitigation while ignoring the “cost” of adaptation. They can avoid dealing with the cost of adaptation by whining incessantly about the “catastrophic” cost of mitigation. They can say “We should adapt, not mitigate” even while they keep their death grip on their wallets when the taxman comes around. Meanwhile, no actual adaptation takes place.

        We have been experiencing a deterioration of infrastructure in the U.S. because of this short-term thinking. People think that in the short term, they are better off day by day by not paying taxes to improve infrastructure. So the same folks hand-wringing about the “economic suicide” of mitigation never get around to forking over the money for adaptation, for infrastructure development. Because, the same anti-tax ideology would prevent them from supporting the development of infrastructure, for adaptation. “Skeptics” talk about how the Chinese ain’t no fools and will do what’s in their own best interests even while ignoring that the Chinese are investing vast amounts in building infrastructure (4 X as much as a % of GDP?)

        Take two companies. Both companies make $X per day in profit before insurance cost. Company A doesn’t buy insurance. Company B spends $20 per year in insurance. For 100 years, there are no black swan events and company A made the smart move. “Skeptics” think that company A is an example of the wisdom of the invisible hand. In year 101, an anomalous weather event hits both companies and wipes them out. Company A loses everything. Company B is protected by insurance payout on a relatively small expenditure of their overall profits. And some portion of the workers at company A wind up in prison or relying on government support.

        One of the problems with the arguments of “skeptics” is that the same short-term thinking that rules out, categorically, hedging against risk of climate change through mitigation also rules out hedging against “natural” extreme weather events through adaptation.

      • I find no conflict with being against taxes for mitigation while being for creating artificial market incentives for innovation. In the case of fossil fuel there is the geopolitical aspect of relying of other countries, many unfriendly to western interests, which creates issue beyond GHG warming. Alternative energy is valued for the common good.

        The problem with carbon tax or infrastructure is not that skeptic conservatives do not know how to invest, it’s the opposite, we have no way to insure proper investment when liberals control all spending by continuing resolutions. Threats of government shutdown are welcomed by liberals since, as everyone knows, the MSM will blame any shutdown for any reason on conservatives.

        I would support a carbon tax if all the funds were irrevocably earmarked for benchmark prizes for demonstrated energy innovations. I believe others would too under a GOP administration.

      • It has to be realized that a tax of $10 per tonne is not punitive, or even a deterrent. It is just skimming money from an extremely large market to pay for its damage, or better still protection from its damage. Whether the money goes into retrospectively paying for climate damage (sea level, disease/pests, drought in agriculture) or proactively to prevent it (mitigation), depends on the kind of government you have making the decisions.

      • JimD,
        2013 9.9 Billion metric tons x $10 per ton. Soon, we’re talking about some real money.
        Jim. Straight up. With whom do you personally trust that much money? No one I know. Making it smaller by stating $10 per ton, indicates some level of personalization. But doing just a bit of math that even I can handle……..where does that lead?
        Head of IPCC? US congress? U.N.? Whom?
        It seems pie in the sky to me. What governmental or psuedo governmental entity can you name that’s handled that kind of finance honestly? What’s the level of waste, palm crossing, inappropriate allocation, whatever?
        Joshua talks of risk management. What about waste and corruption? How can that be utilized more appropriately?
        And all thiat assumes CO2 is the main issue, and that it can be fixed “globally”. Are you not the least bit “skeptical”?
        There has to be a better way.

      • Jim, I don’t have a problem with your concept and I don’t have a problem with communism either, except for the small but significant detail that one must trust and empower bureaucrats as overlords. Human nature does handle that role well historically. If the behavior is worth changing don’t punish it, offer reward to those that meet a pre-specified test of achievement. You get there quicker and preserve our fragile hiatus from authoritarianism.

      • R Graf, unfettered private industry does not go the way of the public good if it conflicts with their own profitability. We have to have worker safety standards, worker pay standards, consumer safety standards, environmental safety standards, all as safeguards against things industry has a tendency to do if left to itself. CO2 emission is just another example where standards are needed for the common good.

      • I was talking about tonnes of CO2, so the US emits about 6 GtCO2 per year, making a revenue of $60B per year. This can go into things like renewables, storage research, better electric cars, nuclear power, subsidizing a/c for the poor in hot states, sea walls, supplying reliable fresh water, rebuilding on damaged coasts or insuring people who live there, etc. Not saying these are all good. Depends on the government’s prioritization.

    • Jim d’s comment is yet another illustration of how disconnected from reality liberals are. Jimmy, you are obviously an intelligent guy, but are also obviously blinded by ideology. Your solution has zero chance of being implemented, and in reality, is totally unnecessary. Your aversion to coal also makes no sense. Coal is still a fuel that makes the lives we lead possible and the benefits from its use far exceed any detriment.

  7. ==> “One graph I caught up with this week has convinced me that climate change mitigation by supressing carbon dioxide emissions is a busted flush that history will look back on with great ridicule, even if the worst of the climate alarmist predictions come to pass.”

    Fascinating logic.

    Interesting. So if the worst of the “alarmist” predictions come to pass, we’ll look back with ridicule at the attempts to mitigate ACO2 emissions? I’d think that if the worst comes to pass, we’ll look back with ridicule at those who opposed ACO2 emissions mitigation.

    Also interesting logic because if the worst of the “alarmist” predictions come to pass…then…they won’t have turned out to be “alarmist,” now will they?

    Why is it that smart and knowledgeable scientists include labeling, name-calling, and identity-defense/identity-aggression when evaluating science?

    • Joshua, try to write using less ifs. One reason why you get little traction is your tendency to have poorly supported catastrophic nightmares.

      • Fernando –

        ==> “…your tendency to have poorly supported catastrophic nightmares.”

        Rather ironic (unintentionally).

        You are fantasizing – perhaps in nightmares? – about me. I don’t have any such “nightmares.”

        I think that the best science we have describes fat tails distributions of low probability high impact outcomes from BAU.

        I think it’s appropriate to do scenario-planning to weigh the relative costs and benefits of different approaches. The best approach for such planning is, IMO, through stakeholder dialog (although obviously in this context such dialog is difficult). I think that mitigation and adaptation are often, falsely, set up as being in opposition to each other or mutually exclusive.

        I think that many times, “skeptics” act like the logistical and funding problems, and problems of scale, don’t exist with adaptation – because in so doing they can conveniently create room to engage in the typical identity-aggressive and identity-defense behaviors associate with cultural cognition.

        I think that on both sides, much of the discussion I see, while ostensibly focused on examining the science, is primarily focused on label, name-calling, etc.

        Policy-making about risk in the face of uncertainty is inherently difficult. One of the ways that humans deal with that difficulty is to artificially create a simplistic model – such as a “we’re the good guys and they’re the bad guys” model. Unfortunately, however, such simplistic thinking doesn’t really advance towards dealing with risk in the face of uncertainty.

      • Josh,

        The only one here with any likelihood of fantazing about you is you.

    • Josh, I think you missed the point. It’s not that attempting mitigation will be ridiculed, It’s that doing things in the name of mitigation that cannot possibly work and that have as many or more ecological downsides as global warming would have will be ridiculed. Covering the amount of terrain with windmills and photovoltaic panels as would be required and releasing the resultant pollution from their manufacture are just examples of “attempts” that we know won’t work. They may make you feed good about the “attempt” but when you know they can’t accomplish the goal is it really a good faith “attempt.”

      • John –

        ==> “It’s that doing things in the name of mitigation that cannot possibly work and that have as many or more ecological downsides as global warming would have will be ridiculed.”

        That’s a fair point, and I did think about that. – but here’s my response.

        Say that BAU continues and some of the low probability high impact outcomes from BAU manifest.

        First, I actually don’t think that “ridicule” will be a very prevalent response either way – anger and regret seem more likely to me.

        Second – when you say “cannot possibly work” you are simplifying a very complicated calculus. Determining what can and/or can’t work is full of subjective assumptions and conditional pathways predicated on those assumptions. If dramatic climate change developments occur, I think it’s likely that people will say that we made the wrong assumptions.

        IMO, the thrust of the post was to justify ridicule – of the sort that we don’t have to wait to see, because we see it daily in comment threads such as this one. It was the focus of the beginning paragraph – were one usually indicates their thesis – and it carried throughout.

        Such a ridiculing approach, IMO, is ineffective, and evidence of the tendency to subjugate a discussion of the science and policy-making to address risks associated with uncertainty, to identity-defense and identity-aggression.

      • Covering the amount of terrain with windmills and photovoltaic panels as would be required and releasing the resultant pollution from their manufacture are just examples of “attempts” that we know won’t work.

        Straw man argument based on obsolete data.

      • Say that BAU continues and some of the low probability high impact outcomes from BAU manifest.

        First, I actually don’t think that “ridicule” will be a very prevalent response either way – anger and regret seem more likely to me.

        Well, that depends. Just how bad are the “high impact outcomes” for a world civilization with plenty of energy, and advanced technology? Vs. one that had actually implemented the “stop the Industrial Revolution” solution(s) advocated by alarmists?

        I suspect ridicule will be most prevalent, because it won’t really be very bad, but everybody’ll be able to see how bad it would have been if the extreme alarmists had had their way.

      • I think the ‘hot button’ word here is ‘ridiculed’ and I don’t think it’s accurate. As things stand now, the projections for CO2 emmissions are at least reasonable. But if you believe that significant global reductions must occur quickly, it is ludicrous to continue funneling money and intellectual capital into wind and solar. All efforts should be funnelled into research which at least has the possibility of replacing fossil fuels quickly. As I see it, the only viable area currently is advanced nuclear designs (molten salt, travelling wave, etc.). In the catastrophic scenario (which, incidentally I believe to be very unlikely) what will be lamented, if not ridiculed, is that feel good pipe-dreams were persued for purely political and ideological reasons while potentially viable solutions were ignored.

    • So if the worst of the “alarmist” predictions come to pass, we’ll look back with ridicule at the attempts to mitigate ACO2 emissions?

      Yes, absolutely. It’s quite well-established by that CO2 mitigation is by far the most expensive and least effective option for dealing with global warming. There are much more effective ways to spend the money. So if the worst predictions do indeed come to pass, the future will judge us harshly for futzing around with ineffective, feel-good non-solutions in first-world countries instead of clear-headedly preparing for the change.

    • Sigh, do you have something to contribute, or just the usual word games? Any comment on the gist of his argument, or just find a little thing and derail-derail-derail? So tiresome and perdictable…

      And by the way, learn to read.
      He said “even if”, not “if”.

    • Joshua writes –” I’d think that if the worst comes to pass, we’ll look back with ridicule at those who opposed ACO2 emissions mitigation.”

      Telling comment- If terrible things are occuring do you focus on making the situation better or assigning blame. There are many highly unlikely possibilities that could occur. Great harm from human released CO2 is just 1.

