Week in review – energy and policy edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

NY Times in op-ed praising Hillary’s climate plan: [link]
“nation needs investment in a new generation of nuclear power”

“You Ought to Have a Look: Hillary and Jeb Offer Climate Opinion” [link]

#Hydropower is making waves in developing global markets from Latin America to Africa  [link]

Israel’s Largest Solar Project Flows 1.5 Million kWh to Grid in 1st 6 Days  [link]

New report on U.S. natural gas & electricity markets. [link]  …

 

The $1.5 Trillion Climate Change Industry  [link]  …

Despite $7 billion to ‘Power Africa,’ why the continent is still in the dark [link]

UK world’s fastest falling #energy use more about efficiency than industry decline [link]

 

Court tells EPA: Redo overly strict emission limits in 13 states [link]  …

Coal/gas related deaths from closing 1 Swedish nuclear plant in 2005 already = deaths of 15 worstcase meltdowns.  [link]

EPA’s slide on pushing #CleanPowerPlan compliance to 2022, changing plan deadlines. [link]

“The more #solar industry calcifies in #China, the more difficult disruption will be” [link]

Beyond Energy: Making the Distributed Grid ‘Capacity-Efficient’ [link]

Why is climate a “wedge” issue for GOP Presidential candidates? [link]

White House Launches American Business Act on Climate Pledge [link]

Pakistan’s #Chitral Valley pioneers successful community hydropower schemes to solve electricity shortages [link]

Conflicted messages lie at heart of UK climate policy [link]

The triple bill we pay for solar power – Telegraph [link]

Matt Ridley: Let’s Cut These Regressive Wind And Solar Taxes [link]

Interesting perspective on recent policy discussions around Germany’s coal problem [link]

Wind energy provides 8% of Europe’s electricity [link]

Congressional Hearing Shines Light on Obama’s Social Cost of Carbon Sophistry [link] …

Why Rare Earth Recycling Is Rare (And What We Can Do About It)  [link]

Ending global fossil fuel subsidies could pay for universal access to water, the Internet & electricity  [link]

Are Countries Obligated to Fend Off Climate Change? [link]

Why We Need Nuclear Power | Mother Jones  [link]

Explainer: Amber Rudd ends UK Green Deal energy efficiency scheme [link]

Climate change debate ‘dictated by left-wing anti-capitalists’, says Amber Rudd  writes the Telegraph [link]

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

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

  1. David Wojick

    Word is that Obama may announce the final EPA coal-killing climate rules tomorrow, much fight to follow. However, the state compliance plan submission deadline will be extended to 2018, after he is gone. Interesting possibilities, depending on who the next President is.

    • Steven Mosher

      One would hope that republicans would seize the opportunity to push for more NG and nuclear.

      coal is dying. agree to kill it and get something in return. politics

    • There is no reason to regulate CO2 emissions period. We have about 30-40 years until the fossil fuel prices make most uses uncompetitive.

      Burning fossil now when it is cheap gives us a competitive advantage.

      Is there anyone who seriously thinks we will be burning more fossil fuel in 2050 than we are today?

      Fossil fuel consumption at today’s 10GT emission level or less in 2050 will have little or no effect on the atmospheric CO2 level. Only a little over 40% is staying in the atmosphere now.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Is there anyone who seriously thinks we will be burning more fossil fuel in 2050 than we are today?”

        on a global basis. Yes there are people who seriously think that.

        next stupid question.

      • Steven Mosher

        ““coal is dying. agree to kill it and get something in return. politics”

        LOL–If you think that coal is dying then you are mistaken. Its use will continue to expand worldwide for many, decades.”

        someone.

      • 6.8% of coal production is from a country with less than 10 years of reserves, Indonesia. The US has 28% of the reserves and is exporting next to nothing.

        Most of the cost of coal is shipping. Current coal consumption is mostly indigenous. When the indigenous supplies run dry consumption will drop.

        Doesn’t mean coal won’t be burned moderate amounts for the foreseeable future but as indigenous supplies are exhausted we will see a decline.

        The people who think we will be burning more fossil fuel in 2050 are unfamiliar with the concept of reserves, exploration/production/shipping cost, and/or supply and demand.

      • I’ve sometimes thought that it might make sense to phase out coal power in the US and replace with nuclear (developing tech here which will be appropriated globally) and export our coal. Two major problems with that are nuclear regulation is so FUBAR it probably makes more sense to develop it abroad and coal is very inefficient to transport; it makes most sense to use it where it is extracted.

      • aaron | August 3, 2015 at 1:18 pm |
        I’ve sometimes thought that it might make sense to phase out coal power in the US and replace with nuclear (developing tech here which will be appropriated globally) and export our coal. Two major problems with that are nuclear regulation is so FUBAR it probably makes more sense to develop it abroad and coal is very inefficient to transport; it makes most sense to use it where it is extracted.

        The global warmers believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and that coal can be magically transported for free to where it is needed (they also believe the mere burning of fossil fuel repeals the laws of supply and demand allowing an endless supply of fuel to be burned for almost nothing).

        The nuclear thing is unfortunate. It is the result of idiots in the 70s. A liquid metal or liquid salt cooled reactor (assuming at least half-witted design) is inherently safer than a water cooled reactor. The Navy guys wanted all research dollars going into improving water cooled reactors, and reactor safety wasn’t such a priority in the early 70s.

        On the other hand it isn’t like water cooled reactors are unsafe… Ted Kennedy’s back seat and all that.

      • PA

        ‘Is there anyone who seriously thinks we will be burning more fossil fuel in 2050 than we are today?”

        Yes.

        Next.

      • “We have about 30-40 years until the fossil fuel prices make most uses uncompetitive.” + “Is there anyone who seriously thinks we will be burning more fossil fuel in 2050 than we are today?”== CONFUSION

        PA- Per your own analysis fossil fuels (coal) will likely be more cost effective until 2055. People will use what is cost effective over a couple of decades.

      • Rob Starkey (@Robbuffy) | August 3, 2015 at 6:37 pm |
        “We have about 30-40 years until the fossil fuel prices make most uses uncompetitive.” + “Is there anyone who seriously thinks we will be burning more fossil fuel in 2050 than we are today?”== CONFUSION

        PA- Per your own analysis fossil fuels (coal) will likely be more cost effective until 2055. People will use what is cost effective over a couple of decades.

        Don’t have an immediate response, I am looking at the lay of the land.

        Something to chew on.
        https://marketrealist.imgix.net/uploads/2015/07/China-coal-imports.png?w=660&fit=max&auto=format

        China coal imports are less than half their peak and China has been driving emissions growth for 15 years.

      • Just to follow up. Coal sells for between $20 and $390 /ton (or more) depending on date, location, and quality.

        http://edge.mjunction.in/news/index/news/coking_coal_price_quoted_at_26/from/steel_raw_materials
        FOB cost $270 from the US port (further shipping is extra).

        The current spot price of thermal coal from New York Harbor is around $60/ton and and equivalent amount of gas (MMBTU) from Henry Hub is competitively priced.

        Some places – coal will always be competitive.. Some places coal isn’t competitive now. Most of the cost of coal is delivery fees (although coking coal sells at a substantial premium). A power plant next to an open pit mine will always be a competitive energy source since the cost to mine coal – open pit can be less than $10/ton. Coking coal delivered cost can run over $390/ton. Currently thermal coal delivered cost varies from about $20 to over $200, and coal prices have crashed recently. So the price of coal varies more than 10x depending on date and location or about 20x depending on date, location, and quality.

        Coal isn’t immune to supply and demand, warmers just think fossil fuel is immune to supply and demand, since they do not seem to have a basic grasp of economics. When indigenous (low shipping cost) supplies are exhausted coal use will decline.

    • its not dead… Thanks david for that clarification.

      we can fight about the cause, BUT my arguement was

      Coal is Dying (whatever the cause )
      Hope that republicans seize the opportunity.

      They wont they will throw snowballs on the senate floor.

      thats their theory

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-03/u-s-coal-giant-greets-obama-climate-rules-with-bankruptcy

    • Nuclear is not a viable as Nate Lewis of Caltec puts it it would require a nuclear power station to be built everyday forever to meet the continuing increasing energy needs.

