Week in review – energy and policy edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

US politics

U.S. Presidential candidateJeb Bush Wants to Elimate All Energy Subsidies [link]

Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham: Why Don’t Republicans Believe The Scientists On Climate … – ThinkProgress [link]

EPA: We don’t need to justify our regulations to avert warming .01 degrees [link]

Outrage over EPA emissions regulations fades as states find fixes [link]

Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina calls issue of climate change “hyperbole”: [link] …

Latest GOP presidential contender John Kasich actually believes in climate change. But he doesn’t want to fix it [link] …

Admitting to #AGW doesn’t obligate support of govt intervention.
Sen @JohnCornyn (R, TX) speaks on climate change @NRO. Seeks innov-driven policy answers [link]  …

Policy analysis

How to think about Islamic State: [link]  …

Amber Rudd: End of UK Green Deal [link]

Pope’s popularity fall 17% — preaching the climate change religion not so popular? [link]  …


Power Africa: Congress puts brakes on Obama plan [link] Fight about Export-Import Bank financing

Climate Change Risk is still largely unpriced & is a major risk area read [link]

France passes sweeping energy bill, to raise CO2 tax to €100/t by 2030 | Carbon Pulse [link] …

London economy ‘vulnerable to climate change’ – more than half of richest firms have no sense of risks [link]


An offshore wind farm near Rhode Island provides promise for #renewableenergy in the U.S. [link]

Report: #nuclear can’t compete with #renewables [link]  …

Nice new blog highlighting @NREL work in solar materials and clean energy systems [link] …

Biomass Ind Intensifies Fight For Carbon-Neutral Status As Obama Adm Carbon Rules Draw Near [link] …

Reviving #Iran’s oil and gas industry [link] …

How to reconcile @UNFCCC & @ICAO principles in regulating GHGs from international #aviation? http://bit.ly/1VmGbQ6

Japan’s growing reputation as a climate laggard [link]  …

DFID’s “Energy Africa” Campaign Launch: Three Fast Facts, One Bad Idea, and at Least One Way Forward [link]  …

Amber Rudd: UK CO2 targets make no sense. [link]

Want more wind and solar? We’ll need to get rid of outdated grid rules. [link] …

This highlights the excellent prospects for renewable energy in America, and the opposite for Germany [link]

Water and food

India’s plans to turn waterways into major shipping channels will require large-scale river linking [link]

Financing universal access to water and sanitation by redirecting fossil fuel subsidies  [link]

“Algae-Harvesting Technology Turns Frack California Water Into Irrigation Water” [link]

#Pakistan on brink of being ‘water scarce’ – but working with India to conserve groundwater could avert crisis #Indus [link]

Brookings: State of Food Insecurity Report [link]

Interesting piece on the PROS of corn, when we often hear the cons. [link]   …

Glut in sugar, cotton, tobacco and other crops blamed for farmer suicides in India [link] …

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

    • Professor laxon fell down a flight of stairs at a New year’s Eve party at a house in Essex while Dr Giles died when she was in collision with a lorry when cycling to work in London. Dr Boyd is thought to have been struck by lightning while walking in Scotland.

      Sounds like the prime suspects are God, Allah, and Zeus. If it was Allah then there might be a link to terrorism.

    • This is silly. All three died in plausible ways in separate locations. Sometimes deaths just happen in clusters.

    • I say again …

    • What does this tell us? Apart from the fact that Prof. Wadhams is indeed a looney, has anyone noticed that this coincidence allows us to estimate how many scientists in the UK are studying climate change? I.e. enough for three of them, within the UK, to all die in unlikely accidents in the space of a few months.

      See this and note the link to the data. It tuns out there about 11,000 accidental deaths in the UK each year, in a population of 65m. Falls are the most common cause of accidental death (~3800) followed by accidental poisoning (~2000) and then transport accidents (~1800). The real outlier here is death by lightning – there are only on average, over the last 25 years, 2 such deaths each year. As annual probabilities of death, we get

      Fall on stairs/steps: 1e-5
      Transport: 3e-5
      Lightning: 3e-8

      But it would be a mistake to use the specific cause of death here, because quite likely any three accidental deaths in this group would have been noted as a coincidence. So let us ask, what is the probability that three people would succumb to any cause of accidental death, with a probability 1.7e-4, in one year. Let’s use Poisson statistics for a population of size N, and plot the likelihood function.

      I find the maximum likelihood at N ~ 17500. But of course we do not have three climate scientists dying from accidents every year. This has happened, as far as we know, just once (in 2013). I have not seen any other reports of accidental deaths among UK climate scientists, but it seems unlikely there have been none.

      If the coincidence of three or more such deaths in one year were to happen once in a decade, that implies N ~ 6000. In which case I would expect there to be about one accidental death per year on average.

      If this is a hundred-year event, then N ~ 2500 which still seems quite a lot. Does anyone have an alternative way to estimate N, or any knowledge of additional accidental deaths in this population?

  1. “Climate Change Risk is still largely unpriced … ”

    Climate Change Prevention is still totally unpriced.

  2. Couric tried to get Fiorina to give a sane answer on climate policy, but she is out there. It’s clean coal or nothing for her, yet she doesn’t like the EPA plan which is basically clean coal. Wind kills eagles, and solar “requires huge amounts of water” apparently, so those are out as contenders.

