The new climate ‘deniers’

by Judith Curry

New members of the climate ‘deniers’ club:  James Hansen, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel, Tom Wigley . . . and Bill Gates.

The latest bit of idiocy from Naomi Oreskes is this article in the Guardian: There is a new form of climate denialists to look out for – so don’t celebrate yet. Subtitle: At the exact moment in which we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel, we are being told that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs. Excerpts: 

After the signing of a historic climate pact in Paris, we might now hope that the merchants of doubt – who for two decades have denied the science and dismissed the threat – are officially irrelevant.

But not so fast. There is also a new, strange form of denial that has appeared on the landscape of late, one that says that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs.

Oddly, some of these voices include climate scientists, who insist that we must now turn to wholesale expansion of nuclear power. Just this past week, as negotiators were closing in on the Paris agreement, four climate scientists held an off-site session insisting that the only way we can solve the coupled climate/energy problem is with a massive and immediate expansion of nuclear power. More than that, they are blaming environmentalists, suggesting that the opposition to nuclear power stands between all of us and a two-degree world.

If we want to see real solutions implemented, we need to be on the lookout for this new form of denial.

When President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, many critics of the decision (and even some supporters) said it was merely symbolic. Symbols matter – so even if it were, that would not necessarily be bad. But rejecting XL was a crucial step in the direction of rejecting new commitments to fossil fuel infrastructure.

The key to decarbonizing our economy is to build a new energy system that does not rely on carbon-based fuels. Scientific studies show that that can be done, it can be done soon and it does not require nuclear power.

Hansen, Wigley, Caldeira, Emanuel

Two weeks ago in Paris, Hansen, Wigley, Caldeira and Emanuel held a press conference.  Excerpts from the press release:

Four of the world’s leading climate scientists, Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Tom Wigley, Dr. Ken Caldeira and Dr. Kerry Emanuel, will issue a stark challenge to world leaders and environmental campaigners attending the COP21 climate summit at a scheduled press conference in Paris on December 3.

Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Tom Wigley, Dr. Ken Caldeira and Dr. Kerry Emanuel will present research showing the increasing urgency of fully decarbonizing the world economy. However, they will also show that renewables alone cannot realistically meet the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees C, and that a major expansion of nuclear power is essential to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system this century. (1)

The scientists will outline how only a combined strategy employing all the major sustainable clean energy options — including renewables and nuclear — can prevent the worst effects of climate change by 2100, such as the loss of coral reefs, severe damages from extreme weather events, and the destruction of biodiversity and ecosystems worldwide.

The challenge from the scientists comes as nuclear power is back on the table at Paris as a major climate mitigation option, appearing as a significant component of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of major emitters including China, the U.S. and India. The four scientists call for an increase in ambition in the deployment of improved light-water reactors, with the accelerated development of advanced fission technologies to accompany planned increases in solar, wind and hydro power generation.

In light of the urgency of tackling climate change and nuclear power’s essential role in limiting temperature rises, the four scientists will therefore challenge environmental leaders who still hold anti-nuclear positions to instead support development and deployment of safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power. For example, the Climate Action Network, representing all the major environmental groups, still insists despite all evidence to the contrary that “nuclear has no role to play in a fully decarbonized power sector.” The four scientists will state that the anti-nuclear position of these environmental leaders is in fact causing unnecessary and severe harm to the environment and to the future of young people.

The scientists will outline the latest research on sea level rise, ocean acidification and ice sheet collapse supporting their conclusions about the increased urgency of tackling carbon emissions.

(1) Nearly every serious look at the energy technology required over the next several decades to supply the world’s growing energy appetite while effectively mitigating climate change has concluded that there is likely to be a need for large amounts of nuclear energy. In 2014 alone, reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Energy Agency, the UN Sustainable Solutions Network and the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate argued for a doubling or trebling of nuclear energy – requiring as many as 1,000 new reactors or more in view of scheduled retirements – to stabilize carbon emissions e.g. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group III – Mitigation of Climate Change, http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/, Presentation, slides 32-33; International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2014, p. 396; UN Sustainable Solutions Network, “Pathways to Deep Decarbonization” (July 2014), at page 33; Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, “Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report” (September 2014), Figure 5 at page 26.

Bill Gates

In his recent Atlantic interview, Bill Gates stated We need an energy miracle. Excerpts from the article:

Those who study energy patterns say we are in a gradual transition from oil and coal to natural gas, a fuel that emits far less carbon but still contributes to global warming. Gates thinks that we can’t accept this outcome, and that our best chance to vault over natural gas to a globally applicable, carbon-free source of energy is to drive innovation “at an unnaturally high pace.”

Wind has grown super-fast, on a very subsidized basis. Solar, off a smaller base, has been growing even faster—again on a highly subsidized basis. But it’s absolutely fair to say that even the modest R&D that’s been done, and the various deployment incentives that are there, have worked well. Now, unfortunately, solar photovoltaic is still not economical, but the biggest problem of all is this intermittency. That is, we need energy 24 hours a day. So, putting aside hydro—which unfortunately can’t grow much—the primary new zero-CO2 sources are intermittent. Now, nuclear is a non-CO2 source, but it’s had its own problems in terms of costs, big safety problems, making sure you can deal with the waste, making sure the plutonium isn’t used to make weapons. So my view is that the biggest problem for the two lead candidates is that storage looks to be so difficult. It’s kind of ironic: Germany, by installing so much rooftop solar, has it that both their coal plants and their rooftop solar are available in the summer, and the price of power during the day actually goes negative—they pay people to take it. Then at night the only source is the coal, and because the energy companies have to recover their capital costs, they either raise the price because they’re not getting any return for the day, or they slowly go bankrupt.

There are many people working on storage—batteries are a form of storage, and there’s a few others, like compressed air, hot metals. But it’s not at all clear that we will get grid-scale economic storage. We’re more than a factor of 10 away from the economics to get that.

On the self-defeating claims of some clean-energy enthusiasts:

They have this statement that the cost of solar photovoltaic is the same as hydrocarbon’s. And that’s one of those misleadingly meaningless statements. What they mean is that at noon in Arizona, the cost of that kilowatt-hour is the same as a hydrocarbon kilowatt-hour. But it doesn’t come at night, it doesn’t come after the sun hasn’t shone, so the fact that in that one moment you reach parity, so what? The reading public, when they see things like that, they underestimate how hard this thing is. So false solutions like divestment or “Oh, it’s easy to do” hurt our ability to fix the problems. Distinguishing a real solution from a false solution is actually very complicated.

JC reflections

Well, to play Oreskes’ denial game, Oreskes et al. are engineering ‘deniers.’

If you accept the premise that human caused climate change is dangerous and that we need to rapidly stop burning fossil fuels, then I don’t see a near term alternative to nuclear.  The innovations that Gates is looking for most likely won’t be major factors in energy generation for several decades.

There is no good solution massively reducing our emissions from fossil fuels on the time scale of a decade.  If the nuclear solution is unpalatable, then reconsider whether the proposed cure is worse than the hypothesized disease.

Now that political victory on climate change has been declared, its time to look at the engineering (not to mention economical) challenges.

Naomi Oreskes and her ilk that are playing politics with science, and now engineering, need to get out of the way.

396 responses to “The new climate ‘deniers’

  1. What on earth do any of these people have to say about which energy sources are viable, anyway? If you’re a scientist who does climate reconstructions, that means that your theories on energy economics are unquestionable ‘science’ and anyone who disagrees is engaging in ‘denial’?

  2. Well said Judith. I’d actually go further and say that Oreskes and her ilk need to be held accountable for their actions, deceptions and malign influence in society at large.

  3. Thanks for reporting encouraging signs of awakening to reality.

  4. “Naomi Oreskes and her ilk that are playing politics with science, and now engineering, need to get out of the way.”

    I doubt they will get out of the way, because they are playing the socio-political trump card in a process which, from the word go, has largely been socio-politically driven. Now that they have their ‘deal’, they will be demanding that scientists and engineers get out of the way in order that they can begin to implement their (Grim) fairy-tale 100% renewables economy.

    • So the engineers hand the spanners and welding equipment to Oreskes and co and get out of the way.

      How long before the lights go out? 24 hours? Less?

      • I can’t remember whether it was Oreskes or one of the other crackpots who said something to the effect that the engineers were always entirely negative and saying the Greenys’ solutions wouldn’t work and if they had to wait for the engineers to sort it out they would never get anything done, so they would have to get the bolloxologists to do it instead.

        Looks like they’re putting that theory into effect…

        Seems it’s worse than we thought™!

  5. ==> “then I don’t see a near term alternative to nuclear. …”

    How many reactors would we need to be built? How much would that cost? Where would the funding come from?

    I’ve read quite a few analyses (IIRC, from RPJr, among others), that call into question the logistical feasibility of nuclear as an alternative.

    • You must mean the 700 Billion Dollar, shovel ready projects but I don’t think we got any nuclear out of that deal. What did we get instead? There must be a list somewhere…

    • A lot of nuclear reactors could have been built with the money that has been wasted on windmills and solar and ethanol and it would have been an investment in something that actually helped provide energy that we could depend on at a reasonable cost.

    • As of now, coal is the best energy choice. Nuclear can be better, but not without changes in how we do things.

    • Joshua from an engineering POV, if nuclear does not work, then renewables cannot as well. At present, they are more expensive than nuclear; they are intermittent; the solution for %penetration problem, both software and hardware does not exist. The world does not have enough rare metals to keep renewable prices down.Nuclear has none of these problems and is cheaper. All reports to the contrary about renewables, base it on predicted solutions, not existing solutions. Nuclear has two main problems that require scale up,not creation of new capabilities.

      • John –

        Hey John!

        You are John F. Pittman, I assume?

        Good to see you.

        A couple of points. First is that there is an issue with waste that is, to some degree (but not entirely) specific to nuclear. Of course, different people have different perspectives on the issue of nuclear waste, but it needs to be considered if we’re talking about the feasibility of nuclear.

        Second, the financing for nuclear is fairly uniquely problematic. The long time-horizon for payoff on extremely large scale investments that have limited time frame of competitiveness make the financing a tough nut. Of course, there are those who attribute the massive costs and financing considerations exclusively at the feet of anti-nuke “alarmists,” but personally, I’m not impressed by the arguments they make along those lines.

        But regardless of the relative merits of nuclear as an alternative to renewables, I see what seems to me to be a lot of facile assumptions made about the logistical feasibility of nuclear.

        The logistical challenges of building so much nuclear capacity seem to me to be just enormous.

        Often, it seems to me that often pro-nuclear arguments come as a kind of rhetorical device to advance a climate-change related agenda. In other words, promotion of nuclear energy is a convenient way to attack “realists” who promote renewables if questions about the feasibility of nuclear are’t really taken seriously. I find that particularly interesting because nuclear is often promoted by the same ideological cohort that typically argues against federal financing and highly centralized policy-making. As far as I can tell, the only places where nuclear has been built out significantly more than in the U.S. are countries that have relied a great deal on public financing and highly centralized policies (with the possible exception of Finland). So it’s an interesting question to me as to how many of the proponents would support the implementation stronger pro-nuclear policies while maintaining their more general ideological to, what seem to me, to be accompanying policy complications that would be hard for them to reconcile.

      • http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1129/ML112940552.pdf

        From Daily Kos (‘m assuming some cherry-picking)….but are these numbers realistic?:

        In the U.S.21 plants per year. 10 dumps the size of Yucca Mountain (Which according to the DOE has an operating cost of $90 million?)…CBO considers risk of default on loans at 50%

        What about, as the article below mentions, accounting for emissions for the full nuclear fuel life cycle (I certainly hear that discussed often about renewables, but have never seen it mentioned before for nuclear)?

        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/20/957941/-Its-time-to-leave-nuclear-power-behind

      • Yes, John F. Pittman. I don’t disagree with the apparent and probably real disjunction in those who dislike centralized planning but push nuclear. In their favor, private industry did and does produce nuclear power. It does not have to be centralized. Their claim is the need to reduce the regulations that raise cost but do little or nothing for safety. The regulations that are based on fear or opposition to nuclear, not safety. There is some truth there, how much is probably not known outside of the field.

        Nuclear does not have to generate that much waste. The current waste/KWhr is due to the design; there are different designs.

        What I think Oreskes et al miss more than anything is something those who oppose such works as Keystone point out: an opened resource is a capital asset that will be used. Where Oreskes et al err, is that renewables almost guarantee huge economic loss with the certainty of greater than 2C temperature increase. This is because with present technology, renewables have to be backed by fossil fuel. With current storage problems, a huge increase in renewables means slow economic growth from the cost combined with an economic asset that will force 2C+ temperature rise. Worse, if you don’t use the back-up fossil fuel to economic life end, the cost increases by about a factor of two. The world will be even poorer in money and energy. The problem is that the cost of all of this requires a strong economy. The Oreskes et al solution causes both 2C+ rise and a weak slow economy.

        The economics indicate that present renewables with fossil fuels diminish our chances to prevent 2C and keep the economy strong enough to address the energy needs of a world population with an increasing energy appetite.

      • ==> “There is some truth there, …”

        I don’t doubt that there is.

        “The regulations that are based on fear or opposition to nuclear, not safety. “

        Fear and opposition should be distinguished from one another, IMO.

        Some degree of fear is rather normal given the way humans approach risk, particularly with something like the risks from radiation, and particularly given inherent trust that comes from for-profit overlay onto the “common good” and (IMO) laying that fear exclusively at the feet of environmentalists, or simply labeling it as irrational, is more a product of ideologically-driven identity-protective cognition and tribalism on the part of nuclear proponents than a useful ingredient for making progress on energy policy development.

        ==> “Where Oreskes et al err, is that renewables almost guarantee huge economic loss with the certainty of greater than 2C temperature increase.”

        This goes back to a discussion that we’ve had before, and IIRC, reached a basic unresolvable difference. IMO, the “loss” cannot actually be calculated unless we can account for positive and negative externalities on top of the affect of fossil fuel emissions on the climate.

        ==> “… With current storage problems, a huge increase in renewables means slow economic growth from the cost combined with an economic asset that will force 2C+ temperature rise. Worse, if you don’t use the back-up fossil fuel to economic life end, the cost increases by about a factor of two. The world will be even poorer in money and energy. The problem is that the cost of all of this requires a strong economy. The Oreskes et al solution causes both 2C+ rise and a weak slow economy.”

        I don’t dismiss those arguments per se, but I can’t go along with the level of certainty with which they’re expressed. First, as I said above, the veracity of those arguments depends, to some extent, on the ratio of positive and negative externalities, as they relate to non-climate related impacts but also w/r/t the range of sensitivity to ACO2 emissions and the unknowable pace of technological development (that to some degree is affected by the groundwork laid by current-day investment of human capital, intellect, resources, and finances). Second, within your arguments lie assumptions about an aggregated rate of growth across the entire globe and I think that (1) obviously, growth rates will vary by region, (2) there are many other factors which can affect economic growth (counterfactual arguments about what will happen depending on adjustments to various, highly complex inputs require an extremely high bar of proof, IMO), and (3) economic growth in different regions means very different things in how people live their lives (in some countries it may mean whether people can afford one kind of car or another, in other countries it may mean whether people can eat).

      • John –

        Is there something that you disagree with here?:

        Today, nuclear power is not an economically competitive choice. Moreover, unlike other energy technologies, nuclear power requires significant government involvement because of safety, proliferation, and waste concerns. If in the future carbon dioxide emissions carry a significant “price,” however, nuclear energy could be an important — indeed vital — option for generating electricity. We do not know whether this will occur. But we believe the nuclear option should be retained, precisely because it is an important carbonfree source of power that can potentially make a significant contribution to future electricity supply.

        http://web.mit.edu/nuclearpower/pdf/nuclearpower-ch1-3.pdf
        Do you see some over-riding bias in their analysis, that should lead me to discount their conclusions?

        Does the fact that the study is 12 years old result in conclusions that have subsequently been proven outdated? Looking at the updated (2009) study, I suspect that might not be the case. For example, in the updated report they note a dramatic increase in construction costs – although capital costs would seem to be lower now than in 2009?

        http://web.mit.edu/nuclearpower/pdf/nuclearpower-update2009.pdf

      • Today, nuclear power is not an economically competitive choice. Moreover, unlike other energy technologies, nuclear power requires significant government involvement because of safety, proliferation, and waste concerns.

        Today, renewables are not an economically competitive choice. Moreover, unlike other energy technologies, renewables require significant government involvement because of monetary payments to generators, land use conflicts/changes, and waste concerns from the procurement of needed materials.

        “”Today, nuclear power is not an economically competitive choice.”” What was left out was “”Costs: nuclear power has higher overall lifetime costs compared to natural gas with combined cycle turbine technology (CCGT) and coal””
        “”Safety: nuclear power has perceived adverse safety, environmental, and health effects.”” Perceived is the operative word. The number known to be victims of radiation is small. The known loss of biomes from radiation is small. The number of persons health known to be effected is small. The problems with coal are far more likely to be experienced than radiation.
        “”Proliferation: nuclear power entails potential security risks”” I understand your thoughts of how economic costs can be missed or biased. I hope you can see my concerns with someone trying to account for these potential risks. Also to see that the nuclear proliferation will continue with or without nuclear power.
        “”Waste: nuclear power has unresolved challenges in long-term management of radioactive wastes.”” At present, all except hydro have the same problem in more or lesser degree. The real problem for the US is political about Yucca mountain.

        I do not mind persons pointing to weaknesses. I just like to see the methodology chosen for its ability to explain not pick one technology over the other. From the pdf C h a p t e r 1 — T h e Fu t u r e o f Nu c l e a r Power . Using their methodology, renewables should not be built either.

        They agree with me in such statements as “” A critical factor for the future of an expanded nuclear power industry is the choice of the fuel cycle — what type of fuel is used, what types of reactors “burn” the fuel, and the method of disposal of the spent fuel. This choice affects all four key problems that confront nuclear power — costs, safety, proliferation risk, and waste disposal.”” They are building 2 nukes nearby. One of the engineers and I talked, their design is supposed to address these 4 problems to an acceptable level. See if I can find out why.

        Regardless, all technologies that provide power have problems, especially problems as their numbers and percent penetration increase. Don’t see the advocates of renewables let that stop them even though every study on wind I have spent time figuring out the claims all depend on vapor hardware and vapor software. Vapor means does not exist yet. Which means one does not know that a working one CAN exist.

        With such a level playing field that gets rid of everything but coal and natural gas, good thing we still have plenty . ;)

      • I know responding to Josh’s trolling is a waste of time, but the putz posts on a subject he is completely clueless on. So clueless that he references an article from Daily Kos on nuclear power.

        Waste – a wildly overblown issue. Plants have safely stored spent fuel rods (which is the correct descriptor, not waste) since the early 60’s on site. Fifty plus years. Not a since accident. In fact Utilities operating nuclear plants have managed to come up with design solutions to greatly increase the storage capacity of the on site facilities – due to the failure of the federal government to meet their legal obligation under US law to provide a repository for spent fuel.

        Safe storage of spent fuel rods presents zero technological challenges. The current mode of storage is basically a big swimming pool. The only potential drawback is that you need to circulate the water to cool it slightly to limit evaporative loss. Meaning a loss of power to the pump could lead to a slow uncovering of the rods. (True story, one of the engineers at a plant I worked at – he was a bit of a math geek – decided to calculate the rate of loss if the pump was shut off. He determined that if the reactor operator walked out to the pool every hour & 1/2 and urinated in it, the evaporative loss would be made up for. A possible productive job for Josh?)

        They have also developed dry cask storage. This system has not active components and therefore no potential mode of failure. The fuel rods from the Trojan Nuclear Plant have been stored by this method for nearly 20 years now. You don’t need a Yucca Mountain type facility for this. All you need is an open space. There are several western states – just about all of them – with sufficient open space away from almost anything to store fuel rods for the next couple of thousand years, even if nuclear provided 100% of US electric supply.

        Then there is the fact spent fuel can be recycled. Again, how is a product which is nearly 90% recyclable waste? The residue from recycling is some really long lasting radioactive material that could be described as waste – at least until someone develops a use for it – but it is greatly reduced in bulk, reducing one of the factors you have to consider.

        I’m less familiar with the financing issue (though I can check with one of my brothers, who is currently in charge of building two new plants in Georgia). However based on Josh’s track record he’s probably parroting an opinion he saw somewhere, most likely from a source as unbiased (and as unqualified) as the Daily Kos. Even if he is 10 times more accurate than what he is on the “waste” issue, I’ll bet he’s still not even close to an accurate representation of the issue.

