Week in review – energy and policy edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

This controversial carbon pricing proposal could be the key to success for the world’s new climate agreement [link]

Are outdated licensing rules holding back the next generation of safer, cheaper nuclear reactors? [link]

Rand Corp:  Paris gets the (decision) science right [link]

Putting a price on carbon is a fine idea. It’s not the end-all be-all. [link]

US, China & Developing Nations Oppose Curbs On CO2 Emissions For Shipping [link]

President Obama’s Earth Day speech:  Our Responsibility to Act [link]

“Climate change skeptics & environmentalists” support the same advanced nuclear legislation.  [link]

Chip Knappenberger: Obama is making global warming promises he can’t keep [link]

National Review: A critic of global warming activism is now under subpoena, in a naked effort to use prosecutorial powers as a political weapon [link]

Not everyone (from the alarmed side) is celebrating the Paris Climate Agreement [link]

Ross McKitrick on Canadian energy politics: Let’s stop pretending ‘social license’ is an actual thing. [link]

Nature:  By endorsing a limit of 1.5 °C, the climate negotiations have effectively defined what society considers dangerous [link]

Nuclear power plants usually operate in base load mode, but might enhance value by flexible operation. [link]

Reuters: UN members fear US ‘sabotage’ of Obama’s #climate commitments  [link]

Senate manages to pass its first comprehensive energy bill in a decade by not mentioning climate change [link]

Which Countries Won’t Be Signing The Paris Climate Deal On Its Opening Day? [link] …

Mekong Delta Drought Crisis: A Climate-Change Security Risk In The Making [link]

Chinese dams blamed for exacerbating Southeast Asian #drought: [link]

The Economist: China has built six dams on its stretch of the Mekong; Laos and Cambodia plan another 11 [link]

Does premature #ParisAgreement deal risk a painful birth? [link]

Foreign Affairs: Fighting climate change with innovation [link]

Dissent as crime: the climate change inquisition, the scandal unfolds [link]

New Zealand is being accused of cheating to fulfill its climate change obligations [link]

New Zealand embroiled in carbon credit scandal [link]

Phys.org:  Is the 1.5C target a mirage? [link]

New York AG Tried To Cover Up Activist Involvement In Exxon Probe [link] …

Oliver Geden: Not changing #EU2030 target doesn’t violate #ParisAgreement but contradicts its spirit. [link]

How Obama could leave a president Trump or Cruz stuck with the #ParisAgreement on climate [link]



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

  1. “Not everyone (from the alarmed side) is celebrating the Paris Climate Agreement,,,”

    The climate summit bambizzle in Paris at the close of 2015, the infamous if not notorious James Hansen (former official NASA government global warming alarmist) readily admitted, was “half-assed and half-baked,” a “fake,” and a “fraud.”

    • Dr. James Hansen is correct. The scientific revolution ended.

      Being politically correct is now more important than
      1. Being spiritually correct in religious organizations
      2. Being factually correct in scientific organizations

    • Pricing carbon is highly unlikely to succeed. This explains why:
      Wnhy carbon pricing will not succeed

      This chart shows that even with the most alarmist inputs, the cost of abatement policies will greatly exceed the hypothesized benefits of reduced climate damages.

      Given the costs, rational negotiators (i.e. nations) will not sign up. therefore the cost to achieve a benefit will be much higher than the optimistic projections of the costs that this chart is based on.

      The big picture is that abatement policies that will cost more than the benefits will not be politically sustainable – i.e. they will not succeed and survive long enough to deliver the hypothesized benefits.

      • Perhaps some global warmer could enlighten us on how incurring huge mitigation costs for meager benefits makes any sort of rational sense.

    • Wagathon,

      The climate summit bambizzle in Paris at the close of 2015, the infamous if not notorious James Hansen (former official NASA government global warming alarmist) readily admitted, was “half-assed and half-baked,” a “fake,” and a “fraud.”

      I have not known Dr. Hansen to be reluctant to speak his mind. Readily volunteered is more his usual style.

      • Not sure the level of volunteerism given that oiling the AGW machine has become a labor for profit…

      • Wagathon,

        It reminds me of a passage describing the Spanish conquistadores from J.H. Elliott’s Imperial Spain:

        These men were dedicated fighters — tough, determined, contemptuous of danger, arrogant, and touchy, extravagant and impossible….

        The dedication, however, required a cause, and the sacrifice a recompense. Both were described with disarming frankness by Cortes’ devoted companion, the historian Brenal Diaz del Castillo: ‘We came here to serve God and the king, and to get rich.’

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

  3. Dr. Curry, your opening for the Week in review – energy and policy edition (and yesterday’s Week in review – science edition) needs to be revised:

    A few A whole ton of things that caught my eye this past week.

    You really know how to make me feel like a lightweight.

  4. Dissent as crime. Wow. Follow the money. All the way to contingency fee shysters subbing for AGs. Really ugly; Exxon has hit back hard.

    • A great read – good to see a very well written piece by a lawyer on this:
      Dissent as crime: the climate change inquisition, the scandal unfolds

      “Regulation by litigation, a phenomenon conceived in hubris and steeped in corruption, occurs when a confederacy of state attorneys general, organized sectors of the bar, and advocacy groups collapse executive and legislative functions advancing novel theories of liability in order to legislate and tax heretofore lawful and, in this instance, constitutionally protected conduct.

      These 20 state lawyers are engaged in a naked political campaign to impose their views of climate change on the entire United States, ludicrously cloaking their imperious foray as the answer to a Congressional void crying out for their heroics.”

      • This to me is one of the scariest parts:

        It was of the utmost importance to the colonists to structure a government that would prevent such ministerial corruption. By separating powers, and providing for principles of the public fisc that prohibit money flowing to or from the government outside of legislative appropriations they did so.

        We see this phenomenon in two other places that I know of:

        • Civil forfeiture
        • The ways that the deep state has found to finance itself without going to the legislature

        Congress and the power of the purse — a check and balance which I suppose finds precedent with the English — has been greatly undermined.


        The principle of parliamentary consent to taxation gained constitutional recognition when it was enshrined in the Magna Carta – a list of concessions to the barons that King John signed at Runnymede in 1215. But this agreement did not resolve the conflict over the power to impose taxes, which continued to simmer throughout the following centuries.

        “The evolution of parliament’s power of the purse”

        And also:

        The power of the purse is the most important power of Congress. James Madison in the Federalist papers called it “the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people”. It checks the power of the President and gives Congress vast influence over American society….

        “Congress and the Power of the Purse”

      • dogdaddyblog

        Off thread, but I am in correspondence with the professor holding a symposium on literary critique of skeptic writing. I will be getting the papers and whatnot coming from the event. I’ll post what is appropriate.

      • Thx, look forward to seeing this

    • Exxon mobile strikes back – I though that a link to the filed suit might be interesting to many:

      Exxon mobile´s original petition for declaratory relief

      WHEREFORE, Exxon Mobile prays that judgment be entered against Claude Earl Walker, Attorney General of the United States Virgin Islands as follows:

      “1. That a declaratory judgment be entered pursuant to Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 37.003, declaring that the issuance and mailing of the subpoena violates ExxonMobil’s rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, 48 U.S.C. § 1561, and Sections Eight, Nine, and Nineteen of Article One of the Texas Constitution;

      2. That a declaratory judgment be entered pursuant to Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 37.003, declaring that the issuance and mailing of the subpoena constitutes an abuse of process, in violation of common law;

      3. All costs of court together with any and all such other and further relief as this Court may deem proper.”

      Seems like The green 20 may have colluded on a violation of several parts of the constitution. I wonder who will take action to remove these Attorney Generals – they are supposed to operate on the safe side of the law.

