Week in review – energy and policy edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

What Happens When You Can’t Build Back? Addressing Climate Change Loss and Damage [link]

Airlines accused of backsliding on climate commitments [link]

Climate change raises conflict risk in South Asia, warn experts [link]

UNFCCC: Current #INDCs don’t deliver a turnaround but only a slowdown of global emissions increase [link]…

Analysis: Negative emissions tested at world’s first major #BECCS facility | [link]

The magic of the EPA’s benefit/cost analysis [link]

Economist on Free Speech: Don’t silence views. Answer with more speech. Win with arguments. Grow a tougher hide. [link]

Why South Asia can’t afford to be glacial in its response to climate change.  Are we living in the hope that our vulnerability will act like some sort of protective charm? [link]

Climate change and ‘smart seeds’ in Africa [link]

Why we haven’t made much progress on the world’s deadliest environmental problem [link]  So-called clean cookstoves have done little to solve the world’s deadliest enviro problem

Moving beyond pro/con debates over genetically engineered crops [link]

Europe’s renewables investment hits 10-year low [link]

MIT: Incandescents Now More Efficient than LEDs  [link]  … Too late, incandescents are now illegal

Geoengineering: The crazy climate technofix [link]

Shellenberger:  Clean energy is on the decline: why and what we can do about it [link]

Among climate scientists, a fraught debate on the path forward [link]

The clean power conundrum: bringing electricity to more Bangladeshis [link]

“new evidence of links between deforestation in southeast Asia and the EU’s renewable energy mandate” [link]

New biofuels boost will worsen carbon pollution in spite of its ‘renewable’ brand [link]

The global air conditioning boom: Excellent for adapting to heat waves. Not so good for CO2 emissions. [link]

Interesting twist on #CCS: Baking soda ‘sponge’ could capture CO2 emissions [link]

Is US Climate Policy Killing Nuclear Power? [link]

Lomborg: Best strategies to empower girls in Bangladesh [link]

Analysis: Negative emissions tested at world’s first major BECCS facility [link]

Cities can prepare for hurricane season by reforming shortsighted and outdated laws [link]

Marine governance favors consumption and commerce over conservation. Here’s what we can do about it. [link]

Cambodia and Thailand edging closer to nuclear power [link]

Cooling technologies set to become red hot sector [link]



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

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

  2. Dear Professor Curry,

    I admire your persistence and remain confident that climate change cannot be predicted by those who ignore the source of energy that powers the Sun and sustains normal climate.

  3. Can anyone tell me an authoritative reference for the number of premature deaths (from all causes) from electricity generated by coal, gas and nuclear? I need the total deaths per year caused b each technology for the world from one authoritative source. I also need the global average deaths per TWh for each technology.

    I have many sources but most are not global averages; they are figures for countries or regions such as USA, Europe, China, India, etc.

    One I do have with all the global averages I need is Wang (2012), http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html but this is not peer reviewed.

    Hirschberg (2016) gives Years of Life Lost, but not an average fro the world and I don’t know how to convert his YOLL to premature deaths. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095183201500277X

    Markandya and Wilkinson, 2007, ‘Electricity generation and healthhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61253-7 also do not give global averages.

    • Even if peer reviewed, the number will probably be a WAG.

    • …the number of premature deaths (from all causes) from electricity generated by coal, gas and nuclear?

      Would that be net of the billions of lives lengthened by these technologies?

      • Peter Lang

        No. Look art the links and you’ll get an introduction to the subject.

      • Steven Mosher

        too funny

        Peter asks an important question about premature deaths
        “from electricity generated by coal, gas and nuclear? ”

        1. All of these technologies have the same benefit: Watts Produced
        2. My Heart lung machine doesnt care one wit about where the
        Watts came from, it just wants Watts.
        3. Peter’s question is. GIVEN we all appreciate the benefits,
        GIVEN, all Watts regardlesss of the source, create the
        same undeniable benefits….
        WHAT are the hidden costs of various generation technologies.

        but some people cant resist the 5th grade debating questions.

        There is no denying the benefits
        There is no denying the hidden costs ( externalities)
        The question is can we come up with a good reasonable estimate
        of those costs… and then.. is there anything one can or should do about

      • I need no introduction to benefit/cost analysis, but thanks for the helpful suggestions.

        People completely without electricity (estimated at 1.3 billion+) have shorter lifespans than people with dependable access to electric power. Lack of electricity creates its own negative feedback loop — reducing economic development, medical care, etc. Constant availability of electricity creates its own positive feedback loop. It is difficult to assign percentages of responsibility but the effects exist.

        Steven’s heart/lung machine will not keep him alive on wind turbine or solar power without adequate backup and/or storage systems. Those are first world problems that have been significantly reduced by the excess positive externalities produced by abundent energy (including transportation fuels). Awash in comparative luxury, we are now able to debate how best to move forward to help those who have less.

        Obviously, cost-effective controls on pollution sources (stationary and mobile) and improvements in energy efficiency make sense in the developed countries. Unfortunately, there are trade offs at every decision point and ignoring them does not make them go away. This is particularly important for those in abject poverty.

        Hypothetical: If you can provide 1MM people with fossil fuel power for X dollars, or spend 2X dollars for alternative renewable power with comparable 24-hour access, what should you be willing to give up to pay for the higher cost alternative energy? Does the answer depend on whether you are sitting in Berkeley or Burundi?

        The result of any calculations will depend upon your assumptions (number of premature deaths, value of a year of life, etc.). Your mileage may vary.

      • Steven Mosher

        Nobody asked about renewable.
        He asked about coal gas and nuclear.

      • SM:

        He asked about premature deaths from coal, gas and nuclear. He left out diesel/fuel oil generation, perhaps because he considered it insignificant. He left out dam failures and the ecological harm of artificial reservoirs. He also left out transportation fuels despite the fact that is the next wave in the technological revolution for renewables. He is quite focused, that much is clear.

        I helpfully mentioned renewables in the same way you helpfully mentioned “benefits”.

        3. Peter’s question is. GIVEN we all appreciate the benefits, GIVEN, all Watts regardlesss of the source, create the
        same undeniable benefits….
        WHAT are the hidden costs of various generation technologies.

        but some people cant resist the 5th grade debating questions.

        The first part of your point 3 is false. The second part is more funny in the context of you making sh*t up. You simply annotated his original questions with your personal interpetation.

        I would further note that “appreciating” benefits is not the same as valuing them with a specific metric. And intermittant watts do not provide benefits identical to 24-hour watts. So you displayed little knowledge of the subject but I will resist calling you a poopy head. Even if you really are.

        All I’m saying is that valid benefit/cost analysis depends upon NET benefits. Believe it not, lives depend upon the answer.

      • opluso | June 5, 2016 at 6:25 am | Reply
        …the number of premature deaths (from all causes) from electricity generated by coal, gas and nuclear?

        Would that be net of the billions of lives lengthened by these technologies?

        Huh? This assumes a lot of facts not in evidence.

        Nuclear doesn’t cause premature deaths, it doesn’t even cause mature deaths.

        Coal and gas probably affect a few people in the US. Renewables arguably kill more people in the China than are saved in the US. Lets assume 1000 people are killed in China building renewable energy (which is a defensible number if not low) and coal and gas kill 10000 people in the US, if renewables generate 1.5% of power and coal and gas generate 63% then renewables would kill 42,000 people if they generated 63% of our power.

        Further there isn’t much discussion of the quality of the people we are killing. In China it basically kills everybody. In the US my perception is it is mostly old people. Stopping a 9 year old from reaching 81 is different than stopping an 80 year old from reaching 81.

        All of these death estimates need to specify who we are killing and how much we are killing them since the raw death toll is meaningless. Do the 10,000, or 20,000, or 30,000, or whatever US deaths represent 20,000 lost man-years or 400,000 lost man-years?

      • PA:

        Nuclear doesn’t cause premature deaths, it doesn’t even cause mature deaths.

        Based on current understanding, nuclear does cause premature deaths, whether you are counting Chernobyl or not. The full life cycle of the fuel (mining, processing, disposal) should be included in the calculations.

        And for improved accuracy you will need an estimate for the beneficial impact of the hormesis effect.

      • Steven Mosher

        Just funny that you can’t answer peters honest question without spouting off talking points.
        Policy makers are not waiting for your thoughts.

    • I assume you looked at the Forbes article directly with it’s references but just in case below is the link.

      You might want to contact C. A. Pope at BYU. He has done a lot of work on the impact of fine particulate matter. He has an article listed in the references of the Forbes article. As I understand it, he has an excellent reputation in the area.

      Good luck! This is a tall order.


      • Steven Mosher

        we have numbers to go from particulate matter to shortened life.
        the issue is a lack of truly global data.

        We have China, South Korea, Japan, the US, Europe..

      • S. Mosher wrote “we have numbers to go from particulate matter to shortened life.
        the issue is a lack of truly global data.”

        I get that. That’s why I suggested contacting an expert and suggesting the expert I think may be able to help. I believe that is better than stating the obvious in a way that adds nothing to the conversation.

      • I believe that is better than stating the obvious in a way that adds nothing to the conversation.