    • Fiorina’s ‘hyperbole’ is right.

      Yes GHGs likely cause warming ( within all the naturally varying climate ).

      But exaggerating risks and ignoring benefits makes advocates themselves detrimental.

    • But Jeb Bush end all subsidies seems very reasonable.

      That would hammer nuclear, but subsidies tend to encourage the least efficient solutions.

    • And Lindsay Graham sounds ignorant.

      90% may be saying GHGs cause warming, but they are NOT saying there’s a problem akin to his doctor analogy.

    • It’s clean coal or nothing for her, yet she doesn’t like the EPA plan which is basically clean coal. Wind kills eagles, and solar “requires huge amounts of water” apparently, so those are out as contenders.

      That’s not what she said. She said let’s tell people the truth about the downsides of these technologies, and she expressed confidence in American innovation.

      Solar, as usually implemented, does require a lot of water. Wind does kill a lot of birds. These aren’t hard problems to solve, but until they get more attention, they won’t be addressed.

      “Clean coal” is probably the hardest problem, so that’s the one she focused on.

      • According to numbers I just found, a typical household uses 100 times the water per MWh consumed than a solar power company uses to generate that power. It’s peanuts compared to their energy customers and a complete red herring.

      • According to numbers I just found, […]


        More importantly, best utility PV is going to be in locations distant from ready water sources, typically with little rainfall.

        Still, I’d like to see comparisons with the amount used for coal and nuclear. I’d also like to see comparisons of the amount of energy needed to desalinate sea (or Salton Sea) water for the PV washing needs to the amount it generates. And the energy cost of pumping that salt water from whereever it is to wherever the PV is.

        I suspect they’d be equally a nit.

        But IMO it doesn’t matter, because the best place for near-term solar PV is floating on existing dry-country reservoirs. What it saves through reduced evaporation would probably make up for much more than the amount that evaporates while washing the modules.

        My point is that American (and other) innovation is already solving these problems, so she’s right that they should be mentioned. She’s also right, IMO, to focus on “clean coal” which is a much harder problem.

      • As for birds and wind turbines, and bird stupid enough to fly into this needs to be removed from its species’ gene pool ASAP.

      • AK, you can start from here, and work it out from other information yourself.

      • As for the birds, powerlines kill more of them, but that did not stop us from using them. It is another example of hypocrisy.

    • When you levelize costs, especially for night time, solar is very expensive and very inefficient. If you wanna buy panels on your own and put them up, fine, but don’t expect anyone else to pay for bad ideas.

  3. “How to think about Islamic State:”
    Or not.

  4. “Report: #nuclear can’t compete with #renewables [link] …”

    Mycle Schneider founded this organization which published back in the day anti-nuclear papers.


    Antony Froggatt:

    Antony Patrick Froggatt has studied energy and environmental policy at the University of Westminster and the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex University. He is currently an independent consultant on international energy issues and a senior research fellow at Chatham House (also known as the Royal Institute for International Affairs). While working at Chatham House he has specialised on energy security and in particular working in emerging economies with extensive work in China on the establishment and methodologies of low carbon economic development.

    Antony Froggatt was also an associate fellow at Warwick Business School from 2006-7 and gave lectures at the Ecole des Mines de Nantes in France. He has worked as a consultant for 15 years with environmental groups, academics and public bodies, including the European Parliament and Commission, in Europe and Asia specialising in the development of policies, initiatives and capacity building. He has also worked for environmental Non-Government Organisation on European and global energy policy.
    Antony Froggatt is the author or co-author of dozens of reports, including, the “Global Status of the Nuclear Industry and its Opportunities for Expansion”, (International Spectator – September 2011), the “World Nuclear Industry Status Report”, (Worldwatch Institute – April 2011), “Sustainable Energy Security, Strategic Risk and Opportunities for Business” (Lloyd’s of London – 2010) “Changing Climates- Interdependencies on Energy and Climate Security for China and Europe”, (Chatham House – 2007) “Comparisons Among Different Decommissioning Funds Methodologies for Nuclear Installations (The European Commission – 2007).


    • bedeverethewise

      So you’re telling me that the report which was dressed up to look like an independent assessment of nuclear and renewable energy options was really written by a group of lifelong anti-nuclear activists? I’m shocked

  5. Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham: Why Don’t Republicans Believe The Scientists On Climate … – ThinkProgress [link]

    “I know I’m not a scientist,” he continued, “but here’s the problem I’ve got with some people in my party: When you ask the scientists what’s going on, why don’t you believe them? If I went to 10 doctors and nine said, ‘Hey, you’re gonna die,’ and one says ‘You’re fine,’ why would I believe the one guy?”

    Same deal, you go to ten climate scientists and nine said, “Temperature and sea level will be a disaster by 2015” and one says, “not even close”, why would I believe the one guy that turned out to be right.

    Are you kidding? Give me a break! Go with the actual data! Temperature and sea level are still in bounds and you are still alive or you could have not told us that story about the nine doctors who were wrong.