        I won’t bother discussing his comments regarding logistics, since it is obvious Josh wouldn’t recognize a logistic if it bit him on the ass. I doubt his expertise on logistics extends beyond being able to spell it. The closest thing to a “logistical” obstacle we have in the US is that we allowed a good deal of the manufacturing capacity and capability to atrophy. In other words we have to look elsewhere for reactor vessels, steam generators, pressurizers, etc. One of the attractions of MSR design is relies on capabilities we still retain or can readily develop.

        I’d end by advising Josh to stick to subjects he has at least an inkling of understanding about or risk his credibility, but he has no credibility.

      • Josh,

        RE: Disagreement with the following

        “Today, nuclear power is not an economically competitive choice. Moreover, unlike other energy technologies, nuclear power requires significant government involvement because of safety, proliferation, and waste concerns”

        First sentence – agree, to a degree. The reason? It is cheap NG which is the biggest cost challenge to nuclear. Operators are shutting down plants because of it. It is true that the costs associated with building new nuclear plants could be reduced significantly with regulatory streamlining, that alone is not enough to counter cheap gas.

        (So now what numbnuts? you get the answer you want, only it relies on use of fossil fuels.)

        Second sentence – completely disagree, both on the point that nuclear “requires” significant government involvement and that significant government involvement is limited to nuclear not “other energy technologies.

        Lets see if Josh can identify even one industry in the US with a safety record better than commercial generation of nuclear power. We have 60 years of experience safely operating commercial nuclear plants and more than that operating naval reactors. No increase in government regulation or involvement is needed to increase the number of new plants.

        Proliferation has zero bearing on the issue of constructing and operating nuclear plants in the US. It’s a red herring. The same applies to Europe, Japan, South Korea or any other developed country currently operating nuclear plants. As to whether it may be an issue with Chinese or Indian plants, it is irrelevant. Because the Chinese and Indians are building plants no matter what jackoffs like Oreskes thinks. You don’t need to build nukes in places which are currently unstable or ideologically radical if the most industrialized nations build them.

        As I mentioned above, waste is another red herring. The waste stream from nuclear is small and well within our current technological capabilities to safely handle.

        And if Josh thinks that renewable energy technologies don’t involve government involvement, he hasn’t paid attention. They are all subsidized. I will note that I have not been critical of this. Unlike Josh, I value my integrity and criticizing renewables on the subsidy issue would be hypocritical from someone who supports nuclear.

      • John –

        ==> ” I hope you can see my concerns with someone trying to account for these potential risks. ”

        Of course I do. I’m surprised that you think that you need to spell that out to get my acknowledgement. My basic argument is that everyone needs to account for potential risks (which are part and parcel with external costs). I’m sure that you’ve read many of my comments about this being a question of risk assessment.

      • Hi tim,

        When you take the time to distinguish what you think my beliefs are from what I actually say about my beliefs and what they actually are, then I would be happy to engage. (Here’s a hint, you are very much on the wrong track so far).

        Until then, thanks for reading. I can’t tell you how much it means to me.

      • I responded directly to your points Josh, including using a direct quote and then answering the questions you asked John.

        On those points I was not knowledgeable about, I refrained from commenting. You might try that sometime. It is obvious you know squat about nuclear power, yet you don’t let that stop you from playing your little word games, pretending to show how reasonable you are.

        This is what I mean when I say you are dishonest.

      • Yes, Joshua, I assumed that to be true. I felt acknowledgement was advisable in order to make sure we were in agreement still. From my point of view nuclear’s scale up has problems with regulations and political will for storage, if necessary for waste. Not engineering problems as do renewables. The political will is there, the economics are not.


      • The 16 dry caskets shown here contain all the spent fuel (in 15 caskets) and all the high level waste (in 1 casket) from the decommissioning of Yankee Rowe nuclear power plant http://www.yankeerowe.com/ . They can be stored like this indefinitely. Yankee Rowe, a Gen I technology, 185 MW capacity, operated for 31 years (1961-1992) and produced 44 TWh of electricity at an average capacity factor 88%. Pretty bloody amazing, eh. And that was 1950’s technology!!

        Here’s another view of the dry caskets and also photos of the decommissioning.
        http://www.yankeerowe.com/pdf/yankee%20rowe.pdf

      • correction: “dry casks” not “caskets”

      • Here is how we could fix the costs, but admittedly it will take decades for all the impediments we’cve imposed over the past 5o years to be washed out of the cost of nuclear power plants. In the meantime, as the impediments are being removed, there is valid argument for public funding to nuclear at offset the cost of the impediments that have been imposed as a result of 50 years of irrational, anti-nuclear scaremongering.

        How to make nuclear cheaper

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

        To achieve this, the cost of electricity from nuclear will have to become cheaper than from fossil fuels. Here’s how I suggest this could be achieved:

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

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

        US study on low-dose ionising radiation

        The US Department of Energy (DOE) and National Academy of Sciences have been directed to work together to assess the current status of US and international research on low-dose radiation and to formulate a long-term research agenda under a bill approved by the US House of Representatives. The Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2015 directs the two organisations to carry out a research program “to enhance the scientific understanding of and reduce uncertainties associated with the effects of exposure to low dose radiation in order to inform improved risk management methods.” The study is to be completed within 18 months.

        The Act arises from a letter from a group of health physicists who pointed out that the limited understanding of low-dose health risks impairs the nation’s decision-making capabilities, whether in responding to radiological events involving large populations such as the 2011 Fukushima accident or in areas such as the rapid increase in radiation-based medical procedures, the cleanup of radioactive contamination from legacy sites and the expansion of civilian nuclear energy. The aftermath of the Fukushima accident has boosted concern that unduly conservative standards may have large adverse health and welfare costs.

        WNN 20/1/15. Radiation health effects http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Radiation-and-Health/Nuclear-Radiation-and-Health-Effects/

        More here: ‘WNN 20/1/15. Radiation health effects http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-US-House-passes-low-dose-radiation-bill-2001158.html.

        3. Once the IAEA starts increasing the allowable radiation limits for the public this should be the trigger to start the process that leads to reducing the cost of nuclear energy; and the catalyst to keep reducing costs over the long term as the radiation limits are reviewed and increased periodically. As the radiation limits are reviewed and raised:

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

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

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

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

        e. The Operation and Maintenance cost of nuclear plants is reduced as the excessive requirements for safety and security decreases over time to the equivalent of other types of electricity generation plant (to AHARS, As High As Relatively Safe). (NPPs have 150 highly trained, well-armed security officers, augmented by comprehensive detection and surveillance systems, on average. That’s $15-$20 million per nuclear plant site per year (about $10 million per reactor).

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

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

        6. The efficiency of using the fuel can be improved by nearly a factor of 100. That is some indication of how much the cost of nuclear power can be reduced over a period of many decades.

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

      • Joshua, I expected you to point out the monetary support nuclear has due to the passage of law that does not allow nukes to be sued for certain damages, so I could point I prefer that to the allowed damage to rare species caused by renewables from the technology itself or land use.

        You aren’t ill I hope.

      • This is an interesting take from South Africa . .

        SA nuclear site set to get green light
        Dec 21 2015 10:45 * Dr Kelvin Kemm
        The Koeberg nuclear power station just outside Cap
        The Koeberg nuclear power station just outside Cape Town. (File, AFP)
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        With cabinet having allegedly approved the nuclear procurement programme this month, the next step will be to give the green light to the environmental impact assessment of the Thyspunt site near Jeffreys Bay.

        Dr Kelvin Kemm, who serves on the ministerial Advisory Council on Energy, says this process has been completed and the next step is government approval, which could come quite soon.

        Kemm gave this update in his opinion piece below, which touches on the local economic benefits for Port Elizabeth, why South Africa needs nuclear energy and the safety issues around the programme. – Matthew le Cordeur

        BEFORE any nuclear power station can be built, there is a very rigorous process involved in the site selection and verification.

        An important part of the verification process is the environmental impact assessment (EIA). In the case of the new nuclear plants planned, the environmental assessment process has been going on for half a dozen years.

        The process has just been completed, with the last legally required public meeting being held in Port Elizabeth in December. The final recommendation was published a few weeks ago and the environmental investigation team has recommended that the Thyspunt site, near Jeffreys Bay be used. (Actually the site is nearer Oyster Bay, a few kilometres south of Jeffreys Bay.)

        The site analysis and investigation has been exhaustive, in line with international projects. Initially, five potential sites were identified along the coast ranging from Oyster Bay around to the Northern Cape coast. Three of the five were then examined in-depth for years before the conclusion was reached that Thyspunt is the best one to start with.

        It is now up to cabinet to make the formal government decision, based on the recommendations of the scientists.

        The geology under the ground has been examined. So have the weather patterns, going back historically for many years. The fauna and flora have been documented and studied. The sea currents, sea life, bird populations, and everything conceivable has been studied.

        The site itself is just under 4 000 hectares in size, of which about 50ha will be used for the nuclear plant. If the whole site is equated to a chess board, the nuclear plant will use one square. The other 63 squares will stand vacant forever, in line with international standards.

        Stories that the plant construction will devastate the entire 4 000ha plus the seabed are just untrue. Every procedure, for activities such as moving beach sand, is prescribed in detail. Not only is this in line with international protocol, it is also just good business practice. The more one knows in advance which procedures will be used, the more efficiently the work can be done when building starts.

        As soon as the government makes its decision – and let us assume that they follow the recommendations of the scientists and choose Thyspunt – then site preparation can begin.

        That means building the access roads, levelling the ground, preparing for the concrete foundations and a host of other activities, independent of choosing the one or more international partners who are offering their nuclear plant designs.

        The potential economic input into the Eastern Cape region is enormous. The plan is for as many local companies as possible to benefit from gaining construction and fabrication contracts, ranging from earth moving to water supply, accommodation, catering, component manufacture and much more as this project unfolds.

        South Africa will be building a group of new nuclear power stations to add an extra 9 600 MW of nuclear power to the existing approximately 2 000 MW of nuclear power that we currently generate from Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town, which is the only nuclear power station in Africa.

        SA will be building three new nuclear power stations, which will collectively produce the required 9 600 MW in total. Government can place two or three nuclear reactors on each power station site, depending on the type and configuration it chooses. (That is where this story of five or eight, or any other number of nuclear plants comes from, that one reads about.)

        A mountain of debate and emotion

        Nuclear has been in the news a great deal and the topic arouses a mountain of debate and emotion.

        At social functions, one sees people with concerned looks on their faces, and in sombre tones, referring to the “lessons learned from Fukushima”. People nod and agree without any idea of what they are talking about.

        So what were the lessons of Fukushima? The largest earthquake on record in the Japanese region produced the largest tsunami on record, which then struck Japan’s oldest nuclear power station. Note that it was a 40-year-old power station that was built to an obsolete 60-year-old design and was heading for retirement anyway.

        What was the result? Well, the total amount of people killed by nuclear radiation was zero. The total harmed by radiation was zero. The total private property harmed by radiation was zero. Nuclear radiation hurt nobody.

        Later the United Nations commissioned a multi-country task team to investigate the potential long-term health effects on people and the conclusion they came to was that it would be zero.

        So the primary lesson of Fukushima is that nuclear power is far safer than anybody realised.

        By the way, Koeberg is built to a larger earthquake and tsunami specification than Fukushima was, yet the Cape has no earthquake threat like that of Japan.

        Albert Einstein’s famous equation

        Just over a century ago, Albert Einstein ushered in the nuclear age, without realising it. He developed his famous E=mc² equation, which most people will recognise but very few will know the meaning of. It states that matter, like iron, porcelain, rocks or any substance, can turn into energy, if one uses a nuclear reaction.

        In reality, the materials that productively produce nuclear energy very well are uranium, plutonium and thorium. Even Einstein, at the beginning, did not believe that mankind would actually be able to extract practical energy using his equation.

        But he changed his mind during the early stages of the Second World War, when an atom bomb started to seem feasible.

        At that point, the US nuclear bomb programme needed uranium, in secret, so they quietly approached Prime Minister Jan Smuts of South Africa to ask for uranium. We were dumping it, after we had extracted the gold from the ore. South African gold ore has uranium in it.

        So, South Africa has been in the nuclear business since the 1940s, and is now one of the oldest nuclear countries in the world, predating countries like France, China, and Japan.

        Why does SA need nuclear?

        So why does South Africa want more nuclear power now? The answer is simple, but not readily apparent. If you look at the size of South Africa, it is about the same size as the whole of Western Europe. We are big by their standards.

        There is no such thing as a German electrical grid or a French grid or an Italian grid, as they are all heavily interconnected. There is one large pan-European grid in which electricity flows backwards and forwards over their borders all of the time. So even though the Italians claim to have no nuclear power, they are supplied with nuclear power from France. France even supplies nuclear to England by means of cables under the English Channel.

        South Africa is on its own. We have no big electricity producing neighbours to bail us out when we need extra power. We just get load shedding.

        By far the largest portion of South Africa’s electricity is supplied by coal. Great, we have lots of coal. But there is a snag – all the coal is in the far north east of the country, in northern KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

        The distance from Pretoria, near the coal fields, to Cape Town is the same as the distance from Rome to London. Imagine if London drew much of its electricity from Rome. Ask the London Stock Exchange how comfortable they would feel with that. When I was in London to present a seminar, delegates were amazed to find that half of Cape Town’s electricity comes from the other side of Pretoria. Koeberg supplies about half the power of the Western Cape, while the other half comes from the big coal power stations.

        By the way, a whole power station’s worth of electricity is lost by heat and magnetic dissipation as we push the coal power all the way to the Cape.

        South Africa has to produce much more big power down south to supply the Western and Eastern Cape, and to lessen the strategic risk to the country of a very stretched system. Imagine all of Western Europe being supplied with electricity from essentially one place.

        The only answer for South Africa is nuclear power. We cannot carry coal to the Cape. In case there are users saying: “what about solar and wind?” let me remind people that you only get solar in the daytime, if there are no clouds or rain, and you only get wind when the wind blows.

        In any event, wind and solar contributes a very small amount globally. How many people know that Germany, two years ago, started an urgent programme to build new coal-fired power stations, because their optimistic wind dreams did not deliver? The first new German coal plant came on line a couple of years ago, but to dead silence from the media. In November 2015, the German company Vattenfall opened another new coal-fired power plant in Moorburg, a suburb of Hamburg.

        Work for South Africans

        South Africans built Koeberg nuclear power plant on time and on budget. It is a French design but South Africans, working with French companies, built the power station.

        Who do you think levels the ground, digs the foundations, lays the concrete slabs, builds the walls, lays the water pipes, and so on? Certainly not imported workers. It amazes me when people use inflated financial figures and talk of “buying nuclear power plants” from other countries, as if we will just buy an entire plant with one cheque. We will not do that.

        South Africa will choose one or more foreign companies to partner with and will then enter into a mutual construction arrangement.

        People say to me that the foreign company may well supply substandard parts or plans, and we would not know of it. Nonsense. We have highly competent nuclear scientists and engineers who know exactly what they are doing and who know exactly how foreign reactors work.

        We also have a National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), which by law has to certify every step of an acquisition and construction process. For example, welds on pipes are x-rayed, with great precision, and are checked to the finest detail, before being passed as nuclear compliant.

        In turn our NNR, and our country, have formal legally binding agreements in place with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). These agreements allow for regular and random inspections by the IAEA during which, by contract, we have to show IAEA inspectors anything that they wish to see. Nothing is off-limits to them.

        As far as nuclear sites are concerned, a number have been identified over many years. Three prime sites were then subjected to intensive investigation for half a dozen years. All the site requirement factors comply with IAEA specifications. There is absolutely no way that a nuclear power plant could be secretly built on the old Durban airport site, as some people on some Alice in Wonderland flight of fantasy have claimed.

        South African nuclear professionals are good and are internationally recognised. They know what they are doing and have monitored and guided South Africa’s new nuclear programme every step of the way. Nobody is making a sucker out of us. It is quite amazing to hear, at times, the completely way-out claims of self-appointed experts who sprout complete nonsense and insult South African intellect into the bargain. I am tired of reading of British or American professors of sociology, pronouncing from their countries, that nuclear power construction is beyond the capability of South Africans.

        South Africa plans to double national electricity output by 2035, while Europe has no such objective. In fact, Germany has an objective of reducing electricity consumption by 25% by 2050. Many of our African neighbours are in a very difficult situation, being only 5% to 15% electrified. Their electricity production must double, and double again, and again. They have to do that for social and economic stability. We have to stand by them for the sake of the stability of the sub-continent.

        So, we effectively have electricity commitments to contend with, beyond our national borders. Do not look to Europe for answers, it is not Africa.

        Here, where the elephants roam and the bushveld seems half dead in winter, and the world’s largest sardine shoals make an annual pilgrimage, we have to solve our own challenges, with assured self-confidence.

        * Dr Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and CEO of Nuclear Africa. He is a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Energy.

  6. Yes, Paris was a victory. It was as you point out a political victory and that counts for far more.

    Include in the ranks of the “New Deniers” Dr Bjorn Lomborg. Although he is sure that warming will be catastrophic, his opinion of the proposed remedies is deeply skeptical, and de facto he finds himself cast into the outer darkness of the denier political camp, to weep and gnash his teeth along with the rest of us.

  7. Oreskes is a “bitter clinger” to diffusional energy sources (unicorns).

  8. The warmist movement is beginning to exhibit some of the behaviours shown by the revolutionaries of The Terror in 18th Century France. Internal discipline and a shared vision is being lost as naked ambition from power-crazed individuals starts to rule the roost. How long before the movement spawns a Napoleon?

  9. I’m increasingly of the opinion that the Paris agreement will turn out to be a poisoned chalice for the Greens and fellow alarmists. They have hailed it as a great step forward – the sainted Obama has announced the world is saved. When the inevitable squalid political chicanery emerges, with supposed environmentally concerned politicians reneging on their commitments, they will tear themselves apart.

    It reminds me of the Liberal Democrats in the UK – for decades they were the ‘middle party’, never in power and thus never having to deliver on their promises. Then in 2010, with 57 MPs, they went into coalition with the Conservatives. It virtually destroyed them – this year they were down to 8 MPs and are an utter irrelevance.

  10. Fast Mitigation:
    “If we want to reduce the threat of climate change in the near future, there are actions to take now: reduce emissions of short-lived pollutants such as black carbon, cut emissions of methane from natural-gas fields and landfills, and so on,” says Stanford climate scientist Ken Caldeira.

    • Oreskes et al. don’t like this plan, since it takes our eye off the ball of renewable energy

      • There is also a new, strange form of denial that has appeared on the landscape of late, one that says that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs.

        The minute somebody does a proper investigation into renewables being able to power a modern economy, the result shows that it can’t.
        Take this study for instance.

        Much better than all the stuff I’ve seen so far because this study actually considers the intermittency of renewables and tries to find a solution.

        They only get to 99.9% percent though; not enough to get rid of all the fossil evils they admit in the study…

        The paper shows that the North Eastern US could run for 99,9% on renewables, providing 72GW on average by installing about 260 GW renewables capacity + an enormous chemical battery backup system. But even then they still need approximately half of the existing fossil fuel capacity (approx 30 GW) in tip-top state stand by to provide backup four to five times every four years in order to prevent one of those crippling, killing, bankrupting, all out black outs (Or should I say green outs).
        See figure 3 in the paper showing this inconvenient fact very clearly.

        The summary of the paper cleverly hides this fact though. And this study is used by the greens as proof that 100% fossil-free is possible, easy and at same cost.

        It is quite unbelievable.
        All the other “studies” on the subject, praising renewables as viable, simply ignore this crippling fact (intermittency).
        And the rare ones that do look at it conclude that it is true, but then hide that fact in the “executive summary”.

        Can anybody refer me to a study that actually does show that at the present –meaning now, without any assumptions about future technology or future price reductions– renewables can reliably power a modern economy?

        I would appreciate it given all the talk about shutting down all the fossil stuff.

      • This clearly shows that renewables cannot provide reliable power and are a higher cost option than nuclear to significantly reduce GHG emissions: . http://erpuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ERP-Flex-Man-Full-Report.pdf

        It’s an excellent analysis.

      • Peter,
        I will read it with interest, thank you!!

        However, you refer to a study that shows they can’t. Does this mean that you do not know of any thorough studies that show that they can?

      • wijnand2015

        I know of many that claim renewables can supply 100% or a high proportion of our electricity. But as far as I know they have all been discredited. I know of none that show non-hydro renewables can provide even 50% of electricity in industrial economies cheaper than with a large proportion of nuclear power. I was joint author of a critique of one such study – a study by BZE (out of Melbourne University) that got enormous publicity claiming Australia’s electricity could be 100% renewable by 2020 (even our new Prime Minister endorsed it, advocated it and gave the keynote speech at the launch at Sydney Town Hall).

