Week in review – energy and policy edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week

US energy/climate policy

OMB’s whitewash on the Social Cost of Carbon [link]

EPA head: We don’t need to justify our regulations with data [link]

Energy challenges in developing world

Pakistan’s Other National Struggle: Its Energy Crisis [link]  …

Karachi’s heat wave a sign of future challenges to Pakistan [link]

Expanding electricity access to all Nigeria: a spatial planning and cost analysis. [link]

Fossil fuel

There are 2,200 coal plants being planned worldwide today. If 1/3 get built, we’ll likely bust through 2°C of warming [link]

“The global coal renaissance is the most important climate story today” [link]

Brown coal wins a reprieve in Germany’s transition to a green future [link]

As US shifts from coal to nat. gas, power plants need substantially less water to operate: [link]

Nuclear

Reinventing #Nuclear Power – Small modular reactors [link] :

If we don’t build 1000 new nuclear plants, we’re going to burn a LOT of coal. [link]

“If you care about nature and climate, Diablo Canyon (nuclear) is the kind of power plant you want.” [link]

Fascinating case of nuclear vs renewable politics in post-EPA coal regulation era. [link]  …

Renewables

“Climate change is the second biggest reason – not the biggest – for renewables in a survey of the German public.” [link]

US solar & wind installations will crash — 73% & 46% — without new tax subsidies, industry group warns [link]

How smaller batteries give more power for  less money, to UK solar households [link]  …

“The dream of ‘renewable, carbon-free energy is creating one environmental disaster after another.”  [link]

UK Bioethanol Sector Struggles As It Faces Sceptical Government [link]

Electricity from New Wind Three Times More Costly than Existing Coal [link]

More Canadian hydro #electricity being imported by America  [link]

Odd Fallout of German Renewables’ Success – Neighbors risk Blackout [link]

Can the nation’s largest forest restoration project survive sawdust, scrutiny and “sabotage”?  [link]

Economics

Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz thinks the U.N. Climate Change Conference is ‘doomed to failure’ [link]

Bill Gates says cost of decarbonization with today’s technology is “beyond astronomical.” [link]  …

Modi’s Solar Energy Plan May Sink ‘Made In India’, Economist Warns [link]

“PNAS Study Implicitly Confirms Climate Treaty Threatens Developing Country Economies” [link]  …

Learn about new SEI approach to evaluating carbon #lock-in risks [link]

 

 

 

272 responses to “Week in review – energy and policy edition

  1. Now the socialist, elitist, save-the-children more-ons are attacking bacon. Not the brainiest move on their part! It’s time for them to start taking more valium. From the article:

    Taxes are like spinach. You might not like them, but they are good for you. We tax vice, like cigarettes, and use the money for virtue, like education. It makes perfect sense until we touch on something we truly care about, like bacon.

    Deliciousness aside, red meat has many hidden costs. As we all know, those ribs might send you faster to the grave and, as a Harvard study puts it, contribute “substantially to a premature death.” Yes, we’re talking about heart disease, which is linked to red meat and remains the No. 1 killer in the United States.

    We’re not thinking only about you, either. We’re thinking of the climate, which is heating up so fast that we’ve basically missed all of our goals concerning greenhouse gas emissions. What’s the connection? Farts and belches, basically. The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization says cows, pigs and other livestock release so much methane that they’re responsible for 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. There are plenty of other environmental arguments. Livestock accounts for 8 percent of all human water usage, and overall, a pound of meat requires many more resources — from land to medicine — than a pound of grain. Indeed, cultivation of soybeans for animal feed has caused massive rainforest destruction.

    http://news.yahoo.com/bacon-tax-080000906.html

  2. WTI oil finally has made a substantial move:

    5/22/15
    OIL 59.99
    BRENT 65.37
    NAT GAS 2.885
    RBOB GAS 2.068

    7/3/15
    OIL 55.52
    BRENT 60.32
    NAT GAS 2.77
    RBOB GAS 2.0015

    7/10/15
    OIL 52.81
    BRENT 58.73
    NAT GAS 2.773
    RBOB GAS 2.027

    • David L. Hagen

      The much higher 2015 inventory reflects oil in contango. Make more money in storage for future sale then now.

      If you had a place to store that cheap oil, you could make a lot of money when prices rebounded.

      Thus was born the booming demand for oil tankers, or any other place to stash low-cost crude.

      By January 2009, with prices still hovering around $50 a barrel, there were some 90 million barrels of crude in floating storage.

      • Yep, true that. Right now Iran has a bunch of tankers filled with crude oil. If the I-d-i-ot-in-Chief is really stupid enough to make a (woefully bad for the US) deal with Iran, all that oil will hit the market. That’s on top of oil from other countries in tankers and other storage sitting out there due to the contango.

  3. Prospects for shale oil are improving. Technology might not be magic, but it’s having an ongoing impact on shale oil reserves. The lower oil price has actually stimulated exploration of secondary stimulation techniques. From the article:

    But as today’s engineers start applying the procedure to the horizontal wells that went up during the fracking boom that swept across U.S. shale fields over the past decade, something more powerful, more financially rewarding is happening.

    The short life span of these wells, long thought to be perhaps the single biggest weakness of the shale industry, is being stretched out. Early evidence of the effects of restimulation suggests that the fields could actually contain enough reserves to last about 50 years, according to a calculation based on Wood Mackenzie Ltd and ITG Investment Research data.

    ears of working on traditional wells have shown that they can be restimulated multiple times, Vincent said. In the industry’s lingo, a well that has been blasted five times is a “Cinco de Fraco.” Eight times gets you an “Octofrac.” When done right, the procedure not only boosts the flow of crude, but can also increase the estimate of reserves held in the well. Vincent said it’s common to see oil recovery climb 60 percent or more.

    “I’ve seen a well get 10 fracs through the same perfs, and it appears that we’re adding reserves every time,” he said.

    http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?hpf=1&a_id=139482

    • The article is a bit of a hype. Refracking doesn’t yield a good return. It boosts production for a short period of time, but the incremental volume doesn’t pay the refrac cost. Well life will be highly dependent on crude and gas prices because these wells will eventually have very low decline rates. The key will be to get a price that justifies producing a very marginal well.

      I’m looking at composite data for world wide production, which shows crude and condensate peaked in the first semester of 2015. What happens next will depend on industry reaction: if they feel optimist they’ll drill and keep prices swinging on the low side, if they are more prudent they’ll hold back, production should fall and prices will go back up. It’s going to be a seesaw sequence for a while.

      Also, I’m seeing a lot of over hype and marketing by companies invested in shale fields. I think they are looking for secondary stock issue buyers.

      • According to the article, refracking costs 1.5 million, the increased value is 2.5 million for a 1 million dollar profit. The article states that the number of wells refracked so far isn’t big enough, it’s only saying this looks promising.

      • WRT to what production happens where, the shale industry has already cut way back on drilling rigs, although in the past two weeks the rig count has gone up. They are focusing on the best properties. It would be silly for them to cut back on production. Only with max production will they maximize their revenue. If they cut back, someone else in the world will just take their share. I don’t see any reason why shale producers should play an even bigger role as swing producer. They are already forced into that role, but they shouldn’t fall on their sword simply to increase oil prices.

      • The article is hype. Refracking costs depend on the number of stages. And the incremental rate depends on the number of stages and design parameters. What I’ve been shown displays a short lived hyperbolic on top of preexisting decline. The total volume, on average, isn’t worth it.

        I’ve looked at consolidated data for over 9000 wells, and it seems to me the key is to develop the ability to pump them at marginal rates, which is critically dependent on hole design, actual oil, water, and gas rates.

        I would treat information about these wells with extreme care, there’s a lot of interest in selling stock and getting loans, because right now they are cash flow negative.

  4. Pingback: Week in review – energy and policy edition | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  5. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-T-Z/USA–Nuclear-Power/

    This had some interesting information. Even though the US hasn’t built much nuclear in the past 30 year, increases in efficiency and reduction in down time had the impact of building 29000mWh of nuclear or about the same real energy output as all of the wind power installations.

    • Instead of looking at natural gas prices today, we have to undertake the difficult task of forecasting natural gas prices 50 years from now. That is what is needed to make the decision to build more nuke plants, large and small. We need to build them now.

  6. The coal to gas and water use piece is both trivial and misleading. EIA has the average efficiency of the US coal fleet at 34%. CCGT is 61%. CCGT needs half as much cooling. OTH, the statistic that 38% of US freshwater is used for cooling is highly misleading. Used to carry off heat, yes. Used up (as in thereafter unavailable) mostly not.

  7. The OMB whitewash link is disturbing IER is simply pointing out that the Obama administration is not following its own clear written rules on discount rates in setting the ‘social cost of carbon’.
    Ditto the EPA refusing to reveal what studies underly its regularions. The excuses were beyond feeble. Hence the proposed new legislation to force disclosure. Also disturbing to learn that the head of the EPA does not know that 400ppm is 400/1000000, so 0.0004, so 0.04%. Or maybe she thinks 400ppm sounds scary, so don’t testify four hundredths of one percent?

  8. It looks like the liberal economist Joseph Stiglitz is about to be clobbered.

    • Stiglitz Calls Climate Talks a ‘Charade,’ Pushes Plan C

      “C” for Communism.

      • The three ‘Cs’. Not unlike the ‘The Three Amigos’.

      • Right. Carbon tax = communism.

        And they said that red-baiting went out of style in the 50s.

      • Don Monfort

        The Reds have made a comeback riding the CAGW scare.

      • A carbon tax wouldn’t work. At least, the sort he’s proposing wouldn’t have the effect he wants. So what would the types meeting in Paris want to do? Set up a world-wide bureaucracy to “manage” it. And when it still doesn’t work, they’d want to make it bigger and give it stronger enforcement powers.

        Meanwhile, the whole thing would be wide open to infiltration, subversion, and takeover of the sort Lenin used.

        Red-baiting”? Just pointing out the likely “progress” of the approach. The sort of “progress” “progressives” like. (Some of them.)

      • McCarthy was right about Communists infiltrating the US government and media. Obama proves that.

      • When the filter of contemporary liberal MSM is taken away, it is funny how previously classified documents reveal truths about history. I wonder what the youth of 2065 will find out about today’s events that we don’t know.

      • Joshua | July 12, 2015 at 12:52 pm |
        Right. Carbon tax = communism.

        Sadly this is exactly right. Only totalitarians would think of taxing a beneficial gas.

        I guess oxygen is next, they already charge for and tax water where I live..

    • “Right. Carbon tax = communism.”

      Give you points for an unusually wry comment from you, but t’s a step in that general direction, Josh.

      How does a government go about ruining its own country? As the old saw goes, gradually at first, then all of a sudden.

      (aka pokerguy)

  9. David Wojick

    “OMB’s whitewash on the Social Cost of Carbon” is good up to a point ,but they miss the real problem. They note, as many have, that SCC is very sensitive to the discount rate. They suggest, incorrectly, that this is because most of the (questionable model projected) damages from today’s emissions only occur in the second half of the present century.

    In fact SCC has to go out 300 years to get these projected damages, because most of them are from sea level rise. This is why it is so sensitive to the discount rate.

    In short, SCC is based on climate and economic modeling 300 years into the future. This is simply absurd, amazing hubris. 300 years ago, George Washington was not yet born. Should those folks in 1715 have based their policies on what was going to happen in 1900 or 2000? Of course not, but the US Government is doing exactly that. How is this not nuts?

    Perhaps it is the sheer absurdity that keeps it from being noticed.

    • Of course it is nuts, but, then again, hubris. Predictably, some will say we have to make projections for planning purposes, especially important people, like government planners and modelers and think tankers. We little people cannot understand such things as we are mere bumpkins, even given egalitarianism and the whole representative democracy thingy. Some animals are more equal than others…

    • SCC calculations shouldn’t include sea-level rise at all. It’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity.