    • 30 doctors. 29 all getting huge grants from big pharma while the government is saying in every TV advertisement, website etc that you need this drug with tons of money being poured in by big pharma. Any doctor who refuses to prescribe the drug, immediately has their license suspended. Any doctor who does prescribe it get a big cut of the money and kudos and other prizes. When you go looking for actual data on the drug you keep finding stuff that doesn’t add up but if you ask any questions you get harassed, told you are part of the anti science deniers club. If you ask 29 doctors, 5 assure you the drug is great, 10 shrug and say it’s not their area so they aren’t going to comment and 14 say they need to refer you to a specialist as they don’t feel competent to administer the drug. People who use the drug pay a lot of money and big pharma is making money hand over fist. Big government also wants to raise your taxes so they can put even more people on the drug. The government is also on a campaign to ban every other possible alternative to the drug. One doctor, already thrown out of the approved group, has a pretty good collection of well done data showing the flaws of he drug. He’s publishing on his own private website because no journal will let him publish and no newspaper allows publication of dissenting views on this drug. You carefully review all the evidence for yourself and decide the one doctor is probably right, based on the evidence. You ignore the other 29.

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  7. The Economist article on the unpriced risk of climate change apparently assumes there are still some long term investors left. With a culture in some parts of the investment community that views a long term investment as holding a position for more than 72 hours, the worry seems to be premature. It would be interesting to know how many investors hold their positions for longer than 10 years. How much of a calamity affecting current investments will the world be facing in 2025? I am more concerned about the Black Swans lurking in the wings of 2016 and 2017, than the probabilistic threats decades out.

    • The Economist study relied upon a DICE (Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy) model. Their DICEy model is an all-or-nothing projection. That is, you can’t disaggregate asset classes (real estate vs stocks, for example). That seems a rather cloudy crystal ball for planning purposes.

      They further assume that present economic values are equal to the discounted annual cash flow over time. There’s nothing controversial about that approach until you extend the discounting into the next century. Reasonable people can disagree over the “present value” of a factory built in the year 2090 or the “present value” of a bushel of corn consumed in 2075. But reasonable people should not design policies on such a silly basis.

      Over the next 80+ years we are going to replace a significant portion of assets (buildings, infrastructure, etc.) simply because it wears out or becomes obsolete. A realistic net asset-replacement ratio for that length of time would easily exceed 30% of global GDP. For many asset classes, the net replacement ratio will be a multiple of 100% over the next century.

      So, when the Economist reports that the “value at risk to manageable assets from climate change calculated in this report is US $4.2trn, in present value terms” — it sounds like a rounding error to me.

      The same thought must have occurred to the Economist’s study team since they also calculated “fat tail” risks based upon 6 degrees C warming by 2100. This produced a more newsworthy present value loss calculation of $13.8 trillion, using “private-sector discount rates.” But why stop there? One more tweak of the DICEy model and:

      From the public-sector perspective, 6°C of warming represents present value losses worth US$43trn—30% of the entire stock of the world’s manageable assets.

      At that point I decided that reading the Sunday comic strips would provide a better use of my time.

      • Typo correction in third paragraph: should read “…would easily exceed 30% of global assets” rather than “30% of global GDP.”

  8. Great article on the PROS of Corn. “Plants process both carbon dioxide and oxygen, but they can make sugar only from the CO2. When they get an oxygen molecule instead, it’s a double whammy; not only do they not make sugar, they release one of those valuable CO2 molecules. C4 plants get their edge from cells that act as gatekeepers, keeping oxygen out and allowing only CO2 to get into the system. It’s all photosynthesis, all the time.”
    Her metric is calories per acre. Looks like Corn along with Potatoes (pomme de terre) are King.
    “…C4 plants use water more efficiently in photosynthesis; C4 developed as a response to dry climates. So, as water becomes an issue in more of the crop-growing world, C4 plants (corn, but also sorghum, sugar cane and millet) play an important role.”
    Food supply concerns? See Minnesota. Some of us see CO2 as vital. It’s key to a significant part of our food chain and does do so much good.

    • Curious George

      “C4 [plants] developed as a response to dry climates.” True, but with a caveat. It looks like the process of photosynthesis developed in a CO2-rich and O2-poor atmosphere. Plants still get their CO2 from the atmosphere – and in the process of “breathing” they lose water. Increase CO2, and the plant needs less water. That’s happening in southern Sahara. With a plentiful CO2 the C4 plants will lose some of their edge.

      • With a plentiful CO2 the C4 plants will lose some of their edge.

        Which could lead to massive eco-destabilization in many parts of the (non-agricultural) world.

      • Drought is always a concern in Minnesota. We are near the end of a very long moisture train that runs from the South:

        As the low tracks East it transports moisture counterclockwise to us. And the lucky farmers are in the storm track. I’d say we want bigger storms not smaller ones. But since we don’t know what’s going to happen, Corn with its assumed low moisture origins should be able to thrive if precipitation levels drop. I suppose this is what we are supposed to be doing, looking at crops under various scenarios.

      • AK:
        It appears many weeds are C4:
        It seems the C3/C4 balance does change over time as climate does. It’s diversified survival adaptation. Simplified, farmers have a number of options.

      • Simplified, farmers have a number of options.

        Yes, massive eco-destabilization (probably) wouldn’t be a catastrophe for modern agriculture. For primitive agriculture?…

        But there are other potential problems that might arise. Such as the appearance of one or more lichens capable of competing with crops, and evolving resistance faster than we can develop fungicides. (Remember funguses are more closely related to animals than plants, so most things that poison funguses will also poison animals. Including humans.)