    • Curious George

      Casting dissent as crime is nothing new – it had been practiced by Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, and less famous politicians. The U.S. government now wants to join that exclusive club.

      • CG, from the reported data, 19 ‘Green’ Demo AGs plus 1 independent AG. Already objected to in writing by 29 others of all persuations.
        Suspect this Constitutional assult will not end well for the warmunist watermelons. And behind them, the likes of Naomi Oreskes. Whose two most recent books have had direct negative alumni financial consequences for my alma mater times 3.

      • Curious George

        I hope 19+1 will fail, but it is chilling that they could have even considered it. This was supposed to be a democracy.

      • dogdaddyblog

        Without going back to the details, my memory is that a group of about 20 AGs were meeting on another joint legal project. At the end, a group brought in Al Gore and added this litigation project as an issue the concluding press conference. The actual participating AGs seem to be about 3 or 4 plus 1. It’s my impression that the other AGs are not participating, and may have been hijacked at the presser. I wonder if they even had a heads-up.

      • @ dogdaddyblog

        Attorney Generals should have more integrity than than that.
        Frightening that United States now have 20 low integrity Attorney Generals.

      • dogdaddyblog

        Attorneys General are politicians.

      • Your statement is about as clear and concise as I’ve read and couldn’t agree more.

    • Dissent as crime? Casting an eye over the historic record
      of famous dissenters … Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei,
      James Hutton, Charles Darwin, Max Planck, Albert Einstein,
      Neils Bohe, Albert Wegener …

  5. Outdated licensing rules. Inhofe and Whitehouse joining forces to force a change at NRC. Strange bedfellows, but maybe they can succeed. Clearly needed.

    • Oh. I see you already used the phrase “strange bedfellows”.

      • ‘Great minds’ thinking alike. A true denialist (Inofe based on his book The Greatest Hoax) and a true warmunist zealot (Whitehouse and his call for RICO) joint sponsoring NRC change.

      • This pro-nuke warmist is encouraged — it reminds me of the halcyon days of my youth. Inter-party conjugal politics started slowing down around the time The Pause started speeding up — something which is surely coincidence — but folk have been grouchy pretty much ever since.

      • More cheap nuclear (4th generation) will be a win-win-win-win-win-win-win by cutting costs of nuclear power, the cost of fossil fuel (by reducing demand), the cost of power, stretching existing fossil fuel supplies, slowing any hypothetical global warming, reducing emissions, and reducing used nuclear fuel inventories.

        Everybody can get on board that bandwagon.

        “strange bedfellows”
        And uh, I don’t see any evidence Inhofe and Whitehouse have that kind of relationship.

    • actually i had that flagged to include in a future post, maybe i will get to it next week

      • Dr.Curry,
        First, let me say congratulations.
        I keep expecting such silliness to stop.
        Second …
        I was wondering if at some point you might consider a post on how one’s views on climate affect social interpersonal relationships.
        The professional treatment of you is strange, scary, and ridiculous.
        What is the social dimension?
        I’ve had well educated friends, who know little about the issue, tell me that they have considered not speaking to me since I stopped being a believer.
        The tolerant have developed a curious intolerance.
        This subject truly has growing vaguely Medieval religious qualities.
        Perhaps it’s the storm before the calm.
        If not, seems to me, we’re headed into really weird new territory.

      • yes, this is sort of the theme of the post I am planning

      • tonyb
        I heard a rumor that the famous climatologist Dr. Prester John is coming to save us.
        We need him.

      • dogdaddyblog

        rebelronan, let’s start a skeptic Dr. Prester John cult/movement/underground, whatever! He will come to our aid in our righteous fight against the dark CAGW forces. We can have him appearing at numerous times and locations, especially at NOAA and NASA pressers.

        Dave Fair

    • Stalin was the government… a dictator. The Climate Commission was formed by the government of Australia. A new government was elected and that government abolished the climate commission. Okay, the newly elected government abolished the commission. They had a right to do so. A group of private citizens formed a private council to continue the work of the body that was abolished by an elected government. They had a right to do so.

      Meanwhile, a different private group assembled a list of women in climate science. That list is unaltered and is publicly available right now.

      A different private group adopted the list with one exception. Free country.

  6. Flexible nuclear. Just because something can be done does not mean it should be. Negative grid pricing just shows how much intermittent wind screws up the grid. The main nuclear cost is capital. That is best returned by running nucs flat out as much as possible. Flexing CCGT makes sense because capital is much less, fuel is much more, and efficiency is only slightly compromised. Horses for courses.

  7. Strange bedfellows work to update the licensing of new nuclear power plants: Legislation introduced by a bipartisan team of Sens. James Inhofe, R-Okla., (climate change denier) and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., (strong climate advocate) is pending.

  8. Ross McKitrick on Canadian energy politics: Let’s stop pretending ‘social license’ is an actual thing. [link]

    Canada’s economy has a large commodity component. Reducing the energy portion of the economy has (with the recent downturn in oil prices) and will have in the future (by keeping the oil sands and other energy resources undeveloped) into a permanent under performing state.

    Currently, automotive and their suppliers are moving off shore, or more correctly down under to Mexico, and other industrial businesses are closing or have closed (steel mills in Hamilton Ontario for example). Adding costs to energy, borne both by the citizenry and businesses means that the under-performance of the economy is now “baked into” the economy. Less money for purchases and opening businesses and more spent on inflated energy.

    The impact of a lower economic performance can be seen today in the currency market where the value of the “looney” is 78% of the dollar. The impact on the US’s largest trading partner means that Canadians won’t be able to purchase goods, services and vacations denominated in US dollars.

    If this energy commodity restriction continues, I expect that the Canadian standard of living will become stagnant, and the aging population (just like ours) will find their health care system, already showing signs of considerable stress, will no long be an envy of nations, rather, a cautionary metaphor for single payer systems tied to mostly government money.

  9. Rand Corp: Paris gets the (decision) science right

    That was an interesting enough, though short, essay, but it seems to me that the author is really trying hard to look at the bright side of a messy retreat from previous attempts at goal-setting. No major emitter of CO2 was obligated to do much of anything; the agreement to have more meetings reviewing the science is just a standard request for more financial support for people who earn their living doing this sort of thing.

    That’s my take, for now. It is worth considering, imo, that he might be right..

  10. “Peabody Energy, the largest private coal company, lost 12.6% of its value the day after the Paris deal was agreed. It filed for bankruptcy last week.”

    I love it when the scribblers for activist rags like Nature lay it right out so there’s no mistaking their position. Give this guy a Kiwi carbon credit.

    Fortunately, many centuries supply of coal can’t just rot away or disintegrate. It’ll be there when and if we need it. Just ask Angela. When you’ve got Europe’s biggest economy and a wobbly freeloader empire to maintain and expand – and when you’ve got acres of solar panels at 50+ degrees north for obscure religious reasons – you need lots of brown coal, you need lots of black coal and you need nukes. God knows how much more coal Angela would be burning if the economy was okay…

    What? You thought she’d shut down the nukes? I blame Variety. They never publish the really big show business stories.