    • I noticed the same.

  10. “Renewables ”
    “Climate change is the second biggest reason – not the biggest – for renewables in a survey of the German public.” [link]

    From the article:

    “German households will have diesel generators”

    Nice. Stinky, noisy, and dirty – all in the name of renewables. They will depend on solar with batteries covering the shady season. Where do you find such batteries? Apparently, the main driver of this, from a survey, is fear of nuclear. What? And this from a powerful, educated, sophisticated, first world country? I have to wonder, how could this happen to such a people? I guess a bigger question is, how could such a country, a wellspring of modernity, have prosecuted the holocaust? Some things just don’t make sense.

    Also in the same article, a GLOBAL survey indicated that the three most important issues, in a long list, were, in order from highest to lowest, access to education, health care, and jobs. Where did climate change fit in? Dead last.

    • The primary German motives appear to be energy independence and also independence from large-scale industrial interests, as far as I can tell from that article.

      • JimD – Actually, the number one reason for supporting renewables was “… to make the future safer for our children and grandchildren.” That was a major point of the article. If this were a test you would have gotten the answer wrong and would have been redirected to a “Reading for Comprehension” remedial learning class. :) Just kidding!

      • So when they said climate wasn’t the first reason, you say…?

      • JimD – Read my post again, it is very clear. Off to “Reading for Comprehension” for you! :)

      • OK, you seem to have completely missed the part of the article about the energy policy considerations predating climate concerns. That is what I was talking about.

  11. Not a response to Judith’s links but related to energy production, Osmotic power from mixing freshwater and seawater :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmotic_power
    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150610-blue-energy-how-mixing-water-can-create-electricity

    I also wonder since the implication of osmotic power is that it takes more energy to evaporate seawater than freshwater and conversely that energy is released by rain falling on to seawater and at estuaries and at the poles by freshwater ice melt, is the earth’s energy budget correct as per Trenberth ?

    Just a thought from a novice.

  12. Maybe I missed it, but from the Guardian piece on small batteries (and it’s Powervault link), I couldn’t find any mention of what type of battery (chemically) this is.

    • They are PbA. Probably the deep discharge (golf cart) type. Means the Powervault will last just a couple of years if used as intended. Tried but could not find a warranty to go with the product spec. Is green craziness piled on top of the foolishness of solar in low insolation UK.

    • Don’t worry Canman. The renewable energy space will be saved by the Hopium-Hot Air battery.

  13. “Bill Gates says cost of decarbonization with today’s technology is “beyond astronomical…Recently Bill Gates explained in an interview with the Financial Times why current renewables are dead-end technologies. “

    OK, then. Sounds like maybe Bill is all in for fossil fuels, eh?

    Oh. Wait.

    “In the interview, Gates calls for far greater funding for renewable research, saying investment “should be like the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Project in the sense that the government should put in a serious amount of R&D.” He pointed to the drawbacks of now-commonplace technologies like solar, which can only provide power during the day.”

    • Bill Gates is for nuclear. Of course, he is all for the government spending our money on what HE wants. He needs to fund what HE wants HIMSELF.

      • Yep. He can spend his money in search of the Hopium-Hot Air battery. Not our money.

      • “There’s no battery technology that’s even close to allowing us to take all of our energy from renewables and be able to use battery storage in order to deal not only with the 24-hour cycle but also with long periods of time where it’s cloudy and you don’t have sun or you don’t have wind,” he said.

        That reminds me of the early ’90’s, when Windoz didn’t even have a built-in TCP/IP stack and we had to install a 3rd-party product to use the Internet. That same Internet that Bill Gates didn’t even discover till 1995:

        the most important single development to come along since the IBM PC was introduced in 1981.

        […]

        The Internet is a tidal wave. It changes the rules. It is an incredible opportunity as well as incredible challenge I am looking forward to your input on how we can improve our strategy to continue our track record of incredible success.

        Well, guess what Bill! It was changing the rules years before you discovered it, and you’d have known sooner if you weren’t more interested in ripping subordinates to shreds in meetings than listening to them.

        Anyway, he’s wrong. Batteries aren’t going to “change everything”. Most likely (IMO), exponentially decreasing PV costs and bio-reactors to create gas/hydrocarbon fuel from solar power are going to “change the rules”. And while we wait for that, deep-sea pumped hydro storage will combine with solar, wind, and maybe nuclear to progressively de-carbonize the economy.

      • I’d be all for nuclear even if it does decarbonize the economy. Microsoft has always struggled to be a tech leader, but it usually is just a follower, as you note. They do have great customer service and I think that is mainly what got them where they are today, plus Bill Gates shrewd dealings with IBM over DOS and OS/2.

      • IBM made some incredibly stupid decisions. It wasn’t that hard to be smarter than that. (To be fair, they might have been afraid of anti-trust implications.)

      • David L. Hagen

        Bill Gates sees the problems:

        “Nuclear technology today is failing on cost, safety, proliferation, waste and fuel shortage, and so any technology that comes in has to have some answer to all of those things,” he said.

        He now puts his money where his mouth is. He has already invested $1 billion and will likely invest another 1 billion into nuclear / renewable power.

        See:
        Bill Gates is doubling his $1 billion into renewables

      • Gates – “he is more interested in battery technology”

        Good luck with that.

    • It’s like the headline of the Nobel prize winner that doesn’t think Paris will work. OK, maybe he’s a skeptic(?). No, he has always wanted a carbon tax and still does. You have to read beyond the headlines here.

    • Joshua | July 12, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Reply
      “Bill Gates says cost of decarbonization with today’s technology is “beyond astronomical…Recently Bill Gates explained in an interview with the Financial Times why current renewables are dead-end technologies. “

      Well, he is right that decarbonization with today’s technology is “beyond astronomical

      We have at least 30 years to improve the technology and eventually the pollution and cost of today’s renewable technology will be reduced.

      Which leaves aside the question of why we would decarbonize, a goal without a justification.

      But lack of fossil fuel will lead to conversion sooner or later.

    • Joshua

      I have been saying that here for over two years Although equating it to an Apollo or CERN type project.

      The long term funding and direction would have to come from governments and as well as seeking to improve existing renewables or looking for new ones they would also have to look for the missing link, vastly improved storage by way of batteries.

      When I Have suggested it here some have immediately rejected the notion as being socialist in the sense it is a shared govt initiative.
      Glad to see Bill following my lead.
      Tonyb

      • tony –

        ==> “Glad to see Bill following my lead.”

        What shocks me is that it took him so long. By some explainable quirk of fate, he must not have read your opinion. Clearly, if he had, he would have plopped a coupla billion Bengamins down long ago.

    • dougbadgero

      Who said he is “all in for fossil fuels”? He is simply acknowledging the reality that exists today. It is a refreshing change of pace from the average progressive.

  14. The excerpted comments between Smith and McCarthy don’t tell the story. The EPA uses peer reviewed scientific publications to make its decisions, many being medical studies. Typical decisions may take large numbers of papers together as background. So, while the EPA decision-making process based on papers is easy to provide and is, these questions pertain to the data used for the individual papers, as though the science committee wants to do a scientific review of the published papers at the raw data level, and that is the data they are asking for. It is very difficult for the EPA to provide this data from individual unaffiliated researchers, but they are being pressured to. This seems unreasonable because the house committee would have no idea how to process this information to dispute the paper’s conclusions even if they had it.

    • David Wojick

      There are a lot of skeptical scientists who want to see and process this data, as well as how it was analyzed to get the published conclusions, not just the the legislators. Withholding the science that is used to make multi-billion dollar regulatory decisions is completely unacceptable. Private data should not be used to make public policy. That is the point of the Secret Science Act.

      • You think that the House will dig into the weeds of the research on cancer risks even if independent studies confirm each other. Note that privacy means they can’t get to the patient level and send their officials to individual houses (which may include those in other countries), but at that level they have to take the medical researchers’ word for it. You can see that they want the government to be invasive in science and spend public money redoing research that has already been done mainly because they don’t trust medical researchers that give inconvenient results for them. It’s a complete mistrust of all of science and peer review by these House members, which is their own problem and should not be imposed on other people. The government already has scientific advice and it is called the EPA.

      • David Wojick

        No, what is driving this is EPA’s PM2.5 rule and the Harvard six cities study. This fight has been going on for a long time. (If you do not understand what is going on you might try asking first.) EPA is out of control.

      • Why don’t they trust that study?

      • As far as I can tell, this is the study you referenced. It is an extension of a previous long-term study. What is the complaint?
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2662950/

      • DW, it is also motivated by the second hand smoke stuff, and the mercury rules that were just overturned by SCOTUS. EPA went rogue on emails, rogue on statutorily required regulatory process, and rogue on transparency. Obumer cannot veto this because of his transparency pledge. Jim D, Congress won’t be reanalyzing the studies EPA relies upon for weaknesses. It will be experts hired by those affected by the regulations. This is a good way to get shakey or junky science out of the regulatory process. And plenty of that is produced by university and government researchers with agendas. Lots of specific examples in my book tanging from Harvard to PMEL. A small step, but one in the right direction IMO.

      • Jim D,

        Do you really believe that the EPA is fair and objective and can be trusted to impartially perform and evaluate research used to support their execution of Obama’s political objectives? I don’t! This research is being used to support imposing hugely costly new regulations, on the use of fossil fuels, that will cost us all dearly. They need to make the data and analysis methods available so that others can check the veracity of their conclusions. The EPA doesn’t want to do this because they have been trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes and they will be shown to be the prevaricators they are.

        By the way if you really do believe in the honesty and integrity of the EPA, please contact me as I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I can sell you for a very attractive price.

      • Do you really believe that the EPA is fair and objective and can be trusted to impartially perform and evaluate research used to support their execution of Obama’s political objectives?

        Mark, well it’s their job to do it. I am not sure who else is going to do it for them.

      • Mark, well it’s their job to do it. I am not sure who else is going to do it for them.

        They’re bureaucrats. Inherently untrustworthy. They need to be watched closely, and forced to be transparent. Any bureaucrat who violates transparency rules should be fired and prevented from ever working for the government again. And yes, this would definitely include FIOA.

      • The Republicans don’t like that the EPA goes by peer-reviewed science. This is a common theme. They seem to inherently mistrust science, medical or otherwise.

      • Hey Joseph,

        Maybe you and Jim D want to go in together to buy my bridge.

      • Don Monfort

        “The government already has scientific advice and it is called the EPA.”

        You haven’t got the memo, yimmy. The Congress is the popularly elected lawmaking body of the government. They created the EPA. They regularly appropriate money to fund the EPA. They are responsible for overseeing the operation of the EPA. The EPA needs to show their work, yimmy. You got a problem with that?

      • If the Republicans don’t like the peer reviewed science, they shouldn’t blame the EPA for using it. It’s a completely misdirected attack.

      • Is the EPA even saying what “peer-reviewed science” they’re using to support which decisions?

      • Yes, the Republicans know who the scientists are, and they can send their heavies to get the data from the source if they want.

      • […] they can send their heavies to get the data from the source if they want.

        Nope. If the data isn’t publicly available for download by anybody who wants to duplicate it, along with all the necessary information for such duplication, the EPA shouldn’t be allowed to use the “research” based on it.

      • That means nobody can use medical data for policy.

      • That means nobody can use medical data for policy.

        No, it means that real science is going to require that “medical data” be cleansed of identities as it gets entered into the database. Science is based on data, and the data doesn’t have to have names attached.

        OTOH, there will certainly have to be controls in place to assure that any medical data can be tied back to a real human being, and there will have to be agencies responsible for that assurance. As well as “B team” audit checks.

        That is going to require some changes, but the welfare of a nation of potential victims of bureaucracy depends on it.

