Week in review – policy and politics edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

UN climate commitments

A look at past UN climate negotiations offers valuable context for forthcoming Paris talks [link]

Limiting global warming to 1.5C is still possible, say scientists [link]

Germany’s 2020 GHG target is no longer feasible [link]

China’s emissions have been plummeting lately [link]

The grim promise of India’s coal-powered future: [link]

Assessment of Canada’s UN climate pledge [link]

The need for accelerating R&D on low emissions technologies [link]

Policy analyses

Breakthrough Institute:  How technology liberates the environment [link]

The IMF says we spend $5.3 trillion a year on fossil fuel subsidies. How is that possible? [link]

Rupert Darwall:  On climate, science and politics are diverging [link]

Enhancing Flexibility in International Climate Change Law [link]

World Bank: Getting to zero net emissions takes a policy package that prices carbon & incentivizes clean tech [link]

Energy

UK coal use falls to lowest level since the industrial revolution [link]

A detailed look at why the UK’s homes are using less energy [link]

How do the economics of #nuclear stack up? MIT’s John Parsons compares to other energy options [link]

The Breakthrough Institute’s FAQ on nuclear power [link]

New @EIAgov analysis on EPA power rule impact: more gas, renewable, efficiency; less coal, GHG [link]

Parsing what the new @EIAgov report is actually saying about the economic impact of @EPA climate rules.[link]

Climate change dominates marathon Shell annual general meeting – [link]

Shell reveals plans for its #Arctic oil wells: [link]

Why Alaska’s Inupiat Are Warming to Offshore Oil Drilling [link]

A clean energy revolution is tougher than you think [link]

Nevada’s big utility is about to strangle the state’s rooftop solar program [link]

Reading’s cow-poo powered bus sets a speed record. It’s faster, cleaner and less smelly than a diesel bus! [link]

Water policy

Indian states reject massive river linking scheme [link]

Nepal earthquake highlights dangers of dam building in Tibet [link]

China to give Brahmaputra flow data to Bangladesh [link]

242 responses to “Week in review – policy and politics edition

  1. Pingback: Week in review – policy and politics edition | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. Thank you Prof. Curry. A good set of links, with many articles worth reading. Unfortunately, I don’t have much comment on any of them at the moment, but maybe later.

  3. Peter Lang

    Here’s how the economics of nuclear stacks if the target is to reduce the emissions intensity of electricity in Australia to that of France – i.e. a 90% reduction in emissions intensity.
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.363.7838&rep=rep1&type=pdf

    • Peter Lang

      How to make nuclear cheaper

      Nuclear power will have to be a major part of the solution to significantly reduce global GHG emissions. It seems it will have to reach about 75% share of electricity generation (similar to where France has been for the past 30 years) and electricity will have to be a significantly larger proportion of total energy – this could reduce the emissions intensity by around 90%.

      To achieve that, the cost of electricity from nuclear power will have to become cheaper than from fossil fuels.

      Here’s my suggested way to get to nuclear cheaper than fossil fuels:

      1. The next US Administration takes the lead to persuade the US citizens nuclear is about as safe as or safer than any other electricity source http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html. US can gain enormously by leading the world on developing new, small modular nuclear power plants; allowing and encouraging innovation and competition; thus unleashing the US’s ability to innovate and compete to produce and supply the fit-for-purpose products the various world markets want.

      2. The next US President uses his influence with the leaders of the other countries that are most influential in the IAEA to get the IAEA representatives to support a process to re-examine the justification for the allowable radiation limits – as the US announced in January it will do over 18 months “WNN 20/1/15. Radiation health effects http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Radiation-and-Health/Nuclear-Radiation-and-Health-Effects/

      3. Once the IAEA starts increasing the allowable radiation limits for the public this should be the catalyst to reducing the cost of nuclear energy.

      a. it will mean radiation leaks are understood to be less dangerous than most non experts believe > less people will need to be evacuated from accident effected zones > the cost of accidents will decline > accident insurance cost will decline;

      b. the public progressively reconsiders the evidence about the effects of radiation > they gain an understanding it is much less harmful than they thought > fear level subsides > opposition to nuclear declines > easier and less expensive to find new sites for power plants > increased support from the people in the neighbourhood of proposed and existing power plants > planning and sight approval costs decline over time;

      c. The risk of projects being delayed during construction or once in operation declines; > all this leads to a lowering of the investors’ risk premium > thus reducing the financing costs and the fixed O&M costs for the whole life of the power plants;

      d. Changing perceptions of the risks and benefits of nuclear power leads to increasing public support for nuclear > allows the NRC licensing process to be completely revamped and the culture of the organisation to be changed from “safety first” to an appropriate balance of all costs and risks, including the consequences retarding nuclear development and rollout by making it too expensive to compete as well as it could if the costs were lower (e.g. higher fatalities per TWh if nuclear is not allowed to be cheaper than fossil fuels).

      4. NRC is revamped – its Terms of Reference and its culture are changed. Licensing period for new designs is greatly reduced, e.g. to the equivalent of the design and licensing period for new aircraft designs.

      5. Small modular reactors are licensed quickly. New designs, new versions, new models, and design changes are processed expeditiously. This will lead to more competition, more innovation, learning rate continually improves so that costs come down.

      6. The efficiency of using the fuel can be improved by nearly a factor of 100. That gives some idea of how much room there is to reduce the cost of nuclear power over the decades ahead.

      7. Eventually, fusion will be viable and then the technology life cycle starts all over again – but hopefully the anti-nuke dinosaurs will have been extinct for a long time by then.

      • Peter, nice comment/post. I agree going nuclear makes sense and always has. Its downfall has been its understandable need heavy regulation. This has put nuclear that the mercy of risk averse bureaucrats and also at the whim of anti-nuclear green lobbies as their influenced party periodically takes power.

        You are absolutely correct that a robust nuclear industry would pave the way for clean fusion. It is ironic that the same green party that has blocked nuclear are also the biggest opponents to fossil fuel. Solar and wind will continue to have a niche in low power demand and off grid uses but they will not power a technologically advanced society. In fact, cheap abundant energy is the answer to closed loop recycling of water and raw materials, the ultimate sustainability goals.

      • To Peter Lang, re “It seems it (nuclear power) will have to reach about 75% share of electricity generation (similar to where France has been for the past 30 years)”

        If the entire world reaches that level of nuclear generation (75 percent), where will the excess power at night be sent? Or, if you propose to load-follow with nuclear, how much will the electricity rates increase when average operating rates reach 60 percent instead of the much-touted 90 percent or more? The fact is that nuclear power is not economic today, even when running flat-out to spread the costs over as many kWh as possible.

        See my articles, especially, “Preposterous Power Pricing if Nuclear Power Proponents Prevail” at http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-two.html

      • Hi Peter. One thing that the US could do to enhance its lead in nuclear power, safety, and the economics of the plants would be to set up a melt-down test facility. This would probably be located on an isolate island somewhere or perhaps some other appropriate location. Then, the reactor under consideration could be built and purposely tampered with to see what would happen under a loss of coolant or other test scenarios.

      • Peter Lang

        Jime2,

        There are an enormous no of things lie you suggest that could be done. But that is not where we should be advocating the government put its priorities. The focus should be on removing the impediments that are retarding progress. Start at the IAEA. Get them to objectively review the evidence for effects of low level radiation on people. Change the allowable radiation limits as justified by the evidence. Mocve from ALARA to AHARS
        )as low as reasonably achievable to as high as relatively safe). Relatively means to align the fatalities per TWh of nuclear with that of current practice. If we did that we could virtually deregulate nuclear and have the same regulations for all electricity generators. Nothing special for nuclear. The cost of nuclear could come down by orders of magnitude over a period of time. the electricity could displace most gas for heating and transport fuels produced by electricity and sea water could displace most fossil fuels for transport.

        It’s all up to the US and EU. They have the keys to unlock faster development for the world! They will do well out of it too.

      • Roger Sowell asked;

        To Peter Lang, re “It seems it (nuclear power) will have to reach about 75% share of electricity generation (similar to where France has been for the past 30 years)”

        If the entire world reaches that level of nuclear generation (75 percent), where will the excess power at night be sent?

        I was referring to 75% of electricity, i.e. energy, not power. So there would be no excess energy. Around 75% of electricity generation (energy) in modern industrial societies is baseload, not intermediate and peak load (as is the case in France). The proportion of baseload energy is likely to increase as we develop further and as electricity supplies an ever increasing proportion of total energy – .e.g. for producing heat, transport fuels and charging EV batteries at night.

      • Add point 3e to the list of steps to make nuclear cheaper than fossil fuel generated electricity:

        3e. The Operation and Maintenance cost of nuclear plants is reduced as the excessive requirements for safety and security decreases over time to the equivalent of other types of electricity generation plant (i.e. to AHARS, As High As Relatively Safe). (Note: nuclear plant sites have 150 highly trained, well-armed security officers, augmented by comprehensive detection and surveillance systems, on average. That’s $15-$20 million per nuclear plant site per year (about $10 million per reactor per year http://www.nei.org/master-document-folder/backgrounders/fact-sheets/nuclear-power-plant-security ).)

    • Peter are you aware of Bill Gates and Elon Musks adventures into nuclear?

      Musk is going into a new type of molten salt reactor that uses Zirconium Hydride as the moderator:

      http://www.transatomicpower.com/the-science/

      Gates made himself CEO of his new investment:

      http://terrapower.com

    • Last week’s WIR Policy and Politics included these two links (both anti-nuclear:

      Nuclear, the only energy technology with negative learning curve. Finland cancels Olkiluoto4. [link] [by FOE anti nuke spokesperson, Jim Green]

      It is true that learning rate for nuclear is negative and has been since the late 1970’s. It’s also true nuclear is the only electricity technology with negative learning rate. The average learning rate for other electricity generation technologies over a century or more has been -10% to -20% per doubling (of capacity or energy supplied). This is well known and it’s been studied for decades. The cause is also well known. It’s the result of the anti-nuke propaganda from organisation like Greenpeace, WWF, FoE and anti-nuke activists like USA’s Amory Lovins, John Holdren and Mark Jacobsen, and our Mark Diesendorf, Ian Lowe, and Jim Green.

      Here are three quantifications and explanations of why the learning rate for nuclear is negative since the 1970s.

      Costs of nuclear power plants – what went wrong?
      http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html

      http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research/researchPrograms/TransitionstoNewTechnologies/06_Grubler_French_Nuclear_WEB.pdf

      http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/wess/wess_bg_papers/bp_wessS2011_wilson.pdf

      http://www.eprg.group.cam.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/eprg0723.pdf
      http://idei.fr/doc/conf/eem/papers_2013/leveque.pdf

      • So, add to your list:

        8. No tolerance for protestors preventing access to/construction in nuclear sites. Such activities have caused major delays in coalmines and gas recovery in Australia.

      • I’m somewhat familiar with reliability calculation.

        The NRC approach of racheting should be changed by congress.

        Greater complexity inherently lowers reliability. Requiring unnecessary equipment or for equipment to be configured in a non-optimum way is counter-productive.

        There are two issues:
        1. What to do with existing plants
        2. What to do with new construction.

        The current plants are currently in tune with the current regulatory regime.

        What might make sense is scrap the current regulations for new construction, and go through the existing regulations, in view of current knowledge and the original justifications, and add back in what makes sense for the various classes of reactor: PWR, BWR, Molten Salt, Liquid Metal, etc.

        The existing reactors are going to benefit much from regulatory change since most of the damage is sunk cost. There is no need to burden new reactors with old regulations.

      • Peter Lang

        PA,

        Thank you. Good comment.

        Your focus is much shorter term than mine. Mine is an indefinite term, but let’s define technology life cycle phases (overlapping) so I can clarify what I am getting at.

        Phase 1 – Light water reactors and other thermal reactors

        Phase 2 – breeder fusion reactors, includes thorium, Gen 4, Gen 5 …

        Phase 3 – fusion

        I expect Phase 1 will last for 100 years or so, Phase 2 will begin to roll our commercially viable breeder reactors in commercial contracts in the next decade or so and this technology life cycle may last say one or two centuries. Phase 3 may begin later this century and last till … ?

        I am really focused mostly on Phase 1 and early phase 2.

        I am don’t think there is a great deal that can, cost effectively, to reduce the cost of the large existing phase 3 designs. They are locked in. But a great deal could be done to reduce the cost of small modular reactors. And doing so could greatly reduce the cost of nuclear power world-wide. It could halve the cost of electricity over the next 30 years or so if a learning rate of 10% to 20% per doubling was achieved. Initially most of the roll out would be in developing countries, until the price comes down to cheaper than coal (in Australia) and gas or coal in US and EU.

        The US and EU can gain by leading the way. They have the ability to innovate and produce the plats for the various market niches. They can design and produce for world markets. They won’t dominate manufacture, but they can compete and they can provide engineering. Everyone who wants to compete can benefit.

        But the US and EU need to remove the impediments. They need to start by getting IAEA to re assess the allowable radiation limits. USA has already begun the process. That’s a good step. But they need to get IAEA to do it.

        See this explanation of what is wrong with the allowable radiation limits: http://home.comcast.net/~robert.hargraves/public_html/RadiationSafety26SixPage.pdf

      • See this explanation of what is wrong with the allowable radiation limits:

        Well… a good sign there is an issue is that for nuclear power plant steel to be recycled it must be 1000 times less radioactive than gas pipeline steel.

        Nuclear reactor steel that is 10 times as radioactive as gas pipeline steel should be recyclable. That would eliminate much of the low level waste that isn’t low level waste at all but a symbolic sacrifice to the gods of rabid anti-nuclearity.

      • Peter Lang

        PA,

        Thanks for that tit bit. I didn’t know that. Do you have a link to hand?

      • http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Radiation-and-Health/Naturally-Occurring-Radioactive-Materials-NORM/

        For example, scrap steel from gas plants may be recycled if it has less than 500,000 Bq/kg (0.5 MBq/kg) radioactivity (the exemption level). This level however is one thousand times higher than the clearance level for recycled material (both steel and concrete) from the nuclear industry! Anything above 500 Bq/kg may not be cleared from regulatory control for recycling.

        This doesn’t make a lot of sense. Wood is usually quoted around 3330 Bq/kg and coal ash is typically 2000+ Bq/kg.

        General radioactivity information.
        http://umich.edu/~radinfo/introduction/natural.htm

        Opposition to a gas pipeline near a nuclear plant. It is unclear if the anti-nukers views are due to misinformation or mental defect.
        https://news.vice.com/article/giant-gas-pipeline-next-to-nuclear-power-plant-could-cause-a-new-york-fukishima-say-experts
        http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30234-doing-the-unthinkable-giant-gas-pipeline-to-flank-a-new-york-nuclear-power-plant#14327330509151&action=collapse_widget&id=0&data=

    • So given the large nuclear contribution, how does the per-capita CO2 creation of France compare to that of other industrialised nations?

      • Peter Lang

        Punksta,

        Per capita CO2 contributions are comprised of CO2 from electricity and contributions from all other sources. Electricity contributes around 30% of CO2 emissions globally but varies greatly from country to country depending on the emissions intensity of electricity in each country. Electricity is a large contributor globally and, technically, it is the easiest contributor to make early large cuts to global emissions. Therefore, my focus is on the emissions intensity of electricity, rather than the emissions intensity of the whole country or the emissions per capita of the whole country. If you want the emissions intensity or emissions per capita of the whole country, either by production or consumption (big difference) and the ranking of countries, Global Carbon Atlas is an excellent source: http://www.globalcarbonatlas.org/?q=en/emissions

        Regarding the emissions intensity of electricity then we need to be careful to compare like with like. In Australia we report emission intensity on a sent out basis (i.e. after all losses from self-use in the power station and we included fugitive emissions. I understand EU does not include fugitive emissions.

        Now for some comparisons. Slide 10 here http://canadianenergyissues.com/2014/01/29/how-much-does-it-cost-to-reduce-carbon-emissions-a-primer-on-electricity-infrastructure-planning-in-the-age-of-climate-change/ has a chart plotting CO2 emissions intensity of electricity versus electricity prices in selected OECD countries that have high proportions of nuclear and high proportions of renewable energy. Here are four examples of emissions intensity (kg CO2/MWh):

        Germany 468
        Denmark 385
        Ontario 113
        France 77

        The chart shows that the countries with the highest proportion renewables have the most expensive electricity and the highest emissions intensity of electricity.
        http://image.slidesharecdn.com/ecerpmatrixpresentation-150107095405-conversion-gate01/95/electricity-generation-infrastructure-planning-in-the-age-of-climate-change-10-638.jpg?cb=1420624747

        Slide 14 says:
        What do Quadrant II jurisdiction have in common?
        Answer:
        – National emphasis on supporting “renewable” energy: mostly wind and solar
        – Small or declining amounts of nuclear.

        Does this answer your question?

      • Yes thanks. I did realise your focus was on electricity generation, but implicitly wondered if all else is equal in France, so that their overall CO2 emissions are also lower as a result of a lower electricity component.