  2. Another excellent set of links. The issues discussed in the link “Beyond Energy Efficient: Making the distributed grid capacity-efficient” could help better inform a lot of today’s efforts to increase “clean” energy. My take however, is we should be more concerned and focused on the interplay and interdepencies between the gas and electric markets which are discussed in the link from FERC.

    • I assume you are you following the utility industry and might find this interesting;
      The largest bankruptcy in corporate history is coming up this fall as Energy Future Holdings is set to be split up between a few bidders. One new player, Hunt Consolidated, has just jumped to the front of the pack to snap up the most valuable piece of the former company – Oncor – the states largest electrical distribution network. If you don’t know the name Hunt is infamous among Texas citizens due to it’s patriarch, H. L. Hunt, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._L._Hunt) and his many (mostly successful) attempts to corner commodity markets, rig elections and defraud investors from the 1940’s till his death in 1974. Now one of his sons has come in with a last minute bid to take over the crown jewel of the Texas grid. What do you think will happen to our grid and the cost of electricity if Hunt Co. takes over? It looks like the deck is being cleared to smooth the transition as the CEO of Oncor was just demoted and a new CEO, James R. Adams has been appointed. Adams is a former top executive with what is now AT&T who served as chairman of Texas Instruments board for two years in the 1990s.

      A famous quote attributed to H L Hunt the day before JFK was killed: “After tomorrow, those goddamn Kennedys will never embarrass me again. That’s no threat. That’s a promise.”

      • Jacques

        Were you actually in the room when Hunt said that, or have you been harboring that loony conspiracy theory for the last 52 years. Some count sheep to doze off. Others titillate themselves into ecstasy by obsessing over the last 1,000 conspiracies they’ve heard. To each his own.

      • Wrong, Jack. From the article:

        Institutional investors that put money into Energy Future Holdings debt are finding those investments could help dull the pain of their substantial private equity losses in the failed energy company.

        When Energy Future Holdings Corp., Dallas, filed for bankruptcy April 29 after almost a year of negotiations with debtholders, it was already clear that the private equity firms leading the deal — KKR, TPG and Goldman Sachs — would be the biggest losers. The firms and many of their investors already have written down their roughly $8 billion investment in the company.

        Christopher J. Ailman, chief investment officer of the $183.3 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System, West Sacramento, said the pension fund has been writing down its private equity investment in Energy Future Holdings over the seven years that it has been an investor to less than 5% of its original value.

        The pension fund has exposure to Energy Future Holdings primarily through its commitments to three private equity funds TPG Partners IV, TPG Partners V and KKR 2006 Fund. It also co-invested with TPG on the deal.

        Still, Mr. Ailman acknowledged the pension fund’s exposure to Energy Future Holdings through its distressed debt investments will be “an opportunity to make money.”

        CalSTRS is an investor in Energy Future Holdings debt through investments in Oaktree Capital Group LLC and Apollo Global Management LLC distressed debt funds.

        The size of CalSTRS’ total investment in Energy Future Holdings could not be learned.

        CalSTRS is not alone. Other institutional investors in the private equity funds that invested in Energy Future Holdings also invested in its distressed debt portfolios as a hedge against their private equity investments.

        Jonathan Grabel, former CIO of the $1.2 billion retirement plan of the Montgomery County Board of Education, Rockville, Md., said the plan invested in distressed debt, in general, for just that reason. (Mr. Grabel became CIO of the $14.25 billion Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico, Santa Fe, in December. New Mexico does not have exposure to EFH through private equity, but does to its debt through investments in Oaktree funds.)

        http://www.pionline.com/article/20140512/PRINT/305129978/debt-may-ease-private-equity-losses-for-energy-future-holdings-investors

      • Actually, when I went looking most of the Google hits attributed it to LBJ.

      • From the article:

        TPG founder David Bonderman, a staunch environmentalist, insisted on proceeding only if environmental groups supported the deal.


        To build momentum for the TXU takeover, the buyers employed an army of advisers to placate regulators, legislators and environmental groups. Among them: James Baker, a veteran Texas politician and secretary of state during the administration of Ronald Reagan.

        Henry Kravis, one of KKR’s founders, TPG’s Mr. Bonderman and other representatives from the buyout firms met over several months with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, state lawmakers and state regulators to garner support for the deal.

        The firms agreed to drop plans to build a bevy of coal plants, which won support for the deal from the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Resources Defense Council. The buyers also promised to explore renewable energy sources and lower prices for consumers.

        The takeover was built on a bet that natural-gas prices would rise. Electricity rates in Texas were pegged to gas prices, but since TXU generated most of its electricity with less-expensive coal and uranium, for nuclear plants, it stood to profit. Instead, natural-gas prices plunged as hydraulic fracturing of shale rock unleashed a glut, pushing down electricity rates.

        http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304163604579531283352498074

      • The quote was from the Wiki link – it proves nothing. But in real life I have lived in the DFW area all my life so the stories about the Hunt family are legend. The local paper’s archives are filled with stories of how he and his family destroyed people, companies and corrupted our government. You should check out that Wiki link. Fun facts from the Hunt family: He had his first son lobotomized, they illegally cornered the world’s silver markets at one time, took over all the Libyan oil fields (which later gave us Muammar Gaddafi), founded the American Football League and created the Super Bowl. Just another American dynasty.

      • This account has been closed.

      • Joseph Kennedy had his daughter lobotomized, so what. That was a treatment used by psychiatrists frequently during that period.

      • Don’t disturb Jack’s Fantasy Land.

  3. “NY Times in op-ed praising Hillary’s climate plan: [link]
    “nation needs investment in a new generation of nuclear power”

    I believe the link is
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/31/opinion/setting-big-goals-hillary-clinton-joins-the-climate-battle.html?_r=0

  4. Matt Ridley: Let’s Cut These Regressive Wind And Solar Taxes [link]

    This and several other of the posts today make it look to me as though the “minor” commenters who oppose large investments divesting the energy sector of fossil fuels are winning the public policy debates. Australia, Japan, and Germany went so far as to explicitly reverse direction and increase fossil fuel consumption as a matter of policy. Pakistan, India and China have never made the slightest effort to reduce CO2 output in the lifetime of any adult now living (reducing “CO2 intensity of GDP” is the closest they come to that, meaning they aim for a higher GDP growth rate than fossil fuel consumption growth rate.)

    Are Countries Obligated to Fend Off Climate Change? [link]

    That one applies to the Netherlands because of specific Dutch laws. It will be interesting to see whether the “minor” players get those laws overturned as the cost to Dutch GDP becomes well documented.

    Court tells EPA: Redo overly strict emission limits in 13 states [link] …

    EPA’s slide on pushing #CleanPowerPlan compliance to 2022, changing plan deadlines. [link]

    I expect the new regs on CO2 to be postponed several election cycles, though perhaps never repealed outright. Repeal would require a filipuster-proof majority by opponents in the Senate, which I do not expect. However, the Obama Administration has shown that the Executive Branch can postpone or decline to enforce the laws it does not like, so all that is necessary is a president who opposes the CO2 regs.

  5. Also this on EPA plan by Elliott Negin, Union of Concerned Scientists. If replacing coal with alternatives ends up with cheaper power bills in the future, the skeptics may as well pack up and go home because its a win-win. What will they have left to argue about?
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elliott-negin/most-states-can-easily-co_b_7908718.html

    • JimD, “If replacing coal with alternatives ends up with cheaper power bills in the future, the skeptics may as well pack up and go home because its a win-win.”

      If it looked like you could replace fossil fuels with alternatives and get cheap power bills there wouldn’t be skeptics to begin with. As it is, coal is just one fossil fuel and for the power industry nuclear has been demonized by the same crew wanting to kill coal.

      Thus far the “heros” of the alternate energy transition have the highest energy costs and the greatest potential for grid provided energy disruption. That means that Elliot’s starry eyed fantasy is pretty much irrelevant don’t it?

      • The whole skeptic argument turns on the price, not the science. Take that away and what have you got left? If the world may as well go to renewables because they are both cheaper and unlimited, what are the skeptics going to complain about?

      • …and almost as an aside, it saves the climate too.

      • Jim D: The whole skeptic argument turns on the price, not the science.