    • I was a little surprised you let this graph slip by yesterday without comment:

      I believe it’s misleading. If one goes to the source one finds the “Coal” deaths presented in the graph are those experienced in China, which is the worst case scenario. If we look at U.S. Coal deaths, the number drops dramatically — from 170,000 in China (used in the graph) to 10,000 in the U.S.:


      The deaths include externalized deaths, which of course makes the methodology used to estimate them, as well as the estimates themselves, highly questionable:

      According to the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Academy of Science and many health studies over the last decade (NAS 2010), the adverse impacts on health become a significant effect for fossil fuel and biofuel/biomass sources…

      The table below lists the mortality rate of each energy source as deaths per trillion kWhrs produced. The numbers are a combination of actual direct deaths and epidemiological estimates.

      • I dare say the handling of coal in China leaves an awful lot to be desired. Conservation demands that any resource, including the converted energy called money, be used with thrift and care. Wealth should be firstly for the modernisation and upkeep of what made one wealthy. The tight-fisted Carnegie knew that.

        Here in Oz we spit on coal and continue to rely on it utterly. A recent PM, even as she rode the minerals boom, kept calling it “durrrrdy coal”. (You really need to hear those words rolled over the Gillard adenoids to know what we mean by “bogan”.)

        China now builds new and improved facilities for the consumption of Australian coal. However Australia wouldn’t dream of throwing good money after good. Not when Green Blob is roaring for every cent.

        But if I showed that chart and graphic to the wallabies or even the aphids hanging round outside my door they would fall about laughing, especially at that word “externalized”. Yet our media can’t serve up enough of this slop.

        During the Cold War a dissident who came to the West was amazed to find that the press and the intellectuals were eagerly doing for free what they had to be bludgeoned to do back in Mother Russia. And I don’t think the bludgeonings were just “externalized”.

      • Glenn Stehle,

        They should have used the 100,000 deaths/trillion kWh global average for coal for consistency across all categories. Even so, the difference between that and nuclear is still a full three orders of magnitude. I think it bears pointing out that such a large difference should also put to rest your concerns about the error bars on the epidemiological estimates.

    • Sadly, at the end of winter 2011 it would appear that Germany did shutter about one third of its nuke capacity, going from about 3 TWh per month to about 2 TWh. To see this simply go to:


      and on the left plug in “2011, Weekly, All Sources”.

      For the first 8 weeks of 2011 there were about 3 TWh of nuclear power generated each week. From week 12 of 2011 until the present there has been no week substantially above 2 TWh. Strong evidence that the first goal of Energiewende is not reduction of CO2 output.

      • Yes, I recall some theatre over Fukushima and a big drop in German nukes from 2010 to 2011. Then, with all eyes on that rosy renewable future, Angela got out her coal shovel.

      • (One sentence in my comment above erroneously stated nuclear capacity in TWh per month. It should read “about 3 TWh per week”.)

        Agreed that Germany has chosen an “all of the above” coal policy as the gap-filler between demand and “green” supply. Indigenous coal makes sense for Germany on an economic basis, given the price and their sources for natural gas.

        On the other hand, dismantling nuclear makes no sense at all from a CO2 standpoint. Whether it is the intent or a mere consequence, the premature deconstruction of such viable assets is simply another instance of the worldwide destruction of wealth on a massive scale, all in the guise of the saving the planet.

  11. Renewable Energy Stumbles Toward the Future

    It was just last summer that SunEdison was a Wall Street darling, the very air around the fast-growing company seeming to shimmer with potential….

    And then the company went supernova. Its shares fell from around $32 last summer to 34 cents this week….

    On Thursday, to the surprise of no one, SunEdison filed for bankruptcy — one of the largest in a series of recent green-energy failures….

    Yet the collapse raises a bigger question: Can renewable-energy companies be profitable? Can green make green?

    The answer, of course, is yes. Just as soon as they cross over a fundamental hurdle: finding a strategy that actually works….

    SunEdison is far from being the only troubled green-energy business.



    And NRG….

    Among the high-profile failures was that of Solyndra, a solar module manufacturer, which became a symbol of green energy ambitions gone awry for the Obama administration after it burned through $527 million in government loans….

    The vulnerability to shifting conditions has been evident for industry leaders like SolarCity and SunPower, companies whose stock prices can swing wildly with energy markets and policy changes….

    What’s remarkable is that these leading energy companies are struggling at a time when regulatory, public and investor support for the renewable-energy industry has arguably never been greater….

    What is happening in renewable energy now has similarities to the telecommunications bubble of the 1990s… They were all chasing expected high demand and soaring revenues from the dawn of the Internet.

    Those revenues eventually materialized, but they came too late for the first movers of the revolution. After creating a broadband glut, and buried under mountains of debt — let’s not forget the various accounting scandals and frauds — the many companies collapsed into bankruptcy.

    But the infrastructure they created lived on. Last weekend, when you binge-watched the fourth season of “House of Cards” or streamed your own cooking show on Facebook Live, chances are better than not that your data zoomed through at least some of those networks….

    [I]ndustry analysts and executives say that despite the fall of SunEdison, the future for renewable energy is bright.

  12. The couple of articles reporting on the same commentary on the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) should have added a couple of points by way of background:

    (1) The government had recognized the problem with these imports and has banned them.
    (2) The ETS is currently being reviewed with public consultation due the end of the month. This piece of polemic needs to be seen in that context. As one researcher noted: “The Morgan report is clearly designed to put pressure on the government as its consultation on the NZ ETS is coming towards its close. Does the report tell us anything we didn’t really know already? On the whole not, what is striking in the report is the emotive language used. Perhaps this is politics but it makes us researchers uncomfortable.”

  13. Phys.org: Is the 1.5C target a mirage? [link]
    “Even today’s global average temperature of 0.9 °C above pre-industrial levels is dangerous for some, even deadly.”

    When you realise you’re in the company of a complete stain-brain, it’s difficult to know where to start.

    • 1.5C is less than 0.5C above current temperatures.

      Peaches for example, are grown from Canada to Mexico.

      0.5 C is a drive south to Springfield on the other side of DC (33 miles or 0.5C). And I am supposed to believe 0.5C is catastrophic? That plants grow measurably better in Gaithersburg than Springfield?


      These global warmers, they are so funny, I laff and laff.

  14. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/22/this-controversial-carbon-proposal-could-be-the-key-to-success-for-the-worlds-new-climate-agreement/

    ‘Even if this happens, Victor pointed out that most of the existing or planned programs in the world today allow heavy regulations — for example, on automobile emissions — to do most of the work, rather than letting the market take care of itself. This is true in the European Union and in California, he said, and is likely done by design in order to prevent the market from driving prices too high and losing public support.’

    Possibly the most BS, confused, misleading statement I’ve seen this week.

    ‘The market’ does not determine the price of carbon at all. Government does. It can do so either directly and explicitly, in the case of a tax, or indirectly and surreptitiously in the case of cap and trade (because the government decides what emissions count, what counts as an offset, how many offsets are auctioned or awarded, etc.)

    The idea that regulations are in place to prevent the market from driving the price of CO2 too high is just retarded.

    As for a tax on CO2 emissions, I’m all for it. We can debate how high it should be but in any case it would be far cheaper and more efficient than the bajillion regulations, mandates and subsidies currently in place. When it’s in place, logically, the thing to do is to remove every other CO2-induced regulation…

    …which is why the bureaucrats don’t really want a tax, and the talk never seems to move beyond the wouldn’t-it-be-nice phase.

