Week in review – energy and policy edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

Economist: Countries are revving up their climate change policies as the Paris conference draw nearer [link]

.@IEA scales back UK renewables forecast, citing policy uncertainty [link]

Richard Tol: Bob Ward’s misplaced critique on Fankhauser and Stern [link]…

Urban farming is booming, but what does it really yield? [link] …

Iceland: World’s Largest Clean Energy Producer Per Capita [link]

Low-hanging dirt: Cutting emissions of methane & soot could bring swift benefits @TheEconomist  [link]

“Majority of UK electricity wasted before reaching households, report finds” 54% wasted [link] …

Climate pledges by 140 countries will limit global warming – but not enough [link]

India’s INDC probably includes some of the most comprehensive throat-clearing of all of the INDCs [link] …

Book by MIT speaker shows that climate policy focused on local impact is most effective for Americans. [link]

Review: #Water Security in #India by Vandana Asthana and A. C. Shukla  [link]

Bahrain more than doubled the price of beef and chicken, cutting meat subsidies in the face of falling oil prices. [link] …

Global coal consumption actually increased from 2013 to 2014 [link]

Small scale solar power business now part of big utilities’ plan [link]

From cap-and-trade to climate finance, the biggest issues in the U.S.-China joint statement on #climatechange: [link]

A look at whether the poor should burn wood and dung ‘sustainably’ or just move to modern fuels [link] …

A comprehensive report on rural energy access in India [link]

UK Steel Crisis: GWPF Calls On Government To Scrap Carbon Floor Price [link]

Simpler, smaller, cheaper? Alternatives to Britain’s new nuclear power plant [link] …

Climate change allows Ladahki farmers to grow vast array of veg in once cold desert-but experts warn gains short term [link]

How Capitalism Changes Conscience — and shifts it leftward. [link] …

Researchers: New policy & research needed to capture U.S. offshore wind [link]

CCS projects may be uninsurable [link] …

Now cities to generate electricity from the water running through public drinking water pipes [link]

This Country Is Already Carbon Neutral and Now Plans to Go 100% Organic and Zero-Waste [link]

President Obama: “we don’t issue a regulation where the costs are not lower than the benefits” [link] …

Utilities seek to charge solar system owners more for connection to grid – LA Times [link] …

House Votes To Keep EPA From Considering Costs Of Climate Change [link]

Obama Says Paris Climate Talks Bound to ‘Fall Short’ [link]

“China Visit Underlines Climate Change’s Dodgy Value”  [link]

How climate change efforts by developed countries are hurting Africa’s rural poor [link] …

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

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

  2. New X-Prize competition announced – convert CO2 into something useful. http://carbon.xprize.org/

    • I thought the decision had been made, they will be paid to sequester it.

      • Make CO2 munitions and then invent a process to change it’s state like we did with nerve gas etc….military is always the first choice. The best part is the ‘stuff’ is so dangerous that no one ever sees what is going on anyway. Have you every seen the Russian stuff that we helped them decommission? I didn’t think so. We don’t get to verify.

    • …convert CO2 into something useful.

      They should just give the X-Prize to plants.

    • finnpii: New X-Prize competition announced – convert CO2 into something useful.

      I think that looks truly interesting. Lots of basic science has been done with laboratory scale projects. Also, CO2 is an excellent solvent. It will be interesting to see what product wins the prize.

    • bedeverethewise

      CO2 has already been turned into something useful,

      A political crisis.

    • I have an idea. Why not convert it to plant fertilizer? Wait a minute, no conversion required! Doh!!

    • Cut down trees.
      Ship trunks to New Orleans, the Netherlands and other low-lying areas.
      Bury underground, with methane plumbing.
      Capture and use methane.
      Repeat. Repeat. Repeat, Etc.

      Please sent prize money to me.

    • John Carpenter

      Put the CO2 in a rocket and launch into the sun.

  3. The Konisky piece is interesting since we really don’t have any tools to predict “Climate Change” impacts on a local scale.

    • Agree the local/regional climate science is very dodgy. However, a concentrated effort to take one region and study it comprehensively would yield tremendous results for science. Take as an example the State of Florida. It has a huge shoreline, measurable SST effects, and enough hurricanes to yield huge economics if these were better understood. The area is small enough that supercomputers could handle small granularity and less guesswork parameters.
      But this could never make it through a politicised grant review process!

      • You just highlighted one of my big issues with the field.

        We know that improvements in regional modeling / forecasting offer potentially great benefit, that there is considerable room for improvement and if granted sufficient resources include improvement is likely. Yet what we get instead are multiple GCM’s. Eliminate a third to half of them and redirect the funding to regional modeling research seems to be the reasonable conclusion, yet it doesn’t happen.

      • regional models are only as good as their boundary conditions, which come from GCMs (a single one, or better yet an ensemble).

  4. “Iceland: World’s Largest Clean Energy Producer Per Capita”

    With a population of just over 300k and abundant geothermal energy capability makes this article come across as sensationalizing.

    • bedeverethewise

      It wasn’t just sensationalizing, it was just plain ridiculous. Iceland uses lots of geothermal energy, everyone who knows anything about Icelandic geology and energy production says duh. If you know nothing about energy, you might think Iceland is a good model for the rest of the world. But they did have a few good comments.

  5. Wow
    “Boiling the oceans
    The oceans are absorbing almost all the heat added to the climate system. Summer sea-ice cover in the Arctic has declined more than 40% over the past four decades as a result. Walruses used to rest and feed on the ice; now they often do so onshore. Over 35,000 gathered recently near Point Lay in Alaska (pictured above).