        That is not a secure dichotomy: there is a lot of scientific knowledge explaining why the production of electricity from sun and wind is expensive. It’s “the physics”, to coin a phrase. But also the chemistry, the transport, the labor economics.

      • JimD, “The whole skeptic argument turns on the price, not the science. Take that away and what have you got left? If the world may as well go to renewables because they are both cheaper and unlimited, what are the skeptics going to complain about?”

        Show us the cheap energy. Did you know you can process coal in place and produce a diesel alternative that can work in a combined cycle power plant or vehicles, except for that cost factor. Coal is just a resource, not a demon, cost is the caveat. Nuclear is a resource not a demon, cost is the caveat.

        Right now, nuclear is the electrical power generation benchmark. The AP1000 and the ESBWR are the two that alternatives have to compete with. That is 12 to 15 cents per kwh retail. Now show me the cheap energy.

      • We have all seen that new technologies become cheaper over time and the same will happen here. There is a lot of money to be made for successful businesses. It’s a big and growing market. Everyone needs energy.

      • Jim D: If the world may as well go to renewables because they are both cheaper and unlimited, what are the skeptics going to complain about?

        I am not sure you are paying attention. What the “skeptics” object to (what I anyway object to, while I call myself a “CO2 lukewarmer”) is the lot of costly taxes, tax breaks, and regulations to push the process faster than the market wants to create the renewable energy economy on its own. In CA I say hooray to people who install PV panels at their own expense to save money on air conditioning; CA AB32 by contrast was a mistake, and it should not be copied by other states.

      • We have to remember that the EPA is talking about a trend out to 2030. It won’t happen tomorrow. Lots will change in the costs during the next 15 years. As far as I know, California has a plan that returns money to the energy consumers. This favors those who have less income and less energy use. Seems the right direction because it favors the poor and the efficient.

      • Jim D,

        “If replacing coal with alternatives ends up with cheaper power bills”

        The argument is silly because alternatives, other than nuclear, cannot do the job required and probably never will be able to – that’s just science!

      • Jim D: As far as I know, California has a plan that returns money to the energy consumers. This favors those who have less income and less energy use. Seems the right direction because it favors the poor and the efficient.

        The poorest people who demonstrate very low electricity consumption get a subsidy from everyone else. However, the benefits of AB32 flow mostly to the upper income earners. People who pay large income tax bills and have electricity bills above about $150 per month can get tax reductions sufficient to finance their PV panels and then reduce their effective electricity cost to below about $100 per month (these figures are from a recent sales pitch at my house by a PV installer. Because my electricity bill is below $40 per month, I would not benefit financially.) Plus, the requirement to meet the renewable portfolio standard has driven up the lowest-tier cost of electricity to $0.17 per kwh (a charge for the connection and the grid operation are added to that– that is the cost of the electricity alone.)

        So, the subsidies do not change the cost to poor people with low electricity bills, those who were already subsidized. The subsidies for renewables benefit the upper quartile of the income distribution. For everyone else, AB32 has approximately doubled the cost of electricity since it was passed.

        Some day, decades into the future most likely, solar power may be capable of reducing electricity costs. Hardly anybody denies that. Skepticism is directed toward the claim that massive government intervention to produce more renewable power will for sure have benefits exceeding the costs any time soon.

        Meanwhile, unsubsidized fracking and development of tar sands are producing economic benefits now.

      • As the recent article on California pointed out – 33% renewables is really dumb.

        Once you get over 18% more or less some of the renewable power is unusable. Unless you have a side project the energy is wasted and since renewables are frontend – fixed cost, the smaller the used fraction of output the more expensive the power is. Even if renewables were cost effective at 18% they wouldn’t be cost effective at higher percentages.

        Renewable keep getting told the facts and they keep thinking that they can wish them away. Renewables are nondispatchable. That means their electricity is only about half as valuable as a coal plant and there is a limited amount of renewables that can reasonably be integrated – unless you have a side project that needs a lot of energy and doesn’t care when it arrives.

      • JimD, “We have all seen that new technologies become cheaper over time and the same will happen here. There is a lot of money to be made for successful businesses. It’s a big and growing market. Everyone needs energy.”

        Then invest your butt off. Did you know that increased operating efficiency and uprating of existing nuclear has produced just as much usable electric power in the US as all the wind farms? The Onion of Concerned Scientists seemed to miss that.

        Natural gas produced with horizontal drilling and fracturing is the largest threat to coal power. What did the Onion of Concerned Scientists think about Fracking?

        http://www.ucsusa.org/publications/catalyst/fa13-confronting-fracking.html#.Vb5zIflViko

        The EPA just got around to stating fracking doesn’t have much impact on ground water. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/epa-report-fracking-no-drinking-water-harm-118643.html

      • Jim D,

        The whole skeptialarmist argument turns on the price, not the science. Take that away and what have you got left? If the world may as well fail to go to renewables because they are both capital intensive, diffuse, intermittant,maintenance intesive, and require rare and limited resources, what are the skeptics alarmists going to complain about?

        Fixed it for you.

      • Don’t forget complex and fragil. What happens to the eastcoast windfarm when the long overdue cat-5 hurricane hits it? When tornadoes hit solar farms? When monsoons hit solar farms? When earthquakes hit solar farms?

    • Jim D: “If replacing coal with alternatives ends up with cheaper power bills in the future, the skeptics may as well pack up and go home because its a win-win.”

      That is definitely one possible outcome. To date, there is more private unsubsidized investment in oil exploration, fracking, and coal extraction and transport.

      But what you wrote is definitely a possibility.

      • David L. Hagen

        Copenhagen Consensus policy research finds developing cheaper sustainable energy is the most cost effective route. Germany’s high subsidies results in far more costly energy with no technology breakthrough. Obama’s unconstitutional coercion follow’s Germany’s high cost not Copenhagen’s cost effective RD&D route.

    • Most scientists lack the education, experience, training, or vocation to find solutions to large, complex problems. They tend to be too specialized, lack practical know how, don’t have the foggiest idea about large project management principles, can’t review a cost and schedule estimate, don’t understand economic principles, and have a pretty distorted idea about the value of what they know. Peer review is pretty worthless, it doesn’t deliver quality assurance. Large scientific publications have editors with political slants who abuse their power and have a tendency to publish low quality papers.

      I can’t figure out what’s the best way to solve the global warming problem. But I’m convinced most governments can’t either. Some of them are led by politicians who make terrible decisions.

  6. Jim D,

    “If replacing coal with alternatives ends up with cheaper power bills …”

    The enormous IF is the problem. There is no persuasive evidence that it is possible, unless of course the alternative is nuclear – then it is entirely feasible and probable.

    • Germany is cranking up the coal.

      Shutting down the nuclear plants and increasing renewables has put German in the worst of all worlds. Their energy is twice as expensive and they are having to burn more coal because renewable power simply isn’t dispatchable/reliable

      http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-G-N/Germany/
      Due in part to the power of the Green party in Germany the German populace has been badly misinformed about nuclear power.

      It is estimated the switch to renewables will cost $1 trillion dollars – but they will probably use Euros or some other funny currency.

      • Well said. I wonder why Jim D believes the nonsense spread by the renewable energy and anti nuke types. They are the same irrational people, in the main, who accept the arguments about catastrophic human caused climate change.

      • Well…

        People with BA degrees find the arguments for renewables compelling.

        People with engineering degrees hear the same arguments and respond, “Say what?”

      • The US already leads the world in nuclear power production, and I see no reason why that should not continue.

      • Brilliant, yimmy. We have about 100 elderly commercial reactors and less than a half-dozen expected to come into production by 2020.

      • Don “We have about 100 elderly commercial reactors ”

        They are actually just in their prime at around 34 years average. The NRC expects to grant 60 year operation licenses and they could get 80 year’s of operation out of many.

        http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=19091

        I would how nervous that will make the greenies?

      • Well, I’m glad that the LFTR type reactor is at least getting some attention.

        While the BWR/PWR reactors are better than renewables or nothing, I like reactors that operate at atmospheric pressure.

        The various objections to current reactors are moot points vis a vis the LFTR. Pressurized primary coolant escaping just isn’t an issue.

      • tonyb, ” so very much got the impression that he is calling curtains for coal.”