    • “If every person in favour of a carbon tax just went to their doctor for an assisted suicide note, the planet could be saved.”

    • Sanders Challenges Clinton on Climate Change in Rhode Island

      PROVIDENCE, R.I. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday focused on climate change and other critical issues in a speech to more than 7,000 supporters two days before Rhode Island Democrats go to the polls.

      The crowd here in the Ocean State, where climate change is a key issue, cheered Sanders’ call for bold action to combat the planetary crisis.

      He challenged Hilary Clinton to support his legislation for a tax on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions. “Join me and impose a tax on carbon,” Sanders said of legislation he has introduced in the Senate.

  15. Imperial presidency, anyone?

    China, U.S. pledge to ratify Paris climate deal this year

    Many countries still need a parliamentary vote to formally approve the agreement, which was reached in December….

    President Barack Obama will formally adopt the agreement through executive authority….

    Many developing nations are pushing to ensure the climate deal comes into force this year, partly to lock in the United States if a Republican opponent of the pact is elected in November to succeed Obama, a Democrat.

    • It is a nonbinding resolution.

      It is like being asked by another classmate to take a timeout in the corner.

      Obama said “yeah, sure” and has started walking to the corner.

      The next president can tell the classimate, “you’re not the boss of me.” and do what he wants.

      That is what nonbinding means.

  16. Humanity may be restored to sanity if we can successfully communicate the Sun’s benevolent source of energy to the public:


  17. It’s not a problem that the ultra-rich are rich, it’s that they are as greedy as the old-time Robber Barrons and don’t won’t to forego any wealth for the good of the middle class. From the article:

    Alphabet’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, recently joined a Department of Defense advisory panel. Facebook recently hired a former director at the U.S. military’s research lab, Darpa. Uber employs Barack Obama’s former campaign manager David Plouffe and Amazon.com tapped his former spokesman Jay Carney. Google, Facebook, Uber and Apple collectively employ a couple of dozen former analysts for America’s spy agencies, who openly list their resumes on LinkedIn.

    These connections are neither new nor secret. But the fact they are so accepted illustrates how tech’s leaders — even amid current fights over encryption and surveillance — are still seen as mostly U.S. firms that back up American values. Christopher Soghoian, a technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union, said low-level employees’ government connections matter less than leading executives’ ties to government. For instance, at least a dozen Google engineers have worked at the NSA, according to publicly available records on LinkedIn.


    • These connections are neither new nor secret. But the fact they are so accepted illustrates how tech’s leaders — even amid current fights over encryption and surveillance — are still seen as mostly U.S. firms that back up American values.

      So the revolving door “backs up American values”?

      Hum, I’ll have to think about that one.

      Revolving door (politics)

      In politics, the “revolving door” is a movement of personnel between roles as legislators and regulators and the industries affected by the legislation and regulation.

      In some cases, the roles are performed in sequence but in certain circumstances may be performed at the same time. Political analysts claim that an unhealthy relationship can develop between the private sector and government, based on the granting of reciprocated privileges to the detriment of the nation and can lead to regulatory capture.


    • The corporations are as guilty as anyone else who tries to use the government to advance their interests. But what is we want to take away from corporations? Money, speech, revenues or market share? A number of us have put their money into corporate stock and it’s common for retirement money to be invested in that way. Whatever it is some are trying to take from corporations belongs to some of us. Apple has plants in China, Exxon studied climate science, and I am Okay with that. If something is to be taken back, it’s going to taken from some of us. Anything accomplished in this area by Trump is not going to be some discovery of free money. It’ll be our money that is found and redistributed.

      • dogdaddyblog

        Ragnaar, right on. Some people just don’t understand where our prosperity comes from. People don’t eat if corporations fail.

      • Both the far right (Austrian School) and far left (Marxist School) offer what I believe to be the best insights on this issue. During a time of crisis, the mainstream analysis, which always seeks to prolong an unsustainable status quo, is of little use.

        Some may be surprised to learn that on some issues, such as the existence of two types of capital — productive and ficticious — the two schools are in agreement.

        From the far left:

        From Marx to Goldman Sachs: The Fictions of Fictitious Capital


        And from the far right:

        From real capitalism to finance capitalism and
        (hopefully) back – the role of the navigation map


        Here’s what Schulmeister (far right Austrian School) has to say:

        There exist three types of participation in the production process, labour, real capital and finance capital, and, hence, three types of interests (table 1). The “purely” economic interests of real and finance capital stay in direct conflict with one another….

        One cannot identify “classes” of “real capitalists” and “finance capitalists” in modern society: Non-financial corporations as well as employees own financial assets and have therefore also finance capital interests….

        Real capitalism consists of many conditions which complement each other like a (tacit) coalition between the interests of labour and real capital (against the interests of finance capital). As a consequence, industrial relations are shaped by close cooperation (“social partnership”)….

        The ideological basis of finance capitalism is provided by (neo)liberal theories which call for liberalizing financial markets, for weakening the welfare state and for breaking the “monopoly power of unions”. These theories (“navigation maps”) legitimate a (tacit) coalition between the interests of real and finance capital against the interests of labour.

        These theories become popular among entrepreneurs in reaction to the political developments during the preceding real-capitalistic period: Persistent full employment shifts power from business to trade unions and from conservative to social-democratic parties (as over the 1960s – figure 1). In this sense, the success of real capitalism lays the ground for its fall.

        Under a finance-capitalistic regime, the volatility of exchange rates and commodities prices as well the high level of interest rates (figures 1 to 5) dampen the activities of non-financial business in the real sphere of the economy and make financial speculation and accumulation more attractive.

        The weak growth of real investment causes unemployment and the public debt to rise which in turn strengthens the game “let your money work”. The discrepancy between the market value of financial assets and their underlying in the real economy widens during “bull markets” more and more, it is “corrected” in the subsequent “bear markets”. If several “bear markets” coincide as 2007/09 (figure 5) or 1929/33, the related wealth devaluation leads into a deep crisis and, consequently, into the process of self-destruction of finance capitalism.

      • Glenn Stehle:
        Spent some time trying to follow your point. Real Capital and Finance Capital. Here’s a point. Blue Sky. Add up what Exxon Mobil owns at fair market value and compare it to its total stock market value. Why the big difference and why the even bigger difference for Apple? Is it legitimate? It is if people will pay for Blue Sky. I agree that Real Capital if it exists is more stable than Finance Capital if that exists. People will bail on their stock investments before they bail on their more tangible investments. In a panic, no one wants to buy your small business or its building. It survives better. In away it is more real, if such a thing can be. I see hundreds of peoples investments as I do their tax returns. What lesson have I learned? Be wary of your broker. They are part of Finance Capital. Do they add value? Let’s look at Apple. Do we want to change laws and opinions about Blue Sky so as to take that from Apple’s investors? I think if we do, Apple will be in tough straights and the value they have provided to consumers will not be there so much in the future. I think Blue Sky is similar to Marx’s theory of whatever is unfair, surplus value I guess. Perhaps rationally he was right. Perhaps we’ve rid an illusion for many decades and it will all come crashing down on us with Blue Sky being unable to sustain its own existence. Might be an argument for diversifying one’s investments.