        I wonder how much of the “science” behind the lynch-mob attacks on the tobacco industry was contaminated by bad data hidden by “confidentiality” requirements?

      • Don Monfort

        What medical data are you talking about, yimmy? Do you think the Congressman want to know the names of the subjects? They don’t give a —- about that. Don’t you people have any clue about what this kind of transparent obfuscation does to your credibility? If you want to convince people that we need to take drastic action on CO2 emissions, then you need to have some credibility.

      • OK, it is not like there is only one study on PM2.5 and health effects. A Google Scholar search gives 40000 articles. Who is going to go through those and make a decision on which databases and statistical analyses to re-do? At some point consensus just is consensus and you don’t need to re-do the stats. This is just political anti-consensus grandstanding of the usual type.

      • Straw man much?

      • The EPA has regulated PM2.5 since 1997. Even the science up to that point showed that the health effects required regulation. What do the Republicans get by redoing the Harvard study themselves? Why are they even suspicious of this one when it is consistent with so many other studies?

      • Why are you talking about PM2.5 when the issue is CO2? Straw man much?

      • Someone above said that this whole question was about the Harvard PM2.5 study. Maybe they were wrong? I know it is the dataset that Cato were complaining about.

      • OK, while I suspect the real issue is the CO2 regulations, let’s talk about PM2.5, and how the EPA should proceed. From day 1, the EPA should have used real Science, which means that the data should be available for replication to anybody who wants it. Any EPA ruling that’s based on “science” where the data isn’t available for replication should be sunsetted, and replaced ASAP with something based on real Science, meaning that the data is available for anybody who wants to download it and replicate the “research”. If they (EPA) can’t justify the regulations based on real science, then the regulations should go away.

        All future EPA regulations should be properly justified with real Science, meaning that every point should be properly justified with references to peer-reviewed literature with all its data publicly available.

      • OK, let’s say the EPA justification cites 50 papers supporting their conclusions, including the Harvard one, and each of those references 10 other studies, many internationally, with consistent findings. At what point do you start to question all of this and decide which papers to pick on as you try to overturn the long-standing consensus on PM2.5?

      • At what point do you start to question all of this and decide which papers to pick on as you try to overturn the long-standing consensus on PM2.5?

        That’s a good question. Given that 20th century “science” often failed on replicatability, the EPA regulations should be sunsetted, and new research should be done, with proper replicatability. Frankly, I suspect it would be a lot harder than you think: PM2.5 has different effects depending on species, and I suspect pre-2012 (say) “science” needs to be re-done and the regulations re-written.

        I wonder how much harmless stuff has been prohibited because nobody bothered to distinguish it from stuff that could cause silicosis?

      • Their first task is to find a credible medical scientist who thinks PM2.5 is harmless and that all the literature on it is in error, otherwise it will just smack of motivated bias and denialism, and people will see right through it.

      • Their first task is to find a credible medical scientist who thinks PM2.5 is harmless and that all the literature on it is in error, […]

        Nope. Congress needs to pass a law sunsetting all EPA regulations. Then, the EPA needs to find real science that justifies putting their regulations back in place.

        All the literature” is based on old, unreplicatable science (AFAIK: unless the data can be made properly available.). So it needs to be thrown out and re-done.

        The question isn’t whether “PM2.5 is harmless”, it’s whether all PM2.5 is as dangerous as whatever the EPA studies used.

      • Yes, why stop at sunsetting all of medical science until they can reprove it? Why not all of science too including Einstein until they can reprove his results with new data? Good idea or just loopy?

      • Yes, why stop at sunsetting all of medical science until they can reprove it?

        I’m not talking about sunsetting science. I’m talking about sunsetting bureaucratic regulations. Which ought to happen anyway, but while we’re at it, we ought to require up-to-date science when renewing it.

      • They looked at the science on PM2.5 decades ago and decided to regulate it. Same with ozone and countless toxins that you would now deregulate pending a House science commission telling us whether it is OK to have arsenic in our drinking water and mercury in our air, for example, or if it just too expensive to stop according to their industrial experts. Where would this madness stop?

      • JimD, “OK, it is not like there is only one study on PM2.5 and health effects. A Google Scholar search gives 40000 articles. Who is going to go through those and make a decision on which databases and statistical analyses to re-do? At some point consensus just is consensus and you don’t need to re-do the stats. This is just political anti-consensus grandstanding of the usual type..”

        If you limit yourself to the past few years it is only 8000.

        How about combination of high fructose diet, ozone and pm2.5 on rats? Luckily the majority of the rats were not smokers.

        http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/ajrccm-conference.2015.191.1_MeetingAbstracts.A3205

      • captd, don’t dismiss earlier studies done prior to the Clean Air Act. These are valuable baselines for many current studies, and the Harvard study used earlier studies with data back to the 70’s to show the effect of cleaner air.

      • JimD, “captd, don’t dismiss earlier studies done prior to the Clean Air Act. ”

        I don’t. the Harvard study “estimated” the annual average PM2.5 decreased during the study and after adjustment for smokers found a significant correlation with heart problems, borderline correlation with lung cancer and not so much with general respiratory problems.

        Based on the studies I have glanced at, avoid aroma therapy especially incense, keep away from those mosquito coils and whatever you do, don’t feed rats high fructose corn syrup.

      • captd, so you believe all that without getting the data and interviewing all the patients in person. Good for you.

      • Would somebody stop and explain why the Secret Science Act 2015 should not apply to the Food and Drug Administration, Defense Department, Energy Dept., National Institute of Health and ALL federal departments and agencies?

      • Would somebody stop and explain why the Secret Science Act 2015 should not apply to the Food and Drug Administration, Defense Department, Energy Dept., National Institute of Health and ALL federal departments and agencies?

        Why? IMO it should! Except perhaps for the NIH, do they produce regulations?

      • JimD, “captd, so you believe all that without getting the data and interviewing all the patients in person. Good for you.”

        That the Harvard 6 city study isn’t very conclusive, indeed I do, however since they “estimated” PM2.5 concentrations and “adjusted” for smokers and former smokers then hand waved at a few confounding factors, if it was called “conclusive” I would like to see why. PM2.5 really should have caused some progressive respiratory conditions or there should have been some convincing argument why it didn’t. Since there was cardiovascular correlation greater than Lung related issues, I would think they missed something. That is just me though.

      • Steven Mosher

        http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199312093292401#t=articleResults

        Looks pretty Good.

        You dont need iron clad science to stop people from spewing stuff into my air !!

      • http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v483/n7391/full/483531a.html

        This bullshit, and this is bullshit has to stop.

        Amgen tried to reproduce 56 landmark studies and only could reproduce 6, that’s 11%. A biomedical study has as much factual weight as a social comment.

        ANY STUDY funded by the EPA should be required to post the data and methodology online.

        The EPA should be required, by law, to post the data and methodology for any study used as a basis for EPA decisions, on the EPA website and publish the location in the Federal Register, BEFORE they are allowed to consider the study. NO EXCEPTIONS.

      • Mosher,

        We do need iron clad science before we mandate, at great cost, the overhaul of our entire electrical power infrastructure so that you can breath imperceptibly improved air that will not materially improve your quality of life.

      • captd, OK, maybe you can give that paper at Harvard. They probably will have some comments for you to think about.

      • Thanks AK,
        You’re a pretty rational guy. I’m not against these new rules for the EPA. I just have no respect for the others here that single out and demonize the EPA because the rest of the government uses the same type of statistical research and peer reviewed studies to justify their actions.
        I’m not sure about NIH but since they provide the funds for this type of research I would include them too. Actually I would insist they have to follow the same rules since tax money is involved

      • Looks pretty Good.

        You dont need iron clad science to stop people from spewing stuff into my air !!

        Maybe. Is the data available for replication? If so, regulations based on it could be sunsetted and re-applied with little trouble. If not…

      • The EPA uses “peer review” in its communication to legitimize to the public its reasons for heavy handiness towards policy enforcement. This isn’t necessarily bad unless it’s contracted or collusive research tailored to rally a desired politically contrived outcome; say to legitimize severe enforcement actions for AGW.

        Todays political communications are more sophisticated than ever. Two In particular; push polling and the manufacturing of “peer reviewed research” to shore-up and bolster political activism. The obvious power from this messaging comes from portraying targeted programs as having an unassailable pedigree of “can’t touch this” research and feigned public support to justify whatever action is deemed necessary to garner public support.

        Cooks paper serves up an example of this sort of corrupt communication in action. When our higher institutions have become dominated by one political persuasion, it’s no longer a question of if, but one of how much process manipulation is going on. The EPA fails the smell test with its lack of transparency, just as the IRS; DOJ; basically government in general.

      • It’s not your air, Steven. If someone has sold you title to some air, call the police.

      • I’m not sure about NIH […]

        My take is simple: if they promulgate regulations, those regulations ought to be subject to the conditions. If they just fund “science”, then it’s more complex, but any “science” they fund that’s used for any other bureaucratic regulations should have that condition. And, come to think of it, why should any “science” funded by tax money be allowed to evade such requirements?

        Still, I’m much more open to “government funded” science being allowed to evade such requirements than I am to “government regulations” being allowed to be justified by “research” that evades such requirements.

      • JimD, then I guess I would show them this.

        http://www.revespcardiol.org/en/las-particulas-ultrafinas-son-un/articulo/90024395/

        Now you have ultrafine particles or specific gases. So you could eliminate all anthro above PM1.0 and still have the same situation if you don’t find the right substance and the right source. If you eliminate those, you are still not going to eliminate cardiovascular death just approach some undetermined baseline.

        If you like you could get into the French Paradox, I think we are past red wine and cholesterol and up to eat mo cheese about now or is it grain feed cow’s milk butter? I liked the chocolate thing myself.

        Now what the EPA is doing is estimating how many lives they will save by regulating PM2.5, but PM2.5 doesn’t look like the main cardiovascular causative agent. So if you spend a crap load of money and don’t get much in return, just another let’s try something else, why bother with science?

      • captd, sure, you can look at the effect of PM2.5 on lungs and say, not so bad. I don’t mind that in my neighborhood, and can just wear a mask when outside like they do in Asia. But then you would need a different type of government that is more sympathetic to the industries that produce the stuff, and didn’t really care about what you breathe. There are governments like that, but thankfully America has evolved on air quality and does have clean air and water, not by chance, and there was and still is resistance at every step. Some people don’t appreciate what regulation gets you and take it for granted.

      • There’s another observable hockey stick curve that comes to mind for this debate; human life expectancy. It’s peer reviewed by the entire population, no degree required.

      • JimD, “captd, sure, you can look at the effect of PM2.5 on lungs and say, not so bad. I don’t mind that in my neighborhood, and can just wear a mask when outside like they do in Asia.”

        Portage Wisconsin was the baseline city.

        http://weather.weatherbug.com/WI/Portage-weather/air-quality.html

        How about detailing how much your plans are going to reduce Portage PM2.5 by 20 or 30 ug/m^3.

        http://aqicn.org/city/beijing/

        Now Bejiing has some room for improvement. They are planning on eliminating all coal in the area in five years plus increasing vehicle standards. That would be a regional response to a regional problem.

      • captd, the issue here is that the Republicans are not even going to take the paper’s numbers at face value. They want to get all the records and check for themselves as though they think there is some kind of plot behind the numbers. Of course, if they reconfirm all the numbers we will hear nothing of it. The news is being made here by just asking the question even with no evidence of wrongdoing, which is how politics works. It plays to a certain mindset that mistrusts or wants to put doubt any science, especially peer reviewed work. The big PM2.5 deal is a parallel to their attitude to climate science. It’s the same people who doubt both.

      • Jim D | July 12, 2015 at 11:14 pm:

        It is ok to “to have arsenic in our drinking water and mercury in our air”.