        Obama has pretty much shot his wad. Once the EPA regulations settle to a point that engineers can actually start designing applications again, things will get back to normal. Right now the minions have bigger fish to fry.

        Now, how is not shooting ourselves in the foot an unfair advantage?

      • The thing about Obama that is both admirable and terrifying is that after he shoots himself in the foot multiple times he reloads.

      • Peter Lang | August 3, 2015 at 6:00 am |
        PA,

        Did you see this on the LFTR?
        http://euanmearns.com/molten-salt-fast-reactor-technology-an-overview/

        Well, he isn’t a LFTR fan.

        1. If we were starting nuclear from scratch – I would advocate laws strictly forbidding nuclear reactors that operate at positive pressure. Does the CDC operate it’s labs where they handle deadly viruses at positive pressure? If CDC director advocated operating the labs at scuba tank pressures he would be hauled away.

        2. BWR/PWR has issues in land based operation that are considered virtues at sea.

        3. Thorium is 9.6 ppm of the earth’s crust. Uranium is 2.7 ppm of the earths crust. Claims we can run out of either fuel are outright lies.

        4. The closed cycle means that substances either decay to a stable stable or are converted to something else. Claiming little “waste” is created accurate.

        5. The only reason we don’t have thorium reactors now is one of Rickover’s boys got put in charge of DOD, the reactor was viewed as competition for the Navy reactors and was shut down.

        The bottom line is it is almost trivial to make a safe LFTR design and quite difficult to make a safe PWR design.

      • “Sigh”, couple of corrections

        Stable stable = stable state

        DOD = AEC (the forerunner of the DOE)

        And there is this:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium-based_nuclear_power
        Science writer Richard Martin states that nuclear physicist Alvin Weinberg, who was director at Oak Ridge and primarily responsible for the new reactor, lost his job as director because he championed development of the safer thorium reactors.[8][9] Weinberg himself recalls this period:
        [Congressman] Chet Holifield was clearly exasperated with me, and he finally blurted out, “Alvin, if you are concerned about the safety of reactors, then I think it may be time for you to leave nuclear energy.” I was speechless. But it was apparent to me that my style, my attitude, and my perception of the future were no longer in tune with the powers within the AEC.[10]

        That just about says it all.

    • Captain

      Obama was just on the BBC news. He wants to cut dangerous co2 emissions by a third and move into renewables , so very much got the impression that he is calling curtains for coal

      Anyway, why should the US have an unfair competitive advantage by having cheap reliable power

      Tonyb

  7. David L. Hagen

    Coal to Gas Increases Risks
    The current glut of shale gas bottomed prices pushing utilities to convert from coal to gas. But much of that was driven by production requirements to hold leases and make loan payments.
    Converting coal to gas is converting from the USA’s most abundant fossil resource to a more constrained volatile resource.
    Gas prices have swung from $2/mmbtu to > $13/mmbtu.
    The EPA’s forcing electricity generation from coal to gas and shutting down coal power plants sets consumers up for massive prices rises whenever gas shortages arise – a huge risk.
    All for unmeasureable gain in lower temperature.

    • As I commented above to aplanningengineer about Energy Future Holdings, do you know the reason behind what maybe the largest corporate bankruptcy in US history. All those smart people who were 100% sure that natural gas prices could not possibly go below $5 mmbtu leveraged the company to hilt on long term $7 gas contracts (now expired worthless). What seems so strange is that none of the investors that took over TXU seem to have lost a nickel on the deal so far thanks to US tax code and the concept of carry forward loses which will wipe out billions of future taxes. The loses went somewhere – maybe we will find them inside our pension funds and retirement plans?

    • patmcguinness

      “down coal power plants sets consumers up for massive prices rises whenever gas shortages arise – a huge risk.”

      I agree, huge risk, far better to have ‘all of the above’ and a lot of options for power generation.

    • Investment in natural gas infrastructure would require sunk capital costs, however, potentially delaying the date at which NZCT could be adopted compared to a world where a gas was not used as a bridge fuel (ref).

      Maybe. OTOH if PV continues its exponential price decrease, it might turn out to be cheaper to use it for extracting CO2 and H2 from sea-water, and react them to produce gas and/or liquid fuel. In which case, investment in “natural gas infrastructure” wouldn’t turn out to be sunk costs after all.

      Of course, this could only happen with a radical rearrangement of relative costs/prices. But relatively isolated sea-borne PV could be used to power CO2 extraction and electrolysis without the need for inversion technology. Which might eliminate one of the barriers to continual price reductions.

      An obvious down-side to using solar energy for electrolysis and CO2 extraction is the low supply-driven capacity factor of solar. This would imply that PV cost reductions would have to be enough to overbalance the need to capitalize 4-6 times the actual capacity. OTOH it’s likely that the cost of the Bipolar Membranes (BPM) used for mass-produced CO2 extraction would be an on-going expense (due to frequent replacement), and that their life-time would be measured in hours of operation rather than clock hours.

      This might even be true for electrolysis, depending on the technology used.

      • AK, solar PV will not continue its past rate of price decline. See PE and my guest post on Grid for details. An experience (aka learning curve) is a semilog function of accumulated production. The next 20% cost reduction ( the PV curve rate) requires doubling cumulative production. That means producing as much as was previously produced over all of history. Now do the math on an annual basis. Your hopes are in vain. For First Solar to get production cost from $0.61/W to $0.49 requires producing another 10GW.

      • AK, solar PV will not continue its past rate of price decline.

        “A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries.”

        – Will Rogers

        See PE and my guest post on Grid for details.

        I read it and saw nothing suggesting that the current exponential decline in cost of solar PV won’t continue.

        The next 20% cost reduction ( the PV curve rate) requires doubling cumulative production.

        Plenty of market for that.

        Your hopes are in vain. For First Solar to get production cost from $0.61/W to $0.49 requires producing another 10GW.

        We’ll just have to see.

      • AK, we’ve already reached the point where the cost of the solar cells is less than half of the total cost of installation. In addition, the exponential decreases in the cost of a transistor on an integrated circuit was largely driven by the decrease in size of said transistor, solar cells may have a factor of two decrease in size possible per watt meaning that material costs will plateau.

        Having PV solar become the dominant source of electric energy will require huge advances in the economics of energy storage (cost per w-hr divided by cycle life). The only storage medium with storage costs less than fossil fuel power is the “Ultracap”, and to get that you would need to be charging/discharging several times per hour.

      • I think we can make solar energy cheaper if we move the planet a bit closer to venus’ orbit.

      • In addition, the exponential decreases in the cost of a transistor on an integrated circuit was largely driven by the decrease in size of said transistor, solar cells may have a factor of two decrease in size possible per watt meaning that material costs will plateau.

        Nope. There’s almost a couple of orders of magnitude reduction in High-purity silicon usage implicit in Proton Induced Exfoliation.

        The only storage medium with storage costs less than fossil fuel power is the “Ultracap”, and to get that you would need to be charging/discharging several times per hour.

        Nope, again. Deep Sea Pumped Hydro

      • AK,

        The installed cost of PV is no longer dominated by the cost of the PV cells, rather by balance of plant. The price of the cells could go to zero without making a major effect on the economics.

        Deep sea pumped hydro has a bunch of problems. First is requiring access to the coast and the permitting in some areas (e.g. California Coastal Commission). Second, providing storage for users remote from the coast will require construction of new transmission facilities with attendant permitting and capital costs. Third, I haven’t seen anything about deep sea pumped hydro being a mature technology as opposed to the Ultra-Caps being available from Digi-Key.

      • @erikemagnuson…

        The installed cost of PV is no longer dominated by the cost of the PV cells, rather by balance of plant. The price of the cells could go to zero without making a major effect on the economics.

        You seem to have no more awareness of the effect of time and change on broader economic conditions than ancient Greek historians. The simple fact that “PV is no longer dominated by the cost of the PV cells” changes the economic incentives. When PV was the major factor, nobody had any real incentives to work to lower the BOS costs. (Except for a few visionaries whose work is probably still under wraps.) Now that the costs of PV are down, and apparently going to come down much farther, there’s far more incentive.

        And the beginnings of new ideas and technology are there, if you know where/how to look.