    • A sobering aspect frequently lost or ignored, even here.

    • The link doesn’t seem to work.

    • I put a link to the paper “A Global Energy Assessment”, plus the header and a brief excerpt in my blog here


      Please note that I don’t agree with the author on all points, possibly because we have different backgrounds, but I do agree with Jefferson that we have a looming problem.

      Something he doesn’t mention but which I think are two key items:

      1. Crude oil, condensate, and other liquid production data is distorted by many agencies and companies. Those who are interested in getting a full picture need to understand what gets produced is a soup of molecules, and not all of them are crude oil and condensate we can feed into an a enrage refinery to make products. We have technology to make gas, coal, furniture and horse meat into liquid fuels, but the products should be considered syncrudes and are a bit different.

      2. The IPCC projections do a shoddy job with the fossil fuel volumes, they do not express uncertainty properly, and RCP8.5 in particular can be considered a super extreme case. Calling it business as usual is scientific and political fraud.

  18. It is not “dissent as crime” which is an emotionally charged, but misleading, title. It is “wrongthink” as they call it, being used for profit or policy that would be a crime. Using something that you know to be wrong is the charge here, so maybe a better name in this context is “fakethink”. So it is actually fakethink that is the crime, and not surprisingly too.

    • So Jim D, let’s speculate and say Exxon did indeed lie?

      Are we now to make lying a crime?

      …that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy…

      because he be being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square or differ from his own;

      that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order;

      and finally, that truth is great and will preval if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.

      — THOMAS JEFFERSON, Virginia Statute for Religous Freedom

      If the climatariat was winning in the courtroom of public opinion, do you believe it would be calling for the government to silence opposing viewpoints?

      Make no bones about it, what the Climate is doing is a direct, frontal assault on our civil liberties and the freedom of speech.

      • Lying is a crime. It is known as fraud. Ignorance isn’t a crime, even dissent isn’t a crime, but lying is. It’s about what did they know and when did they know it?

      • “Ignorance isn’t a crime.”

        Good thing Jim. Allows you to rest easy.

    • So you are for prosecuting people who think wrongly. With being the one to determine what’s right and wrong Jim D?

      • For lying, which is knowing something and saying the opposite. Pay attention. This has been a great source of confusion over the RICO case. It is not ‘dissent being a crime’. That’s just the propaganda fooling you. Don’t fall for it.

      • “For lying, which is knowing something and saying the opposite. Pay attention. This has been a great source of confusion over the RICO case. It is not ‘dissent being a crime’. That’s just the propaganda fooling you. Don’t fall for it.”

        What proof do you have, Jim, of Exxon lying?

      • Trying to deceive politicians and shareholders would be a more accurate description. They appear to have been phasing back plans due to the science they knew, while also funding wrongthinktanks, which is duplicity.

      • Jim D | April 25, 2016 at 3:53 am |
        Trying to deceive politicians and shareholders would be a more accurate description. They appear to have been phasing back plans due to the science they knew, while also funding wrongthinktanks, which is duplicity.

        Trying to deceive politicians and shareholders would be a more accurate description.

        I’m with you. Let’s get that authorizing legislation in place. Lets start prosecuting those deceptive global warmers and environmentalists. And we can sue them for civil damages and punitive damages for the harm their interference has caused. And the future harm they will cause by starving millions if not billions.. And allow the Chinese to sue them for all the Chinese they killed building renewable energy.

    • JimD. Lets suppose you are right for the sake of arguement only: ‘Fakethink’, your rebranding of Oreskes ‘Merchants of Doubt’.
      How in the H do you think that Exxon, with numerous peer reviewed papers on climate, participating in multiple IPCCs, agreeing with conclusions and uncertainties, prolmulgated ‘Fakespeak’.
      Wrong. You will ride your imaginary pony into a defeat worse than Custer’s at Little Big Horn. But delightfully for the same arrogantly stupid reasons.

      • That is exactly the reasoning. They knew better and still funded efforts to discredit the science or promote the opposite view. That they knew better has been established by their work in the early days, and is critical to the case against them.

      • This sort of thing should only happen in Russia or China. This isn’t who we are. Again, you slime the companies that have made the USA great. You should be ashamed. But apparently you are one of those zealots who can’t feel shame.

      • In America, no one is too big to be above the law.

      • In this case, the law is being employed in a sick, dastardly manner. The powers that are doing this are of your ken, no shame and no sense.

      • In America, no one is too big to be above the law.

        Total red herring.

      • Jim D fails to make his true meaning clear. Assume that Exxon agreed with Jim D’s science. It is now (per Jim D) a crime to argue against any policies Jim D’s friends propose.

      • opluso,

        Give the guy a break! He’s getting confused, and doesn’t know whether he’s using wrongthink, fakethink, or warmthink.

        It seems that Warmists are often confused. Ignorance (in the sense of ignoring their their more mindless bleatings) is desirable, on occasion.

        Warmists, like the rest of us, lie from time to time. Warmists employ warmthink, where lies become truth. Rational people refer to this as fraud, or delusional behaviour.

        Warmists seem to get upset when other people lie, as they imagine they themselves are incapable of such things. Poor deluded Warmists!


      • Curious George

        Jim D, “In America, no one is too big to be above the law.” In California, Kevin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco, decided to marry same-sex couples even though it was against the law. Kamala Harris, the California AG (whose duty is to defend the law) did not even attempt to defend the law, and it was dismissed because the state had just abandoned it.

      • “They knew better and still funded efforts to discredit the science or promote the opposite view. That they knew better has been established by their work in the early days, and is critical to the case against them.”

        They funded studies the government wouldn’t, they opposed policies based on the understanding that the vast uncertainties involved in climate change undermine the justification for those policies, all of which is perfectly lawful, and still at this time, perfectly legal.

    • Jim D,

      Wrongthink, as who calls it? Deluded Warmists, creating yet more jargon? Fakethink? More of the same?

      How about warmthink, which may lead you to conclude that Michael Mann received a Nobel Prize for Science, or that Gavin Schmidt is not a mathematician holding himself out to be a scientist of the climate variety – “My name is Gavin Schmidt. I am a climate scientist . . . ”

      So warmthink is a wonderful thing. It is presently undefined, so I’ll just use warmthink to say Warmists are, by and large, a bunch of self important fantasists.

      Of course, I’m using warmthink, where you may say anything you like, and anybody believing you is even sillier than you. Or maybe not?


      • dogdaddyblog

        Jim D, without getting into the really tough hurdles to prosecute a RICO case, there is no way Exxonmobil could have been lying about what it knew in the 1970’s and 1980’s. If you look up the early history of the IPCC, you will find that the scientists at the time disagreed with the politicians and, in fact, won many early battles to water down the politicians’ hyperbole. “Consensus” hindsight may be 20/20, but the facts are that scientific uncertainty was unchallenged by any but the most zealous then.

      • The odd thing is that the article seemed to be on the side of Exxon, and still calls it wrongthink. Perhaps they have realized now. Anyway, as I mention fakethink is a better term for what Exxon were doing. They know it is wrong but promote it anyway.

    • Yeah, Jim, and while some are whining about dissent being silenced, the number of Republicans in Congress is a good indication that dissent over climate change and policy is pretty healthy. And then you have the blogs, conservative media, and think tanks. So there is no shortage of outlets for dissent.

      And also if money equals speech, then the vast sums of money Exxon spends on political means to me that they have no trouble making their views known.