        There is a threshold for each, below which it is ok.

      • JimD, “captd, the issue here is that the Republicans are not even going to take the paper’s numbers at face value. They want to get all the records and check for themselves as though they think there is some kind of plot behind the numbers.”

        I believe the issue is how the EPA interprets the papers and creates their, the EPA’s, numbers. The Six Cities study shows correlations which the EPA used to estimate the health savings their regulations can produce. The Six cities study corrected for smokers and former smokers but didn’t correction for second hand smoke. Why not? Did the EPA include a correction for second hand smoke, asbestos legislation, pesticide regulation, transfat regulation etc. etc. etc. It doesn’t take a scientist to notice such things, politicians are well aware of the regulations and what impact they were supposed to have.

      • captd, so if they find they allowed for those factors, do you think the Republicans would say, OK, PM2.5 really has the health effects that all these papers unsurprisingly claim it has and go ahead with the regulations? No, they will look for the next paper to study more closely, and it will be an endless loop.

      • JimD, “captd, so if they find they allowed for those factors, do you think the Republicans would say, OK, PM2.5 really has the health effects that all these papers unsurprisingly claim it has and go ahead with the regulations?”

        I am pretty sure most Republicans know that air pollution has adverse health effects. The US has been working to reduce air pollution and improve water quality since the 70s. During that time air and water quality have improved and the adverse health impacts have decreased. I think the biggest problem is that Democrats cannot seem to add.

      • JimD, Transfats, 4% increased risk of CVD, second hand smoke about 30%, smoking about 70% versus about 1.9% for generic PM2.5.

        The numbers just start not adding up if you have a memory and lack an agenda. I believe abuse of linear no threshold modeling is the primary culprit.

      • captd, it turns out cheaper to regulate than to care for the added health impacts, so from a financial point of view it is just a no-brainer. It usually works out that way because public health is valued highly in civilized countries.

      • Capt’nDallas

        I know I should have jumped into this thread a while back, and, after reading the editorial:

        http://www.revespcardiol.org/en/las-particulas-ultrafinas-son-un/articulo/90024395/

        I realized that, although I could have missed some things, yet, this PM2.5 story is not making much sense to me.

        Firstly, the PMs most climate alarmist are speaking about come from the combustion of carbon. When carbon burns and small particles result, these small particles are still make of carbon, and, in a carbon organism like humans, carbon is inert. Carbon in large amounts, say in a coal miner can develop pneumoconiosis; great big balls of carbon in the lungs. Scary as hell on chest x-ray.

        The fractionalization of the carbon particulates into smaller and smaller sizes has resulted in the categorization of particles > 10 microns; 2.5 microns; and those 0.1 microns and those <0.1 microns. These rough categories reflect where in the respiratory system, from nose to alveoli these particles can be found after a normal breath. 10 micron impact on the nasal mucosa. Those particles between 10 and 2.5 microns land mostly in the large conducting airways; i.e., the trachea and first several generations of bronchi (kinda like the trunk and large branches of a tree). These 10 to 2.5 micron particles, when heading down this respiratory tree impact on bifurcations and are most cleared by the muco-ciliary escalator. Particles <2.5 microns are the so called "respirable" particles and impact bifurcations all the way down the respiratory tree to the respiratory bronchioles. These respirable particles are also cleared by the mucociliary escalator. The business end of the respiratory system, the leaf in this respiratory tree are the alveoli where gas exchange occurs by diffusion: O2 via a gradient from alveolar surface to endothelial capillary surface and CO2 out. Particles <0,1 microns (the so called ultra fine particles) don't stay in alveoli, nor to they impact the alveolar surfaces (BTW Wiki has it wrong, there are no respiratory cilia in the alveolar space.) Breath in , Breath out. Particles 1.0 micron to 0.1 micron, some stay and most just get breathed out.

        All of the above has been known for a very long time; i.e. decades. So the issue with ultra fine particles, if they have a systemic effect; i.e., effecting other organ systems of the body, they must find a pathway into the circulation which is usually via alveolar macrophages which transport particulate materials from inside the alveoli to the blood system. Macrophages also are active at the bifurcation sites of the respiratory tree and can and do engulf particles and transports ingested material to various parts of the lungs and lymph nodes.

        However, as I said above, carbon is inert to the human body. It is what is attached to the carbon particle that may impact many areas of the body including the endothelial surfaces of arteries. The macrophages can be overwhelmed and particles be absorbed directly into the respiratory system like coal miner's pneumoconiosis. Lots and lots of coal dust over years and years and years. Not the acute heart attack the editorial is speaking to.

        What the above editorial told me, they (cardiologists and editorialists) don't know the why, are speculating and creating scenarios in their minds. Nice work if you can get it.

      • JimD

        “it turns out cheaper to regulate than to care for the added health impacts,”

        You’ve got that back a$$ wards. Only 10 to 15% of cigarette smokers get COPD. The story of COPD gets murkier as some with COPD start off with low lung function from childhood and NEVER cigarette smoke. How’s that! Some of the issue regarding diagnosis relates to how COPD gets defined: on pulmonary function tests i.e., the fraction of a maximal breath exhaled in one second: FEV1.0. Some people have larger lungs and smoke like a chimney and yet don’t get COPD.

        Finding out what causes COPD is much more informative and cost effective treating the few than making sweeping generalizations like Federal regulations tend to do, applying regulations to everyone; catches fish and fowl quite indiscriminately.

        Besides, government regulations are a lazy man’s way of thinking, or, in reality, not thinking at all.

      • JimD, If you want to regulate you can start one barbeque at a time.

        “In 2013 it was reported that the Beijing authorities were destroying open air chuan barbecues in a bid to reduce pollution from small particles that can enter deep into the lungs. Hundreds of barbecues were reportedly confiscated over a three month period leading to ridicule from the local Beijing population.” Wikipedia.

        You might want to read what RiH008 says though. Then instead of 6 cities and a few thousand cohorts try two countries and a billion subjects. CVD and Lung cancer rates are about the same in the US and China.

      • captd, since the pollution is short-ranged it is better to look at people living in the pollution versus those not. Maybe some of those 40k papers have done that for you already.

      • Jim D

        “since the pollution is short-ranged”

        Peculiar that you say that. Now, if you listen to the US EPA, then you would know for certain that the tail of the pollution plume is long and the tiniest bits and pieces of mercury or what ever toxin they have conjured pollutes the lungs of mothers, infants, newborns, and a whole range of people down wind of say coal fired power plants. Funny thing. If you label at the site of pollution any number of pollutants, the outcome measurements are different than that predicted by the paper shuffling bureaucrats who seem to inhabit dark corridors breathing stultifying air.

        At least for mercury, the plume rides on our West to East air streams. Mercury is a great global circumnavigator appearing in the tiniest amounts that seems too little to measure and too little to be health impactful.

        All is not what it seems.

      • Stands to reason that the plume is more likely to hit you if you are closer to the source. There is at least an inverse distance effect to consider here.

      • I think I may have mentioned this before, but pollution didn’t become a problem until the late 90’s with the rise of China’s industrial economy. So it’s difficult to draw conclusions about studies of the current population with such a short period of time when they haven’t been raised from childhood in a polluted environment. But the longer the Chinese are exposed to this unrelenting pollution the more the studies should show problems.

      • Steven Mosher

        ” We do need iron clad science before we mandate, at great cost, the overhaul of our entire electrical power infrastructure so that you can breath imperceptibly improved air that will not materially improve your quality of life.”

        No we don’t. See how easy that is.

      • Jim D

        “Stands to reason that the plume is more likely to hit you if you are closer to the source. There is at least an inverse distance effect to consider here.”

        Funny that. Your reasoning is similar to a number of EPA and other activist environmentalists, just not borne out by facts.

        The mantra about mercury in Great Lakes water was blamed on coal fired plants irregardless that Lake of The Woods Minnesota at the most Western part of Lake Superior doesn’t have any coal fired power plants. Not being troubled by geography a major study of mercury from coal fired power plants found…drum roll please… the mercury from coal fired plants in the Mid-West was circumnavigating the globe…tiny tiny bits of mercury ending up where? the oceans. Where does mercury in our Great Lakes come from? From land sources. Soil leaching which it has been doing for many many eons.

        I suggest you be aware of where you are standing. Look down before you step in it.

      • JimD, “captd, since the pollution is short-ranged it is better to look at people living in the pollution versus those not. Maybe some of those 40k papers have done that for you already.”

        The WHO is big into indoor air quality as a major world health problem. That is pretty short range.; A state of the art coal fire power plant with precipitators, scrubbers and 200 plus meter tall stacks are not “short” range. Vehicle emissions in crowded urban environments are pretty short range. The great thing about linear no threshold modeling and qualifying assumptions is you can get about any answer you like. Take the flu vaccine. It is around 28% effective in my age group. The pneumonia vaccine is close to 90%. Once researches quit assuming that any respiratory problem could be the flu, the flu vaccine numbers fell from about 60% effective to the current 28%. Opps, I must be an anti-vaccer huh? Looks like the 60% correlation was desired and what the heck, it ain’t gonna hurt nothing right?. What do you desire PM2.5 to be?

    • Yep, peer reviewed publications of Greenpeace, some of whom work for Obumbles’ EPA.

    • dougbadgero

      The singe effect sensitity studies for cardiovascular disease sum to 400%. They are being used to support an ideological position. And this does not even address the use of a linear no threshold model for impacts for each sensitivity study. Politicians may not be capable of understanding, but others are…….

    • Jim D, I own some land in Saskatchewan I am trying to sell. It’s ocean front, good for cottagers escaping the cold winters of New York.

    • The EPA likes to party with the environmental non-profits. They have a special program, funded by taxpayers, called “anything goes with the NGOs”. Trying to keep costs down, the EPA is letting the NGOs write the regulations. All this and more found in emails from a guy named Goo. You can’t make this stuff up. Read this, but don’t get any on ya!

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/07/09/newly-released-emails-show-close-connection-between-epa-and-influential/

    • This seems unreasonable because the house committee would have no idea how to process this information to dispute the paper’s conclusions even if they had it.

      Huh?

      The scientists that collected the data are so smart and their understanding so superior, that the congressmen can’t hire some beltway bandits to crunch the numbers?

      Not likely.

    • How freaking clean does our air need to be? What air quality issues exist today in the U.S. aren’t related to electrical power plants. How much is it worth to extend life expectancy by another 6 months? At Obamacare rates that’s another trillion or so per year. Give me a freaking break!

    • Jim,

      Go look at their site. EPA lists a single reference for Clean Power Plan – IPCC. They didn’t do any research. They simply took IPCC conclusions and said this justifies CO2 being listed as a pollutant. Their own Auditor General called them on failure to follow internal EPA rules.

      Now check out the “science” used to justify the mercury rules. Did they use published papers and studies? Yes. Did they ignore the bulk of the applicable research and cheery pick a few studies which supported their desirec outcome? Yes?

      • No, in the video they were clearly talking about medical studies, redacting names, etc., as pertaining to the other clean aspects of the power plan.

  15. What is the True Cost of Electricity?

    This has been mentioned before but the ‘true’ cost of electricity would take into account the external costs of the various energy sources.

    And with regard to the source I loved one of the titles of an article by this ‘institute.’ I hope you are taking into account the biases when evaluating their work.

    More Scare Tactics From The White House

    http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/press/more-scare-tactics-from-the-white-house/

    • Sure, externalities have to be figured in; the problem of the commons is solved by regulation. That is why we have regulations requiring washed coal and fluemgas scrubbers for SO2, and baghouses/electrostatic precipitators for fly ash. But eventually one is down in the weeds where costs exceed benefits and rational minds stop. Like the SCOTUS ruling on mercury.