        “Zero Carbon Australia – Stationary Energy Plan” – Critique http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/08/12/zca2020-critique/

        Here are some media-suitable ‘sound bytes’ from the critique:

        They assume we will be using less than half the energy by 2020 than we do today without any damage to the economy. This flies in the face of 200 years of history.

        They have seriously underestimated the cost and timescale required to implement the plan.

        For $8 a week extra on your electricity bill, you will give up all domestic plane travel, all your bus trips and you must all take half your journeys by electrified trains.

        They even suggest that all you two car families cut back to just one electric car.

        You better stock up on candles because you can certainly expect more blackouts and brownouts.

        Addressing these drawbacks could add over $50 a week to your power bill not the $8 promised by BZE. That’s over $2,600 per year for the average household.

      • wijnand2015, further to my previous comment, here are the conclusions from the critique by Martin Nicholson and me:

        CONCLUSIONS

        We have reviewed the “Zero Carbon Australia – Stationary Energy Plan” by Beyond Zero Emissions. We have evaluated and revised the assumptions and cost estimates. We conclude:

        • The ZCA2020 Stationary Energy Plan has significantly underestimated the cost and timescale required to implement such a plan.

        • Our revised cost estimate is nearly five times higher than the estimate in the Plan: $1,709 billion compared to $370 billion. The cost estimates are highly uncertain with a range of $855 billion to $4,191 billion for our estimate.

        • The wholesale electricity costs would increase nearly 10 times above current costs to $500/MWh, not the $120/MWh claimed in the Plan.

        • The total electricity demand in 2020 is expected to be 44% higher than proposed: 449 TWh compared to the 325 TWh presented in the Plan.

        • The Plan has inadequate reserve capacity margin to ensure network reliability remains at current levels. The total installed capacity needs to be increased by 65% above the proposed capacity in the Plan to 160 GW compared to the 97 GW used in the Plan.

        • The Plan’s implementation timeline is unrealistic. We doubt any solar thermal plants, of the size and availability proposed in the plan, will be on line before 2020. We expect only demonstration plants will be built until there is confidence that they can be economically viable.

        • The Plan relies on many unsupported assumptions, which we believe are invalid; two of the most important are:

        1. A quote in the Executive Summary “The Plan relies only on existing, proven, commercially available and costed technologies.”

        2. Solar thermal power stations with the performance characteristics and availability of baseload power stations exist now or will in the near future.

        Read the full critique here: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/08/12/zca2020-critique/

    • The best way to reduce the threat of climate change is to study and understand natural variability. Proper knowledge of what is really right will reduce the threat. The “sky is falling threat” is due to a lack of knowledge.

    • Deniers don’t like it either because the US must take the lead on it and it will put us at more of a competitive disadvantage on the global industrial markets. Europe won’t like it because they will be forced to give up their precious diesel fetish and get seriously serious about their 1970’s America air quality problem.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Graben,
        Too late. On nuclear, China has already taken the lead.
        Before people shoot their feet about nuclear costs and problems, please study the Chinese nuclear progress even over the last decade.
        Joshua, this applies to you too.
        There is no point in posing hypotheticals when actuals are there for the looking.
        On nuclear waste (it has further uses, so is it waste?) I give you the tiger snake analogy. Quite poisonous creatures when interacting with humans. But most bites happen when people fail to leave alone and try to engage. Nuclear waste is like that. If you keep a mile or so away from it, you have a miniscule probability of harm. If you keep 100 miles away, rather less of nearly nothing. That is why Australia, for many reasons, is addressing the matter and should be acting shortly. I know of no people who were killed during the past management of nuclear waste. Does anyone?

      • Horst Graben (@Graben_Horst): “Europe won’t like it because they will be forced to give up their precious diesel fetish”

        Europeans have a diesel fetish? Really?

        Tell us Mr. Horse Manure, what fuel is used by those 15,500,000+ trucks that carry the majority of the goods on US highways? Diesel, isn’t it?

        I believe there are some diesel locomotives in the USA too, I bet they use quite a bit too, let’s take a look shall we…

        See table 2 here:

        http://www3.epa.gov/ttnchie1/conference/ei20/session8/mbergin.pdf

        Looks like 4,071,406,225 gallons to me.

        You’re full of horse manure, mate.

      • A full on Rhonda Rousey fight … getting a seat

      • Catlady: I was referring to their affinity for diesel cars, like the recent Peoples Car with the fancy emission control. Take a look at Europe’s PM2.5 numbers, they really need to bring up their standards if they want to be considered environmentally friendly.

      • Horst Graben (@Graben_Horst): “Take a look at Europe’s PM2.5 numbers”

        Strikes me you’re a little behind the curve on PM2.5, Horse Manure.

        Perhaps the research isn’t as solid as you seem to think.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/16/another-skeptical-university-professor-fired-related-to-carbs-pm2-5-air-pollution-regulation-scandal/

      • catweazle666 | December 17, 2015 at 7:52 pm |

        Perhaps the research isn’t as solid as you seem to think.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/16/another-skeptical-university-professor-fired-related-to-carbs-pm2-5-air-pollution-regulation-scandal/

        Pal review, purchased credentials? Gee. I thought eco-warmunists were “pro-science”.

        Pal reviewed papers by non-credentialed authors aren’t science – they are personal opinion masquerading as fact.

        Perhaps someone needs to explain to eco-warmunists what science is, they seem a bit confused.

    • Horst Graben,

      Maybe the 84% (roughly) of the world’s population not resident in either the EU or the US, don’t care what a handful of fanatical Western Warmists think.

      As to the US taking the lead on anything, possibly leading the race to the bottom is not something to be admired. Countries rise, countries fall. The US seems to be going through a period of decline at present. Maybe it will continue, maybe not. Who knows?

      Warmists continue to demand that the rest of the world bend to their will. Their strange ideas, based on denial of normal physics, will eventually fall into obscurity. Just as Lysenkoism, they will not be sorely missed ,and life will continue.

      I remain surprised that some citizens of the US really seem convinced that a country with around 5% of the world’s population, should have the authority to impose its occasionally bizarre practices on the rest of the world.

      What’s wrong with live and let live? Humanity is not perfect, so world peace is unlikely to break out any time soon. I don’t think US efforts help all that much, but I may be wrong.

      Cheers.

      • Mike: I bet all those Indians and Chinese parents watching their kids and grandkids sucking down 3 packs of camel straights in the form of PM2.5 might want that to change.

        Fortunately, there are plenty of can-do Americans with know-how to fix the problem, Mike. I’m sure you will wave the flag and claim you were behind it from the beginning once we are successful.

      • Horst Graben,

        You seem to be using the Warmist response of deny, divert and obscure.

        I’m not sure just why you expect the Indian and Chinese parents of heavy smokers of American cigarettes to seek assistance from America. The can-do Americans with the know how don’t seem to be able to achieve much in America, let alone in foreign countries.

        Can’t you find any American problems to attack? Maybe drugs, or poverty, preventable medical deaths, space travel, etc?

        What’s wrong with letting other countries sort out their own problems? The US seems to have its fair share at the moment.

        Cheers.

      • Mike, you sound like a drunken Skeptic, may I suggest the twelve point program:

        http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/energy-environment/263551-12-steps-to-climate-sobriety

        I wouldn’t want it to be too late and have you reach rock bottom before trying sobriety!

      • Mike: I started studying global warming since 1998, the same year I soloed in a single engine aircraft during the central California El Nino from hell because my experience as a geologist and my newly acquired life saving skills as a weatherman. The first big media blitz came that summer following the publication of the first Hockey Stick which was quite obviously a fake representation of climate. At that time, my position was that most of the 20th century warming was natural because as a geologist, I was well aware of climate (climate is a subset of geology because when we study rocks and their depositional history, climate is a huge driver of how and why different rocks were deposited). This means that I already studied and have actually mapped and/or drilled through the record of the earth climate of the past hundreds of millions of years, the last tens of millions of years, the last millions of years, the last hundreds of thousands of years and the last thousands of years and the last hundreds of years.

        Since that time, I have read hundreds of papers on all aspects of climate science. In doing so and in keeping with my multiple working hypothesis method of fingering stuff out in my day jobs and in life, my opinions on the matter have evolved. I understand the resistance to evolution because people are so insecure, they would rather continue to be wrong than to admit that they have changed their mind. Pride and vanity are our fiercest enemies.

        I still believe that natural warming plus short term GHGs have had similar contributions as CO2 for the late 20th century climate variation. How much, I don’t know. My guess is natural warming was augmented by coal soot, VOCs, ozone, NOx and SOx and helped start the great Alpine glacier melting starting in 1850. I also believe that soot and all the other aerosols that combine and rain out has contributed to significant albedo changes and is food for localized warming from biochemical activity in the boreal north that has significantly contributed to the melting of land and sea ice.

        I also believe that it is possible that the earth cycle has entered a cooling phase since the late 1940’s that has been slowed and turned into a warming phase by CO2 and the short-lived GHGs. This is why I think it is impossible to “measure” TCS/ECS from instrument data. ECS is a bogus concept, based on the late Cenozoic cooling following the closing of Tethys and the isthmus of Panama, the world keeps getting colder and colder, so we have not reached the bottom yet, indicating that there is no equilibrium, just a pathway to the next bumper that bounces the climate the other way. We see this on shorter timescales in glacial cycles and the second great field geology rule is that small things and short time mimics large things and long time. In any event, there are too many known unknowns and unknown unknowns.

        This, IMO, means that there is a huge uncertainty in our guesses for 21st century warming. I am inclined to believe that the TCS for the short-lived GHGs are more highly leveraged than the well-mixed CO2. So for CO2, a 20th century guess of a 1.5-3.0 TCS seems reasonable.

        I also believe that hippie energy is no solution and that we are going to burn up the fossil fuels. We need to deal with those two realities. We also need to deal with the possibility that if we do nothing, a major ice sheet might collapse. Last interglacial was warmer, melted more of WAIC and Greenland resulting in a sea level 10- to 20-feet higher than today. Is it going to happen? That’s a known unknown. The other problem is that no matter how much work and progress we make in computer models and paleo studies and increase data collection, we are not going to improve our ability to predict such an event.

        Given this, we need to focus on high density power and advanced pollution controls because we already have invented these technologies. The problem becomes how to pay for it. The real CAGW warmistas and their grant-sucking comrades in government and academia use the implication of catastrophe to hide their silly belief in a Marxian/Luddite Utopia have driven the climate debate into the ditch by labeling everyone who does not wish to don a hair-shirt as a WUWT denier.

        This has actually strengthened the denier political class and their profit-sucking comrades in corporations and hedge funds who does not want to impose any additional pollution controls on business or industry.

        Personally, I think this will have to be brokered by the millennial generation who don’t have these huge ego problems defending either radical environmentalism or corporate trespass.

        Basically, the boomers have to get off the stage so that common sense can return.

        Call me what you want, I imagine that helps you cope with your profound insecurities and deep feelings of inadequacies. I like using invective as a probe to see what type of response is generated.

    • Horst
      Horst,
      You routinely use “deniers” to refer to sceptics. What is the reason for this dishonesty?

      • I’m not referring to skeptics. I’m a skeptic. I’m referring to people that
        1) don’t believe in radiative physics
        2) claim that CO2 can only do good
        3) claim we need to take no action to decarbonize
        4) claim that our current burning of coal is fine
        5) do not support advanced air pollution control for toxics and short duration GHGs

      • Gee, do I qualify as a skeptic?

        1) don’t believe in radiative physics
        Well, even from a queuing analysis the lower layers are going to be warmer. There isn’t a need to resort to fancy radiative physics unless you are obsessive/compulsive. It was empirically measured and is 1/3-2/3rds the IPCC claimed level of forcing.

        2) claim that CO2 can only do good
        Well, if we could get to the 2000 PPM in the IPCC RCPs that could be problematic. But the real peak CO2 level is going to be 500 PPM or less and that is entirely beneficial. A 60% increase in plant growth at 400 PPM can’t be called anything but a blessing. It isn’t possible without massive fossil fuel subsidies and deliberately scorching much of the planet to reach harmful levels of CO2.

        3) claim we need to take no action to decarbonize
        We are already taking action to decarbonize – we are decarbonizing 16 GT of fossil fuels every year. I support this decarbonization activity.

        4) claim that our current burning of coal is fine
        I used to stoke my grandmothers furnace. Coal is black and shiny. It is pretty and smells good. Burning coal is fine. Every time I smell coal emissions I think of my grandparents and get homesick.

        5) do not support advanced air pollution control for toxics and short duration GHGs
        Pollution control is fine to a point. Once you get it down to 1% that is good enough, move on to the next problem. Real life isn’t perfect, emissions shouldn’t be perfect, it isn’t like the planet was perfectly clean when we got here.

      • PA: I hear ya. You know your childhood micro-particulate exposure was likely responsible for your developmental disabilities and your current state of functional dementia. I used to love the smell of gasoline in the 1960’s… it was so much more wonderful when it contained more benzene, tetraethyl lead, ethylene dichloride and ethylene dibromide. I am sure all of those children in India and China will look back with fond memories of the choking air of their pre-apocalyptic dystopian present. Also, knowing that their sacrifice was made so that rich westerners could fill their houses and landfills with dollar store gee-gaws makes it all worth it.

      • Horst, I believe your post was somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

        I grew up on a farm in Michigan on the west coast and to us any kind of pollution was new and interesting because it was such a novelty.

        And none of the local towns had a dollar store.

      • Horst,
        Re : misbranding skeptics as deniers
        I’m not referring to skeptics. I’m a skeptic. I’m referring to people that
        1) don’t believe in radiative physics
        2) claim that CO2 can only do good
        5) do not support advanced air pollution control for toxics and short duration GHGs

        Ok yes, there is the odd handful of those.

        3) claim we need to take no action to decarbonize
        4) claim that our current burning of coal is fine
        The case for CAGW being far from proven, why should we ?

        So you are indeed lumping skeptics and deniers together.

      • A large proportion of those who accept CAGW alarmist dogma and are the true deniers. They continually deny the relevant facts

  11. “Naomi Oreskes and her ilk that are playing politics with science, and now engineering, need to get out of the way.”

    Then United Nations, the Pope, Obama and at least 40 000 others also needs to get out of the way.

  12. Welcome to Phase 2 of the plan.

    Even the most ardent of alarmists had to question the dwindling line of evidence in the quiet of their own minds.

    Nevertheless, true desires come thru the haze. One of the tried and true tenets of investment is to watch what the 1% of the 1% do. Their initial investment wave is to give them early access protection. In early so they can give the bag to the little people later.

    All along it was a subtle and then not so subtle attack on fossils. So here we are with renewables not cutting it and voila a push for nuke power.

    Don’t ya think it’s kind of predictable that us monkeys get to where we are going in the way we do ?

    I wish we were more evolved when it comes to group behavoir but we are not.

  13. I have always found it amusing that Oreskes wrote about plate tectonics. She doesn’t realize what side she’s on.

  14. Each time a science was official, it will proved later it was false. The IPCC science is official, at a worldwide level, and then it is false.

  15. There has to be “common ground” by (A) taking a perspective on Sensitivity closer to Dr. Curry’s; (B) No/Low Regrets Actions.

    No/Low Regrets Actions:
    (1) Fast Mitigation; (2) Renewables following sound engineering economics; (3) Increased use of Natural Gas internationally; (4) ABB’s view on Energy Efficiency (supercritical coal); (5) Land/Agricultural Practices; (6) Win/Win Foreign Trade with Developing Countries; (7) Greater R&D.

    • Maybe we could accomplish something if we looked for common ground — rather than fussin’ and fighin’ all the time (with mean spirited comments):

      Obama Administration on Nuclear Power: http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-nuclear-paradigm-shift-1449014295

      Remember, President Obama tried not once but twice with Congress, to build ~13 new nuclear power plants.

      • Also — The OECD (reported with leadership from the U.S.) agreed to finance ultra supercritical coal power plants (high efficiency) in developing countries.

        Also — Look at what the Obama Administration has/is doing on LNG exports.

      • Well, the stopped clock rule seems to apply to Obama.

        What should happen is the $20 billion in climate change funding should be redirected to something useful instead of being simply wasted.

        If we repurpose the funds for LFTR development and funding small footprint fusion research we could actually do something about climate change.

        The current climate change funds are spent about as effectively as money tossed in a toilet.

      • I’m open to constructive comment. Give me a 1 great link from a reputable (non partisan) source of your $20 billion quote. I assume you mean the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

        My understanding of the CPP is that it really doesn’t do much than what’s going to happen anyway — specifically as to coal units (e.g., noncompetitive to NG, EPA environmental air regs). Politico has written a lot on this.

      • Ya know Stephen, I’ve seen you make the 13 power plant comment before and previously it caught me off guard.

        In this hyperpolarized USA we live in, where people really appear to inhabit distinctively different realities with completely different facts; I have become increasingly concerned with the possibility that I am COMPLETELY WRONG and that I truly have been tricked by motivated reasoning, filter bubbles, and tribal associations. Your comment truly gave me pause. I talked to people about it.

        I bookmarked it. https://judithcurry.com/2015/10/24/week-in-review-energy-and-policy-edition-18/#comment-739212

        I wanted to look into it. Could my perception of Obama as a lying, corrupt, narcissistic, racist, petulant, sack of shit, that wouldn’t get anywhere if he weren’t completely covered by a colluding press corps, be completely wrong?

        Could he actually be genuinely attempting reasonable compromise and had been attempting to work across the aisle this whole time? And in my filter bubble I couldn’t see it?

        So I looked into it and I discovered that, like, “apparently” all progressive talking points, this one was just another context free sound bite. I use the word “apparently”, because I wish to remain skeptical of myself.

        Full context in three short sentences:

        Congress was not going to pass Cap and Trade.

        Obama tried to bribe Congress with the loan guarantees noted by Stephen.

        Congress stuck to its principles and did not pass Cap and Trade.

        I will continue to search for flaws in my perspective, but not by reading you.

        Note, I do not want the above to imply that I support the general behavior of the current Congress members, but they did the principled thing in this case.

      • Ya know Stephen, I’ve seen you make the 13 power plant comment before and previously it caught me off guard.

        In this hyperpolarized USA we live in, where people really appear to inhabit distinctively different realities with completely different facts; I have become increasingly concerned with the possibility that I am COMPLETELY WRONG and that I truly have been tricked by motivated reasoning, filter bubbles, and tribal associations. Your comment truly gave me pause. I talked to people about it.

        I bookmarked it. I wanted to look into it. Could my perception of Obama as a lylng, corrupt, narcissistic, r@cist, petulant, sack of shlt, that wouldn’t get anywhere if he weren’t completely covered by a colluding press corps, be completely wrong?

        Could he actually be genuinely attempting reasonable compromise and had been attempting to work across the aisle this whole time? And in my filter bubble I couldn’t see it?

        So I looked into it and I discovered that, like, “apparently” all progressive talking points, this one was just another context free sound bite. I use the word “apparently”, because I wish to remain skeptical of myself.

        Full context in three short sentences:

        Congress was not going to pass Cap and Trade.

        Obama tried to bribe Congress with the loan guarantees noted by Stephen.

        Congress stuck to its principles and did not pass Cap and Trade.

        I will continue to search for flaws in my perspective, but not by reading you.

        Note, I do not want the above to imply that I support the general behavior of the current Congress members, but they did the principled thing in this case.

      • Stephen Segrest | December 16, 2015 at 7:42 pm |
        I’m open to constructive comment. Give me a 1 great link from a reputable (non partisan) source of your $20 billion quote. I assume you mean the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

        Huh? It is in the whitehouse report to congress.

        https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/legislative_reports/fcce-report-to-congress.pdf
        Total All Agencies + Tax Provisions (in millions of dollars)
        2011 19,781
        2012 22,598
        2013 22,195
        2014 21,408

        This is only the visible part they have to acknowledge so it isn’t complete. But it isn’t subject to dispute either.

      • charles the moderator — Do some research on the World Nuclear Association’s extensive website. Obama made two separate efforts arising from initial efforts made by the DOE under the Bush Administration. Obama had significant senior Republican support including off the top of my head: Lindsey Graham, Christine Todd Whitman, and Lamar Alexander.

        In both of these two efforts — link me to the specific proposed legislation both times of the supposed bribe. You can’t do it. And, why did the DOE fund the Vogtle units in Georgia of all places? Was this also a bribe, to turn Georgia into a Blue State?

        Also — What’s your Obama conspiracy theory on this story I also referenced: http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-nuclear-paradigm-shift-1449014295

      • charles the moderator — Please explain another conspiracy for us. Funding distribution for the DOE Loan Program has been (about) one-third for nuclear; one-third for solar; and one-third for automotive.