        Deep sea pumped hydro has a bunch of problems.

        They’re not problems, they’re Opportunities

        First is requiring access to the coast and the permitting in some areas (e.g. California Coastal Commission).

        Those are political problems. I’m addressing technology. Sure, there will be some polities (and sub-polities) that refuse to get with the program until the pioneers have proven things out. But all it takes is a few forward-looking examples, and once the technology can be seen to work, the politics will follow.

        Second, providing storage for users remote from the coast will require construction of new transmission facilities with attendant permitting and capital costs.

        AFAIK undersea transmission is fairly mature technology, although the costs can probably be brought down considerably through learning curve and economies of scale.

        Third, I haven’t seen anything about deep sea pumped hydro being a mature technology as opposed to the Ultra-Caps being available from Digi-Key.

        See my first response (in this comment) above. I’m not interested in mature technology, except when (as with deep-sea pumped hydro) it can be combined with something still requiring substantial technological innovation. I’m interested in the technological innovation itself.

        Not things that require real theoretical breakthroughs, just routine R&D, combined with the sort of predictable innovation we see in IT, materials science, chemical engineering, etc. Except for the lower-reservoir problem, all the technology needed for deep-sea pumped hydro is fairly mature.

        And by isolating that as the key problem, as I said on Tom’s blog, we can focus innovation and R&D where it will be most useful. Plenty of potential solutions present themselves. Solutions that will have their own exponential price reduction curves.

    • David Wojick

      Good to know just how green you guys are.

    • Steven, davidmhoffer is still waiting for your reply over on WUWT:

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/27/berkeley-earth-endorses-natural-gas-as-a-bridge-fuel/#comment-1995133

      You and Zeke were very forthcoming in answering questions, until that came up.

      • Don

        Interesting link to a good question by David.

        Four years ago I wrote this article

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/05/26/the-futility-of-carbon-reduction/

        As a result of the input I contacted some dozen climate scientists and agencies to ask the temperature reduction if various hypothetical reductions were made in co2 emissions

        A surprising proportion had never actually done the maths, a couple obviously guessed, completely incorrectly, and a couple of others admitted to the tiny fractions of a degree of temperature reduction with a drastic curtailment of emissions.

        Tonyb

      • Yep, Don. Someone did their own calculation. I figured Mosher would congratulate him before answering the question.

      • Good catch. Mosher or Zeke need to address the question.

        An argument against coal based on CO2 is a foolish one as davidmhoffer has shown and others that commented have pointed out.

      • I did my own estimate. If all countries went bonkers and pledged to follow the Obama deal, and some did it with up to a 15 year delay, plus the eu did their own nutty plan, the temperature difference would be 0.2 degrees C (I’m using an ipcc type sensitivity). But I also have peak fossil fuel built into my estimate, the emissions are market driven to an RCP5 flavor pathway.

        I’ve suggested to several individuals they should create a project anchored on the “pledges” with variable sensitivities, and a range of fossil fuel resources.

        By the way, the non OPEC producers peaked a few months ago. And it looks like OPEC can’t keep the pace much longer. Saudi Arabia increased but it’s going to have to cut back, Venezuela and other OPEC members can’t sustain production. Oil prices have to increase 25 to 35 % over today’s price to allow the industry to satisfy a fairly flat demand.

      • Steven Mosher

        The answer is simple and doesnt change.

        There are those who argue that NG cannot be used as a bridging fuel because it is no better than coal.

        That analysis is wrong.

        Our analysis shows that NG CAN be used as a bridging fuel to
        NZCT.

        When people want to address the argument they get answers.

        here is what people have tried to argue.

        1. C02 is not bad why worry?

        This argument doesnt work because THOSE IN POWER believe c02 is bad.

        2. The benefit of using NG as a bridging fuel is slight.

        This argument fails because THOSE IN POWER believe that there isnt even a slight advantage to using NG to bridge and they are arguing for a quicker switch over to NZCT.

        Coal is dying in the US. you have a couple of options

        1. Try to fight a political machine you have zero proven success in fighting.
        2. hope for a painless switch over to NZCT
        3. make a bridge.

        Now, the skeptics who have already lost the science debate will continue to try to fight a lost battle. And they will expend political capital defending a dead parrot claiming that it is just tired and resting. If you are pragmatic you pick option 3 above.

      • Steven, “1. Try to fight a political machine you have zero proven success in fighting.”

        You don’t need to fight a political machine, give it time and it will destroy itself. This particular political machine had a large anti-fracking and anti-nuclear contingency that are suffering PTSS now.

        You think the US will join the AIIB?

      • There are those who argue that NG cannot be used as a bridging fuel because it is no better than coal.

        Not only can it be used, it is being used because, in the US, anyway, it’s the cheapest fuel there is. A lot of that is technology which other regions will use. There doesn’t need to be dictatorial government for this trend to continue.

      • Now, the skeptics who have already lost the science debate will continue to try to fight a lost battle.

        Huh? That is flatly incorrect.

        The warmers and the no-warmers have lost the science battle.

        22 PPM = 0.2 W/m2.

        That is 1/3 the IPCC TSR. Far below what the IPCC says is likely.

        So both the “no warmers” and the IPCC warmers have lost the science battle.

        The skeptics should be courteous to the losing parties as they take their victory lap.

      • Steven, your ducking and dodging leads us to assume that davidmhoffer’s calculation is correct and that replacing coal fired plants with natural gas plants will have next to zero climate benefit at substantial cost to power consumers. That should have been the conclusion of the paper. The paper is dishonest.

      • ==>”2. The benefit of using NG as a bridging fuel is slight.

        This argument fails because THOSE IN POWER believe that there isnt even a slight advantage to using NG to bridge and they are arguing for a quicker switch over to NZCT.”

        Do you think this paper will fool them? They are not likely to be any more impressed with a next to nothing advantage than we are. Anyway, they are ideologically driven and they have to pander to their greenie base, who demand solar and windmills. They love that intermittent stuff. You should know these things without having to be told.

        ==>”Coal is dying in the US. you have a couple of options

        1. Try to fight a political machine you have zero proven success in fighting.
        2. hope for a painless switch over to NZCT
        3. make a bridge.

        Now, the skeptics who have already lost the science debate will continue to try to fight a lost battle. And they will expend political capital defending a dead parrot claiming that it is just tired and resting. If you are pragmatic you pick option 3 above.”

        How many times do I have to explain this to you, Steven. The skeptics want to do nothing, until they see convincing evidence that there is a serious problem. The alarmists are desperate to impose drastic and very costly schemes to stop CO2 emissions, by any means necessary. The alarmists have been Chicken Littleing us for decades and they have gotten next to squat in meaningful CO2 mitigation. The alarmists are not winning. And if a Republican soon becomes POTUS, he/she will roll back all the greenie crap that Obama has belatedly spent political capital on to impose on us. See what happened in OZ.

        AGW is not a serious worry of the electorate. Wake up and smell the dookey, Steven. Promoting costly CO2 mitigation that has next to squat effect on alleged climate change is not a winning political position, except in places that are already firmly in the greenie left-loon camp.

    • When I saw this, I wondered why Berkeley Earth, supposedly set up to re-analyze surface temp records, was recommending what type of fuel billions of people should use to heat their homes.

      (I mean I always believed they were a PR operation of warmists whose primary goal was to act as a rapid reaction force to Anthony Watts surface stations efforts. But we were assured these were “conservative” and “libertarian” warmists, whose only interest was in addressing “legitimate” concerns of skeptics with respect to the temp record. Shockingly, they found that none of those concerns were warranted. Who would have thought?)

      The best thing about this latest effort, it’s good to see that Berkeley Earth has ditched any pretense of being anything other than your typical, progressive mouth piece for the movement to centrally plan the energy economy.

      All I can say is – thank God we have Steve Mosher and Co. to study the climate and energy economy, and figure out for us how to heat our homes and power our industries.

      Maybe y’all can fix the health care industry for us next. ‘Cause Obamacare sucks.

  8. The “social cost of carbon” article was interesting. Thanks for highlighting it.

    IMO, we should take a lesson from the climate modelers. According to the climate consensus, CO2 is responsible for more than 100% of observed warming. That is, model parameters assume that in the absence of offsetting feedbacks, the observed temperature would be even higher today.

