Week in review – energy, water and food edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.


Without nuke power, climate change threat grows [link]

The unfolding energy crisis in South Australia was foreseeable… and foreseen [link]

El Niño, La Niña and Natural Gas [link]

How the Grid Was Won: Three Scenarios for the Distributed Grid in 2030 [link]

Obama Adviser: Keep-It-in-the-Ground Movement ‘Unrealistic’ [link]

Is Burning Trees Still Green? Some Experts Now Question Biomass [link]

Opening up electricity markets to advanced energy technologies: [link]

States Are Right to Worry about Costs of Clean Power Plan [link]

African #charcoal production has doubled in the past two decades. [link]

Mandating ethanol for gas does twice as much harm to the environment as mandatory govt. auto emission tests prevent [link]

MIT:  relatively simple networking upgrades could increase the efficiency of coal power plants from 33 to 49 percent and cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. [link]

Alex Epstein: How fossil fuels cleaned up our environment [link]

Germany To Halt Construction Of Offshore Wind Farms [link]

Paper: Why an Integrated approach to #transport and #renewableenergy systems is so important [link] …


India: This nation that suffered the worst drought in decades is a water exporter: [link]

India’s water shortages are holding it back from becoming the world’s next factory [link]

Russian objections halt $1bn Mongolian dam: [link]

Climate change plagues Madagascar’s poor: ‘The water rose so fast’ [link]


It’s Time to Rethink America’s Corn System [link]

Where did agriculture begin? [link]

Half of all US food produce is thrown away, new research suggests [link]

MIT Study: No Scientific Consensus On Global Warming Crop Impact [link]

Seaweed gains ground as a pillar of food security in South America [link]



142 responses to “Week in review – energy, water and food edition

  1. It could be that Brexit helped put a wrench in government plans which were headed in the direction of creating a new agency — renaming the NWS (National Weather Service), once known as the “Weather Bureau” to serve as our red taillights in the fog — to, e.g., the CCRC (Climate Change Response Center), which would be headed by a new Climate Czar… further extending institutionalizing global warming alarmism beyond its home in Western academia.

    • David Wojick

      A skeptical Congress is quite enough, without Brexit. The National Climate Service is King Karl’s long sought dream but going nowhere fast.

      • Sheldon Whitehouse calls for news outlets to suppress ‘extreme’ op-eds by climate skeptics (see link)

        So, no concern about shutting down scientific skepticism and establishing a Ministry of Propaganda?

  2. Corn system. I do think the farm lobby and ethanol subsidies should be done away with. But much of the rest of the complaint and remedy reflects ignorance and whistfulness. Corn and distillers grain converts low quality carbohydrates to high quality proteins via animal feed. That is true also for almost all corn exports. The ‘efficiency’ on a calory basis is the wrong metric.
    Farmers grow what makes market sense (absent subsidy distortions). There is no shortage of any other foodstuffs. Converting corn acres to acres growing stuff that would just be surplus is muddle headed thinking. That the author doesn’t like the look of the corn belt doesn’t make it wrong or bad. And corn is the only major crop that continues to make significant yield progress through better hybrids and GMO. Nearly 3x the rate of next best soybeans.

    • David Wojick

      Good as stated except you cannot do away with a lobby. A lobby is people affected by law organized to express their interest to the Government. This is central to democratic decision making.

      • You are right. I did not mean the farm lobby per se, I meant its asinine resulting subsidies. And I own a farm, so my opinion is not us/them.

  3. David L. Hagen

    Are agricultural predictions useful?
    MIT Study: No scientific consensus on global warming crop impact

    The study’s one firm conclusion was that farmers would likely be able to adapt to the potential challenges caused by global warming.

    Gauging the impact of climate agriculture

    “It’s very difficult to investigate the impact of the climate on agriculture because models don’t agree even on the sign of projected yield, or indicate the mechanism behind it,” . . .
    aggressive greenhouse gas mitigation could sharply reduce the effects of climate change—both adverse ones, such as increased heat stress, and beneficial ones, such as a longer growing season. . . .
    researchers used multiple simulations of a single model where key sources of uncertainty are explored by varying several model assumptions . . .
    MIT model delivers a similar range of results with far greater efficiency.

    • David Wojick

      “…aggressive greenhouse gas mitigation could sharply reduce the effects of climate change…” is speculation stated as fact. In short it is fancy junk. There is no reason to believe this is true, but it makes big bucks. That is the real climate change problem. Speculation sells.

      • The sentence started with “This suggests aggressive…could…”. Not stated as fact, but the results of this particular study “suggest”. Aren’t they allowed to state the conclusions of their study? If someone has a study that doesn’t suggest this, they can also freely state that.

      • David Wojick

        No the study assumes the effect of aggressive mitigation on impact. What is suggested is that it cuts both ways.

      • They state their assumptions. Is a study not allowed to state its assumptions? I still don’t see what you are complaining about except for their suggestion that effective mitigation significantly reduces uncertainty.

    • David L Hagen (and Rud Istvan),

      Thank you pointing out that we really haven’t a clue whether our CO2 emissions are doing more harm or more good for agriculture and what the consequences are for the future. Many studies are showing that the increase in CO2 so far has been massively beneficial. We also know that life thrived when CO2 concentrations were higher in the past. And we know that farmers and researchers adapt crops and improve their yield and food content much faster than the climate changes. And we know, with effectively unlimited energy available (which we have in nuclear fuels) fresh water is unlimited too (but for a cost).