    Melting glacier ice, and the fact that warmer water has a larger volume, mean higher sea levels: they have already risen by roughly 20cm since 1880 and could rise another metre by 2100. That is perilous for low-lying islands and flat countries: the government of Kiribati, a cluster of tropical islands, has bought land in Fiji to move residents to in case of flooding. Giza Gaspar Martins, a diplomat from Angola who leads the world’s poorest countries in the climate talks, points out that they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of a warming planet. Money alone, he argues, will not fix their problems. Without steps to reduce emissions, he predicts, “there will be nothing left to adapt for.”

    • The usual silly stuff.

      • Seals Disappear.

        Seals which used to be plentiful in those seas, have almost entirely dis- appeared. It would seem as if the ocean must have become uncomfortably warm ‘for some of its denizens which formerly frequented those latitudes, causing them to flock north- ward towards the Pole.

        Fur Clothes Too Warm.

        Not only are the seals and polar bears ‘finding the climate unpleasantly warm for them, bnt it is said that the Eskimos in some localities are com- plaining and are finding their fur clothes too warm for them.

        North pole melting. 1923
        http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/168839462?sea rchTerm=glaciers%20melting&searchLimits=

      • I understand why the casual observer would not know about the history of Arctic temperatures but it requires willful ignorance for the establishment to pretend the current warmth is unprecedented. The same can be said about concerns over Antarctic glaciers. Newspapers were reporting fears about the poles 100 years ago just as they are now.

      • Of course you’re right, cerescokid, but also earlier than 100 years ago, i.e. Darwins careful notes of receding glaciers in the early 19th century.

        I prefer to call it willfull disinformation. The establishment doesn’t share the knowledge of the history because climate that recurs or is ongoing over recent centuries dilutes “unprecedented”, “historic” and imminent arguments. It provides questioning context, and that just won’t do.

    • There is nothing in the article that indicates the author believes the oceans will actually boil. It is the headline of a subsection. You do not really know that the author of the article wrote the headline, though my hunch would be the author did.

      • there is nothing in the article which suggests the author belives ANY of it.

        the issue isnt the belief of the author.

        the issue is getting the science wrong especially about sinking islands

      • Of course we have no idea as to the beliefs of the author. It is obvious, however, that he is trying to craft an article which will influence to beliefs of readers. The author would appear to have little concern that the impression left with readers is factually correct.

        For instance: “Walruses used to rest and feed on the ice; now they often do so onshore.”

        True in a sense. They used to rest and feed on ice. But they often did onshore also. They still do both, so the author is not lying but his words are extremely misleading. Intentional? Ignorant? Both?

      • the beliefs

    • David L. Hagen

      In reality: Coral islands defy sea-level rise over the past century: Records from a central Pacific atoll, P.S. Kench et al.

      Funafuti Atoll, in the tropical Pacific Ocean, has experienced some of the highest rates of sea-level rise (∼5.1 ± 0.7 mm/yr), totaling ∼0.30 ± 0.04 m over the past 60 yr. . . .Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897–2013). There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated. Reef islands in Funafuti continually adjust their size, shape, and position in response to variations in boundary conditions, including storms, sediment supply, as well as sea level.

    • You mean like on the cover of Life magazine June 27, 1960 and the story within?

    • “… Giza Gaspar Martins, a diplomat from Angola who leads the world’s poorest countries in the climate talks…”

      He wants the reparations so he and pals can loot them. A bunch of Shuklas (Elbonian word for thief)…

  6. The Richard Tol story link doesn’t work. I follow Richard on Facebook, this may be the link: http://richardtol.blogspot.co.uk/

  7. Not widely reported was this a couple of weeks ago. Republicans are starting to thaw on their stand against climate action, and this signals a shift towards the attitude already taken by the general public.

    • Thinkprogress speaking for the Republicans is pretty funny. By the way, when it comes to opinions there is no such thing as the general public. Different people think different things. In this case skeptics abound and most Republican voters are skeptics. But people running for President try to cast the widest possible net, after they are nominated.

      • When they now say something should be done to reduce emissions, that is a seismic shift for a congressional Republican. We have not heard this in recent years. There used to be some, but they went quiet.

      • stevenreincarnated

        They are perfectly happy to cut emissions as long as it doesn’t make the taxpayers unhappy and it doesn’t have to cost much to make the taxpayers unhappy as politicians in both parties are well aware.

      • Yes, well, they are Republicans after all. They haven’t defected. On balance they see the benefit of cutting emissions taking all that into account.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Well yeah they are Republicans and if they were Democrats they would ignore it when they had the house, the senate and the presidency and wait to complain about it when they didn’t. Much easier to say you want to do something then to actually do it and tick off the voters.

      • bedeverethewise

        I think we should do something too, but I’m guessing my something is different than your something. And I’m worried that someone else’s something might be way worse than nothing. And I’m also concerned that some somethings will leave my wallet full of nothing while accomplishing nothing except for filling someone else’s bank account with something that used to be my something.

        I think that’s pretty clear.

    • The AP has decided to stop calling anyone who doubts the consensus a “denier” or a “slept”. They have to use “doubters” or “those who reject mainstream climate science.” http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/barbara-kay-ap-offers-a-victory-to-us-doubters-of-climate-change

    • Oh please! This article is almost a classic. Every time there is any war anywhere in the world going on for any reason, someone leaps up and says it is all about oil (and nothing else). The only thing this form letter is missing is the pipeline they want to build.

    • Curious George

      Ahh .. Putin will be selling Russian oil to Saudis via Syria.