    • Jim D | April 24, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Reply
      It is not “dissent as crime” which is an emotionally charged, but misleading, title. It is “wrongthink” as they call it, being used for profit or policy that would be a crime.

      You are a little late to the party, about 67 years late.

      Nineteen Eighty-Four, often published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English author George Orwell published in 1949. The novel is set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and public manipulation, dictated by a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (or Ingsoc in the government’s invented language, Newspeak) under the control of a privileged elite of the Inner Party, that persecutes individualism and independent thinking as “thoughtcrime.”

      George Orwell meant it as a warning but you and your friends are using as an idea source for planning purposes. And it is called “thoughtcrime” not “wrongthink”.

      Those of us that don’t want live in your dystopian paradise will resist, mightily.

  19. The nuclear links are amusing.

    I speak as someone whose scientific career began in nuclear related (biomedical) research, but was forced to change career due to the destruction of nuclear research in Europe and the US as a whole. I was one of many who had to migrate to pharmaceutical/biomedical or other engineering fields. In terms of one’s career and general standing in society (which even in Thatcher’s time still seemed to exist) “nuclear” had about the same effect as “nonce”.

    Now because of this self-righteous nuclear castration that western nations have inflicted voluntarily on themselves, they are decades behind Russia and China in advanced nuclear technologies. Russia now has liquid metal cooled fast breeders running reliably and powering their grid for decades, a goal that western nations abandoned as unachievable (hint – don’t weld pipe junctions. Mould them as one piece.) Someone somewhere seems to have woken up to this.

    So now the US are desperately trying to find someone in their country who knows a proton from a neutron. Or maybe they’ll just recruit some from China or Russia. Then they’ve got to figure out how to “un-stone to death” an entire industry and technology. Good luck with that. This will be fun to watch.

  20. “It’s about what did they know and when did they know it?”

    Oh – I thought it was about having reasonable cause. You know, some actual evidence to indicate the accusations might have some basis in fact, and aren’t just a fishing expedition to show the corporate world who’s boss.
    You know what I find odd is that for all the noise made against Exxon, not a single “whistle-blower” has turned up yet – not one!

  21. To all the folks here at CE that believe that the Socialists, Liberal, Democrats, Worshipers of Gaia in the U.S. are forcing renewable energy down people’s throats:



    • A. Those are large, rural districts.
      B. What makes you think Republicans don’t like subsidizing local businesses?

    • Now compare to a wind resource map. A bad idea still has the least worst location where it should be implemented. It’s windy in the Republicans back yards. There are local decisions that help determine where the windmills are located. How many liberal arts colleges have windmills?

    • I can’t figure out why conservative Republican farmers and ranchers would allow evil environmentalists to foist fan power on the American consumer. Oh, wait…

      How much do farmers get paid to host wind turbines?

      Wind lease terms vary quite a bit, but general rules of thumb are: $4,000 to $8,000 per turbine, $3,000 to $4,000 per megawatt of capacity, or 2-4% of gross revenues.

  22. And remember, solar penetration in the U.S. is currently about one-half of 1%. Most folks here at CE act as if it is much, much higher.

    • Segrest,

      Another baseless assertion. Please provide links to support your assertion.

      But the relevant point you should take from the fact is that after 100 years of development, of solar thermal and 60 years of development and even with subsidies and other incentives amounting to around 30% of the cost of baseload power, solar still can supply only 0.5% of electricity supply.

      Sure shows how irrational and gullible its advocates are, eh Segrest?

    • Curious George

      Stephen, this blog invokes your contrarian instincts.

      • Curious — Remember that I’ve consistently opposed a (1) U.S. Carbon Tax (a regressive tax that would result in a loss of U.S. manufacturing); (2) Cap & Trade (another financial derivative play-toy for Wall St.); (3) A Federal Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (which would place decision making with members of Congress rather than our engineers.)

        My horrible sin here at CE is believing in always following sound integrated grid engineering economics (as taught in every major engineering school and applied with every major Utility — except probably California).

    • Segrest asked at 11:57 pm

      Mr. Lang — Links that U.S. solar penetration is about one-half of 1%? As someone else told you today — you should read more and comment less.

      Segrest said at 8:14 pm (i.e less than just 4 hours earlier)

      And remember, solar penetration in the U.S. is currently about one-half of 1%. Most folks here at CE act as if it is much, much higher.


      What an eejit. What a twit. Segrest, you should comment less and read more. Or, more important:

      turn you brain on before you turn your computer on

  23. Emergent structures analysis reveals climate drivers. Match between calculated and measured average global temperatures is 97% since before 1900 excluding any influence from CO2. Incorporating the influence of CO2 improves the match by 0.1% http://globalclimatedrivers.blogspot.com

  24. Wealth built on the backs of the poor.

    US steel workers …

    Chinese IPhone workers …

  25. Stephen, you list some of the supporters of renewables, but it is also big business and they are also joined by others who have very different perspectives but who are behaving like pigs at the trough.

    • GE is really big into wind. It loves the PTC. From the article:

      But that’s the fly in the ointment. The PTC, or production tax credit, helps support the wind industry by providing a roughly $0.02 per kilowatt hour tax credit for the production of renewable power, including wind. That doesn’t seem like much money, but the impact has been huge historically.

      The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) explains that, “In 2012, it was uncertain whether the PTC would expire at the end of the year, or be extended. Companies throughout the wind industry were forced to put their development plans on hold, and manufacturers saw orders dry up.” According to the AWEA, 2013 wind power installations fell 92% year over year! And that wasn’t a unique case: PTC extension delays and lapses caused 76% drops in 2004 and 2002, and another more than 90% drop in 2000.

      The PTC is, once again, up for renewal and, as usual, it’s a contentious issue. GE’s Malkin noted, “If Congress does nothing, the next year for the wind industry is going to be tough.” And that’s true even though he has high hopes for the industry over the long term. Those high hopes are backed by a recent Department of Energy (DOE) report that stated that the cost of wind power is at an “all time low.”


    • Planning Engineer — I’m not following your point. I guess we could switch to a State level where the 3 of the largest 4 wind energy States are Red Texas, Iowa, and Oklahoma.

      • Stephen – “To all the folks here at CE that believe that the Socialists, Liberal, Democrats, Worshipers of Gaia in the U.S. are forcing renewable energy down people’s throats:”

        I was responding to your quote and suggesting there is a bigger bunch of characters. I think where the wind actually gets built is not so much dependent on more than the political views of the people in those specific areas as it is dependent on a host of other factors.

        I guess we see different things here – you pick up on the liberal-conservative divide. I see that it’s often framed that way in the bigger society, but I don’t think that black-white thinking is echoed disportionately here. Off the top of my head I think the factors leading to greater renewables than might be desireable are: crony capitalism, selfish business interests, blind partisanship, fear mongering, a flawed “nature” narrative and excess optimism for renewables from media boosterism.

    • Beta Blocker

      aplanningengineer, would you agree with the prediction that if California were to enact legislation guaranteeing a 12% annual rate of return on every dollar invested by private utilities in wind & solar technology, including grid-scale energy storage technology, the Golden State could easily achieve 50% renewable generation by 2030, or possibly even more?

      • Beta Blocker: California were to enact legislation guaranteeing a 12% annual rate of return on every dollar invested by private utilities in wind & solar technology

        How could such a law possibly achieve the desired effect?