        Now what is Obama’s conspiracy to equally fund nuclear and solar?

      • PA — Thanks for the very good link on the ~$22 billion. What areas do you feel are wasted?

      • Seriously Stephen, I have much better things to do than play an endless game of “find the context”.

        Also I’m not sure where you got “conspiracy” out of what I wrote, but keep on keepin on.

        Kisses

      • I decided to waste five minutes and look over the World Nuclear Association website and the only thing I found that is pertinent, albeit in only a few minutes of searching was this:

        US Appeals Court overturns presidential veto on Yucca Mountain
        A federal Appeals Court has ordered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to resume its review of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) application for a licence to construct and operate the used fuel repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, saying it was “flouting the law” in abandoning the review. The appeal was brought by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, two states, and others who argued that the NRC under its previous chairman ignored its statutory responsibility when it terminated its review of DOE’s 2008 application in 2011. The DOE had sought to abort the project on the orders of President Obama. The court said the case “raises significant questions about the scope of the Executive’s authority to disregard federal statutes. The case arises out of a longstanding dispute about nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The underlying policy debate is not our concern. The policy is for Congress and the President to establish as they see fit in enacting statues,” and for the president and executive agencies to implement, it said. The court said that its task is to ensure that agencies such as NRC comply with the law rather than conforming to political expediency. The NRC is reviewing the decision.

        Whose point of view does that reinforce, that of the noble pro-nuclear Obama, or that of the lawless, ideologically driven sack of shlt?

        Look in a mirror Stephen. Seriously. I don’t believe you are being intentionally dishonest. I think you need to understand how flawed your entire world view really is.

        Machiavellian behavior may be effective, but it’s not ethical or good.

    • Stephen Segrest,

      (2) Renewables following sound engineering economics;

      Renewablkes cannot supply much of the worlds energy so they cannot make much contribution to reducing GHG emissions. And they are ridiculously expensive when all costs are properly included. Nuclear is a far cheaper to decarbonise electricity.

      I’m open to constructive comment.

      You’ve never demonstrated that is true. You’ve continually demonstrated you are a renewables energy advocate and have a a closed mind. You’ve admitted previously you are a greenie.

      • Mr. Lang — As I’ve previously stated, its not worth my time to have a dialogue with someone who refuses to understand the basics and concepts of integrated resource planning using engineering economics. Your use of strawmen using micro and stand-alone data/arguments doesn’t reflect a real world. Again, System Planning reflects a complex macro electrical system environment of how “everything” fits together.

        You are right in the sense that the penetration of Renewables on a non flexible system may not be much. However, for a highly flexible System, penetration levels may be significant. As I’ve long stated, these decisions must be made by engineers and not Politicians — and that’s why I oppose a Federally mandated Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard by Congress.

        In trying to understand how things “fit”, extremely complex software models are used (eg., planning models from GE). Things like load shapes, the System’s flexibility (i.e., combined cycle natural gas units, large Canadian hydro, etc.) are critical.

        When you start citing work that you have done using industry standards that have gone under tremendous peer review (like from GE, rather than your self-developed Excel spreadsheets) — I might respond to you.

        I say “might” because I believe that you (like some others here at CE) just come here to fight under absurd “strawman rules” you develop. For example, you need to state your belief in Dr. Curry’s Climate Sensitivity arguments — and then make your nuclear generation arguments consistent with this.

        If you want to fight today, why don’t you just pick it with Dr. Tol or Dr. Curry who said “I’m no fan of nuclear either”. As I’ve stated above (at least 7 areas to address AGW), I’m for everyone (including nuclear) into the pool.

      • Stephen Segrest,

        Here you go:

        The cheapest way to decarbonize the British electricity system is with mostly nuclear power.

        Weather-dependent technologies like wind and solar have little or no part to play in supplying cheap low-emissions electricity. This study analyses the case for the Great Britain electricity grid: http://erpuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ERP-Flex-Man-Full-Report.pdf . Figure 14 shows the CO2 emissions savings and the total system cost per year by adding 5 GW increments of each technology. Hydro (I available, but it isn’t) and nuclear would be the most effective at reducing emissions. Hydro would be the cheapest if it was available. Adding nuclear is by far the cheapest way to achieve large emissions savings. Wind, marine, CCS and pumped hydro are all very expensive and ineffective. The worst of all is to close old nuclear plants; doing so would increase emissions and costs. Their life should be extended if possible.

        Pumped hydro is extremely costly and ineffective. Any other type of energy storage would be far more costly.

        The least cost option to achieve the same emissions intensity as France, i.e. 42 g/kWh, is with 31 GW of nuclear.

      • Stephen Segrest: “System Planning reflects a complex macro electrical system environment of how “everything” fits together.”

        But not on Planet Earth.

      • Mr. Lang I’ll look over the ERP study you cite using a model they developed. Of course when I’ve provided 10’s of studies using an industry standard GE model by people like the USDOE, NREL, ORNL, EPRI that come to a very different conclusion than you — you’ve used your highly sophisticated but they are Liberals! argument.

      • Stephen Segreat: “you’ve used your highly sophisticated but they are Liberals! argument.”

        It would be more accurate to use the highly sophisticated but they don’t believe in human nature! argument.

      • Stephen Segrest I don’t recall you ever providing authoritative references demonstrating that weather-dependent renewables can make a major contribution to cutting global GHG emissions. Nor do I recall you ever demonstrating or quoting valid studies demonstrating weather -dependent renewables can supply a large proportion of global electricity. Nor have I seen you demonstrate that renewables can supply 50% to 80% of electricity cheaper than nuclear. If you have an authoritaitve link, that is as good as the ERP analysis then could you please post it again.

        In nearly all your comment you demonstrate your Greenie beliefs and your motivated rreasoning. You never demonstrated any grasp of objective costed options analysis or of policy analysis. Your simply a down in the weeks engineer who does not grasp the big picture. So, unless you post a stutdy as good as the ERP study off GB and with people of equivalent credentials, I’ll do as you said you;d do in your previous comment – i.e. won’t bother wasting time on it.

        The evidence demonstrating that nuclear is the cheapest way to make major cuts to global GHG emissions is overwhelming.

      • Peter Lang

        Stephen Segrest wrote, “I’m open to constructive comment.”

        Peter Lang replied, “You’ve never demonstrated that is true. You’ve continually demonstrated you are a renewables energy advocate and have a a closed mind. You’ve admitted previously you are a greenie.”

        I suspect SS has a vested economic interest in “renewables” and carbon trading but he has never responded to my direct questions to find out if this is true. A link he provided indicates he owns a tree farm/plantation, so I wonder if maybe he makes money by selling trees to polluters. I don’t know if that is true, I just wonder about it. Personally, I think we should stop or limit pollution and not sell indulgences to polluters paid with tax money strong armed from the middle class, such as it is these days.

        As for “sound engineering economics”, the only link he provided that I investigated was a renewable energy NGO website – hardly credible.

        The way he hammers away at this issue causes me to think “he doth protest too much.”

        Don’t blunt your pick on that stone.

      • Butting in …

        Really good engineering design updates (for nuke) can be found via a couple of high dollar advisory accounts from GS and JPM. You can also find some stuff by tracking what former major utility board of directors are doing.

        They’ll do the building in China and maybe India because the public opinion is too much of a pain in the US. It’s already happening.

        You shouldn’t be surprised that the billions spent on CAGW whatever was a smokescreen used to soften the masses up. Carbontalk was used to make up a reason. Remember perspective and how many trillions the energy market is worldwide.

      • Thanks, Justinwonder. Unfortunately I read this warning before responding to the SS. I hope he doesn’t have contacts with the Gestapo so I get other SS officers knocking on my door.

      • justin wonder — Obviously you’ve never gone to any engineering school where they teach this stuff. You’ve never sat in a control system dispatch room (where NASA would be proud) and seen how this stuff works.

        And as to my interests in Renewable Energy, I’ve never hidden my work in biomass agriculture and engineering technology. I’ve talked a lot about my published work in (1) carbon sequestration soil work (trees and sorghum); (2) co-firing test burns in every major type of coal technology (cyclones, pulverized coal, IGCC) for SO2 and NOx reductions; (3) ethanol (for octane requirements not using lead or MTBE).

        But if you’re always gonna believe the worst in me — nothing I can do.

      • Stephen Segrese

        (which you derided before you’d even read it or seen who was involved in it)

        That demonstrates your problem. You don’t understand the difference between the down in thwe weed’s engineering operations and policy analysis, costed options analysis, and economics. You just don’t understand how irrelevant your expertise is to policy analysis.

      • Well Mr. Lang, I’ve had it with you. It’s basically your strawman. I believe Dr. Curry has made a good case on Climate Sensitivities compared to the mainstream IPCC. As such, I believe there are many paths that we can/should follow to responsibly address AGW (I listed 7 areas, such as fast mitigation, natural gas use (LNG), high efficiency coal plants, Renewables, etc).

        You want to assume CAGW Sensitivity levels (which Dr. Curry and others disagrees with) and then say nuclear is the only meaningful way to address it– what a hypocrite you are!

        I don’t think much of you professionally. I’ll never respond again to any of your posts.

      • Stephen Segrest,

        You’ve made many wild assertions and restated your beliefs but never backed up any of it. The truth is you do not have a valid case to argue. You know next to nothing about policy analysis.

        I don’t know what “strawman” arguments you keep accusing me of because you don’t quote what you claim is a strawman and explain why you think it is a strawman.

        I don’t know what you are talking about regarding the climate sensitivities. Again you didn’t quote what you are referring to, nor explain how it is relevant to the discussion about what is the least cost and fastest way to reduce global GHG emissions from electricity generation.

        I believe there are many paths that we can/should follow to responsibly address AGW (I listed 7 areas, such as fast mitigation, natural gas use (LNG), high efficiency coal plants, Renewables, etc).

        Your beliefs are irrelevant if you cannot provide valid evidence and a persuasive argument to support them. Listing “7 areas” is irrelevant given that you haven’t shown that your “areas” will reduce global emissions faster and at less cost than with mostly nuclear.

        Your response suggests you’ve now read the ERP report and at long last you realise you’ve been wrong all along and don’t have a clue what you are talking about on this subject.

        It’s no loss that you won’t engage anymore. You never engaged honestly anyway.

  16. The best way to produce cheap electrical energy, with a high level of safety, independent of wind and light, for about 5000 years, is to develop surgeneration 238 U and 232 Th. Intermittent energy is bullshit…

    • jipeb29 Please explain to us why Entergy is closing down older nuclear power plants — where the units just can’t compete on (A) an economic dispatch basis; and (B) a capacity auction basis. Is this also an Obama conspiracy?

      Now personally, I believe these nuclear units should be kept open for no other reason than fuel diversity (becoming too dependent to NG).

  17. It seems we are seeing a huge reaction to the far left agenda in the US and much of the rest of the western world. Oddly, the most obvious sign of this is the somewhat comical Trump. Why is Trump popular? The large group of forgotten working poor and middle class with no college education and no future. They have been completely ignored for many years and they are justifiably angry about it. Both the Democrats and the Republicans better learn that they ignore them at their peril. Forget inequality, racism, planned parenthood, immigration, climate change, renewables, prairie chickens, “hands up don’t shoot.” No one cares, they want good jobs! Pretty easy to see their point, yet the media and the politicians never even mention their concerns. I think they will now. Trump may have done a good thing, even though I doubt he will win the nomination. How small the issue of climate change must look to this group of underemployed?

    • What’s comical about Trump? You don’t know when you are being played. Are you a member of the mainstream media? Trump is a killer. Watch and learn.

  18. Here’s an interesting look at life inside of science written by cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Michael Gazzaniga. He mentions separating the science from the scientists and their human foibles such as ego and bias.

    http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Both-Sides-Brain-Neuroscience/dp/0062228803

  19. Big-Time Denier, Science of Doom, has been doing a series on hippie energy for the past 6-months or so.
    http://scienceofdoom.com/

  20. Two weeks ago in Paris, Hansen, Wigley, Caldeira and Emanuel held a press conference…

    Yes, nuclear… and, what else was Patrick Moore right about that they refused to admit?

    It is a powerful convergence of interests among a very large number of elites, including politicians who want to make it seem as though they’re saving the world, environmentalists who want to raise money and get control over very large issues like our entire energy policy, media, for sensationalism, Universities and professors for grants… It is a kind of nasty combination of extreme political ideology and a religious cult all rolled into one, and it’s taken over way too much of our thought process and way too much of our priorities. ~Patrick Moore (Senate Testimony, 2-25-2014)

  21. I happen to think that Jim Hansen and co are wrong on nuclear power, primarily because (a) nuclear is very dangerous without a strong regulator and (b) a serious dent in emissions requires nuclear in weak states.

    Am I now no longer a denier?

    • Well I’m no big fan of nuclear either – I like the fast mitigation plan (CH4 etc) and energy innovation.

      • Drill baby drill. The UK needs to get fracking, but I’d like to see UK engineering capability channelled from weapons to fuel prospecting, with a homegrown industry employing a new generation of engineers.
        Yes we can.

      • Dr Curry,

        If you are interested in a tour of Plant Vogtle I might be able to help. The guy in charge is a Georgia Tech grad.

        Years ago I was designated as the unofficial tour guide at Prairie Island Nuclear Plant, after the Assistant Plant Mgr received very positive feedback from a group of Fire Chiefs and Civil Defense managers I was tagged to escort for a tour. On that tour and every subsequent one, I would show folks many of the plant systems designed to keep the plant safe, including the many redundancies and over design. I was told almost everyone came away very impressed and strongly reassured that Prairie Island was safe.

      • I hope Judith will take you up on this. Perhaps Richard Tol could go along too. Oh, yea, why not, take John Holdren and Obama too. :)

    • Me too.
      Nuclear isn’t free of risks and dangers. The risks and possible damages are probably much worse than the supposed global warming they presumably prevent.

      • Huh?

        There have been more civilian casualties in the back of Ted Kennedy’s car than there have from radioactivity in US nuclear power plant accidents.

        If that is much worse than global warming then global warming has been a colossal waste of time and we should be suing the global warmers for fraud.

      • Jacob,

        Nothing is free of risk or danger. However few things are designed more in mind of risk and danger than a commercial nuclear plant. And the evidence is their safe operating record. You cannot name another industry with a better record.

      • You cannot name another industry with a better record (than the nuclear industry].

        That’s a good challenge. I wonder if anyone will take it up. I bet the anti-nukes wont, or if they do it will be very interesting to see what evidence they provide and how they make the comparisons. It’s easy between energy industries and that’s been done thousands of times. A good simple summary here:
        Deaths by energy source in Forbes” http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html

        Here’s the EU ExternE project : http://www.externe.info/externe_d7/

        And you can access the data base of all severe accidents in the energy chain since the 1800s from this link: http://www.ier.uni-stuttgart.de/forschung/projektwebsites/newext/

    • Richard Tol: “Am I now no longer a denier?”

      Depends what you propose instead of nuclear.

    • Richard Tol,

      You wrote –

      “nuclear is very dangerous without a strong regulator . . . ”

      Very dangerous compared to what? As an example, a Journal of Patient Safety article in 2013, estimates patient deaths in the US due to preventable causes to be between 210,000 and 400,000 per annum.

      It is now the third highest cause of death in the US, apparently. If the figures are correct, going to hospital or receiving medical treatment in the US is probably extremely dangerous, by your standard.

      Life is dangerous. If one desires to live comfortably, someone else probably has to farm, mine, process, manufacture, construct and so on. These things are dangerous. How dangerous? Who knows?

      Do we ban doctors, motor vehicles, aeroplanes, electricity, knives, rocks, or pointy sticks? These things have all resulted in deaths – in some cases many at one time! And what about bombs, bullets, missiles, and various other artefacts of war? More or less dangerous than nuclear without a strong regulator?

      Maybe a worldwide outbreak of nuclear without a strong regulator might result in less deaths overall, rather than more. Are there any facts to show this would not be the case, or just more opinion? I don’t know, but I’m not sure the experts do, either. More CO2 in the atmosphere would seem to be beneficial, so maybe more coal fired power stations are in order at present, backed up by nuclear.

      Cheers.

    • I think some differentiation is important. I am no fan of gen 1 and 2, all of which should be shut when op licenses expire. We know better. fukushima Daiichi was gen 1, already operating past the initial 40 year license. Gen 3 solves passive safety (mostly, not completely) but not radwaste. Several gen 4 ideas solve safety completely, and radwaste nearly (I speak of fission, not possible fusion or LENR [weak force reverse beta decay via Widom-Larsen theory] not strong force fusion). Essay Going Nuclear, for those wanting a survey of the present landscape, Gate’s TerraPower (TWR) included.

    • bedeverethewise

      There are many new ideas for doing nuclear better, molten salt, traveling wave, many interesting fusion concepts, even LENR, So we can keep building the current designs, which are reasonably safe and we can keep looking for ways to do it better.
      Climate change is real.
      Nuclear power is a real solution.

    • Since the death toll for all nuclear accidents is still low, the heavy regulation needs to be there to prevent the loss of capital, as well as clean up costs.

      Nuclear can be hazardous to your wallet it not heavily regulated.

      Not talking rad safety, but emergency cooling systems in depth, on site diesel generators behind thick concrete and hydrogen recombiners just in case.

      • “Sigh”.

        This is why some people are so fond of LFTR.

        Nuclear isn’t very dangerous. The only major risk is the core is under pressure and that provides a mechanism for radioactivity to escape.

        Any high boiling point liquid core, such as liquid metal or liquid salt doesn’t have that issue.

        About the only way to disperse radioactivity from a LFTR reactor is for it to walk out the door.

        You don’t need emergency cooling systems. With LFTR you have a larger bucket below a smaller bucket. That is all the safety system you need.

        The ability of the NRC to regulate passive safe reactors should be limited by law. Emergency cooling systems are unnecessary and about as useful as an appendix, for reactors that don’t have emergencies.

      • I’d like to see a small utility size (100 to 300 MWe) MSR run for a decade before giving up on the light water reactor. There’s been a lot of on and off testing of MSR’s over the years to show potential, but that’s not quite the same as long term running to see where some of the bugs are.

        I also don’t think the thorium cycle makes much sense in the near term, there is no where near enough 233U around and getting enough to start a fleet of plants will be a challenge. The plutonium cycle MSR’s are probably a better near term solution, as there is plenty of spent LWR fuel around to keep them going for a while despite the lower “alpha” for plutonium in thermal reactors.

        Another possibility is the integral fast reactor which is based on the more mature sodium coolant technology (which does have a boatload of issues). A good reference on the early work is “The EBR-II Fuel Cycle Story” by Charles Stevenson.

      • You should know better bob.

        The death toll you refer to involves one incident – Chernobyl. Unless you want to count the case of the security guard who managed to shoot himself accidently with his own weapon. I believe that turned out to be fatal. And there was an incident back in the 50’s at an Army run research reactor in Idaho I believe. But that was a case of suicide.

        And Chernobyl was a result of purposefully ignoring or bypassing safety systems, not to mention it is a design that would never have built in the US.

        Commercial nuclear power requires regulation just like everything else does today. However claims like bob’s are based on an image of nuclear which is apparently heavily influenced by 1950’s sci fi movies. Bob, you should visit Chernobyl. You’d find out that all of the horror stories and predictions that people raised following the accident turned out to be greatly overblown. Most of the people who were evacuated have returned to their homes.

      • Most of the people who were evacuated have returned to their homes.

        Are you referencing Pripyat ?
        Do you have a reliable form of evidence for this claim ?
        Several others I forwarded your post to didn’t see what you claim ?

        Thanks

    • guys:
      I wrote “nuclear is very dangerous without a strong regulator”. Telling me how safe nuclear has proven to be in a tightly regulated country does not change my mind.

      There are three risks, by the way: operations, waste and proliferation. Recall that not too long ago, Iraq, Syria, Libya were well-organized.

      • Richard Tol,

        There are three risks, by the way: operations, waste and proliferation. Recall that not too long ago, Iraq, Syria, Libya were well-organized.

        1. How is operations a major risk? Even when the plants do a Fukushima (an exceedingly rare occurrence and the frequency per unit of electricity produced is decreasing), the fatalities and health consequences are negligible and, properly normalised for the amount of electricity they supply, are less than any other electricity generation technology operating routinely.

        2. Waste is not a technical issue. It’s just an irrational ideological issue. It’s cost is fully included in the cost of electricity and is trivial at about $1/MWh.

        3. Proliferation – what about it? Who has made weapons material from used fuel from modern civilian reactors? How would you even do it? What would be involved?

        It’s really sad that economist make such comments about subjects that are outside their area of expertise.