      • Rob –

        ==> “Telling comment- If terrible things are occuring do you focus on making the situation better or assigning blame. ”

        Think again what it tells you. Then look at this other comment I made:

        First, I actually don’t think that “ridicule” will be a very prevalent response either way – anger and regret seem more likely to me.

        And then look again at what the original post says about ridicule.

      • Rob, unfortunately activists have a very long track record of blaming others for the failure of their own policies.
        Look, Joshua, it’s actually very simple- the mitigation policies promoted by activists for 25+ years aren’t working. They aren’t close to working. They are demonstrable failures that reasonable people- people who have a genuine interest in forecasting energy use mix – reasonably assume will continue to be failures long into the future.
        “Let’s do more of the same!” only works if you don’t care about CO2. Which is why many of us have concluded that campaigners don’t care about CO2.

      • ” I’d think that if the worst comes to pass, we’ll look back with ridicule at those who opposed ACO2 emissions mitigation.”

        But, but … future climate is here, NOW!
        Climate change is no longer a distant threat, but a real and present danger in the United States, according to a government report issued Tuesday.

        And, ain’t it cold in the USA at the moment!

      • JeffN –

        ==> “Look, Joshua, it’s actually very simple”

        Heh. Yeah. It’s very simple. Thanks.

      • Mark M –

        ==> “And, ain’t it cold in the USA at the moment!”

        A little birdie told me that the last couple of months have been quite warm, globally.

        Didn’t your mother tell you that cherry-picking makes for bad arguments?

    • Your comment is excellent. It is exactly my reaction to Kelly’s post.
      In fact there are many ways to reduce emissions if there is a will to do it, without making the world poorer. It takes smart planning, recycling and strategic siting of solar and wind generators, as well as improved nuclear generation facilities.

      We need to create incentives to for more people to apply their ingenuity and will to do the job and ignore the group prejudice of the narrow economic interests and ideologically motivated people who form most of the posters on AGW denier sites.

      This article might help people understand what is happening.

      • eadler,

        If looked at in a vacuum, then yes there is some merit to what you say. But we don’t live in a vacuum. (Well maybe Josh has spent some time there.) As I’ve stated before, one does not need a background in physics to evaluate some of the proposed “solutions” to climate change, particularly those having to do with emissions reductions. Basic arithmatic will suffice. And basic arithmatic tells you that emission reduction schemes are doomed to failure.

  8. CO2 emissions reduction strategies based on substitution of renewables should be dead in the water as a policy option. It will never happen. The way by which decarbonisation treaties have been promulgated in the past leaves much to be desired (the recent one between Russia and the US is a glaring example) and leaves me with very little confidence in the political processes that spawn them. Finally, I tend to agree with our engineering denizens in general that the mitigation scenarios put forward for controlling any adverse effects of climate change fail the sniff test.

  9. Yes, the policies being followed by the US and other countries make no sense. They cannot possibly save us from catastrophe, if that’s that’s what’s in store. I find it depressing that untold billions of dollars are being spent on something that can’t possibly work.

    • John Smith (it's my real name)

      untold billions, yes…
      that go into someone’s pocket somewhere
      works great for somebody

    • @ John Smith

      “untold billions, yes…
      that go into someone’s pocket somewhere
      works great for somebody”

      Bingo! We have a winner!

    • For 25 years or more we have tried to reduce that nefarious, ignorantly misnamed “carbon”, the very basis of life as we know it .

      We have erected vast arrays of wind turbines.
      We have installed tens of millions of solar panels.
      We have spent billions on unsuccessfully sequestering “carbon”
      We have planted tens of millions of trees
      We have doubled the price of energy to reduce energy consumption.
      We have spent hundreds of millions on media propaganda campaigns telling the populace that they are in mortal danger from climate change.
      We have spent hundreds of millions on media propaganda telling the populace that they “will be” responsible for the extermination / extinction of most wild life unless the nefarious carbon is eliminated.

      And the result;
      Wind turbines ;
      A 3000 year old technology that the first British industrialists of the nascent Industrial Revolution of 300 years ago got the hell out of as fast as they could shovel coal into the first of those highly dangerous, grossly inefficient steam engines.
      A technology that works when the wind blows as in sometimes.
      A technology that has an overall maximum generating efficiency of production equating to around 18% to 25% of their plated capacity and going down as the turbine numbers increase.
      A technology that entirely on it’s own is utterly incapable of powering ANY modern computer controlled industrial process at any level.
      A technology that is UTTERLY INCAPABLE of powering a modern developed technological society at any level.
      A technology that destroys bats and birds in their thousands.
      A technology that is NEVER installed in cities close to where most power is required and used but is installed hundreds of kilometres distance amongst rural residents whose only reward is to suffer increasingly severe health problems from the pulsating pressures of the turbine blade sweeps to the point of health forced abandonment of their homes for some.

      Solar panels;
      Power for 10 hours a day maximum and at peak summer periods only.
      Another technology that is utterly as in totally incapable of powering a modern 24 hours a day industrial process in any shape or form.
      A power generation technology beloved of the western warmist who is prepared to turn a blind eye to the massive chemical pollution created in solar panel production providing the pollution is in some far off country and they are never forced to read about it let alone see it and experience it.
      A technology that barely pays back the energy used to mine the ores, process them and produce the solar panels, transport them to their site of use and install them and build the grid connecting infrastructure.

      Sequestering Carbon;
      Hundreds of millions spent with the outcomes of far more energy required meaning more carbon to be sequestered in rock formations for periods of unknown length and without knowing what has happened deep underground or if that nefarious “carbon” will remain there or just leak right back out in a few years or a few decades or centuries thus proving the whole thing to be a typical government type scheme where somebody digs a hole and then somebody else comes along and fills it in.
      Thus is government success in increasing employment.

      Tree planting;
      It seems that trees are proving to be quite capable of looking after their own numbers as they obviously appreciate all that extra CO2 as the greening of the planet as seen by satellites is telling us.
      Besides from Homo sapiens view point, it ain’t the trees that are important., Its the grasses.
      For on the grasses, the food crops of mankind and the food sources for his animals, mankind’s main sources of protein, depends our survival.
      Trees provide us with many things.
      But with trees only a few dozen at best and only a dozen or so in reality of our species can live and survive in each square kilometre of a trees only forest.
      Grasses, as in the wheats and other food crops, corn, sugar, rice and etc provide mankind and his animals with the very basic staff of life.
      Grasses or their domesticate grass derivatives can support hundreds per square kilometre
      If grasses went extinct over seven billions of our numbers would perish.

      Doubling energy costs;
      Nothing changed. CO2, that nefarious carbon just kept right on increasing at the same speed.
      The only change being the numbers of humans and their families who could no longer afford to warm themselves in the increasingly deadly winters.
      The increases in food prices as food producers and food retailers and processors costs rose.
      Unemployment rose as factories and production moved to cheaper energy providers and the poor suffered still more as the wealthy prospered.

      As has been said many times;
      Renewable energy is the fastest way known of transferring wealth from the poor to the rich.

      We have immense propaganda campaigns telling us we are destroying the world.
      Unfortunately nobody seems to be able to come up with any firm provable and undoubted evidence that this is actually occurring
      .Even the professed believers are just continuing right on with their extravagant life styles of the past eras without a care that they might show their concerns by adopting a life style commiserate with their climate catastrophe ideology.
      So propaganda is all it is and propaganda is all it will remain.

      After 25 years, a trillion plus worth of wealth gone for ever, a vast corruption of a branch of science, a dividing of society for no verifiable reason, 25 years and no evidence of any effects from that increase in that nefarious “carbon” and they want ever more of the same tired old increasingly discredited methods to supposedly reinforce that same very tired old meme of a global climate catastrophe still to be seen, felt, experienced and still apparently in the making sometime, maybe, perhaps in the far unforseeable and unpredictable future, perhaps!
      Providing of course that nothing at all changes before that far unseeable future finally , like tomorrow which never comes, finally gets here.

      25 years or more of Global warming Stupidity;

      Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time

      • @ ROM

        Everything you said was accurate, predictable, and predicted.

        And is totally irrelevant to the drive by the progressives to use ‘controlling CO2’, by controlling every human activity with ‘carbon signature’, as an excuse to establish absolute, totalitarian control over everything and everyone.

        So far it is working a treat.

      • @ Bob Ludwick.

        I guess in one way I am much more optimistic about the future than you appear to be.
        But I am very pessimistic from another angle.

        Mankind being the generally ornery species he gets to be when he gets pushed around will always have a significant element that will take a hard line resistance to anybody who is intent on enforcing a totalitarian regime of any sort onto himself or onto a society as whole.
        Which is why there have been concentration camps. gulags , killing fields and etc right down through history as totalitarian regimes try to inflict total control over the populace supposedly under it’s nominal control.

        So my belief is that despite their best endeavors, short of using armed force and thuggery, something the green “slime mongers” [ TM; E.M.Smith ] are working towards, they simply can’t and won’t succeed.

        [ A read of the manner of the rise of the Sicilian Mafia and the rise in the Green eco-fascism movement to the present stage brings up some quite marked parallels ]

        And if they appear to succeed with their intended totalitarian control they will have created a large reservoir of what has often proved to be a violent opposition which invariably as history has described to us, leads to the eventual down fall of the totalitarian regime usually with horrific consequences until the new masters of what ever shape they are, sort themselves out.

        I was in the USSR just before it broke up in 1991.
        I together with the group I was travelling with were totally amazed when our guide, perhaps in a moment of unintended candour, we did have a KGB shadow, told us that “next year Leningrad will be renamed as St Petersburg”.
        We didn’t believe her.
        It was.
        The insiders of the old USSR already knew the USSR was on the point of breaking up.

        I also believe after some 76 years on this planet, that when a situation or problem is being talked about and discussed, change has already set in, a point in time that is never recognised until much later.

        Every political movement and corporation has a life cycle and a finite lifetime.
        The “average” life time of an American corporation is 40 years, a figure which I suspect probably applies to most mass movements and a figure related to the vitality of the generation which created it.
        After all one of humanity’s biggest mistakes is that a generation creates something, an entity of some sort and then expects and demands that the next generation continue that entity on in the same fashion.
        Never works and is the source of much inter-generational conflicts as the next generation is too busy and intent on creating their own generational entities and structures which are usually very different to their parent’s generational desires and intentions.
        And they also will make the same mistake of demanding their kids carry on the structures and entities they created.

        So I look at the “Adizes Corporate Life Cycle” to try and get some idea on where the likes of the Green and formerly environmental movement and now the Green totalitarian trending eco-fascist movement and it’s green slime mongers are currently in it’s life cycle.

        I figure that they are moving into the “Aristocracy” stage, on the downhill run in fact towards eventual oblivion.
        The effects of the steady decline in flexibility, which began in Prime, start to become more obvious in Aristocracy. Because it has neglected to pursue long-term opportunities, the company’s focus becomes increasingly short-term. For the most part, its goals are financially-oriented and low-risk. With less of a long-term view, the climate in an Aristocratic organization is relatively stale.