    • Wrong. Power, resentment, and national pride. Politicians exploit those conditions.

  8. Regarding the costs and benefits of regulation……..
    It is very easy to go bankrupt spending money to realize non-cash benefits. Even if those non-cash benefits are calculated reasonably…..a tall order in and of itself. A perfect example is the value of a human life used in government accounting of benefits.

    • It’s amazing really. The millions that have been spent on Ivy League academics to ascertain the health benefits of regulation, and too, the total costs to society.

      Has anyone calculated the health consequences and economic consequences sans fossil fuels? No. We would be a fraction of the global population and still be planting corn and hunting mammoths, well at least buffalo; since the prevailing theory is that humans killed off the mammoths.

  9. The article on Bhutan was startling since my friend adopted a girl from there some years ago and he goes back to visit regularly. This glowing story contrasts very sharply with the image of abject poverty and misery of a poor backward nation he presents. I guess that is what the climate alarmist leftists want for all of us.

    • Downright silly. 55% of the population lives on subsistence agricultue. GDP $2200 per capita. Main industries tourism and selling hydroelectricity to India. Carbon neutral because hydro and no industry. A great model for China just to the north.

      • Just based on the title and not clicking through, I had assumed it was eco-friendly North Korea.

  10. Especially from the CE bloggers from Australia, I see a lot of mis-information and almost zero objectivity on President Obama and nuclear power.

    Often the Tea Party Republicans have been trying to and succeeded in de-railing Nuclear Power efforts — both internationally and domestically.

    Internationally — Export/Import Bank: https://www.google.com/search?q=%22Import+Export+bank%22+%22Nuclear+power%22&rlz=1C1AFAB_enUS485US485&oq=%22Import+Export+bank%22+%22Nuclear+power%22&aqs=chrome..69i57.27333j0j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=%22Export+Import+bank%22+Nuclear+power

    Domestically — Nuclear Power Guaranteed Loan Program. President Obama tried not once, but twice to get Congress to authorize funding for between 13 to 16 new nuclear projects. He got a lot of Republican support from people like Senator Graham (SC), Senator Alexander (TN), Christine Todd Whitman, etc.

    • The ExIm banks biggest beneficiaries were Boeing and GE, neither of which deserve corporate welfare. So it was IMO properly not renewed.

      • The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and many people (both Democrats and Republicans) disagree with you on the ExIm Bank: http://www.nei.org/issues-policy/exports-trade/ex-im-bank-reauthorization

      • Which makes my point. NEI wants subsidies too.

      • The ExIm bank is corporate welfare. You are so loyal to your tribe Segrest.

      • The point of my original post was to refute (yet again) that President Obama has been anti-Nuclear power. It has been largely Tea Party Republicans who have de-railed efforts to develop nuclear projects.

        Has Obama’s efforts to support Nuclear Energy involved subsidies? Yes, absolutely.

        Any CE Blogger who is absolutely consistent in their views to eliminate all subsidies across the spectrum of energy options can be respected (like Ron Paul).

        However, many CE Bloggers are not consistent. Incentives for Renewables are railed against. But subsidies for oil, gas, and nuclear are either (1) never mentioned, or are (2) OK and justified.

        I will post again Senator Grassley’s (a conservative Republican) comments on oil, gas, and nuclear subsidies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XMYQZQAlWw&feature=youtu.be

      • Per Senator Grassley: Oil and natural gas industry only tax break subsidies: (1) Expensing of Tertiary Injectants; (2) Expensing for intangible drilling costs; (3) Percentage depletion for oil wells; (4) special amortization for geological costs.

      • Per Senator Grassley — Nuclear Power subsidies: (1) Investment or Production Tax Credit; (2) Catastrophic Insurance (Price Anderson); (3) Caps on construction costs for new projects; (4) Special break on decommissioning cost; (5) DOE Loan Guarantees; (6) U.S. Export/Import Bank; (7) $74 billion in Federal R&D since 1950.

      • Stephen

        There you go again. The Tea Party is not a political party; it is a grassroots movement whose advocates are unified only in their distaste of government overreach, and there is no such thing as a tea party platform, no such thing as tea party positions regarding subsidies. An individual who indentifies as a tea partier and speaks for a subsidy, does not speak for all all tea party supporters.


      • For the umpteenth time, Stephen – IT IS OK TO BE INCONSISTENT!!!

        I would like to see, as part of a larger tax simplification plan, ALL TAX and OTHER SUBSIDIES REMOVED, even the mortgage and state tax deductions.

        The ONLY ONE I would keep would be for nuclear power.

      • Jim2 — Which ONE (subsidy) are you talking about on Nuclear Power? The Nuclear ITC/PTC?, Price Anderson Catastrophic Insurance?, EPACT provisions capping the capital costs of new projects?, DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program for Nuclear?

        Which “ONE” where everything else should be eliminated?

      • Segrest,

        Haven’t you accepted by now that the subsidies for renewables are very much higher than for nuclear per MWh.

      • What is the difference between the Production Tax Credit (PTC) still available for nuclear versus the now expired wind PTC?

        Also, from a revenue requirement basis, what is the kWh value of the nuclear PTC?

    • richardswarthout


      There you go again. The Tea Party is not a political party; it is a grassroots movement whose advocates are unified only in their distaste of government overreach, and there is no such thing as a tea party platform, no such thing as tea party positions regarding subsidies. An individual who indentifies as a tea partier and speaks for a subsidy, does not speak for all all tea party supporters.


    • Peter Lang,


      Haven’t you accepted by now that the subsidies for renewables are very much higher than for nuclear per MWh.”