      • Peter Lang

        Punksta,

        Short answer is yes. France’s emissions per capita is lower than other similar economies. Let’s compare France and Germany’s emission per capita, from Global Carbon Atlas http://www.globalcarbonatlas.org/?q=en/emissions

        France = 5.3 t CO2 per capita
        Germany = 9.2 t CO2 per capita

        Germany could halve its CO2 emissions per capita by dumping its obsession with renewables and committing to go nuclear for most of its electricity generation.

    • To Peter Lang, re the above. Your statements in quotes, my comments after.

      “Here’s my suggested way to get to nuclear cheaper than fossil fuels:

      1. The next US Administration takes the lead to persuade the US citizens nuclear is about as safe as or safer than any other . US can gain enormously by leading the world on developing new, small modular nuclear power plants; allowing and encouraging innovation and competition; thus unleashing the US’s ability to innovate and compete to produce and supply the fit-for-purpose products the various world markets want.”

      No, nuclear is not safe. Serious radiation releases occur frequently, and near-misses occur more than that.

      Please explain to everyone how your plan for small modular nuclear power plants will be economic and safe, especially how the smaller plants will overcome the economy of scale problem, then how 3 or 4 times as many plants will have fewer accidents. If the ratio of accidents, or extraordinary nuclear occurrence, per hour operated remains the same, then the result is 4 times as many accidents. To achieve the same number of accidents, one must reduce the ratio of accidents per hour operated by 75 percent. Please explain how this is to be accomplished with small reactors. The fact is, more sites with more equipment, run by more people, create more accidents.

      2. “The next US President uses his influence with the leaders of the other countries that are most influential in the IAEA to get the IAEA representatives to support a process to re-examine the justification for the allowable radiation limits – as the US announced in January it will do over 18 months “WNN 20/1/15. Radiation health effects “

      A plan to increase nuclear ionizing radiation doses to the public – claiming it is “safe” – has zero chance of succeeding.

      3. “Once the IAEA starts increasing the allowable radiation limits for the public this should be the catalyst to reducing the cost of nuclear energy.

      a. it will mean radiation leaks are understood to be less dangerous than most non experts believe > less people will need to be evacuated from accident effected zones > the cost of accidents will decline > accident insurance cost will decline;”

      Accident insurance, as stated many times, is not a factor in the cost of nuclear-produced electricity. The US government assumes the vast majority of such cost, as do many other countries. Nuclear power plants would not be built at all if power plant owners took on the full cost of accidents.

      b. “the public progressively reconsiders the evidence about the effects of radiation > they gain an understanding it is much less harmful than they thought > fear level subsides > opposition to nuclear declines > easier and less expensive to find new sites for power plants > increased support from the people in the neighbourhood of proposed and existing power plants > planning and sight approval costs decline over time;”

      No, the public is better informed now on radiation from nuclear plants, with the Internet and factual information from non-nuclear-proponent, objective sources. One need only consider the short-lived Rancho Seco nuclear plant near Sacramento, California, which was shut down permanently after only 18 years of operation (1971 – 1989) due to an incredible number of leaks, radiation emissions, fires, mechanical breakdowns, and other safety issues. The cancer rates in the nearby area declined after the shutdown.

      c. “The risk of projects being delayed during construction or once in operation declines; > all this leads to a lowering of the investors’ risk premium > thus reducing the financing costs and the fixed O&M costs for the whole life of the power plants;”

      This is wishful thinking at best, sheer nonsense otherwise. Please explain exactly how construction delays will be reduced.

      d. “Changing perceptions of the risks and benefits of nuclear power leads to increasing public support for nuclear > allows the NRC licensing process to be completely revamped and the culture of the organisation to be changed from “safety first” to an appropriate balance of all costs and risks, including the consequences retarding nuclear development and rollout by making it too expensive to compete as well as it could if the costs were lower (e.g. higher fatalities per TWh if nuclear is not allowed to be cheaper than fossil fuels).”

      Sacrificing nuclear plant safety is a sure recipe for public outrage. Making that a public policy will mark the end of nuclear plants.

      3. “NRC is revamped – its Terms of Reference and its culture are changed. Licensing period for new designs is greatly reduced, e.g. to the equivalent of the design and licensing period for new aircraft designs.”

      Explain exactly which aspects of the present licensing period will be eliminated, changed, streamlined, so that readers know precisely what you mean. Arm-waving is what point 3 is.

      4. “Small modular reactors are licensed quickly. New designs, new versions, new models, and design changes are processed expeditiously. This will lead to more competition, more innovation, learning rate continually improves so that costs come down.”

      Small modular reactors, as above, have zero benefits due to economy of scale and proliferation of systems that can and will fail. See my article on this, “No Benefits From Smaller Modular Nuclear Plants”, at http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-eight.html

      5. “The efficiency of using the fuel can be improved by nearly a factor of 100. That gives some idea of how much room there is to reduce the cost of nuclear power over the decades ahead.”

      The increase-the-fuel-efficiency argument is always interesting, since nuclear fuel is touted as only a very small part of the power sales price. One could cut the cost of the fuel in half, and reduce the price per kWh by approximately 1 cent US.

      6. “Eventually, fusion will be viable and then the technology life cycle starts all over again – but hopefully the anti-nuke dinosaurs will have been extinct for a long time by then.”

      The fusion argument is another pipe-dream of the nuclear optimists. Fusion in magnetic pinch bottles, the Tokomak approach, suffers from several insurmountable problems: 1) cannot insert fresh fuel nor remove byproducts, 2) materials of construction cannot withstand the temperatures, 3) very high capital costs. Laser Inertial Fusion Energy includes a plan to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, isolate the deuterium from normal hydrogen, freeze the deuterium, make spherical pellets of the deuterium, then load the sphere into a special chamber where high-powered lasers blast simultaneously on the sphere’s surface to induce a fusion reaction at the sphere’s core. If it were not published by a US national lab, Lawrence Livermore, this would be the stuff of comic books and a mad scientist.

      Fusion research, results and plans, are at “Power From Nuclear Fusion”, http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-27.html

  4. Peter Lang

    Richard Tol estimated the probability of success of the COP18 climate talks here:
    Global climate talks: If at the 17th you don’t succeed
    http://www.voxeu.org/article/global-climate-talks-if-17th-you-don-t-succeed

    • Peter Lang

      Figure caption:
      Figure 1. The expected probability of negotiation success (solid line), its 95% confidence bound (dashed line) and the annual costs of climate negotiations (triangles).

      • catweazle666

        Heh, best laugh I’ve had all day.

        Can you add the CO2 footprint to that graph too?

        That should be really funny!

  5. The article on Nevada’s big utilities vs solar is pretty good. So much for Warren Buffet and his phoney stance on global warming. He is in bed with the Koch brothers on this one. Monopolies and secret deals behind closed doors all the trappings of Corporatocracy run amuck. The idea that people can produce their own energy will be the death of solar. Even all the do gooder politicians will eventually side with monopolies as they can’t stand the idea of individuals being free of state control.

  6. Mike Flynn

    Re Nepal.

    And yet the IMF, World Bank, USGov, hedge funds and various other groups and individuals can’t urge the Nepalese to borrow vast sums of money, to build dams, stridently enough.

    After all, hydropower is green, renewable, cheap, and environmentally responsible isn’t it?

    There are many reasons for thinking the whole idea of Nepal building large scale hydropower installations is an act of utter and complete something or other.

    The reasons are many and lengthy, based partly on personal experience, but feel free to ask if you have reason to disagree violently with my comment.

    • It’s simple greens hate dams. We could argue all day about enviormental effects but really it’s who garners enough power to convince the powers that be is who will win the arguement.

    • David L. Hagen

      Mike
      Nepal does have 83 GW of hydropower potential, of which very little has been tapped.
      Nepal Hydropower Overview
      Nepal Hydro status, potential

      Nepal has 600 MW of installed capacity in its Integrated Nepal Power System (INPS). The power system is dominated by the hydropower which contributes about 90 % of the system and the balance is met by multi fuel plant. The hydropower development in Nepal began with the development of 500 kW Pharping power plant in 1911. The most recent significant power plant commissioned is the 144-MW Kali Gandaki “A” Hydroelectric Plant.
      Energy Consumption in Nepal

      The electricity demand in Nepal is increasing by about 7-9% per year. About 40 % of population in Nepal has access to electricity through the grid and off grid system. Nepal’s Tenth Five Year Plan (2002– 2007) aims to extend the electrification within country and export to India for mutual benefit. The new Hydropower Policy 2001 seeks to promote private sector investment in the sector of hydropower development and aims to expand the electrification within the country and export.

      The hydropower system in Nepal is dominated by run-of-river Projects. There is only one seasonal storage project in the system. There is shortage of power during winter and spill during wet season. The load factor is quite low as the majority of the consumption is dominated by household use. This imbalance has clearly shown the need for storage projects, and hence, cooperation between the two neighboring countries is essential for the best use of the hydro resource for mutual benefit.

      • I saw an article in the last day or two (can’t locate it) which said that dams for hydro in Nepal were problematic because of earthquake risk.

      • David L. Hagen

        Yes Nepal has major earthquakes. Thus they use “run of river” type hydro – power with a small diversion dam to direct water sideways into a tunnel.

        Landslides are also a major problem. Today’s news:
        Landslides Block Kali Gandaki
        That is creating a massive flash flood danger.

        Normally landslide is triggered by rain but in this case, the cracks triggered by earthquake led the debris to fall, according to experts. . . .
        Locals have already vacated the district headquarter Beni bazaar and move to safer grounds. Transportation along Beni-Jomsom road section has come to a halt. . . .
        the normal water flow recorded in the Kaligandaki River is 50 cumecs (cubic metre per second). “At this rate, 180,000 cubic foot of water will be stored in an hour in the artificial lake. After 10 hours of being blocked, around 1.8 million cubic foot of water will be stored in dam. So, if the stored water is not funneled out soon, this will pose a serious risk to villages situated both downstream and upstream of the blocked river site,” said Sharma. Sharma, however, said that it was highly unlikely that the dam will burst anytime soon..

      • David L. Hagen

        The Kali-Gandaki has now overflowed the landslide. So far not a catastrophic release.

      • David L. Hagen

        The opening news item on Nepal links to:
        Earthquake damages over a dozen hydropower projects

    • Mike Flynn

      genghis,

      I saw something recently, about dams in Tibet, and earthquakes. Nepal has been suffering earthquakes for literally thousands of years. They could probably give us lessons on how to cope, and press on. I still can’t understood the logic behind building large hydro schemes in Nepal.

      As with many things, the devil’s in the detail, and the maintenance will get you. With regard to Nepal hydro, I really have trouble deciding where to start. The future will tell, and I might be wrong. Maybe hydro will benefit Nepal in the long term, but I can’t see how, based on my experience to date.

      • Mike

        The world bank will finance hydro dams as will Western countries through their aid programmes. Its probably got more to do with ideology than practicality

        tonyb

      • A simple solution would be to build them, but leave them empty. That way Western contractors can make their boat payments for the boats they never use.

      • David L. Hagen

        Mike
        Nepalese desperately need economic development and thus strategically need to have their hydro power developed.
        Most of the deaths is the recent earthquake were due to poverty – simple field rock and clay houses collapsing – built because they the funds to build earthquake proof structures.
        Do not wish poverty on people. Find ways to deal with the challenges.

      • David L. Hagen

        Mike – are you willing to trade places with subsistence farmers trying to eak out a living on terraced hillsides – in danger of flood, drought, landslides and earthquakes?

      • Mike Flynn

        David L Hagen,

        I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Nepal, and speak, read, and write Nepali, although not terribly well.

        I have been acquainted with the family of the ex Prime Minister BP Koirala, and also the close family of the head of the Maoist insurgency. Both ends of the educated spectrum, and many uneducated subsistence farmers as well.

        I appreciate your sentiments, and they are widely echoed by most Western experts. The Nepalese do not, in my opinion, desperately need economic development. Most of my Western and Russian educated Nepalese now agree with me, after deriding my opinions for years.

        Democracy, likewise, is not a one size fits all solution, and may actually disadvantage the subsistence farmer. Supposedly good things like cutting infant mortality, electricity, education, Western medicines and so on, often have bizarre and unintended consequences.

        In relation to earthquake damage, money didn’t stop California freeways collapsing. When the whole side of a mountain slides away, it carries the buildings with it. Apart from that, subsistence farmers subsist. They do not have the resources or the time to even maintain foreign donated goods or technology. They subsist. Barely. Most would love to take it easy, as we do, but then who would grow the rice, the millet, the potatoes? A computer? The Internet?

        They are poor, not stupid.

        I don’t wish poverty on people. I don’t see any way to change their life, nor do I feel an obligation to do so. I have no answers.

        I do not wish to live my life in grinding poverty. I’m lucky. I don’t have to.

        If you disagree, and have specific suggestions, I wouldn’t be surprised if I could point to similar ideas implemented in the past, and tell you what the actual, as opposed to the desired, results were.

        In the meantime, saddling a very poor country with enormous debts to generate electricity for one customer, who can then dictate the price, is not an act of genius, in my view. Luckily, the Chinese are becoming involved. The Nepalese view of the Chinese, based on decades of experience, is quite different from that of the West. At least with two customers, you have a small chance of success.

        I don’t mean to sound negative, but my experience removed the scales from my eyes about a few things.

      • David L. Hagen

        Thanks Mike for explaining your background. (I’m still illiterate, only grew up speaking Nepali.) The Moists grew up reading books donated by North Korea! Nepali joke – happy to sell electricity – as long as the switch is on our side of the border! Education and training in small business are some of the best routes I can think of. (I wonder about prospects for using hydro to make chemicals for export – But then power lines and revenue skip small villages. )

      • David L. Hagen

        Nepal Earthquake Damage

        The quake destroyed nearly half a million houses and damaged 267,000 others. At a time when proper structures need to be built ahead of monsoon, most survivors are still residing under tarpaulins and tents.

        “Reconstruction is the next big challenge. Providing temporary shelters to the affected ahead of the monsoon is an immediate concern,” said home ministry spokesperson Laxmi Prasad Dhakal.

        Colleges in Kathmandu Valley reopened on Sunday and schools are set to resume from May 31. But with 36,000 classrooms destroyed and damaged, 870,000 students would be unable to go back to their old classrooms.

  7. The article on Nevada’s treatement brings up some good issues. The case for net metering surprised me because it does seem likely to me that net metering can be neutral (let alone beneficial) to non-solar consumers. I tried following some of the links from the article and its sources. I need to spend some more time on it. The information was either sketchy or copious. I still think that all else equal net metering forces non solar customers to pay more for energy, but in these studies all else is not equal, I think in Nevada they are assuming the law requires so much renewable and if the non-solar did not subsidize rooftop solar they’d have to support some more costly form of “clean”energy. That’s how they benefit. In some cases it may be that they are crediting the non-solar customers with benefits from externalities to compensate for their lost dollars (maybe even indirect benefits from presumed solar jobs.) at this point I’m not sure if the studies represent skewed accounting,weird politics or really some form of benefit I have failed to recognize up to now. If anyone knows more, I’d appreciate your sharing.

    • I have a property in NV, was thinking of purchasing solar (have an estimate already). This article surprised me, i was unaware of this controversy

      • Peter Lang

        Judith,

        Are you aware there is a move to make solar panel owners pay their fair share of the costs of grid usage and grid connection? This excellent paper explains what those cost amount to;
        Graham Palmer, 2013, Household Solar Photovoltaics: Supplier of Marginal Abatement, or Primary Source of Low-Emission Power?

        This Discussion Paper by the Energy Supply Association of Australia explains the issue and alludes to the policies that are coming – not just here but everywhere eventually:
        ESAA Who pays for solar energy
        http://www.esaa.com.au/Library/PageContentFiles/0ed86edb-b445-43f7-b1da-04dba6c4b4bf/Who_pays_for_solar_energy_17_May_2013.pdf

      • Find out if the tariff arrangements will be grandfathered or if the rate structure is subject to change.

      • Judith,
        Just across the NV border SMUD has been addressing system wide costs associated with Net Metering by allocating PV Net meter customers:
        1) System Infrastructure Fixed Charge- $16/m
        2) Solar surcharge- $.0015 per kWh
        3) State Surcharge- $.17
        https://www.smud.org/en/residential/customer-service/documents/PV-bill-sample.pdf

        I am required to maintain the ground around our PG&E power pole. The pole has an inspection tag nailed to it dated “1965”. The transformer at the top of our pole was replaced in 2009 after a Tahoe like snow storm hit our foothill location and dumped 28” of very wet snow, after a bit of ice, overnight in early December. The next morning when dealing with tree damage, and various water line issues, I failed to notice that the transformer was hanging by only one bolt sidewise on the pole. Luckily the cross member on the pole, that supports the incoming 200 amp service to our house, was held in place by a rather stout metal wire as the cross member holding the wire onto the power pole had been damaged as well.

        It wasn’t until 2 days after the storm that I finally cleared one string of our PV panels so that they could generate power that I noticed the rather hazardous condition of our incoming electrical service. A repair crew from PG&E made it to our place within 4 hours. The cross member was reattached to the utility pole and a new transformer was installed as well. It’s a good thing PG&E’s bucket truck had four wheel drive as I had only partially cleared out our parking area. Our PV system, installed nine years ago, sends the over generation of our PV system out to the grid via the transformer.