      Now whether there are any external costs to CO2 is THE great debate. And how those supposed costs are to be measured (see upthread for discount rate and time horizon). So far the evidence is not supporting those who assert the supposed costs are high. There even appear be benefits (greening of C3 plants).

      As for White House scare tactics, you imply there are none? Or that IER overstates? CAGW worst threat facing US! Official from Obama and Kerry. Never mind ISIS, Russia, Iran nuclear, North Korea, … Perhaps you forgot a sarc tag?

      • Rud, the studies I have seen such as those on the effects on health indicate they are pretty high right now and that is only one aspect of the external costs.

      • dougbadgero

        In addition society accepts negative externalities all the time. We do not feel the need to either eliminate or monetize every negative impact. Injury and death in automobile accidents being the obvious example.

      • I should add that current regulations are factored into the calculation of the external costs.

      • We do not feel the need to either eliminate or monetize every negative impact.

        I just don’t think you can do a proper cost benefit analysis comparing fossil fuels and renewables without factoring in external costs.

      • dougbadgero

        “I just don’t think you can do a proper cost benefit analysis comparing fossil fuels and renewables without factoring in external costs.”

        I agree

      • Jim D | July 13, 2015 at 12:24 pm:

        Instead of failsafe – how about just going with 4th generation design and build in storage on-site at each new plant.

        Throw in a reprocessing plant our two and we can make the waste much less radioactive and easier to store.

    • Only the “true” costs aren’t know, and also should be balanced against the external benefits. External benefits far outweigh the external expenses.

      • Why would the external benefits of coal be greater than the external benefits of wind or solar?

      • Because coal gives us a huge quantity of base load power that has catapulted our society to material levels never seen before. Even our poor are rich compared to the real poor in many other countries. Wind and solar probably will never be able to do that.

      • I am talking about future benefits not ones in the past, jim.

      • It’s highly unlikely that wind and solar will EVER be able to supply the intensity of energy supplied by coal and nat gas.

      • Wind and solar probably will never be able to do that.

        I don’t know about that, jim. To me it depends on how much is invested into renewable technologies. We aren’t going to do this overnight so we have time for these technologies to mature before we completely stop using first coal and then natural gas.

      • No matter how much money you throw at it, you can’t transform sulpher into gold. Some things won’t happen because they are impossible.

        That money would be spent better elsewhere.

      • No matter how much money you throw at it, you can’t transform sulpher into gold. Some things won’t happen because they are impossible.

        That money would be spent better elsewhere.

        I think you are wrong and if you aren’t then we are going to start getting into real trouble as fossil fuels become more scarce, demand increases, prices start to skyrocket, and we have no viable alternatives.

      • I KNOW at some point fossil fuels will become too expensive to use. The prediction problem lies in the determination of “some point.” Fossil fuels will be economical longer than most believe.

        That being said, I’m all for a moon-shot effort to build nuclear power plants. Money well spent, as history shows. And safer that any other form of power. Safer for people, safer for birds, safer from a land-use perspective. Safer.

      • That being said, I’m all for a moon-shot effort to build nuclear power plants. Money well spent, as history shows. And safer that any other form of power. Safer for people, safer for birds, safer from a land-use perspective. Safer.

        Nuclear should be part of the mix. But I just don’t think it will ever be the dominant energy source. So we need other alternatives and apparently have more faith in technological innovation than you do.

      • Fossil fuels will be economical longer than most believe.

        The point is we are going to need replacements whether you like it or not. And oil will be the first to go..

      • So, Joseph, you throw in ” whether you like it or not” for propaganda reasons. Tells us a lot about you.

      • While nuclear itself isn’t a moonshot because it is decades old technology, the moonshot aspect is making it failproof and figuring out how to safely and noncontroversially store spent fuel for millennia. The real moonshot in that area would be fusion power. However, environmentally better alternatives than fission would be intermittent renewables with local or distributed storage capacity or with renewable backup fuels. That would be a moonshot type project that could pan out within decades to take over as a major power source.

      • The real “moonshot” would be space solar power.

      • The spent fuel thing is a straw man. We already know how to “burn” spent fission fuel. The “moon shot” part would be to slimline regs and make sure companies are incented to build nuclear power plants.

      • Try running an iron lung machine exclusively on wind or solar. Or a steel mill.

    • What I am say is that I don’t think we have to even look at the future effects of CO2 on climate change to argue that the external costs are pretty high. Even though I think that without a doubt there are risks with continued climate change given no serious mitigation efforts.

    • “…external costs…”

      Yes, we should consider external costs, like frying birds in flight. We should also consider endangered species like the desert tortoise and Solar panel induced UHI in the desert. Don’t forget bird shredding wind turbines.

      Here’s a little article about bird frying in that right-wing publication “Spectrum” from the IEEE.

      http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/green-tech/solar/ivanpah-solar-plant-turns-birds-into-smoke-streamers

      • We wouldn’t even have allowed power lines under that logic. Perhaps cars and trains too, and aircraft would be out of the question for all their bird shredding.

      • Don’t forget all those buildings and windows that birds run into.

      • Don’t forget to take external benefits into account.

        It seems to me that if you advocate taking external costs into account, you need to net them with external benefits.

        What is the external benefit of an ambulance?

        Why if even one life is saved it is immeasurable – right?

  16. This article “Electricity markets tightly integrated between USA, Canada” was a real piss off because it does not mention anywhere that in at least two provinces, including the one I live in, the socialists governments have decided it is more important to keep Americans from burning coal than it is to protect their own taxpayers and so Canada hydro is being provided to the USA at a net loss of the cost of generating it. For example, Manitoba will pay $4 for every $1 it gets paid back to provide Minnesota with hydro whenever the wind is not blowing. The extra cost will be passed onto Manitoba Utility users like me. That also suits the socialists in power because they want us to use less power. However, because they need us to pay for all this cheap power for Americans, they also have in place regulations to strongly discourage average homeowners from adding their own solar power. NO incentives, no assistance and fees for “engineering costs” that will run in the hundred to thousands of dollars to connect your own solar power to be fed back into the grid. Insanity, absolutely total freaking insanity! And as if all that wasn’t enough, they are subsidizing wind farms too.

    • I’m sympathetic to your issue, but why in the world would you government find a need to sell electricity to the US at a loss? Why?

    • Our socialists are like your socialists. Like all skunks, they are of the same stripe, and stink the same on both sides of the border. Skunks without borders…I like it!

    • Do you have a link with more info? Hydro is near zero marginal cost, if available, just like wind and solar. Is this a case of Minnesota not paying its share of fixed costs?

    • As a completely private individual, perhaps I can shed some opinion on this subject. The Provincial Government elected to shut down its dispatchable greenhouse gas emitting coal generating stations and replace them with non-dispatchable (contract based) renewables (mostly wind) and some relatively inflexible CCGTs.

      The renewables are considered to be baseloaded which, along with most nuclear, cannot be dispatched up or down in response to daily electrical demand curves resulting in more instances of surplus baseload generation, which can lead to negative market prices, which can be exported to the U.S.A. to the limits of the interties.

      The higher priced resources (usually hydroelectric) are considered to be the export source for accounting purposes.

      • But even more fun, the article in question states:

        “On a net basis, Canada exports electricity mainly to New England, New York, and the Midwest states, while the United States exports electricity from the Pacific Northwest states to the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, and Quebec.”

        The Pacific Northwest exporting power to Quebec is a neat trick. Are they using the secret Nikola Tesla atmospheric transmission process? More global warming?

      • The article covers all of Canada and not all provincial premiers are total idiots giving away hydro for less than it costs them to produce. Another factor is that Manitoba has no way to export excess Hydro to Ontario because we have no infrastructure to send it all the way. Minnesota is simply much closer.

      • fttw,

        Actually there are interties at the Manitoba/Ontario border that are frequently used to import electricity from Manitoba to Ontario.

  17. Wow! Bill Gates is obviously in the pay of big oil! Who’s have thunk that? I guess he’s not as rich as we all thought.~sarcasm~

  18. EPA link. Gina says, ” McCarthy refused to say if Rep. Smith’s analysis of the minuscule effect on global temperatures was correct, stating again it was more about leading on a global scale.”

    This is consistent with Gottfried’s assertion that the theraputic managerial state of the US is on a global crusade to create a ‘sensitized’ empire:

    “This new internationalism, as suggested by Clinton and Blair, aims at nothing less than a transformation of human conciousness…What the current project seeks to do is to overcome history as the cumulative record of prejudice, by extending the domestic revolution in sensitivity to other parts of the globe. Calling this Neo-Wilson misses its radical nature. Their consuming interest in ‘exporting American democratic values’….” –Multiculturalism….

    Gottfried indictes Republicans as well as liberals. Essentially a new secular flavor of protestantism (as nurtured and engineered by the remnants of the pseudo-Marxists ideologues) wishes to teach the world how to appreciate alternate lifestyles, ethnicities, (my addition–ecological saintliness) .
    Its a smug new perverted utopian attempt at Empire, one the US can certainly not afford.

    • We see where a democracy landed the Greeks. (In a sinking life boat.)

      • Democracy has some serious pathologies :)
        Reading another of his books where he sees this global crusade also as the evolution of the Pseudo Neo-Marxists who traded revolution for the global sensitizing multicultural utopian ideal. Once they saw capitalism actually worked and didn’t lead to revolution they adjusted their thinking to the capitalist West as the oppressing regime, the third world as that which which rise up, not necessarily by revolution but through immigration and miscegenation.
        Thoroughly consistent with the ‘global leadership’ on environment, and everything else.

      • Holy crickey. Its so obvious how environmentalism plays in:

        “By virtually any measure, environmentalism is ascendant in the global institutional scheme. Yet by no means does this suggest that capitalism is thereby vanquished. Strategies for environmental protection could not eliminate private property, for instance. But mutual adaption does occur. blah blah blah… The central ‘reality’ of ecologized nature is virtually uncontested. That it is also global and urgent provides impetus to the many changes in policy and practice we have outlined.”

        Anyway, this is what’s going on. Environmentalism is argued to be a global thing, transcending national boundaries. Your river is my problem, etc,eetc…. The leftist goal is to destroy all nation states (they are considered pre-facist amongst other things). So via environmentalism we find a lever to argue for a common good, a common regulation, more power taken from the nation states.

        One of these goofballs was the guitarist in my college band. Rhythm, wasn’t that good.

        http://www.asanet.org/images/members/docs/pdf/special/asr/ASR_65_1_Article_6_Frank.pdf

  19. Two separate comments.

    1). EPA Head. This is what happens when one appoints non-scientists to head a so-called scientific agency.

    What can we do. God to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McCOnnell’s website and fill out email form recommending to defund EPA. Do same with House Speaker John Boehner’s email form on his website, and do same with your US Senators and US Congressman.woman.

    The number of emails are logged by topic. The more emails recommending defunding, the more congress and th senate pays attention.

    2)> Pakistan’s energy problem. China has given a $46 Billion loan to Pakistan to develop a rail and highway system through the country, develop a large coal field in the middle of the Pakistani desert, and buld EIGHT Coal-fired power plants. That willa ddress Pakistan’s energy problem.

    At the same, it makes a mockery of Euro-style and Obama-EPA style CO2 emission cuts.

    George Devries Klein, PhD,PG, FSA

    • Strangely there appears to never have been a scientist heading the EPA. Mostly JD’s.

    • George Klein: 2)> Pakistan’s energy problem. China has given a $46 Billion loan to Pakistan to develop a rail and highway system through the country, develop a large coal field in the middle of the Pakistani desert, and buld EIGHT Coal-fired power plants. That willa ddress Pakistan’s energy problem.

      In the post-WWII era the largest engine propelling the development of the world was the US economy. Now the largest engine is the Chinese economy. In addition to that development, the Chinese are financing and building a pipeline to carry natural gas from Iran into Pakistan, and likely into China.