        I don’t see such outcomes as probable, but they’re plausible.

      • Wouldn’t this cede the edge to more nutritious vegetables and fruit relative from grains?

    • As CO2 increases, so is likely the calorie content of grain relative to other nutrients. This may make bio fuels more economical in the future. However, I consider the burning of ethanol egregious alcohol abuse.

  9. Where is the outrage about the Iranian oil that is about to hit the market? I’ve seen estimates as high as 2.5 million barrels per day which (if I’ve done the math correctly) equates to almost 1 trillion pounds of CO2 per day. Sierra Club? NRDC? Bueller? Bueller? Buelller?

    • We’re going into an election year. That oil is vital to keep the economy from faltering and keep the right party in office.

      • Perhaps, but compare and contrast the alarmists’ lack of concern about the Iranian oil deal with the heated rhetoric about the Keystone XL pipeline (which would have contributed far less CO2)…the debate about which wasn’t that long ago. The difference is stunning and difficult to understand.

  10. WTI crude hit $47 on Friday. The year-out contango, which at $60 was about 2$, is now about $7, a greater impetus to put oil into storage.

  11. According to Mother Jones, the annual conventional fossil fuel subsidy is $3.4 billion. Who cares? Get rid of them. It’s a talking point about nothing. Jeb Bush is right. Give Mother Jones credit for not overstating the subsidies. The foreign tax credit is not a subsidy nor is the time shift of immediate expensing of capital costs.

  12. Meanwhile, back in the world (yeah, that old thing) the pipelines that carry Kazakhstan’s oil and Turkmenistan’s natural gas to China cross Xinjiang, a 50% muslim province. It’s an unstable region, of course, and this brings some Turkish, Arab and Iranian resentments into play against China, though other ME interests are tugging toward China. China, meanwhile…http://www.cfr.org/world/armed-clash-south-china-sea/p27883

    Meanwhile, if you look west of all this you see a jumble of pipelines and interests that will make you giddy, with, just for example, Israelis and Kurds buddying up with Greeks and Cypriots, while a not-so-Kemalist Turkey gets quite nervous about who pipes what to whom and nobody knows who is going to be whose friend for how long. In the middle of this is a curious group of religious enthusiasts called ISIS…

    But enough of eastern and middle eastern probs! Let’s talk about the future for Russia’s gas when an anti-nuke France decides to go all green – “green” being another word for “gas-dependent”. Meanwhile, bill-paying Germany has decided to defy itself by continuing to preach green while digging the good old brown because it has no choice (see “bill-paying” above)…

    Curiously, nobody is fighting over space to put wind turbines and solar panels. Maybe because intermittent, diffuse and expensive energy is not a solution to any bloody thing?

    And in this context, we have “experts” discussing how to dismantle Australia’s massive and critical coal industry. A DOMESTIC industry. The Permian black, centuries of supply, lying in Sydney’s back yard. And because coal is totally unsexy but utterly critical, we continue to burn it in ageing facilities, wasting maybe 20%.

    Makes you wonder what education is for, doesn’t it?

    • mosomoso

      We need energy horses for our own country’s courses. It is well known that the UK is ferociously hot and sunny so large solar farms are obviously the way to go over here.

      Now that Amber Rudd is inexplicably reining in the subsidy for solar farms in mainland Britain, attention will turn to Northern Ireland where it is so sunny and bright that it is compulsory for the natives to wear sun hats and apply factor 50 sun cream every 20 minutes.

      No wonder that solar farms will be publicly acclaimed over there as this new proposal will demonstrate;

      “The (solar farm) proposal is for a 50MW development which will cover 250 acres of open countryside, measures approximately 1.2 miles from end to end and is the equivalent of twenty Junction One Shopping Centres. “


      Here are the average sun hours (1285 hours per year) and cloudy days for Belfast


      It seems apparent that opponents of renewables must be cooking the books and must have falsified the data in this link as no one would be crazy enough to subsidise such an apparently pointless industry as Northern Ireland solar energy. Would they?

      The panels work off daylight rather than direct sun so the apparently very low light levels and lack of sun especially outside of peak summer months apparently doesn’t matter. No doubt the installation will work at 100% efficiency…. even at night.


      • It seems the sun shines down hard all over the British Isles – except for the small strip of ground where Mitchell Johnson is due to bowl.

  13. Regarding the “Corn is great” article:

    “I’d argue that corn’s GM-ness isn’t relevant to its value as food, as genetically modified corn is all but identical to the non-GM version (i.e., perfectly safe to eat).”

    However Starlink maize has not been demonstrated safe, and there are reasons for concerns.

    “However, because the Cry9C protein lingers in the digestive system before breaking down, the EPA had concerns about its allergenicity, and PGS did not provide sufficient data to prove that Cry9C was not allergenic.”

    Why the EPA is meddling in FDA affairs, who knows. However, there is a flip side to this person’s POV.

  14. Re: Want more wind and solar? We’ll need to get rid of outdated grid rules.

    Interesting article and it gets a lot right. The title and some of the focus is misleading as the rules are not ” outdated” but rather largely are worthwhile and needed until the developments called for in the posting occur. Secondly some of the proposed “advancements” are debatable as to whether they will prove to be generally more beneficial than costly. (The debate is welcome and no problem here with him proposing such.).