        You can’t just take that option away from Mosher. It’s all he’s got left these days. He’s very much a one trick pony.

      • David Wojick

        The particulate matter numbers are junk science at its worst, especially Popes. Death due to small particles, no matter their matter? Statistical nonsense.

      • David Wojick

        Tiny quantities of anonymous small particles at that.

      • Particulates arise from many sources, from soil to cooking oil to diesel engines.
        Assigning blame for premature death A to source B depends upon the assumptions being applied.

      • Steven Mosher

        Already in contact with Pope.
        Jeez. Don’t you read?

      • Lomborg pointed out that most indoor pollution is worse than outdoor.

        Need the EPA to come to your house to put out that pipe?
        Or arrest you for burning the casserole?

      • Steven Mosher

        Too funny.
        Blog commenters.
        Yes . Pope. I know. http://www.myhealthbeijing.com/china-public-health/air-pollution-or-smoking-which-is-worse-a-letter-from-dr-pope/

        The problem is getting more data.
        Like I said.

      • Steven Mosher

        Too funny david.
        Tell the world health organization.
        Or look at emergency room admissions
        On bad days in china.
        The good thing is governments don’t read your blog comments.

      • Peter Lang


        Thank you. Yes, I read the Forbes article long ago and also have checked some of the references. His numbers were actually from Brian Wang, 2011.. WHO doesn’t give the break down by energy source. I acxtually want the numbers for LCA, not just air pollution, and all from the same analysis for comparability. So far I haven’t found any other source that gives them other than Wang. However, I am concerned that Wang’s are not peer reviewed, and I am concerned that he may have attributed all air pollution attributed to coal use, to electricity. This is not correct.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Particulates arise from many sources, from soil to cooking oil to diesel engines.”
        For certain areas folks have a good handle on sources.
        In the end premature deaths has some pretty wide confidence intervals. But you will note that no skeptical genius is arguing that air in china is good for you.

      • But you will note that no skeptical genius is arguing that air in china is good for you.

        I’m glad you aren’t suggesting that anyone does. A more reasonable argument would be that economic growth in China has been, on net, good for them.

        Over the past 20 years per capita income in China has soared along with pollution levels. Life expectancy also rose during that period. Particulate pollution has undoubtedly prevented these lifespan improvements from being even larger. However, it should be clear that some portion of the gain in life expectancy derives from the very activities that produced the pollution (obviously, the multiplicity of factors impacting health and life expectancy makes direct correlations difficult).

        Whatever the output of a pollution/premature death model may be, finding an optimal policy balance requires analyzing positive externalities along with the negative.

        Good luck with the research.

      • Jim2,

        Thank you. Did you see my two comment here:

        I need an an authoritative source I can quote that has the figures for the global average deaths/TWh (or total global per year) for coal, gas and nuclear. I am not looking for parts of it that I then calculate. Wang gives figures, but they are not peer reviewed.

      • Peter Lang


        I am NOT looking for information on bits and pieces of the total that I then have to combine to get the total.

      • ​Peter Lang:

        ​I need an an authoritative source I can quote that has the figures for the global average deaths/TWh (or total global per year) for coal, gas and nuclear.​

        You seem to have examined the key sources already, including Kharecha & Hansen​ (2013). If none of those are satisfactory for your purposes, perhaps you could take a different approach to the question?

        Regardless, I would be interested in your article and hope it will be presented in a forum with public access.

      • Steven Mosher

        Too funny. How would you argue that economic growth has been net good for them except on the most circular fashion. By definition economic growth is good. That is not the question. The question is can you achieve the same good at reduced costs. Remember a watt is a watt. The benefit is fixed in this problem. .The question is the cost…and I this case hidden costs.

      • Once again Steven, Vostok, it is done. No hidden cost here. Let’s see now, pristine, consistent, informative, completed,… I have forgotten what your Big problem is with ‘Vostok’, would you restate it please?

      • opluso –

        ==> (obviously, the multiplicity of factors impacting health and life expectancy makes direct correlations difficult).

        I’m glad to see someone in these pages recognize the difficulty of the attribution. That’s a rare event.

        ==> However, it should be clear that some portion of the gain in life expectancy derives from the very activities that produced the pollution…

        We could certainly say that some portion of the gain is attributable to access to the energy that was produced from the polluting activity. What I think is a more relevant question, however, is what the comparative gains would have been had other energy resource pathways been utilized, and more importantly, what would the differential impact be going forward of different energy resource pathways, respectively?

        To gain a foothold on that answer, you need to be able to account for negative and positive externalities, e.g., the trillions of geopolitical dollars which have been spent, at least to some extent, to keep fossil fuels flowing.

      • SM:

        Too funny. How would you argue that economic growth has been net good for them except on the most circular fashion. By definition economic growth is good. That is not the question. The question is can you achieve the same good at reduced costs. Remember a watt is a watt. The benefit is fixed in this problem. .The question is the cost…and I this case hidden costs.

        You keep assuming answers in advance — something you criticize others for doing elsewhere. Economic growth has been a net good for the average person in China (we are both using aggregate figures here) in this context because wealthier = healthier (citations omitted). That is a global truth, not a circular argument. However, it is not a linear relationship, either. The particulars need to be explored in each region, social class, etc. But all should be aware that tinkering with existing infrastructure can actually reduce overall well-being even as it reduces air pollution. That’s why you try to figure these things out in advance.

        Pres. Obama and Sen. Warren have pointed out that even successful business owners are dependent upon (and benefit from) the positive externalities generated by many other individuals and industries. The fact that few explore the “value” of this type of externality is probably due to its diffuse, universal nature and the complexity involved with assigning relative percentages to the externalities. But that doesn’t automatically mean they shouldn’t be considered.

        I would argue that calculating a “cost” (or negative externality) is comparatively simple and not much of a contribution to the literature. It’s what buraeucracies do every day — but that doesn’t mean they are getting it “right.” For example, ignoring or underestimating the health effects of indoor air quality and/or smoking (particularly prevalent in China) would greatly skew the estimates of the health impacts of outdoor air emissions. Some have estimated that 1-in-3 young Chinese men will eventually die from smoking-related diseases. So which dollar should you spend first — smokestack scrubbers or smoking cessation programs? Maybe they should tax cigarettes to subsidize the scrubbers.

        Furthermore, the benefit is NOT fixed if you impose costs (say, in an effort to reduce the negative externalities) and, for example, reduce the output/ratio of watts along with pollution. There are lots of ways to screw things up through good intentions combined with government power. IMO you should seek an optimal balance. That is why some of us worked on market-based schemes for reducing SOx emissions during the acid rain debates (just one example, but relevant here).

        To say “one watt is identical to any other” may be the attitude of the typical American energy consumer but this discussion involves the costs and benefits of various generating options. Despite what you imply, not all watts are created equal (or else all sources would chrage the same price) and I would assume everyone wants the most accurate and complete methodology for distinguishing and ranking electric generation (and emissions control) options.

        You cannot fully answer how to “achieve the same good at reduced costs” without knowing what you are trading off on both sides. You are behaving like a positive externalities denialist.


        I think we agree. By the way, I have opposed using the US military (aka blood and taxes) to subsidize global oil exports/imports for over 30 years and presented the “true cost” per barrel to members of Congress, among others. Steven Mosher will probably remind you that policy makers don’t care about my opinion. At least this once, he was correct.

    • David L. Hagen

      7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution

      In new estimates released today, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. . . .
      low- and middle-income countries in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012, with a total of 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths related to outdoor air pollution. . . .
      After analysing the risk factors and taking into account revisions in methodology, WHO estimates indoor air pollution was linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012 in households cooking over coal, wood and biomass stoves.

      Suggest exploring:
      WHO Global Health Observatory: Premature Deaths
      ~ 7 million deaths annually.
      “For a more detailed description of the methods, please consult:” http://www.who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair/databases/AAP_BoD_methods_March2014.pdf?ua=1
      Main references:
      Brauer M, Amann M, Burnett RT, Cohen A, Dentener F, Ezzati M, et al. Exposure assessment for estimation of the global burden of disease attributable to outdoor air pollution. Environ Sci Technol. 2012;46(2):652-60. doi: 10.1021/es2025752.

      Burnett RT, Pope A, Ezzati M, Olives C, Lim SS, Mehta S, et al. An integrated risk function for estimating the global burden of disease attributable to ambient fine particulate matter exposure. Environ Health Perspect. 2014(Advance publication 7 February 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1307049.

      Lim SS, Vos T, Flaxman AD, Danaei G, Shibuya K, Adair-Rohani H, et al. A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The Lancet. 2012;380(9859):2224-60. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61766-8.