      Actually, SS is banking on them! Pun intended! ;)

  11. “How Capitalism Changes Conscience — and shifts it leftward.”

    A classic example of social “science”. Collect some data, then ignore the actual data and report how it supports your preconceptions.

    Compare one of their conclusions:

    ” as societies get wealthier, life generally gets safer, not just due to reductions in disease, starvation, and vulnerability to natural disasters, but also due to reductions in political brutalization. People get rights”

    to their graph showing the explosion of GDP in the US beginning in 1800.

    Now what happened circa 1800 in the US? Not the revolution, the French had one of those and it did not turn out so well. No, it was the Constitution that was later adopted, that forced the government to recognize and respect the pre-existing rights of its citizens.

    The US did not become rich, as a result of which its people “got rights as the authors suggest. Rather the people created a government subservient to themselves, and the wealth followed as a consequence. It was their values that created the richest, most powerful, most generous, most just country in the history of mankind.

    (Liberaltarians and progressives alike want to treat values, and religions in particular, as interchangeable. But they are not. There are easily discernible reasons that Christianity lead to the separation of church and state, the free market,and the prosperity that resulted, while the world’s other religions did not. It is not whether you believe, but what you believe that matters.)

    It is the very system of values that made this country great that progressives are trying so desperately to undermine (with an able assist from their useful idiots the libertarians), for the specific reason that it will make centralization of power that much easier

    I am seeing a lot of writing recently by both liberaltarians, and not so conservative conservatives, talking about the inevitability of the historical process, that is leading us inexorably toward a leftist state. And not a one of them seems to realize they are just regurgitating Marxist tripe.

    • Marxist tripe keeps lots of idiots employed. Segregating the idiots behind ivy walls may be an effective way to keep them from infecting society even more. The problem is when they escape from behind the walls and infect government.

      We need more truth to disinfect their damage.

    • The main graph was interesting, but, ultimately, the article is simplistic to the point of being pretty uninteresting.
      One thing I’ve learned from reading a lot of Gottfried is that the obvious simple theories are usually quite wrong and these historical trends are usually better described by the blending of several factors.
      For instance, the move of protestant Europe to secularism can be explained by two distinct movements, the application of cultural Marxism within the US, the caving in of Protestantism to CM and liberalization/feminization in general, and the transport of that malignity back to Europe. Catholicism is not as badly affected, although it is obviously showing signs of going the same direction with this latest Marxist pope.
      The article author’s explanation, on the other hand, is just a statement of correlation = causation and is simply weak and really provides no insight.

    • ==> “It is the very system of values that made this country great..”

      No doubt, the system of values* from 1800 onward is what made this country great…

      * As long as we ignore the 60 years of slavery, building our economic infrastructure on the fruits of exploiting slavery, denying women the right to vote for 120 years, 160 years of denying blacks basic civil rights, etc.

      • You make it sound like Egypt.

      • History today is full of holes it looks like.


        They were not all butlers.

      • Reny Madigan

        Is America a great country now?

      • Shows your total ignorance, little unmentionable one. Our economic infrastructure was not built on slave labor. Whatever economic infrastructure that depended on slavery was in the South and was largely destroyed in the Civil War. The United States is not and has never been a cotton economy. The values this greatest of all nations was built on eventually overcame the historical injustices that you harp on, harpy. But you are welcome to wallow in the imagined shame for all of us.

      • Reny Madigan

        Fortunately our leaders are negotiating a trade agreement that allows child trafficking and child labor violations to be reduced to a misdemeanor.


      • ==> “. The United States is not and has never been a cotton economy.”

        Cotton was the leading American export from 1803-1937.

        Do you not think that the economic benefits of slavery extended beyond the boundaries of the cotton industry itself – such as the freakin’ textile industry?


      • “As long as we ignore the 60 years of slavery, building our economic infrastructure on the fruits of exploiting slavery, denying women the right to vote for 120 years, 160 years of denying blacks basic civil rights, etc”

        So? Guess you don’t read much history *.

        Luckily we have apologetic liberals who committed no crimes to stand in penance to ‘victim standins’ (to whom nothing happened) like Joshua.
        We hereby sacrifice all such liberals to those who would have them as guilty individuals to be exploited for such non existing wrongs. Mostly just for amusement, as it serves no other purpose (except cleansing the gene pool of those who are weak).

        * HINT: history isn’t a fairy tale. The world is ever at war, even RIGHT NOW.

      • But anyway, why limit the greatness achieved by GaryM’s Judeo-Christian values to the United States? Consider the myriad ways that those values made Colonial empires rich around the globe. Certainly there are many, many places across the globe that we can see the beneficial outcomes of those values? Here’s just one of the many examples.



      • nickels –

        ==> “Luckily we have apologetic liberals who committed no crimes to stand in penance to ‘victim standins’ (to whom nothing happened) like Joshua.

        What’re you talking about, bro?

      • No, really, Joshua. If you feel so guilty go into downtown harlem or wherever and just sacrifice yourself.

        I feel zero guilt about my countries past. Those who were to weak to defend themselves were not destined for this land.

      • This claim of the left is bizarre. The South was backward. The North was economically dynamic. But most importantly, America’s rise to economic dominance came decades after slavery had ended.

        And “denying women the right to vote”. This is somehow unique to Christian countries and to America?

        Slavish adherence to leftist tropes.

      • “The values this greatest of all nations was built on eventually overcame the historical injustices that you harp on, harpy.”

        Exactly, Don has it.

        Every culture on this earth participated in slavery. Western Christian culture ended it.

      • Looks like it’s strawman and non-sequitur-a-palooza around here.