    Applying a similar approach, the current “social cost” of carbon is more than 100% of the observed benefits to society. The article cited above mentions the oft-disregarded fertilizer effect of CO2 but the positive externalities of carbon go far beyond increased crop yields. Consider that almost all physical capital has some degree of “sunk carbon” costs internalized. These capital assets (trains, homes, factories, roads) continue to generate benefits for generations after the initial emission of CO2, thereby multiplying the beneficial impact of the original carbon investment.

    Calculating a benefit from capital (or fossil fuel dependent labor) in “social cost” models without attributing a significant portion back to the initial carbon investment distorts the benefit/cost projections. Our health and welfare have been built upon carbon and whatever we pass on to future generations is a direct result of all that carbon investment.

    Were it not for poorly designed taxes and regulations, together with market inefficiencies, our current economy would be far larger and individuals would be much wealthier. Thus, the isolated “cost” of carbon is more than 100% beneficial to society and should continue to be so for several more decades. While it is appropriate to net out negative externalities it is inappropriate to undercount or completely ignore the positive externalities that arise from fossil fuel use.

  9. Does anyone have a non paywalled source for Joannenova’s “The $1.5 Trillion Climate Change Industry” headline?

  10. The headline “Wind energy provides 8% of Europe’s electricity” (see link in OP) is misleading. Reading the article, it is 8% of capacity. Since the wind does not always blow, or blows too fast for wind turbines, the % of generated electricity from wind, over a year, will be much less than that. Science Daily doe not tell us the % of generated electricity. I would guess that it is less than 3%, the proportion of global electricity generated from wind given by Matt Ridley (see link in OP). Can anyone prove me wrong?

    This kind of slight-of-hand is not even surprising any more, but it should not go unremarked.

    • You are correct. Eurostat has the numbers for EU 2013, not yet 2014. All renewables (hydro, biomass, wind, solar…) produced 24.3% of primary energy production. Hydro is the biggest chunk. Wind production was 10.5% of the 24.3, so just 2.5% of the total. Foots, because the implied capacity factor is (2.5/8) 0.31, which is spot on the 10 year US number. Regards.

    • The headline “Wind energy provides 8% of Europe’s electricity” (see link in OP) is misleading.

      The headline is “Wind energy provides 8% of Europe’s electricity”. That’s more than just misleading. It’s wrong! It should read something like “Wind energy provides 8% of Europe’s electricity Capacity”. Anyone looking at that headline (like I just did) is going to think Europe is getting 8% of its electricity from wind. This site is called “Science Daily”. You’d think they would make a correction!

  11. Well, I had to laugh at one of the links whereby Britain appears to have managed to get back to 1965 Levels of consumption of energy

    http://energyandcarbon.com/falling-uk-energy-use-not-economic-disaster-but-rising-efficiency/

    Of all the theories propounded (including greater efficiency) two weren’t specifically mentioned but seem to me the most likely

    Firstly we have very little heavy industry, such as steel making, left and are determined to get rid of the remaining amoUnt we have by imposition of heavy carbon taxes.

    Secondly, energy is extremely expensive so we use much less and shiver. Simples.

    Thankfully it appears that Obama is just about to announce sweeping new energy plans involving solar thereby ensuring the huge competitive advantage the US currently enjoys will be rapidly eroded

    Tonyb

    • Savior Obama – I’m not worthy (/sarc)

    • Renewable advocates seem to be aware that the US has a competitive advantage and are working hard to eliminate it in the interest of fairness.

      Their thinking is along the lines of: “After all if we don’t waste our money on energy we will just waste on other things.”

  12. Mashable fossil fuel subsidies piece badly confounds two issues. There are large global true subsidies on oil and gas. Gasoline in Venezuela. Natural gas in Russia. Diesel in Nigeria…
    Jeb Bush cannot end those.
    In the US, there are almost no true subsidies on fossil fuels. (New York subsidizes heating fuel for the poor to the tune of about $350 million annually, essay No Fracking Way.) Federal land is leased for production at market rates. Depreciation and depletion tax deductions are NOT FF subsidies despite what greenies say. A 30% ITC on wind or solar plainly is; Congress expressly labeled it as such.

    • Venezuela subsidizes diesel. The price is so low, some PDVSA managers order truckloads of diesel to “wash the wells” before a work over. The diesel is pumped into the well annulus and the well pump brings it back with diluted crude and water, and the mix is pushed into the flowline. The trick is used by PDVSA field foremen running small isolated fields to increase their production to meet their quota.

    • Senator Grassley (Republican) disagrees with you, despite what you say about Greenies (at about 1:08):

      And again for the umpteenth time, lets review U.S. Nuclear Power incentives (which I support as a card carrying Greenie):

      (1) Production Tax Credit (very similar to Wind).
      (2) Catastrophic Insurance (Price-Anderson)
      (3) Construction Cost Cap Guarantees (Energy Policy Act).
      (4) DOE Loan Guarantees
      (5) U.S. Export/Import Bank.

      • patmcguinness

        Sen Grassley is just a convert to Big Wind and Big Ethanol, and so it big on stuff

        As for the rest:
        #1, nope, not comparable, credit IMHO should be exactly the same for all non GHG sources (its not).
        #2, the nuclear industry has PAID for this ‘insurance’ – through the nose. And its been a multi-billion account building up money, since we have had no serious accident since TMI.
        #3 & 4, agree these are subsidies but in fact just to restart nuclear building spree, and that’s stalled out. so compared with ongoing EV, solar home and energy credits, or the ethanol subsidies, a tiny thing.
        #5 – ExIm is for Boeing.

  13. Hey, the genius government types have come up with yet another ingenious plan to waste our money. From the article:

    (CNN)London to New York City by car?

    It could happen if the head of Russian Railways has his way.

    According to a March 23 report in The Siberian Times, Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin has proposed a plan for a massive trans-Siberian highway that would link his country’s eastern border with the U.S. state of Alaska, crossing a narrow stretch of the Bering Sea that separates Asia and North America.

    The scheme was unveiled at a meeting of the Moscow-based Russian Academy of Science.

    Dubbed the Trans-Eurasian Belt Development (TEPR), the project calls for a major roadway to be constructed alongside the existing Trans-Siberian Railway, along with a new train network and oil and gas pipelines.

    “This is an inter-state, inter-civilization, project,” the Siberian Times quoted Yakunin. “The project should be turned into a world ‘future zone,’ and it must be based on leading, not catching, technologies.”

    “Are we there yet?”
    The road would run across the entirety of Russia, linking with existing road systems in Western Europe and Asia.

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/24/travel/trans-siberian-road/

    • Maybe the Russian does not know that the transAlaskan highway is not paved? This sounds like a vodka fueled version of Moonbeam’s high speed California rail between LA and SF.

  14. From the hopefully policy change front, things are getting really nasty …

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sank to a new low in his effort to fight with real estate mogul billionaire Donald Trump during an interview with Politico’s chief White House correspondent, Mike Allen, at a Koch Brothers-sponsored event in California this weekend. In the interview, Walker accused Trump of acting like a Democrat.

    “More than a week ago Walker fundraiser Gregory Slayton referred to Trump as a ‘DumbDumb’ in a fundraising invitation. All together, Walker said, Trump was basically taking the same attack route as Democrats,” Strauss continued, before quoting Walker in full.

    “But he basically used the talking points that the Democrats used over the last four years,” Walker said. “As many of you know, three times we won because those points aren’t accurate.”

    Many establishment Republicans have attacked Trump for having been a Democrat in his past, but the line of criticism is largely ineffective because some of the best conservative Republicans—like Ronald Reagan, the former President, or Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court Justice—are former Democrats.

    Walker has slipped in recent polls along with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)80%
    , as Trump has risen—something that has shaken the entire Republican establishment.