        I wasn’t changed anything by PG&E to have the new hardware installed nor for the emergency service call to have the hardware R&R’d. Our E-7 net meter was not damaged so it didn’t need to be replaced- which is a good thing as we had to pay for the thing back in 2006. So after this long story I am OK if PG&E changes their cost allocations and follows SMUD’s approach and charges me a fixed fee on our utility bill. How much it should be is open for discussion.

      • interesting, thx

      • kakatoa – the maintenance fee should be calculated, not negotiated, IMO.

      • Hi Jim,

        I concur with you that any fixed maintenance fee should be calculated. It is my understanding that SMUD follows the approach you suggest. The calculation is reevaluated every year- kind of like how I provided cost data to accounting for the next years budgeting process- the joys of developing standard costs. I recall seeing somewhere that SMUD’s calculation for the “fixed infrastructure fee” is going to go up to $20.00. I wonder who pays this fee if the PV system is leased- the owner of the system (ex. Solar City), or the homeowner.

        In the future it might make sense to move away from net metering (one meter) to having two revenue meters (one for use from the grid) and one for kW sent into the grid. This would allow for curtailment of PV when the grid is in an oversupply situation- which CA is going to be experiencing shortly in a major way:
        http://www.caiso.com/Documents/May8_2015_DeterministicStudies_nocurtailment_ExistingTrajectory_40percentRPS_R13-12-010.pdf

        “…..Conclusion
        With no curtailment of renewable resources, the CAISO identified upward and downward reserve
        and load following shortfalls and unsolved over‐generation in both the Trajectory and 40% RPS in 2024
        scenarios. The unsolved over‐generation is significant in the 40% RPS in 2024 scenario. Simply adding
        more flexible generation resources cannot solve the problem. The frequency and magnitude of the
        reserve shortfalls and unsolved over‐generation reflect conditions that do not support reliable grid
        operations. As a result alternative options must be explored, including:……”

        At this time of year when we are having rather ideal spring time temperatures with lots of sun and a normal wind
        year (from what I can tell) curtailments are bound to be mandatory for someone.
        http://www.caiso.com/market/Pages/OutageManagement/UnitStatus.aspx

    • The one thnig I wondered about is how to handle the solar user. Obviously any amount of energy they produce is a loss to the utility. If the utility has to buy back their power … wow … what a disincentive to the utility. I would think the utility would want to charge just to have that line and meter backing up their solar so no matter what they still have to pay. That actually seems reasonable to me. Then solar folks will be incentivized to go off the grid and get Musk batteries.

    • David Springer

      My electric company breaks out fixed costs on my electric bill. There’s a $25/mo. service fee that you have to pay even if you use no electricity. Then what they charge for each kWh is composed of a fixed cost for the juice plus an overhead cost for transmission. Net metering customers who generate more electricity than they sell aren’t paid any of the fixed costs. It ends up I pay about 11 cents per kWh I use and get 5 cents per kWh I put back onto the grid. If I’m using what I generate then my bill decreases 11 cents for every kWh in generate and consume myself.

      The big advantage of net metering is not having to buy and maintain a large amount of local storage. You want just enough to store the excess of a single sunny day to consume that night when the sun isn’t shining. For long cloudy periods instead of needing days worth of battery storage you just revert to buying more electricity off the grid. Or you can go completely battery-free at home and use the electric company as an infinite battery at a fixed cost per kWh.

      • Thanks, I have a better understanding.

      • About Nevada’s net metering, the approach of the article seems to be that private solar is competition.
        “Example: 4KW System – Residential Installation
        1) Cost Average Electric Bill: $250/mo
        2) Projected Annual Bill Escalation: 5%
        3) Cost Per Watt: $6.50
        4) Estimated System Cost: $26,000
        5) – Federal Tax Credit: $5,316
        6) – State/Utility Rebate: $8,280
        7) – Net Cost: $12,404
        8) – Cumulative Lifetime Savings (25 Years): $37,421
        9) – Investment Return: 11.7%”
        http://www.dasolar.com/energytaxcredit-rebates-grants/nevada

        Where does 6) come from? Ratepayers and taxpayers. If things don’t work out in Nevada, 6) will likely be reduced. It is over 20% of the savings. Lack of 6) one for one reduces 8).
        5) Comes from taxpayers. The federal efficiency credits were collapsed by Congress a few years ago (think new windows). What remains that involves significant dollars includes private wind and solar.
        Compare 9) to your long term expectations for the annual growth of your retirement accounts.
        This situation doesn’t look like competition to me. It’s hard to compete with someone that has over half their capital costs, in this case all their costs paid for by governments.

      • Keep in mind what you have is a fixed charge component on your bill that is trying to approximate (on average) a much more complex cost dynamic. If and as people game the approximation it will shift costs from intended recipients if it is not changed.

      • Ragnaar,

        As i suspected, way above, it is never simple and corpocratocracy rules.

      • David Springer: The big advantage of net metering is not having to buy and maintain a large amount of local storage.

        Another detail is: if you have a solar system and generate a surplus into the grid, that electricity flows into your neighbors’ homes, through their meters, and they pay the electric company for electricity that was not generated or managed by the electric company. A reasonable “net metering” price is a recognition that you have generated the electricity for which the utility is being paid, and a payment to you for the product.

      • I think it’s helpful to consider this a battery situation. Private solar should be expected to own or rent batteries. To not have to do so is like getting free use of a warehouse for ones product. They could do this together. For instance 100 small suppliers could form a battery co-op. The co-op could own 100s or 1000s of old lead acid batteries located in one place holding a 1 or 2 days supply of electricity. It would mostly make use of existing power lines. Small would be better, as a more distributed grid has some advantages. These battery co-ops could negotiate with the utilities subject to regulation that would preserve some subsidies but cut them back overall. I am reminded of an old saying, sell them what they need, not what you have to sell. Private solar is selling what it has. The utilities are not getting what they want. They’ve been tied to a seller they don’t want.

      • matthew – Are you saying the neighbor has a direct line to the home with the solar power? If not, the electricity is flowing through equipment owned and paid for by the power company. Anyway, the solar power home owner is already being paid retail instead of wholesale. Wholesale is the right price, not retail.

      • For instance 100 small suppliers could form a battery co-op. The co-op could own 100s or 1000s of old lead acid batteries located in one place holding a 1 or 2 days supply of electricity. It would mostly make use of existing power lines. Small would be better, as a more distributed grid has some advantages. These battery co-ops could negotiate with the utilities subject to regulation that would preserve some subsidies but cut them back overall

        Don’t forget frequency and phase control.

        I suspect this is a bigger issue to the utilities than the “competition” the article is talking about.

        AFAIK there’s no way to even measure the extent of phase control the utility has to provide, much less place a market value on it.

      • PE:
        An assorted mix of players:
        Government: Politics with some nod to capitalists.
        Regulators: Attempting to create controlled capitalism.
        Utilities: Actually bottom line driven but subject to political considerations of many kinds.
        Private solar: Probably has the most self interest, but not principally capitalist judging from the Nevada kerfuffle. Behaves like corporations asking for any kind of advantage it can get from governments.
        Consumers: They don’t have many choices beyond voting and reducing demand.

      • David Springer

        If I’m generating excess power it may or may not flow back through a few hundred feet of transmission lines to my neighbor. For all I know he may be generating excess power too. Regardless, the electric co-op still owns those transmission lines. The electric company has to pay franchise taxes to the city to have them in the right-of-way. They have to maintain them as necessary including tree trimming. I don’t have a problem with them saying that half the cost of electricity they deliver is in transmission lines, power poles, transformers, franchise taxes, bucket trucks with guys trimming tree limbs, etc.

    • One thing some of the studies do is make estimates that since solar customers are using less electricity, the utilities can defer costly improvements and additions saving everyone money. This works way better in theory then in practice. (The thinking was common in the 90s but never bore much fruit.). I would say that power suppliers that are growing are generally healthy (barring major screw ups or regulatory challenges)

    • The article makes no mention whatsoever about over- or under- abundance of supply, however.
      Is this not the same error as failure to equate spot market price/supply reliability at national grid levels? Only compounded by the fact that the utility is forced to pay a fixed cost for all solar electricity fed-in irregardless of the spot demand/price?
      Nevada, or at least Las Vegas, has not been very sunny this year compared to the past – at least in my anecdotal experience. Torrential rains once, and significant rains twice.

    • PE:
      “Keep in mind what you have is a fixed charge component on your bill that is trying to approximate (on average) a much more complex cost dynamic.”
      A better price structure could help. A utility should be able to pay more or less to private solar depending on its needs. What we don’t seem to have is enough capitalism to have the market work efficiently. As utilities gets more stressed by the inefficiencies of renewables, I think the pricing structure will improve.

    • Ragnar – I. agree better price structure will help. If it’s tied to actual costs that works well for most things except forcasting the benefit of your solar system and providing a good return on solar investment. For that reason I think utilities like that approach, but not the solar industry. Less than prefect price structures are in place for good reasons (at the time). in many cases. Net metering started because having expensive metered that would measure grind input from the home separately from home consumption was not practical. So the simple “affordable” meter just rolled back when power went the other way like cars used to when you drive them in reverse.

    • AGL to roll out 1st battery storage products in Qld in June

      England said the 7.2kWh AUO battery would come with a 3kW inverter, and the combination would allow Australian consumers to run their appliances and their air-conditioning late in the afternoon.

      Couldn’t find any information about how “smart” the inverter is, but I’m guessing it’s right up there, and under utility control. So It might actually be able to help with phase control.

      It has a page here.

      • Regarding phase control related to private PV, does what is delivered to the grid have to match the grid’s phase? If it does not match it, are consumers seeing a multiphase type of electricity?

      • Regarding phase control related to private PV, does what is delivered to the grid have to match the grid’s phase?

        That would be a question for Planning Engineer. I would guess that the ideal, from a utility standpoint, would be if they could control the phase delivered to the grid, varying it from a little ahead to a little behind, depending on their needs. But that’s just a guess.

      • Yes, the phase has to match exactly.

  8. ulriclyons

    “UK coal use falls to lowest level since the industrial revolution”

    Research by Citizens Advice suggests one in six homes using energy meters disconnect supplies every year to save money.
    This means some 1.6 million people could be going without gas and electricity.
    Meanwhile, the cold weather death toll for the winter just ended is expected to top 40,000 – the highest number for 15 years.
    http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2014/06/a-detailed-look-at-why-uk-homes-are-using-less-energy/

  9. What was the most successful scientific fraud ever committed to date? Well, in terms of length of time of deceit Piltdown Man still holds the champion’s ring at 40+ years. But in terms of number of peer reviewed papers Yoshitaka Fujii walks into the record books with 183 papershere. Although Dr. Fujii fooled the establishment for a mere 31-year period his downfall resulting 183 retractions amounted to 7% of all retractions from 1980 to 2011. So what field? Entomology? Ornithology? Crypto-zoology? No, no and no. It was anesthesiology, ophthalmology and otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat). Oops!
    He finally got busted the same way Mann did, by a statistical cop.
    The scary thing is that lives could have been immediately affected. There was no buddy reviews or consensus anchoring bias. I guess Dr. Fujii just enjoyed being the a research superstar, (while it lasted).

      • Dan, good article. Perhaps there needs to be a post publishing audit as part of the normal process. For example the journal could even have a tail to the article to mark the paper’s progress to audits and maybe even link to them.

  10. UK homes (see link) use less energy than in prior years and the main reason is that energy rates have more than doubled so the less well-off had to cut back and live like Charles Dickens characters in the Little Ice Age or go dirty — or, be resourceful, like when the elderly burned books to stay warm when the winter turned bitter cold. But, before you get to the reality of the situation you have to wade through paragraph after paragraph of silly explanations like folks using more curly florescent bulbs. No where will you read, for example, reports from the Daily Mail about the huge increase in ‘carbon neutral’ wood burning stoves to cut energy costs –e.g., “Wood-fired sources of heating have become increasingly popular to cut heating costs, with 200,000 stoves installed a year. Estate agents say they can add up to 5 per cent to a house’s value.”

  11. David L. Hagen

    Is North Korea Cutting Down All Its Trees?
    May 1st, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

    . . .MODIS satellite imagery from yesterday shows that North Korea is cutting down its trees at an alarming rate, while South Korea shows about the same level of greenness compared to two years ago: . . .North Koreans are just trying to stay alive. The poorest countries of the world have the worst environmental records as the land is denuded for firewood.

  12. Judith,

    John Parsons, the author of the MIT post on the Conversation admits in a comment he is anti-nuke. https://theconversation.com/what-does-nuclear-power-cost-old-plants-dispel-easy-answers-41379?utm_source=Energy+%26+Environment+News+Clips&utm_campaign=2cf625ba4d-8_138_13_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1ba68a352e-2cf625ba4d-75700225&ct=t(8_138_13_2014)&mc_cid=2cf625ba4d&mc_eid=9e2acd80c5#comment_675002

    Unfortunately, while I’m on your side generally, my experience tells me that a lot of work goes in to making sure that even contracted numbers provide an apples-to-apples comparison.

    The fact you frequently post links to anti-nuke stuff and rarely t objective, balanced, informative information on nuclear suggests you are not just trying to promote discussion, but actually advocating anti-nuke.

    Please say if I’ve misunderstood.

    • Each week, i link to current essays covering a range of topics, for energy topics these are ones that I spot either on twitter or RealClearEnergy. I have never written a post myself on nukes (way outside my expertise, but I like to keep informed on the topic). If you have a current article that you would like to see featured in week in review, please email it to me.

      ALso, the articles I link to reflect a diversity of perspectives; on a give topic I often post two articles (point and counterpoint). Articles included here are not endorsed by me for their content; rather they are articles that are ‘news’ and that people are talking about.

      • Judith,

        Thank you for your explanation. I can’t recall the last time I saw a link to an authoritative, balanced article on the realities of nuclear power v renewable energy for making a large contribution to reducing global GHG emisisons.

        I will send you links when I see them. I usually see them to late. You might like to register to receive the WNA Weekly Digest. It provides a short summary on one to three matters of interest that have occurred over the past month or so.

        http://world-nuclear-news.us1.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=140c559a3b34d23ff7c6b48b9&id=096fbf7228

      • David Springer

        Peter, knowing you, what appears balanced to you is likely to appear like a nuclear cheerleader article to anyone else.

    • Peter, I’m not certain if If I can be described as pro-nuclear but I certainly appreciate your imput. You have convinced me of many things and I appreciate that. OTOH, I read that whole article (prompted by you) and found it to be fairly balanced. I would have never known he was anti-nuke.

      I’ve noticed that many people here or trolls misinterpret Currys willingness to post information for review that she may or may not think much about or look at agnosticaly is just to benefit the readership with perspective to review and perhaps refute. That is what makes this blog the best.

      • Thanks Ordvic. Your comment has been said before. I simply feel that there are very few links to good, informative articles on policy relevant aspects of nuclear energy, while there are many pro renewable links. I feel that is unbalanced because renewables can archive very little to reduce global GHG emissions whereas nuclear can have a large impact (over a shorter time – e.g. by 2050 or so). Policies that incentivise renewables and policies that are retarding nuclear development are doing long term economic harm to the world – including causing avoidable fatalities.

      • That there is a shortage of nuke articles and preponderance of renewables would not surprise me. After Chernobyl and Japan nuke is a dirty word and will have a hard time recovering. OTOH renewables are probably viewed as very benign but trendy. Combine that with hatred for big oil and there you go. You have your work cut out for you Peter.

      • Peter Lang

        ordvic,

        You have your work cut out for you Peter.

        It’s not me who has their work cut out for them. It’s those who advocate for reducing global GHG emissions but oppose nuclear power (or don’t advocate for it) who have their work cut out for them. My work is to advocate for economically rational policies, i.e. least cost energy. As far as I am concerned, if fossil fuels are cheapest, then that’s what we should use. However, those who want to reduce global GHG emissions have no viable way to achieve it unless nuclear plays a large part, and it can’t unless its is low cost than fossil fuels – because 99% of the world’s population will oppose it. I am with the 99% of the world’s population who is economically rational – least cost energy is what they want.

    • The MIT post also fails to note the differences between highly unreliable supply and base load.

    • David L. Hagen

      Peter
      Thanks for the ref to the nuke digest.
      I encourage you to highlight important reviews and forward them to Judith.

      Any good comprehensive reviews on the status of nuclear, especially on the economics of the next generation of modular fail safe nuclear power plants?

      Are there any high temperature nuclear power plants being designed? e.g., with temperatures > 1200 C vs 650C?

      • Peter Lang

        Hi David,

        Thank you for your suggestion and questions. I’ll do what I can to send links to relevant articles to Judith (but usually I’d be too late to be current).

        Regarding your questions:

        Q1. “Any good comprehensive reviews on the status of nuclear, especially on the economics of the next generation of modular fail safe nuclear power plants?”