      • Beta Blocker

        Matthew, back in 2014, I asked aplanningengineer if he thought it was technically feasible for California to reach 50% renewables by 2030.

        He thought that it was, with the caveat that reaching 50% renewables was a very expensive proposition and that some number of adverse environmental and economic impacts could be expected.

        Advocates of wind and solar say they can deliver all the electricity we will ever need, and at low prices, if they can just be allowed to move forward with creating a renewable-friendly electric grid.

        The theory here is that at a 12% guaranteed rate of return on every dollar invested in grid-scale renewable energy technology, everyone in California who can string a wire to a windmill or a solar panel will be out there doing that.

      • Beta Blocker,

        I don’t have any “special” insight into your question here. But any investment seeing a guaranteed return of 12% on the dollar (compared to other investment options today) is going to see plenty of action perhaps similar to previous “gold rushes”. The biggest problem might be how do you cut off the flow of investment as entities seek to get those returns. (Where does the money come from?) I don’t know that most investment investment would be prudent or sensible in any way but it would certainly flood the energy markets and having excess energy and capacity most hours should enable operators to put together a workable system. I don’t understand how this is realistic or applicable though.

      • Curious George

        Beta Blocker – is it your prediction, or could you please supply a link?

      • Beta Blocker

        Curious George, the background of this question is the proposal I made in the fall of 2014 that California and the US Northeast be used as test cases to see how far and how fast carbon-generated electricity can be replaced by the renewables, wind and solar.

        My personal view is that it will be impossible to eliminate fossil fuels unless we make a strong commitment to nuclear power.

        In direct contradiction to this opinion, those pushing wind and solar say that 50% renewables by 2030 is easily achieved; that America’s energy consumers will be paying less for electricity than they do now; and that nuclear power doesn’t need to be part of America’s energy mix.

        Since both California and the US Northeast are now abandoning nuclear power and are enthusiastically embracing wind and solar, it only makes sense to encourage those two regions to push their experiments as hard and as fast as will be necessary to reach 50% renewables by 2030.

        Anything learned from these two experiments will be exceedingly valuable to the rest of us. If the renewables don’t work out nearly as well as their advocates say they will, us nuclear partisans will crow. But if the experiments are largely successful, then we eat crow.

        A key requirement for allowing these experiments to move forward is that investor risk in wind and solar technology must be substantially reduced, if not eliminated altogether.

        Generating the cash necessary for keeping the transition moving ahead on schedule will involve setting rate structures high enough to guarantee that all costs are being covered, and may also involve a government-sponsored system of direct and indirect cash incentives.

        The approach I advocate views the 12% guaranteed rate of return for private investment in the renewables as simply one more cost to be charged against each regional experiment.

        If these regional experiments work out, rate payers in California and in the US Northeast will be money ahead. But if the two experiments aren’t successful, those same rate payers will at least have the comfort that they made their own valuable contributions in serving a higher goal.

      • Beta Blocker: The theory here is that at a 12% guaranteed rate of return on every dollar invested in grid-scale renewable energy technology, everyone in California who can string a wire to a windmill or a solar panel will be out there doing that.

        Let me clarify. My intended question was “How can a law possibly guarantee a 12% rate of return?”

      • Beta Blocker

        matthewrmarler | April 26, 2016 at 12:12 pm |:

        “Beta Blocker: The theory here is that at a 12% guaranteed rate of return on every dollar invested in grid-scale renewable energy technology, everyone in California who can string a wire to a windmill or a solar panel will be out there doing that.”

        Let me clarify. My intended question was “How can a law possibly guarantee a 12% rate of return?

        Matthew, referring to my response to Curious George made up above, the task of managing the energy marketplaces in California and in the US Northeast in a way which ensures that both regions achieve 50% renewables by 2030 may require that the state governments in those two regions establish state-owned power marketing agencies which act as brokers between electricity consumers and electricity producers.

        Under such a scheme, everyone’s power bill comes from a state-owned power marketing agency. Those agencies in turn pay the privately-owned power generators whatever sums of money are necessary to cover the costs of private investment in new renewable energy technology, plus a 12% guaranteed rate of return on all private monies invested in that equipment and technology.

        As I said to Curious George, if wind and solar ends up being as cheap and reliable as its advocates say it will be, ratepayers in California and in the US Northeast will be money ahead. But, if the two experiments in each region aren’t successful, those people will at least have the comfort of knowing that they made their own contribution towards serving a higher goal.

      • dogdaddyblog

        Beta Blocker, how would this scheme affect the vast amounts of cheap power California and U.S. Northeast both import?

      • Beta Blocker

        dogdaddyblog: “Beta Blocker, how would this scheme affect the vast amounts of cheap power California and U.S. Northeast both import?”

        That is a question of considerable importance when it comes to gauging the true depth of commitment to non-carbon energy resources that might be present among voters in California and in the US Northeast.

        To do anything other than transition to natural gas or else to gain access to cheap hydro where it’s available is strictly a pubic policy decision.

        In the US Northeast, Canadian hydro is an option for those states who want it, assuming they are willing to upgrade their transmission capacity to bring it in. But the Canadians will charge a higher premium for their power if US demand for it grows, and environmental groups in the region strongly oppose the addition of more transmission capacity.

        In New England and in New York State, where sentiment for adoption of the renewables is strongest, they might also have the option of tapping into cheaper gas-fired generation from Pennsylvania. But if they do that rather than construct their own gas-fired generation, then they are merely transferring the carbon footprint of their electricity demand from one state into another.

        The Californians import very roughly one-third of their power consumption, getting it from from a variety of external generation sources which include coal-fired, hydro, wind & solar, and nuclear.

        SB350 directs that the California Independent System Operator begin promoting the adoption of the renewables throughout the western United States. What will the Californians do if the other western states refuse to play ball in moving towards the renewables? How far are the Californians willing to go in the interest of reducing the total carbon footprint associated with their own power consumption?

        These are the kinds of questions which no one to my knowledge is addressing, either in California or in the US Northeast.

      • dogdaddyblog

        Beta Blocker, as long as the FPC enforces cost-based wholesale power rates, the California ISO really can’t affect decisions outside its boundaries. The Federal Bonneville Power Administration is the wild card here as well. Additionally, as power demands increase especially in Nevada, Colorado, Utah and Idaho and the Pacific Northwest region in general, without concomitant investments in reliable power supplies, California imports will dry up.

      • dogdaddyblog

        I’m also unsure of the ability of the large California municipal utilities for independent action. They are led by some pretty insane politicians, though.

      • Beta Blocker

        dogdaddyblog: “Beta Blocker, as long as the FPC enforces cost-based wholesale power rates, the California ISO really can’t affect decisions outside its boundaries. The Federal Bonneville Power Administration is the wild card here as well. “

        There are more than enough wild cards in the energy marketplace surrounding California to completely stymie their goal of 50% renewables by 2030 — if they continue to count on a regional transformation of the western electric grid to achieve their goal, rather than biting the bullet and going it alone.

        SB-350 reads in part,

        “(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for the transformation of the Independent System Operator into a regional organization to promote the development of regional electricity transmission markets in the western states and to improve the access of consumers served by the Independent System Operator to those markets, and that the transformation should only occur where it is in the best interests of California and its ratepayers.”