        The ornery opposition, the skeptics are too many and too damn ornery and becoming too large in number all of which is leading to an increasing erosion of the Green eco-fascist reputation and standing.
        Like water on a stone, that steady drip, drip of doubt, of questioning, of outright skeptical dismantling of the eco-fascists and green slime mongers claims will in the short term, have no visible effect whatsoever.
        But over the long term it has always led to an almost complete dissapearing of that supposedly impregnable piece of hard stone as it is worn down by the constant slow drip, drip of skeptic and doubters pressure .
        So it will be with the present trending totalitarian eco-fascism of the green slime blob.

        Sadly the pessimist in me views the immense and truly sad human cost of living through and destructuring the Green eco-fascists ideology and aims as something that we should as a race and species never have to put our people through if a modicum of honesty, integrity and compassion was ever a part of the eco-fascists make up.

        But as history again tells us, that is as it has always been with the human race.
        Everything changes.
        Nothing changes.

      • Stated about as well as it can be stated. While I have concerns similar to bob’s, due mainly to the massive propoganda campaigns you cite, I also have some optimism that the tide is changing given, among other things, the over hyped predictions of catastrophe that have failed to materialize.

      • Robert Johnson-Taylor

        Your comments on Solar Panels is way too optimistic. Here in the UK we have things called clouds and rain.

  10. Dr Curry, I don’t think this analysis will have much effect on true believers.

    For the true believer, mankind is a blight on the planet Earth, each excluding himself, of course.

    Watching the movie Noah, we are all on Noah’s side because we identify with those that climb aboard his Ark and not with the people who perish when they are drowned by God’s Flood.

    In the climate wars, there will be “the Chosen, the Saved and the Damned”.

    The Chosen Ones don’t even have to ride bicycles or avoid eating meat. They can fly private jets halfway around the world to attend anti-carbon rallies. They can use as much fossil fuel as they please because their hearts are pure. The Saved follow the Chosen Ones, but they have to make sacrifices. The Damned are going to get what they deserve for not listening to Word.

    Unfortunately, the words are not what we recognize as science.

    We are confronted by a religious movement. What I fear is that before this movement passes into history, we will may have to contend with eco-terrorism in the developed countries.

  11. Yes, but won’t those Chinese feel silly when their atmosphere is loaded with CO2 and ours is squeaky clean. Australia has been especially cunning, getting the Chinese to take a huge CO2 load from our coal…while we wouldn’t dream of running a new smelter to pollute our own atmosphere. (CO2 is that black stuff you see belching from smoke-stacks in Guardian and NYT articles, right? Looks yuck.)

    Whenever anyone asks what we’ll do if we can’t run traditional industries I just tell ’em: Green jobs and eco-tourism of course! With our low, low CO2 atmosphere it’s a no-brainer. We’ll also need solar powered planes and boats to patrol the edges of our atmosphere to make sure the neighbour’s CO2 doesn’t slip in. (Japan can make those for us, I suppose.) Just tell any gas-dumping neighbours, we want your smart phones, not your GHGs.

    Australia could also have a major brochure industry to explain the benefits of no industry…though we might need to get the glossy ones made up in China.

    • Don’t worry that
      industry has gone
      off-shore, there’s
      more ter be gained
      by big-brother-
      term schemes,
      ever funded from
      the public-purse,
      of course, echo-
      industry, until the
      funds run out. No
      one ter pay fer
      it, no one able
      ter participate in
      it, an excercise,
      yer might say,
      in futility.

  12. Would I be correct in assuming that Dr. Kelly is the same Dr. Michael Kelly who tried his best* to set Oxburgh on a path to reason and enlightenment?

    *See: Kelly’s Comments

  13. Reblogged this on 4timesayear's Blog.

  14. There should be no surprise that the reality of energy use is going to continue to have a fossil fuel component to it and a large one at that. Does it mean we should throw up our hands and quit using renewables? No it just means they will not replace fossil fuels. Why do you think the godfather of the climate movement, Jim Hansen, has thrown up his hands and gone nuclear? The climate movement will continue to fail so long as their main method is to point fingers and not offer real solutions! And some here insist we call them realists what a joke.

  15. A perfect example of futile finger pointing:

    Greenpeace dupes the NYTs into false report on Climate researcher; it’s the Smithsonian what done it!

  16. The issue is that (taxpayer funded) Science isn’t really about finding solutions, it’s about finding problems. If you happen to solve a long-standing problem, how are you going to justify funding for the next triennium? On the other hand, if you come up with, or participate in, a good Problem, it can keep you, your students and your institution funded for decades to come.

    Climate Change is such a Problem because it feeds into Western cultural preconceptions about guilt and redemption, about the fundamental wickedness of humankind and about the ultimate perfectability of Man and Society. In the West there has always been a breast-beating minority with an exaggerated sense of sin who wish to change the world before some imagined apocalypse overtakes us all. They tend to take the moral high ground and villify those who would question their baseless beliefs. Nowadays they are the Greens.

    Climate Change is the outcome of an unholy alliance between Problem-seeking scientists and Green zealots. Some people are both.

    • O ye humans!
      Apocalypse now
      If not now,

      Silent springs,
      Swine flu,
      Seas rising,
      Snow declining,
      Cee oh two!
      Deja vu

      (All ovah again.)

    • John,
      By chance, I overheard a group of botany grads discussing how the best way to get their research funded was by linking it to Global Warming. I’m sure they “adapted” to the switch to climate change.
      But the need to perpetuate a line of research is a by suggested by the near unanimous use of the phrase “Further study is warranted”. I think it’s in the publication template.

    • Stated about as well as it can be stated. While I have concerns similar to bob’s, due mainly to the massive propoganda campaigns you cite, I also have some optimism that the tide is changing given, among other things, the over hyped predictions of catastrophe that have failed to materialize.

    • It’s the perfect liberal cause – you can blame pretty much anything bad that happens on it. It’s an infinite source of problems that need government funding to solve.

  17. So true about the UK debacle

  18. The politically untenable sustainable solutions have become whacky reality here in California.

  19. Pingback: Mitigating CO2 Emissions: A Busted Flush? | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

  20. myrightpenguin

    To state the obvious (and probably why it is not overtly discussed), if you want ‘decarbonisation’ nuclear is far superior to other options with it also being on-demand and high density. If climate scientists were genuinely interested in addressing a problem as opposed to maintaining a circus they would all be actively getting behind nuclear, current and next generations, which would include mini-nuclear and thorium. Also, there needs to be wide acknowledgement that fracking has resulted in more reductions in CO2 emissions in the U.S. compared with any other country, including countries in Europe, and ironically Germany imports of coal from Russia are at highs since 2006.

  21. The fossil fuel companies should have an annual switch off day or days, that will get people’s minds thinking straight. Of course they could call it fossil fuel free day ( FFFD) but the effects will quickly be seen. The funny thing is they will be attacked for putting peoples lives at risk if they did.

    • I’ve stated the same thing as well. Let’s shut down just those dirty electrical plants using coal for a day, week, month, or whatever and see what the social cost of that would be.

  22. Thanks, Michael. Great post.

  23. The only point I would take issue with is comparing the mitigation delusion with economic manias like the Tulip Mania, or John Law’s paper currency. I think it needs to be seen as a revival of religious thinking harking back to the Puritans in c17, intolerant and aggressive and against the values of the Enlightenment.

    In the UK it is all mixed in with other absurdities that beset us. “Abuse” (an indeterminate sexual crime usually perpetrated a long time ago again children or young adults). We speak of “survivors” of “abuse” (compare survivors of Charlie Hebdo or Donetsk, or an acid attack on a young woman’s face).

    We have “environmentalism” which is a return to a supposedly benign and simple “sustainable” way of life (as implemented by Pol Pot is Cambodia).

    Finally, at least of those that spring to my mind, there is “racist speech” which resulted in the footballer Rio Ferdinand paying a £40,000 fine for calling another footballer Ashley Cole a “choc ice”.

    People become aroused immedialtely about these things, “enthusiastic” or “warm” as the Englightenment called it. It is hugely unpredictable to what extremes they may lurch when enveloped in such a “mindset” (using the term in a loose sense).. Professor Kelly asks “Who would vote for that?” But who might not get a chance?

  24. The Life of a Windturbine

    Windpower relies on fossil fuels from the cradle to the grave. Products from oil make up parts for the windturbines, fossil fuel power is used in the construction. Fossil fuels are used in transportation to the site, fossil fuels are used in preparing the site, cutting down trees etc, and roads to the site. Fossil fuels are used in the transportation of 800 tons of concrete for the foundations of every windturbine. Once erected fossil fuels are used as back up when they are not spinning, when they are not spinning the widtubine need aux power ( at sea they use diesel generators) to maintain all systems on the windturine and slowly spin the turbine to stop it seizing and freezing in the cold, keep the lights on, to turn the nacelle to stop the wires tangling and keep all systems functioning. Fossil fuels are used for lubrication of gearboxes on board – which have leaked and caused pollution of soil and rivers. Fossil fuels are used to bring transport to the windturbine for maintenance and for cleaning ,cleaning liquids that leach into the soil. Finally at the end of its life fossil fuels are used for the dismantling of the turbine. Moreover a tally should be kept of how many bats and birds they have shredded.

    • Richard,

      Well said. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution people were astonished that coal could haul itself out of the mine. Could wind turbines power themselves, from the mining of the materials, to construction, operation, and retirement?

  25. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Ah’ll jest see yer single-author survey of a self-serving Big Carbon analysis …

    …  and raise yah hundreds of articles authored by thousands of practicing engineers

    “The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that’s how the smart money bets.”
       — Damon Runyon

    Conclusion  The smart money says “We’re gonna leave most of Big Carbon’s faux-assets in the ground … ignoring self-serving bluffs”

    The reasons are evident to *EVERYONE* — engineers, scientists, naturalists, hunters-and-fishers, economists, religious leaders, military leaders, business leaders, investors, young people, *AND* political leaders — eh Climate Etc readers?

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

    • FOMD,
      By this post I’m seeing
      1) A really big gamble.
      2) It’s about money.
      3) It’s about money.
      4) Whatever this means :”ignoring self-serving bluffs”

      (maybe not one of your best?)

    • Brother Fan, now that you have been born again and have testified before us, how will you replace the power and the might of carbon fuels, those blessings of the stars?

    • We can see Dr Kelly’s credentials (and nothing there that would support your smear attempt). What credentials do you have fan to make your opinions worth attention?

    • “The smart money says “We’re gonna leave most of Big Carbon’s faux-assets in the ground”

      No, the smart</b. money says nothing of the sort.

      The smart money says we’re going to drill and dig and frack and suck up the ocean bed methane for the foreseeable future.