        I haven’t said squat about libz vs. conz, about something unique to “christian countries,”. about “feeling guilty,” ..blah…blah…

        What I’m pointing out is GaryM’s selectivity in determining causation.

        What is it, exactly, that “made this country great?” What is it, exactly, that we can and can’t attribute to the “system of values” that GaryM was speaking about?

        Maybe the world ain’t quite as simple as appears in your self-sealing arguments, boyz?

        And this is cute:

        ==> “But most importantly, America’s rise to economic dominance came decades after slavery had ended.”

        As if the economic infrastructure built prior to 1860 wasn’t relevant to the U.S.’s rise to economic preeminence. Shall we consider anything that was concurrent to America’s rise to economic supremacy as causal, as distinct from what preceded? How about organized labor? Regulation of industry? Publicly funded schooling? Publicly supported infrastructure development? A welfare state? Shall I go on with this game of fallacious attribution of causation?

      • What a clown. If cotton were that important to the U.S.’s pre-Civil War economy, the South would have won the war. The North blockaded the South and virtually no cotton got out. How did the South survive and put up a fierce fight without significant cotton exports? How do you think the North, without freaking cotton, cranked up it’s industry and built railroads, cannons, ironclad ships and supported the armies that conquered the South?

        Let’s pretend that the economy of the pre-Civil War U.S. depended on Southern cotton. Then all the more commendable for the people of the North to have fought a terrible civil war over the issue of slavery. It would have been easy for lesser human beings to go along to get along. Have some pride in your country, little man. You will feel better about yourself.

      • To his friends Josh is known as the Great Emancipator.

      • Joshua – What “economic infrastructure” came from slavery? A large number of plantations? All the infrastructure that mattered to economic development came from the slave-free North.

        You seem to think that slavery is a good path to economic development. Maybe that is why you are a leftist. It is more the case that freedom leads to economic development. Again, that is why the North was economically superior to the South.

        And you realize, of course, that the elimination of the international slave trade was the achievement of evangelical Christians, right?

      • Judith –

        Perhaps you could explain why, with Don’s insults and straw-manning, and tim’s pom pom shaking,and nickels’ guilt-by-association and blah…blah…blah..you consider the following comment to be unacceptable? You know, so I’ll know for the future so
        as to not violate your standards for moderation…

        ==> “Let’s pretend that the economy of the pre-Civil War U.S. depended on Southern cotton.”

        Better yet, let’s repeatedly pretend that I argued something that I didn’t argue…

        ==> “Have some pride in your country, little man. You will feel better about yourself.”

        I have plenty o’ pride in my country. What’s interesting is that y’all feel some reflexive need to defend the undefendable. My ancestors came to this country post-slavery, but even if they had come before that I would feel no guilt, personally, about slavery or the many other twisted ways that “Judeo-Christian values’ were twisted to enslave, disenfranchise, nay, slaughter millions. No doubt, my ancestors perpetrated their own bag o’ injustices (for which I feel no personal guilt).

        Nor to I have any less pride in my country because of past events. I look at this country, after having travelled and lived in quite a few other places, and see lots that are good. But that doesn’t compel me to pull the wool over my eyes and pretend that what happened didn’t happen:

        People did good things in the name of GaryM’s “system of values” and they did horrible things in the name of those values. Whether they did good or bad can probably, reasonably, respectively, be partially attributed to their embodiment of those values, but their belief in those values, or lack thereof, is only a part of what wascausal for justices and injustices alike.

        That isn’t unique to this country in any way, but when people selectively cull some of those events in a self-sealing manner so they can spill out their elitists hatred for some 90%? of the American population,a as GaryM likes to do, I like to point it out.

        Anyway, I think this is enough of this. I’ll let y’all spill out your hatred without my involvement.

        Have a nice night, Don.


      • Are we supposed to let this one pass, Judith. This why you have the little rascal in moderation.

        “I have plenty o’ pride in my country. What’s interesting is that y’all feel some reflexive need to defend the undefendable.”

        That is a particularly nasty strawman. Nobody here is defending slavery.

    • “It is the very system of values that made this country great that progressives are trying so desperately to undermine”

      In the end Joshua only served to prove this statement. The ‘guilt’ complex Joshua pushes is exactly the form of the attack against the value Gary mentions, as pushed by the modern day multiculturalism. It is very much like the boiling frog, a slow unnoticed death. But many are going red pill as the writing on the wall becomes more obvious. It will not last and the morale of the European and American peoples will rise again, following by the restoration of their once great Nations.

  12. David L. Hagen

    High stakes oil poker
    The real international challenge will not be Paris but in remote artificial reefs:
    In South China Sea, a Tougher U.S. Stance

    Rejecting China’s “Great Wall of Sand,” the U.S. Navy will patrol near man-made islands constructed by Beijing. . . .
    . . . the (Obama) administration is preparing to endorse what the military calls enhanced “freedom of navigation operations,” which would have American ships and aircraft venture within 12 nautical miles of at least some artificial islands built by Beijing.
    China argues it has sovereign authority around each of its newly built islands within a 12-mile boundary, a legal argument rejected by neighboring countries as well as by the United States. The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea — which Beijing has signed — does not recognize artificially constructed outposts as legitimate islands. . . .
    About 30 percent of all maritime trade passes through the South China Sea every year, including about $1.2 trillion worth of goods bound for American ports. And the seabed is a potentially rich source for oil and natural gas.
    China has built three airstrips on its outposts in the Spratlys, installed radar and communication gear, and dredged deep ports that could accommodate large warships.