      Harm from indoor cooking
      Cooking indoors with biomass is a major health hazard in developing countries. e.g. in India:
      Cause-specific premature death from ambient PM2.5 exposure in India:
      Estimate adjusted for baseline mortality

      . . .we develop a non-linear power law (NLP) function to estimate the relative risk associated with ambient PM2.5 exposure using satellite-based PM2.5 concentration (2001−2010) that is bias-corrected against coincident direct measurements. . . .
      486,100 (811,000) annual premature death in India is estimated using NLP (IER) risk functions after baseline mortality adjustment. 54.5% of premature death estimated using NLP risk function is attributed to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), 24.0% to ischemic heart disease (IHD), 18.5% to stroke and the remaining 3.0% to lung cancer (LC)

      Compare: Reduced deaths from global warming
      Climate Change Reconsidered II NIPCC

      The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) today released Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts. The 1,062-page report contains thousands of citations to peer-reviewed scientific literature — and concludes rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels are causing “no net harm to the global environment or to human health and often finds the opposite: net benefits to plants, including important food crops, and to animals and human health.”

      Caution: “Premature deaths” is ambiguous without being quantified as person years etc. (How much shorter a piece of string – without a measure?)

      Happy hunting

      • Peter Lang

        David L. Hagen,

        Thank you for the references. Much apreciated.

        I have looked at the WHO reference for 7 million fatalities from air pollution and several other WHO publications. But none seem to breakdown by energy technology and none seem to give the total deaths on an LCA basis.

        Refgarding premature deaths versus Years of Life Lost (YOLL), I agree that YOLL is a more relevant measure. However, that is too difficult to explain for the audience I am writing for and would be a distraction for the paper. Deaths (meaning premature deaths) is widely used, such as in the WHO analysis, Kharecha and Hansen, 2013; Brook et al., 2014; Markandya and Wilkinson, 2007; and many others.

        If you happen to come across the figure I need from an authoritative source, please do let me know. :)

      • Europeans solved this problem centuries ago with a very simple device called a ‘chimney’. This removes noxious combustion products from the living area. Nowadays chimneys are easy to make – a few meters of 20 cm galvanized steel tube will do the trick. No need for special fuels; just give them chimneys.

      • Peter Lang

        David L. Hagen,

        Thank you again. I’ve searched the other references and none of them appear to give the information. In fact none seem to even mention electricity, let alone electricity generation from coal and none include all sources of premature deaths (e.g. accidents during mining, material processing, manufacturing, fabrication, construction, accidents at the plant, decommissioning, etc.

      • David L. Hagen

        Have you tried scholar for (“Years of Life Lost” Coal Electricity)? There appear to be a number of articles.
        See also (“Years of Life Lost” Coal Electricity Global)

      • Peter Lang


        Thank you. But I am not looking for YOLL. I am looking for global premature deaths by electricity generation by coal, gas and nuclear. I have Hirschberg et al., 2016, which is an authoritative recent reference on YOLL/TWh. But I don’t know how to convert to premature deaths/TWh. I have written to him and he said he’ll get back to me when he has time, but it will take him a while as he is very busy.

        Hirschberg, et al., 2016. Health effects of technologies for power generation: Contributions from normal operation, severe accidents and terrorist threat. Reliability Engineering & System Safety, Volume 145, January 2016, Pages 373–387. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095183201500277X

      • John Reid
        You may have missed my post on Wood Burning Stoves down thread regarding all biomass burning stoves cause indoor air pollution irrespective of chimneys. You will note that the stoves developed for 3rd world people have chimneys for venting out of doors. The inherent defect is loading and tending the fire of the stove with fuel through the firebox. Just opening the firebox door for 30 seconds increases gases and particulates from incomplete combustion by 1000%.
        The inhaled gases and particulates overwhelm the respiratory immune and toxin clearance system such that the exposed women and children become vulnerable to local infectious diseases like tuberculosis the worlds number one killer infectious disease.
        Electric cooking eliminates indoor pollution and saves lives

  4. re Europe’s renewables investment hits 10-year low: http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/06/03/europes-renewables-investment-hits-10-year-low/
    “The report says the causes of Europe’s steep drop in investment in 2015 included a sluggish economy and policy changes to subsidies.”
    Reality bites at last (running out of other people’s money).

  5. The reputation of Europe as a renewable energy leader has taken a serious knock as its investment dropped by 21% last year while global figures reached record levels

    So… time to short Tesla stock?

  6. “Why South Asia can’t afford to be glacial in its response to climate change. Are we living in the hope that our vulnerability will act like some sort of protective charm? [link]”

    I read that whole piece. It is just a collection of same old same old canned CAGW word soup that reads like this

    “hundreds of thousands homeless and adding to the numbers who are already without shelter and livelihood as a result of climate-induced river bank erosion and saline intrusion”
    “It is now visibly clear in South Asia that we are living with climate change – erratic weather patterns, extreme weather events, more frequent floods and droughts”

    of course there is no evidence for any of it and i doubt that the author actually has something to say or whether he simply has access to this kind of verbiage and make a living churning it out.

    what about this utter nonsense “caught your eye”?

  7. The MIT light bulb could ultimately be up to 40% efficient under laboratory conditions (60w output would still use 36w). No mention of what unique materials might be required (non-toxic?), the per bulb/watt cost was not specified, the estimated time till it could be in commercial production missing and it didn’t say what it’s estimated lifespan would be. Standard Edison bulbs are about 5% efficient, have a very short lifespan of 3000-4500hrs and are not biodegradable and are rarely recycled. One big selling point was it produces a more natural light than LEDs or florescent.
    Today I can buy 60w equivalent LEDs (11w-25,000hrs in three different color ranges) for $3 each locally. I have LEDs that have lasted longer than the last smart phone I bought!
    The linked article is just a long anti-regulation rant and says nothing about the science. Prof. Curry, you can do better.

    • David Springer

      Hey dimbulb, the article caught her eye. She didn’t ask your dumb ass to run out and invest in it. It also wasn’t about the new incandescent bulb itself but rather about gov’t interference in markets, energy technology, and unintended consequences. You’re some combination of m0r0n and troll. I haven’t assigned percentages yet but either way it’s not good.

      • How often do you see government energy regulation that is passed before the technology exist to comply with it? We have been down this road before with air conditioner SEER ratings. Let’s look at history:
        March 6, 2002:
        “Fact Sheet: Air Conditioner Efficiency Standards: SEER 13 vs. SEER 12”
        After finalizing a seven-year public review process, the Clinton Administration improved the air conditioner efficiency standard from SEER 10, which was established by Congress in 1987, to SEER 13. The change from SEER 10 to SEER 13 represented a 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency. The Clinton Administration decision required all new air conditioning equipment sold in them to comply with the SEER 13 standard by January 2006. In April 2001, however, the Bush Administration addressed the possibility of weakening the standard to SEER 12, and in July, DOE formally proposed to roll back the standard.
        Prior to the August recess, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4, the “Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) Act of 2001.” In H.R. 4, the House followed the Bush Administration and passed a weakened standard for air conditioners of SEER 12, instead of SEER 13.
        In October 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially commented on the DOE proposed roll back ruling. EPA stated that DOE overstated the regulatory burden and the financial pressures on the air conditioning industry and understated the savings benefits of the SEER 13 standard. The Deputy Administrator of EPA stated, “EPA believes there is a strong rationale to support a 13 SEER standard.”
        The issue of SEER 13 vs. SEER 12 now stands before the Senate to be addressed when the “Energy Policy Act of 2002” (S.517) is considered on the Senate floor. S.517 contains a provision setting a SEER 13 air conditioner efficiency standard (Sec. 927), but a motion to strike or weaken Sec. 927 is expected.

        What is gained in making a SEER 13 standard rather than a SEER 12?

        According to EPA, a SEER 13 standard represents a 30 percent increase in minimum energy efficiency requirements for air conditioners, in contrast to a 20 percent increase with a SEER 12 standard. According to DOE, 4.2 quadrillion Btu, or quads of energy, will be saved between 2006 and 2030 by a SEER 13 standard. 4.2 quads of energy is the equivalent to the annual energy use of 26 million U.S. households, which has a net savings of approximately $1 billion to the consumer by 2020. On the other hand, a SEER 12 standard will only save three quads of energy during the same time period.

        A SEER 13 standard will also accomplish more in reducing fossil fuel consumption and limiting air pollution. The construction of 39 400-megawatt power plants will be avoided by adopting the SEER 13 standard. In contrast, a SEER 12 standard would only avoid the construction of 27 400-megawatts power plants.

    • Linking an article isn’t the same as endorsing it. Quite a few of these articles are goofy. I think the idea is to understand just how goofy the world can be.

    • The MIT light bulb could ultimately be up to 40% efficient under laboratory conditions (60w output would still use 36w).

      Well, rant or not somebody is bad at math.

      I’ll grant that the whole lumens/watt thing is a little confusing. I had to do the computations to spec an detector for an illumination source.

      Measures of visible light are based on the candela which is 1/683 of watt of green light per SR. There is no direct conversion from Lumens to Watts since output has to be measured across the visible spectrum.

      Incandescent 60W bulbs vary widely. Depending on vendor and lifespan output is from less the 500 lumens to 880 lumens for a Sylvania clear bulb..

      Be that as it may, if a 60 W (630 Lumens for a standard GE frosted bulb) Edison bulb is 5% efficient, a 40% efficient bulb would use 7.5 Watts. This would make the 11W LED in your post, about 27% efficient.

      • Thank you for the clarification. I appreciate the education.
        Do you think LEDs are worth their cost?