        The current status is summarised on the WNA site here (and other pages on WNA too):

        WNA: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/nuclear-fuel-cycle/power-reactors/small-nuclear-power-reactors/

        WNN: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/taghub.aspx?tagid=Small_Modular_Reactors

        IEER, 2013, ‘Light Water Designs of Small Modular Reactors: Facts and Analysis’ http://ieer.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/SmallModularReactors.RevisedSept2013.pdf

        I’d recommend this:

        PNAS, 2013, ‘Expert assessments of the cost of light water small modular reactors

        Analysts and decision makers frequently want estimates of the cost of technologies that have yet to be developed or deployed. Small modular reactors (SMRs), which could become part of a portfolio of carbon-free energy sources, are one such technology. Existing estimates of likely SMR costs rely on problematic topdown approaches or bottom-up assessments that are proprietary. When done properly, expert elicitations can complement these approaches. We developed detailed technical descriptions of two SMR designs and then conduced elicitation interviews in which we obtained probabilistic judgments from 16 experts who are involved in, or have access to, engineering-economic assessments of SMR projects. Here, we report estimates of the overnight cost and construction duration for five reactor-deployment scenarios that involve a large reactor and two light water SMRs. Consistent with the uncertainty introduced by past cost overruns and construction delays, median estimates of the cost of new large plants vary by more than a factor of 2.5. Expert judgments about likely SMR costs display an even wider range. Median estimates for a 45 megawattselectric (MWe) SMR range from $4,000 to $16,300/kWe and from $3,200 to $7,100/kWe for a 225-MWe SMR. Sources of disagreement are highlighted, exposing the thought processes of experts involved with SMR design. There was consensus that SMRs could be built and brought online about 2 y faster than large reactors. Experts identify more affordable unit cost, factory fabrication, and shorter construction schedules as factors that may make light water SMRs economically viable.”
        http://www.pnas.org/content/110/24/9686.full.pdf

      • PL – why light water for small reactors. What about molten salt?

      • Based on supplier pricing of major EM2 components – a high temperature gas cooled design. One of several in the new fast tracked generic approvals system in the US. .

        It is competitive with coal – without a tax. Competitive with gas depends on gas price – which are relatively low in the US – but these costs will increase.

        http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/rngwhhdd.htm

      • Peter Lang

        Jim2

        “PL – why light water for small reactors. What about molten salt?”

        Yes, them too. The market will sift out what is the best solution for various market niches over time. But the critical thing we need to do it get people advocating to remove the impediments that are retarding progress on developing low cost nuclear power for all markets – i.e. cheaper than fossil fuels, even in Australia.

        Eventually, fast reactors will replace the once through thermal reactors like LWR’s – but it will take a long time, IMO.

      • David L. Hagen

        Chief Hydrologist
        Thanks for the ref to EM2 – 2000C is impressive! Wonder when it will become commercial.

      • Chief,
        It looks like General Atomics is into everything. Fusion, biofuels. Windmills … very eclectic. I guess being big has it’s advantages.

    • Peter,

      In the US the industry is spending very tiny amounts onPR. The market for large amounts of new base-load is pretty much non-existent unless the EPA manages to make it latest coal regulations stick and natural gas prices begin to firm.

      The exception to that rule was going to be the US Southeast…but with the real estate crash the practice of retiree’s selling their ‘expensive homes’ in cold winter climates and moving south has ground to a halt. So even in the US Southeast the need for new base-load is questionable.

      I expect the nuclear industry to start ramping up PR in the US somewhere around 2018 unless the EPA’s ‘kill coal now’ plan manages to hold up in court.(It’s probably be 2018 before the cases are eve heard).

      • Peter Lang

        harrywr2,

        Thank you I always appreciate the focus on reality and commonsense your comments contribute.

        I understand your point and am fully aware of it. We have a similar situation in Australia. Electricity consumption has been declining in Australia for several years due to a number of factors that have pushed Australia’s delivered price of electricity from near the cheapest in the OECD to near the most expensive. This has forced energy intensive industries to exit Australia, taking their jobs, revenue and they tax they would pay with them. Heavily subsidizing wind and solar power and forcing dispatchable generators to shut down is making the situation worse.

        So I recognise what you say.

        However, my advocacy for removing the unjustifiable impediments – that are retarding progress and preventing the world from having low cost nuclear power – is to tackle the issue of reducing global GHG emissions. There is a political and ideological call for the world to reduce GHG emissions. This cannot be dismissed. It is a real issue politicians and policy makers have to deal with – pragmatically.

        The people calling for emissions reductions are mostly the same people who are oppose nuclear power. They want renewables. But renewables cannot do much and they are causing great damage to the world – through driving up the cost of energy and delaying progress and damaging economies.

        The developing countries are calli9ng for the rich countries to provide them with hundreds of billions of dollars for them to spend how they choose. This is ridiculous. But there is a way the US and EU can assist the world to become richer AND reduce global GHG emissions and save over a million lives per year. The EU and US can remove (progressively over time) the impediments they have imposed on the world having access to low cost nuclear power.

  13. Climate change, by contrast, is possibly the most intractable problem of our times, and

    solving it will require an unprecedented upheaval of the world economy

    to rebalance away from the fossil fuels which have been the engine of growth for more than a century and a half.

    solving it will require an unprecedented upheaval of the world economy
    NOT ON MY WATCH! THIS MADNESS MUST BE STOPPED!

    • For a trillion dollars we could pave the pacific with Mylar(TM).

      My favorite engineering fix though is spume bots (sea foam producing nano robots).

  14. While the author of the Vox article on China’s emissions is clearly of the warmist persuasion, I very much appreciated that he wasn’t being tricky. He was interested in his subject and doing his job of writing a quick sketch on Chinese coal consumption.

    One expects this kind of article to be a stunt, omitting facts and causes simply to shame the western laggards or make some other advocacy point in trashy Guardian fashion. (Compare this piece with the sly and factoidal Greenpeace article linked within the text.) For the global good, China has to be cast as either carbon villain or carbon reformer, depending on the slant of attack. The agenda is always central, with only blurry, selective references to real causes and effects.

    This article was not like that at all. It showed curiosity…and I can’t think of a nicer compliment. Whoever Brad Plumer is, I think I’d read him again. And to think I only come here to kick warmies!

    • Brad Plumer’s articles frequently show up in week in review, I generally find them to be very good


    • I’ve been expecting China’s emissions to start topping out.

      In the industrial areas of China the air is so thick that some people who haven’t figured out how to eat it and are still breathing it have died.

      China pays a significant penalty for importing coal as opposed to using internal supplies. And they only have enough internal coal to maintain current usage levels to around 2030. Around 2009 they had to start 2009 importing and in 2011 they kicked it up a notch.

      Economics and circumstances are going to force them the change their coal use profile.

      I doubt many people with an engineering or economics degree believe that China could endlessly increase their coal usage.

      The China emissions hiatus leaves global warmers high and dry. If global emissions don’t endlessly increase there won’t be enough CO2 PPMs to cause significant warming.

      CAGW needs strong CO2 forcing AND high CO2 levels and since neither appears likely CAGWers should probably find a new disaster to flog.

  15. “China’s emissions have been plummeting lately.”

    A Green Peace analysis of statistics issued by the Chinese Communists.

    Is any comment really necessary?

  16. Limiting global warming to 1.5C is still possible, say scientists

    DUH! Temperature regulation using the natural cycle does make this a no brain statement. Temperature will stay inside the bounds of the past ten thousand years, no matter what we do, and the 1.5C will not, cannot, ever be reached.

  17. Journolism in the age of post modern science.

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/05/23/foundations-plan-to-pay-news-media-to-cover-radical-un-agenda/

    “Under the plan, Villa’s foundation, Thomson Reuters’ non-profit arm, will carry out the training under contract from U.N. Foundation. (The Thomson Reuters Foundation, according to its website, also carries on for-profit training sessions.)

    Journalists from Australia to Peru, and from Britain to Zimbabwe will be given five-day training programs by instructors drawn largely from the ranks of former Reuters journalists.”

    • Yes. The Chinese have discovered a method to turn CO2 into harmless pink Unicorn farts.

    • jim2 | May 24, 2015 at 8:06 pm | Reply
      Yes. The Chinese have discovered a method to turn CO2 into harmless pink Unicorn farts.

      This is incorrect.

      CO2 is beneficial clear Unicorn farts by its very nature.

      The claim the Chinese had to apply technology to make CO2 harmless (CO2 is actually beneficial) is communist propaganda.

  18. wrt Shell and Arctic wells:
    Oil council: Shale won’t last, Arctic drilling needed now
    March 27, 2015
    WASHINGTON — The U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, an Energy Department advisory council says in a study to be released Friday.
    The U.S. has drastically cut imports and transformed itself into the world’s biggest producer of oil and natural gas by tapping huge reserves in shale rock formations. But the government predicts that the shale boom won’t last much beyond the next decade.
    In order for the U.S. to keep domestic production high and imports low, oil companies should start probing the Artic now because it takes 10 to 30 years of preparation and drilling to bring oil to market, according to a draft of the study’s executive summary obtained by the Associated Press.
    “To remain globally competitive and to be positioned to provide global leadership and influence in the Arctic, the U.S. should facilitate exploration in the offshore Alaskan Arctic now,” the study’s authors wrote.
    http://eaglefordtexas.com/news/id/149156/oil-council-shale-wont-last-arctic-drilling-needed-now/

    Shell’s boss claims the world will face a massive energy crisis if fossil fuel production scaled back

    “We will need sustained and substantial (oil) investment to support economic growth,” Mr van Beurden told shareholders gathered in The Hague, Netherlands.
    He warned that if there was no further investment in oil production then the world could face a catastrophic 70 million barrel per day (bpd) shortfall in crude by 2040 because of the decline in existing production coupled with rising energy demand.
    http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/shells-boss-claims-the-world-will-face-a-massive-energy-crisis-if-fossil-fuel-production-scaled-back

  19. I had the same issues with the IMF subsidy numbers as in the VOX article.
    Only a bit disturbing that the author seems to bow down to the IMF ideas in the last sentence.

    On the subsidy file it is noteworthy that energy is different since any value is ultimately energy related. Cost is probably the best estimator of the necessary energy input to create something (and the mix is still overwhelmingly fossil). The claim that energy use is subsidized by energy is somehow circular.

    Shifting resources to remedy these issues would divert investment and reduce consumable output.
    But that won’t sell because of the fight against poverty, inequality etc..
    If you want to create the same output without (some of) those “cost” you would have to put in even more energy.

  20. Perhaps, Judith, you’ll read this before you use Taleb’s ideas to support your alarmist activism about climate alarmism?

    • I’ve read it – Taleb doesn’t follow the logic of his own arguments. He has some good arguments, but his conclusion is wrong.

      • From The Precautionary Principle (with Application to the Genetic Modification of Organisms) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Rupert Read, Raphael Douady, Joseph Norman, and Yaneer Bar-Yam:

        We believe that the PP should be evoked only in extreme situations: when the potential harm is systemic (rather than localized) and the consequences can involve total irreversible ruin, such as the extinction of human beings or all life on the planet.

        AFAIK nobody has plausibly suggested that the climate effects of fossil CO2 might include “the extinction of human beings or all life on the planet.

        Challenges to our civilization (not the end of it) wouldn’t fit this category, in fact such challenges would more likely improve it, by compelling greater attention to effective use of technology, and discouraging the use of social manipulation to gain power.

      • One of the authors is Rupert Read a professor of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia. He was also a green party activist and prospective MP for Cambridge.

        This paper looks to be more philosophical and political than a serious scientific piece.
        tonyb

      • When you are scratching your head over a problem, there is not much point in processing it into fashionable philosophical abstractions. You will still be scratching your head over the problem, and will have the added concern over whether something justifies the description of “total”, “systemic”, “irreversible”, “opaque” etc. Or you’ll be fretting over what Nassim meant, or might have meant, or should have meant.

        We will get to the point where chickens make jokes about why the human couldn’t cross the bloody road.

      • Cause they thought the blood was a red light?

      • moso, taken to extremes, you will have a lacerated head and a visit to A&E.

    • David Springer

      Utter dreck. Fertilization of the atmosphere and warming of higher latitudes at night and in the winter is a Godsend. Just as importantly rising standard of living around the globe is directly correlated with price and availability of energy.

    • Most of the discussion of fossil carbon (via “climate change”) and “‘ruin’ problems” seems to me to be mixing linear and non-linear metaphors.

      The sort of linear extrapolation at the core of the IPCC estimates simply doesn’t add up to a “‘ruin’ problem”. Sure, when you add in a few non-linear factors, you can build scary scenarios. But what that leaves out is that one of the primary implications of the non-linear nature of the whole system is that the size of the response is pretty much unrelated to the size of the perturbation.

      Humanity has “perturbed” the system repeatedly, for many thousand years. Any one of those “perturbations” might have been responsible for some “dragon king” event. For that matter, one or more such events might already be “in the pipeline”. And we will continue to “perturb” the system, and we have no way of knowing whether our perturbations will cancel out otherwise upcoming “dragon king” events, or the relative probabilities between causing and cancelling such events.

      Bottom line, the best option is to weigh the probabilities, to the extent we can evaluate them (not very much), and weigh the costs and substantive benefits of actions that might help with fossil carbon, and accept the fact that there’s no way we can be certain.

      IMO.

    • David L. Hagen

      Joshua
      Talim frames the issue “heads I win, tails you lose”:

      The scale of the effect must be demonstrated to be large enough to have an impact. Once this is shown, and it has been, the burden of proof of absence of harm is on those who would deny it.

      it is scientifically impossible to prove a negative (without comprehensive knowledge of everything over all time.)
      Christopher Monckton points out that the
      is the M31 galaxy is on a collision course with earth. It’s massive ( 3 degrees of arc in the sky) and will surely destroy Earth. By Talim’s logic, this is “demonstrated to be large enough to have an impact.” The cost is all earth’s resources to stop it. The burden of proof now transfers to Talim to disprove it!

  21. WTI has been very close to $60 for the last month. The contango has narrowed to a mere $3. The dollar climbed a bit in the latter part of May, this puts downward pressure on the price of oil.

    I read the Saudis can increase production by another million bbl/day and also that drilling is active there.

    Instead of cutting back on production, they are playing a fools game to grab market share. This is bad for them and everyone else. They can’t double their production from when oil was over $100, so they have to be losing money. It seems they want to hurt the US and Canada instead of produce in a businesslike manner.

    There is a din of analyst voices calling for a return to the $40’s. We’ll see what develops.

    • The question is whether they can raise production 1 mmbopd and hold for 6 months. I don’t think they can. They shut in the Neutral Zone, hiked their own production. They have a lot of working rigs but I suspect that’s barely offsetting field decline.

      I surveyed the actual reports for several countries as well as use the OPEC report (which tends to mangle production figures by mixing in ngl). As far as I can see the world’s crude oil and condensate production, taking out the c4 c3 c2 ngl family, has peaked, or will peak within the next 6 months. A bounce back is feasible, but we should see oil in storage dropping steadily until the end of the year.

    • Jim2,
      I spent five years in Saudi when max capacity was 9 MM barrels per day and oil was $35 / barrel. Now it is 11 MM barrels per day. When I was there the entire ARAMCO budget divided by production was $0.8 per barrel. That infrastructure is long capitalized to $0 but new water injection and desalination of the oil, gas and produced water mix may have raised the price again but reserves are 265 Billion barrels. At $40 there is still $35 plus profit per barrel. What will it be worth when energy alternatives are developed? Hard to say but too much incentives for alternates speed the process up for substitution. So they are balancing current income with future uncertainties. Rationale of them.
      Scott

      • At $140/bbl and 10 million bbl/day comes to 1.4 billion bucks.

        At $60/bbl and let’s say 12 million bbl/day comes to 0.7 billion bucks.

        Point being, assuming they want to maximize VALUE, they would adjust production for the maximum bucks per day. Not just arbitrarily flood the market.

        So maybe at $90/bbl and 9 million/day they would get 0.8 billion bucks per day. An improved cash flow for less oil expended. That’s just an example pulled out the air, a real analysis would have to be done.

    • scotts4sf- You have a point about the incentive to develop alternatives. But with all the government incentives to develop them, I kind of doubt $60 oil will stop them.

    • fernando, I agree it is difficult to see storage begin to build again.

  22.  
    “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ~George Bernard Shaw

  23. I think an encouraging thing about all these articles on policies is that the effort has already started, and the main questions are now how rather than whether. Countries are being critiqued on how successful they are at reducing emissions. The international debate has moved on from the science to the implementation of the necessary policies. The science skeptics now just have to move on to their pro-fossil arguments.

    • David Wojick

      On the contrary, scientific skepticism is one reason nothing very serious is happening, an important reason. In fact there is quite a bit going on by way of backing away from or blocking serious action.

      • one reason nothing very serious is happening, […] backing away from or blocking serious action.

        Don’t lose sight of the fact there are two very different interpretations of “serious”: in the sense of “serious impact to energy costs” vs. “serious effect on long-term fossil fuel emissions”. It isn’t an “either-or” proposition, and changing perspectives on time-scale and the impact of technological growth, can change people’s ideas about what constitutes “serious action”.

        Personally, I’ve always said “serious action” can take place towards dealing with fossil carbon without impacting energy prices or global life-style improvements. People just have to get over their fixation on short term, linear reduction targets.

      • David Wojick

        Happily, wishful thinking is not serious action.

      • richardswarthout

        Does anybody believe the UN or national governments will accomplish ANYTHING?