    • Danny Thomas

      Based on the theory, if we built a strip of land there wouldn’t we then have claim to a 12 mile buffer around our ‘sovereign’ territory?

      Call, and raise?

      • Danny,

        “Based on the theory, if we built a strip of land there wouldn’t we then have claim to a 12 mile buffer around our ‘sovereign’ territory?”

        Good idea! Let’s make a massive sandbar and create a surfing paradise!

    • David L. Hagen

      South China Sea is claimed by China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines.

  13. David L. Hagen

    Assad’s payment in kind for power
    Moscow got gas deal in exchange for Syrian airstrikes.

    In exchange for Russia’s military intervention in Syria, embattled President Bashar al-Assad acquiesced to Moscow’s further exclusive exploration of gas fields off the Syrian coast, according to informed Middle Eastern defense sources speaking to WND. . . .
    In 2010, a U.S. Geological Survey predicted as much as 1.7 billion barrels of oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could be found in the northern part of the Levant Basin off the Syrian coast.

  14. The microhydro from city water is at best a tiny niche market. Almost nowhere is a city water system gravity fed, even though water towers do use gravity to maintain pressure. City mains are pumped from electric motors (like up into water towers), and in pipe turbines can never extract more energy than the pumps put in. Just incredibly silly most places.

    • Curious George

      Check with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. That’s a plenty of water and 2,000 m elevation difference. Not a microhydro; a mighty hydro. But then, LA is an exception rather than a standard.

    • I’m unable to find information on the cost of these turbines vs the value of the electricity they generate. Off the top of my uninformed head, making wild guesses as to the cost of the turbine itself, the cost of installation and the cost of connecting it to the grid, I’d say that the payback period is of the order of one hundred years.

  15. “Iceland: World’s Largest Clean Energy Producer Per Capita”

    It says that international investors have financed new large scale aluminum smelting. Does Iceland then export the aluminum? In fossil-fuel-powered ships?

  16. “Review: #Water Security in #India by Vandana Asthana and A. C. Shukla [link]”
    “..the factors contributing to India’s water insecurity: agriculture and inefficient irrigation systems, rising demand for water due to rapid industrialisation, urbanization and population growth, and vulnerability of climate change.”

    El Nino and a positive Indian Dipole decrease precipitation there, that’s from reduced forcing of the climate, so it worsens during solar minima. Increased CO2 forcing is the wrong sign to reduce rainfall there.

  17. David L. Hagen

    Noble Cause Bias
    Prof. Robert Brown (rbgduke) highlights statistical reasons why ALL adjustments causing warming of surface records diverging from satellite temperatures is evidence of systemic bias corrupting climate science.

    While “renewable”, corn ethanol is NOT sustainable. Played for a Fuel describes the problematic consequences of forcing corn production into ethanol.

  18. Cooking with biomass pollutes the immediate environment, whether indoors or outdoors. Recall roasting hotdogs over an open fire and then smell your clothes. Your clothes stink and you may have a cough now. Indoor biomass cooking health effects are worse.

    The issue is: why do developing world women prefer outdoor cooking? My suggestion, ask them. More likely than not, such a question would find: tradition. There is a need to inform women that there is a better way to cook than what their mother’s did in the past. There is a modern way of cooking; as well as why cooking with charcoal hurts their children’s health, that the survival of their children is at stake AND mothers can do something about their children’s health by changing the fuel for cooking. This is the way to empower women, information relavent to their immediate world experiences.

  19. Bhutan is right next to India, and is critically dependent on India…but we keep them separate for purposes of climate propaganda.

    So write that Ecowatch or Guardian article and don’t mention the “I”-word. And don’t forget Bhutan has banned smoking! Plus, the country has 50 electric vehicles on the road, (and would have more if somebody somewhere spent more of someone else’s money). And Bhutan is super-quaint, sells hydro power to the “I”-word…Got all that?

    But once the West-shaming propaganda is out there, then – for purposes of essential budget money, essential food imports, essential manufactured goods, essential migrant labour, essential fossil fuel imports etc – we can join Bhutan up with India again!

    Clever Ecowatch journalists! Clever kiddies!

    • Moso, to have more electric vehicles they would need more roads; they have the electricity. Bhutan in the high Himalayas has almost none. You trek. You do not ride. Another aid to their superlative negative carbon footprint. Of course, a bit slow for the old daily commute. But in Bhutan that does not matter, since they have almost no industry in the first place to commute to. Green Future Paradise.

      • I’m pretty sure my end of Dondingalong is carb-neg, especially with world champ carbon muncher moso doing its shooting right now. The only smelly industry left in town is the Akubra Hat factory, but I’ve seceded from town and only go there to get all the goods and services I need. Not my carbon. I’m like Norway…I send all the problems and naughty stuff over the border and bring in all the good stuff. I must be carbon neg by now. In fact, I’m offended by the discrimination and prejudice that lumps me with mere neutrals.

        Can I get some money now? No sympathy, HuffPo articles or UN speeches, thanks all the same. Just money.

  20. On the climate pledges by 140 countries.
    It was surprising to me that emissions still rise about 15% by 2030 despite all the pledges. You would think that if the major nations (EU, US, others) were reducing by about 30%, you would at least keep it flat. I looked into this a bit more and it seems that China’s continued rise through 2030 cancels out the EU+US cuts, and the rest of the rise is accounted for in equal parts by India, the rest of Asia, and Africa, with the Middle East also there. By 2030 these areas account for over 60% of emissions. In most cases, this is just development that leads to a per capita increase in emissions in below-average countries.
    Clearly a lot more work is needed beyond 2030 to get per capita emissions down from the current global average of 5 tonnes CO2 per person per year. It’s fairly sobering to see how far short we are, but that means trying harder rather than giving up.