      • It is all a math question. Everybody seems to aim for a 2700K color temperature which is at least tolerable.

        60W Equivalent Soft White T2 Spiral CFL Light Bulb (8-Pack) 840 Lumens, 12,000 hour life, 13 W, $15.96 Home Depot.

        GE Energy Smart CFL 800 Lumens pack of 8 $14.00 8000 hours 13 W. Amazon.

        On Ebay you can get 16 Sylvania A19 60 W 850 Luman bulbs for $8 or 50 cents each. Life of bulb 0.9 Years (actually 1000 hours).

        LED A19 form factor, $23 pack of 12, 800 Lumens, 15,000 hours, 9 W.

        10,000 hours, 60 W, $0.12 /KW = $72. An LED or CFL unit is about $2 and uses 22% or less of the power. At 1 hour per day payback is about year.

        The math seems pretty convincing. A good case can be made for either CFL or LED in an light that gets moderate to heavy use, not that you have a choice anymore. The light in your pantry or basement that gets occasional use doesn’t matter.

        As far as the LED question. I can get LEDs for the same cost as CFL (8 for $15.96 is about the same as 12 for $23) that burn 31% less power and last longer. 4 W less over the 15000 hour life of an LED is $3.00 at $0.05/KWh and $7.20 at $0.12/KWh so you get the bulb for free and then some vs CFL. I’ve replaced CFL lights prematurely so would favor LED for lights in heavy use.

        One note: don’t buy light bulbs from people who make aircraft engines.

      • Math’s not all their bad at. Logic seems to be out the window, too. The author (correctly) states that the ‘regulation’ of light bulbs is based on the efficiency: “About a decade ago, governments around the world developed a fetish for banning incandescents (through an efficiency rule).” Then, later, he says: “How, for example, will regulations respond to the news that a new and improved form of incandescent bulb is possible? Early tests show it to be more efficient than the replacements which the regulations favor.”

        The regulations only favor LEDs due to their efficiency, which this moron already admitted. So, there’s nothing stopping these new incandescent bulbs in the marketplace.

    • Curious George

      Are your fluorescent light bulbs biodegradable and non-toxic? Same for LEDs. Are you making yourself funny on purpose?

  8. You may have heard this before – from me, actually – but shouldn’t comparatives have points of comparison? Shouldn’t climate warriors be keen to track down an era when climate disasters/extremes were uncommon or markedly less common? As a kind of shaming? (They like to shame.)

    We could have a competition!

    The nineteenth century, for example, could show theirs, and we could show ours. (Trouble is, you’ll get that banged-up 14th century interrupting and scoffing in a Crocodile Dundee drawl: “Call that a climate disaster…Now this is a climate disaster! And this!” (Pulls out Great Famine, Big Cloud of the 1310s, the Magdalenenhochwasser, the Grote Mandrenke, the Black Monday hail, the St Mary’s wind, the cold and sogginess preceding the Black Death, which was followed by the drought of 1352, the wars and then forced suspensions of war linked to climate change…)

    That’s the trouble with the 14th century. It’s always worse than we thought.

  9. Woodburning Stoves (WBS) pollute indoors and outdoors. When OPEC embargoed oil, the USA brought back WBS initially like grandma’s, then a delayed combust or with separate firebox with low oxygen and a resultant volitile gas upper chamber yielding 60 to 70% efficiency. However, every time the firebox was opened, room combustion gases and particulates inside the room increased 1000%. Children,as the canary in the coal mine coughed, wheezed and at times became apneic which attracted the attention of media types and government. Today’s WBS are found most outside using water recycling to heat homes. When OPEC turned back on the oil spigots, WBS were no longer needed and children’s respiratory Heath issues resolved. The 6 City Study also found gas stoves used for cooking also made kids sick. The eradication of indoor air pollution occurred when cooking with electricity. If one wanted to save millions of people every year from death due to treatable infectious diseases, then deliver electricity for cooking and boiling contaminated water. All that is needed is a hot plate. The real criminals in this day and age are those blocking the building of inexpensive power plants in 3rd world countries. In ten years of the availability of cheap electricity world wide, global life expectancy would achieve parity. Maybe this is what warmers fear allowing the preventable slaughter to continue.

  10. Judith I am back in moderation again for my comments on WBS. Have I lost the thread?

  11. RE: “The magic of the EPA’s benefit/cost analysis”

    [T]he bureaucracy is an interest group and benefit/cost analyses can be shaped to support virtually any outcome preferred politically. Consider, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)….

    [EPA predictions] use…assumptions that increase the predicted effects of the policies. The most important is a “climate sensitivity” … assumption of 4.5 degrees….

    It is the delegation of legislative powers to the regulatory agencies that has allowed such game-playing in pursuit of an ideological agenda. The only means with which to restore political accountability to the regulatory process is a requirement that all regulations be approved by Congress.

    This is a great nuts and bolts analysis of just how decadent and corrupt the EPA has become.

    Hannah Arendt observed that, of the several forms of government (e.g., aristocracy, monarchy, oligarchy, democracy), the “most formidable” is bureaucracy. She described it as an “intricate system of bureaus” in which no one “can be held responsible, and which can properly be called rule by Nobody.”

    “Rule by Nobody,” Arendt concludes, “is clearly the most tyrannical of all since there is no one left who could be asked to answer for what is being done.”

    It is this state of affairs, making it impossible to localize responsiblity and to identify the enemy, that is among the most potent causes of the current worldwide rebellious unrest, its chaotic nature, and its dangerous tendency to get out of control and to run amuck….

    Finally, more modern scientific and philosophical convictions concerning man’s nature have further strengthened these legal and political traditions.

    Trump’s right: the EPA is beyond reform. It has to go.

  12. RE: “Economist on Free Speech: Don’t silence views. Answer with more speech. Win with arguments. Grow a tougher hide.”

    There have been a flurry of articles similar to this one in the press as of late. It seems that Donald Trump has reignited the battle against the speech codes and thought crimes that have become so prevalent across the land, not just on college campuses, but in the halls of power as well.

    Glenn Reynolds: Donald Trump is the response to a bullying culture

    Back in February, analyzing Donald Trump’s appeal, David Gelernter wrote:

    Political correctness. Trump hasn’t made it a campaign theme exactly, but he mentions it often with angry disgust….

    Even Trump has just barely faced up to it. The ironic name disguises the real nature of this force, which ought to be called invasive leftism or thought-police liberalism or metastasized progressivism. The old-time American mainstream, working- and middle-class white males and their families, is mad as hell about political correctness and the havoc it has wreaked for 40 years — havoc made worse by the flat refusal of most serious Republicans to confront it.

    Political correctness is not, as some might claim, just an effort to encourage niceness. As Gelernter notes, it’s an effort to control people. Like the Newspeak in George Orwell’s 1984, the goal is to make it impossible for people to speak, or even think, unapproved thoughts.

    Of course, by limiting what people can think and say, political correctness has hollowed out America’s universities, cheapened and distorted its politics, and served (and this last is entirely intentional) to make those who favor traditional American values like free speech feel marginalized and at risk.

    Almost as irritating to a lot of people, though, is the extent to which self-described “conservative” politicians, pundits and media organs have gone along….

    So nobody “respectable” was willing to launch a full-scale counterattack on PC, on or off-campus….

    That’s what Trump’s doing. And a lot of people are cheering him on not so much because they’re fans of Trump personally as because they’re happy to see someone finally stand up to the PC bullies.

    Will electing Trump solve all the nation’s problems? Nope. But, as mentioned above, it will show that more than half the country rejects the culture of political correctness, and the political class that let it take over. And for many people, that’s reason enough.

  13. RE: Shellenberger: Clean energy is on the decline: why and what we can do about it

    There’s some good stuff in this article about how the Warmists became some of the leading practitioners of the politics of fear.

    The article also rips the mask off the Warmists, revealing one of the main hidden agendas that motivates their politics of fear:

    Starting in the mid-sixties, a handful of Sierra Club activists feared rising migration into California would destroy the state’s scenic character. They decided to attack all sources of cheap, reliable power, not just nuclear, in order to slow economic growth.

    “If a doubling of the state’s population in the next 20 years is to be encouraged by providing the power resources for this growth,” wrote David Brower, who was Executive Director of the Sierra Club, “the state’s scenic character will be destroyed. More power plants create more industry, that in turn invites greater population density.”….

    Sierra Club member “Martin Litton hated people,” wrote a historian about the how the environmental movement turned against nuclear. “He favored a drastic reduction in population to halt encroachment on park land.”

    But [Sierra Club] activists had a problem: their anti-growth message was deeply unpopular with the Californian people. And so they quickly changed their strategy. They worked hard instead to scare the public by preying on their ignorance.

    Doris Sloan, an anti-nuclear activist in northern California said, “If you’re trying to get people aroused about what is going on … you use the most emotional issue you can find.” This included publicizing images of victims of Hiroshima and photos of babies born with birth defects. Millions were convinced a nuclear meltdown was the same as a nuclear bomb.

    Not Martin Litton. When asked if he worried about nuclear accidents he replied, “No, I really didn’t care because there are too many people anyway.” Why then all of the fear-mongering? “I think that playing dirty if you have a noble end,” he explained, “is fine.”