        “(c) The voluntary transformation described in subdivision (a) shall occur through additional transmission owners joining the Independent System Operator with approval from their own state or local regulatory authorities, as applicable.”


        “(e)(1) The Independent System Operator conducts one or more studies of the impacts of a regional market enabled by the proposed governance modifications, including overall benefits to ratepayers, including the creation or retention of jobs and other benefits to the California economy, environmental impacts in California and elsewhere, impacts in disadvantaged communities, emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants, and reliability and integration of renewable energy resources. The modeling, including all assumptions underlying the modeling, shall be made available for public review.”

        In SB-350, the California legislature sets an ambitious agenda for the ISO, asking it to expand itself into a regional organization in order to gain the cooperation of other western states in ways that serve California’s own best interests.

        How many of the other western states will see it as being in their own best interests to serve California’s perceived best interests, at the possible expense of their own?

        Time will tell on that score.

        dogdaddyblog: “Additionally, as power demands increase especially in Nevada, Colorado, Utah and Idaho and the Pacific Northwest region in general, without concomitant investments in reliable power supplies, California imports will dry up.”

        California is almost a nation unto itself and contains a diverse array of geographic landforms which are theoretically suitable for the installation of large-scale wind and solar facilities.

        Moreover, California’s voters and their governing elites appear to be highly committed to eliminating fossil fuels from their energy portfolio.

        These two factors would seem to make California a good prospect for using the state as a stand-alone experiment in assessing the promise and the pitfalls of 50% or greater renewable power generation.

        dogdaddyblog: “I’m also unsure of the ability of the large California municipal utilities for independent action. They are led by some pretty insane politicians, though.”

        If most of the other states in the western grid don’t choose to support California’s ambitious 50% target, and if the Californians then decide to go it alone, it is difficult to see how they could get to 50% without having the strong central coordination needed to keep all the parts and pieces of their plan working together and on track towards completion.

        The most straightforward approach to supplying that coordination would be for the State of California to charter a publicly-owned corporation having exclusive authority to buy and sell all grid-supplied electricity consumed in California, setting rates as high as necessary to cover all the costs and expenses of transitioning the state into a renewable energy future.

        For those who thought the centrally-managed power rates too high, they could adopt a variety of energy conservation strategies; they could go partially or totally off grid; or they could move their domiciles and their corporate operations out of California to other states or to other countries.

  26. This was supposed to be go with Stephens 7:12 comment.

  27. Judith,

    Thank you for this the 22nd edition of ‘WIR Energy and Policy’. It has many interesting and relevant articles. These in particular:

    Nuclear energy: 20th century rules hinder 21st century innovation http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/article/Nuclear-energy-20th-century-rules-hinder-21st-7302520.php?t=679224b9ca&cmpid=twitter-premium

    NUCLEAR: Advanced reactor bill raises ‘red flags’ http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060036081

    This shows why I contend the NRC cannot be reformed to be suitable to regulate future nuclear reactor designs. Its culture is entrenched, defensive and resistant to the changes needed. Therefore, I contend a completely new regulator is needed to regulate new designs and leave NRC with responsibility for regulating the Light Water Reactors.

    Enabling Advanced Reactors

    This supports what I’ve been saying:

    “The investors and innovators have made it very clear that their most immediate and pressing concern is regulatory uncertainty,”

    • Up until the NRC was created in 1975 nuclear energy are cheap. So there is some merit to this.

      Recreate the Atomic Energy Commission.. to foster and control the peacetime development of atomic science and technology.

      Lateral transfers from the NRC would be absolutely banned even if they wear disguises and sneak under the fence. We don’t want the methods and attitudes of the NRC to infect the new agency.

      New reactors, new reactor research, and promotion of nuclear power would solely be the responsibility of the new agency. The NRC regulations would simply not apply to new reactors and they would have no authority.

      The NRC would be responsible for old reactors and old reactor research. The agency can die with the reactors.

      • PA,

        Yes. I think many people are starting to recognise this. They are starting to recognise what enormous damage NRC has done to progress – not just of nuclear power but for the whole world’s economic development and improvement in human well-being.

      • There is really no point in regulating passive safe plants and and environmental challenges prohibited by law since they don’t have emissions.

        The AEC authorizing legislation should include a provision for bonuses every time a new record for “fastest license issuance” is achieved.

  28. Interesting research:

    For the past 17 years, spiro-OMeTAD, has been keeping a secret. Despite intense research efforts, its performance as the most commonly used hole-transporting material in perovskite and dye-sensitized solar cells has remained stagnant, creating a major bottleneck for improving solar cell efficiency.

    Dong Shi et al. … have grown single crystals of the pure material, and in doing so, they have made the surprising discovery that spiro-OMeTAD’s single-crystal structure has a hole mobility that is three orders of magnitude greater than that of its thin-film form (which is currently used in solar cells).


  29. Well here’s a bit of ancient wisdom:

    2,400 year-old mosaic found in southern Turkey says ‘be cheerful, enjoy your life’

  30. David Wojick

    Here is a lengthy IISD report on the Paris Agreement signing ceremony. I think every country’s statement is briefly summarized.

  31. “I have therefore taken volcanic forcing to be −0.107 Wm−2 throughout 2012-15.”
    It could be wrong value for the volcanic forcing, since most of global warming has taken place in the high latitudes of the N. Hemisphere.
    I did some simple statistics on the records of volcanic eruptions in the N. H. high latitudes, going back to 1660 and compared to the CET. On the longer term scale (I used 1.057nHz = 30 year low pass filter), there is no doubt whatsoever that the correlation is positive.
    If this is case for the CET it most likely true for the rest of the higher latitudes in the N.Hemisphere.
    Currently I am expanding data volume and will publish results, hopefully in the next few months.

  32. I don’t know if this is the place to post this but I would highly recommend Ed Friedman’s book: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix, A Failure of Nerve. I’m not a scientist but Friedman rightly (I think) describes our country and culture “stuck” much like Europe before the renaissance. Our world map is “oriented” in the wrong direction. We value answers rather than questions and safety over adventure.

    I’m just someone who has an interest in climate science and sees the same “stuckness” in current thinking about climate as there is in many of our public institutions. How can we encourage imagination, perseverance and curiosity in our leaders?

  33. Reuters: UN members fear US ‘sabotage’ of Obama’s #climate commitments

    From the article:

    Mogens Lykketoft, president for the UN General Assembly stated it was:

    “crucial that there is non-denier on climate (change) as the American president.”

    It is unlikely the the next US president will deny that the climate has changed in the past and will likely continue to change in the future, despite the hand-wringing of UN ignorati such as Lykketoft. If Lykketoft means something else, then he should express himself accurately or STFU.

  34. The BBC acknowledges greening: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36130346

    It’s a start.

    The article cites Judith Curry and Nic Lewis.

  35. This is why a lot of people feel the current economy driven by big tech isn’t all that great. Check out the number of manufacturing jobs in the midwest in its heyday: 3.3 million.

    And big tech employs how many in the US? Not nearly 3 million.

  36. From the article:

    California doesn’t have a water crisis because of a drought or because of climate change. The state’s water crisis is the direct result of bad regulations, poor planning, and a generation of politicians unwilling to tackle California’s issues.

    By leveraging new technologies and common sense water management practices, we can provide more than enough water for all Californians.

    I unveiled my plan to solve our water crisis at the California Republican Party’s spring convention. The plan offers a four-pillar solution to the problem.