    • That’s the spirit, yimmy. Try harder! And pray that the RICO ploy will work for you all. When all the denialist conspirators and serial disinformers are in jail or thoroughly intimidated into silence, it should be smooth sailing to decarbonization.

    • bedeverethewise

      Keep thinking Jim D, you’re getting close. Pledges will not solve you’re problem. Skeptics and conservatives are not the ones preventing a solution. There are 3 things standing in the way, a combination of the following:
      1. humanities desire for an ever increasing standard of living
      2. current energy technology
      3. the laws of physics.

      Once you realize that 1 and 3 can’t be changed, you will understand that all focus needs to be on improving number 2.

      • Currently, as we now know well, 1 and 3 have run into conflict, and new non-fossil-based technology would be the only way around it.

      • bedeverethewise

        Maybe you should say yet to be invented non-fossil-based technology would be the only way around it.

        When faced with a need for new non-fossil-based technology, some people get in the lab and start inventing. Other people pass laws that that require someone else to invent something that doesn’t yet exist. Sometimes they set up tax schemes where billions of dollars trickle through their fingers as they control who gets what.

        I think the inventors are the most important ones, but I’m biased, I work in pharmaceuticals, inventing new medicines. And I interact with people who work on new energy technology (fracking, nat gas, wind turbines, EV batteries, fuel cells, etc.). My opinion is the government entities that try to control what we do generally slow us down, not speed us up.

      • The areas of green energy, fuel efficiency, power storage, etc., are going to be very lucrative for successful industries, and that is thanks to the motivation to reduce CO2 emissions. If the US wants to compete and lead, it needs to encourage those industries to grow in the US, otherwise other countries that make it a priority will lead and we will be importing from them.

      • Jim D:

        If the US wants to compete and lead, it needs to encourage those industries to grow in the US, otherwise other countries that make it a priority will lead and we will be importing from them.

        I agree with your perspective but haven’t seen much interest in creating and protecting jobs here at home. We lavish funding on those who invent breakthrough technologies in America only to see the actual manufacturing take place elsewhere. That’s great for the inventors but not so great for our economy.

        To his credit, Obama saved a lot of domestic automotive jobs (and took a lot of heat for it) but has since abandoned patriotic protectionism for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, etc.

    • Curious George

      All countries should take a pledge of limiting their population increase by 2030 to no more than 5%. The most progressive countries should pledge to limit their population to 2005 levels.

    • Jim D discovers arithmetic.

    • These effects of mitigation may not be enough, but also are not small. No mitigation gives you 4 C warming, current policy before Paris gives 3.3, and now the estimate is that Paris brings it down to 2.7 C. So, yes, more is needed, but the policy trend is significant. The soft targets are the high-per-capita emission countries that can get them down by 80% in a few decades, but for developing countries with increasing populations it is a different story, and this is like a hard base of emissions where savings are more difficult from a humanitarian perspective which the UN would fully appreciate. The UN goals of emission reduction and poverty reduction may come into conflict in poor countries and only providing them with new energy technology can help solve both problems.

  21. Republicans should frame energy policy around the economy and industrial expansion for the future. Similar to Getty etal. paved the way for 20th century American exceptionalism, etc. Actionable items could include stepping away from intergovernmental solutions and setting up trial cities with maxed out alternative energy solutions to measure progress and drive adoption.These ideas already exist but it would weaken the momentum of rent seekers and and global government types.

  22. Homes and businesses should be heated by laptops working on math problems. There’s no excuse for resistance heating. Use the energy for something before turning it into heat.

    • bedeverethewise

      I need a lot of heat in the winter and cooling in the summer. I like the idea of combined heat and power, so when you burn gas for heat, you also get electricity out. But the reality is that people typically don’t always need heat and electricity at the same time.

      I own a swimming pool with no heater, I once considered a heating system that combines an air conditioner with pool water heating. Instead of dumping your AC compressor waste heat into the outside air, you dump it into your swimming pool. But when I considered the system, the problem was that the times that I really needed the heat in the pool, late spring and early summer, were the times that I rarely needed the AC. And the times when I needed a lot of AC cooling, dog days of summer, were times when the pool was naturally warm.

      The cost of systems like this need to also reflect their limited utility. I good idea like this can suddenly get complicated when put into practice.

    • Learn machining. Set up a machine shop in your house. When its cold outside job out machine shop work. Simple.

      Or else work a few hours each week doing the tasks for which you have already spent a lifetime training, and then buy power from suppliers who have spent lifetimes refining their art.

      Specialization is how civilization has advanced. At times it may seem less efficient with respect to natural resources but it will usually go that way only if that path is more efficient with respect to human resources.

      • I submit to you that specialization has conserved resources, net-net, also.

      • Jim, you mean that its more efficient for me to drive a mile away to Home Depot, pay under $400 for a new dishwasher and have it arrive at my garage two days later than it would be for me to gain the expertise, collect the materials, and assemble the tools to make one?

        I only bring up this example because it happened to me a few months ago.Just because we (might) be able to do something does not mean that there are likely many costs, expected and unexpected, associated with going there.

        Do the world a favor. Do what you do best over and over. Let others do what they do best. Enjoy your hobbies but don’t expect that you can do more with less than the pros unless you come up with a real breakthrough.

        Usually a breakthrough looks simpler and easier, not more complex. Have doubts when someone tells you that something new with more moving parts can be made for less than something already being made with fewer moving parts.