      The stupid, uninformed, in-your-dreams money, on the other hand…

  26. While I can’t comment on ihe evidence,it seems to be in line with what I expect, so I agree with Kelly’s conclusions. In an earlier blog I raised the issue of the differing views, in general, of physicises and chemists on the causes of climate change and I suspect that most of the 97% are chemists. Is this a related issue?

  27. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Michael Kelly fantasizes “The Dutch have lived with sea level rise for centuries and they should be our guide.”

    What part of “porous karst geology” does Michael Kelly fail to grasp, one wonders?

    Realistically  The present valuation of in-ground carbon assets can be sustained only by drowning Florida as dead as Doggerland.

    Conclusion  The present-day multi-trillion-dollar valuation of in-ground carbon assets is an economic bubble.

    *EVERYONE* is starting to appreciate *THAT* scientific reality, eh Climate Etc readers?

    Except BP managers, perhaps!

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

    • FOMD, I’m afraid that the IPCC does not agree with your hyperbole.

    • barn E. Rubble

      RE: A fan of *MORE* pharmaceuticals | February 24, 2015 at 6:30 am
      “Realistically The present valuation of in-ground carbon assets can be sustained only by drowning Florida . . .”

      So for those of us that don’t live there what’s the problem?

    • “*EVERYONE* is starting to appreciate *THAT* scientific reality, eh Climate Etc readers?”

      But FOMBS, *YOU* and your fellow Watermelons over at ATTP don’t by even the remotest stretch of imagination constitute *EVERYONE*, and *EVERYONE* except you is profoundly aware of that.

      Now go and take your nice medication like a good boy, you’ll feel ever so much better.

  28. No organization critical of Carbon Dioxide has ever published a set of specific actions with numbers, costs and economic and social impacts for achieving a meaningful reduction in Carbon Dioxide emissions or atmospheric Carbon Dioxide concentration. Such a publication would be laughable, prohibitively expensive and politically impossible.

    Show me the numbers! They will not because they can not.

    • nottawa rafter

      You are expecting too much. That would require a rational argument with data and a little logic thrown in. That hasn’t happened in 45 years and it won’t anytime soon. In seeking utopia, there are a few things that have to be left at the side of the road.

      • The think progress piece refers to …
        Energy Policy
        Which is very pie-in-the-sky. A few gems …

        … by 2020, all new generators will be WWS generators. Existing conventional generators will be phased out over time, but by no later than 2050. Similarly, BEVs and HFCVs should be nearly the only new vehicles types sold in NYS by 2020. The growth of electric vehicles will be accompanied by a growth of electric charging stations in residences, commercial parking spaces, service stations, and highway rest stops.
        [ … ]
        To ensure reliability of the electric power grids, several methods should be used to match renewable energy supply with demand and to smooth out the variability of WWS resources. These include (A) combining geographically-dispersed WWS resources as a bundled set of resources rather than as separate resources and using hydroelectric power to fill remaining gaps; (B) using demand-response grid management to shift times of demand to match better with the timing of WWS power supply; (C) over- sizing WWS peak generation capacity to minimize the times when available WWS power is less than demand and to provide power to produce heat for air and water and hydrogen for transportation and heating when WWS power exceeds demand; (D) integrating weather forecasts into system operation to reduce reserve requirements; (E) storing energy in thermal storage media, batteries or other storage media at the site of generation or use; and (F) storing energy in electric-vehicle batteries for later extraction (vehicle-to-grid).

        2020 is five years away and there are today exactly zero commercial hydrogen fuel cell vehicles available for sale. It also relies on similarly unproven, unpriced and unavailable “thermal storage media, batteries or other storage media” for grid scale electrical power storage. The rest of the “plan” is equally optimistic or perhaps fanciful.

        The then there’s this …

        The plan effectively pays for the 100% WWS energy generation infrastructure to power NYS for all purposes over 15 years solely by the reduction in air-pollution costs to the state and global warming costs to the U.S. from state emissions.

        The Popular Science … er … Scientific American piece (paywalled) refers to the same paper and so doesn’t count as a second source.

        I think that our friend Planning Engineer would have something to say about insuring “reliability of the electric power grids” under the plan.

      • As Speed points out the New York State “plan” was a can it be done piece rather than anything that could be considered viable. For crying out loud they included concentrated solar power as an option like the Ivanpah plant. it is not working out well in the Mohave desert because it turns out that any kind of clouds reduces power output – NY is much more cloudy than the desert!

      • Speed:

        The Popular Science … er … Scientific American piece (paywalled) refers to the same paper and so doesn’t count as a second source.

        The first link refers to a 2013 plan for New York. The “ScAm” link refers to a more ambitious study from 2009 to power the entire planet. But both studies are by the same authors.

      • Canman wrote correctly, “The first link refers to a 2013 plan for New York. The “ScAm” link refers to a more ambitious study from 2009 to power the entire planet. But both studies are by the same authors.”

        It would be interesting to see how the authors handled economic growth of the third world in their plan for the planet. Ok, I found a copy of the 2009 paper. Actually a SciAm article. This barely rises to the level of arm waving …

        The main WWS challenge is that the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine in a given location. Intermittency problems can be mitigated by a smart balance of sources, such as generating a base supply from steady geothermal or tidal power, relying on wind at night when it is often plentiful, using solar by day and turning to a reliable source such as hydroelectric that can be turned on and off quickly to smooth out supply or meet peak demand. For example, interconnecting wind farms that are only 100 to 200 miles apart can compensate
        for hours of zero power at any one farm should the wind not be blowing there. Also helpful is interconnecting geographically dispersed
        sources so they can back up one another, installing smart electric meters in homes that automatically recharge electric vehicles when demand is low and building facilities that store power for later use .

        Because the wind often blows during stormy conditions when the sun does not shine and the sun often shines on calm days with little wind, combining wind and solar can go a long way toward meeting demand, especially when geothermal provides a steady base and hydroelectric can be called on to fill in the gaps.

        Developing countries? Never mentioned.

        This is so superficial that even Scientific American should be embarrassed.

    • I have never seen a government commission a professional report on climate change or alternative power.They are always choosing self-initiated external reports. The degree of commitment to AGW is a measure of a government’s corruption. They are not that stupid.

  29. BP is an optimist. I think it’s actually worse than they predict. Not only will energy consumption rise by far more than 40% in the next 25 years, the efforts of the top 5 consuming nations to cut their emissions will only leave it at status quo.

  30. There is one very important fact that seems to continually get lost in the blather: If you are going to provide subsidies to non-carbon, non-traditional electical generators, the only way to “produce” the money for paying the subsidies is with productive economic endeavors which are fueled by carbon-based energy sources. No carbon-based fuels usage, no subsidies for solar and wind.

  31. daveandrews723

    A little common sense would have told anyone a long time ago that is was a “busted flush.” Like communism it should be relegated to the dustbin of history. What amazes me is how so many supposedly people in the scientific and news media communities have lacked the common sense to see it.

  32. daveandrews723

    supposedly smart…. that should be.

  33. Climate change mitigation by supressing CO2 emissions is a (hugely expensive) bureacratic verbiage. Global CO2 emissions from hydrocarbon fuels combustion and from industrial processes increased in 2014 to the new record of ~37 Gt CO2 (~2.5% increase from 2013). With the land use emissions, we are easily over 40 Gt CO2 in 2014! That’s ~5.1 ppmv atmospheric CO2.

    This increase in the CO2 emissions is not really being reflected by the growth in atmospheric CO2 (MLO) – the airborne fraction has been decreasing in the last ~15 years, during the temperature ‘hiatus’.

    • Yep.

      The removal rate of CO2 has increased five-fold since 1960:

      This stands to reason – the rate of removal of CO2 increases as the absolute concentration increases ( the biosphere gobbles it up, for one ). That’s why it aggravates me to see global warming goobers ( PhD and all ) proclaim – ‘We’ll have this problem for thousands of years!’ when they know that these rates will remove nearly all anthro CO2 within a century.

      The implication is that we don’t need to cease emissions entirely for forcing to recede. If emissions declined by even 40%, then RF would also begin declining!

      And ( ad nauseum ) Greenpeace and Exxon seem to agree that emissions will begin falling soon. This is a non-problem that politicians are still trying to leverage. It’s democrats now trying, but conservative Thatcher used the issue to bust up the coal miners strike, so nobody can be pious. But I certainly fear for representative democracy more than I fear any climate state.

    • @ Edim

      “Climate change mitigation by supressing CO2 emissions is a (hugely expensive) bureacratic verbiage. ”

      You will notice that you can’t swing a cat without hitting a plan for ‘climate mitigation’, but convincing evidence that any or all ‘climate mitigation plans’ will have ANY efficacy in controlling the temperature of the Earth or any measurable impact on any other climate parameter is pretty thin on the ground.

  34. IMO Michael Kelly is yet another who doesn’t really see the implications of exponential growth:

    From here. Solar installation has been growing at a rate of about doubling every 2 years.

    If this continues, there won’t be a problem. Or if the mining of sea-floor methane hydrate by replacing it with an equal amount of CO2 extracted from the ocean surface matures into the world’s major energy source. Or some combination.

    • @ AK

      “From here. Solar installation has been growing at a rate of about doubling every 2 years. If this continues, there won’t be a problem. ”

      I absolutely agree: If this continues, there won’t be a problem.

      According to:

      the average global electrical load is around 2300 gigawatts.

      According to your figures, with 50 gigawatts of solar being on line in 2014 and the rate of installed capacity doubling every two years, the globe will be running exclusively on solar by 2026 (3200 gigawatts installed), with a nice little surplus to allow for increased load over the next 12 years.

      Of course that ignores the fact that the sun only shines 12 hrs/day, average, so bump it up to 2028.

      Throwing in a 50% cloud fudge factor and we have the global electrical grid running on solar by 2030.

      It’s all very exciting! Even at my advanced age I have a reasonable chance of seeing a solar powered globe before I depart it.

      Until I saw the graph, I never realized just how near we were to carbon free nirvana.

      With ACO2 driven warming no longer a factor, and keeping in mind kim’s warning about the implications of a high CO2 sensitivity per doubling (‘If the temperature of the earth is highly sensitive to CO2, how cold would we be if the ACO2 contribution were zero?), maybe we should bump it up two more years to 2032 to account for the additional energy required to keep us from freezing to death.

      • There’s a horrifying inexorableness about those curves, Bob. They haunt me far more than any Crook’t Up Stick.

      • And based on his price projections, by 2030 the solar industry will be paying us to take their panels.

      • And based on his price projections, by 2030 the solar industry will be paying us to take their panels.

        Solar PV prices at the factory gate are being cut in half somewhere between every 4 to 5 years, on average. So they’d be getting paid. Somewhere between 1/8 and 1/16 the current ~70¢/watt.

    • IMO Michael Kelly is yet another who doesn’t really see the implications of exponential growth:

      From here. Solar installation has been growing at a rate of about doubling every 2 years.