      • Richard Tol,

        I would be vastly surprised for anything at all to only have three risks. However, you have nominated three for nuclear power generation, without providing any detail at all. Not good enough, if you claim expertise in the field. Unsubstantiated assertion appears to be common to Warmists and economists. The track record of both is equally dismal, I am sorry to say.

        You might care to quantify the risks, if you wish to be considered credible.

        Many people seem to have an irrational fear of nuclear power generation plants, just as people a century ago were fearful of domestic electricity supplies using alternating current. Edison (a DC supplier), associated AC in the popular mind with the fatal use of AC for the “electric chair”.

        Luckily, cost effectiveness overcame propaganda, although the US was saddled with 120V or so, which reduces efficiency compared with 240V.

        Even though electricity can be measured and quantified, and Edison was an expert, he was still wrong. Economics can not be measured or quantified – how might one quantify the expertise of an economist? How could one decide which expert was correct, or if any were?

        I’m inclined to agree with Peter Lang. He appears to be able to provide facts to support his views.

        Cheers.

      • Oops, it appears there have been a large number of comments since I last refreshed the page. Dr Tol, I have enormous respect for you, but much like the climate change subject where appearances cover reality nuclear – modern nuclear – is not nearly as dangerous as it’s reputation suggests.

        There are lots of ways of doing it which are very safe, the amount of dangerous waste is tiny compared to the amount of energy produced, and there are very interesting modern techniques for converting waste into elements with very short half lives.

        Proliferation is a non concern. It is extremely difficult to develop weapons grade uranium and plutonium. Furthermore, uranium is an inefficient method of fission energy – it’s just the best known. Additionally, it can be argued that the abundance of cheap energy is a pressure against political instability.

        But IMO, small scale fusion, of which there are many many varying and promising small and big projects around the world, is likely to supercede fission anyway. If I had money to invest, the likely return from fission would be overtaken if any of these projects mature, some which are close to doing. Interestingly, fusion has been following moores law and most projects are at break even point. I suspect in 10 years time it will be what we are all talking about.

        What we shod have been doing ever since the hand wringing over climate change began was to invest in modern nuclear. We would now be benefitting from cheap abundant electricity and not wasting it on the renewable sidetrack which will never be able to cope with modern and future energy demands.

    • Richard Tol,

      I greatly appreciate your contributions to economics and the climate damage function. But on nuclear power you are poorly informed. Nuclear power is the safest way to generate electricity. We have 60 years demonstrating that and it’s getting safer all the time, just as aviation, cars, ships and other technology is getting safer all the time. The rate of development and the rate that safety improves would accelerate if we removed the ridiculous impediments that have been applied to nuclear power as a result of 50 years of irrational anti-nuclear propaganda.

    • Most people commenting here (not all) seem to have a what looks to me to be a limited view of what “nuclear” is. There are many ways of doing nuclear that are not dangerous and do not require uranium necessarily or transuranic material.

      Of the commentators here the one to have looked at this question most closely is Peter Lang. I would urge you to read what he has to say if he responds to your post.

      It’s been said that saying that “nuclear is dangerous” is like saying “cars are dangerous”. Well, what car? There are lots of ways to make cars….

    • Not sure how to respond to all this.

      Can nuclear be safe? Maybe. If you look at its record, you find one major incident, a few minor ones, and a number of near misses. Is that good or bad? If you consider that there only 438 plants now, and the first one was build 61 years ago, incidents per plant-year are not as low as some seem to think.

      Can nuclear be safer than it was? Sure.

      Can nuclear be dangerous? Oh yes.

      The key concern is that, if nuclear is to be a big part of decarbonization, then the number of plants will be measured in the thousands, rather than hundreds, and they will be in countries that are not nearly as friendly as Russia and not nearly as well-organized as Pakistan.

      • Dr Tol,

        In response to: https://judithcurry.com/2015/12/16/the-new-climate-deniers/#comment-751850

        ….not necessarily! There are loads of ways you can get poorer less stable countries to benefit from nuclear without it being dangerous – either to them or to anyone else.

        One way is to sell the electricity to then but generate it elsewhere.

        Another proposal is that modern nuclear could be modular sealed units that produce energy for 20 years and you then dispose of whole…I’m not kidding there is a serious proposal for that. I think the size of the unit is about the size of shipping container.

        China and India are steaming ahead with thorium fission. There is no way thorium could be regarded as dangerous. In fact it was originally the most mature form of fission energy until it was rejected in favour of uranium because uranium fission allowed for the breeding of weapons grade fissile material.

        Even so, if you weigh the risks (fully considered and in the light of current technology as well as developing technology) against the benefits, nuclear is by far and away the best, cheapest and safest form of energy production. Consider the costs, difficulty and political issues surrounding excavating fossil fuel, as well as the risks to life and property against that as well.

        I challenge you to look at this more deeply. From the starting point of today, what are relative risks, costs and benefits of fossil fuel production and against current and emerging nuclear technology? I would be extremely interested in your findings….I’m sure I do not speak alone.

      • (Q1) How many people have died in nuclear power plant accidents?
        (Q2) How many people have died in coal mine accidents?

      • Richard Tol,

        For someone who has done so much for rational analysis of the impacts of GHG emissions, and some 20 years ago were left by you IPCC colleagues to explain and justify to India’s delegates (and others) using a value of statistical life, how can you support emotive, meaningless comments like this :

        Can nuclear be dangerous? Oh yes.

        What does that mean? All energy technologies are unsafe to some degree. Therefore, the question is about what is more or less dangerous. Based on the past 60 years, nuclear is the safest way to generate electricity. It’s two orders of magnitude safer than with coal and about 5 times safer than roof top PV. If nuclear replaced coal electricity generation worldwide now, about 1.3 million fatalities per year would be saved worldwide. Yet by arguing against nuclear you are implicitly arguing for more dangerous technologies

        This chart shows the frequency-consequence curves for the severe accidents in the different energy chains: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/07/04/what-is-risk/

        Mortality rate (Deaths per TWh) from Forbes http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html

        Coal electricity – world avg 60 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
        Coal electricity- China 90
        Coal – USA 15
        Natural Gas 4 (21% of world energy)
        Solar (rooftop) 0.44 (0.2% of world energy for all solar)
        Wind 0.15 (1.6% of world energy)
        Hydro 0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
        Hydro – world including Banqiao) 1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
        Nuclear 0.09 (11% global electricity w/Chern&Fukush)

      • Can nuclear be dangerous? Yes!

        If the number of nuclear power plants increases tenfold, does the chance of nuclear falling into the wrong hands increase? Yes!

        Does this mean that nuclear is dangerous always and everywhere? No!

      • Appropriately justified deregulation of the nuclear industry is what is needed. Deregulation would remove the massive impediments that are preventing the world from having low cost nuclear power. If the unjustifiable impediments were removed, competition and innovations would take off; technologies would improve faster, safety would improve and costs could be expected to decline at around 10% per capacity doubling (typical for other electricity generation technologies over the past 100 years or so).

        Below is an excerpt from an article by Nick Cater published in The Australian on 15 December. The parallels between safety culture in the aviation industry and hospitals is amazing. Aviation is private sector and has a fantastic record of learning from its mistakes. The Hospitals, on the other hand are massively over regulated and the opposite is the case. Hospitals are an excellent example of “dangerous” (using your approach).

        Excerpt:

        “British writer Matthew Syed provides some insight into why the public sector appears resistant to innovation in his book Black Box Thinking. The aviation industry provides a model for how innovation should work. Eight out of 14 US Army pilots in 1912 died in crashes; last year there was one aircraft accident for every 8.3 million takeoffs. The reason, says Syed, is aircraft engineers, pilots and flight controllers have been phenomenally successful at learning from failure. Every mishap, no matter how small, is treated as an opportunity to do better. Air travel today is safer and cheaper than ever because the industry fixes its mistakes.
        Free markets and free societies are more successful at innovation because they resist the instinct to impose untested answers from above. “Free markets are successful, in a large part because of their capacity to clock up thousands of useful failures,” writs Syed. “Centrally planned economies are ineffective, on the other hand, because they lack this capacity.”
        For the antithesis of the aviation industry, Syed turns to healthcare. A 2013 study in the Journal of Patient Safety estim¬ated 400,000 deaths a year in the US could have been avoided through better diagnosis, drug prescriptions, better care and the avoidance of medical mistakes. In testimony to a US Senate hearing last year, Peter J. Pronovost of Johns Hopkins University school of medicine described the deaths as the equivalent of two jumbo jets falling out of the sky every 24 hours. “We would not tolerate that degree of preventable harm in any other forum,” he said.
        A progressive attitude to failure is the cornerstone of innovation. “A failure to learn from mistakes has been one of the single greatest obstacles to human progress,” writes Syed.
        Technocrats are seldom prepared to admit to mistakes, let alone learn from them; government programs never fail because of faulty design, overreach, pork-barrelling, perverse incentives, compliance costs, mission creep or stupidity. They fail because they are underfunded. Which is why, one imagines, that Andrews’s instinctively supplements his saving plan with a demand for more commonwealth cash.
        In the self-satisfied, top-down world of bureaucracies, there is nothing that can’t be fixed by throwing good money after bad.”
        Nick Cater is executive director of the Menzies Research Centre.
        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/nick-cater/more-money-is-not-the-answer-innovative-thinking-is/news-story/85fa62d7d35a0c3b178ee9e53dc16b32

      • Richard Tol,

        You wrote –

        “Not sure how to respond to all this.”

        Might I suggest by providing some facts, rather than unsupported and scary implications. For example, your rhetorical questions could have “motor cars” or “umbrellas” replacing “nuclear”, and the answers could be much the same.

        Can nuclear, or motor cars, or umbrellas be dangerous? Oh yes! Scary, eh?

        And if they are used in countries not nearly as friendly as Russia, or not nearly as well organised as Pakistan, they could be even more dangerous! Even scarier!

        You’ve definitely got us all shaking in our boots now.

        I wouldn’t worry too much though. The paranoid preoccupation with nuclear danger has at least ensured that we are going some way to raising the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, resulting in unalloyed benefit for humanity. So it’s all good in the end.

        Cheers.

      • Richard Tol,

        If the number of nuclear power plants increases tenfold, does the chance of nuclear falling into the wrong hands increase? Yes!

        Yes. But to what? What is the consequence? What is the probability? All the work has been done to answer these questions thousands of times over the past 40 or 50 years.

        It’s very difficult to make weapons from used fuel from modern civil nuclear power stations. That’s why no one tries. All the countries making weapons use dedicated facilities that are designed to produce weapons grade material. You really should read up on this stuff instead of listening to Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Concerned Scientists and the other anti nuke propagandists.

        Developing countries now are much more capable of building and running nuclear power plants than US, UK, France, Germany, Russia were 50 years ago, or even 30 years ago.

        Chemical and biological weapons are much easier for terrorists to manufacture and distribute than nuclear materials.

        I hope you will take another look at the evidence with you objective, analytical, scientific hat on.

        I am not saying there is no risk, of course there is. What I am saying is that the risk are far lower than any other alternative that can do the job (weather-dependent renewables cannot) and the risk will decrease per TWh when we remove the impediments so nuclear power can become increasingly economic.

      • Richard Tol,

        [I’ll attempt to post a comment in two parts (it keeps disappearing, not even to moderation, when I post it as a single comment.]

        Appropriately justified deregulation of the nuclear industry is what is needed. Deregulation would remove the massive impediments that are preventing the world from having low cost nuclear power. If the unjustifiable impediments were removed, competition and innovations would take off; technologies would improve faster, safety would improve and costs could be expected to decline at around 10% per capacity doubling (typical for other electricity generation technologies over the past 100 years or so).

        Below is an excerpt from an article by Nick Cater published in The Australian on 15 December http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/nick-cater/more-money-is-not-the-answer-innovative-thinking-is/news-story/85fa62d7d35a0c3b178ee9e53dc16b32 . The contrast between safety culture in the aviation and healthcare industries is interesting and is relevant to regulation of the nuclear industry. Aviation is private sector and has a fantastic record of learning from its mistakes. Healthcare, on the other hand is massively over regulated and the opposite is the case. The healthcare industry is an excellent example of “dangerous” (using your approach).

      • Agnostic2015. You mentioned compact modular nuclear plants with a limited shelf life. Have you any links about this development? If true, it seems a feasible way to export the technology of needy countries in a safe manne.

      • Richard Tol, continued from previous comment

        Excerpt:

        “British writer Matthew Syed provides some insight into why the public sector appears resistant to innovation in his book Black Box Thinking. The aviation industry provides a model for how innovation should work. Eight out of 14 US Army pilots in 1912 died in crashes; last year there was one aircraft accident for every 8.3 million takeoffs. The reason, says Syed, is aircraft engineers, pilots and flight controllers have been phenomenally successful at learning from failure. Every mishap, no matter how small, is treated as an opportunity to do better. Air travel today is safer and cheaper than ever because the industry fixes its mistakes.

        Free markets and free societies are more successful at innovation because they resist the instinct to impose untested answers from above. “Free markets are successful, in a large part because of their capacity to clock up thousands of useful failures,” writs Syed. “Centrally planned economies are ineffective, on the other hand, because they lack this capacity.”

        Part 3 to follow if I can get it to accepted

      • Apologies for the typos. “to” instead of “of” and “manner” instead of “manne” but I know that my message should still be reasonably clear to intelligent readers such as those who frequent Judith’s place!

      • @Peter M Davies

        You asked about small nuclear reactors (SMRs). I can’t find the exact article I was thinking of but there is plenty of discussion out there just by googling:

        NY Times

        World Nuclear Association

        But there is also the EM2 reactor that uses spent fuel (one for Dr Tol to alleviate his proliferation worries)

        EM2

        There are the SEALER units and many other proposals all vying to be safer more efficient and cheaper than one another.

        I am as convinced as I am prepared to be about anything that on this point Peter Lang is correct. Nuclear is absolutely needed not just to stop the hand-wringing over climate change but to free mankind from the erstwhile shackles of fossil fuels, which by comparison, is dirty, expensive, inefficient, dangerous to mine, transport, and refine, and fraught with geopolitical dangers and uncertainties.

      • Richard,

        Why do you believe that every country has to operate nuclear plants?

        As for being dangerous – what isn’t? You have a greater risk of being seriously injured stepping in or out of the tub than you do from a nuclear accident. Nothing is 100% risk free. Name an industry with a better safety record.

        Would a 10 to 20 times increase in operating nuclear occur would the risk posed by proliferation increase? Probably. But if the risk from global warming is as great as we are being told, proliferation pales in comparison.

      • timg56,

        Richard Tol asked and you repeat the question:

        Would a 10 to 20 times increase in operating nuclear occur would the risk posed by proliferation increase? Probably.

        I’ve thought about this some more since I answered Ricjhard Tols initial question.

        Now I’d answer “maybe yes, maybe no”.

        The I’d ask people to consider the parallel of the regulation and safety record of the commercial civil aviation industry. Consider this: if, when the Comet airliners were crashing in the 1950’s, politicians and bureaucracies had excessively regulated aviation as they have done with nuclear, so that air fares were much higher and passenger numbers 1/10th to 1/20 of what they are now, would passenger air travel have be safer? I’d suggest not. there would have been much less development of aircraft and systems. There would have been nowhere near as much progress as they’re has been. Aviation progress would have been stalled just as nuclear progress has been stalled for 50 years.

        US “Air carrier, certificated, domestic, all services” passenger-miles are about 20 times higher in 2013 than in 1960 (31,099 in 1960, and 589,692 in 2013) http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_40.html

      • Richard Tol,

        The key concern is that, if nuclear is to be a big part of decarbonization, then the number of plants will be measured in the thousands, rather than hundreds, and they will be in countries that are not nearly as friendly as Russia and not nearly as well-organized as Pakistan.

        True that the number of plants will be in the thousands to provide a large proportion of global electricity supply. But so what? Nuclear is still a factor of 600 safer than the main alternative, coal, and still much safer than all other electricity generation technologies (on a fully life cycle basis).

        Furthermore, as the roll out accelerates, competition and innovation will improve the technology, reduce costs and improve safety, similar to what has happened with the airline. US passenger-miles have increased by a factor of 19 since 1960 while fatalities per passenger mile have reduced by a factor of 1000 over the same period. Aviation is getting safer everywhere. The same can be expected with nuclear if we get the politicians, bureaucrats and regulators largely out of the way (to a similar extent as they are in regulating aviation – where the need for a proper balance between costs and safety is fully recognised).

    • Fast mitigation would say go for onshore wind, solar PV, and fast-start advanced cycle gas generation without CCS for now. Remove the coal generation. Keep the nuclear you already have for now.

      This strategy only works until around 2030, and will save probably 50-60% of current CO2 power generation emissions.

      To get to 100% you have to do something else. If you have it then converting despatchable hydro to pumped storage where you can is ideal. Some additional nuclear may help.

      But it looks like power to gas to power by electrolysing water into hydrogen using surplus power from wind and solar will be the way to go. Store the hydrogen then use it to power the gas generation so there are not net CO2 emissions. You only get around 43% round trip efficiency, but this process is not needed much before 2030, and by then wind and solar PV electricity prices should be very low and the variability doesn’t matter for this process. Electrolysers ought to be much cheaper than gas turbines which could be used for the gas to power.

      • I don’t know whether the current generation of CCGT could be fired with 100% hydrogen, but I doubt it would add much to the cost after a short learning curve. Thus within, say, 5 years all new CCGT could well be convertible to 100% hydrogen.

        AFAIK hydrogen storage isn’t there yet, but the same learning curve argument probably applies.

        There are, however, several good arguments for pursuing the technology of extracting ambient CO2 and combining it with hydrogen to produce methane (as well as liquid fuels):

        •       The current gas distribution system is based on methane, so adding methane to it could end up 100% replacing fossil sources.

        •       Gas is currently used for a lot of heating, as well as generation, so investments in this fully mature technology would preserve their value. No additional technology replacement would be needed for heating.

        •       The technology for storage, transport, and distribution of gas is fully mature, so building could start today, with good predictions of future costs, etc.

        •       Creating liquid hydrocarbon fuels from this source (along with LNG) would eliminate the need for expensive power storage for vehicles.

        •       The facilities for CO2 removal and electrolysis could be on-site, driven directly by DC from solar PV, allowing avoidance of the cost of inversion. Assuming the capital cost could be brought low enough with learning curve, they could be run intermittently, eliminating all but a tiny cushion of storage.

        •       Large-scale reliance on this technology would drive learning curve, in turn driving down the cost of CO2 removal and creating a strong, mature, industry for producing the needed plant, which could later be turned to withdrawal and sequestration, if needed. OTOH, if later science determined that CO2 isn’t a problem, it wouldn’t have to be done.

        •       The plant for CO2 removal could also be used as a source of carbon for construction materials, eliminating the need for large-scale agriculture or fossil sources for this carbon. As the cost of current carbon fiber technology declines, it bids fair to replace concrete as the primary construction material for new building. (Along with polymers that also could come from ambient CO2.)

      • Fast mitigation would say go for onshore wind, solar PV, and fast-start advanced cycle gas generation without CCS for now. Remove the coal generation. Keep the nuclear you already have for now.

        No. That is incorrect. The fastest way to make deep cuts to GHG emissions is with nuclear power, not weather dependent renewables. Adding weather-dependent renewables capacity delays progress. We are delaying progress by many decades by continuing to build weather-dependent renewables.

    • Richard,

      I know you are wrong on the first point and I believe you may be wrong on the second.

      This cannot be overstated – commercial generation of nuclear power (at least in the US) has the most envious safety record of any industry. Hell, more people have died due to the fast food industry than from nuclear power generation. We know how to operate nuclear plants safely and they need no more regulation than any other industry. The drug industry is heavily regulated and it manages to kill a few thousand people every year.

      The validity of the second point depends on what you mean by a “weak state”. Europe, the US & Canada, Japan, South Korea all safely operate nuclear plants and are capable of moving large portions of their generation to nuclear to reduce emissions. China, India & Brazil are not failed (or weak) states. I believe they make up the vast bulk of current and projected emissions growth. You don’t need to utilize nuclear power everywhere.

      I’m not claiming that nuclear power is the only answer. But many of the criticisms leveled against it are unfounded.

  22. Reading through the comments in the Guardian article, it seems that most of the Guardianista are having problems with what Oreskes is saying

  23. Where the idea of going nuclear remains unpalatable we see for example that Germany may be the first of the EU countries to begin the abandonment of the global warming house of cards in favor of coal and gas-fired power plants.

    • Germany always has the option of deferring switching off the remaining nuclear while installing additional renewables to replace coal.