      • If you are addressing Jim2, you seem to have misunderstood what I said. Building your own dishwasher, one with the same capabilities as the one at Home Depot, would be stupid. The only exception being if you are rich and have a lot of time on your hands.

        Although, there is a Frenchman that makes his own vacuum tubes, valves for you Westerners East of the US. That was really cool. He had all the specialized equipment he needed, much of it made by him. A symphony to watch.

      • Jim2

        Sorry, I was agreeing with you but did it poorly. Reacting to those who concoct wild schemes based on some slim reed of “science” but never exposed to the harsh realities of the real world, and hold them out as proof that existing technology is hopeless. Yes, specialization is far more efficient than doing everything oneself.

        Although I do love to tinker. And I look forward to winter when I can crank up my single-ended tube amps and let their the waste heat reduce the load on my central heat system.

    • Grow plants indoors under artificial lights in the cold season. All the waste heat from the lighting goes to good use.

      • It’s important to realize that even the light goes into heat. Anything you run goes into heat, unless it radiates out the window.

  23. In sort of a play of opposites on the old saw, ‘necessity is the mother of invention,’ we have the inevitability of reality of government-centered economic socialism that was captured by Margaret Thatcher when she observed what happens when you run out of other people’s money. This problem that Thatcher mentions is contributing to the dramatic fall in the culture in many of the blue cities that have been run by progressives for more that 30 years –e.g.,

    The Bahraini government delayed this reform for months, fearing the inevitable popular backlash it’s sure to unleash. It went ahead with it anyways, convinced that the estimated $58 to $77 million it would save annually was worth the potential unrest it might cause. (‘When Cheap Oil Raises Meat Prices’)

  24. If you have had more politically correctness than you can stomach, here’s some comic relief. You will also learn the twisted ways the lefties have mangled the language. Fascinating!
    From the site:

    Everything’s a Problem
    I’m here to chew bubble gum and dispense problematics.

    And I am all out of bubble gum.

    If you see something that’s problematic, let me know about it! everythingsaproblem@gmail.com


  25. I’m having problems in believing the 54% of the UK’s electricity is wasted before it reaches the consumer. This would imply and incredibly decrepit and overloaded distribution system (distribution as opposed to transmission), such as the low voltage DC “Edison” systems that used to exist in the downtowns of several major US cities.

  26. Oil still volatile, but still around $45. Nothing to see here.
    OIL 45.65
    BRENT 48.31
    NAT GAS 2.465
    RBOB GAS 1.3465

  27. Pingback: Roundup 5 October | Catallaxy Files

  28. Peter Lang – take note!! (And the rest of you too!) From the article:

    The Chernobyl disaster remains the worst nuclear accident in human history, with a death toll that is difficult to tally even decades later. Given the sobering reach of the resulting radiation contamination, you might expect the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone—the 4,200 square kilometers in the immediate vicinity of the explosion—to have suffered serious long-term ecological damage.

    Surprisingly, though, a study published today in Current Biology shows that wildlife in the exclusion zone is actually more abundant than it was before the disaster. According to the authors, led by Portsmouth University professor of environmental science Jim Smith, the recovery is due to the removal of the single biggest pressure on wildlife—humans.

    “The wildlife at Chernobyl is very likely better than it was before the accident, not because radiation is good for animals, but because human occupation is much worse,” Smith told me over email.


  29. The Big Content Agenda Remains Intact

    Despite a few such modest challenges to the USTR’s copyright maximalist agenda, other restrictive U.S. proposals are little changed from previous drafts of the text, and there is no evidence that the other countries are resolved to opposing them. Just to highlight a few of these:

    The prospect of the TPP requiring massively disproportionate damages awards for copyright infringement remains fully alive. The text continues to authorize a court to consider “any legitimate measures of value the rights holder submits, which may include lost profits, the value of the infringed goods or services measured by the market price, or the suggested retail price.”
    This is in addition to offering pre-established damages at the election of the rights holder, which are to be set at a level not only to compensate the rights holder but also to deter future infringements. Countries that do not offer pre-established damages must instead allow their courts to order “additional damages,” such as exemplary or punitive damages, that go beyond compensating the rights holder for its actual loss.
    The text allows authorities to seize not only “suspected infringing goods” but also “materials and implements relevant to the infringement,” such as a server used to host infringing materials. In criminal cases, authorities are also explicitly authorized to destroy those goods, and the U.S. is opposing that this be limited to goods that have been “predominantly” used in the creation of infringing copies—thus a server could be seized and destroyed even if it hosted many non-infringing websites.
    The text continues to define “commercial scale” infringement, being the threshold over which criminal sanctions apply, to include “significant acts, not carried out for commercial advantage or financial gain, that have a substantial prejudicial impact on the interests of the copyright or related rights holder in relation to the marketplace.” Such provisions could be targeted at fans offering non-profit services such as native language subtitling for films, to give just one example.

    If you’re in the United States, sign this petition urging the U.S. Copyright Office to reaffirm its call for balanced policy.


  30. From the article:

    The laser-induced nuclear fusion process in ultra-dense deuterium D(0) gives a heating power at least a factor of 2 larger than the laser power into the apparatus, thus clearly above break-even. This is found with 100-200 mJ laser pulse-energy into the apparatus. No heating is used in the system, to minimize problems with heat transfer and gas transport. This gives sub-optimal conditions, and the number of MeV particles (and thus their energy) created in the fusion process is a factor of 10 below previous more optimized conditions. Several factors lead to lower measured heat than the true value, and the results found are thus lower limits to the real performance. With the optimum source conditions used previously, a gain of 20 is likely also for longer periods.