      If this continues, there won’t be a problem.

      We could also feed the entire world in a couple of months if gathered a grain of wheat for the first square on a chessboard, gathered two for the second square the next day, doubled that to four the next day … and so on.

  35. Pingback: Why We Can’t Reduce Global Carbon Emissions | thePOOG

  36. Sorry, but I don’t really see much here other than the regurgitation of BP’s extrapolations, based on their world view. Have major oil companies been wrong about energy needs, and costs in the past? Oh yes. Most definitely. As recently as the late 90’s, the time of the last oil crash, major oil companies were adamant there would be no recovery in price for at least 5 years. Well, five years later, the price was approaching $50 a barrel (an unprecedented number in absolute terms). Today, we think of $50 oil as bargain basement.

    There are so many unknowns and unknowables in all this that I don’t think any such forecast is worth anything. I can easily “demonstrate” by extrapolating falling costs of battery energy storage that the cross over point where renewables plus storage are just cheaper, in every way you care to mention, than any fossil fuel alternative, is around about 2025. Of course, once you reach that point, BP’s graph changes rather radically and rather fast.

    I’d wager at this point that technological advances alone will see vast quantities of quite easily recoverable hydrocarbon resources left in the ground for ever. More than that I cannot say, but we can only wait and see.

    • We can but hope.

    • You are correct, solar energy is the energy of the future, as it has been for a long time and will continue to be so.

      Whatever happened to Jimmy Carter’s White House solar panels?

      • Better battery and capacitor tech is required for solar to be transformative. Probably will happen, difficult to predict the time. Pick the right companies and be very wealthy

      • Rob, having been active in energy storage (LiIon and sepercapacitors) for almost two decades, let me offer a note of caution. Vast R&D resources have been thrown at this essentiallymto no avail. The last commercializable advance was ‘rocking chair’ LiIon 2 and a half decades ago, driven by cell phones and then laptops. Not good enough for range and recharge unconstrained vehicles. Remember, one needs a combination of energy density, adequate power density, and cycle life. Those are achievable individually but not together. And virtually every conceivable electrochemical potential combination has been tried.
        For the past 15 years, nanotechnology has been used to try to overcome the problems. Lots of hyped research (the carbon nanotube fad faded, now its all graphene-but guess what VanderWahl forces do to bulk graphene? Force it back toward graphite, losing all that lovely surface area. Current research is nanographene or nano MnO2 additive to the carhode to try to solve the cyclelife issues of lithiim sulfur systems. Been going on for nearly a decade. Far from commercializable.

        The only battery technology with any remote chance of scaling to cost effective grid level storage for renewables is some flow battery chemistry where the energy is stored in electrolyte rather than in the electrodes. There are several chemistries, all with problems. And all the various pilot facilities have suffered unanticpated reliability problems.

        Speaking from near the front lines, some problems are just very tough. Energy storage is one. Rushing headlong into renewables without a storage solution for intermittency is just folly. Essay California Dreaming.

      • David L. Hagen

        Thanks for the caution.
        Any comments on the viability of magnesium batteries?

      • Rud

        Thank you for the analysis.

      • Until someone can figure out how to make the sun shine at night, solar energy will always be a niche market energy source.

      • That’s easy – just put the solar panels on the other side of the planet.
        Now where did I put those superconducting cables?

      • Energy storage is not a problem. Hydrocarbons are dense, safe, storable, and transportable. Best of all we already have all the infrastructure needed. Harvesting solar power cheaply is the problem. Storing it is not an isolated problem. Converting electical power to chemical power and back is not very efficient but if you have a virtually unlimited supply of solar electricity you don’t care if the storage is inefficient or not.

        Again, see Sandia Labs “essay”:

  37. Not sure from the graph how much attention has been paid to the use throughout history of wood as a source of renewable energy.

    • @ Wagathon

      “Not sure from the graph how much attention has been paid to the use throughout history of wood as a source of renewable energy.”

      Those who realize that wood is just an EXTREMELY inefficient method of harvesting solar energy have been paying NO attention to wood as a source of energy (Converting solar to wood and burning the wood DOES avoid the night time/cloudy day problem and allows solar to be used for baseload with no backup required.).

      Pick 1000 acres of land somewhere and plant trees on it. Wait 40 years.

      Cover an adjacent 1000 acres with solar cells. Attach them to the grid through a power meter. At the end of 40 years write down the number of kw-hours delivered to the grid.

      At the end of 40 years, cut down the trees, burn them in a wood fired generator, connect the output of the generator to the grid, and, when all the trees are burned, read the total kw-hours delivered to the grid.

      Compare the number of kw-hours delivered by the 1000 acres of photovoltaics over 40 years to the number of kw-hours delivered by burning 40 years worth of wood growth.

      Remove the photovoltaic array and plant another 1000 acres of trees. Or vice versa, as seems economically reasonable.

      By the way, I am NOT advocating photovoltaics as a viable replacement for fossil/nuclear baseload energy. Only comparing direct conversion of sunlight to energy to growing trees and burning them for energy.

      And by the way again, since I didn’t do any actual research before writing the above, I would be interested if someone HAS done the research and has the figures to prove that growing and burning wood is actually MORE efficient per unit area than populating the same area with solar cells.

    • I cannot support the burning of trees for energy. That is a third world solution to a global problem. Wood has approximately 40 times the carbon of natural gas, in actual application somewhat less, at least an order of magnitude more carbon than gas. Wood is rarely burned efficiently and produces many pollutants. Forests provide many ecosystem services including, but not limited to, watershed enhancement, soil stabilization, wildlife habitat, carbon capture, and oxygen. Forests also provide recreation. Using sustained yield harvesting, forests provide building materials which have the side-effect of storing carbon. Not to sound sentimental, forests are also beautiful and provide us with inspiration and a sense of awe and wonder. Let’s not burn forests.

      • There’s a common misconception that per capita consumption of energy and resources is directly related to negative environmental impact. We’re told that, because the average North American consumes 80 times as much as the average Bangladeshi, we cause 80 times the damage. But all one need do is travel to Bangladesh to see the impact of poverty on the environment. Forests are stripped bare for subsistence farming, rivers are fouled for lack of sewage treatment, and wildlife is severely reduced through poaching. These people need more resources, not less… As a sensible environmentalist, I believe we should be planting more trees and using more wood-the world’s most renewable resource- while building upon and sharing everything we’ve learned about forest sustainability. Dr. Patrick Moore (Confessions of a Greenpeace dropout)

      • @ Wagathon

        Your post: Wagathon | February 24, 2015 at 12:01 pm |

        I admire your sentiments (or in this case, Dr. Patrick Moore’s, quoted), but stating the obvious, as Dr. Moore has done, has demonstrably had no effect on those who are bent upon saving us from ‘Evil Carbon’ (or in reality, ‘Evil Western Civilization’) and I suspect that re-stating it here will fare no better.

        Too bad.

    • Wag, see essay Bugs, Roots, and Biofuels. Under the best inaginable scenario, using a technology that does not yet work, all of Earth’s sustainable terrestrial biomass could replace less than half of todays consumption of oil, nevermind gas and coal for electricity. And under the best projections for bioengineering of cyanobacteria or algae, even less because they need concentrated CO2 for productive photosynthesis. Essay Salvation by Swamp.
      You cannot get there from here with anything like modern economies and population densities.

  38. The historical climatic record shows clearly that CO2 follows the climate does not govern it.

    • The historical climatic record shows clearly that CO2 follows the climate does not govern it.

      For glacial cycles, that’s true and the fact that global warming enthusiasts tried to draw glacial CO2 as an analogy led to reduced credibility when they had to walk it back.

      But for the industrial era, the increased CO2 is demonstrably anthropogenic ( human emissions can account for all the increase and then some ). And this additional CO2 imposes a radiative change to the atmopshere. Of course, the atmosphere moves, something not captured by radiative models. And when inclusive general circulation models try the problem, they come up with some invalid responses ( the Hot Spot for one ) which means they aren’t correctly predicting how circulation may limit global warming.

  39. I would like to note that that graph goes out to 2035. I think there is a lot of potential for that yellow nuclear band to be flared.

    • Or, as above, for emissions to decline without really trying.

      I was looking at TV energy ratings recently.
      Turns out, it’s nearly a useless category because all TVs are so much more efficient than CRTs of old.

      People, especially young people, are abandoning desktop and even laptop computers for their smartphone and wearable computers.
      Gone are the big honkin’ 500 Watt power supplies, in is the low power of pocket computing.

      Efficiency and, as I’ve commented before, demographics are making all this a moot waste of time.

      • Actually, except for a little dip after 2007, energy use goes up as efficiency increases. I suspect that might reflect the boundless imagination of the human brain – the more energy we have the more uses we can find for it, always pushing the boundaries outward.

        You can’t run a climate model on your smartphone, yet.

      • You can’t run a climate model on your smartphone, yet.

        Well, probably only because no one’s ported one.

        Cell phones blow the doors off of machines used for the earliest gcms.

      • True. It’s also possible that someday large tasks could be distributed across multiple devices.

    • Jack Smith, TX

      I agree. Current US budget calls for $21 billion for nuclear weapons development this year and over $350 billion over the next ten years. On the other hand, looking at it another way it’s really a huge geo-engineering program. Put that into your models.

      • Yes, the budget for nuclear weapons, whatever it is, is troubling. However, it is yet another prisoner’s dilemma – the first power to drop out loses and the cheater wins. Human nature hasn’t changed much, despite Steven Pinker’s claims. We still have Putin, the Ayatollahs, Pakistan, North Korea, Al Queda, and ISIS. The world is not a safe place and history is not on the side of the optimist. Never again.

  40. Well, even if some say that nuclear energy is dangerous for us and produces nuclear waste which does more harm to the soil than other type of waste, we need to know that nuclear energy produces much less CO2 emmissions than colar, oil and natural gas.
    Another big producer of CO2 here on Earth is presented by all the cars which burn fossil fuel.instead of burning hgydrogen or using a lithium-ion battery.

  41. IMHO BP’s projections are a bit on the pessimistic side.

    4th Generation Nuclear was never envisioned by anyone to begin coming online before 2020.

    In the West and the US in particular there hasn’t been a lot of baseload constuction in more then 20 years. (We seriously overbuilt baseload in the 70’s and 80’s).

    Even in the US Southeast where we have a small number of nuclear reactors being built…the descisions as to whether to build new ‘base-load’ or add additional ‘peakers’ were not ‘slam dunk’ decisions even with natural gas above $8/MMBtu at the time of the decsions.

    The result of these points is that looking at future generating capacity decisions thru a ‘western lens’ results in BP’s pressimistic outlook.

    The Chinese and Indian nuclear industry and more importantly…nuclear industry ‘knowledge and skills’ capacity is growing. Indian and China probably account for 80%+ percent of the global ‘new baseload’ generating capacity that will be built in the next 30 years.