      In theory Germany should be very keen on gas-fired plants as fast-start CCGT complements large scale renewables variability very well. However, most of this gas comes from Russia, so Germany would only be able to rely on gas to the extent that it still has an alternative if Putin switches off the taps. Maybe switching off the coal but keeping it just in case would be a solution.

      • Building weather-dependent renewables is delaying progress on reducing emissions and on improving economic growth rates.

  24. It’s called ecomodernism, Mark Lynas is also a member. Molten Salt Thorium is part of the plan, keep watching India.

  25. “There is no good solution massively reducing our emissions from fossil fuels on the time scale of a decade.”

    Neither is nuclear feasible on time scales of 2, 3, or 4 decades. Nuclear helps reduce emissions, but building 1000 reactors (+political debate+licensing) will take several decades, at least. So no nuclear in time to save the planet (reductions within a decade).
    And there’s the problem with transportation fuels…

    Renewables will never reduce emissions in relevant amounts, not even in several centuries. Their capabilities are limited.

    Climate science might be complicated, with many unknowns and unknowables, but engineering is simple. There can be no debate about it.

    Greenies are totally ignorant of physics and engineering. In their Utopian universe they only need to decree that there be “green” energy, and voila! the engineers will produce it. There isn’t anything engineers can’t do (the greenies believe), they (the engineers) are only too dumb to understand by themselves what needs to be done, but once Oreskes decrees it, they will produce it.

    That also explains their enthusiasm about the meaningless Paris decision: the decision is important as a sign of political will. Technical details about how the goals are to be achieved don’t matter to them.

  26. Brian G Valentine

    Naomi and the rest are taking the Donald Trump approach to public relations – demonize and marginalize people who don’t seem to fit your ideals of what people should think or do.

    Then invent your own “data” or “stories” to back up your claims. If it is all hogwash, so what. The objective is to inflame tempers of people who don’t like to think deeply (or at all). Whatever works.

  27. Professor Curry wrote, “If you accept the premise that human caused climate change is dangerous and that we need to rapidly stop burning fossil fuels, then I don’t see a near term alternative to nuclear.”

    Clearly, China agrees. From an October Forbes magazine article:

    “If anyone thinks nuclear power is on the wane globally, they haven’t been paying attention to China. More than 100 nuclear power reactors will start up in China over the next decade.”

    “Of course, not only does China want to replace its old coal fleet with new nuclear reactors, it wants to become the leading exporter of nuclear technology as well, including heavy components in the supply chain where the real global bottleneck is.”

    “It seems as though 5 years and about $2 billion per reactor has become routine for China. If that can be maintained, then China will be well-positioned as the world’s nuclear energy leader about the time their middle class swells to over one billion.”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/10/22/china-shows-how-to-build-nuclear-reactors-fast-and-cheap/

    • We should be tossing the greenies under the bus and going nuclear like China.

      It is unforgivable that China is leading the US with a more intelligent and foresighted energy policy. If we aren’t careful they will leave us in the technological dust.

      The developing world will go nuclear, if China doesn’t give it to them India will.

      • As clear as the sun that rises in the morning.
        Ooodles of dollars looking for a solid investment.
        China is the new garage for the venture capitalist.
        Very little resistance, eager to seize the opportunity.

        It’s just kind of sad in a state of the human group interaction thing
        that it took us 15 years of hand waving and fake dramas to create change in the energy industry.

        It is what it is.

    • A long and winding road to the obvious choice.
      The money is telegraphing the trend.

    • gjw2 And so the West, choking to death on it’s own fear over everything, believing in ‘perfect safety’ and leading with zero tolerance signs it’s own warrant to second class status by throttling the engine that brought it to world prominence. That engine wasn’t a superior morality or superior politicians or a superior ‘green status.’ It was our economic prowess that was founded on freedom, that was founded on the same principles that make the airline industry different from the hospital industry.
      Wealth seems to have a limiting factor in that it creates a population of elites who gain control and can think of nothing more than ‘holding on.’ Stasis becomes a way of life for them and they shove it down everyone’s throat and convince the population at large that freedom is messy and chaotic and what we need is a paternal government to protect us from all that messiness. And so the baton passes to those willing to take risks, those not choking on a politically correct, static ideology.

    • China expects to install something like 40GW of new nuclear by 2020. And also something like 100GW of new wind and 70GW of new solar. That’s a ratio of about 20% of nameplate capacity for nuclear, or more probably around 40% by carbon-free electricity supplied.

      So sensibly, China is hedging all its bets here.

      • I agree China is hedging all its bets. However, China also expects to install 150 GW nuclear by 2030. Perhaps the nuclear number for 2020 reflects, at least in part, the time required to ramp up their nuclear program. They also anticipate 350 GW nuclear by 2050.

      • 40 GW of nuclear will produce about the same energy per year as 100 GW wind + 70 GW solar. But the nuclear plant’s life is about three times longer than the wind and solar plants, so it produces around three times more energy. The wind and solar plants have to be built three times.

  28. As rural co-ordinater of the People’s Denial Front for my region, I wish to welcome our new comrades, Bill, Jim, Kerry…

    I feel so unclean.

  29. Just goes to show you, the entire CAGW meme is a house of cards that will come tumbling down at some point. I wish the scientists and historians of science would come down off their high horses and do some useful science and maybe teaching for a change.

    Wind and Solar aren’t going to cut it. Nuclear has a lot of work to be done before it can be utilized on a large scale economically (if Beta Blocker would stop complaining about there not being a carbon tax and get back to work maybe he could solve some of these problems). Fossil fuels are abundant and cheap and with a climate sensitivity of 2 or so CAGW is a farce.

    Bill Gates seems to kinda get it so maybe there will be some progress on innovative alternatives.

  30. Wait a minute, this Jacobson plan Oreskes is on about is only for the USA. What is the other 98% of the world being excluded from the debate for?

  31. As far as I know there is only one type of technology that has the potential to compete with Nuclear. Converting renewables to gas:

    http://www.global-economic-symposium.org/knowledgebase/the-global-environment/the-energy-crisis-and-climate-change/implementations/converting-renewable-energies-into-gas

    As to whether it is scalable and economic I have no idea.

    I have to praise our new deniers especially Hansen who is up front with nuclear.

  32. Start by killing coal. end the Anthracitecene.

    Buy it all and keep it in the ground. Much cheaper than a carbon tax with the same effect.

    • People, welcome to the Idiocene!

    • Killing ol’ King Cole and taking the road back to
      high cost energy and serfdom. The new age of
      the ‘ Idiocene.’

      H/T donaitkin.com

      • Failure to keep up with technological advancement is what turns your kind into serfs. Why does it make you feel good to blame it on cleaning the environment?

      • It was once my seigneurial delight to send my grimy serfs down into the mines. Now the coal grubbers are richer than us toffs…but I’m not bitter. Coal is chocolate sunshine, especially the good hard black of NSW and Qld. (I suppose the milk choc of Vic will have to do in a pinch, especially since clean green South Australia needs all the coal and diesel power it can import.)

        I want one of these:
        http://www.pwc.com/jp/ja/japan-seminar/2013/assets/pdf/global-superior-energy131014-16-d3.pdf

      • The + a bunch was for Beth.

        Horse Grabber, minus a whole lot more.

      • Thanks for clarifying Mark. I worried for a minute there you had had a stroke.

      • Sorry Beth, I can’t read baby talk. I’m sure it’s quite fetching to your misogynist compatriots, but here in the capitol of venture capital, my only response is “yes, I’ll have fries with that”

      • Horst Graben,

        “…here in the capitol of venture capital..”

        Capitol of capital? Would that be Capitola? What do you propose we do Horst, or Graben? Which is it, Horst or Graben? Quit sitting on the fence!

        I say go nuclear! What say you?

      • Justin:
        Let’s just say that I saw our cougar the other night crossing the road. The most bad-a$$ dude in the neighborhood. He was big, sleek, powerful like train, graceful like ballerina. A constant diet of house cats and lap dogs does a body good.

        The problem is that people believe in the concept of a fence. It’s just an illusion projected by pride and vanity.

        I say we need to deploy current technology and technology in the pipeline for pollution controls and high density energy, so nuke is definitely in the mix.

      • Horst,

        Thanks for the clarification. Either technology is our solution or we are hosed. Anyway, I do love the cougars but I bring the our cat in before sundown. I think they get fat on the numerous deer in our neighborhood. I wish they would eat a few more.

        Regarding fences, what you say is true. The fences are in our minds. Never underestimate the power of group affiliation over the human mind – along with the capacity for articulate language and abstraction, group affiliation is an adaptive strategy, though unconscious.

        I had to explain this concept to one of my sons the other day, in the context of political party affiliation. He asked me, “why do political parties exist and why don’t more candidates run as independents?” To explain the persistence of political parties I used two analogies, including the prison gang affiliation model. Join a gang and you have some protection and some enemies, don’t join a gang and you have no protection and, potentially, everyone is your enemy.

        Life presents tough choices.

        I enjoy your posts, keep up the good work.

      • group affiliation is an adaptive strategy, though unconscious.

        Actually group affiliation is both a conscious choice and most likely driven by a sub conscious desire. Great book called the Machiavellian Intelligence by Dario Maestripieri describes human behavior thru the behaviors of the rhesus. Dario was a primate researcher at Emory.

        Depending on his age you may want to turn him on to “The Engineering of Consent” by Bernays.

        Potential warning .. IMO the above books are good only after the child has learned a good base of right from wrong … thus I asked the age.

      • Knutsea

        http://classes.design.ucla.edu/Fall07/28/Engineering_of_consent.pdf

        I watched the related episode on “Century of the Self” via Youtube. It is not exaclty what I was talking about, but interesting nonetheless.

        I was really alluding to the tendency of people to be drawn to certain people and not others, as some make them “feel good” while others do not. That process is largely unconscious and involves bias and heuristics. Though people also make deliberate conscious decisions to associate with some people for the opportunities those relationships create.

        It’s a big subject and important. I was fortunate to be exposed to and required to read, discuss, and write about the book “The Hidden Persuaders” by Vance Packard in high school. The book might have been BS, but it got me thinking. Nowadays, I’m drawn to Ariely, Kahneman, and Gazziniga and anything else I can get my hands on that will help to illuminate human behaviour. I try to have honest but accessible discussions with my sons about these issues whenever they come home with their head full of nonsense about vacccinations, sugar, gmos, solar energy, “non-polluting” electric cars, and you name it. Truly amazing the garbage that floats about even in supposedly good schools.

    • Steven Mosher,

      Kill coal! Starve the plants! Wipe out humanity! Restore Gaia!

      Seriously?

      Cheers.

    • That’s not going to happen. Our best hope is to convert coal to hydrogen and graphene.

    • Heavily tax coal, don’t let the power companies pass the cost to the consumer, use the funds to build nuclear plants and auction them back to the power companies.

      • The numbers work too. For the US a carbon tax of only $10 per tonne, brings in $60 billion per year, and that buys 6 nuclear power plants per year. Job creation too.

      • Bob

        if the goal is keeping c02 out of the air the CHEAPEST way is to
        pay to keep it in the ground. Why pay to mine it, pay to burn it, and then tax the release.

        Once you set a death date for coal… once you drive up the cost by securing the supply in the ground… Industry will shift to more gas and more nuclear of necessity.

        Later of course if AGW is a scientific bust… you’ll have the coal to burn

      • Steven, while buying out all the coal mines sounds good, how does it work in practice? Let’s take the ones in Australia and China as an example. Who buys them? Their local governments? The UN? What with? Taxpayer money? I am not saying it is impossible, but it needs thinking through. Also coal needs will taper and not stop suddenly, so after buying them out, they still may need to produce for a while. So maybe that offers a solution. You buy them out with a lump sum equal to less than their future expected revenue like a low-interest investment. Just quick thoughts.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Bob,
        Try to change you mind set to accept that future plans conceived by regulators and bureaucrats are to be avoided like the plague. Trust in private enterprise. Please refrain from suggesting any new tax, it just encourages the limpets.
        I was heavily involved in Australia’s nuclear industry (being the front end, the discovery, mining, supply and marketing of uranium). With actual hands-on experience, it is easy to write that many of the comments here are terminally underinformed.
        BTW, far too much of my career time was spent combating the brain flashes of the regulators, who have the impediment that success or failure of their ideas does not affect their income much. Private industry is, overall, much more rewarding of individual success and less tolerant of persistent failure.
        That’s how we have so many grant seekers in universities now. Ten or twenty years ago, the rejected would become taxi drivers. Times change.

      • + 1
        Well articulated

      • Jim D | December 16, 2015 at 9:22 pm |
        Steven, while buying out all the coal mines sounds good, how does it work in practice? Let’s take the ones in Australia and China as an example. Who buys them? Their local governments? The UN? What with? Taxpayer money?

        Huh? The only people who care about global warming are the greenies and people they have frightened or misled.

        If global warmer don’t want coal to be burned they should lease the mineral rights. When they get tired of leasing the mineral rights and get distracted by another cause we can burn the coal.

        I do not want my tax dollars wasted on such a boondoggle.

        Besides I want to the CO2 level to be at least 500 PPM and believe subsidies should be used if necessary to ensure sufficient fossil fuel is burned Without more CO2 my muskmelons won’t grow as big as I want. I also want it warmer. I want to have the climate of Georgia, but live in Gaithersburg MD and am too lazy to move.

      • Buying them out is the capitalist solution. The owners get a lump sum to go away and buy something more profitable than coal, and the governments get an investment that pays for itself. Win-win.

      • Jim D: “The owners get a lump sum to go away and buy something more profitable than coal,”

        Meanwhile, back in the real world…

      • The US has about 25% of the global recoverable coal. Buying up US coal just helps the other countries at the top, China, Russia, India and Australia to export more. As with other energy policies, it has to be part of an international effort to work.

      • Jim D

        Assume a ton of coal sells for 40 bucks.
        In the ground you can assume it is worth less than 40 bucks.
        in other words… if you extract it and sell it to me at 30-40 bucks a ton
        it probably costs you something to extract it.

        Now Burn that coal and you will get 2.8 tons of c02.

        and you want to tax the c02 at what 30 bucks a ton or more.

        buy the coal. keep it in the ground.

      • Steve, you still haven’t said who pays. Bill Gates? There is no profit in it, so it would be a humanitarian gesture. The fairest way is if there is a carbon tax that gets used to pay for this, then it is the biggest users who help to buy it up. The other idea I had was something I would call climate bonds (maybe carbon bonds). This is a public investment opportunity with a guaranteed interest rate, so the government borrows money from the public, and pays for infrastructure related to mitigation and adaptation, that may include buying up mines. It works like war bonds did, and is voluntary rather than being a tax.

      • You could have Paris Hilton be the spokeswoman right ?

      • Interesting idea Mosher. The central Bugtussle price this month is $43.5/short ton. It’s gotta cost at least $10 to mine and load. Transport is probably another $10. Then you have restoration costs.

        As of 2013, the world has ~1,000Billion short tons a mine price would be no more than $5 per short ton, so we are looking at a cost of ~$5 Trillion to sequester the remaining known coal reserves. What will that do to the price of oil and gas?

        Annually, the world burns 160Quad BTU’s of coal at $2.5 per million BTU. We are currently burning about the same BTU’s of natural gas at the same price. If coal was sequestered, CH4 production would need to double. Petroleum goes for $10/MMBTU, so one would guess that the price of CH4 would approach petroleum as a ceiling. Lets say $7.5/MMBTU for all CH4 would increase the cost of coal + CH4 by $1.6Trillion annually. If the US consumes 25% of the world energy, that’s just $400B/year which works out to $5,000 per family of four per year, or about 10% of total income. This for the first few years until oil and gas gets more expensive. Then all hippie energy will be magically “economical”.

        Pretty soon, there will be a black market for coal. Prohibition always seems to produce positive externalities, so I am sure this will too. I can’t wait for the War on Coal to add to our war for oil and the war on drugs. I can’t wait for my grandkids to be old enough to enlist. Onward Gaian Solders…

      • Geoff,

        I am not inexperienced with nuclear power, I have 3 initial crits under my belt.
        I was at a commercial nuclear facility when the regulators came and took the keys away. Our site had to be properly retrained on how to maintain large electric motors, and since they didn’t take the chance and listen to their technicians, the NRC had to come in and tell them to do what their technicians were telling them all along. I have thus come to the opinion that power company management and their engineers are not the sharpest tools in the shed. And I am aware that I may be making an error due to small sample size.

        Private enterprise is not the end all and there are too many problems that it can’t solve. Without government and regulation certain essential services won’t be provided, and one of those is residential electrical power provided to all residences. And I think you missed the part that private enterprise plays in my proposal.

      • Steve,

        Sometimes the cheapest way is far from the best, I am looking for a long-term method to replace coal, without out disrupting the supply of electricity.

        If AGW turns out to be a bust? You have seen the latest numbers?

        Really sucks to be a lukewarmer, the denialati hate you more than us card-carrying hasenliebers despise you.

      • bobdroege,

        Private enterprise is not the end all and there are too many problems that it can’t solve. Without government and regulation certain essential services won’t be provided, and one of those is residential electrical power provided to all residences. And I think you missed the part that private enterprise plays in my proposal.

        I disagree. I am convinced private sector with minimal regulation to ensure fair competition is the best solution to delivering power to all. Private sector supplies food for everyone. Aviation flies to any and every destination where people want to travel to and from (and are prepared to pay). They don’t have to be regulated where or when to fly or what aircraft they should buy. The market informs them, not bureaucrats and politicians. Regulation is needed to ensure fair competition and safety standards only.

      • Peter Lang,

        I think we have agreed that electricity generators are whores, we just disagree on the price.

      • Yes, bobdroege, we agree on that.

        Here’s a way we could extract the nuclear whore from poverty and give her a great future: https://judithcurry.com/2015/12/16/the-new-climate-deniers/#comment-752194

    • Start by killing coal. end the Anthracitecene.

      Anthracite is comparatively rare so it’s actually the Bituminouscene…Bituminousecene…Bituminou… Oh, nevermind.

      • +1
        operating on all 8 cylinders tonite.

        This is what happens when Phase II begins and climate change becomes so last decade’s issue.

      • Anthracitene? I was gonna say…

        Singling out anthracite is like a prohibitionist blaming Chateau Mouton-Rothschild for America’s drunks.

        Still, as decayed nobility, I have to approve Steven’s expensive tastes.

      • Power plants mostly burn lignite and low grade bituminous. They have cheap tastes.

        No Revana Family Cabernet Sauvignon for them, they use Mad Dog 20/20.

      • Beth has a tin ear..

        Anthracitecene sounds way better

      • How big was the coal tax that caused the United States to move from zero to 20% nuclear power in ~20 years?

        This is the logical equivalent of saying the only way we can get American’s to go to the grocery store is to tax their gardens. The one is unnecessary to the other – Americans will go to the grocery store.

        If you’d said very small carbon tax to fund research on nuclear, you’d have something.

  33. Very good article (opinion piece) in the WSJ early Dec 2015.
    NOT a coincidence.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-nuclear-paradigm-shift-1449014295

  34. Well some serious heresy within the CAGW camp, i.e. two competing sub-narratives which are both based more on emotive positions than upon practicality, may be no bad thing. Might help fracture the monolith and let some sense through the cracks.

  35. AGW needs to get out of the way…

    • Brian G Valentine

      It needs to exist to get out of the way. It is phantom that “exists” only in some people’s minds. And what people believe exists, they will see. That is guaranteed.

  36. So, new gen nukes, domestic gas and oil, USC coal (new Hitachis, no more clunkers!), all meant to keep the price of oil in the toilet…and tar sands when the oil price lifts its impertinent head. My God, Bomber Barry could run out of wars!

  37. Transportable energy seems to be left out of the discussion. If electric vehicles continue to languish due to battery storage limitations then there seems little alternative but to continue to drill for oil and gas. I also consider hat natural gas driven power plants would have a better environmental footprint than that of coal, especially brown coal.

    • Exactly, we need a low PM bridge to the e-car revolution.

    • Peter M Davies,

      Have you seen this: http://bravenewclimate.com/2013/01/16/zero-emission-synfuel-from-seawater/ unlimited hydrocarbon synfuels from seawater (using nuclear energy) at $3-$6/gallon using current technollogy according to US Navy Research (Audi also estimated the same cost). Cost would be about half that using high temperature nuclear reactors to produce the hydrogen instead of electrolysis)

      • No Peter L. Thanks for the link. Seems a promising avenue of research with possible benefits of an additional source of fresh water as a byproduct of the fusion process!

      • Remember Australia has about three unused desal plants each costing at least half a million dollars a day. Would they take kindly to someone else producing fresh water we don’t need?