      At the same, it makes a mockery of Euro-style and Obama-EPA style CO2 emission cuts.

      The creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, led by China and with participation by all the major economies, makes a mockery of much else, such as the “sanctions” on Iran (way off-topic here), and the IMF-WorldBank restrictions on coal development elsewhere.

  20. EDITORIAL CORRECTION

    CHange “What can we do. God to Senate Majority Leader ” to

    “What can we do. Go to Senate Majority Leader”

  21. From the article:

    How the Feds Asked Me to Rat Out Commenters
    Reason.com, the website I edit, was recently commanded by the feds to provide information on a few commenters and not discuss it. Here’s why we’re speaking out.

    Is there anything more likely to make you shit your pants out of a mix of fear and anger than getting a federal subpoena out of the blue?

    Well, yes, there is: getting a gag order that prohibits you from speaking publicly about that subpoena and even the gag order itself. Talk about feeling isolated and cast adrift in the home of the free. You can’t even respond honestly when someone asks, “Are you under a court order not to speak?”

    Far more important: talk about realizing that open expression and press freedom are far more tenuous than even the most cynical of us can imagine! Even when you have done nothing wrong and aren’t the target of an investigation, you can be commanded, at serious financial cost and disruption of your business, to dance to a tune called by the long arm of the law.

    This all just happened to my colleagues and me at Reason.com, the libertarian website I edit. On May 31, I blogged about the life sentence given to Ross Ulbricht, the creator of the “dark web” site Silk Road, by Judge Katherine Forrest. In the comments section, a half-dozen commenters unloaded on Forrest, suggesting that, among other things, she should burn in hell, “be taken out back and shot,” and, in a well-worn Internet homage to the Coen Brothers movie Fargo, be fed “feet first” into a woodchipper.

    The comments betrayed a naive belief in an afterlife and karma, were grammatically and spelling-challenged, hyperbolic, and… completely within the realm of acceptable Internet discourse, especially for an unmoderated comments section. (Like other websites, Reason is not legally responsible for what goes on in our comments section; we read the comments sometimes but don’t actively curate them.)

    But the U.S. attorney for U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York thought differently and on June 2 issued a grand jury subpoena to Reason for all identifying information we had on the offending commenters—things such as IP addresses, names, emails, and other information. At first, the feds requested that we “voluntarily” refrain from disclosing the subpoena to anybody. Out of sense of fairness and principle, we notified the targeted commenters, who could have moved to quash the subpoena. Then came the gag order on June 4, barring us from talking about the whole business with anyone outside our organization besides our lawyers.


    I’ll leave the detailed legal arguments to White, who confesses that once upon a time he was “an entitled, arrogant little douchesquirt when [he] was a federal prosecutor.” I’ve got my own reasons for seeing this episode as outrageous and something that all of us who read and write online—whether as bylined authors or anonymous commenters—should be worried about.

    For starters, the subpoena was unnecessary because the comments obviously weren’t real threats. One of the commenters scooped up in this had written, “I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for that horrible woman” while another opined, “I’d prefer a hellish place on Earth be reserved for her as well.” What kind of country are we living in where you get in hot water for such tepid blaspheming? Even the more outrageous comments—“Its (sic) judges like these that should be taken out back and shot” —wouldn’t exactly stir fear in the heart of anyone who has accessed the Web since AOL stopped charging by the hour.

    As White writes, “True threat analysis always examines context. Here, the context strongly weighs in favor of hyperbole. The comments are on the Internet, a wretched hive of scum, villainy, and gaseous smack talk. They are on a political blog, about a judicial-political story; such stories are widely known to draw such bluster. They are specifically at Reason.com, a site with excellent content but cursed with a group of commenters who think such trash talk is amusing.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/25/how-the-feds-asked-me-to-rat-out-commenters.html

  22. From the article. (Off color words starred out by me.)

    How the Feds Asked Me to Rat Out Commenters
    Reason.com, the website I edit, was recently commanded by the feds to provide information on a few commenters and not discuss it. Here’s why we’re speaking out.

    Is there anything more likely to make you s*** your pants out of a mix of fear and anger than getting a federal subpoena out of the blue?

    Well, yes, there is: getting a gag order that prohibits you from speaking publicly about that subpoena and even the gag order itself. Talk about feeling isolated and cast adrift in the home of the free. You can’t even respond honestly when someone asks, “Are you under a court order not to speak?”

    Far more important: talk about realizing that open expression and press freedom are far more tenuous than even the most cynical of us can imagine! Even when you have done nothing wrong and aren’t the target of an investigation, you can be commanded, at serious financial cost and disruption of your business, to dance to a tune called by the long arm of the law.

    This all just happened to my colleagues and me at Reason.com, the libertarian website I edit. On May 31, I blogged about the life sentence given to Ross Ulbricht, the creator of the “dark web” site S*lk Road, by Judge Katherine Forrest. In the comments section, a half-dozen commenters unloaded on Forrest, suggesting that, among other things, she should burn in h*ll, “be taken out back and sh*ot,” and, in a well-worn Internet homage to the Coen Brothers movie Fargo, be fed “feet first” into a wood**ch*pper.

    The comments betrayed a naive belief in an afterlife and karma, were grammatically and spelling-challenged, hyperbolic, and… completely within the realm of acceptable Internet discourse, especially for an unmoderated comments section. (Like other websites, Reason is not legally responsible for what goes on in our comments section; we read the comments sometimes but don’t actively curate them.)

    But the U.S. attorney for U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York thought differently and on June 2 issued a grand jury subpoena to Reason for all identifying information we had on the offending commenters—things such as IP addresses, names, emails, and other information. At first, the feds requested that we “voluntarily” refrain from disclosing the subpoena to anybody. Out of sense of fairness and principle, we notified the targeted commenters, who could have moved to quash the subpoena. Then came the gag order on June 4, barring us from talking about the whole business with anyone outside our organization besides our lawyers.

    To the extent that the feds actually thought these were serious plans to do real harm, why the hell would they respond with a slow-moving subpoena whose deadline was days away?


    For starters, the subpoena was unnecessary because the comments obviously weren’t real threats. One of the commenters scooped up in this had written, “I hope there is a special place in h*ll reserved for that horrible woman” while another opined, “I’d prefer a h*llish place on Earth be reserved for her as well.” What kind of country are we living in where you get in hot water for such tepid blaspheming? Even the more outrageous comments—“Its (sic) judges like these that should be taken out back and sh*t” —wouldn’t exactly stir fear in the heart of anyone who has accessed the Web since AOL stopped charging by the hour.

    As White writes, “True threat analysis always examines context. Here, the context strongly weighs in favor of hyperbole. The comments are on the Internet, a wretched hive of sc*m, v*llainy, and gaseous smack talk. They are on a political blog, about a judicial-political story; such stories are widely known to draw such bluster. They are specifically at Reason.com, a site with excellent content but cursed with a group of commenters who think such trash talk is amusing.”

    But here’s the thing we non-lawyers might think of first: To the extent that the feds actually thought these were serious plans to do real harm, why the h*ll would they respond with a slow-moving subpoena whose deadline was days away? By spending five minutes doing the laziest, George Jetson-style online “research” (read: Google and site searches), they would have found publicly available info on some of the commenters. I’m talking things like websites and Google+ pages. One of the commenters had literally posted thousands of comments at Reason.com, from which it is clear that he (assuming it is a he) is not exactly a threat to anyone other than common decency.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/25/how-the-feds-asked-me-to-rat-out-commenters.html

  23. From the article:

    Global oil demand will slow in 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its latest monthly report, as it warned that the rebalancing of supply and demand in oil markets “has yet to run its course.”

    Crude oil prices fell to their lowest point in nearly three months in early July, pressured by “ever rising supply” and not helped by the financial turmoil in Greece and China which has unsettled world markets, the IEA said Friday.

    On the back of this volatility, the IEA forecast that global oil demand growth would slow to 1.2 million barrels a day (mb/d) in 2016, from around 1.4 mb/d this year.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/10/global-oil-demand-to-slow-in-2016-iea.html

    • Interestingly, there is no “ever rising supply” of crude and condensate. Non OPEC countries seem to have hit peak. OPEC countries have suspect figures for Venezuela (where society and the oil industry are falling apart), and for Iraq (which in addition to having an ongoing civil war has very dodgy third party reports).

      As I probably pointed out there’s a recent tendency to create fuzzy numbers by tossing NGL as “oil” in the OPEC reports for non OPEC nations, and the other agency reports tend to mix everything in an irregular fashion. For example, we know world crude oil and condensate production (what goes to the refinery) is slightly less than 80 million barrels of oil per day. But in many reports we’re seeing figures in excess of 90 million BOPD. In today’s 1984rish world, those figures are highly suspect.

  24. Pingback: In Praise of Judith Curry’s Week in Review–and the Social Cost of Carbon | The Lukewarmer's Way

  25. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/11718550/Why-are-greens-so-keen-to-destroy-the-worlds-wildlife.html

    It aint easy bein’ green,
    livin’ with high-level angst,
    maintainin’ gate-keepin ter
    uphold ‘ the con-sensuss,’
    policin’ politically-correct
    controls on free-speech,
    even ridin’ a bicycle across
    town ter yr environmentally-
    friendly work-place ain’t easy
    but it’s fer a reely noble cause,
    cuttin’ back evil f-f energy and
    bad-bad human-productivity,
    say, who would do it if not
    us?

  26. I’ve got a thing for the Guardian. Can’t help myself. Note how their article on brown coal’s revival has the obligatory photo of belching smokestacks. But this time, instead of brown steam-as-smoke against blood-red sky, we get a nice match of gloomy greys with the dreary German skies. I suppose they read their own articles on “messaging”. They certainly don’t miss a trick, those scamps!

    But don’t think the Guardian kidz have gone all colourless! A picture of one of the closed down nuke facilities is given as a thermal image, like the whole thing is about to blow! Pity if you just wanted to see a pic of the place in question. What’s next? A policy of showing only thermal images of conservatives?

    The poor lambs seem bewildered that alternative poster-child Germany is now on a massive swing back to brown coal post nuke shut-down, despite “inexpensive wind energy”. The Guardian is so bewildered that it continues to report on nebulous German plans to cut, cut, cut that lignite in the middle of its own article about clear German intentions to dig, dig, dig that lignite.

    It’s a bit like finding a “recent-studies-show” article on imminent and irreversible warming in the same rag as a “recent-studies-show” article about a looming solar minimum and little ice age in fifteen years. Murdoch runs a freebie leftist site called news.com.au which specialises in alarmist click bait. Its stock catastrophe is, of course, warminess, but it has used the present “Antarctic vortex” (trans: cold weather in Oz) to announce “SNOWMAGEDDON: Earth heading for ‘mini ice age’”.

    Damn, we could use some adults. No, really. It’s urgent. We need the kids out of the kitchen now.

    Adults, please.

    • mosomoso

      I am constantly bemused as to how Germany reconciles its building of new coal power plants with its green energy proclamations.

      I am even more bemused as to why they are given such an easy ride. You barely hear a word about it. Perhaps someone somewhere in the govt has done the maths and realised that no nukes and little sun for solar power equates to a power shortfall?

      tonyb

      • They’re a conflicted lot, the Germans. There are the Germans who managed to make solar panels function okay at 50+ north, and there are the Germans who thought that solar panels at that latitude would be a great idea. Are they the same Germans?

        Maybe they’re thinking now that in order to pay for hyper-expensive experiments like the Energiewende and the EU they may have to sacrifice a couple of things…like the Energiewende and the EU.

    • You forgot to mention the picture of the tiny solar farm with the obligatory scenic hot air balloon. Sooooo Peeeaaaaacccceeefffuullll.

    • Enough to make you hyphen-ate, moso.