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/08/01/scott-walker-compares-donald-trump-to-democrats-as-trump-blows-past-him-in-iowa-polls/

  15. David L. Hagen

    When should we start preparing for Global Cooling?
    Mile thick ice is far more destructive than a few feet of water.
    Fred Singer writes in the American Thinker July 31, 2015:
    A Paradigm Change: Re-directing public concern from Global Warming to Global Cooling

    I want to change public concern from Global (GW) to Global Cooling (GC). . . . Our planet has experienced some 17 (Milankovitch-style) glaciations in the past 2 million years, each typically lasting 100,000 years, interrupted by warm inter-glacials, typically of around 10,000-yr duration. The most recent glaciation ended rather suddenly about 12,000 years ago.  We are now in the warm Holocene, which is expected to end soon. In fact, we may have already entered into the next glaciation — as we can discover only in retrospect.  . . .
    Archeological data show that the recent glaciation wiped out the Neanderthalers and much of the fauna that constituted their source of food.  Most of humanity may not survive the next, inevitable glaciation. . . . The main threat is warfare, driven by competition for food and other essential resources.  With nuclear weapons and delivery systems widely dispersed, the outcome of future wars is difficult to predict. . . .
    The most promising method is to find a “trigger” — a phenomenon that initiates the glaciation.  The most common suggestion is a high-latitude snowfield that somehow survives summer melting. . . .The easiest way to locate such triggers is by digital comparison of successive images from existing weather satellites. . . .Once such growing snowfields have been located, they can be covered with black soot to decrease albedo.  The summer sun can then do its work.  How much soot? . . .
    Conclusion
    In my opinion, there is little doubt that a near-term cooling is among the major calamities facing the population on our planet; concern about global warming is entirely misplaced.  A Little Ice Age (DOB cooling) may arrive within decades — perhaps much sooner.  The end of our warm Holocene inter-glacial is rapidly approaching.  There is no time to lose in preparing for survival.  A paradigm change is essential. . . .

    • Well.

      Per the IBL study about 1.05 W/m2 of past warming is GHG (take 22 PPM = 0.2 W/m2 and work backwards).

      This means about 2 W of 20th century warming isn’t accounted for.

      About 0.5 W/m2 to 1.5 W/m2 is solar (assuming how much water vapor feedback real warming from the sun has).

      But there is still 0.5 to 1.5 W/m2 unaccounted for.

      So the question is how much is really the unaccounted and how much is solar?

      If solar has a strong water vapor feedback (which CO2 does not).we might see cooling.

      I tend to think that 1 W/m2 is solar and 1 W/m2 is a package of all the non-GHG changes man has made (what I like to call UHI+ or UHIP) and follows population size and to some extent affluence.

      This argues for slow increase of 0.2 to 0.5 °C by 2100. But if we stop fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emission things could get pretty cold pretty fast – and that would cut plant growth and cause mass starvation until the wars started.

  16. David L. Hagen

    Korea increasing nuclear power
    Korea starts operating 24th nuclear reactor

     Korea, the world’s fifth largest producer of nuclear energy, has raised its dependency on nuclear power having recently started the commercial operations of its 24th nuclear reactor.  . . .
    The country is building 10 other reactors, with a plan to build an additional two by 2029. 

    Further energy links see RealClearEnergy

  17. 7/31/15
    OIL 46.77
    BRENT 52.21
    NAT GAS 2.714
    RBOB GAS 1.7666

    The year-out WTI contango is still around $7, putting pressure on oil to storage.

  18. From the article:
    Crude Oil Rig Count and Prices Uptick: What’s Next?

    http://marketrealist.com/2015/07/crude-oil-rig-count-prices-uptick-whats-next/

  19. To determine what really works as an energy supply you just check out the people who successfully make a lot of stuff right now and ask yourself what they use right now. (I’m referring to all that heavy-manufacture stuff you use, even your Prius and your solar panels.)

    Germany makes a lot of stuff (bills to pay!). Check out the length of time between the cancellation of nukes and reimplementation of brown coal. Or did you blink and miss that one?

    Australia is fabulously rich in coal, especially the best black, bauxite and iron. Yet it cannot afford to smelt. Somebody in this age of mass production and consumption is smelting aluminium and iron, and doing it with Australian black (54 per cent of world trade in metallurgical coal). Just not Australia, which really can’t afford to make much at all. Life is okay here till you try to value-add beyond the level of “boutique”, “niche”, “smart”…and all those manufactures favoured by an inner-urban commentariat.

    Is it that the West has allowed its most ditsy and detached intellectuals to determine matters of urgency and commonsense? (See Margaret Atwood, previous post.) Do these intellectuals instinctively avoid the middle ground of what they would call “aspirationals” while making their appeal (on behalf of the lower crust, natch) to an upper crust whose mal-de-siecle and self-disgust is strongest, who do a lot of knowing but very little noticing?

  20. From the article:

    Coal Left Fighting Over America’s Last Plants as Rules Mount



    America’s coal miners are getting so desperate, beaten down by the lowest prices in eight years, increasing competition and mounting environmental regulations, that they’re battling each other for scraps. Details emerging ahead of the release of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan on Monday show pressure from Washington to curb coal’s use will only intensify over the next 15 years, escalating the industry’s fight for survival.
    The fiercest war of all is emerging between the resurgent Illinois Basin and the Powder River Basin, which has long been king of coal. Up for grabs is the business from a collection of power plants located chiefly in the Midwest and Southeast, which have long been fed by Powder River producers.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-02/coal-left-fighting-over-america-s-last-plants-as-rules-mount

    • Personally, I don’t believe it’s in the bag that Washington will limit coal use for the next 15 years. That could all change in 2017.

      • Some think that if the initial efforts prove successful, it won’t matter a lot if they are later overturned by the courts, or later politics. The thought is that the early implementation of the plan will lead to retirements that can’t be undone.

      • Possible I suppose. But when the price of nat gas goes back up, and it will, coal might see a resurgence. Low prices is the cure for low prices as the investment guys are wont to say.

      • The green map shows current LNG facilities. Not all are used for export.

      • Long answer lost to logging into word press after entering my comment. Main point was not sure where coal and NAT gas prices might go so that scenario is possible. But for US coal would have to be very cheap compared to natural gas to allow for the expensive capital costs associated with coal. Fracking projections don’t look like gas could increase the required multiples relative to coal.
        So I see merit in the argument if we lose existing coal infrastructure, it will not be replaced easily .

      • Beta Blocker

        aplanningengineer. “Long answer lost to logging into word press after entering my comment.”

        It’s a better idea to compose a longish post in notepad first, save the file, and then copy the text into the WordPress window. At the very minimum, always copy the text to the clipboard before hitting the Post Comment button.

        Saving the text as a file also allows recovery if you are using a PC plugged into the wall and a power surge blows the machine down after the ISO staff has made a bad call in routing California’s power demand.

      • PE – I assume you are thinking generation plants. It would be a great loss if all the coal gen plants were shut down. Obumbles is truly an idjidiot.

        As to the coal mines, I think they could be restarted as long as they were decommissioned properly. Exports could pick up if the expectation of a climate cold snap (in some quarters) materializes.

  21. Re policy decision making, here’s a thoughtful
    piece by The Chiefio on national debt, taxation,
    and money compared to ‘fiat currency,’ the one
    a ‘store of work’ the other a ‘store of hope.’
    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/

    • Yes beth, I wish more people understood the ramifications of fiat currency described in the essay you post.

      I have high confidence there will be another round of QE in the U.S., this will go on with ever diminishing effect. I don’t see things ending well frankly.

  22. Despite $7 billion to ‘Power Africa,’ why the continent is still in the dark [link]

    Inga I was built in 1972 and Inga II in 1982 and have a design capacity of 351MW and 1424MW respectively. Output however is currently greatly reduced due to the age of the installations, a historical lack of maintenance and siltation in the canal.” Wiki

    Grand Coulee Dam was built between 1933 & 1942, the largest hydroelectric producing facility in the USA.

    What is the difference between Inga I & II and Grand Coulee Dam? Answer: political will to spend some revenue from electricity production for maintenance, and trained personnel to operate and maintain the facility.

    In Africa, tribalism, tithing, and an extremely vertical leadership prohibit projects from functioning as designed, and, ultimately these projects lapse into deterioration. Struggles over control, nepotism; i.e. who gets the jobs, and siphoning off the streams of monies such that only a trickle of original funds arrives at their intended destinations is the current political/economic African state.