        Btw, the Kurnell desal lost some of its roof yesterday. It was actually caused by a quasi-tornado, but nobody cares any more about desal plants or extreme/record/unprecedented weather. Saturation has been reached.

        For the record, Australia gets tornadoes. Our biggie was the improbable Bulahdelah Tornado, New Years Day, 1970. A bit off the coast, half way between Sydney and my place. Took out a million trees, but nobody talks about it now because the violence is perfect but the date is all wrong.

        Hey, I’m sure some bright person will eventually come up with a clever way of producing liquid fuels out of gravel or seawater or chicken gizzards or something. Then we can have that bonfire of wind turbines. My idea, so I get to apply the match, okay?

      • mosomoso,

        did you read the article or simply dismiss it out of hand without even reading it?

        It’s important because all tose people who argue there is not way other than renewables are wrong. Nuclear can technically provide all the worlds electricity and all the transport fuels effectively indefinitely – although not yet economic.
        http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2012/fueling-the-fleet-navy-looks-to-the-seas

        http://www.zmescience.com/research/us-navy-synthetic-jet-fuel-seawater-0423432/

      • Hey, Peter, I didn’t dismiss the article! I was merely taking the occasion to ridicule white elephants like Sydney desal and SA wind turbines. (It’s an urge I can’t control.)

        I support out-there energy experiments which only cost millions. My problem is with long-failed experiments which are nonetheless mainstreamed – like wind farming! – at the cost of trillions.

        For all I know somebody might find a way to mesh even dopey wind and solar with other technologies for liquid fuel manufacture. But your nukes-to-jet-fuel idea sounds like a ripper. It’s got to be worth a punt, win or lose. With an idea like that, you’d progress even in failing.

        Someone will eventually come up with energy alternatives which work. What’s holding them back is not skepticism from people like me but the concentration of resources on pea-shooters known to be ineffective even before trillions are squandered on them. What’s holding back the future is futurologists: those people who think they know what “our grandkids” will be wanting and doing. Intellectuals are always wrong because they cast the future in the mould of the present. They are always trying to own the future, which is not for sale. Experimenters, go-look types and tinkerers ARE the future, even in failure.

        You know me, I love me some nukes! I spent some weeks in the company of the Golfech reactor on the Lot and Garonne. So lovely. Felt like hugging it!

      • mosomoso,

        Thank you. I agree with all that. I was just taking the opportunity to explain a bit more and to also show a picture demonstrating that the US Navy and other labs, including Audi, are already making hydro carbon fuels from seawater and it works, as the demonstration shows.

        The US Navy’s interest is to use the nuclear aircraft carriers nuclear power to make 100,000 gallons of jet fuel per day so they don’t have to be dependent on supplies from tankers which are the most vulnerable part of the logistics to support the navy. If the tankers can’t meet with the air craft carriers, the fleet has no air support and the whole fleet is a sitting duck.

  38. Curious George

    Does Naomi Oreskes have a medical marihuana license?

  39. Brian G Valentine

    I wonder what a perfect world looks like to Naomi. What is the weather like in this perfect world?

    There couldn’t be a “democracy” there. We will have all the right climate “scientists” for a ruling class.

    And I hate to think about “tests” of people’s “beliefs” to let them keep on living …

    • Oreskes and her sector of the global warming movement have always confused me.

      I don’t understand what their game is. They don’t seem to like people and would prefer that they (people other than Oreskes and her elite friends) are as poor and miserable as possible.

      I view Oreskes viewpoint as being unhelpful and opposed to my best interest.

      • Brian and PA +2

        Orwell got this right a long time ago – he saw it coming. The Constitution of the US was a turning point in history and continues to be frustrating for the elite and the powerful. Democracy decorelates bias nicely.

      • The game is simple.

        What people over at the Guradian really have a problem with is capitalism. Naomi wants bureaucratic control of global energy resources.

        Oreskes: “So this leaves us with the investor-owned companies seeking new reserves, and it means that we must find a way to convince – or prevent – these companies from continued exploration.”

        Ironically, placing global resources under the control of apparatchiki is about the fastest track to an RPC8.5+ World possible – as was demonstrated in eastern Europe a couple of decades ago.

      • When it comes to fossil fuels, there’s more to it than democracy. Mineral rights in America can be (and typically are) owned by private citizens. That situation is almost unique in the world.

        The federal government tightened restrictions on federal lands (national forests, BLM, offshore) but America’s oil and gas production boomed anyway because the Feds couldn’t afford to confiscate the private sector’s minerals.

        Of course, piling on enough regulatory expenses will eventually have the same effect as eminent domain, but without the need to compensate owners.

      • What really alarms me is Oreskes, Bloomberg, Obama and their compatriots seem to think the rest of us are evil/wrong/stupid if we disagree with them and since we don’t use our rights the way they want us to use our rights, they would like to take our rights away and use them for us.

        It does not seem to occur to them that they could be wrong or that their viewpoint could be flawed. This explains the “double down on failure” phenomenon by the elite. They can’t be wrong so failure is a sign insufficient resources were allocated.

      • The answer to your questions can be found by observing how the folks you identify do battle with their peers (both in money and power).

        Have you ever watched 2 really rich people fight over something ?
        Do you notice how petty and vindictive it becomes ?

        The little people are not even a speed bump in the road.

  40. Well, one of these things has to be worse, our fears regarding nuclear (so far not proven out as it is the cheapest death/KW hour technology available), or contending with Rising Seas, Pestilence and Plague, Climate Wars, Climate Refugees, Dying Polar Bears, increasingly unfaithful spouses, and all the rest of it.

    • Yep, two little nukes sitting on ~900 acres produce 7% of California’s electricity 24X7X365. No disaster yet. How can anyone fault that? I couldn’t resist…

      • “How can anyone fault that?”

        I think it is pretty amazing how well the Fukushima reactors did. Can’t recall the numbers, but they were well over their design goal for withstanding an earthquake of magnitude “n” when the quakes hit, and they stood up fine (to the earthquakes, not the tsunami, of course).

      • Didn’t do well on the LOOPA though, which is usually the design basis accident.
        If they had made the modifications US plants had to make post TMI, nobody would know how to pronounce Fukishima.
        Like put your diesel generators in bunkers for pete’s sake.
        So with a boiling water generator, you have a small turbine that powers a pump that can inject water from the suppression loop directly back into the core, this turbine is powered from the main steam lines directly above the core.
        I won’t even mention hydrogen recombiners.

        And no nuclear plant runs 24x7x365

      • Bobdroege

        correction, almost 24x7x365…they do bring them down for maintenance and such, but the two units combined are always producing power.

    • Indeed.

      Also, it is curious how many Greens are enamoured of hydro power, given its record.

      In fact, hydro power is responsible for several orders of magnitude more deaths than nuclear power. Take the Banqiao Dam disaster, for example:

      Casualties

      According to the Hydrology Department of Henan Province, in the province, approximately 26,000 people died from flooding and another 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine. In addition, about 5,960,000 buildings collapsed, and 11 million residents were affected. Unofficial estimates of the number of people killed by the disaster have run as high as 230,000 people

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam

      Or the Sichuan earthquake, perhaps:

      BEIJING — Nearly nine months after a devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, left 80,000 people dead or missing, a growing number of American and Chinese scientists are suggesting that the calamity was triggered by a four-year-old reservoir built close to the earthquake’s geological fault line.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/world/asia/06quake.html?pagewanted=all

      • Excellent point!

        And then there’s the Three Gorges Dam in China and the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil. In the case of the latter 20,000 indians were displaced. In the USA you couldn’t build that dam if a native people’s potshard was found onsite, which is a good thing.

        With nukes, or any other equally power dense source, you get to keep your free-flowing rivers and their associated fisheries and communities.

      • “American and Chinese scientists are suggesting that the calamity was triggered by a four-year-old reservoir built close to the earthquake’s geological fault line.”

        Actually, I wish I understood this more about this (certainly a lot of discussion going on in Oklahoma regarding fracking wast water underground storage). Are the quakes ones that would happen anyway, perhaps even larger, in the future? That is, they happen now instead of 100/200/1000 years from now? Or are they in fact quakes that would never happen.

    • edbarbar | December 16, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Reply
      Well, one of these things has to be worse, our fears regarding nuclear (so far not proven out as it is the cheapest death/KW hour technology available), or contending with Rising Seas, Pestilence and Plague, Climate Wars, Climate Refugees, Dying Polar Bears, increasingly unfaithful spouses, and all the rest of it.

      Well as far as the sea level rise…

      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7535/full/nature14093.html
      find a rate of GMSL rise from 1901 to 1990 of 1.2 ± 0.2 millimetres per year (90% confidence interval)

      Now if the current slowing of rotation is 1/3 the amount that caused “1.2 ± 0.2 millimetres per year” of sea level rise. The global warmers have some explaining to do. The one thing we can measure accurately is the earth’s rotation.

      The numbers aren’t compatible with increasing steric warming or Antarctic melting. For the steric ocean warming / glacial melting claims to be accurate there has to be a significant Antarctic ice sheet mass gain.

      But the 3.3 mm/y sea level rise claims are clearly false.

      The other false global warming claims (like the polar bears) don’t stand up to analysis any better.
      http://polarbearscience.com

  41. Naomi was very regretably hired as a full professor to Harvard from Berkeley. The result is that I of three Harvard degrees, refuse to contribute a single cent until she is gone. The Alumni giving office, and the admin are is a state of pseudoshock. You would not believe the stuff they have tried to pull. Crying undergrads on the phone. Ignorant warmunist alumni guilt. Reason is they think I might be capable of a more than average legacy contribution. Whether or not true, they have yet to learn the first rule of holes.
    Harvard made choices. Choices have consequences. Pains me, but just is.

  42. I think she is calling them deniers because they entertain ideas which may be seems as outside the definitive conclusions of the mythical 97% of scientist who agree in detail on all things relating to climate, energy, politics, economics …

    • This thread seems more about policy than the science of climate change. The main problem with AGWers IMO is that their take on climate change requires an absolute belief that the only policically correct emissions policy has to be based on renewable energy sources as they currently stand.

      • Peter M Davies,

        This thread seems more about policy than the science of climate change.

        If the climate science does not provide the information that is required for rational policy analysis then the climate science is irrelevant. We’ve had 30+ years of mostly irrelevant, or at least poorly directed climate science. I suggest many more posts should be clearly policy relevant.

      • Keep your eye on the ball. It starts by calling people “science” deniers. The argument is the science is clear and the science is settled and deniers are people who do not accept the science. But then the term “denier” get’s applied to those who raise questions or point our caveats grounded in science that might impede the policy proposals that some see as logical outgrowths from the “science”. Then the term gets applied to those who raise policy questions even though they do not touch on or address the original consensus “science”.

        I think of evolutionary theory as science and eugenics as policy. Way back for many belief in evolution went hand in hand with advocacy for eugenics (not Darwin though). I don’t think that questioning energy policy is any more a denial of climate science than questioning eugenics was/is a denial or evolutionary theory.

    • Obscene

  43. I remember reading about SETI
    someone speculating about technological societies on other worlds
    a Level One society could harness the energy of their planet
    Level Two their star
    Level Three the solar system
    Level Four the galaxy

    Seems that energy in the minds of some has become a sin

    Growing up with Apollo and Star Trek
    it’s sad see that promise disabled by fear
    a false one IMO

    seems that we are becoming one of those meek, passive species that Captain Kirk was always having to save

    I say all those worlds are for us, including Europa

  44. Pingback: Well, what shall we talk about? | The Lukewarmer's Way

  45. The only viable source of energy that would lead us to practically zero emission is sustainable forestry. All what is needed is to rotate less than 15% of the current inventory of wood. Th infrastructure is available, it is the same as that of coal. Labor is the same as that of coal. Its power density is slightly less than coal but should not be a problem. Boilers can be redesigned accordingly.

    • Brian G Valentine

      There you go.

      We can fuel cars with methanol from destructive distillation of wood (or from wood syngas). But the land mass of Michigan is needed for the trees

      • Transportation is not a major emitter. It is power generation and industry that are energy hogs. Besides electric cars are becoming reliable and their energy consumption is economical

    • nabilswedan,

      You wrote –

      “The only viable source of energy that would lead us to practically zero emission is sustainable forestry.”

      Good luck with that. I hope you can learn to live without things like steel, cement and a few other things.

      The infrastructure is nowhere near the same, as far as I can see, but I’m sure you can look it up for yourself. Unless we want to return to pre Industrial Revolution conditions, plenty of coal will still be needed.

      I can’t understand the fixation on zero emissions. Increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere appears to be totally beneficial, so maybe you mean something else. Wood is pretty awful stuff to use as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels.

      Cheers.

      • Dear Mike, I know well the steel and cement industries. They need coal of course. But how much of the total consumption? Not much.

        Is really CO2 reducing emission a priority? Based on the current science it is. However, the current science is flawed. The surface is not in radiative balance with the atmosphere, it is in thermodynamic equilibrium. Therefore the question remains unanswered for a sound science is unavailable. Accordingly, I totally agree with your statement “I can’t understand the fixation on zero emissions.”

  46. Why is it that Geothermal Electricity generation and Geothermal heating and cooling of structures is never mentioned in the future energy mix. It is low maintenance, pays back within a decade in most countries and has little emissions. My kids went to this school http://www.radnor.com/DocumentCenter/View/2268 for a couple of years and walking into it when it was minus 10 deg C outside knowing it was completely heated by underground heat was impressive. I see now many schools in the area are adopting this now. So why not make it compulsory for new buildings have geothermal heat pumps installed before construction? Also most countries have geothermal hot spots so why not convert these to geothermal power stations? I suspect the answer to why this has not become more common is short term thinking on costs. Who wants to wait a decade for it to be come cost efficient and of course land space is also a consideration, but perhaps small towns could set up a community geothermal heat pump system that services multiple buildings?

  47. Seems to me, nuclear power in it’s current form, is a mature technology that is being overtaken by more advanced energy forms that are more efficient and cost effective.

    Attempting to ride the coat-tails of the “climate-change” bandwagon will probably not succeed in the US as a vastly more effective alternative is available (natural gas power plants). However, may work in regions with no fuel resources and in dire need of power.

    As far as nuclear innovation is concerned, the US government seems to have a real knack for picking losers. The mind-numbing bureaucraciy is simply not a fertile ground for innovation.

    Can nuclear power overcome the cost, safety and waste problems undermining the energy source? Without a doubt, but the solutions will not come from the government.

    • Curious George

      Nuclear waste is not a technical problem. It is a political problem.

      • Sure it is – it’s full of plutonium that can be chemically separated and made into bombs. Well over 12,000 tonnes of Pu from civilian nuclear programs. Takes a few Kg to make a weapon.

    • Here’s a quote from Freeman Dyson:

      “The fundamental problem of the nuclear industry is not reactor safety, not waste disposal, not the dangers of nuclear proliferation, real though all these problems are. The fundamental problem of the industry is that nobody any longer has any fun building reactors….Sometime between 1960 and 1970 the fun went out of the business. The adventurers, the experimenters, the inventors, were driven out, and the accountants and managers took control. The accountants and managers decided that it was not cost effective to let bright people play with weird reactors. So the weird reactors disappeared and with them the chance of any radical improvement beyond our existing systems. We are left with a very small number of reactor types, each of them frozen into a huge bureaucratic organization, each of them in various ways technically unsatisfactory, each of them less safe than many possible alternative designs which have been discarded. Nobody builds reactors for fun anymore. The spirit of the little red schoolhouse is dead. That, in my opinion, is what went wrong with nuclear power.”

    • Kellermfk

      Wrong! Dead wrong! It’s extremely difficult and costly to make weapons grade material from the used fuel from modern civilian nuclear power plants. That’s why no one tries. They make weapons grade material from dedicated plants that are specifically designed to produce materials for weapons.

  48. Brian G Valentine

    If the pain on the Public from the “demands” of the kooks becomes excessive, the Democracy will vote it away. Unfortunately only after a lot of needless waste, pain, and damage

    • Democratic governments have already bridled at the cost and other downsides of renewables, and cut back in Spain, and they’re starting to cut back in Denmark, Germany, and the UK. The pressure from the public will intensify there as winter power shortages occur, or blackouts. Or it there is a recession, which is bound to happen one of these years, after a seven-year interim.

      Warmists seem to think there will be no pushback against the laws they pass and the treaties they sign. They aren’t even trying to “look around the corner.” They think once they’ve broken through the current legal / political obstacles, the way ahead is clear. But more resistance will rear its head down the road, as it becomes increasingly steep and bumpy.

      Five years on, our public will ask why it is sacrificing, when our example has not led the developing world to emulate us, and our own emissions reductions are having a trivial effect on reducing global warming. Those questions will intensify if the global temperature stays flat despite rising CO2.

  49. Oreskes may be the denier. The answer will be all of the above. I am sure some of the INDCs rely on nuclear as part of the mix, and those should be encouraged. Perhaps Hansen et al. are too pessimistic about renewables, or maybe they are realistic. It is hard to tell at this point. We are looking at a 50-year energy transition, and who knows how energy technology and transportation will look in 50 years.

    • Brian G Valentine

      Whatever it is Jim, it all costs money. Money comes from production. It doesn’t grow on trees. Meaning an economy can’t be killed off to make a new one – and less so based on senseless fears

      • Change is an entrepreneur’s dream. This is how new fortunes get made, by getting in on the ground floor with a wave of the future. Energy will be like the tech and internet revolutions. There will be winners and losers, but the best ideas will win.

      • Ta daaaa

        And there ya have it. Make some stuff up about a quasi risk. Get the people whipped into some flailing frenzy. Spend lots of money on stuff we don’t need and in the end, it’s okay because “this is how new fortunes get made”.

        Fascinating

      • Kind of like turning energy into a free market, which it isn’t currently, being highly monopolized and controlled by a few.

      • knutesea, That’s right it’s called capitalism.

      • Checklist of prerequisites fer entry ter
        the green-would-be world-changer-
        top-down golden-age (dark-ages really)
        Club of Rome doom-sayers.

        # Non-socratic certainty of the truth of yr own beliefs
        and Naomi-esque conviction that it’s yer destiny ter
        impose yr utopian (distopian really) system globally
        on the ignorant masses.

        # Post-modern sociology education devoid of any
        inconvenient economic, statistical or engineering
        experience so that policies of printing money and
        wealth distribution, ‘n promotion of inefficient, inter-
        mittant renewable energy, propped up by hockey-
        stick statistics, may be zealously advocated with
        at least 97% confidence.

    • Curious George

      +10.

  50. John F. Hultquist

    My bold in the quote below:

    The key to decarbonizing our economy is to build a new energy system that does not rely on carbon-based fuels. Scientific studies show that that can be done, it can be done soon and it does not require nuclear power.

    Hand waving of the egregious sort.
    She just makes stuff up.

  51. Bill is getting there, slowly. I’m happy that he is making the effort.

    We have been delayed about four decades by environmentalist objections to nuclear power. If I was feeling kind, I would explain that away by saying they were probably also frightened by the cold-war fears of nuclear war.

    Naomi is just barking for book sales. I can think of no other kind explanation.

  52. I sometimes think Naomi Oreskes might be a Maoist. She even appears to have come up with a new Mao suit:

  53. “If you accept the premise that human caused climate change is dangerous and that we need to rapidly stop burning fossil fuels, then I don’t see a near term alternative to nuclear.”

    Sensible people have been saying this for 30 years. Lovelock said it. What has changed? The “Green blob” has never been interested in practical solutions to reduce carbon emissions. They oppose not only nuclear but also fracking.

    For them, “renewables” are part of a religion and AGW is simply a way to get their ideas accepted by the public. The scare must be kept going as long as possible, and anyone who threatens to “solve” the problem is as dangerous as someone who denies it exists.

    Getting into bed with the “green blob” was the biggest mistake the scientific community ever made. It is the greens who are anti-science, anti-development, and anti-human.

  54. Joshua,
    @ https://judithcurry.com/2015/12/16/the-new-climate-deniers/#comment-751680

    The full future cost (actually more than the full cost) of nuclear waste management is included in the cost of electricity from nuclear plants. The cost is trivial at about $1/MWh. If you were genuinely interested in the topic you’d know that.

    You’d also know that weather-dependent renewables cannot supply much of global electricity, let alone global energy and they are far more expensive than nuclear to provide reliable power (which is an essential requirement). On the other hand, nuclear has demonstrated it can provide most of the power.

    You’d also know that nuclear can be built much faster than renewables (in terms of firm power supplied, which is essential).