    Chinese and Indian nuclear power domestic R&D programs are probably better staffed then anything in the West. In addition the Chinese don’t have a problem importing ‘foreign’ knowledge. I.E The Chinese AP1400 nuclear reactor will be designed ‘mostly’ by Westinghouse.

    Just as the first commercial operation of the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor will probably occur in China we can also expect the first commercial 4th generation reactors to be built in China.

    We don’t know how fast the Chinese will be rolling out new reactors in 2020 because Chinese culture tends to discourage ‘bold goals’ followed by ‘failure’….so Chinese officials only ever announce ‘modest goals’.

    • Yep – probably a failing in the demographics.

      Linearizing past trends in the lack of other information is reasonable.

      But we know that most of the world is growing old and most of the world is growing at less than replacement rate. Two factors which will decrease all energy use, and so decrease emissions.

      • Lucifer, your comments on population demographics are not true where it counts most, except for China where it was acheived by brute force (one child limit) over 35 years. The most conservative UNEP projection is between 9.2 and 9.6 billion by 2050, up from about 7.2 now. Details are in the first chapter of Gaia’s Limits.

      • Rud,

        Lucifer, your comments on population demographics are not true where it counts most, except for China where it was acheived by brute force (one child limit) over 35 years.

        Well, don’t take what governments claim.

        China implemented the one child policy in 1980.
        Here is the fertility rate for China:

        Notice the problem?
        One child came AFTER the big drop in fertility rates and actually appears to have slowed the decline when implemented.

        Government, don’t you love it.

        The most conservative UNEP projection is between 9.2 and 9.6 billion by 2050, up from about 7.2 now. Details are in the first chapter of Gaia’s Limits.

        That’s what the UN says, but people with skin in the game think (somewhat) less:

        And there’s reason for that – fertility rates are less than replacement for most of the developed world:!ISDep

        To be sure, India and Africa are going to grow. But both are developing economically which appears to be the best antidote to population growth.

        And even most of India has less than replacement fertility rates:

        These are truly unprecedented trends.

      • Where does it “count most”, Rud? The fastest growing populations are also the most susceptable to epidemics and other disruptions. Imagine Ebola breaking out in India.

    • BP and others look at supply constraints. They are only now beginning to look at demand. Economists are happy to make detailed projections of growth in GDP and per capita income in the emerging countries. But those projections (which are historically more accurate than predictions of energy usage) would leave the Chinese population as rich as Americans very soon, but for some reason consuming energy at the same rate as those in Turkey.

      The DOE projects energy consumption of 819 quads in 2040. That’s a huge number, each quad being effectively symbolized by a train loaded with coal stretching 3,879 miles. But they are expecting energy consumption from China and India to slow their rate of growth over the next 25 years. I respect the people at the DOE but that’s not realistic.

      Expecting energy consumption to track economic expansion in the same way it did in the now-developed world leads to a total of 965 quads by 2040.

      Currently the DOE expects coal to provide 219.5 of those quads by 2040, a large increase from the 160 quads we got from coal in 2014. We are not decarbonizing. However, if energy consumption grows along the trajectory I describe and energy consumption grows to 965 quads, coal consumption will almost certainly make up the difference. That’s because politicians and planners are working from estimates drawn up by organizations like the DOE, IEA and even BP. So when the additional demand surfaces the only quickly available and economically usable source of energy will be coal.

      We are sleepwalking into a future where we will use 6 times as much energy in 2075 as we did in 2010 and ever more of that energy will be provided by coal.

      The top 5 energy consuming countries (China, the US, Russia, India and Japan) have published their plans for buildout of non-emissive energy sources for the medium term. And don’t get me wrong, those are ambitious plans. But if every nuclear reactor, every dam, every CSP facility that is planned actually gets built, those five countries will raise the percentage of energy received from green sources from 17% to… 20%.

      • Pleas Thomas…

        We’ve been over DOE energy projections 100’s of times.
        Go look at the late 1970’s and early 1980’s projections.
        The US alone should be consuming 4 billion tons of coal by now as well as having more then 500 nuclear reactors.

        No one..absolutely no one projected US coal consumption would be less then 1 billion tons in 2014 as recently as 2010.

        Big Coal needs the markets to believe that Big Coal has a very profitable Big Future .

        Big Environmentalism needs the markets to believe Big Coal has a Big Future to justify Big Money for Big Environmentalism.

        4th Gen Nuclear begins coming online in the early 2020’s…anyone projecting beyond that is being purely speculative.

  42. I guess you are assuming that China doesn’t know what it is doing and is going to break its agreements to cap coal by 2020 and cap its CO2 emissions by 2030 if not sooner. And that US will not go through with the regulations to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% from 2007(?) levels. You are also ignoring the fact that the demand created by these measures will lead to innovation because there will be more players competing in the renewables market. It find it confusing that people on the right don’t seem to have faith that the private sector can used to solve problems if the market conditions are right. Right now we are talking about new production from lower carbon sources and displacing retiring plants with a lower carbon source which will include gas and nuclear.

      • I don’t support coal, it’s dirty, but your graph is for the US. There is a global market for coal with some big importers, like Germany because of Energyweenie.

      • Nat gas is both cheaper, cleaner, and much lower CO2 output than coal,
        so, kinda hard to find a champion for coal.

      • Ask the right question.

        More coal? More than what?

        The question should be: Does it look like coal is not long for being part of the US generation mix?

        Care to take a stab at answering that one Joseph?

        And as Justin points out, when the issue is “global” climate, you have to look at global emission data.

    • China isn’t reducing CO2 emissions because they agreed to!

      China agreed to reduce emissions to get credit for what was already happening:

      Multiple factors ( as always ) are at work, but the biggest is this:

      Of course, Obama also gets a photo op.

      They might as well agree that sunrise will occur once every day.

      • What does an aging population have to do with it? Are they going to stop growing in 2030 or something. Growth equals energy consumption, right?

      • Aging means reduced consumption ( and production ).
        It also means slower growth because retirement, by definition,
        means living on a fixed income.

      • And China’s population is pretty close to peaking ( zero growth ) with declines in the decades ahead. Falling population with a greater percentage of old farts – falling CO2. It’s a familiar patter for much of the world ( China, Japan, Singapore, US except for immigration, Europe ).

        India has decades more growth and Africa and they’ll need more energy.

        But most of the world reduced emissions.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Lucifer: And China’s population is pretty close to peaking ( zero growth ) with declines in the decades ahead.

        It will be decades before the aging of the population of China produces any reduction in their energy use. Even as the “middle-aged/employed” fraction of China declines in size, they will want to make and buy more stuff for themselves and elders than what they can make and buy now. There is no reason to think that they can not or will not grow their GDP to match the per capita GDPs of the US and EU.

      • It will be decades before the aging of the population of China produces any reduction in their energy use.

        It does all remain to be seen.

        But certainly the Exxon chart, above, indicates declining CO2 emissions for China. Added to the factors is Chinese buddy-buddy for Russia’s natural gas.

        But the business folks describe China as having been in a desperate race to get rich before they get old. They don’t have a lot of social security, or trustworthy stock market. Older folks that had savings probably put it in real estate investments which appear to be going bust. Grandma and grandpa moving back home won’t help with the consumer desires of the rest of the family much.

    • ‘regulations’, ‘measures’, whoosh to ‘private sector’. Casey Joseph better, watch his Pachauris.

    • Joseph,

      I take it from this comment you are among those who believe President Obama actually accomplished something concrete during this China visit?

      I am among those who believe China knows what it is doing. At least as well as any nation. Which means they are doing what they see as being in their best interest. Capping construction of coal generation and CO2 emissions will happen only if China determines such actions are in its best interest. And if they do take action along those lines, my money is on it happening as a result of air and water pollution concerns and not due to panty twisting over climate change.

      BTW – you do understanding the meaning of “non-binding”, right?

  43. Look at the trend in Solar:

    And wind:

    • Joseph, in your considered opinion, what are the primary barriers we face here in the United States in moving towards a greater-than-fifty-percent reliance on the renewables? What specific public policy decisions could be made which could guarantee that here in the US, we can overcome those barriers?

  44. The climate circus can never be the “equivalent” of famous financial bubbles, such as South Sea or tulip. There investors freely entered into contracts, however misguided. In the climate case, it is an elite prescribing their ‘mania’ for the rest of us.

  45. Another nail for AGW enthusiast is the fact that the mixing ratios over the tropics have fallen not risen which was what was called for. Remember the so called hot spot which is still missing in action to this day AGW theory predicted. El Nino , was suppose to rule the day. Where is El Nino?

    If AGW theory can not get basic atmospheric processes correct how is it going to get the future climate correct?

    Another blunder was the fact their models had predicted an increase in a zonal atmospheric circulation in response to global warming not the trend toward a more meridional atmospheric circulation the atmosphere has been displaying.

    Now to cover themselves they use their absurd argument that a decrease in Arctic Sea Ice, due to global warming is why the atmospheric circulation is responding the way it is.

    All one has to do is check Arctic Sea Ice values in the 1970’s to see they were above average while the atmospheric circulation was similar today .

    Puts a hole in that argument , or rather another nail in the coffin for AGW theory.

  46. Since CO2 generation and legislation would be issues for each separate nation state, why would some nations even worry about it? Take Australia, recent published numbers put their man made CO2 output at 1.5 percent of the world total. So how much should Australia spend on mitigation? What possible affect could their CO2 matter? Whether they had ZERO or DOUBLE the CO2 output, it wouldn’t mean sh#t on a global scale, so why waste breath on the issue? Their citizens should just take huge energy cost increases and hits on their economy cuz they are good guys?
    Let alone who does the actual management of atmospheric CO2 if we had the capability. Que “Snowpiercer” introduction where man does acquire the capability and promptly kills the planet. Good one warmers!!

    • Even more important- some nation states may actually benefit from a change in the climate. Why would they not want that?

  47. It is surprising that Nuclear isn’t projected to grow more. It seems like a no brainer to me.

    The new reactor designs are much safer (passive cooling designs). We could actually reprocess our waste and make it a lot less radioactive. If we start building plants in large numbers again, the costs will surely come down and make it more competitive with oil, coal and natural gas. It is a baseload very compact power source with very little CO2 emissions.

    I don’t get why this isn’t the first choice of everybody for mitigation.

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

    Dr. JC
    sorry to go OT
    have you heard of the new WH communications mentioning you?

  49. Matthew R Marler

    One graph I caught up with this week has convinced me that climate change mitigation by supressing carbon dioxide emissions is a busted flush that history will look back on with great ridicule, even if the worst of the climate alarmist predictions come to pass.