    • Jim D,

      I think it’s been like this for quite awhile, at least as long as I’ve been looking at it for a couple of years now. I think the argument is how fast it has to be and the economic ramifications. Even if there were no skeptics moving away from fossil fuels is a daunting task with no easy solutions. If it’s true what their saying about England that energy is so expensive people are turning off their gas and electricity that demonstrates the problem right there. So now they either freeze to death or buy wood stoves.

      • The UK’s problems partly stem from a Conservative government that won’t help with fuel subsidies that they consider just welfare, but is a very small government expense for a lot of benefit. Thinking further, this kind of subsidy can be paid for by a carbon tax because it is similar to a revenue neutral idea that those using least carbon per capita are the poorest anyway and benefit the most from the rebates making it a net gain for them despite the carbon tax.

      • Jimd

        No it doesn’t.

        The UK has a winter fuel allowance for people over 60 .over the last 5 years the conservative govt increased the allowance and there is no intention of them removing it generally

        What is in question is removing it from wealthy pensioners and from xpats living in warm countries, both groups currently receive it.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/expat-money/11355524/MPs-fight-back-against-expat-winter-fuel-allowance-cuts.html

        Fuel costs are expensive here partly because of the subsidies to green energy. If the US had fuel and petrol costs as high as they are here I suspect there would be a huge outcry. Either the US pays far too little for its energy costs or having low energy costs puts more spending power into your consumers pockets and boost your economy.

        Tonyb

      • That gets us back to my original point that even if there were no skeptics it will be a daunting task to keep costs down while trying to replace fossil fuels with carbon free technology. They can wag their fingers all they want but nothing will change until technology catches up. Ramping up nuclear seems to be the only base load technology ready to step up. New generation and cost factors, as I understand it, are the only thing holding it back.

      • There is no gain from ‘revenue neutral’ carbon taxes. It they actually work – a dubious proposition – we are left with higher energy costs and zilch carbon revenue. This results in higher production costs – higher living costs and a hole in tax revenue that creates either a bigger hole in the budget or the reduction of rebates.

      • Tonyb, if, as they say, the people in Britain are just dropping dead because of unaffordable fuel bills, there is something seriously wrong that the government can fix with an easy investment in the right place. On the other hand this could just be a skeptic way blame things on green energy by exaggeration.

      • Don Monfort

        Jimmy dee, don’t you get very tired and very frustrated pushing the same propaganda day-after-day and having no effect? It’s not working here and it doesn’t work on the general public. Paris will fail just like the previous carbon bashing climate inaction junkets. How many years you been doing this foolishness, jimmy? Same freaking story day-after-day, year-after-year. Pathetic. The pause is killing the cause.

      • Jimd

        What is this easy investment?

        Tonyb

      • Tonyb, first you figure out many people would be helped to survive by a partial fuel-bill rebate, then you provide it to them. It should add up to a fraction of a percent of the UK economy or even a small percent of the revenue received by energy companies that can be taxed to provide it. A small investment to save those lives (if any) that are lost due to fuel costs.

      • richardswarthout

        Tony,

        Are energy costs also the result of low supply? And is the UK still buying wood chips from the US? Are wood chips a form of clean energy?

        Richard

      • Jimd

        That already happens. There is a winter fuel allowance plus fuel companies are obliged to rebate the costs of the poorer consumers plus there are schemes for free and discounted insulation.

        There are an increasing number of people in Europe generally who are in fuel poverty as there would be in the US if your govt imposed the sort of taxes we are lumbered with.

        Tonyb

      • “The UK’s problems partly stem from a Conservative government that won’t help with fuel subsidies that they consider just welfare”

        I thought warmers wanted to shut down oil industry subsidy? Programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program represent around 20% of the yearly subsidy to oil companies in the U.S., do you want to shut this subsidy down?

      • Richard

        Perfectly good power plants are being closed down in order to meet our carbon reduction obligations. These include those coming towards the end of their operating lives as well as perfectly good ones using coal. Drax was the biggst coal fired power station in the UK and was built over a coal seam. It is now burning wood chips imported from the carolinas.

        Our spare capacity is a couple of percent above maximum usage so supply is very tight. This shortage must have an effect on prices as does the increasing proportion of expensive subsidised renewable power sources.

        We signed up to the Kyoto protocol and were the first country to enact a climate change law requiring the reduction of carbon emissions.as such we are probably further down the road towards highly expensive fuel,with all that implies, than the US are.

        That is not to say I am against renewables just that each country should use those most suited to its needs. Our solar farms are a joke in a country so far north..

        However we still urgently need cheap and reliable base load energy production and that isn’t gong to come from intermittent wind farms

        Tonyb

      • Jim D, on the UK, you simply have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • The subsidy should go to the consumers, not the providers.

      • There is plenty of fuel poverty in the US as well, especially in rural areas where propane has to be delivered and in the NE where they heat with oil. But all energy prices have gone up so even electricity and gas costs can cause energy poverty. Since the term was coined in Britain the info regarding the US is sketchy. Since Obama has been in office he has done everything in his power to go after fossil fuel providers. That leads to only one direction more fuel poverty. You can’t just stop producing energy and by some miracle hope it is replaced. You need the solution ahead of the problem that is created moving away from fossil fuels and that is new energy technology that is not currently existent.

      • JimD

        We are a sophisticated first world economy. There are lots of benefits to help pay fuel bills

        https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits/heating

        However, that doesn’t help much if the energy costs are extremely expensive in the first place. The very poor and needy might get help but by definition you cant help everyone who needs it.

        tonyb

      • moving away from fossil fuels is a daunting task with no easy solutions.

        I think you underestimate human ingenuity to solve problems especially when the solution involves advancing technology. Just look at military innovation since the beginning of western civilization. Always forward.. And it make sense considering conflict with neighbors is a potential “problem” that groups of people have to deal with. But also we won’t get true innovation unless enough we get investment in the solutions whether that be investment in basic research or private investment that develops the technologies based on the basic research.

      • David Sarnoff’s associates were skeptical:

        The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?

      • Joseph,

        I don’t doubt it can be done. I agree with what you say. I’m just pointing out that it can’t be government decreed and you can’t just drop a cheap energy without having a replacement without causing economuc pain.

      • David Sarnoff’s associates were skeptical:

        There wasn’t organized global effort to solve a particular problem in this case, Willard. That’s what I am trying to get at here.

      • Surely the way to make liquid fossil fuels cheaper is to make free use of potent alternatives, presently coal, nukes and hydro. And the way to make coal cheaper is to make sure it has plenty of potent rivals. Big Oil knows that coal is its real problem, hence it’s gone all green and huggy. And nobody selling anything black or brown likes to mention the long-term success of nukes in France, a 1960s energy pauper (92.4 TWh exported, 27.3 imported in 2014).

        De Beers and buddies told the world that its lumps of shiny rock were precious, and we swallowed it. OPEC stretched us over a barrel in the 70s, and we squealed but took it. Now Big Oil, in an uneasy flirtation with Big Green, wants to tell us that coal is naughty.

        Hey, we’re the customers! Let’s turn the tables on these marketeers. I’ll even bring out my (reluctant) inner socialist and advocate for efficient combustion of fossil fuels, thrifty end use of fossil fuels, constant modernisation and upgrading of fossil fuel industries at all ends, ambitious, expensive public transport systems which are not toys…all involving much law and regulation and planning. (Just lost me some right-of-centre friends, didn’t I?)

        But can we stop mucking about with pea-shooters and really turn on some power?

      • David Sarnoff emigrates from a Jewish village in Belarus to America before the turn of the 20th century to be baptized by the bootstrap necessities of helping his family survive as his father dies when he is 15. Using his unbounded drive for enterprise, from nothing he becomes the head of one of the most powerful conglomerates in the world. Seeing and understanding the practical results of Marxist and free market ideologies from both sides, he become a staunch anti-Soviet, supporting McCarthyism and any other anti-communist means to the fullest. His gravestone is barely set before his NBC becomes the sentinel of the re-birth of socialist-Marxist ideology by way of the influence of journalism schools on NBC (and other broadcasting).

        Willard, I’m sorry, was your point that people were skeptical of the future utility of broadcast, therefore skepticism is over-rated?

        Personally, I believe anyone who tries to make an argument for or against skeptical reasoning by pointing to an example of failed reasoning is trying to reason that skepticism is an ideology when in fact it is a thought management process in order to improve outcomes at perceiving truth.

      • Joseph: “But also we won’t get true innovation unless…”

        The most innovative countries tend to be the most free. The most free countries have constitutions that limit government.

      • Ron, I don’t think having a carbon tax with a refundable component and no utility rules from the EPA is inconsistent with “limited government.” We already have a lot of taxes and collect a lot of revenues,. Now if we didn’t refund the tax or use the tax to lighten the initial cost to affected industries, then I would agree that it would be a greater burden on economic activity.

      • “Now if we didn’t refund the tax or use the tax to lighten the initial cost to affected industries, then I would agree that it would be a greater burden on economic activity.”

        What does not get taught anymore in schools is that once taxes are collected the returns are pennies on the dollar if in fact positive. The exceptions to this are the organization of a standing national defense, police, border security and a justice system. Beyond that the lower the administration involvement the less corruption and waste, which are economic drags. Yes, regulation is necessary but at levels way below what is done. For example, FDA inspectors have little to do with your food safety as compared to the motivation to preserve a marketing, whether a public traded conglomerate or a mom and pop soda stand.

        NY Times editorialist Thomas Friedman once said something profound in a Q&A on C-Span when asked about USA efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. He said that after many years of reflection he had come the to conclusion that you can force people not to do bad, but you cannot force people to do good. Friedman, without realizing it, undermined the entire logic of heavily regulated centralized economies for which he advocated for his entire career. If he was not blind to taking his wisdom one step further he would have stumbled onto understanding the economic miracle of the USA in the 19th and 20th centuries, a miracle that men like Ben Franklin, Adam Smith and Alexis de Tocqueville foresaw.

  24. “World Bank: Getting to zero net emissions takes a policy package that prices carbon & incentivizes clean tech [link]”

    I’d say getting to zero net emissions takes global thermonuclear war.

    • Be interesting to see actual emissions going forward.

      India has the right demographics for positive growth.

      But the rest of the developed world and now even China have demographics for stagnation and indeed falling emissions.

      Emissions only need to fall by 50% from current to be at net zero.

      Net zero is probably, as you say, unlikely, but also unnecessary.

      Here’s an interesting one, if you take the NOAA ‘Greenhouse Gas Index’ and plot it over the RCP scenarios ( shifted to a common 2000, because RCP uses a different baseline ) you get:

  25. Fiona Harvey languishes in the past. Lessons learned from prior Conferences still haven’t sunk in. Realities whisk away statements she uses to build her case for Paris success.

    China now exceeds USA in CO2 emissions. China’s emissions are down slightly.

    India is ramping up its coal use and its CO2 emissions to become a major emitter.

    The US Congress is overwhelmingly against Obama’s climate change policy especially his policy by fiat. Bypassing Congress is risky politics at best and climate policy will either not proceed as outlined by Obama, or will be overturned at the next election irregardless of who is President.

    Harvey is counting on a mega El Nino to heat the globe to make the CO2 case for immediate action. An El Nino anything less than mega, especially with a cooling in the USA as being forecasted by the climate community, support of any expensive climate policy, further jacking up the costs of energy including electricity prices, especially a policy that involves shipping dollars overseas, is dead in the water.

    This coming November’s COP in Paris appears to me to be another wishing spell, cast upon the committed, ignoring the lessons of the past.

    • It seems I didn’t provide the post that I was commenting upon:

      “A look at past UN climate negotiations offers valuable context for forthcoming Paris talks [link]”

  26. ‘NAO and NPO are the leading modes of surface pressure variability in northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, respectively, the PDO is the leading mode of SST variability in the northern Pacific and ENSO is a major signal in the tropics. Together these four modes capture the essence of climate variability in the northern hemisphere. Each of these modes involves different mechanisms over different geographical regions. Thus, we treat them as nonlinear sub-systems of the grand climate system exhibiting complex dynamics.’ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL030288/full

    The grand climate system is the sum of ice, wind, currents and biology – and the sum is greater than the parts. It is driven by ‘control variables’ but has internal dynamics that are the source of climate variability. Climate shifts abruptly in ‘catastrophes’ – in the sense of Rene Thom. Catastrophes are more likely in a system that is changing most rapidly. Changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols and land use drive the system towards unpredictable ‘catastrophe’.

    The system has immense internal variability at all scales – and the interactions of this immensely complex and dynamic system with anthropogenic changes is not explicable. There may indeed be suggestions of long term cooling in the winds – https://judithcurry.com/2015/05/22/week-in-review-science-edition-6/#comment-706023

    The problems with people and the environment are much broader than power and transport. Population, aerosols, land use changes and the environment puts fossil fuels into a broad context.

    The solution – such as it is – is to build prosperous and resilient communities. As Joseph said – obama_and_the_syrian_drought_.htmltells us – to avoid catastrophe in the times of need requires a wise and honest person to manage things in the times of abundance.

    The rational management of economies requires interest rates to be managed through the overnight cash market to restrain inflation to a 2 to 3% target. Markets need fair, transparent and accessible laws. Including on open and fair markets. Optimal tax take is some 23% of GDP. Markets operate best in a robust democracy. These nuts and bolts of market management – mainstream market theory pioneered by F. A. Hayek – keep economies on a modest and stable growth trajectory.

    Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – restoring organic carbon in agricultural soils, conserving and restoring ecosystems, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking fires with better ways of preparing food, etc.

    Growth provides the resources for social progress and environmental conservation and restoration. Environmental management involves the strategic deployment of methods and technologies across landscapes, industries and infrastructure using multi-disciplinary science and theories and models of institutional structures – polycentricity – pioneered by Elinor Ostrom in real world applications over the past 50 years. It involves bottom up management that can provide better outcomes for both business and the environment – rather than top down prescriptive methods from governments that are globally failing to conserve our environment. The bottom line is that we can grow economies and enhance environments.
    :
    This latter has oddly been oddly interpreted as against human nature, unrealistic, a liberal romance. The approach has been extensively studied in the field and in game theory experiments in the laboratory. The alternative is a top down government approach that fails both business and the environment. It is a strange contradiction for conservatives to implicitly support government regulation.

    The alternative economic vision involves narratives of moribund western economies governed by corrupt corporations collapsing under the weight of the internal contradictions – leading to less growth, less material consumption, less CO2 emissions, less habitat destruction and a last late chance to stay within the safe limits of global ecosystems. And this is just in the ‘scholarly’ journals. .

    I thought I would summarise this in the relevant policy thread.

    On a personal note I have written to Judith about numerous comments by Springer sprinkled throughout my recent post and elsewhere – too many to individually highlight. They add nothing to the discussion of course. They rise to the level of the schoolyard. I know you are what am I – you’ve got a pair don’t you – etc.

    The is something that Springer has done before – it amounts to cyber bullying. Recognise the pattern of behaviour and we may be able to resist it.

  27. Peter Lang

    [repost to fix formatting]

    David L. Hagen

    Q2. “Are there any high temperature nuclear power plants being designed? e.g., with temperatures > 1200 C vs 650C?”

    Russia and China are both developing small HTRs for export markets. USA had the lead but seems to have dropped the ball. China seems to be leading the way now. Indonesia is planning to buy HTRs from China or Russia.

    IAEA, 2013, “Status report 96 – High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor – Pebble-Bed Module (HTR-PM)” https://aris.iaea.org/sites/..%5CPDF%5CHTR-PM.pdf

    WNN, (updated 7 days ago), scroll down to High-temperature gas-cooled reactors

    New high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTRs) are being developed which will be capable of delivering high temperature (700-950ºC and eventually up to about 1000°C) helium either for industrial application via a heat exchanger, or to make steam conventionally in a secondary circuit via a steam generator, or directly to drive a Brayton cycle* gas turbine for electricity with almost 50% thermal efficiency possible (efficiency increases around 1.5% with each 50°C increment).

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/nuclear-fuel-cycle/power-reactors/small-nuclear-power-reactors/

    Construction progresses on China’s High Temperature Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactor

    The pouring of concrete for the basemat of the first HTR-PM unit – a demonstration high-temperature gas-cooled reactor – at Shidaowan in China’s Shandong province was recently completed. Another 19 of the small modular reactors could follow.

    HTR-PM are modular reactors that will be mainly factory mass produced. The first one is taking 5 years to make. The reactor module will head towards about two years to build when they are making them by the dozen.

    The demonstration plant’s twin HTR-PM units will drive a single 210 MWe turbine. It is expected to begin operating around 2017. Eighteen further units are proposed for the Shidaowan site, near Rongcheng in Weihai city.

    Work began on two demonstration HTR-PM units at China Huaneng Group’s Shidaowan site in December 2012. Since then, the foundations and columns to support the reactor building have been installed.

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/04/construction-progresses-on-chinas-high.html

    Indonesia steps forward towards nuclear power
    After some 20 years of plans and policies designed to serve the Java-Bali grid, two years ago the National Atomic Energy Agency (BATAN) changed tack and started exploring options for small power reactors serving other areas. In particular, BATAN announced that it was planning to build a test and demonstration high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR) of up to 10 MWe. This is with a view to a number of 100 MWe units following in Kalimantan, Sulawesi and islands.