    • Curious George

      If you have a noble end … And who is qualified to tell that your end is a noble one? You are, of course.

  14. From the article:

    The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:

    Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*
    SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
    Solyndra ($535 million)*
    Beacon Power ($43 million)*
    Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
    SunPower ($1.2 billion)
    First Solar ($1.46 billion)
    Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
    EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
    Amonix ($5.9 million)
    Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
    Abound Solar ($400 million)*
    A123 Systems ($279 million)*
    Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*
    Johnson Controls ($299 million)
    Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
    ECOtality ($126.2 million)
    Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
    Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
    Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
    Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
    Range Fuels ($80 million)*
    Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*
    Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
    Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*
    GreenVolts ($500,000)
    Vestas ($50 million)
    LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)
    Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
    Navistar ($39 million)
    Satcon ($3 million)*
    Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*
    Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)


    • So, I’m registered as a LiberTopian – no fan of wasteful gummit spending.

      But the program by which many of these failed loans/subsidies were made, started out from (R)Pete Domenici who wanted to stimulate nuclear production. But the sensible nuclear folks wouldn’t build new plants, even if subsidized, because of expense and regulation.

      So O and the Dems $pent the green on green.

      The answer is for gummit to stop meddling in any of it.

      But the Rs were to blame for putting the whole thing in motion.

      FWIW, Jim Chanos did call the bursting of the green bubble shortly after hope-n-change part I.

      • Redimowits have done stupid things, a rather long list. I’m not a Dimowit or a Redimowit. More libertarian than anything.

      • We can take comfort in knowing that the money has not been lost, we are only being left with the tab.

  15. Meet the Scientific Outcasts and Mavericks

    Bjorn Lomborg, Roger Pielke, Jr., Cliff Mass, and Richard Lindzen.

    • Mass’s view is that weather isn’t climate, which contrasts with Trenberth’s view that there is an element of climate in all weather. Both are defensible positions.

    • Steven Mosher

      too funny you recommend a believer in CAGW

  16. Where Does All the Money Go: Shifts in Household Spending Over the Past 30 Years

    Over the past 30 years, high-income households have prospered, middle-income households have stagnated, and low-income households have taken a significant hit:


    For low- and middle-income households, necessities like food, clothing and transportation are getting squeezed out by soaring medical and housing costs:


  17. Although the cost per kWh is higher in Germany, a German’s electricity bill is comparable to the U.S: http://energytransition.de/2015/05/german-power-bills-low-compared-to-us/

    • It’s always an interesting exercise to follow the money.

      In the case of the anti-nuclear movement in Illinois, it looks like it’s funded by the natural gas, coal and renewables industries in a rather blatant attempt to eliminate competition from nuclear.

      Fossil-Enviro Alliance Wins Anti-Nuclear Victory in Illinois

      Looking at political battles like this one and the tangled web of mixed motives that inspire them, I’m reminded of the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe:

      While we call them Wars of Religion, it would be a mistake to assume that religion alone was responsible for the carnage. Political, dynastic, and nationalistic factors clearly played a role in fomenting, perpetuating, and exacerbating the conflict.

      Machiavellian political techniques [predicated upon the advancement of material self-interest] also undoubtedly made the killing more effective, but the fanatacism of the particpants and the brutality they displayed were in large measure a manifestation of religious passions. These passions grew out of a fundamental disagreement about the nature of God and the relaitonship of God and man.

      — MICHAEL ALLEN GILLESPIE, The Theological Origins of Modernity

      • Glen — Again your “framing” and “perceptions” are incorrect. Existing Nuclear’s basic problem is an inability to compete in U.S. open markets (i.e., an economic dispatch, or a capacity auction).

        The coalitions you refer to is against giving existing nuclear a new subsidy so they can compete against natural gas.

        BTW people like me and Michael Shellenberger, think existing nuclear should be given a new subsidy/support. How you (and others here at CE) manipulate Michael’s message as somehow anti-Renewables is just not correct.

        Also, it makes no sense that the Clean Power Plan gives new nuclear credit, but nothing for existing nuclear.

      • Stephen Segrest said:

        The coalitions you refer to is against giving existing nuclear a new subsidy so they can compete against natural gas.

        Exactly, and that coalition includes secular stealth religious fanatics — Warmists and Alarmists.

        These secular stealth religious zealots play an important role in the coalition, because they goo over the greed and self-interest advocacy with a patina of doing God’s work.

      • Stephen Segrest,

        Anyone with even a scintilla of knowledge about engineering knows you’re just spouting a bunch of illogical, defactualized nonsense.

    • And what a perfect storm nuclear confronts: powerful industries (natural gas, coal and renewables) with deep pockets working hand-in-glove with secular religious fanatics (Alarmists/Warmists) who goo over the greed and special-interest advocacy with a patina of doing God’s work:

      Pro-nuclear activists want lawmakers to treat the Clinton plant and other fission reactors as some of the most powerful weapons in the fight against global warming, a rationale that would give them a new lease on life.

      “The rules of the game are so rigged against nuclear in Illinois,” said Michael Shellenberger, a nuclear energy supporter and founder of Environmental Progress who rode with Hansen. He pointed out that nuclear energy is excluded from the state’s renewable portfolio standards and that wind energy is subsidized at more than double the rate Exelon was seeking.

      However, the push to extend lifelines to nuclear power has collided with the goals of other environmental activists who have spent decades railing against reactors as expensive and unsafe, creating cracks in the coalition that helped bring nations to an international agreement to fight climate change.

      Among climate scientists, a fraught debate on the path forward


      • Glen — Do you know Michael Shellenberger? Do you communicate with him? Have you followed him for at least 10 years? I do, on all the above questions.

        Michael is pro Nuclear and Renewables (like myself) and not as you incorrectly and constantly misrepresent.

      • Stephen Segrest,

        I “misrepresent” Shellenberger?

        How does citing his published quotes “misrepresent” him?

        It looks to me like you’re the one who makes baseless, unsubstantiated accusations and wants to “misprepresent” Shellenberger.

        I see no evidence that Shellenberger wants to whitewash the Warmists and Alarmists in the way you seek to.

      • Mr. Stehle — You are not a serious player. You clearly have no background in engineering economics.

        With Mr. Shellenberger you are creating a strawman (nothing new here). When Michael discusses Renewables, he believes that existing nuclear should be given similar support.

        This is not saying (how you misrepresent in your strawman) that subsidies to Renewables should be eliminated. Even if all Renewable subsidies were eliminated, existing Nuclear would still have a major problem competing against natural gas in today’s open market.

        And again — I know and communicate with Michael Shellenberger (and you don’t).

      • Stephen Segrest,

        You can spare us the premadonna routine. You know absolutely nothing about me, and your assertion, which is patently false, only serves to highlight your penchant for making false claims and accusations that you cannot substantiate.

        The issue at hand is whether Warmists/Alarmists have joined hands with powerful economic interests (renewables, natural gas and coal producers) to drive a stake into the heart of nuclear power generation in Illinois, as well as other places like California and Germany.

        I actually took the time to read what Shellenberger had to say, including his article in today’s links:

        Shellenberger: Clean energy is on the decline: why and what we can do about it [link]

        And surprise! surprise!, there’s an entire section titled:


        You can stick your head in the sand and deny this reality all you want, but it only serves to further accentuate your remoteness from reality.

      • Mr. Stehle — I know plenty about you, by the clear lack of knowledge on engineering economics when you post. You’ve never exhibited any type of working knowledge on things like an economic dispatch, a capacity auction, importance of Renewables penetration levels, integrated grid flexibility and Renewables — and I could go on and on.

        And clearly you don’t know Mr. Shellenberger. Here is an interview he recently did: http://www.eenews.net/videos/2134

        It’s a 10 minute interview. Twice in the interview he states “I’ve been an advocate for solar and wind for over 20 years“. (starting at the 10 min. mark, at ~7:00 and 3:41)

        Here is another post — that of Steven Chu: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2016/06/05/steven-chu-criticizes-clean-power-plan-for-neglecting-nuclear/#37d4781b7f35

        Mr. Chu is saying the same thing as Michael Shellenberger — they support Renewables but they believe that existing nuclear should also be given subsidies that Renewables and new Nuclear (i.e. the PTC almost identical to wind) are given.

        I agree with Mr. Chu and Shellengerger on existing nuclear.

      • Stephen Segrest,

        Lordy! Lordy!

        What do we have here, a contest to see who can dominate the blog in the premadonna department?

        One needs no credentials to refute your argument.

        After all, just what is it about “Fossil-Enviro Alliance,” to put it in Shellenberger’s own words, that you don’t understand?


      • Are there fossil/enviro alliances against nuclear? Yes, of course there are. But there are significant nucelar/enviro alliances as well.

        And have there been fossil/nuclear alliances against Renewables? Yes.

        But these alliances haven’t been the focal point of your rants, mis-statements, and incorrect engineering concepts for month after month here as CE. Its been anti-Renewable.

      • Stephen Segrest said:

        But these alliances haven’t been the focal point of your rants, mis-statements, and incorrect engineering concepts for month after month here as CE. Its been anti-Renewable.