    I resent the best near ranted and unfair implication that the rules are stacked against new technology for arbitrary reasons. Unfortunately “smear” tactics seem to go hand in hand with promoting “clean” alternatives.

    • Bad spell checker. Start the last sentence. I resent the unwarranted and unfair implication…..

    • I agree the debate is welcome – but only if it is a rational and objective debate. The starting point should be to justify why we need wind power. What does it achieve. If it’s to reduce GHG emissions, then it is a very high cost way to do this, and much less effective that most people realise. Wind power in Ireland in 2011 supplied 17% of electricity and was 53% effective at reducing emissions per MWh of wind energy

      Wind power in Australia in 2014 supplied 4.5% of electricity and was just 78% effective; and projected to be 60% effective when wind reaches 15% of electricity supplied (i.e. by about 2020 under current legislation).

      When wind proportion of electricity increases further it will be even less effective. At 50% effective the abatement cost is twice the estimates.

      Why would any rational person advocate for wind and and other intemittent, unreliable, high cost, renewables?

      And most important of all renewables are not sustainable. They don, and cannot, produce sufficent energy to power modern society and reproduce themselves.

      • Curious George

        Dr. Peter Gleick is best suited to determine what constitutes a rational and objective debate.

    • We also need to take into account hacking. This is a major threat.

    • Agreed, the author gets a lot right. If AGW was a clear and present danger then those would be the conversations to have. The author is one of the few that has recognized the need to subsidize base load plants due to underutilization as a result of renewables. The obvious solution is to not subsidize renewables rather than double down on that particular stupidity.

  15. Potential change in policy.

    From the article:

    Donald Trump
    In February, business magnate Donald Trump, cited snow — a popular argument for climate change critics — as proof that global warming is a myth.

    “With the coldest winter ever recorded, with snow setting record levels up and down the coast, the Nobel committee should take the Nobel Prize back from Al Gore,” the tycoon told members of his Trump National Golf Club.


    From the article:

    Donald Trump has surged to the lead in the New Hampshire GOP presidential primary and virtually erased Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s advantage in the Iowa caucuses, according to new NBC News/Marist polls released Sunday.
    In Iowa, Walker still tops the field with 19 percent, the poll shows — only two points ahead of Trump, who garners 17 percent. Interviews for the poll began on July 14 — the day after the Walker campaign’s launch event in Wisconsin. The only other candidate in double digits is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, at 12 percent.
    Story Continued Below
    Those lagging behind include a number of candidates banking on strong finishes in Iowa. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is in fourth place, at 8 percent, followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 7 percent, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 5 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 4 percent and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 4 percent.


    • bedeverethewise

      Trump is great, he really brings out the best in people. He has done more for this country than Hilary could ever dream to. Remember when Meatloaf wanted to kill Gary Busey over missing art supplies, a classic moment.

      • I didn’t see the Meatloaf thing. Trump has a TV presence. Reagan was an actual actor and he made a great President.

    • You simply cannot believe a single thing anyone in the press writes about Trump. Every time some huge flashing controversy has hit the press about Trump and I’ve taken the time to go back and check the context and background of what the man actually said, it turns out the press distorted it. And BOTH sides are doing it not just the left but, naturally, the left is doing a far better smear and distort job than the right since they are so well practiced at such tactics. Personally I don’t quite know what to make of Trump. The only thing I know for certain is believe nothing written in the press about him.

    • Jim

      We had experience of Donald Trump a couple of years ago when he trampled over the environment in Scotland and Ireland in order to build golf resorts for other very rich people. He has been called a ‘self aggrandizing buffoon ‘ and many much more unkind things.


      He has appeared on tv here a number of times in recent weeks.

      How can I put this delicately….What on earth do you see in him?

      Is Trump really the best of a bad bunch of Presidential hopefuls?


      • Tony – Last election here, a gaggle of Republicans made a bunch of promises to fix immigration problems, scale back Obamacare, and others. They immediately forgot those promises when they got elected. Fool me once, etc.

        I believe Trump when he says he will do something, anything, to limit illegal immigration. I also believe he would work to scale back the out-of-control EPA and IRA.

        No candidate is perfect, and each has flaws. Trump hasn’t been afraid of the PC police, that alone is worth a lot.

        Maybe the best choice given the collection at hand.

      • IRA should have been IRS.

      • Jim

        I think I read that from 2014 in the US the majority of primary school pupils were non white and by 2050 the US white population would be in a minority. I guess that anyone promising to restrict immigration would have a popular vote amongst whites, but have little support among say Hispanics who Trump seems to have irritated with his recent comments.

        It doesn’t make the sorry collection of presidential candidates from both sides any more competent, but Trumps populism can be better understood in context.


      • I don’t have numbers, but I read that some portion of legal Hispanic US citizens are also not happy with illegal immigration. I know blacks won’t like it.

      • Tony – I neglected to add that illegal immigration isn’t just a Mexican issue. Illegal immigrants come here from all over the world. It includes drug cartel members, Muslims, and other undesirables.

  16. French lawmakers passed a sweeping energy bill late on Wednesday that will both raise the country’s domestic carbon tax to €100/tonne and cut its fossil fuel consumption by 30% by 2030, while reducing its reliance on nuclear power by a third within a decade in favour of more renewables.