    Now Rusatom has announced that a consortium of Russian and Indonesian companies led by Rosatom subsidiary NUKEM Technologies has won a contract for the preliminary design of a multi-purpose 10 MWe HTR in Indonesia, which would be “a flagship project in the future of Indonesia’s nuclear program.” It will be a pebble-bed HTR at Serpong, BATAN’s main base near Jakarta. NUKEM Technologies is already involved with fuel for the research reactors there, and it has considerable expertise in HTRs from Germany and South Africa. The contract covers a feasibility study on the conceptual design, as well as the basic design documentation. These are expected to be completed by January 2016, according to Rusatom, leading to a tender for construction of the reactor. The reason for deciding on an HTR is that there is more potential for process heat.
    WNN 21/4/15. Indonesia

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/World-Nuclear-Association/Publications/Weekly-Digest/Archive/Archive-2015/

    Wikipedia, VHTR or HTGR

    The very-high-temperature reactor (VHTR), or high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR), is a Generation IV reactor concept that uses a graphite-moderated nuclear reactor with a once-through uranium fuel cycle. The VHTR is a type of high-temperature reactor (HTR) that can conceptually have an outlet temperature of 1000 °C. The reactor core can be either a “prismatic block” or a “pebble-bed” core. The high temperatures enable applications such as process heat or hydrogen production via the thermochemical sulfur–iodine cycle.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very-high-temperature_reactor

    The ability to produce hydrogen will be important for producing unlimited hydrocarbon transport fuels (gasolene/petrol, diesel, jet fuel, etc.) from seawater. This will eventually allow nuclear power to provide all our electricity requirements and all our transport fuels as well.

    Problem solved ! :)

    • David L. Hagen

      Peter
      Gas turbines now achieve > 61% efficiency. Mitsubishi is working to commercialize1600 deg C

      • Hi David,

        Thank you. I am broadly aware of the effficiencies, of old, current and emerging fossil fuel and nuclear technologies. but to me it’s a down-in-the weeds factor, unless I am doing a calculation that needs it. For policy analysis I am interested in $/MWh and $/tonne CO2 for the whole grid with all electricity system costs included.

        I also don’t care much about externalities because those advocating tio include them electricity prices are cherry picking one externality, GHGs. I’d only be interested if all externailties for all industries were to be included in all prices for everything. It’s impossible, so it’s just another hammer the GHG alarmist ideologues use to advance their agenda, IMO.

  28. The issues go well beyond carbon dioxide from energy and transport. Population, development, technical innovation across a number of sectors and the environment are the broader context.

    That said the most obvious transition in a gas or coal to nuclear strategy is to advanced nuclear reactors – http://watertechbyrie.com/2015/05/02/greenhouse-gas-solutions/

    There are at least eight in development in the US.

    http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/TRP%20Report%2020121210%20Final%20Public%20Version.pdf

    And a couple of dozen globally.

    https://www.gen-4.org/gif/upload/docs/application/pdf/2014-03/gif-tru2014.pdf

    China is building a demonstration gas cooled pebble bed reactor – the core design is 50 years old.

    The EM2 from General Atomics – a global leader for decades – may be the best. It was designed to a performance specification for factory manufacturing, transport, fuel burn, passive safety and efficiency.

    ‘In an attempt to allow nuclear power to reach its full economic potential, General Atomics is developing the Energy Multiplier Module (EM2), which is a compact gas-cooled fast reactor (GFR). The EM2 augments its fissile fuel load with fertile materials to enhance an ultra-long fuel cycle based on a “convert-and-burn” core design which converts fertile material to fissile fuel and burns it in situ over a 30-year core life without fuel supplementation or shuffling. A series of reactor physics trade studies were conducted and a baseline core was developed under the specific physics design requirements of the long-life small reactor. The EM2 core performance was assessed for operation time, fuel burnup, excess reactivity, peak power density, uranium utilization, etc., and it was confirmed that an ultra-long fuel cycle core is feasible if the conversion is enough to produce fissile material and maintain criticality, the amount of matrix material is minimized not to soften the neutron spectrum, and the reactor core size is optimized to minimize the neutron loss. This study has shown the feasibility, from the reactor physics standpoint, of a compact GFR that can meet the objectives of ultra-long fuel cycle, factory-fabrication, and excellent fuel utilization.’ http://www.hindawi.com/journals/stni/2013/618707/

    The convert and burn principle allows use of conventional nuclear waste, uranium or thorium to be used providing thousands of years of energy and eliminating stockpiles of very long lived waste. It also means the core doesn’t have to be opened on site at all – for thirty years. .

    .

  29. Tomorrow is Memorial Day in the US. Let us all, worldwide, remember those who sacrificed for freedom, for emancipation, and to stop the Holocost. By comparison, CAGW is and will remain small change.

    • Yep, and special thanks to our Pacific allies.

      My father volunteered in ’39. He never discussed the war apart from his wheeler dealing – he was something of a McHale’s Navy type – but he served on till 1947 as captain of a minesweeper though he had family and a profitable practice at home. After that he was RAN voluntary reserve. His name was Noel Somerville Townshend.

      • -1000

        Holocaust.

        In WW2 America there were plenty of people who refused to believe the reports about the Jews that were coming out of Europe, or minimized them, or who even thought its happening to Jews was not such a bad thing. By comparison with today, WW2 America was a very anti-Semitic place.

  30. David L. Hagen

    U.S. STATES REBEL AGAINST OBAMA’s ‘War on Coal’

    In open defiance of federal authority to regulate Oklahoma’s energy policy, Fallin signed Executive Order 2015-22 on April 28, prohibiting the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality from submitting to the EPA a plan specifying how the state will comply with final rules regarding the operation of state power plants.

    Charging that Obama’s executive order and the resulting EPA CPP regulations exceed the authority of the federal government under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide, Fallin is setting up a classic federal-state constitutional crisis that has the prospect of advancing to the Supreme Court for final resolution.
    “EPA has historically interpreted its authority under the Clean Air Act as only being able to regulate emissions from power plants,” Fallin’s executive order reads. “However the proposed regulations seek to go beyond that traditional authority and regulate all aspects of state energy systems.”
    . . .
    “The EPA’s latest attempt at imposing burdensome regulations represents an unprecedented meddling with Texas in order to push the Obama Administration’s liberal climate change agenda,” (Texas Governor) Abbott said after the meeting. “The EPA’s newest suite of rules, led by the Clean Power Plan, seeks unprecedented control over the State’s energy mix that will certainly result in higher energy prices for Texans and will threaten the reliability of Texas’ electric grid.” . . .,
    Thomas K. Lindsay, the director of the Centers for Tenth Amendment Action and Higher Education at the TPPF, writing in RealClearPolitics.com, noted that opposition to the EPA’s plan is shaping up in 32 states, where legislatures, governors and/or attorneys general have expressed opposition.
    “Across the country, a storm is rising in opposition to federal overreach,” Lindsay wrote. “This opposition will succeed if states continue to once again “act like” states, taking it upon themselves to reclaim our Constitution and, with it, our liberties.”

    • David Wojick

      It is not defiance because the State Implementation Plan (SIP) is voluntary, so Oklahoma is simply choosing not to volunteer. EPA is then authorized to impose a Federal Implmentation Plan (FIP).

      • David L. Hagen

        David Wojick. Then Oklahoma can continue to ignore (nullify) the EPA’s assertions because this law is non-constitutional, based on the 10th Amendment. Nothing in the Constitution gives the Federal government power to completely transform intrastate commerce or energy generation based on very weak scientific evidence. (It originally had only very weak control over interstate commerce.) See: Scalia

        “Reading cost-benefit analysis into section 110 was akin to “‘alter[ing] the fundamental details of a regulatory scheme,’” which Congress does not do “in vague terms or ancillary provisions—it does not … hide elephants in mouseholes.’”43″ http://bit.ly/1dsV0PV

      • David Wojick

        The issue here is just that EPA’s proposed rule allows states to use energy efficiency program in its SIP, while EPA cannot itself mandate such programs under the CAA. So if EPA has to go the FIP route this option will not be included. The states cannot stop EPA from imposing their FIP although that is what the rhetoric sounds like. The states cannot stop EPA. Only the Federal government can interpret the Constitution. That issue was settled in 1865.

  31. Cost of rooftop solar systems outweigh benefits by $9bn
    [PL: i.e. about $900 per customer]

    “The costs of programs to encourage the installation of rooftop solar systems have outweighed the benefits by $9 billion and will result in a $14bn subsidy being paid by consumers who do not have panels to those who do. [PL: i.e. about $1,400 per customer]

    A report by the Grattan Institute think tank calls for sweeping reforms to electricity pricing, the rollout of smart meters and changes to electricity forecasting.

    It says various solar feed-in tariff schemes, under which households with solar panels are rewarded for providing power into the grid, and the current structure of electricity pricing mean “governments have created a policy mess that should never be repeated’’.

    Under current pricing regimes, consumers pay a charge for the power they use regardless of whether it is at a peak usage period or a time when demand is low. People with solar panels pay less because they use less grid power. But because electricity networks have to be built to cope with peak periods — and solar panels output tends to decline in the later afternoon during the peak — consumers without panels are subsiding those with panels.

    The report by Grattan energy program director Tony Wood and energy fellow David Blowers says while solar rooftop programs have cut emissions it has been expensive — the equivalent of a carbon price of $170 a tonne. “Emissions could have been reduced in a cheaper and fairer way,’’ Mr Wood says.

    By comparison, the Gillard government’s carbon price was $24.15 a tonne when it was repealed and the Abbott government paid an average price of $13.95 a tonne for carbon abatement at its first emissions reduction auction last month.

    The Grattan report says planned changes to electricity pricing will make the installation of new solar panels in most capital cities no longer profitable.

    The electricity regulator has issued a rule requiring cost-reflective pricing for electricity by 2017. This would make those with solar panels pay more to use the network

    If electricity pricing was changed to an average fixed charge of 20 per cent of the bill, a demand charge of 40 per cent and time-of-use pricing of 40 per cent, the report says that installing a new 3 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system would be economically beneficial only in Adelaide at current solar PV prices.

    The report says it would be close to break even in Perth but the price of a system would need to fall by nearly $500 in Brisbane, over $1000 in Sydney and by nearly $2000 in Melbourne. If predictions of a 25 per cent fall in the cost of solar panels were correct, then only Melbourne would not be viable by 2017.

    The report challenges predictions of a so-called “death spiral’’ for electricity distribution networks, calculating that it will be more cost effective for consumers to stay on the grid for backup power even with solar rooftop panels and battery storage.

    It says “a large scale rollout of battery storage is unlikely to occur without the technology being financially viable for most households’’.

    At current prices, it could cost $34,000 for a typical Sydney household to install a 7 kilowatt solar PV system with 35KW hours of battery storage. But this would generate only 95 per cent of its electricity needs, leaving the equivalent of 18 days a year without power. This would either have to supplemented by staying on the grid or by buying a diesel generator.

    With 1.4m households having solar PV panels on their rooftops, Australia has the highest proportion of households with solar rooftop panels of any country in the world.

    But the way electricity is priced, based on simple consumption rather than whether it is at peak or off-peak times, means that consumers who do not have air conditioners or solar panels subsidise those who do, Mr Woods says.

    “Households pay their network charge based on their average power use over a given time period. Since solar households consume less electricity overall, they pay less than other households to use the network,’’ he says.

    “But they place a similar amount of strain on the distribution network as those without solar PV, since peak use of the residential network usually occurs in the early evening when there is little or no solar output…’’

    Cross-subsidies from people without solar amount to $14bn, he said.

  32. Efficiencies of conventional is some 34%, coal 43% and gas turbine 63%. The EM2 is 53% with a 95% capacity factor.

    Increasing efficiency reduces both capital – smaller plants – and operating costs. Higher efficiency is possible with higher temps.

    • … conventional nuclear…

    • David L. Hagen

      Chief – Thanks – Do you have the link for that fig/paper?
      That ~ $18/MWh (~1.8 c/kWh) is the best I have seen for nuclear. i.e. ~$5/GJ (~0.5c/GJ).
      In round numbers, assuming conventional electrolysis at 65% efficiency with ORNL’s 142.18 GJ/t HHV for hydrogen, we would need about 220 GJ/t of electricity to make hydrogen. At EM2’s price for electricity, that suggests about $1,100/ton for the electricity to make hydrogen or $1.1/kg ~ $1.1/gallon of gasoline equivalent (gge). Then add the capital and operating expenses.
      That now appears in the realm of engineering possibility to be cost competitive to make hydrogen cheaper than DOE’s target of ~ $3.1/kg (gge). cf NREL’s paper on H2 from wind.

      Then combine with CO2 to make liquid fuel etc.

    • 500 of these plants could supply all US energy needs for hundreds of years using existing nuclear waste. The small footprint without the need for a water inlet – makes siting very flexible. In places like Africa this would enable the leap to more localised power generation without a continent spanning network.

      The licencing is underway – for generic factory built modules. They are spending $12B over a 12 year program to build a commercial prototype. The significant issues are core design and high temp silicon carbide cladding.

      The link to the design review appeared earlier.

      https://judithcurry.com/2015/05/23/week-in-review-policy-and-politics-edition-6/#comment-706082

      • INL is US lead nuclear energy laboratory
      • Nuclear power has significant excess generating capacity
      • But, nuclear power is only used for electrical power generation
      • Water splitting / hydrogen production via nuclear power could:
      – Utilize excess generating capacity via load leveling
      – Relieve the pressure on natural gas for hydrogen production
      – Provide raw materials and GHG friendly energy for synthetic fuels
      production
      – Diversify uses for nuclear power
      • Extension to coelectrolysis leverages our much larger program studying high temperature H2O electrolysis
      http://energy.columbia.edu/files/2012/11/Coelectrolysis-Rev-2.pdf

      High temperature electrolysis is more efficient because much of the energy comes directly as heat. No need to convert as much heat into electricity first.

      Hydrogen can be made with what would otherwise be wasted heat.

  33. Ex IPCC Chairman Rajendra K. Pachauri has been indicted for sexual harassment

    Former IPCC Chairman Rajendra K. Pachauri has been indicted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) for “misuse of his position and violation of the organisation’s policy on sexual harassment,” according to a May 22 report from the Economic Times of India.

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/05/24/ex-ipcc-chair-indicted-for-sexual-harassment/

  34. Joseph Norman, Rupert Rose, Yaneer Bar-Yam contend that the climate debate is about the accuracy or otherwise of climate models. Those who believe in climate models argue for ‘specific’ – unspecified – policy. Those who don‘t – say that there is no harm shown to warrant action. As a chain of reasoning it falls at the very first hurdle. Models are known without a doubt to be inaccurate. It is called ‘irreducible imprecision’ and it has been known about since Edward Lorenz plied his convection models in the 1960’s. Models many feasible – slightly different – starting points as a result of uncertainty in inputs. Many solutions are thus possible – for a single model – that diverge exponentially over the calculation period. The problem is shown in the diagram from a paper by Julia Slingo – head of the British Met Office – and Tim Palmer – head of the European Centre for Mid-Range Weather Forecasting.


    Source: Julia Slingo and Tim Palmer 2011

    It is quite demonstrable math but mention this on any global warming blog and the inhabitants will exhibit severe agitation, fear and loathing as cognitive dissonance kicks in. However – it is not quite right either to claim that models are inaccurate because they fail to reproduce the lack of more recent global temperature rise. Instead what they have done is arbitrarily pick one of the possible solutions – and discard all the others – based on expectations of how climate will evolve. The choices are too hot – what a surprise.

    The policy from global warming progressives involves the collapse of western civilisation and capitalism leading to less growth, less material consumption, less CO2 emissions, less habitat destruction and a last late chance to stay within the safe limits of global ecosystems. And this is just in the ‘scholarly’ journals.

    The progressives are right in one respect. Economies are fragile – movements on markets can be fierce – recovery glacially slow sometimes. There are economic problems – but the problems are not intrinsic to capitalism. They were created by poor judgement. We blundered into it through stupidity. It is not difficult – however – to imagine scenarios in which markets are deliberately destabilised to hasten the end of capitalism. Creeping tax takes, overspending by government, printing money, keeping interest rates too low for too long, or too high for too long, taxing primary inputs, implementing market distorting subsidies – the scope is endless. These are suspiciously the objectives of global warming progressives – but let’s not call it a conspiracy.

    The rational management of economies requires interest rates to be managed through the overnight cash market to restrain inflation to a 2 to 3% target. Markets need fair, transparent and accessible laws. Including on open and fair markets. Optimal tax take is some 23% of GDP – and budgets are balanced. Markets operate best in a robust democracy. These nuts and bolts of market management – mainstream market theory and practice pioneered by F. A. Hayek – keep economies on a modest and stable growth trajectory as much as is possible.

    Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – restoring organic carbon in agricultural soils, conserving and restoring ecosystems, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets to emit less black carbon, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking fires with better ways of preparing food, etc. We can sequester carbon in agricultural soils and in conserved and restored ecosystems, reduce nitrous oxide and harmful tropospheric ozone, burn methane to produce low cost electricity, reduce the strong climate effects of black carbon and the millions of premature deaths that result from cooking over open fires at the same time. We can develop low cost alternatives to the fossil fuels we know are increasing in scarcity and increasing in cost. We are not married to coal. While it is true that we do have only one planet – our concern for it extends well beyond CO2. Population, development, technical innovation, multiple gases and aerosols across sectors, land use change and the environment are the broader context.