  27. I put this under “science edition”, but it fits better here.

    Steven Mosher: That is why you start by adapting to the weather of the past.

    According to a review in Science Magazine, about 30 dams in California have been cut to let the reservoirs empty, let the accumulated silt out, and let the natural riparian ecologies re-establish themselves. Have you written to your state and federal representatives to urge them to prepare those dams for the next floods, to harvest the water for the subsequent dry seasons? Why or why not? The floods of the past will recur; there is even discussion of a large el Nino this winter.

    Whether to reconstruct those dams to harvest water is a policy discussion that might not be settled by “the physics” alone. It might even be a debate that is not “over”.

    A good many people do not yet know that, along with the worst drought in human recorded California history, Californians and the Feds made a major decision to harvest less water than before.

    • matthew

      Do you have any idea as to how much water those dams impound in terms of gallons and how many people they are expected to serve?

      In other words, how significant are they, because on the surface 30 dams sounds an awful lot.

      The Historic record of California is full of accounts of regular severe droughts over the last 150 years so presumably they were built for a good reason. Have they been superseded?

      tonyb

      • climatereason: In other words, how significant are they, because on the surface 30 dams sounds an awful lot.

        That I hope to learn more about.

      • Many of those dams were 90% silted up and blocked access of salmon and fish breeding sawning grounds. Thus fishing can recover some from low value cotton crops and minor hydroelectric generation. Each on a case by case basis is analyzed. Some are subsidized by the federal government to more than the value of all the low value crops produced. Tear as many down as possible and let the rivers run unvexed to the sea.

        Carlsbad desalination plant at 50,000,000 gals per day for $1.500,000 is the way of assuring urban water supplies. Should start in late 2015 and lead the way in California.
        Scott

      • scotts4sf: Carlsbad desalination plant at 50,000,000 gals per day for $1.500,000 is the way of assuring urban water supplies. Should start in late 2015 and lead the way in California.

        There are plans for at least 18 more. They, like the Carlsbad plant before them, are hung up in court by environmental groups like the Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Club, and local groups.

        The move to cut the dam at Hetch Hetchy seems to have stalled.

    • California is a big state, so 30 dams may not be that many, and the dams might be very small. Every significant river in the state has already been dammed, including the “other Yosemite”. The dams have destroyed the fisheries in the state, so I am happy to see them go. One thing you never read about are all the undocumented micro dams on the tiny feeder creeks. Many of them are impounded by farmers that us inefficient water-wasting irrigation methods. Illegal pot growers drain many of these creeks to a trickle long before the water reaches bona-fide federally regulated water companies.

      The other day, I drove by a farm that was using old fashioned sprinkler technology to water artichokes at 3pm on a warm, dry, windy day. And this is in a county – Monterey County – that is in a severe drought with an aquifer with a salt water intrusion problem.

      I should add, we don’t have a storage problem – the reservoirs we have are almost empty. We also have massive aquifers, far larger than any dam, or even all the dams, where we can store water. We are sucking those dry and the land is sinking.

      We live next to the largest body of water on earth – we can do much better than pumping fossil water and building salmon-killing and environment-destroying dams.

      • justinwonder: The other day, I drove by a farm that was using old fashioned sprinkler technology to water artichokes at 3pm on a warm, dry, windy day.

        Lots and lots of water misuse has been documented. But more water is better than less water, imo. The almond groves were watered by flooding; here in San Diego County, all the avocado trees are on driplines.

        The dams have destroyed the fisheries in the state, so I am happy to see them go.

        It’s a choice with trade-offs: fish versus nuts and fruits. The fisheries and the water ways have been partially (at least) restored, so cutting the dams is largely viewed as having succeeded.

      • No trade off needed…they can water with non-potable water and drip irrigation.

        The waterways – rivers and creeks – have not been restored. They are a dried up and almost dead mess here in Central CA.

        The fisheries have not been restored either – the fish here are either extirpated (salmon) or endangered. A lot of work needs to be done.

      • California had a population of 15,000 in 1840 some 570,000 in 1870 and some 37 million now.

        I know Americans generally don’t like to discuss Malthus, but bearing in mind the geography of the state, the climate, the irrigation needed for unsuitable crops and the rather profligate use of water and the question must be asked as to how many people can the State support if you want to keep doing things in the future as you have done in the past?

        tonyb

      • Tonyb,

        Good question. With nuclear power we can desal water, recycle sewage for irrigation, charge electric cars, and power electric public transport. Unfortunately, CA, the irrational state, is on the wrong path and the population growth will continue.

      • Justinwonder

        It’s on course for a mind boggling 60 million by 2050 .

        How will that work then? There won’t be room for space gobbling and inefficient solar farms and wind farms and grown up energy systems such as nuclear seem to be frowned on. Presumably one of the grown ups IS looking at the states infrastructure?

        Tonyb

      • justinwonder: The waterways – rivers and creeks – have not been restored.

        Only the waterways and fisheries specifically related to the dams that had been cut down were restored.

  28. Foreign Office study releases climate change risk assessment
    An international group of scientists, energy policy analysts, and experts in risk from finance and the military have released a new independent assessment of the risks of climate change, designed to support political leaders in their decisions on how much priority to give to the issue.
    The ‘Climate Change: A Risk Assessment’ report, commissioned by the UK Foreign Office, argues that the risks of climate change should be assessed in the same way as risks to national security or public health. That means focusing on understanding the worst outcome and how likely it is to occur.
    http://www.clickgreen.org.uk/analysis/general-analysis/126261-foreign-office-study-releases-climate-change-risk-assessment.html

    Climate change threat must be taken as seriously as nuclear war – UK minister
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/13/climate-change-threat-serious-as-nuclear-war-uk-minister

    http://www.csap.cam.ac.uk/media/uploads/files/1/climate-change–a-risk-assessment-v9-spreads.pdf

    • The most likely climate threat from a point of national health/security would be a substantial volcanic eruption (long, dirty Laki or big Tambora), especially for developed, high-population regions with a heavy investment in solar, or just generally underpowered. Surely the 2010 event, tiny by Laki standards, should have been an education. Or can’t a Laki happen again?

      We should indeed regard the mainstreaming of handy but intermittent/diffuse energy sources like wind and solar as a threat on a par with nuclear war, especially in the event of volcanism which does occur on a massive scale every century or so. Just the unavoidable cessation of aviation would be catastrophe enough. But hospitals? Cooling and heating? Public transport? Food preservation?

      And if the coolists and sunspot collectors get lucky with their predictions and we slip into a mini-age? Can’t happen, you say?

      Another killer would be energy dependence on the wrong sources and suppliers in time of war, blockade or embargo. Sort of happening already, isn’t it? Any climate is bad when you can’t keep the power on and you have millions of people and an entire infrastructure dependent on sucking plenty of electricity all the time.

      We really need to think hard about the physical and political world as it is. I think Germany just did that. I hope Germany just did that.

  29. Danny Thomas

    Distributed solar, but utility controlled. Interesting approach, will be watching this one: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/clean-energy-collective-lands-deal-for-cps-energys-first-community-solar/402113/

    • Danny, it’s a dumb approach. If the objective is to produce X kW using solar power the distributed system is at an disadvantage. The only positive is the real estate cost. The need to wash and maintain those roof mounted solar panel kits will destroy any real estate savings advantage.

      What is really mind boggling is to see how a state government can be elected and set up the subsidies to make this madness feasible. The USA is starting to look increasingly like a blend of Germany with its solar craze, plus Latin America with their populist politicians.

      • Danny Thomas

        Hi Fernando,

        I respectfully disagree, but for the same reasons you say you don’t care for it. Since the subsidies are in place already and it appears the effort to inject solar in it’s current capacity are obviously moving forward then I’d much rather see the experiment conducted using rooftops vs. vast amounts of open land. Plus, the control being in the hand of the utility should alleviate some of the non standardized implementation issues vs. a piece meal approach which may cause integration/operational issues.

        In other words, since the experiment is going to take place this is a variant I’ve been looking forward to seeing.

        Regards

      • Danny

        If we accept that there are better ways to generate reliable cheap energy we then need to look at what governments are intent on imposing on us.

        Solar is a favoured Govt choice and I would much rather see solar on roof tops than as large rural solar farms. Refining that further I would much rather see them on commercial roofs-factories, hospital, govt buildings etc-, than on domestic roofs. They can look very inappropriate there. They completely disfigure historic buildings and those with character and architectural merit

        tonyb

      • Danny Thomas

        Tony,

        Pretty much my thinking all along. Since it seems solar in it’s current less than stellar manifestation is moving forward (and indeed this may lead to improvements) then a variety of applications might as well be considered. My impression is it’s great in selective applications but on large scale many of us have questions and this method may answer some of those.

        Personally, replacing the gleaming west/south facing windows in office towers (when engineered properly) is another interesting approach I’d like to see (Thinking Houston, Phoenix, Miami, but London not so much). Since it seems we’re gonna do it, let’s test the spectrum.

        Aesthetics are high on my list. I hate the vast expanses of open land being covered with panels.

      • So did poles and power lines.

      • Tony, since cities are already an environmental disaster, wind turbines should be installed there. That’s where a good chunk of power is needed and the same liberals pushing wind power could then enjoy the turbines in their own “back yard.”

      • jch

        Most rural solar farms require poles and pylons to be installed as they are not near the grid so this ruins even more land.

        We have neither the space nor the sun in the UK for solar farms but we do have an awful lot of commercial roofs-some quarter million hectares according to the guardian

        http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/commercial-solar-energy-installation-uk

        they are easily connectable to the grid and very many are on buildings with little architectural merit.
        tonyb

      • jim2,
        That’s must be why there is 5 natural gas well pads within 1 mile of my house. I used to be annoyed by the truck noise coming from the interstate highway but the 24/7 drone of gas compressors (added to the hwy noise) just plain sucks. I would be feel a little better if I got bigger royalty checks but I am making the sacrifice so my country can have cheep gas. On the other hand my solar array cranks out lots of power at zero decibels and emits zero fumes and provides a nice dry place to store my firewood under.

      • Jack, here’s a tip. Since you are getting income from the gas well, invest it in soundproofing your house. Any nat gas income beyond that is profit that you can enjoy in silence.

      • I like Jim2’s idea:

        ‘Tony, since cities are already an environmental disaster, wind turbines should be installed there. That’s where a good chunk of power is needed and the same liberals pushing wind power could then enjoy the turbines in their own “back yard.”’

        I think we could build affordable housing inside the wind turbine towers. It would be a great opportunity to build sustainable public transit between the towers. We could add commercial space too. When the world gets too hot and the wind stops everyone could go outside and the diesel powered turbines ( they do need to be kept spinning no?) could function as giant fans, keeping everyone cool. The elites could live on the very top – overlooking their handiwork. I hear those turbines produce good vibrations. I can feel the good vibes already.

      • That’s awesome, Justin! Condos in the wind turbine tower!!! Retail space!!! It just works!

      • Danny Thomas

        Dibs on the kite franchise outlets!

      • Justin

        We could clad the turbine tower in solar panels.

        Just get a good drawing of the concept and we could send it to the Guardian with an appropriate gushing press release. They will fall for any old green hogwash

        Tonyb

    • richardswarthout

      “The need to wash and maintain those roof mounted solar panel kits will destroy any real estate savings advantage.”

      Looks like a business opportunity; Fanily Solar Cleaning.

      Richard

      • Richard

        That’s an interesting one. Whilst window cleaners over here routinely use extending poles to reach first floor windows that wouldn’t be possible with roof mounted panels. Unless you are a sole trader it is probable that any company might have to use scaffolding as a health and safety requirement. That would greatly increase costs.