    If the worst of the climate predictions come to pass, then people will intensely feel the need, now somewhat mildly felt, for larger and better flood control and irrigation structures. Focusing attention on wind, solar and biofuels now, while they are more expensive than coal, oil, and natural gas, detracts from our ability and willingness to solve the most pressing problems. Reducing CO2, even if it could prevent “climate change”, will not stop the alternations of floods and droughts. In 50 years the accumulating CO2 might raise the global mean temperature by 1C on the best evidence so far, most likely not over 0.5C; and meanwhile people will die and crops will fail due to floods and droughts in every one of those 50 years.

    Consider the case of California, which already suffers from agricultural decline and the greater impoverishment of its poorest people due to malinvestment away from water works. The rest of the world should definitely not follow the example of California, which formally welcomes immigrants while reducing their water supply and reducing their job opportunities. Immigration policy is an aside, but the water and economic crises are related, and likely to get worse as CA tries to build up its wind farms and solar farms, and its bullet train.

    • So in summary, the most sensible response is the construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure. That is the best method to protect people from the harms of bad weather–regardless of the cause.

      It may not be a sexy answer, but it is the most reasonable.

      • Northeast US where I grew up sees 100F min-max temperature difference every year. They have experienced this since forever. The extremes they have difficulty dealing with are cold and snow. Is more cold and snow what we get from more of the greenhouse gas CO2?

    • Ya – I have a book titled something like Great American Disasters, about half of which are weather related ( Blizzards, Floods, Droughts, Hurricanes ).
      These things have always occurred of course. Somehow, without physical basis, it became part of the erroneous ‘conventional wisdom’ that global temperature had something to do with these.

    • @ Mark Silbert

      Thank you.

      Passed the link to my science teacher daughter, recommending that she pass copies to her students and warning her that if she did, she would likely be fired, for exactly the reasons described by Leo Smith.

  50. There is no evidence that CO2 has raised the temperature at all.

    • Wrong–it may not be as reliable as you wish, but there is certainly evidence.

      • “but there is certainly evidence”


        The most convincing of which is… (you insert description of evidence here and link to more information)


      • The basic physics which shows what the impact will be if all other variables remain unchanged. Give that it is a complex system, guess what they don’t.

        People argue the wrong issues. Yes it has a theortical impact.

        The real issues:
        What is the actual impact

        Where will this occur

        Is it good or bad and by how much.

      • Theoretical physics is not evidence, Rob. Evidence is obtained through observation and experiment. So far theory and observation don’t satisfactorily agree.

      • David

        What you have written is not true in that the theory is basic science.

        More atmospheric CO2 will lead to a slight warming if other conditions remain unchanged. Because the system is complex, other factors overwhelm or dominate the system over timescales important to humans.

        None of the above changes the basic science. What we observe is short term data of importance to humans.

        The issue is NOT the basic science. The issue is what happens beyond the basic science. Will the basic warming that the science shows be increased or decreased due to other system affects.

    • There is no evidence that CO2 has raised the temperature at all.

      Kind of in the nether world.

      There is evidence that CO2 has risen.
      And there is evidence that temperature has risen
      And there is evidence that CO2 should raise infra-red opacity.
      Still, attribution is uncertain.

      What we can say is the rates of temperature rise are less than those modeled.
      And that the presumed global variations of climate resulting from temperatures have been exaggerated or even falsified.

      • “And there is evidence that temperature has risen”

        There is also “evidence” that the temperature has gone down. Look at any climate-related Squiggly Line.


      • @ Lucifer

        There is evidence that CO2 has risen monotonically since we began measuring it.

        There is also evidence that during the time that CO2 has risen monotonically, there have been periods during which the temperature has risen, times when it has fallen, and times when it has gone in neither direction statistically.

        Those two facts do not make a strong case for CO2, anthropogenic or otherwise, being a dominant, or even a strong, influence on the temperature of the Earth.

        If its influence is negligent, why aren’t we neglecting it?

      • @ Lucifer


        “If its influence is negligent……..”

        replace with:

        “If its influence is negligible………”

      • Curious George

        Bob – CO2 is rising, but not monotonically. And temperature is rising .. err .. climate is changing.

  51. Political Junkie

    A little off topic.
    Does anyone have an estimate for the current cost of nuclear – ‘hardware’ vs. regulatory process approvals?

    • @ Political Junkie

      “Does anyone have an estimate for the current cost of nuclear – ‘hardware’ vs. regulatory process approvals?”

      Since the time and expense of obtaining regulatory approval for nuclear plants have both been asymptotically approaching infinity (I. e., there is NO fixed time or budget that will guarantee that the regulatory process can be completed), the cost of the hardware is asymptotically approaching zero in comparison.

    • EPRI, electric power research institute has some estimates.

  52. Last year we toured Burma with its legacy Soviet electric power system operated 5 minutes a day, merchant diesel generators run until one liter of fuel runs out.

    Today we are touring Costa Rica, a former Central American Banana Republic having achieved its independence from Spain in 1821. A history of rotating dictators and strong man politics same as all the surrounding countries.
    Then, completion of Arenal hydroelectric project in 1979 generating 70% of their power. 35 years later, a prosperous & vibrant economy. No street urchans tugging at your sleeve. Dole, Chacita, Delmonte control the export of bananas, coffee, sugar cane. What is different now? Kids go to school because there are jobs other cutting sugar cane. Now Daniel Ortega of Nicaragran has spent his people’s resources on his people’s Paradise and turned South to steal land from Costa Rica plus sending 800,000 illegal migrants to cut sugar cane, pick coffee beans, plant and harvest pineapples, jobs CRs don’t need to do any more as there is cheap electric power. And as I am on high speed internet thanks to fiber optic cable and jobs are more diverse.
    What differerenciates Costra Rica from other Banana Republics? Cheap electricity leading to economic prosperity. There is no need for strong man politics spending money on a military to suppress people and forego capital accumulation.

    • What % of their power comes from renewables?

      • According to the World Bank, 73% in 2011 (last year for which data is available). All conventional hydro as Costa Rica is blessed with both mountains and abundent rainfall.

      • Renweables, Rud?

        Check again.

      • Joshua
        Hydro is renewable as Lake Aerenal’s watershed is in a rain forest with 6 feet of rain per year.
        If you mean windmills and solar panels then 3 to 6% depending upon the season. December to April lots and lots of wind and solar. The rest of the year, not so much. Geothermal another @ 6%. Diesel and gas and whatever the rest.
        Hydro smooths out the grid.

      • What is your source? Seems that other estimates have geothermal %’s higher.

        It will be interesting to see if they meet their carbon neutral target.(2021).

      • Joshua

        I was told this number by guide. I looked at wiki and that source said 15% geothermal as did my google of ICE the state owned power company. Then PR release from ICE said hydro was 68%. ICE not planning on constructing more generation, no room for more hydro dams. ICE will purchase additional power from private sources, thermal.
        Sorry about the lower number. It may be correct or no depending upon installed or dispachable or coming on line soon.

      • RiHo08 –

        The mix also seems to fluctuate over time; reliance on hydrocarbons increased post credit crisis, although it isn’t clear to me why, exactly.

  53. No there is not evidence. If one looks at the Minoan ,Roman, Medieval Warm Periods they were all warmer then today’s recently Modern Warm Period long before AGW theory was in play..

  54. Rob if you do not want to go by the data so be it. That is what AGW enthusiast do ,they make up their own data.

  55. More data of the co2 hoax.

  56. CO2 current warming –no connection. Read below.

    Climate alarmists contend that the degree of global warmth over the latter part of the 20th century, and continuing to the present day, was greater than it was at any other time over the past one to two millennia, because this contention helps support their claim that what they call the “unprecedented” temperatures of the past few decades were CO2-induced. Hence, they cannot stomach the thought that the Medieval Warm Period of a thousand years ago could have been just as warm as, or even warmer than, it has been recently, especially since there was so much less CO2 in the air a thousand years ago than there is now. Likewise, they are equally loath to admit that temperatures of the Roman Warm Period of two thousand years ago may also have rivaled, or exceeded, those of the recent past, since atmospheric CO2 concentrations at that time were also much lower than they are today. As a result, climate alarmists rarely even mention the Roman Warm Period, as they are happy to let sleeping dogs lie.

  57. Last post on this with more data. I do not want to go over board.

    I have made my point.

  58. Very recently in Australia, the state of Queensland experienced tropical cyclone Marcia:

    Q. How many solar panels will Queensland need to install before stopping future cyclones?

    A. The answer can be found only 15 seconds into this youtube video of the newly elected Queensland Premier when announcing her pre-election policy on the environment.:

  59. “Until we get a much clearer idea of what we will get for our money, whether it is $10T or $100T spent on carbon emission mitigation in terms of measurably improved climate in the future, just who would invest their pension money there!”

    One of the biggest (crony capitalist) banks in the world, that’s who.

    I haven’t seen stupidity on this scale since the health insurance companies signed their own death warrants by supporting socialized medicine/aka Obamacare.

    • Gary

      Do you think they would be making unsecured loans? Answer- NO-

      • Rob Starkey,

        No, I expect the loans will be just as secure as those that gave us the magnificent housing boom up to 2007.

        And of course, once you have a secured loan, there is no risk of loss. Just ask the formerly secured creditors of GM.

    • One day we will have climate scientists. They will be people interested in climate, weather and the physical world (all of it) and they will be able to give us better historical perspective on such notions as “measurably improved climate in the future”.

      By “more perspective” I really mean we will be able to see how exquisitely silly it is to shop for climate the way one shops for soap powder.

      Some ideas are so potty they only have a brief and fad-driven life in just one era. The notion of dialling a preferred climate would have been ridiculous just a few decades ago. And it will be ridiculous again very soon. And then it will stay ridiculous.

      • In the history of earth, the preferred climate is the climate of the most recent ten thousand years. This is the climate we have adapted to and therefore it is the preferred climate. The Little Ice Ages, between the Warm periods is a little less preferred, but it is so much better to not have major ice ages or oceans that are 100 feet higher, after we already built a lot of stuff near sea level. This is the best of times.

    • GaryM,

      They’re just kissing Obama’s butt in the hope that he’ll stop kicking their’s.

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

    holy sh!t…that letter from Grijalva
    does this kinda thing happen often?
    will your college president resist?
    I’m never quite able to be cynical enough

    • “Ranking” member, and I can smell it all the way over here.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        hoping the whole GD faculty will resist
        if not, somethings wrong
        I repeat
        at this point I don’t even care if the warmunistas are right

    • barn E. Rubble

      RE: “Angry Birds…”

      Not so bright &/or perceptive either . . . these little guys (pictured) fly into my windows often and (unfortunately) many don’t recover . . . a solar panel field must be akin to a killing field for these optically challenged critters.

    • I live around swarms of native Australian birds. If I clean my windows there are accidents and deaths almost immediately.

      Truth is, I’m no great shakes on cleaning and domestic chores (serf stuff, if you ask me) but I really would clean my windows but for the birds. I’ve even had a kookaburra knock himself right out. Let me tell you, a kookie gives a thud when he hits safety glass at speed. The famous laugh stops then.