    How can this be seen as anything more than increasing a flat tax on the population to fund the socialist bureaucracy while reaping political the benefits of supposedly supporting the Left’s schizophrenic angst against nuclear while enjoying its exclusion as an agent of AGW?

  17. Again, Judith has posted a number an anti-nuke report together with a number of pro renewable articles.

    While I do not dispute the facts stated the Executive Summary, it lacks proper balance. To be fair and balanced they should have also included the important facts such as:

    1. The reason that nuclear and expansion has been paused (slowed) for decades is the effectiveness of the scaremongering by anti nuclear groups over the past 50 years; e.g. Greenpeace, WWF, FoE, Amory Lovins, John Holdren and many others.

    2. Only nuclear power will be capable of providing most of the world’s energy once most of the the fossil fuels have been used or become uneconomic.

    3. Renewables cannot provide a significant proportion of the world’s energy needs because they are not sustainable (when enenegy storage is included).

    4. CO2 abatement is about 3-5 times cheaper with nuclear than with renewable energy when all systems costs are included.

    The anti-nukes arguments are irrational but effective. Scaremongering, doom-saying about Armageddon can be effective for a period, but eventually it loses traction – eventually rational analysis will win out. Then the future for the planet will progress fast again (as it did when we were expanding the use of fossil fuels, developing engines to use them, etc).

    • Peter Lang: The anti-nukes arguments are irrational but effective. Scaremongering, doom-saying about Armageddon can be effective for a period, but eventually it loses traction – eventually rational analysis will win out.

      We can hope. The most dangerous product of nuclear power, by far, is the electricity itself. In the Fukushima disaster, more people where killed by the fires started by electricity than by the nuclear waste that was released. And so on. It is remarkable how the dangers of nuclear power grab attention and are not compared to the dangers of so much else in life.

    • Once again, Peter Lang sees the world through rose-colored glasses that see only positives for nuclear power. Nuclear plant-building slowed after Three Mile Island meltdown showed the plants are incredibly unsafe and meltdowns are not only possible, they actually do happen. Construction costs increased in response to Three Mile Island, as they rightfully should have, to protect the public from exposure to ionizing radiation in deadly quantities. Prudent assessment of actual dangers is not scare-mongering.

      See e.g. http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-21.html, for a concise account of what happened at Three Mile Island in 1979.

      Lang’s second point on nuclear power being the only power source available for future use completely ignores the reality of hydropower, both on-shore and off-shore wind with storage, solar power, and ocean current power (which needs no storage). Other forms of renewable energy also exist, including bio-mass, bio-gas, and river-mouth osmosis to name but three.

      In fact, Professor D. Abbot describes the futility, indeed the impossibility, of counting on nuclear power for the long-term future. His assessment included 15 reasons why nuclear will not be the energy of the future, see my take on this at http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/05/nuclear-power-highly-impractical-for.html. Dr. Abbot’s paper may be found at: “Is Nuclear Power Globally Scalable?” Abbot, D., Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 99, No. 10, pp. 1611–1617, 2011.

      Dr. Abbot’s 15 reasons are as follows:
      1. Not enough plant sites (away from population, near cooling water, etc)
      2. Land area required per plant
      3. Embrittlement problem
      4. Entropy problem
      5. Nuclear waste disposal
      6. Nuclear accident rate problem
      7. Proliferation
      8. Energy of extraction (mining dilute ores for uranium)
      9. Uranium resource limits
      10. Seawater extraction for uranium
      11. Fast Breeder Reactors
      12. Fusion Reactors
      13. Materials Resources (materials of construction, rare alloy metals)
      14. Elemental diversity
      15. Nuclear power and Climate Change

      Lang then makes a completely erroneous statement that renewables are not sustainable when energy storage is included. In fact, renewables are entirely sustainable. Materials of construction can be recovered and recycled if needed. The energy supply is both free and essentially unlimited. With undersea storage as MIT demonstrated, load following is assured.

      It is ludicrous to believe that CO2 abatement costs are cheaper with nuclear than renewables. One need only consider the costs of uranium mining, enrichment, power plant construction, spent fuel management and storage, and possibly future spent fuel reprocessing, plus the enormous subsidies the nuclear power industry enjoys.

  18. Latest GOP presidential contender John Kasich actually believes in climate change. But he doesn’t want to fix it [link] …

    Mother Jones? What next, the Utney Reader?

    His actual quote was that he does not want to “overreact”. This is another article that does not attempt to distinguish between “climate change” and “CO2 effects”.

    Is there anyone who wants to undo the greening of the Sahel? Raise the incidence of malaria and it case fatality rates to their pre-1990s levels? Reduce the drought resistance of natural vegetation?

  19. Report: #nuclear can’t compete with #renewables [link] …

    That looks like a good review. I think the author underestimates the costs associated with regulatory impediments to nuclear power, and discounts the record of success in the US. But otherwise it is an important summary of recent developments.

    • I don’t agree. This report is biased. The authors have a history of anti-nuclear articles.


      • jim2: This report is biased.

        I noted two of its biases.

      • When so called “Liberals/Socialists” make your identical argument on say organizations like Cato, Heritage, Heartland, etc. as having a biased history — you criticize these “Liberals” as just running away from wanting any “real” discussion on the “issues”.

        So many times on here at CE, you (and others) just are not consistent in your views/arguments.