        I don’t know how much power that dirty panels would filter off? Any reduction would be highly significant in winter though.

        tonyb

      • richardswarthout

        Tony

        My first thought is a bucket, such that professional tree trimmers use here in the USA The worker in the bucket can raise/lower/move the bucket to gain access to the tree branches. Fire Fighters also sometimes use similar buckets. The material used in cleaning the panels might also be an avenue for innovation, be it liquid, gas, solid, or a mixture of these.

        Richard

      • Danny Thomas

        Richard & Tony,

        I’m not sure this business plan has been well thought out. It sounds like you’re concerned about dust build up, but I’ve read recently that increasing precipitation will be occurring so assuming the extent will be such that no dust will be able to settle for long. Also makes me think the cloudiness factor hasn’t been considered so maybe won’t be investing long term in solar companies at this time.
        This business advice is free and worth every cent!

      • Richard

        I think you might be referring to what we call a ‘cherry picker’ (how appropriate for climate matters!!)

        http://www.hewden.co.uk/catalogue/access-hire/cherry-picker-rental/

        They come in various sizes but they all require suitable access, a trained operator AND the equipment.

        It wouldn’t be cheap.

        How often does it need to be done and HOW should it be done?

        http://www.solar-facts-and-advice.com/solar-panel-cleaning.html

        I don’t know about installations in the US, but most UK houses don’t have flat roofs and it would be far from easy to clean them. However, cleaning them is apparently vital as they can lose 25% of their efficiency. In often cloudy Britain and with insolation very low in the winter cleaning becomes essential.

        Whether householders would clean the panels I doubt. Most would clean their own windows which are far easier to reach than a roof mounted panel and not use a window cleaner. Would they pay several hundred pounds on a regular basis for someone else to clean their panels? I have my doubts except as a last resort.

        How do solar panel owners (roof mounted) on CE manage?

        tonyb

      • richardswarthout

        Tony

        Looks like there could be a demand for the service and that lowering the costs could be the path for an innovative entrepreneur.

        Richard

      • Danny

        There’s one other thing to consider which is that it will shortly become so warm that it won’t even be necessary to have solar panels In order to heat our houses or water.

        Tonyb

  30. I reviewed the third link. I consider the report to be using fraudulent data (RCP8.5 is scientific fraud). . It makes unsupported statements about fossil fuel resources in page 41, bullet number 9.

  31. Speaking of policy. I got another letter from AAAS asking me for more money to support their important science missions, etc. This was a paper letter, not an email. Thoughtfully, they had included a self-addressed postage-paid envelope for me to use. So I folded up the printout of my short calculation of surface climate sensitivity, and mailed it to them. I wrote a note saying that if they did not halt their irrational campaign against CO2 I would have to withdraw my membership.

  32. Just for interest –

    “No one knows precisely how many dam failures have occurred in the U.S., but they have been documented in every state. From Jan. 1, 2005 through June 2013, state dam safety programs reported 173 dam failures and 587 “incidents” – episodes that, without intervention, would likely have resulted in dam failure.”

    – damsafety.org.

    I don’t have it to hand, but something like 20% of dams built around the world since 1974 have failed, as I recollect. Obviously, some were small, but some quite big. It goes to show that in spite of our best endeavours, based on sound research backed by experience and history, things don’t always go the way we want them to.

    This is the nature of Nature. Make your assumptions, take appropriate action, and hope for the best.

    For me at least, so far so good!

  33. Oil $30? From the article:

    “Now, if there is one thing you need to keep in mind as the price of oil tumbles, it is that this is very much an issue of excess supply,” the “Mad Money” host said.

    Garner noted that when oil peaked in June last year, large speculators held a massive net long position of approximately 460,000 futures contracts. That dropped in half when oil collapsed to $40s in March. According to the latest CFTC report, since the bottom in March the big boys have been buying again and are back up to 328,000 futures contracts.

    In other words, big money has used 70 percent of its buying power to bet that oil would go higher, and yet they have failed as it hasn’t gotten above $65 a barrel. Garner thinks the large speculators have grown impatient at the weakness in energy prices, and that could lead to a huge wave of vicious selling—like the one investors saw on Tuesday.

    That floor of support was tested on Tuesday when the price of crude dropped as low as $50.58 and rebounded quickly. But how low could it go?

    Garner believes that if oil breaks below $50.50, it will easily fall to $41.40 a barrel. And if that level fails, then a quick drop to the mid-to-low $30s could be possible. She doesn’t expect oil to fall that low, but she did suggest that if you are going to bet on oil here, you need to be prepared for it.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/07/cramer-30-oil-could-be-around-the-corner.html

  34. From the article:

    About this community
    Around the world, dictatorships and democracies alike are attempting to restrict access to strong encryption that governments cannot decrypt or bypass on demand. Firms providing strong encryption to protect their users — such as Google and Apple — are now being accused by government spokesmen of “aiding” terrorism by not making their users’ communications available to law enforcement on demand. Increasingly, governments that have proven incapable of protecting their own systems from data thefts are calling for easily abused, technologically impractical government “backdoors” in commercial encryption that would put all private communications at extreme risk of attacks. This new G+ community will discuss means and methods to protect our rights related to encrypted communications, unfettered by government efforts to undermine our privacy in this context.

    https://plus.google.com/communities/109624826715876091211


  35. Designed to augment existing privacy tools, ProxyHam is a Raspberry Pi computer with Wi-Fi enabled. There’s three antennas; one is used to connect to a public Wi-Fi network, and the other two are used to transmit Wi-Fi signals over a 900 MHz frequency.

    By using a 900 MHz radio, ProxyHam can connect to a Wi-Fi network up to two miles away, and blend-in with traffic on that spectrum. So if the person using it were to be tracked via IP address to a physical location, all anyone would find at that location is the ProxyHam box.

    Could have Caudill changed his mind? Yes, but that’s unlikely, because he was excited to release this tool and share the information with the public and protect those who are most at risk for using their voice.

    Therefore, while it is pure speculation on my part since no one can speak on record, it would look as if a higher power – namely the U.S. Government – has put their foot down and killed this talk.

    It isn’t perfect, but a tool like ProxyHam – when combined with Tor or other VPN services, would be powerful.

    Such a combination would make tracking dissidents or whistleblowers (even with custom malware or tools from the likes of Hacking Team) increasingly difficult the more that ProxyHam was developed.

    In fact, while the first version offered strong support to existing privacy tools, further developments were planned that would’ve not only improved things, but made them more affordable.

    http://www.csoonline.com/article/2947377/network-security/privacy-talk-at-def-con-canceled-under-questionable-circumstances.html?fb_ref=Default

  36. Should read – greatest source (31%) of US electricity is from Nat Gas.
    (not a majority).

  37. Good news for US nat gas producers. Deep sea driller stocks are on an upswing.
    From the article:
    Natural Gas Shortages in Mexico
    Posted on September 24, 2012 by Lucas Davis
    Whereas in the United States there are thousands of natural gas producers, in Mexico there is only one, Petróleos Mexicanos, also known as PEMEX. And, as is the case for many state-owned companies, the prices charged by PEMEX are government regulated. How? Mexico imposes price controls on natural gas by setting them equal to U.S. prices.

    Of course, U.S. prices are currently extremely low — about one-quarter the level that was observed at the peak in 2008. These low prices reflect the dramatic increase in U.S. natural gas production over the last few years made possible by hydraulic fracturing. Problem is, Mexican production has not nearly kept pace.

    As U.S. Henry Hub prices have continued to decrease, demand for natural gas in Mexico has skyrocketed, particularly among industrial users. And today in Mexico there is a severe shortage of natural gas. A recent article from Bloomberg (click here) reports that large industrial customers in Mexico are seeing ~50% curtailments. Mexico would like to import more from the United States, but north-south pipelines are extremely limited and already running near 100% capacity.

    This is a classic textbook example of a price control. When you impose a price control lower than the market clearing price, demand exceeds supply so there is deadweight loss. Mexican buyers with high willingness-to-pay aren’t able to buy natural gas, and the Mexican producer, PEMEX, doesn’t have much incentive to increase production.

    https://energyathaas.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/natural-gas-shortages-in-mexico/

  38. William Gail, past AMS president has a view about the contradiction between the maybe-nature-did-it attitude and the Congressional lack of desire to know more about how nature did it by cutting funding for climate science.
    http://www.thecalifornian.com/story/opinion/2015/07/07/lost-climate-arguments/29822745/

    • Jim,

      Ok, it is an opinion piece, but still, taking the drama queen approach and pretending that nature has human qualities and is “holding us hostage” and plotting “where next to strike” pretty much surrenders his credibility.

      And if gail is going to go the histrionics route, at least he should get his facts straight. Unrelenting drought in the SW? Parts of the SW, but not anywhere near all of it. Texas isn’t suffering from unrelenting drought. Gail pretty much confirms that (probably unwittingly) with his record strength storms line. And Texas makes up a rather big chunk of the SW.

      And about that record storms line – says who? Reporters and others pushing that story line must believe that most people are too lazy to check the historical record. Instead they rely on people depending on short term memory. As in “Man, we haven’t seen storms like this since, oh, 3 or 4 years ago.” Saying something is a record does not make it so. There was nothing even unusual about the weather Texas experienced the past couple months.

  39. Affirmative action redistribution of money to communities using climate change as a lever:

    “The Third U.S. National Climate Assessment also noted that socioeconomic disparities can exacerbate the vulnerability of certain populations, including low-income, tribal, and some communities of color, due to in part to limited capacity and resources necessary to prepare and adapt.”

    “Building on this progress, the White House is also announcing a series of new actions focused on enhancing resilience in the communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change that includes over $25 million in private and public investments.”

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/Press_Releases/July_09_2015

  40. Last week we lost Walter Energy (bankrupt coal company). Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) was delisted today and you can buy a share of Arch Coal Inc. (ACI) for only $0.27 cents. Peabody Coal (BTU) will set you back $1.43.
    I only hope the budget conscience republicans don’t cave in and throw away good money on the EPA super fund for cleaning up these toxic mines because we all know the EPA will just divert the money for more bogus regulations and phony climate research. Just let the states clean up these toxic wastelands because they are the ones who approved their mining permits to begin with.

    More lies:
    Renewable energy boom will mean vastly cheaper electricity
    http://www.computerworld.com/article/2947870/sustainable-it/renewable-energy-boom-will-mean-vastly-cheaper-electricity.html

  41. “He discusses how the problem is analogous to fuel and energy consumption, and how essentially, this is a process of slowing down co-evolution. One approach could be taking emissions taxes as an example for future antibiotic regulation.”

    http://medcitynews.com/2015/07/antibiotic-resistance-ted-talk-ramanan-laxminarayan/

    Ok, let me do that in slow motion:
    1) if you dont belive climate religion you are a fascist denier
    2) climate change is a serious global threat if your country doesnt join the hive fuel plan you are rogue.
    3) medicine should be regulated globally like fuel.

    Historically attempts at world domination dont go well.

    • I should point out that by world domination I argue in the sense of an Ideological spread, like christianity once did. A secular theocracy based on global ‘sensitivity’, Gottfried’s Therapeutic Managerial state. Or as Sting called it, ‘One World.’
      Not exactly what our forefathers had in mind.

    • They tried taxing harmful bacteria but had enforcement problems and a low compliance rate.

      I am unsure if there is anything to global warming.

      They claim a lot of things and can’t prove any of them. This doesn’t mean they are wrong, but they have a bad track record and you judge people by their track record.

      However – it the raw temperatures drop by 2020 and the annual CO2 increase is under 2 PPM/Y we can forget about global warming and start discussing criminal and civil action against the environmentalists.

      • “They claim a lot of things and can’t prove any of them. This doesn’t mean they are wrong”

        True. Its never been that side of global warming that’s bothered me either. Its the dishonest power grab, the move to destroy local sovereignty and move to regulated homogenity….

        It would be an interesting thing if nature failed to cooperate. But by the (even now) the globalist will control history as well…