    You’d also know that advocating for renewables and against nuclear – as you do – is delaying progress. The anti-nukes have been delaying progress for 50 years. They’ve caused electricity to be far more expensive than it could and should be, caused global GHG emissions to be 10-20% higher than it could have been and caused the rate of emissions reductions over the coming decades to be very much slower than it would be of not for their irrational, ideologically driven scare mongering.

    You’d also know that the emissions from the full life cycle of nuclear are about the same as for wind and much lower than for solar.

    As for your ideological arguments, well that’s just your ideologically motivated reasoning speaking. The relevant facts are as I’ve stated.

    Managing Flexibility Whilst Decarbonising the GB Electricity Systemhttp://erpuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ERP-Flex-Man-Full-Report.pdf is an excellent recent report about what UK would need to do to meet the emissions targets for its electricity system and the cost. Mostly nuclear is the least cost way to do it. France has already shown it is achievable, reliable and economic and showed how quickly it can be implemented. Nuclear power has been supplying 75-80% of France’s electricity for 30 years. Thanks to that, France’s emissions intensity of electricity was 42 g/kWhCO2 in 2014.

  55. Pingback: Los nuevos “negacionistas”, les llaman. James Hansen, Bill Gates, etc. | PlazaMoyua.com

  56. Naomi:

    Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, BP, Shell -> BAD
    Pemex, Petrobras, PDVSA, Rosneft -> GOOD

  57. The best way to produce cheap electrical energy, with high level of safety, independent of wind and light, for about 5000 years, is to develop surgeneration 238 U and 232 Th. Intermittent energy is bullshit…

  58. John Costigane

    Judith,

    I watched a great program on Channel 5 (UK tv) called ‘Meet The Psychopaths’. We could be missing the big picture in our opposition to climate alarmism. Talking to the types in the program was pointless since they felt they were always right. Does this remind you of some among our opponents?

    There were 20 characteristics defining the types of behaviour in this condition of actual criminal types. It was illuminating to test the 20 on various alarmists. See for yourselves.

    • By definition, those who are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening are neurotic and neuroticism does not appear to interfere with normal day to day activities in Western academia.

      • John Costigane

        Wagathon,

        My interest is the pursuit of knowledge (truth), whatever it is.

        One example from the program, part of a series, was the sometimes bad outcome when such types are leaders, in the political or business spheres. We are interested in a political/scientific controversy where, if I am correct, there could be such an outcome.

  59. We don’t need to reduce CO2 emissions at all, because there is NO VALID PHYSICS which can be used to prove it could possibly warm the surface. I challenge ANY READER to summarize any such physics that supposedly uses radiation to explain Earth’s surface temperature and proves water vapor and carbon dioxide raise the surface temperature by nearly 33 degrees. Only incorrect “physics” can be used to “prove” this.

  60. The consequences of stopping the use of nuclear power:

    “Environmental and health impacts of a policy to phase out nuclear power in Sweden”

    Abstract
    Nuclear power faces an uncertain future in Sweden. Major political parties, including the Green party of the coalition-government have recently strongly advocated for a policy to decommission the Swedish nuclear fleet prematurely. Here we examine the environmental, health and (to a lesser extent) economic impacts of implementing such a plan. The process has already been started through the early shutdown of the Barsebäck plant. We estimate that the political decision to shut down Barsebäck has resulted in ~2400 avoidable energy-production-related deaths and an increase in global CO2 emissions of 95 million tonnes to date (October 2014). The Swedish reactor fleet as a whole has reached just past its halfway point of production, and has a remaining potential production of up to 2100 TWh. The reactors have the potential of preventing 1.9–2.1 gigatonnes of future CO2-emissions if allowed to operate their full lifespans. The potential for future prevention of energy-related-deaths is 50,000–60,000. We estimate an 800 billion SEK (120 billion USD) lower-bound estimate for the lost tax revenue from an early phase-out policy. In sum, the evidence shows that implementing a ‘nuclear-free’ policy for Sweden (or countries in a similar situation) would constitute a highly retrograde step for climate, health and economic protection.

    Energy Policy. Vol 84. Sept. 2015.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421515001731

    • Interesting, policy relevant, correspondence from author Staffan Qvest to Barry Brook:

      “To their credit, the greens of the current government have come up with a quite clever way to phase out nuclear. The law allowing new-build still stands but has been rendered moot due to the implementation and subsequent increases in a nuclear-specific tax called the “effect tax” (separate from the tax paid to finance the repository). It’s a tax of about $25000/MW-thermal of installed power per year, to be paid monthly, even if the plant is not in operation. It is thus completely disconnected from electricity production, and is only levied on nuclear. The extra tax of $100m/year per large reactor, on top of all other taxes, plus the heavy subsidy of construction of large amounts of un-needed wind and solar and the dumping of cheap coal on the European market means that at current electricity prices some of the nuclear plants are “economically uncompetitive”. The government then claims that nuclear “can’t compete in the market”, nuclear proceeds to decommission itself, without any law imposed for this and any settlement payments.”

      http://bravenewclimate.com/2015/05/05/environmental-and-health-impacts-of-a-policy-to-phase-out-nuclear-power-in-sweden/#comment-405169

  61. How likely is it that current views prevalent among those in the official climate change establishment will remain unchanged after ten more years of no global warming? Would it simply take more years of no global warming to bring about a reformation in their belief system or is a Martin Luther and unrelated outside forces always required to change perceptions and bring about doctrinal changes? Obviously, more science is not the answer. I think most of us already realize neither Michael Mann nor Al Gore — and, not even Obama — have authority over the sun. No one really believes America is at fault for rising seas or bad weather around the world — believing otherwise is local and global politics at best and ignorance, prejudice, jealousy or hatred at worst.

  62. I am a little surprised that no one has mentioned the biggest issue with nuclear power: Cost. I say that because in today’s regulatory, economic, and social situation it takes a very brave and strong corporation to take on the job of building a new nuclear power plant. Every step of the process is a continuous legal and financial battle. Legal because every step of the process requires approval from dozens of agencies from the NRC down to local planning commissions. Regulations are often conflicting and overly controlling with legal decisions made by people with no qualifications to make them. Economic because obtaining loans at low interest rates or approval to issue bonds for construction is hampered by the realistic view of the level of legal battle the construction would entail. Social because of both a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) attitude and irrational level of fear of radiation.

    The cost of finding, evaluating, and receiving approval of a site for nuclear power plant construction easily runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Furthermore, the battle over the site continues by anti-nuclear groups throughout the construction process even when a legal approval for a site is achieved.

    Construction is hampered by review processes at each stage of design and construction. Where a contractor building a house might be irritated by having to delay work for a few hours until the city inspector arrives, consider the nuclear industry situation. How he would feel if he had to produce a multi-thousand page description of what his people have done so far and what if left to do. Of course, you must add in that it will be presented to several federal regulatory panels and administrative law judges – with lawyers from multiple opposition groups also attending. Each approval can involve months to years of expensive legal work with loan interest and bond payout amounts continue to add to the total project cost. (This actually could be considered as counter productive to safety concerns as technology advances as these delays continue but incorporating newer, better equipment would delay completion of construction even more. Better to get the plant on line and go through the slow approval process while making money to pay for the work!)

    As for the social situation, I seriously doubt I even need to comment on the issue of opposition to nuclear power.

    • That is why the US needs a new nuclear paradigm – like LFTR.

      Traditional reactors have failure modes that allow radioactivity to escape the building.

      The only way for LFTR radioactivity to leave the building is for it to walk out the door.

      This changes the regulatory environment. There is no “potential disaster” to prevent with draconian regulation.

      If there is a sensible increase in permitted radioactivity levels that will help.
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2014/07/13/absurd-radiation-limits-are-a-trillion-dollar-waste/

    • And that is why China will do all that and sell them to us.

    • Gary Weston,

      Excellent, well written comment and all correct.

      But there is a way forward. As P.A says “That is why the US needs a new nuclear paradigm”. But he wrongly suggest LFTR is “a new nuclear paradigm”. It’s not. It’s just one of many possible future nuclear fission technologies. The “new nuclear paradigm” needed is to deregulate the nuclear industry. That’s what’s required. See my comment upthread https://judithcurry.com/2015/12/16/the-new-climate-deniers/#comment-751863 on the safety record and regulation comparisons with the healthcare industry and contrasts with the aviation industry:

      • Peter Lang,

        I still think the main reason for reactor safety is too maintain the economic viability of the reactor for 40 to 60 years than to minimize the radiation dose to the public.

        TMI didn’t do squat to the public dose, but the bottom line suffered.

        It pays to protect the investment, and there is a spurious correlation between that and the public dose and their perception.

        Radiation leaks are problematic, not because of the dose to the public, but because if you don’t keep the RAM where it is supposed to be, you have increased expenses to deal with it.

      • Bobdroege,

        I agree “the main reason for reactor safety is too maintain the economic viability of the reactor for 40 to 60 years” And appropriate, light regulation does that, just as it has succeeded so well for the aviation industry (did you read my comment quoting the article comparing safety in aviation versus healthcare industries?)

        I think you may have missed the main reason for progressively moving radiation limits from ALARA to AHARS. The primary reason is to get the public to take another look at the safety of nuclear power and get to understand, over time, how badly misled they’ve been by the anti-nukes for the past 50 years.

        The problems are not technical. They are political and regulatory – and having the public sector so deeply involved. That’s what has to be changed. If the nuclear industry was deregulated as I suggest (over time), it would greatly improve its design and safety, like the aviation industry has and in contrast to the excessively but poorly regulated healthcare industry.

        The public sector is the problem, not the solution. Free it up and allow this to proceed – as has been the case in other appropriately but lightly regulated private sector industries: http://www.thirdway.org/report/the-advanced-nuclear-industry

    • Gary Wescom (sorry for incorrect spelling in previous comment),

      How to make nuclear cheaper

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

      To achieve this the cost of electricity from nuclear will have to become cheaper than from fossil fuels. Here’s how I suggest this could be achieved:

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

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

      US study on low-dose ionising radiation

      The US Department of Energy (DOE) and National Academy of Sciences have been directed to work together to assess the current status of US and international research on low-dose radiation and to formulate a long-term research agenda under a bill approved by the US House of Representatives. The Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2015 directs the two organisations to carry out a research program “to enhance the scientific understanding of and reduce uncertainties associated with the effects of exposure to low dose radiation in order to inform improved risk management methods.” The study is to be completed within 18 months.

      The Act arises from a letter from a group of health physicists who pointed out that the limited understanding of low-dose health risks impairs the nation’s decision-making capabilities, whether in responding to radiological events involving large populations such as the 2011 Fukushima accident or in areas such as the rapid increase in radiation-based medical procedures, the cleanup of radioactive contamination from legacy sites and the expansion of civilian nuclear energy. The aftermath of the Fukushima accident has boosted concern that unduly conservative standards may have large adverse health and welfare costs.

      WNN 20/1/15. Radiation health effects http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Radiation-and-Health/Nuclear-Radiation-and-Health-Effects/

      More here: ‘WNN 20/1/15. Radiation health effects http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-US-House-passes-low-dose-radiation-bill-2001158.html.

      3. Once the IAEA starts increasing the allowable radiation limits for the public this should be the trigger to start the process that leads to reducing the cost of nuclear energy; and the catalyst to keep reducing costs over the long term as the radiation limits are reviewed and increased periodically. As the radiation limits are reviewed and raised:

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

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

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

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

      e. The Operation and Maintenance cost of nuclear plants is reduced as the excessive requirements for safety and security decreases over time to the equivalent of other types of electricity generation plant (to AHARS, As High As Relatively Safe). (NPPs have 150 highly trained, well-armed security officers, augmented by comprehensive detection and surveillance systems, on average. That’s $15-$20 million per nuclear plant site per year (about $10 million per reactor).

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

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

      6. The efficiency of using the fuel can be improved by nearly a factor of 100. That is some indication of how much the cost of nuclear power can be reduced over a period of many decades.

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

    • What corporation can put 5 billion dollars on the sideline for 10 years these days?
      The regulatory hurdles are the easiest to jump.

      that’s why I think the government should build them and auction them to the power companies.

      Maybe try some referendums in say Illinois, and see if the public will support a few more plants. Win them over with jobs.

      • Brian G Valentine

        Good point. That is essentially what the government did with the nuclear capability after WW2. Government brought it to the people!

        Government doesn’t want to do that any more. The problem is the greenie lobbies and their enablers like AAAS. They get in the way. Government cannot deal with them.

      • Lets see where the greenies really put their preferences.

      • Brian G Valentine

        A “proposal” from the “government” to build a commercial “reactor” will bring 50 (maybe more) lawsuits by the following morning

  63. I am more and more disappointed with the language used in the discussion of people like Oreskes. This really shocking now. What a sloppy thinker.

  64. Now that the seas will be rising out of control, the expertise of the Dutch will become more important. Learn from the Dutch…for free…

    https://online-learning.tudelft.nl/courses/engineering-building-with-nature/

    • Oh Nay-chur,
      great teach-ur,
      practisin’
      trial ‘n error.

      In the long run
      where’d we be
      w/out evolu-tion
      of species or

      in societies,
      evolu-tion
      of ideas and
      technologies?

      Risk-takers dare
      to fail – some do,
      no guarantees
      of success, but

      likely benefits
      for the rest of us
      at little cost.
      Not what says

      the Nanny State.
      Instead, – ‘Cede us
      the powers, your
      dollars and your

      Euros and we
      will keep you safe
      for we’ll arrest
      all change.

      H/T Plato’s Utopia.

  65. Naomi Klein – trying het best to be Red Queen

  66. Intermittent renewables cannot supply a large proportion of global electricity – many lines of evidence show this. For example:

    1. Non-hydro renewables have not managed to do so to date in any large electricity grid, (hydro cannot help; its capacity growth is limited so it will decrease its share of global electricity generation over future decades).

    2. Growth rates of wind and solar over 25 years have achieved 3% (wind) and 1% (solar) of global electricity supply. Over 25 years, wind power has grown at just 1/6th and solar at 1/18th the rate nuclear grew at. The recent growth rates of weather-dependent renewables, which are driven by enormous incentives from a near zero base, are not an indication of future growth rates. And signs are the recent growth rates may have already peaked.

    3. The cost of electricity and CO2 abatement cost is much higher for wind and solar when all costs are properly included and a proper comparison is done. Adding more intermittent renewable technologies adds cost but does not remove the need for nearly fully backup capacity or high cost energy storage.

    4. Industrial countries with high a high proportion of non-hydro renewables have high cost electricity and high CO2 emissions intensity. For example, compare France (with a high proportion of nuclear) with Germany (with a high proportion of wind and solar). Germany’s electricity prices are 2x France’s and its CO2 emissions intensity is 6x France’s.

    5. Wind and solar are not sustainable – their ERoEI is insufficient to enable them to power modern society and reproduce themselves.

    6. The cost of energy storage that would be needed to make intermittent renewables capable of providing reliable power make intermittent renewables prohibitively expensive – at least five times the cost of nuclear.

    7. CO2 abatement effectiveness decreases as penetration increases – e.g. to around 50% CO2 abatement effectiveness at 20% penetration.

    References available on request

  67. The CAGW argument is predicated on the assumption that; (a) CO2 is the primary contributing factor in climate change; (b) CO2 leads temperature change; (c) warming will be catastrophic. Is it an accurate assessment?

  68. “Conspiracy ideation” is nowhere near as prevalent as “conspiracy ideation ideation”.
    IOW, it’s usually just a strawman. In the CAGW case, put forward by really desperate and dishonest alarmists.

  69. So they are denying Real-world Engineering ie favour Lalaland engineering
    They are Reality Engineering Deniers …REDs for short

    Naomi Oreskes would be the RED Queen

  70. Pingback: Climate propaganda in Australian schools | Climate Scepticism

  71. Pingback: Author of global warming “consensus” study calls top climate scientists denialists! | Uncommon Descent

  72. Hansen is especially rich, almost like seeing Lysenko convicted at his own show trial.

    • repost

      JC,

      My guess is you deserve credit for highlighting this and raising awareness to it. Your influence is growing, perhaps exponentially.

    • Brian G Valentine

      I’m not impressed, Judith. New Yorker contributors jump all over people like Trump for being divisive at the expense of others because of excessive egos.

      Naomi gets a pretty weak “rebuke” and will continue to have fawning Leftist press approval to keep on doing it

    • Denialists are people who inhabit their fictions and run from the truth. They don’t believe there was a Holocaust or a final solution; they insist, despite indisputable molecular evidence, as well as the deaths of tens of millions of people, that AIDS is not caused by H.I.V. They are people who believe that angels are real and that evolution is false.

      It intrigues me that religious beliefs are being dragged into the definition of the inflammatory word, denier. I noticed how he weaved back and forth between fact based evidence and belief. An unaware listener gets sucked into applying the insult to someone who rejects a fact based on evidence with beliefs.

      Very nasty mindf____king right there folks.
      Could be an early sign of presidential GOP vs Dem political strategy.

      I so Markey inartfully try to wip this one at you in his rant.

  73. Judith,

    My guess is you deserve credit for pointing this out and raising its visibility. Your influence is growing, perhaps exponentially.

  74. Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson looks like the new go to guy for greenies who want all renewables and no nuclear. He’s been cranking out the 100% renewable studies. He has very impressive credentials and worked on the black carbon studies:

    http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/

    He’s also very charismatic. He looks a little like Jon Hamm on the TV show, Mad Men. He’s in a lot of YouTube videos. He’s been on Letterman. He’s in Bill Nye and Anrold Schwarzenegger’s new video. He was in a TED debate on nuclear that got over 200,000 views. He even persuaded a small portion of the audience:

    His studies tend to be rather general and gloss over details such as the difficulties of using hydrogen for transportation. He’s added carbon emissions from future wars into nuclear energy’s carbon foot print. He’s the man who needs to be debunked.

    • He seems like one of the guys on infomercials and plays fast and loose with the facts the same way.

    • Canman,

      Mark Jacobson has been debunked repeatedly. He takes no notice and simply keeps rolling out his nonsense.

    • His points:
      1. more carbon dioxide
      2. more air pollutants
      3. enhances mortality
      4. takes longer
      5. proliferation

      He doesn’t appear to consider the pollution from fabrication in China, he doesn’t seem to consider the water pollution in China. Most of his “CO2 due to nuclear” is due to the delay in construction. Enhances mortality seems to involve use of nuclear weapons.

      He defines the wind footprint as where the pole touches the ground and seems to back wind and ignore solar. Further he assumes that the entire vehicle fleet will magically get converted away from gas and credits that to renewable energy.

      If we kicked the anti-nukers out of the US most of his already weak case would evaporate.

      I don’t see how he ever wins these arguments other than by talking fast and tossing out so much chaff the opposing presenter can’t respond to all the fluff.

    • One thing that has surprised me in the climate debates is how many and how strongly a lot of warmists will cling to their pro renewables and anti nuclear position. They seem immune to arithmetic and logic. When I first ran across Jacobson’s Scientific American study, I just dismissed him as a vapid crackpot. Now that I’ve read a little more about him, I suspect that he may be offering his fans an air of respectability, where others like Amory Lovins might seem a bit fringy.

  75. Given the nuclear solution requires new reactor designs yet to be built even for demonstration and test purposes, and then the complexities of siting nuclear power plants near the calling water they need while defending them against flood waters makes construction of tested designs take a decade. So, the nuclear solution is two decades away, and then they will risk being more expensive than alternative which will reduce costs in the four decades between now and when new nuclear power plants will still have two decades of debt service on labor costs for building nuclear two to three decades earlier.

    • Michael Pettengill,

      I disagree with all that France got to 75-80% nuclear over 20 year and has been running at that for about 30 years. Do it is ridiculous to argue it can’t be doensn’t or that we have to wait for new reactor deisigns.

      What those who oppose nuclear power cant explain is what viable alternatives are there? What technologies other than nuclear can supply most of the world’s ever growing energy demand virtually indefinitely?

      • Peter Lang,

        I believe the Germans got their fusion reactor – coolly named Stellarator – to keep the reaction going for 0.1 seconds. I’d call that splendiferously amazing!

        I wonder how long it will take to get to 1.0 seconds. I live in hope, but I’m not holding my breath while I wait. The future might be interesting.

        Cheers.

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  79. Reblogged this on windfarmaction and commented:
    An Open perspective!

  80. Reblogged this on Climate Collections and commented:
    Executive Summary: If you accept the premise that human caused climate change is dangerous and that we need to rapidly stop burning fossil fuels, then I [JC] don’t see a near term alternative to nuclear. The innovations that [Bill] Gates is looking for most likely won’t be major factors in energy generation for several decades.

    There is no good solution massively reducing our emissions from fossil fuels on the time scale of a decade. If the nuclear solution is unpalatable, then reconsider whether the proposed cure is worse than the hypothesized disease.