        Oh, I get it now. You’re playing the man and not the ball: Attack the messenger and not the message.

        Well, I suppose if the facts are so overwhelmingly stacked against one’s polemic, that’s the only rhetorical strategy one has.

      • Mr. Stehle — No, its your lack of understanding of even some basics of engineering economics. A good starting point is to re-read a CE blog post that not all kWhs are the same.

        After you re-read (and hopefully understand some basics) then going to the Lazard study will make sense with the understanding that say solar in the U.S. has currently a penetration level of one-half of 1%:



        As I constantly say, if decisions are made using sound engineering economics, everything will be OK (even if this results in a penetration level of Renewables of 1%)

      • Glenn,

        You are overplaying your hand with this argument. First and foremost it is market forces making nuclear difficult to operate. There are other factors, but Nat gas prices are at the top of the list

      • This is not saying (how you misrepresent in your strawman) that subsidies to Renewables should be eliminated. Even if all Renewable subsidies were eliminated, existing Nuclear would still have a major problem competing against natural gas in today’s open market.


        There is some straw in this argument as well.

        If there were no renewables (which is a fair hypothetical since total non-renewable generation capacity exceeds peak demand), no renewable mandates and no renewable subsidies, there would be more nuclear power consumption at a higher revenue point.

        The PTC subsidy on renewables is equivalent to about 3.4-3.7 cents/KWh of pre-tax revenue. There is no reason that clean nuclear isn’t down in the trough feeding with the renewable hogs.

        It is impossible to claim that more nuclear power wouldn’t be consumed and per facility revenue wouldn’t be higher, if renewables didn’t exist. Removing renewables or putting them behind nuclear in priority would improve the nuclear economics. Further the “can’t compete with gas” is an all things being equal statement and they wouldn’t be equal.

        According to even the greenies, only 6% of nuclear generation is at risk of closure. So gas isn’t stomping nuclear into the ground but in some situations circumstances have conspired to reduce revenue for some nuclear facilities to a critical point. Since virtually all the nuclear cost is sunk cost (fixed) with little variable cost, even marginally improving the revenue situation would save the facilities.

      • PA — I looked at the “study” you linked to. When you can cite a study of how States like Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Oregon, etc. (which have no nuclear) subsidized billions in nuclear ITCs taken in the 80’s get back to me.

        What about how everybody in the U.S. (except Georgia) is subsidizing Georgia Power’s new Vogtle units 3&4 (through the Nuclear PTC and the DOE loan program).

        Also, for solar and many cases of peaking load off-shore wind, the generation displaced would typically be simple combustion turbines — certainly not nuclear. When solar’s penetration is so low, it is these high cost CTs that solar is picking off in an economic dispatch. Understanding the economic dispatch explains why peaking technology options of wind and solar typically have decreasing value as their penetration levels increase (e.g., less and less high cost CTs to displace)

      • PA,


        As Shellenberger explained in very plain English that anyone with two phucking working brain cells between their ears can understand, Exelon wanted its nuclear plants to belly up to the public trough alongside wind and solar, but on a very reduced diet in comparison to what wind and solar are chomping down. But the Alarmists/Warmists threw a hissy fit and nixed the deal:


        Segrest’s insistence that someone needs to be “a serious player,” have a “background in engineering economics” and a “working knowledge on things like an economic dispatch, a capacity auction, importance of Renewables penetration levels, integrated grid flexibility and Renewables” to understand what Shellenberger said is nothing short of daft.

        Segrest’s elitist pretensions, in addition to being an insipid stab at a snow job, are offensive as hell.

      • Stephen Segrest | June 5, 2016 at 4:46 pm |
        PA — I looked at the “study” you linked to. When you can cite a study of how States like Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Oregon, etc. (which have no nuclear) subsidized billions in nuclear ITCs taken in the 80’s get back to me.

        To claim that the US government has on net subsidized nuclear power is breathtakingly wrong.

        The federal regulations that increased the cost of construction about 6X really have no peer.

        The equivalent would be requiring wind to pay the going rate in fines and jail time for every animal they kill and requiring them to erect safety structures to eliminate 100% of animals kills.

        I’m fine with this and think this sort of law should be enacted. The animal-killers are violating the law and should pay for it.

      • Glenn Stehle,

        It looks to me like you’re the one who makes baseless, unsubstantiated accusations and wants to “misrepresent” …

        Yes!. He does that incessantly. He is thoroughly dishonest. he does not have the ethics to be an engineer. I suspect he is not a Professional Engineer.

        He repeatedly misrepresents what I have said, and many others including Judith Curry, Planning Engineer. Nothing he says can be trusted. It’s all filtered through his greenwash filters, distorted and misrepresented. He also like s tot ry to big note himself by saying he corresponds with various people, usually after hes’ written to them and they may perhaps have replied with a nice, consoling, pat on the head to the wee eegit.

  18. White males” access risk on nuclear power different than everybody else: http://www.vox.com/2015/5/27/8665401/nuclear-power-gender

    • Stephen Segrest,

      I’m not so sure the Republicrat establishment’s war on white males, and the drive to single out white males as a lone, discrete category, is a good idea.

      In its attempt to make Hillary Clinton the next resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the establishment has certainly thrown down the gauntlet, stigmatizing and scapegoating white males as a discrete class.

      But I’m not so sure I’d bet the farm on “White America’s sad last stand,” as a recent article in Salon headlined it, in the way the Republicrat estalbishment has. First we’ll have to wait and see how white males react, how many of them pick up the gauntlet.

      From the article you cited:

      This famous 1994 survey found that the gender gap around environmental risks is only true among white people; it disappears among nonwhites. “Most striking,” write the researchers in that study, “was the finding that white males tended to differ from everyone else in their attitudes and perceptions — on average, they perceived risks as much smaller and much more acceptable than did other people.” This survey was the source of the “white male effect,” much studied in the social sciences ever since. (This 2000 survey found something similar.)….

      As it happens, there’s another risk downplayed by conservative white males in service of identity-protective cognition: climate change. A 2011 study found that “conservative white males are more likely than other Americans to report climate change denial” and speculated that “the heightened system-justification tendencies of political conservatives” was responsible for the “high level of climate change denial in the United States.”

    • catweazle666

      Proving that “white males” are better educated – particularly on scientific and technical matters – and less prone to bedwetting than everybody else?

  19. Interesting website on world maps. Click and drag a country (like U.S. or China) over Africa. Shows just how big a challenge of building a transmission grid is — and the need/role for distributive generation: http://www.wired.com/2016/06/handy-applet-will-remind-distorted-maps/

    • Geoff Sherrington

      Proficient geochemists will tell you that globally, soils tend to equilibrate to a natural level of organic carbon. If more is introduced into the soil, over the long term, it will drop back to where it started from. As a generalisation.
      The argument that a man-made increase in soil organic carbon will give a benefit of higher crop or vegetation yields is specious. Such yield gains as measured in the short term will be at the expense of reduced soil carbon.
      In any case, overall it is a matter of dynamics. In time all of the labile carbon converts mostly to CO2 that usually ends up in the air.
      There is not a great deal of intellectual advancement by crafting intricate stories of soil carbon goods and bads. It mostly wastes the time of people who endure it for one reason or another.

    • Curious George

      These guys are not in the pockets of the Big Coal. Big Soil, maybe?

  20. If Renewables are “just” an issue for Liberal Dimowitts why are Renewables thriving in “Red States? (and support is more than just generation, but transmission also): http://e360.yale.edu/feature/iowa_bipartisan_push_leader_in_wind_energy/3000/

  21. Growing U.S. ethanol exports to China — for octane requirements and reduction in air pollution: http://www.ethanolrfa.org/2016/06/u-s-net-ethanol-exports-hit-52-month-high-china-is-top-market-for-second-straight-month/

    • On the surface it may look like Texas is pro-solar but at the local level there is strong resistance. Take my solar array. I decided I could save money if I installed PV (no tax credits or grants, 100% my money) but it only made sense if I went with a ground mount system. I applied for a permit and the local zoning board decided I could only install them if I there was a 10′ set back from the property (no reason given) and I had to add an additional set of redundant circuit breakers (again no rationale-just do it). This added about $500 to the total project cost but it wasn’t a deal breaker so I built the system. Three month go by and one of the zoning board members drops by and made a surprise visit. He looks over my setup and checks to make sure my fence was high enough to hide the panels from my neighbors and the street view, which they were. He also asked to see my electric bill to see what it was saving in electricity. All good, he thanks me for my time and leaves. Well next month the zoning board has another meeting and they decide they need to update the zoning rules again. Now in addition to the 10′ setback and fencing requirements they have decided you can’t put in a ground mounted solar array unless your lot is at least 10 acres. After this change less than 5% of the home owners in my city can opt for a ground mounted system. There is no way my system could have saved me money if I had to install it on my 12 year old roof and I would had to cut down two large trees. Residential solar in Texas is a joke – don’t do it.

      • dougbadgero

        Your other points seem valid, but 10′ setback from property line is standard requirement everywhere. Unless at front of property, in which case 25′ is standard.