    Long term solutions can not by-pass the tribal cultural way of doing things in Africa. Such tribalism includes “president for life” expectations, representing the thinking of tribal chiefs who in turn are supported by their military relatives. The demonization of democratic institutions, “colonialist thinking” both from within African nations as well as espoused by liberal Western thinking pundits and reinforced by personnel of Western government agencies continues a culture of hostility to capital investments necessary to exploit Africa’s considerable resources. Capital investment with audit and accountability and investment into people and social institutions would allow raising the people of Africa from $2/day survival. Capital investment without tribal Chiefs pulling the strings include setting the criteria for the labor force: who gets hired and fired including foreigners, and keeping the fingers of tribal Chief’s relatives from dipping into the investment pie for a piece for themselves.

    The other issue is who controls the profits that go back to the region and nation. Do the profits go to education for indigenous people to learn to be electricians and electrical engineers to run and maintain the electrical power system? Electrical suppliers who can connect the grid with people’s homes? Financing ways for people to afford electricity from the grid?

    With the extremely low degree of accountability required by current NGO’s and government gifting and granting agencies into developing worlds in general, more money has been poured into fleets of Mercedes Benz cars, lavish palaces, extravagant travel and a trickle down to the street, viewed as people should be grateful for any money at all that reaches people no matter how much money was intended. After all, it is free money to begin with. Any amount is welcomed.

    It is long past time that a tin ear is turned to the “colonist guilt” meme and a paper trail with audits for the money provided is adopted.

  23. Can we quick change the Constitution and draft Amber Rudd to run for president?

  24. Craig Loehle

    “Ending fossil fuel subsidies” could pay for blah blah. Most of the true subsidies are what give people in Iran and Venezuela very cheap gas. So ending these subsidies would cost poor people lots, to give poor people something?
    If by “subsidies” they mean allowing oil companies to subtract exploration costs, ending those would raise gas prices radically.

  25. Concerning the next (11th) meeting of the Kyoto protocol members, to be held in Paris this December (so as to hopefully avoid the embarrassingly cold winters that seem to follow these meetings around the globe), Matt Ridley say that, getting international agreement concerning the limiting of global temperatures to a 2C increase is essentially a theologically debate.

    Given that nobody knows for sure what those levels were, how sensitive to industrial emissions global temperatures are, how emissions will change, when the 2C threshold would be reached, how much natural climate change there will be, or how much damage (or benefit) two degrees of global warming would cause, this is as practical as arguing about the nature of the trinity.

  26. “Climate Change Business Journal estimates the Climate Change Industry is a $1.5 Trillion dollar escapade, which means four billion dollars a day is spent on our quest to change the climate. That includes everything from carbon markets to carbon consulting, carbon sequestration, renewables, biofuels, green buildings and insipid cars. For comparison global retail sales online are worth around $1.5 trillion. So all the money wasted on the climate is equivalent to all the goods bought online.”

    I try to fathom how much could have been done to solve real problems for four billion dollars a day.

    By the way – insipid cars?

  27. Cape Wind offshore wind farm in Cape Cod dead in the water:

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/05/28/cape-wind-seeks-more-time-restart-stalled-wind-farm/oTxDMVVmOc3jVM9KOrErMN/story.html

    It’s two month old news, but it is somewhat amusing.

    • Who is the well funded opposition supposed to be?

      • I don’t know, but that is the Kennedy backyard. :)

        IMHO, the beaches of Cape Cod, MA, USA, are the best in the world – sand dunes, dune plants, fresh water lagoons, warm shallow water, and miles of hermit crabs and dazzling sea-shells to inspire a small child to marvel, just in wonder…

  28. David Wojick

    The final Clean Power Plan regulations are finally here:
    http://www2.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/clean-power-plan-existing-power-plants#CPP-final

    Now we fight.

    • It will be interesting to see how the current administration defends the levels of CO2 emissions considered safe.

      • David Wojick

        They use the Social Cost of Carbon modeling results, which go out 300 years to project economic damages from today’s emissions. Read the RIA. But safe is not the issue because all emissions are damaging, just like all nuclear radiation. It is a no threshold model. This is just the start to the CO2 controls, not the end by any means.

    • “guidelines for states to follow in developing pans (sic) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG)” First sentence typo.

  29. David L. Hagen

    Bastardi’s Perspective

    1.) The true hockey stick of the fossil fuel era: Global progress in total population, personal wealth and life expectancy. . . .
    2.) The geological time scale of temperatures versus CO2.
    As much as I struggle, I can’t see the linkage.
    3.) EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted that the steps being taken would only prevent .01 degrees Celsius of warming, but it was the example that counted for the rest of the world. . . .
    Did policymakers ever take Economics 101, or a course in how to read a chart?

    All This for .01 Degrees Celsius?

  30. patmcguinness

    “The Administration seems increasingly desperate to salvage an ill-advised and poorly designed rule, which won’t work, won’t pass muster with states, and won’t stand up to legal scrutiny…Even prior to the expensive overhaul announced today, seven governors had stated that they did not plan to comply. That number seems certain to grow as other governors realize that, rather than fix the rule, EPA has in many ways made matters worse.”
    – Arch Coal responds to Obama’s CPP.

    CPP stands for ‘coal punishment plan’ it seems, as the coal industry is going bankrupt as this rolls out, on the heels of a big shift away from coal in electric generation. Today, Alpha natural resources announced they are seeking chapter 11 protection. Even if the CPP is thrown out in courts, it will have impacted coal power plants.

    … all this for 0.01C indeed!

  31. The Telegraph has a lengthy obituary of historian Robert Conquest, best known for his many books on the Soviet Union. CR readers might connect with this sentence:

    “In his last two works, Reflections on a Ravaged Century (1999) and The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History (2004), Conquest drew on decades of historical study to trace how seductive ideas have come to corrupt modern minds to often disastrous effect and discuss why and how people could have been so blind to what was going on.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11782719/Robert-Conquest-historian-obituary.html

  32. If this is true, and there is another article stating the Saudi’s have sold more than the usual amount of bonds, the US and Canadian oilfield may be in for a break. The Saudi’s may have to revive OPEC and try to get the price of oil up. One caveat, the futures market, oddly enough, can’t be used to predict the future price of oil.

    From the article:

    Saudi Arabia may go broke before the US oil industry buckles
    It is too late for OPEC to stop the shale revolution. The cartel faces the prospect of surging US output whenever oil prices rise
    If the oil futures market is correct, Saudi Arabia will start running into trouble within two years. It will be in existential crisis by the end of the decade.
    The contract price of US crude oil for delivery in December 2020 is currently $62.05, implying a drastic change in the economic landscape for the Middle East and the petro-rentier states.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/oilprices/11768136/Saudi-Arabia-may-go-broke-before-the-US-oil-industry-buckles.html

  33. From the article:

    THE LIFE CYCLE OF A REVOLUTION

    In the early days of the public internet, we believed that we were helping build something totally new, a world that would leave behind the shackles of age, of race, of gender, of class, even of law. Twenty years on, “cyberspace” looks a lot less revolutionary than it once did. Hackers have become information security professionals. Racism and sexism have proven resiliant enough to thrive in the digital world. Big companies are getting even bigger, and the decisions corporations not just governments make about security, privacy, and free speech affect hundreds of thousands, or millions, of people. The Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse terrorists, pedophiles, drug dealers, and money launderers are driving online policy as governments around the world are getting more deeply involved in the business of regulating the network. Meanwhile, the Next Billion Internet Users are going to connect from Asia and developing countries without a Bill of Rights. Centralization, Regulation, and Globalization are the key words, and over the next twenty years, we’ll see these forces change digital networks and information security as we know it today. So where does that leave security, openness, innovation, and freedom?

    The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is being used to weld the hood of cars shut to keep engine software safe from mechanics. Will we still have the Freedom to Tinker even in the oldest of technologies? What does it mean that the U.S. is a big player in the zero-day market even as international agreements seek to regulate exploit code and surveillance tools? Will we see liability for insecure software and what does that mean for open source? With advances in artificial intelligence that will decide who gets run over, who gets a loan, who gets a job, how far off can legal liability regimes for robots, drones, and even algorythms be? Is the global Internet headed for history’s dustbin, and what does a balkanized network mean for security, for civil rights?

    https://www.blackhat.com/us-15/briefings.html#staying-persistent-in-software-defined-networks