      If wily, intelligent Australians like kookies and bower birds aren’t able to avoid flying into glass, what hope for most around solar towers?

      But I’m sure some ingenious person with a degree in something ending in the word “studies” will be able to prove that coal is far more dangerous to bird life than solar towers. That’s why they sent him to university!

      • John Vonderlin

        Not sure if it will help, but we had the same problem when building our in-the-wilds house when we installed a wall of eight foot tall, mirror-like skyscraper windows we got a great deal on. Hummingbirds, dog-fighting over the feeder’s territory, were the most common victims. Our solution was to buy some commercially-available, stick-on, black-colored raptor silhouettes. That worked reasonably well.
        I assume there is technology that will help with solar towers too, but it might not have been required to be installed yet because of the “When Do Gooders Do Bad,” syndrome.

      • I’ve stated the same thing as well. Let’s shut down just those dirty electrical plants using coal for a day, week, month, or whatever and see what the social cost of that would be.

      • Threading broken. My comment was in tended to follow a ROM comment upthread. Oh well. Anyway moso, I don’t think Beth would want to clean your windows anymore than you would:)

  61. chris robertson

    So in this meta-analysis the conclusions are almost exactly opposite what a portfolio manager would conclude. Some observations:

    (ii) doesn’t make sense. For % to remain constant whilst the aggregate is growing, each must be growing at the same rate. I think you mean the relative quantity of carbon-energy to non-carbon-energy remains roughly 7x?

    (iii) There’s a big difference between nugatory & ~10% projected in 2035. 10% of total global energy is inadequate to the task of CO2 mitigation but nonetheless extraordinary growth. Presumably BP’s analysis (I couldn’t find a link) implies some significant investment opportunities.

    An interesting & perhaps more damning fundamental phenomenon supporting your thesis is the rebound effect ( ). This may render the much lauded cost beneficial action like energy efficiency, sunk cost solar, etc… ineffective at reducing energy demand. We folks just consume more be it energy or low wage produced iPhones. Addressing this has been tried… Jimmy Carter infamously put on a sweater ( ) and wound up getting fired.

    Finally, quoting Baron Macauley establishes a false dichotomy… You could accuse Elon Musk and his Lithium obsession with the opposite quote:

    “On what principle is it that, when we look we see nothing but deterioration behind us, we are to expect nothing but improvement before us?”


    Chris Robertson

  62. Curious George

    The graph tells us how many billion toe (sic) a hydro power consumes. What are they thinking .. excuse me .. talking about?

  63. @ Dr. Curry

    “Looks like I am up next in this ‘witch hunt'”

    Just more data confirming my position that the the Patron Saint of Climate Science, a subset of Progressivism, is Saul Alinsky, not Karl Popper.

  64. I think this is related enough to post here instead of an open thread.

    From the article:

    The first end-to-end scaled production run, which took place in October following two years of pilot testing, produced significant and record-levels of ethanol. This pivotal event shows that conversion of CO2 directly to carbon-neutral fuels is possible in the near future, which would significantly impact humanity’s ability to combat climate change on a global scale

    From the article:

    Joule closed out 2014 with major developments across the entire company, leading to the decision to undertake a staged industrialisation process, to culminate in a 1,000-acre production plant starting construction in 2017. This decision comes at a critical moment in global climate change marked by 2014 being the warmest year on the planet, further underscoring the need for large scale industrial companies to engage in rapidly enabling scalable CO2 mitigating solutions.

    • Increases in ice-dust levels closely track falling temperatures (aerosols) and falling CO2 (oceanic fertilization).

      • Hi Docmartyn,

        It’s interesting to me that there is so much focus on CO2, but as our climate system is so much more I just don’t buy that we have that much of a handle on things. I’m vacillating so much as I can (at my level of understanding but unfortunately lacking formal education w/r/t sciences) certainly see the correlation, but had prior to this thought mostly of volcanic aerosols and some man made. This had not (yet) crossed my mind. It expands my thinking broadly. It seems there are so many ways our planet can go about responding to our impacts but ones of her own generation. And the CO2 conversation just seems so over simplified. But my gut wants it to be so as that would give us control, at great expense, but control none the less.

    • nottawa rafter

      One of my filters in figuring out who knows their stuff is how much they profess to understand it all and how certain they are about attribution. The true scientists know enough to know they know very little.
      Many decades from now there will be a lot of posthumous egg on the faces of the “science is settled” crowd.

  65. There are some very smart commenters here who can’t see the forest for the trees.

    • Maybe they ain’t so smart after all? The problem is that one’s political persuasion seems to be strongly co-related to their view of climate change and what steps need to be taken to ameliorate this! Maybe Lewandowski’s paper turned out to be correct, but for the wrong reasons.

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  67. Michael Kelly,

    These two posts explain another reason why carbon pricing has very little chance of being implemented and sustained, let alone succeeding in controlling the climate.

    Why carbon pricing will not succeed Part I:

    Why The World Will Not Agree to Pricing Carbon II:

  68. Joshua writes:
    1. “Adaptation and mitigation alike, require a trade-off of short-term spending for long-term return.” And “It’s facile for “skeptics” to argue about the “cost” of mitigation while ignoring the “cost” of adaptation.”

    My response- Agreed about the basic costs, but spending on just mitigation has zero known benefits. Spending on adaption has immediate benefits when the infrastructure is completed and used. The only additional cost of adaptation is the delta cost between the basic needed or planned infrastructure and that built to address long term potential events. If the infrastructure being built is expected to last for 100 years- what are the severe weather events that are considered a significant risk during that time period.

    2. “So the same folks hand-wringing about the “economic suicide” of mitigation never get around to forking over the money for adaptation, for infrastructure development.”

    My response- Evidence to support your claim? Do you accept that there is ultimately a limited amount of funds that can be spent? What the government spends tax revenues on is a much larger issue of determining priorities.

    3. One of the problems with the arguments of “skeptics” is that the same short-term thinking that rules out, categorically, hedging against risk of climate change through mitigation also rules out hedging against “natural” extreme weather events through adaptation.

    My response- Joshua is wrong on several fronts.

    Skeptics are individuals with varying positions. Your comment is prejudiced.

    I do not “rule out” mitigation. I simply think that most proposed mitigation actions have not been shown to have a likely benefit that justifies the expense today. This is especially true when one views the larger issue of economic stability.
    The US is one of roughly 200 nation states governing planet earth. The US has a very large economic issue (budgetary shortfall) over the next 25 years due to a retiring population. This issue could result in the collapse of the US currency’s value if ignored. It is an issue much more likely to dominate the next decade than the evolving climate.

    • > spending on just mitigation has zero known benefits.

      Reducing air pollution looks like a known benefit to me.

      Besides, the “just mitigation” meme is a straw man:

      There is high confidence that neither adaptation nor mitigation alone can avoid all climate change impacts; however, they can complement each other and together can significantly reduce the risks of climate change.

      TL:DR – RTFR.

      • Mixing mitigations pollutes the air.

      • Willard writes- “Reducing air pollution looks like a known benefit to me.”

        My response- There is no harmful effect for humans of CO2 in the concentrations in the atmosphere. Is CO2 at 400 ppm more healthful than 500ppm is all other conditions remain unchanged?

        I agree with the IPCC that the climate will continue to change as it always has. I disagree that the impact of CO2 will lead to a general worstening of conditions that is sufficent to warrant reducing CO2 emissions at great cost.

        The IPCC’s position is based on models that failed to reasonably match observed conditions for temperature and rainfall, therefore those models are considered invalid for estimating long term conditions. If you make an analysis based on an invalid model– what value is the analysis?

      • > I agree with the IPCC that the climate will continue to change as it always has.

        The IPCC quote was about mitigation and adaptation, not about the trivial fact that climate changes.

        The “climate always changes” is usually a meme to contradict AGW, not to support it. As Luntz explained in his memo:

        The phrase “global warming” should be abandoned in favour of “climate change”, Mr Luntz says, and the party should describe its policies as “conservationist” instead of “environmentalist”, because “most people” think environmentalists are “extremists” who indulge in “some pretty bizarre behaviour… that turns off many voters”.

        To put that meme in IPCC’s mouth seems suboptimal.

      • About 6 minutes she states that top climate scientists were saying they had to get rid of the phrase global warming in favor of the use of the term climate change. Perhaps she confused Luntz with top climate scientists. It could happen.

      • Steven, I don’t know. She seemed a little pre-stressed to me.

      • Other than by fiat or imagined harms, how does CO2 qualify as air pollution?

      • > Perhaps she confused Luntz with top climate scientists.

        Perhaps they came to the same conclusion for different reasons. Professor Parmesan seems to have discounted the “climate always changed” meme Rob is promoting, while Luntz was exploiting it:

        “Climate change” is less frightening than “global warming”. As one focus group participant noted, climate change “sounds like you’re going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale.” While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.

        When comes the time to choose between Luntz’ focus groups powered by the most powerful political organization in the world and climate scientists’ armchairs powered by guilt-free feel-goodism, I don’t think the choice is that hard to make.

        The same skepticism should apply to climate scientists’ predispositions regarding the D-word or the S-word.

      • Both sides wanted to call it the same thing because they both felt it would fit their message better. One side says now that it is the fault of the other side that they got what they wanted. It would seem it didn’t work as well as they thought it would. Rather pointless whining don’t you think?

  69. The above chart is a good representation showing CO2 concentrations and the climate do not correlate.

  70. Berényi Péter

    Ordinary granite. Just sayin’.

  71. Soeren Kjaersgaard

    The carbon dioxide hypothesis is a perfect theory for politicians and bureaucrats. It gives them power and money.
    And for writers and artists who get a possibility to show how noble and concerned they are.
    And for universities which get money to do endless research without risking to find final answers, not to speak about solutions.
    It began 30-40 years ago, and some time in the future the madness will end.
    I suppose until we must start the costly undertaking to scrap the off shore wind turbines i. e. 20-30 years.
    Communism had ca. 75 years before it’s ruin was too evident!

  72. “On what principle is it that, when we look we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?”

    He was right then and yet to be found wrong, and I say amen to his view now.

    He did not look ahead and see that we were going to start doing unreasonable things for unreasonable reasons and that we were going to cause improvement to cease, on purpose. We are now headed on a path to deterioration, following Germany and others. I hope the new power in congress can halt this madness.

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  74. Andrew Duffin

    ““On what principle is it that, when we look we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?”

    Putting my cynic’s hat on for a moment, I could reply that in the past we did not have the benefit of governments which spend more than half the output of the entire population, and wish to spend more, and as a consequence we did not have, either, the grotesque over-regulation of everything that we “enjoy” today. Nor did we, in the past, have the precautionary principle; nor did we have mega-corporations which invite and thrive on the progressing and increasing regulations.

    On balance, I think it entirely possible that things will now get worse for a while.

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