      • Doug, It makes sense for utility easement but not for all sides of a lot. The front yard setback is completely logical. I would go as far as to prohibit solar arrays visible from the street if only to minimize vandalism. My neighbor built a large yard shed 2′ from my back fence and right under the power and telephone lines and the inspector didn’t say a thing. If I had the balls and the extra money I would have just tried to bribed the SOB. If I was Trump I would just declare eminent domain and get them to re-zone by back yard as commercial.

      • dougbadgero

        This is way off topic, but skid mounted sheds…if that is what it was…are not permanent and can be put anywhere.

    • Texas a paradise of rooftop solar incentives?

      This is an empirical claim regarding Texas that should be taken with a rather large grain of salt.

      Here’s a graphic from the article:


      Here, on the other hand, is an article that is better researched and hits closer to the truth:

      Texas gets “F” grade on net-metering policies for solar power and more

      One can go to this website and see all the local, state, and federal government interventions to promote renewable energy.that have been enacted and which apply in each of the fifty idndividual states:


      Even though there may be some local Texas governments which have mandated net metering, or a handful of utility companies which voluntarily offer such rate structures, there is no state-wide net metering mandate as there is in California.

      But even more important, one will not find anything like this (feed-in tariff) mandated by any level of government in Texas, much less on a state-wide level as is the case in California:


      • Mr. Stehle is just too much. He cites a report by a pro Solar association that gives Texas utilities a F grade on net-metering.

      • Stephen Segrest,

        It’s not an issue of who asserted something — which side they hail from — but whether the empirical claim is true or not.

        You seem to be so overwhelmed by ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ thinking that it prevents you from properly evaluating factual claims.

  22. BECSS. What a joke. $207 million grant from DoE to CCS 2.27mt CO2 from ADM’s ethanol fermentation plant in Decatur Il. That is a waste of ~$100 per ton. I worked out the fermentation in mols and converted. ~344 gallons of ethanol produces 1 metric ton of fermentation CO2. So that is about $0.29/ gallon. Ethanol closed Friday at $1.69/gallon. BECCS is a surcharge of 17%.
    It seems green schemes never make any sense.

    • Rud — how is the ADM grant any worst than the others?: http://energy.gov/fe/articles/doe-selects-eight-projects-receive-funding-reducing-cost-co2-capture-and-compression

      Could one say that the Southern Co. Plant Barry grant is no more of a joke than the ADM grant?

      • All the CCS grants are a joke. Why UK halted its £1 billion CCS program. Why Norway stopped its CCS ‘moonshot’. They are being made in the US because EPA cannot mandate CCS unless a ‘commercial capability’ exists. So they are desperate for demo plants. This of course ignores the legal intent of the ‘commercial’ requirement in the CCA. Wrote about this charade in my guest post ‘Clean Coal’ here a couple of years ago.

        And to make matters worse, the pilot EPA CO2 injection program in Illinois into this very same sandstone was abandoned about 2 years ago. Turns out the CO2 reacted with the chemicalized groundwater to form a hard scale and plug up the sandstone at the injection site. No flow after a couple of months.

      • Rud — I would agree with you.

  23. David Wojick

    The Hill news goes skeptical:
    He misses the central fact that SCC has to go out an absurd 300 years to get the costs from today’s emissions (the benefits being avoiding these mythical costs).

    Also this:

    Skeptical stuff! This seems a new direction for the Hill.

    • Hey if I wanted to quickly generate 30 million new jobs then cleaning up and restoring the environment could sure put a lot of low skilled labor to work. Won’t happen but it works on paper. Armies of people picking up trash, cleaning the waterways, planting stuff, learning how to insulate buildings. Not just in the US but also a new Eviro-Corps deployed to hot spots around the world. Repeal all EPA regulations and just assign hordes of low paid workers to clean up the mess. Jobs, jobs, jobs, millions of jobs!

  24. David Wojick

    In the 1970s the US Government stopped paying people to do things and started just ordering them to do it. Much cheaper that way. Reversing that makes sense but I fail to see how picking up trash, cleaning the waterways, planting stuff, and learning how to insulate buildings is restoring the environment. Nor does it need restored, whatever that means.

    • Well here’s another idea. Lets create millions of jobs by building thousands of new sports stadiums, Olympic swimming pools, ice rinks, tennis courts and golf courses. Millions of new jobs! (note, I hate almost all professional sports. Especially when the players and coaches are paid the obscene salaries I see today)

  25. Baking soda CCS. More bad science. Actually, bad high school level chemistry. Baking soda (Na2CO3) is make by the Solvay process (invented in 1861) from salt brine and limestone, using ammonia as a ‘catalytic’ intermediary, in four steps. The final step releases 1 CO2 molecule for every baking soda molecule made. Wiki has the correct Solvay details. The BBC article quotes LLNL saying baking soda CCS works by capturing a CO2 molecule and a water molecule, converting the baking soda molecule into two sodium bicarbonates (Na2CO3 + CO2+ H2O > 2NaHCO3).
    The stoichiometry says you release a CO2 here to later capture a CO2 there. The concept is futile, and LLNL should be ashamed of itself. More utterly useless goofball US government science. Embarassingly bad.

    • Curious George

      Baking soda seems to be a NaHCO3.

      • Yes. You are correct. Start with soda ash (sodium carbonate) and end with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Could have phrased the comment better.

    • Are you on drugs? Why not read the article before foisting your misunderstandings on readers? Especially if you expect anybody who knows anything about chemistry to buy your ebooks.

      But then, maybe you don’t. Maybe the entire target audience is people who don’t know any better and don’t know how to find out.

      Baking soda is NaHCO3. It’s also called sodium bicarbonate. Na2CO3 is usually called sodium carbonate, or used to be called washing soda.

      And it’s a perfectly good idea, not too different from many other ideas, most of them using calcium hydroxide/carbonate.

      • I will admit they seem more interested in playing with the newest toys than lowering the costs:

        Thanks to 3D printing and advanced computational techniques, the researchers in California are not limited to capsules.

        But there are other projects looking for low-cost manufacture: Encapsulated liquid sorbents for ​carbon dioxide capture (see link for author list, etc.)

        […] Here we report carbon capture materials that may enable low-cost and energy-efficient capture of ​carbon dioxide from flue gas. Polymer microcapsules composed of liquid carbonate cores and highly permeable silicone shells are produced by microfluidic assembly. This motif couples the capacity and selectivity of liquid sorbents with high surface area to facilitate rapid and controlled ​carbon dioxide uptake and release over repeated cycles. […]

        This (or at least similar) technology is already in use, albeit for high-value products. For instance, this marketing fluff from Sono-Tek Microencapsulation & Cell Biology Applications

      • AK, I posted the correct chemistry. You cannot sequester CO2 by first producing CO2. Same flaw as the Skymine proposal that got a $25 million grant for a pilot. They proposed using sodium hydroxide rather than sodium carbonate aka soda ash. The CO2 produced generating electricity to electrolyze salt water to produce sodium hydroxide is (igoring slight efficiency losses) the same as the CO2 captured by the sodium hydroxide. Only if the electricity came from nuclear would this not be true. But then build nuclear and avoid CCS altogether. Wrote the one up in the details chapter of The Arts of Truth.

      • The CO2 produced generating electricity to electrolyze salt water to produce sodium hydroxide is (igoring slight efficiency losses) the same as the CO2 captured by the sodium hydroxide.

        I’m not sure what you’re talking about. The energy generated in oxidizing carbon is at least 1-2 orders of magnitude greater than that needed to move CO2/carbonate around.

        The process doesn’t involve “electrolyzing salt water to produce sodium hydroxide”.

        They are talking about using sodium carbonate to absorb CO2, producing sodium bicarbonate. This will happen at ambient temps and partial pressure, much less the partial pressures of flue gasses (although they would need to be fully cooled. But cooling them could actually be used to produce another small round of energy.)

        The sodium bicarbonate is then heated to recover CO2 (now in pure form) and the original sodium carbonate. The energy needed for that heating is orders of magnitude less than the energy created in burning the original carbon.

        It’s the difference between a redox reaction and a low-energy solution reaction.

        The working solution is to be encapsulated in “a polymer shell that allows CO2 to flow through.” Assume a single encapsulated particle can work a thousand cycles, the energy used to create it will be a very tiny fraction of the energy gained from combustion to produce total amount of CO2 the capsule will capture during its lifetime.

      • AK I was clearly referring to Skymine in my last comment, not the LLBL soda ash to baking soda article in this post that triggered my initial comment. So yes, you do not know what I was specifically talking about.

        Google Skymine. Similar scheme, just sodium hydroxide to soda ash rather than LLNL soda ash to baking soda. High school chemistry. Put a teaspoon of Drano in a half filled quart bottle of soda water. Bottle collapses as CO2 inside is sequestered. Similar but more subtle flaw than LLNL idiocy. Sodium hydroxide is made by electrolysis of salt water. Rather than the simple obvious stoich flaw in LLNL which instigated my initial comment, it was more subtle as you have to go through the electrolysis energy balance also. In the end, the same conclusion. Chemistry works, but a really Stupid CCS idea. One that got $25 million of taxpayer funds for a pilot demo.