        Also — As has been stated so many times here at CE, U.S. Pro Nuclear initiatives:

        (1) Tax Credit (almost identical to Wind).
        (2) Construction Cap Subsidies on new Projects.
        (3) Catastrophic Insurance (Price Anderson Act).
        (4) DOE Loan Guarantee Program
        (5) U.S. Export/Import Bank for U.S. Technology.
        (6) Obama attempts to build ~13 new Nuclear Projects.

      • Problem is, even though the cost of nuclear is largely politically manufactured, the damage done to the industry is already done. Getting sane nuclear policy may not be politically feasible.

      • President Obama tried not once, but twice, to fund ~13 new nuclear power projects. Obama reached out to create a bi-partisan effort to support the DOE and Secretary Chu’s efforts.

        This included Republicans, Christine Todd Whitman, Lindsay Graham, Lamar Alexander to name a few.

      • Segrest – just because I point out bias in the nuclear paper doesn’t mean I don’t see bias elsewhere.



      • jim2


        Even the honorable Dr. James Hansen, and many of his colleagues, agree, as do I.

      • Today (e.g., Blog on Dr. Hansen) , Dr. Curry cited a review by Cato on Sea Level Rise.

        Being consistent with the Jim2 Rule, no one should read or put any credence in this Cato review — as Cato has a long track record of being bias.

    • Curious George

      I counted how many times the report uses the word “intermittent”. Zero.

  20. DFID’s “Energy Africa” Campaign Launch: Three Fast Facts, One Bad Idea, and at Least One Way Forward [link]

    “a simple electric stovetop uses over 500 kWh a year for a household cooking twice a day, which is far out of household solar’s range”

    Cooking and refrigeration are the very needs families have to escape the scourge of indoor smoke pollution and its resultant premature deaths as well as a way to keep food from spoiling in a hot humid climate, allowing people to live more than daily hand-to-mouth.

    The article’s solution is a financing scheme similar to SolarCity here in the US; i.e., upfront loss costs on equipment and installation with a down stream piece of the metered energy used, like a home mortgage.

    A problem I see with such a financing scheme, no permanent housing. People living on < $2/day in a thatch-roofed structure have to tear down and rebuild every 10 years at least. These bamboo structure deterioration seems to encourage families moving locations, especially when they run out of space for the pit toilet or when it gets full.

    I am interested in hearing about energy solutions that are affordable.

    • Curious George

      There are solar cookers, reportedly widely used in China. Why change 10% of solar energy expensively to electricity and store it in batteries? Well .. you can cook at night and on a cloudy day. Still, an inexpensive solar cooker used on average once a day should help.

      • Curious George

        A solar cooker works great when the sun shines around 1 PM and lasts for the next4 hours. Other times of a clear sky day, not so much.

        The issue in the tropics are the monsoons. Cloudy and rainy every day for 6 months of the year. Hard to sneak in a 3+ hour solar cooker in between clouds and rain.

        What is needed is cheap and available energy: both, and not just one.

        I am open to more suggestions though.

  21. From the article:

    So finally it looks as if the bearded railway engineer, yogic, and writer of soft pornography has met his match: he has just been forced to resign his position at TERI (a sort of jumped up, environmentalist think-tank-cum-business) having been accused of a string of offences including “molestation, stalking, sexual harassment and criminal intimidation.” But why did it take so long? As I’ve reported here, there has long been more than enough evidence to justify kicking this man out of his job as head of the world’s most powerful climate change organisation – everything from his promulgation of the “glaciers to melt by 2035″ myth to his dodgy dealings with golf courses – yet for years he managed to cling on by his fingernails. If he’d worked for the Heartland Institute or he were Christopher Monckton, his career would long since have been destroyed by the media. Instead, it turned a blind eye, presumably because he was on the “right” side of the argument and fitted the right ethnic profile.

    John Cook – President Obama’s favourite inventor of climate factoids

    Dishonesty; fabrication; smearing; promulgation of junk science (notably the false “97 per cent Consensus” claim); identity theft

    John Cook is an Australian blogger who runs a website called Skeptical Science whose raison d’etre is to rubbish skeptics (or as I’d spell them, sceptics). His hobbies include dressing up in Nazi uniforms and identity theft (he has just been exposed as having impersonated online a sceptical scientist called Lubos Motl). I pass no judgement on such activities: I like a chap with a bit of hinterland. But I do think the seriousness with which his dodgy papers and articles are treated by everyone from the left-liberal media to President Obama is somewhat misplaced. And that when a man of his predilections accuses someone else on Twitter of being “creepy” it does make you wonder when he last looked in the mirror.


  22. (I have a post in moderation)

  23. Looks like Trump is a Right Conservative:
    I don’t think that bodes well for his chances in the general election. He’s not close enough to the middle because of the his stands on social issues.
    He’s highlighted immigration:
    35% import tax on Mexican border. (Jun 2015)
    Mexico & Latin America send us drugs, crime, and rapists. (Jun 2015)
    Build great wall on southern border; have Mexico pay for it. (Jun 2015)
    Triple-layered fence & Predator drones on Mexican border. (Dec 2011)
    He will not have the libertarian vote, but if he goes Right enough, Rand Paul may have a middle ground opportunity. This is different from the Governor Ventura case where a wrestler found the perfect middle position as a populist libertarian. What I’ll be looking for is a 3 way split. Trump is the man that could pull that one off, perhaps strengthening the Libertarian Party.
    This position show how isolationist he is:
    20% tax on all imported goods.