    I would be the last one to suggest that there isn’t more uncertainty is a system with the internal dynamics of the Earth’s climate – and much more scope for severe and rapid change than even the modellers contemplate. However – the solution to the multiple problems of people in the world are both simpler and more complex than overthrowing democracy and capitalism. The energy solution are technological – primarily a gas to advanced nuclear strategy if nothing better comes along. Communities on a growth path can look after themselves. Management of the global commons is a messy and complex human problem requiring the most modern theories and models of human behaviour. Environmental management involves the strategic deployment of methods and technologies across landscapes, industries and infrastructure – and for implementation requires a different approach than top down government regulation that is failing both business and the environment.

  35. UK energy usage falls by 11%
    One of the things not identified by this article as a contributing factor in UK reduction in energy usage, is that houses are being built smaller, they are on average some of the smallest in Europe. Smaller houses mean less to heat. Our waistlines may be bulging but our houses are getting smaller. I knew there was a use for all this lard we are putting on, personal lagging, stops us from feeling the cold. Ah well its an ill wind….

    • Mike Flynn

      GreyTash,

      Exactly so. And as consumption drops, the unit price must increase, to maintain dividend payouts by the energy companies to all those widows and orphans.

      Not to mention the handsome bonuses and incentives to all the captains of industry working their giant brains to the point of liquefaction.

      I get a little criticism from time to time, but life goes on nevertheless.

    • greytash

      Excellent point. Also I believe the proportion of terraced/semi/apartments in increasing which again are easier to heat than detached houses.

      One more point, bearing in mind that people are getting bigger, appliances (such as fridges) are getting bigger and we generally buy more ‘stuff’, where on earth does that all fit with our homes becoming physically smaller?!

      tonyb

    • In some places back-to-back housing has made a return, courtesy of Barrats, I think it meets the needs of single divorcees, 1 bedroom.

  36. David Wojick

    Here is a green view of the GOP candidates for president: http://insideclimatenews.org/news/05032015/gop-white-house-contenders-early-rundown-their-climate-change-positions?utm_source=Inside+Climate+News&utm_campaign=ab858b8c96-Weekly_Newsletter_5_24_20155_23_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_29c928ffb5-ab858b8c96-327531733

    How is this for misinformation: “Many of them share Inhofe’s view that the world is not warming, or if it is, that humans aren’t contributing to climate change. Deep-pocketed fossil fuel companies and advocacy groups are squaring up to spread around billions of dollars in campaign contributions.”

    The real issues are whether the warming is dangerous and whether humans can control it. Skeptics think not. Nor are fossil fuel companies and advocacy groups spending billions on this. A few million at most.

    • ‘Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events.’ http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

      It hardly matters – technological innovation, building soil carbon, restoring ecosystem, reducing black carbon, etc – can build more prosperous and resilient communities while reducing climate changes.

      http://watertechbyrie.com/2015/05/23/economic-growth-and-environmental-management-in-a-global-iriai/.

      • David Wojick

        Or they can have no effect whatever. I am skeptical.

      • David Wojick

        Regarding the goofy NAP quote, “may” should read “may of may not” as this is pure speculation pretending to be science.

      • David Wojick

        Sorry but of should be or in the proposed NAP quote. I was brushing a cat while typing.

      • Steven Mosher

        Brushing a cat?.
        Is that a new euphemism for…..?
        In any case one handed typing is the first sign of Internet addiction.

      • David Wojick

        Her name is Annie Oakley. As for addiction the first thing I do when I wake up is start the iPad, while still lying prone, so yes.

      • There’s too much disinformation in the media that perpetuates notions that humanity is depleting natural resources, most of it is nonsense that continues to play into today’s culture of alarmism. We have reached peak use of many commodities, as early as the 1940s in some instances, the pressure continues to decline on many commodities. I described how developed nations have seen a net increase of forests since mid 20th century in another thread.

        Everyone needs to read this link that JC provided. It astonishes me that even among those that are informed that the power of media perpetuates a dumbing down process where facts about natural resources are simply not distributed. I blame much of this to media bias that is not unaffected by politics.

        http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/journal/issue-5/the-return-of-nature

        This is an interesting set of statistics:

        “But even Californians economizing on water in the midst of a drought may be surprised at what has happened to water withdrawals in America since 1970. Expert projections made in the 1970s showed rising water use to the year 2000, but what actually happened was a leveling off. While America added 80 million people –– the population of Turkey –– American water use stayed flat. In fact, US Geological Survey data through 2010 shows that water use has now declined below the level of 1970, while production of corn, for example, has tripled (Figure 11). More efficient water use in farming and power generation contribute the most to the reduction.”

        CAs water problems today are more aligned to poor planning and infrastructure buildout to protect against recurring drought, this over a period when population doubled.

        As I said before, where global problems “may” exist including AGW, these are imminently solvable with the advancement of technology. People seem to forget that most of the sum of human knowledge has come in the last 100 years. Simply look with a 2x power lens, maybe 50 years ahead, things aren’t dire. About the only thing bad is politics.

      • David Wojick

        JT, you say “About the only thing bad is politics.” The political system is the decision making system of democracy. Would you prefer something else, like putting the engineers in charge (technocracy)?

      • Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

        Winston S. Churchill (from a House of Commons speech on Nov. 11, 1947)

      • Not at all David, I referenced early in my post the influence one sided politics has had on the median representation of what constitutes fact, also today’s culture of alarmism that is an extension of this. Citizens can’t make informed decisions in the voting booth if their views are sculpted by disinformation to advance a narrative. This is the politics I refer to. One can only hope those in office can overcome the disinformation by pointing to facts such as what this article provides and individuals like the author of this article are given a louder voice. It’s important the scientists like JC are given a voice in congress, more of this needs to happen to balance the flow of information. This article points at demonstrable facts. I wonder how many people in society even have a rough sense of them?

      • AK, the U.S. Constitution is a work of art on myriad levels. Distribution of power is being whittled at, we need to reverse the nonsense now.

      • “Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly.”

        Uh, isn’t this pretty much saying the same thing?

        “Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events.”

        This statement is interesting given that there is NO evidence whatsoever that the rapid CO2 level increase since 1880 has had any impact whatsoever on all manner of disasters: tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, droughts etc etc.

        A major problem with the precautionary principle is that the threat has to be credible.

        Thus far, I have yet to see any demonstration of the threat being credible.

        Again, I have no issue with crash programs to stimulate research and development of cost parity alternative energy – but that’s not what we have now.

      • ‘What defines a climate change as abrupt? Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.’ Us Academy of Sciences – Committee on abrupt climate change (2002) – Abrupt climate change: inevitable surprises

        Abrupt climate change is evidence of a dynamical mechanism at the core of the climate system. Complexity theory suggests that the system is pushed by changes in control variables – greenhouse gas changes, warming, solar intensity, Earth orbital eccentricities, etc. – past a threshold at which stage the components start to interact chaotically in multiple and changing negative and positive feedbacks – as tremendous energies cascade through powerful subsystems. Some of these changes have a regularity within broad limits and the planet responds with a broad regularity in changes of ice, cloud, biology, Atlantic thermohaline circulation and ocean and atmospheric circulation.

        Climate change proceeds as discrete jumps in the system. Smaller or larger jumps at 20 to 30 year intervals driven by internal climate dynamics.

        ‘This paper provides an update to an earlier work that showed a foreshadowing of such climate shifts in the time evolution of major Northern Hemispheric atmospheric and oceanic modes of variability [Tsonis et al., 2007]. In that paper, it was hypothesized that certain aspects of the climate system behave in a manner analogous to that of synchronized chaotic dynamical systems [Boccaletti et al., 2002]. Specifically, it was shown that when these modes of climate variability are synchronized, and the coupling between those modes simultaneously increases, the climate system becomes unstable and appears to be thrown into a new state. This chain of events is identical to that found in regime transitions in synchronized chaotic dynamical systems [Pecora et al., 1997]. This new state is marked by a break in the global mean temperature trend and in the character of ENSO variability.’ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/full

        This is punctuated equilibrium in the climate system – very real. Judith’s Hypothesis 3. Chaotic plus random. But you need to understand the theory and accept that it happens in climate. Both seem a big ask for some people.

        It provides one more reason for energy innovation – as if there were not enough.

        1. Diversify energy sources
        2. Cheap energy is good
        3. There are lots of pollutants in fossil fuels
        4. etc

        As I said somewhere else – the obvious path for most energy is a gas to advanced nuclear strategy if nothing better comes along. Although there are other sources that can provide relatively small amounts of cheap energy.

        And while there has been progress on economic growth and environmental management in recent decades – environmental management is patchy, badly managed by top down government regulation and under threat from ideologues,

        The rational management of market economies requires interest rates to be managed through the overnight cash market to restrain inflation to a 2 to 3% target. Markets need fair, transparent and accessible laws. Including on open and fair markets. Optimal tax take is some 23% of GDP – and budgets are balanced. Markets operate best in a robust democracy. These nuts and bolts of market management – mainstream market theory and practice pioneered by F. A. Hayek – keep economies on a modest and stable growth trajectory as much as is possible.

        Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – restoring organic carbon in agricultural soils, conserving and restoring ecosystems, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets to emit less black carbon, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking fires with better ways of preparing food, etc. We can sequester carbon in agricultural soils and in conserved and restored ecosystems, reduce nitrous oxide and harmful tropospheric ozone, burn methane to produce low cost electricity, reduce the strong climate effects of black carbon and the millions of premature deaths that result from cooking over open fires at the same time. We can develop low cost alternatives to the fossil fuels we know are increasing in scarcity and increasing in cost. We are not married to coal. While it is true that we do have only one planet – our concern for it extends well beyond CO2. Population, development, technical innovation, multiple gases and aerosols across sectors, land use change and the environment are the broader context.

        The policy from global warming progressives involves the collapse of western civilisation and capitalism leading to less growth, less material consumption, less CO2 emissions, less habitat destruction and a last late chance to stay within the safe limits of global ecosystems. And this is just in the ‘scholarly’ journals.

        The progressives are right in one respect. Economies are fragile – movements on markets can be fierce – recovery glacially slow sometimes. There are economic problems – but the problems are not intrinsic to capitalism. They were created by poor judgement. We blundered into it through stupidity. It is not difficult – however – to imagine scenarios in which markets are deliberately destabilised to hasten the end of capitalism. Creeping tax takes, overspending by government, printing money, keeping interest rates too low for too long, or too high for too long, taxing primary inputs, implementing market distorting subsidies – the scope is endless. These are suspiciously the objectives of global warming progressives – but let’s not call it a conspiracy. They are sensitive little flowers.

      • Here is what I have concluded. My explanation as to how the climate may change conforms to the historical climatic data record which has led me to this type of an explanation. It does not try to make the historical climatic record conform to my explanation. It is in two parts.

        PART ONE

        HOW THE CLIMATE MAY CHANGE

        Below are my thoughts about how the climatic system may work. It starts with interesting observations made by Don Easterbrook. I then reply and ask some intriguing questions at the end which I hope might generate some feedback responses. I then conclude with my own thoughts to the questions I pose.

        From Don Easterbrook – Aside from the statistical analyses, there are very serious problems with the Milankovitch theory. For example, (1) as John Mercer pointed out decades ago, the synchronicity of glaciations in both hemispheres is ‘’a fly in the Malankovitch soup,’ (2) glaciations typically end very abruptly, not slowly, (3) the Dansgaard-Oeschger events are so abrupt that they could not possibility be caused by Milankovitch changes (this is why the YD is so significant), and (4) since the magnitude of the Younger Dryas changes were from full non-glacial to full glacial temperatures for 1000+ years and back to full non-glacial temperatures (20+ degrees in a century), it is clear that something other than Milankovitch cycles can cause full Pleistocene glaciations. Until we more clearly understand abrupt climate changes that are simultaneous in both hemispheres we will not understand the cause of glaciations and climate changes.

        . My explanation:

        I agree that the data does give rise to the questions/thoughts Don Easterbrook, presents in the above. That data in turn leads me to believe along with the questions I pose at the end of this article, that a climatic variable force which changes often which is superimposed upon the climate trend has to be at play in the changing climatic scheme of things. The most likely candidate for that climatic variable force that comes to mind is solar variability (because I can think of no other force that can change or reverse in a different trend often enough, and quick enough to account for the historical climatic record) and the primary and secondary effects associated with this solar variability which I feel are a significant player in glacial/inter-glacial cycles, counter climatic trends when taken into consideration with these factors which are , land/ocean arrangements , mean land elevation ,mean magnetic field strength of the earth(magnetic excursions), the mean state of the climate (average global temperature gradient equator to pole), the initial state of the earth’s climate(how close to interglacial-glacial threshold condition it is/ average global temperature) the state of random terrestrial(violent volcanic eruption, or a random atmospheric circulation/oceanic pattern that feeds upon itself possibly) /extra terrestrial events (super-nova in vicinity of earth or a random impact) along with Milankovitch Cycles.

        What I think happens is land /ocean arrangements, mean land elevation, mean magnetic field strength of the earth, the mean state of the climate, the initial state of the climate, and Milankovitch Cycles, keep the climate of the earth moving in a general trend toward either cooling or warming on a very loose cyclic or semi cyclic beat but get consistently interrupted by solar variability and the associated primary and secondary effects associated with this solar variability, and on occasion from random terrestrial/extra terrestrial events, which brings about at times counter trends in the climate of the earth within the overall trend. While at other times when the factors I have mentioned setting the gradual background for the climate trend for either cooling or warming, those being land/ocean arrangements, mean land elevation, mean state of the climate, initial state of the climate, Milankovitch Cycles , then drive the climate of the earth gradually into a cooler/warmer trend(unless interrupted by a random terrestrial or extra terrestrial event in which case it would drive the climate to a different state much more rapidly even if the climate initially was far from the glacial /inter-glacial threshold, or whatever general trend it may have been in ) UNTIL it is near that inter- glacial/glacial threshold or climate intersection at which time allows any solar variability and the associated secondary effects no matter how SLIGHT at that point to be enough to not only promote a counter trend to the climate, but cascade the climate into an abrupt climatic change. The back ground for the abrupt climatic change being in the making all along until the threshold glacial/inter-glacial intersection for the climate is reached ,which then gives rise to the abrupt climatic changes that occur and possibly feed upon themselves while the climate is around that glacial/inter-glacial threshold resulting in dramatic semi cyclic constant swings in the climate from glacial to inter-glacial while factors allow such an occurrence to take place.

        The climatic back ground factors (those factors being previously mentioned) driving the climate gradually toward or away from the climate intersection or threshold of glacial versus interglacial, however when the climate is at the intersection the climate gets wild and abrupt, while once away from that intersection the climate is more stable. Although random terrestrial events and extra terrestrial events could be involved some times to account for some of the dramatic swings in the climatic history of the earth( perhaps to the tune of 10% ) at any time , while solar variability and the associated secondary effects are superimposed upon the otherwise gradual climatic trend, resulting in counter climatic trends, no matter where the initial state of the climate is although the further from the glacial/inter-glacial threshold the climate is the less dramatic the overall climatic change should be, all other items being equal.

        The climate is chaotic, random, and non linear, but in addition it is never in the same mean state or initial state which gives rise to given forcing to the climatic system always resulting in a different climatic out-come although the semi cyclic nature of the climate can still be derived to a degree amongst all the noise and counter trends within the main trend.

        QUESTIONS:

        Why is it when ever the climate changes the climate does not stray indefinitely from it’s mean in either a positive or negative direction? Why or rather what ALWAYS brings the climate back toward it’s mean value ? Why does the climate never go in the same direction once it heads in that direction?

        Along those lines ,why is it that when the ice sheets expand the higher albedo /lower temperature more ice expansion positive feedback cycle does not keep going on once it is set into motion? What causes it not only to stop but reverse?

        Vice Versa why is it when the Paleocene – Eocene Thermal Maximum once set into motion, that being an increase in CO2/higher temperature positive feedback cycle did not feed upon itself? Again it did not only stop but reversed?

        My conclusion is the climate system is always in a general gradual trend toward a warmer or cooler climate in a semi cyclic fashion which at times brings the climate system toward thresholds which make it subject to dramatic change with the slightest change of force superimposed upon the general trend and applied to it. While at other times the climate is subject to randomness being brought about from terrestrial /extra terrestrial events which can set up a rapid counter trend within the general slow moving climatic trend.

        .

        Despite this ,if enough time goes by (much time) the same factors that drive the climate toward a general gradual warming trend or cooling trend will prevail bringing the climate away from glacial/inter-glacial threshold conditions it had once brought the climate toward ending abrupt climatic change periods eventually, or reversing over time dramatic climate changes from randomness.

        NOTE 1- Thermohaline Circulation Changes are more likely in my opinion when the climate is near the glacial/ inter-glacial threshold probably due to greater sources of fresh water input into the North Atlantic.