      • Instead of killing food crops slowly, by removing CO2 from the atmosphere, I have an equally stupid suggestion which would create far more jobs.

        Once crops have reached maturity, and removed maximum CO2 from the air naturally, send teams of Greenies, Warmists, (or other like minded people), into the fields with cutting implements – say those confiscated by the TSA at airports. Free, you see. Small knives, nail scissors – anything sharp will do.

        Now, just cut the crop down totally, and bury it, or seal it up in containers and sink it into the abyssal depths. What about salt mines? CO2 removed!

        So there you have it. A ridiculous idea portrayed for what it is.

        We have more people all the time. We need more food as a result. CO2 and H2O are necessary for plant life. Burning hydrocarbons produces both, and produces useable energy as a by-product. Of course there are side effects – but I choose to believe that I’m better off, compared with reverting to the Stone Age.


      • OK Rud, but:

        Similar scheme, just sodium hydroxide to soda ash rather than LLNL soda ash to baking soda.

        Really not that “similar”. The LLNL scheme is simply extracting CO2 from flue gasses (or ambient air) in purified form. According to this article the “parasitic load” from carbon capture can be as much as 25%. If the LLNL scheme can actually cut this figure substantially, it has the potential to be profitable.

        Looking at the Skymine scheme, it’s very different.
        Yes, they are using substantial energy to electrolyse aqueous NaCl to NaOH+½Cl2. Most sources give 1.36V as the base voltage, let’s assume they run it at 1.5 volts, which means 1.5ev/NaOH molecule, 145Kj/mol.

        According to Wiki the HHV for methane is 889Kj/mol, my calculations give 808.18Kj/mol for the LHV, which multiplied by 50% for good CCGT would yield ~400Kj/mol. 145 is 36.25% of 400, which is pretty up there for parasitic losses.

        However: according to their business model the process yields valuable products which might pay for the energy used. In addition, I’ll add a couple thoughts:

        •       Much of the energy can be recovered by storing the H2 and running it through a fuel cell, or adding it back into the input fuel for the turbine. At 50% efficiency, this might cut the overall parasitic losses to perhaps 20%, which might be tolerable, given the supposed income from extra chemicals.

        •       If the capital cost of the electrolytic cell can be brought down far enough, it might be cost-effective to power it with solar cells, which would eliminate the main parasitic loss for the CCGT, and allow solar energy to be stored (at low efficiency, perhaps 30% bus-to-bus).

        Personally, though, I doubt stack scrubbing will go much of anywhere. The best approach, IMO, is one in which a mixture of pure O2 and CO2 is provided to combustion (along with the fuel), rather than air. The output from this reaction would be almost pure CO2 and water. (Well, no nitrogen or NOx. There’s still sulfur, etc. to worry about.)

        Rather than using current processes to separate the oxygen from the air, which would add back parasitic energy losses, I would again suggest using electrolysis from solar PV: the hydrogen can be used in whatever application is appropriate (fuel cells, added to gas for CCGT, or combined with CO2 to create gas or liquid hydrocarbons). The oxygen is stored then used in gas combustion.

      • So there you have it. A ridiculous idea portrayed for what it is.

        No it isn’t. That idea is brilliant.

        Many of those people have never worked an honest day in their lives. It would be a transformational experience.

        And I’d pay to watch. I’ve never seen a liberal/progressive do real work before and it would take a long while for the novelty to wear off.

  26. From Forbes (not exactly a bastion for liberal thinking): Natural Gas — Not Renewables — Is Replacing Nuclear Power

    Somehow either at a State or Federal level, we need to support keeping existing nuclear operating.


  27. VIDEO: Stefan Molyneux: San Jose Anti-Trump Rioters Technically Fit FBI Definition Of “Domestic Terrorists”

    Let’s imagine crossing into Mexico illegally to disrupt their elections by throwing eggs and bottles and hitting people. What would happen? You’d be rounded up and thrown in jail for years.

    Here’s the key thing to remember: And this is why it has come to this. The leftist mainstream media, if they see violent actions that they like, they call it protests. They basically label it speech.

    However, speech that the mainstream media dislikes is labelled violence.

    Which is why when Trump supporters get attacked, hit on the heads with bags of rocks, they are called protesters. A ‘protester’ is someone who speaks in objection to something. So that violence is called speech.

    When Donald Trump says he wishes to enforce the law by deporting illegal immigrants, that is called violence and it is responsible for the aggressive speech of the protesters — who legally could be described as domestic terrorists.

  28. The Saudi’s haven’t killed US oil, but they may kill OPEC. From the article:

    2016 maybe the “year of reckoning” for some OPEC member countries, RBC Capital Markets warned on Tuesday, ahead of the oil cartel’s meeting in Vienna this week.

    No agreement to freeze oil production is expected from the meeting, as OPEC, spearheaded by de facto leader Saudi Arabia, has repeatedly opted to maintain output in the face of plummeting prices.

    Now, OPEC’s weakest members — the so-called “fragile five” — may be at breaking point, with oil prices still too low for them to thrive, RBC said.


  29. Planning Engineer — It would be nice if you could comment on this article from Germany: 80% Renewable Energy is not a problem. http://www.tagesspiegel.de/wirtschaft/energiewende-80-prozent-erneuerbare-sind-kein-problem/13688974.html

  30. Imagine being responsible for the balance sheet of the company driving the nuclear fiasco slowing deployment of green energy in the UK

    You are being asked to find investment of €22 billion for a new nuclear plant, the first of a whole new fleet….

    The British say they absolutely need the 7% of national electricity that the project would provide, by 2025, scheduled start date. That is why they have long since agreed an unprecedented deal with you that will pay £92.50 per Megawatt hour, more than twice the current retail price of electricity, guaranteed for 35 years, and linked to inflation – in so doing loading many billions onto the future energy bills of hard-pressed British families.

    British officials are meanwhile actively suppressing renewable energy and energy efficiency. Cynics suspect they are doing so in part to ensure a market for the electricity your plant will provide, when you finish it – as you say you can, nothwithstanding doubters even in your own ranks – ten years from now.

  31. Interesting Power Point presentation providing a long term system assessment of ERCOT in Texas. Two major points: (1) Most new capacity will be solar; (2) Significance of EPA haze regs in Texas: http://www.ercot.com/content/wcm/key_documents_lists/77730/2016_LTSA_Update_6_21_2016.pptx

    • ERCOT is the ISO for the Texas region. It certainly isn’t a solar trade association. It certainly isn’t governed by a left wing, liberal, Dimowatt, State Legislature.

      What’s going on in Texas, and why is ERCOT saying what it’s saying on solar? Unfortunately, we probably won’t find out by following most Denizen comments in CE.

    • Segrest says:

      Most new capacity will be solar

      So what? How much dispatchable enerfy doies that supply?
      Answer: Zero GWh

      A typically disingenuous, misleading, comment from an irrational RE advocate.

  32. The Andean/Saharan ice age, which occurred at about 10 times the current CO2 level, ruled out atmospheric CO2 as a significant factor in climate change. Emergent structures analysis http://globalclimatedrivers.blogspot.com demonstrates that climate change since before 1900 can be explained (97% match with measurements) by an approximation of ocean cycles combined with the influence quantified by a proxy which is the time-integral of sunspot numbers. If average global temperature does not significantly decline before 2011 an as yet unidentified factor is preventing it.

  33. A sun without sunspots (see link), going on 3 days…

    And, what it means:

    There will be big changes in the amount of cosmic rays that bathe the Earth as we dash through the leftovers of busted stars. It will be like having a galactic gravestone fall on your toe. Although Climatists are ideologically blind to deep-space radiation, many are skeptical about the wisdom of failing to take account of changes in solar activity on weather and climate.

  34. From the article:

    In peer-reviewed research, Kelly argued carbon dioxide should be considered the byproduct of the “immense benefits” of a technologically advanced society. Cutting carbon, he added, could result in a dramatic reduction in the world’s quality of life that would usher in mass starvation, poverty and civil strife. Massive decarbonization is “only possible if we wish to see large parts of the population die from starvation, destitution or violence in the absence of enough low-carbon energy to sustain society.”
    COP21 “will be an irrelevance within a few years,” Kelly said to CNBC via email, “as the the bills pile up, and … the promises are reneged upon.”

    However, Cambridge’s Kelly linked middle-class economic growth to soaring energy demand — the lion’s share of which will continue to be met by fossil fuels. Recently, Exxon Mobil projected that those fuels will still provide 80 percent of energy for at least the next two decades.

    What that effectively mean, Kelly argued, is that rapid decarbonization is a “glib” effort that would result in “large parts of the population [dying] from starvation, destitution or violence in the absence of enough low-carbon energy to sustain society.”


    • Kelly’s comments are making the rounds. They were posted here a couple of weeks ago. Rapid decarbonization would cause problems, but for anyone paying attention the IPCC timeline is anything but rapid. He needs to define what he means by rapid, otherwise it is just a straw man. Rapid compared to what, for example? Is there a slow rate he would prefer, or no rate at all? He didn’t say.

  35. David Wojick

    On the education policy side, Portland has banned teaching the climate debate, and most of the science in the process:
    My latest from Cato.