    • The Donald taps into some unfocused, and some focused, anger and frustration of a significant portion of the population. He keeps the pressure on the GOP to take a position on some issues the GOP wishes would go away, like illegal immigration. The GOP is beholden to industries that love cheap, powerless labor. The Dems own the (now only gov employee) union and Hispanic vote. The elites are clueless – they have no idea what it’s like for the lower and former middle class. They send their kids to expensive universities and those kids only have to work resume building jobs like internships. Meanwhile, many have fallen out of the middle class and have to figure out how to pay the bills working 30 hours per week at the supermarket. If their kids even go to college, they have to take out tens ( maybe hundreds) of thousands of dollars in loans. There are a lot of unhappy people on the center right. Hold on to your hat, it’s gonna be a rough ride.

  24. Maybe for next weeks. This was hilarious! (Via instapundit)


    Global warming will cause women with menial, sedentary jobs to suffer through air conditioning.

  25. Electric car prospects stalling:

    Interesting comments from Donald Sadoway, professor of materials science at MIT, about the potential of lithium ion batteries ( no pun intended :) ).

  26. Another conservative/skeptic conspiracy ideating nut job.


    Oops, sorry, that’s an Oxford professor/climate “scientist”/warmist channelling his inner Hillary Clinton. My bad,

  27. Hillary Clinton Outlines ‘Bold’ Climate Change Proposals
    The Democratic front-runner said she wants more than half a billion solar panels installed nationwide by the end of her first term.

  28. Predictors of climate change awareness and risk perception vary around the globe
    Co-author Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC), says, “Overall, we find that about 40 percent of adults worldwide have never heard of climate change. This rises to more than 65 percent in some developing countries, like Egypt, Bangladesh and India. There is still a critical need for basic climate literacy in many countries.”

    Ezra Markowitz at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with Tien Ming Lee of Columbia University, Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale and others at Utah State University, say that worldwide, education level is the single strongest predictor of climate change awareness and that understanding the human causes of climate change is the strongest predictor of risk perception, “particularly in Latin America and Europe, whereas perception of local temperature change is the strongest predictor in many African and Asian countries,” they write.
    Markowitz points out that the team used statistical techniques not usually applied to social science research to allow them to conduct a powerful two-level analysis that yielded the most predictive variables by country. Using non-metric multidimensional scaling plus a conditional inference classification tree model allowed them to see the diversity of predictors by country, he adds, and “missing data is less of a problem using this approach. You get to keep more variables for more countries in the analysis, providing a more complete picture of what’s going on.”

    “This allowed us to see, for example, that the most important predictors in China are not the same as in the United States,” Markowitz says. Among the factors most important for predicting Americans’ awareness of climate change was civic engagement, more access to media and higher education, while in China the strongest predictors were education, urban rather than rural residence and household income, the team reports.

    This Factor Predicts What People Think About Climate Change

    Education affects climate change beliefs differently if you live in the U.S.
    Around the world, people with higher levels of education are more likely to understand climate change than their less-educated counterparts, according to new research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
    “[For Americans] just having higher education does not mean that you understand or accept the science,” says study co-author Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. “[Americans] who have attained higher education are better at cherry picking evidence that seems to validate what we already believe.”

    • Curious George

      What predictors would you use to evaluate Dr. Hansen’s awareness of climate change?

    • In other words, the more detatched someone is from actual climate and the more propaganda they’re exposed to, the more risk they believe there is.

  29. Folks seem to be puzzled by Gina McCarthy’s insistence not to release “personal information” related to supporting studies. Its simple really. She does not want to disclose on the record which charlatans and activists were involved with the “science”.

    Sadly, she will get away with this charade because we have no legitimate mainstream press.

    • Personal information released on millions of military-related workers, but we can’t see what bozo’s are advising the EPA. Where are the White Hat hackers here?

    • All congress has to do is pass legislation requiring complete transparency of the EPA process.

      There no reason, NO REASON, for the EPA process not to be completely transparent with all data, methods, meetings, and involved parties available on-line. They don’t have any reason to hide anything.

    • What good would it do if the Republicans got the medical records of all the patients studied? Do they suspect fraud because of the results? Can’t they intercompare independent studies around the world to see if these are outliers without all the original medical records from all the studies? I think that they are so focused on the records that they haven’t thought through why they need them.

  30. “We’ve been working with Mexico and Canada to address environmental and public health concerns in North America – because we don’t just share borders. Administrator Gina McCarthy”

    Its the post Marxist evolution of the commies as ‘integrated’ into the left.
    One big happy north America without borders.
    Which means you are going to have rebels in your swimming pools.

    The problem is that these progressive bozo’s are not going to cure the never-ending driver of history, ethnic conflict. They are basically tearing down the walls of our country and the rest of the world is ransacking it. Its already happening with trade, but soon enough with everything else.


  31. EPA Chief: Climate Change Is Fact Because Bad Weather Leads the News

  32. Danny Thomas

    Wildlife, Environmental, forestry, and marine protection. Sounds like most aren’t too happy so maybe it’ll work (kinda like when two sports teams aren’t happy with the referee’s?) http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/01/business/tpp-trade-talks-us-pacific-nations.html?_r=0