      • PART TWO

        HOW THE CLIMATE MAY CHANGE

        Below I list my low average solar parameters criteria which I think will result in secondary effects being exerted upon the climatic system.

        My biggest hurdle I think is not if these low average solar parameters would exert an influence upon the climate but rather will they be reached and if reached for how long a period of time?

        I think each of the items I list , both primary and secondary effects due to solar variability if reached are more then enough to bring the global temperatures down by at least .5c in the coming years.

        Even a .15 % decrease from just solar irradiance alone is going to bring the average global temperature down by .2c or so all other things being equal. That is 40% of the .5c drop I think can be attained. Never mind the contribution from everything else that is mentioned.

        What I am going to do is look into research on sun like stars to try to get some sort of a gage as to how much possible variation might be inherent with the total solar irradiance of the sun. That said we know EUV light varies by much greater amounts, and within the spectrum of total solar irradiance some of it is in anti phase which mask total variability within the spectrum. It makes the total irradiance variation seem less then it is.

        I also think the .1% variation that is so acceptable for TSI is on flimsy ground in that measurements for this item are not consistent and the history of measuring this item with instrumentation is just to short to draw these conclusions not to mention I know some sun like stars (which I am going to look into more) have much greater variability of .1%.

        I think Milankovich Cycles, the Initial State of the Climate or Mean State of the Climate , State of Earth’s Magnetic Field set the background for long run climate change and how effective given solar variability will be when it changes when combined with those items. Nevertheless I think solar variability within itself will always be able to exert some kind of an influence on the climate regardless if , and that is my hurdle IF the solar variability is great enough in magnitude and duration of time. Sometimes solar variability acting in concert with factors setting the long term climatic trend while at other times acting in opposition.

        THE CRITERIA

        Solar Flux avg. sub 90

        Solar Wind avg. sub 350 km/sec

        AP index avg. sub 5.0

        Cosmic ray counts north of 6500 counts per minute

        Total Solar Irradiance off .15% or more

        EUV light average 0-105 nm sub 100 units (or off 100% or more) and longer UV light emissions around 300 nm off by several percent.

        IMF around 4.0 nt or lower.

        The above solar parameter averages following several years of sub solar activity in general which commenced in year 2005..

        If , these average solar parameters are the rule going forward for the remainder of this decade expect global average temperatures to fall by -.5C, with the largest global temperature declines occurring over the high latitudes of N.H. land areas.

        The decline in temperatures should begin to take place within six months after the ending of the maximum of solar cycle 24.

        Secondary Effects With Prolonged Minimum Solar Activity. A Brief Overview.

        A Greater Meridional Atmospheric Circulation- due to less UV Light Lower Ozone in Lower Stratosphere.

        Increase In Low Clouds- due to an increase in Galactic Cosmic Rays.

        Greater Snow-Ice Cover- associated with a Meridional Atmospheric Circulation/an Increase In Clouds.

        Greater Snow-Ice Cover probably resulting over time to a more Zonal Atmospheric Circulation. This Circulation increasing the Aridity over the Ice Sheets eventually. Dust probably increasing into the atmosphere over time.

        Increase in Volcanic Activity – Since 1600 AD, data shows 85 % approximately of all major Volcanic eruptions have been associated with Prolonged Solar Minimum Conditions. Data from the Space and Science Center headed by Dr. Casey.

        Volcanic Activity -acting as a cooling agent for the climate,(SO2) and enhancing Aerosols possibly aiding in greater Cloud formation.

        Decrease In Ocean Heat Content/Sea Surface Temperature -due to a decline in Visible Light and Near UV light.

        This in turn should diminish the Greenhouse Gas Effect over time, while promoting a slow drying out of the atmosphere over time. This may be part of the reason why Aridity is very common with glacial periods.

        In addition sea surface temperature distribution changes should come about ,which probably results in different oceanic current patterns.

      • @Chief Hydrologist
        The punctuated equilibrium theory is interesting, but ultimately interesting hypotheses are worthless without confirmation data.
        A key piece of confirmation data would be the thresholds at which the Roman and Medieval warming periods started (and ended) as well as the LIA trigger (and end).
        Another key piece of information is the level at which “abrupt” change occurs. If, for example, we’ve already passed this level, then ongoing radical economic changes are pointless. If, for a different example, we’re far away from said level, then equally radical economic changes are pointless. Only in the “Goldilocks” case where we’re right near or at the level where abrupt changes occur does it possibly make sense to undertake radical economic change – but the decision to do so is still a political one, not a scientific one.
        Thus “abrupt climate change” is in many respects merely a variant of the precautionary principle – without said confirmation data.

      • ‘The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation. ‘ Wally Broecker’ Wally Broecker

        Abrupt change is evidence of an internal dynamical mechanism – as distinct from the slow solar or orbital changes. We have not got much beyond that in predicting them – they will occur in future but the causes, proximity and extent are unknowable.

        I am not the one to recommend radical economic change – there are better ways of responding and building resilient communities that can cope with whatever nature throws at us.

        http://watertechbyrie.com/2015/05/23/economic-growth-and-environmental-management-in-a-global-iriai/comment-page-1/#comment-626

      • @Chief Hydrologist
        The question for ecomodernists and for Iriai proponents is quite simple: what happens when large numbers of people and/or countries refuse to participate in the communal efforts to improve ecological footprint?
        There is no primary incentive whatsoever – only a vague feeling of potential disaster.
        This is no different than the villages that have existed for hundreds of years under a hanging rock – if the danger there is very clear and present yet no action was taken, why then should there be any expectation of benefit from much more vague propositions?
        While I neither share the beliefs in catastrophic AGW nor share faith in the means to avert said CAGW, I do understand why they are doing what they’re doing. The propagandistic actions and anti-democratic desires are consistent with their view that only radical action can avert disaster and that the ends justify the means.
        However, with Iriai and the Ecomodernist viewpoint, I do not see any consistency nor pragmatic actionability on the proposed agenda.

    • David Wojick

      I disagree strongly Chief. If it is a chaotic transition then it is not forced, quite the opposite. Nonlinear dynamics does not support your call for action.

      • Apart from the fact that ‘action’ makes sense on a number of levels?

        Unforced internal variability is the multi-decadal wobbles on a rising temp. whose origins are uncertain but at any rate have little significance in the progressive scheme of thing.

        Mode 2 thinking – and it took them forever to get to that. Most still haven’t.

        The climate system is pushed by changes past thresholds at which stage the system becomes unstable – fluctuates madly – and then settles into a new state. Climate shifts. Abrupt climate change – a better terminology than unforced variability – is evidence of nonlinear dynamical complexity in Earth’s climate.

      • I have reported this – along with other comments. Reporting every comment from Springer in his pernicious campaign of cyber bullying should not be necessary. .

  37. There is, in my mind, absolutely no doubt that the human species will

    1. Use the energy Aston described in his 1922 Nobel Lecture as powers beyond the dreams of scientific fiction or

    2. Become extinct because of the ill-conceived geo-engineering experiment to forbid public knowledge of the energy that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki – NEUTRON REPULSION.

    Just for today, Memorial Day 2015, let’s set aside differences and recommit to Patrick Henry’s famous speechGive me liberty or give me death ! “

    http://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2015/05/25/memorial-day-2015-leader-of-u-s-military-veterans-coalition-renews-patrick-henrys-call-to-liberty/

  38. From the article:

    I have been warning for some time that government was eyeing up pensions.The amount in private pension funds is about $19.4 trillion. The question that has been debated in secret behind the curtain is how to justify to the people taking that over. I have been warning that if this is seized by government, it will come after 2015.75. Just how that is to be accomplished was finally settled by the Supreme Court without any justification constitutionally.

    The US Supreme Court ruled last week in the unanimous, 8-page decision in Tibble v. Edison holding that employers have a duty to protect workers in their 401(k) plans from mutual funds that are too expensive or perform poorly. That is simply astonishing since there is no constitutional requirement for even government to provide social benefits. The Supreme court held in HARRIS v. McRAE, 448 U.S. 297 (1980) it was explained that the constitution is negative not positive. There is no duty imposed upon the state to provide a program for that would convert the constitution from a negative restrain upon government to a positive obligation to provide for everyone.

    If we take the fact that the constitution is NEGATIVE and was a restrain upon government, then this latest ruling is completely unfounded. Monday’s unanimous ruling sends a warning to employers that they now must improve their plans and it is now an obligation to project employees. This comes just in time for then the next step is government to seize private funds and prosecute employers who choose badly a fund manager. This fits perfectly just in time for the Obama administration’s next assault as they prepare a landmark change of its own by issuing rules requiring that financial advisers put the interest of customers ahead of their own. This creates a very gray area wide enough to justify public seizure of pension funds under management.

    http://armstrongeconomics.com/archives/30875

    • Jim

      I must be missing something here. What is wrong with expecting Financial advisers to put their clients interest ahead of their own?

      It os normal in the UK and Australia. Why would that lead To the public seizure of pension funds?

      Can you point to any countries with the rule of law where this confiscation has happened?

      Tonyb

      • From the article:

        Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Cyprus and other countries have seized pensions as part of move by governments to use long-term assets to fill “short-term deficits”.

        Russia has “temporarily” seized private pensions while it carries out “inspections”.

        But certainly America would never seize our pension funds … right?

        Well, after Argentina seized its pension funds, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard – International Business Editor for the Telegraph – wrote:

        It is a foretaste of what may happen across the world as governments discover that tax revenue, and discover that the bond markets are unwilling to plug the gap. The G7 states are already acquiring an unhealthy taste for the arbitrary seizure of private property, I notice.

        ***

        My fear is that governments in the US, Britain, and Europe will display similar reflexes. Indeed, they have already done so. The forced-feeding of banks with fresh capital – whether they want it or not – and the seizure of the Fannie/Freddie mortgage giants before they were in fact in trouble (in order to prevent a Chinese buying strike of US bonds and prevent a spike in US mortgage rates), shows that private property can be co-opted – or eliminated – with little due process ….

        Forbes’ Richard Eisenberg claims that the government is targeting our 401ks with taxes.
        ..
        http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/10/government-has-contemplated-seizing-pension-money-for-over-a-decade.html

      • Jim

        I read the article in the telegraph some time ago and have seen similar articles since. Govts do need to reduce their deficits but whether they will ever do so sognificantly is another matter . If they seized our pensions would they ever get re elected?

        Best bet is probably to take our pension as a lump sum and invest it yourself in such assets as property.

        Tonyb

      • Tonyb

        Many people lost money in real estate since 2008. Though, it is a real asset.

      • From the article:
        “The big banks are trying their best to grab your money before the government. Specifically, the big banks have shaved money off of virtually every pension transaction they handled over the course of decades, stealing collectively billions of dollars from pensions worldwide.”
        Pick one path: Guess where the market is going or pay someone to guess for you. Cut the annual expense ratios you pay on your mutual funds.
        Governments can go to great lengths to rationalize borrowing money for a number of pressing reasons. I think a more likely attack on pretax accounts is a higher income tax rate. At 50% you eventually get half the money anyways. There is something called required minimum distributions for people older that 70 ½. That could be lowered or the rate accelerated to farm some more money. There is some merit for concern. My typical client has one type of investment. Pretax money. I suggest to them at times, think about more after tax and Roth investments. This is diversification across different tax treatments. A bit of low cost hedging. Think of pools of money. Social Security benefits, your house, pretax (401(k) and traditional IRAs), Roth investments, after tax investments and for some people defined benefit pensions. Of all these investment types, I’d say pretax money is the most vulnerable to changes. I may be wrong though. If we drop the income tax and go to a national sales tax instead, the pretax investments win. Those withdrawals will not be taxed. One thing is pretty sure though, never under estimate the Washington jokers ability to rationalize new ways to get at your money.

      • richardswarthout

        A primary responsibility of government is to protect its citizens, and I see no reason why that should not apply tp 401k plans. Should there be no concern regarding the possibility of a business owner mismanaging an employee’s 401k, perhaps motivated by self interest?

        Richard

      • For a typical 401K, the employer selects some investment vehicles, usually ETFs in this day and time, then the employee selects. If the range of investment choices was increased, then the employee is responsible and has a lot of flexibility. For example, offer all the single leverage spdrs.

        https://www.spdrs.com/library-content/public/ETF%20Quicksheet.pdf?docname=SPDR+ETF+Quicksheet+&onyx_code1=1300&onyx_code2=642

    • Sounds like Argentina. If there is money somewhere, they want it and will find a way to take it. I can hear Ograba now, ” only the one percenters have pension savings.” Government employees, with rich defined benefit pensions that almost no private sector employees have, will, of course, be unaffected.

  39. There are Bigger fish to fry than CAGW if you want to improve the lives of the poor:

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-05-25/the-cost-of-corruption-in-latin-america

  40. I apologize since this is rather off topic. Has anyone experienced difficulties accessing Lucia’s blackboard recently? I have been unable to access her blog for the last two or three months. What is befuddling is that I get a timeout error (This webpage is not available ERR_CONNECTION_TIMED_OUT) on three different computers with three different versions of windows (XP, 7 and 8), three different browsers (IE, Chrome and Firefox) *and* also through more than a dozen different international web based anonymous proxies that I’ve tried (the proxies just don’t return any result). Yet, when I query on such site as downforeveryoneorjustme, the result is that the site rankexploits.com is up.

  41. Charlie Rose on Climate Change: ‘Do We Have Too Many Scientific Deniers?
    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/geoffrey-dickens/2015/05/26/charlie-rose-climate-change-do-we-have-too-many-scientific-deniers
    DeGrasse Tyson

  42. From the article:

    As companies look to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, many are turning toward rooftop photovoltaic (PV) power systems, or solar panels, as a source of renewable, clean energy. However, this technology comes with specific risks. One of the many dangers to solar panels is how the panel and its mounting system impact the combustibility of the overall roof system. Some solar panels, for example, include a backing of highly combustible plastic.

    In laboratory-based fire tests of roof assemblies,1, 2 the maximum allowable fire spread is between approximately 20 and 40 ft2 (1.9 and 3.7 m2), depending on whether an A, B or C rating is desired. In actual roof fires with roof-mounted solar panels, fire damage has involved areas of between 1,000 and 183,000 ft2 (93 and 17,000 m2). In the most extreme case the fire spread to the inside and destroyed the entire building (see Fig. 1).
    ,,,

    http://magazine.sfpe.org/issue-92-fire-concerns-roof-mounted-solar-panels

  43. From the article:

    With devastating floods ravaging counties across Texas, the establishment Left isn’t waiting for rescue workers to finish cleaning up the mess before they declare the culprit: climate change deniers.

    The eco-doomsayer Think Progress will explain it to you:

    Texas and Oklahoma both face intensifying drought and flooding, although politicians in both states have denied climate change. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Texas “has yet to formally address climate change preparedness” — one of only 12 states to not have taken any steps toward addressing the impacts of climate change on water resources.

    “Between more intense rainstorms and sea level rise, flooding will only increase if we don’t address climate change,” according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    Of course, the usual suspects have chimed in on social media:

    http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2015/05/27/institutional-left-exploiting-texas-floods-for-political-gain/

  44. “…Vice President Dick Cheney articulated what became known as the Cheney Doctrine: If there’s even a 1% chance that the unimaginable might happen, it must be treated as a certainty and acted on accordingly.
    “It’s not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence — it’s about our response,” Cheney told a meeting of top aides…”
    http://forward.com/opinion/national/309111/the-95-doctrine-of-climate-change/
    This sounds familiar. Cheney seemed to be talking about Al Qaeda. Both problems deal with a lack of information. It may be a question of co-existence rather than it’s us or them.

  45. Peter Lang

    I agree with Pindyck’s criticisms of the IAMs, and especially about discount rate selection and damage function. However, what he want’s is far worse. he just wants hos belefs and value judgements to be the basis for hugely damaging policies. What cr@p!.

    The only solution to reducing global GHG emissions (I say carefully because I am not persuaded doing so would deliver and net benefits to the world) is no regret policies – i.e policies that deliver net benefits whetHer GHG emissions are bad or not. Example of policies that are no regrets and reduce GHG emissions are:

    1. Remove the unwarranted impediments on nuclear power; these are making nuclear far more expensive than it should be, delaying progress, causing around 1.3 million avoidable fatalities per year.

    2.

  46. Pooh, Dixie

    Re: Breakthrough Institute’s FAQ
    Great post! It covered the bases, probably because of space limitations. Here are a few more:

    A breeder reactor can produce more fuel than it uses. It produces energy from waste, as noted above. The experimental breeder reactor (EBR-1) was the first (1950s). It suffered a breakdown, but release was minor and no fatalities.
    Wikipedia contributors. “Nuclear Reactor Accidents in the United States.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, February 21, 2015. There has been 1 fatality since 1988; it was a construction accident, not nuclear.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nuclear_reactor_accidents_in_the_United_States&oldid=648161768

    Yucca Mountain (storage project) was shut down by political fearmongering. We have Harry Reid to “thank”. However, our ballistic submarines are nuclear.

    “Population control” is yet another “Cause celebre” of the Left. China adopted harsh measures to control it. However, people tend to have fewer children when they are well off. In the West, it appears to be automatic. Cheap and plentiful energy replaced candles with light switches, for example. Tractors replaced horses. And so on.