      So, what we really need is a damage function that shows the net costs and benefits of increasing CO2 concentrations for:
      • Agriculture
      • Water
      • Sea level rise
      • Health
      • Energy
      • Ecosystems
      • Storms

      See Richard Tol (2011) here: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf
      (subsequently critiqued and updated)

      We really need a damage function for economic cost-benefit to the world per degree of average global temperature change (for both warming and cooling). It’s a travesty we don’t have it after 30 years of climate research.

      • David L. Hagen

        With land covered by mile thick glaciers, I presume the damage function in Canada for cold (next glaciation) is >>> for warming.
        Similarly with glaciers having covered Illinois and most of Indiana, the harm from cold in the is >> from warming.

      • Yep. Good point. And we are past the peak of the current interglacial. Without our GHG emissions, the next abrupt climate change would be more likely to colder than warmer. Our GHG emissions are reducing that risk (the the consequence of it and the time until it happens).

  4. Here we go again in using The Daily Caller, this time on the MIT Study on Ag and Climate Change. The Daily Caller interviews a person from the Cato Institute who interprets the study for us. Of course, Cato (and the Daily Caller) will be totally objective.

    Or one can go to science based sources of the same MIT study: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-gauging-impact-climate-agriculture.html

    Hummmm — Reading the Daily Caller versus Phys.org — its like they are talking about two different stories.

    • Yes, I noticed that too. The growing season and heat stress days both grow sharply. Which one wins on yield? They don’t say. They only say for sure that mitigation policies reduce the change in both, which reduces the uncertainty in future yield. Cato, of course, won’t say that part. It’s all rosy to them.

    • Survey on How Transparent are Think Tanks about Who Funds Them?

      “Think Tanks” like SEI (very good on Ag) and Pew are rated high. Three are ranked low: American Enterprise Institute and the Hudson Institute (very worst), CATO.


      • Curious George

        That’s the way to assess think tanks. Do not look at the quality of their work. Look at the transparency of their funding.

    • Curious George

      The MIT Technology Review is a digest of a primary source. The Daily Caller article is a digest of a MIT Technology Review article.

      These new fantastic technologies allow a ramp-up of power production in 2 hours, instead of usual 3 hours. That way we only need a 2 hour weather forecast to prevent blackouts, instead of a 3 hour forecast, which we apparently do not have now (but we do have a 100 year climate forecast.)

      The efficiency jump from 33 to 49 percent needs a complete gutting of the power plant and installing a new technology. The upgrade of the control system alone might add 3%.

      • I dont know the quality of the study regarding effeicient coal plants, but it is anyway worth to think about how much CO2 you could save versus money spent by ugrading these plants and compare it to the money it takes to save CO2 otherwise.
        Joanne Nova had the same considerations for some time ago, and concluded that it would be more effective, if the purpose was to minimize CO2 production versus kWh.

    • Question: What’s worst — The Daily Caller or The Huffington Post; Fox News or MSNBC?

      Answer: They are all equally bad as to objectivity.

      When folks lament over the polarization of climate change — these are 4 constant sources why this is so.

      • The free press was never intended to slop the hogs.

      • Stephen Segrest,

        Here, let me fix that for you:

        Question: What’s worst — The Daily Caller or The Huffington Post Phys.org?

        Answer: They are all equally bad as to objectivity.

        Here is but one of many examples I could cite:

        Long-term picture offers little solace on climate change

        Climate change projections that look ahead one or two centuries show a rapid rise in temperature and sea level, but say little about the longer picture. Today (Feb. 8, 2016), a study published in Nature Climate Change looks at the next 10,000 years, and finds that the catastrophic impact of another three centuries of carbon pollution will persist millennia after the carbon dioxide releases cease.

        You couldn’t make this fact-free nonsense up. But there it is, masquerading in scientific drag.

      • Phys.org reports the science as-is. The Daily Caller filters it through spinmeisters like Cato, sometimes leaving the original conclusions unrecognizable.

      • Jim D,

        So phys.org reports “the science as-is,” unquestoiningly and without a hint of doubt or skepticism?

        Here, let me show you what I think about that:

      • Clearly you have not been to their site to check it out before typing this. Their content is primarily the press releases from the authors of the papers. No intermediate comment.

      • Jim D,

        You mean content like this?

        How climate science denial affects the scientific community

      • Exactly! This is the point. Note that the content is provided by the University of Bristol in this case. It is just an as-is press release. If sociologists did any work on the other side, which I don’t think they are, it would also merit a press release and addition to phys.org.

      • Jim D,

        Here’s a statement recently published by phys.org in a “news” story titled “Climate Feedback site allows scientists to correct media errors,” written by Kerry Sheridan:

        Denial and skepticism about climate change remain a problem in the United States, where a recent Gallup poll found that one in three people do not blame human activity for global warming, and 57 percent do not see climate change as a serious threat.

        Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-05-climate-feedback-site-scientists-media.html#jCp

        The claim is made as a statement of fact in a “news” story, as if it were self-evident and beyond dispute. It is not billed as an opinion piece, nor is Sheridan quoting someone else.

        Does that sound to you like reporting “the science as-is”?

      • Phys.org reports the science as-is.


        I followed the link and picked a recent article: Damage wrought by acidic oceans hurts more than marine life, lasts longer than. (Than what?) by Sean Greene, Los Angeles Times. So much for “report</i<[ing] the science as-is”: some spin-monger from the LATimes. Here’s a money paragraph:

        A more acidic ocean eventually will cause phytoplankton like E. huxleyi to abandon their calcifying process. As the phytoplankton lose their appetite for carbon, they leave more of it in the environment. This, in turn, could worsen the effects of climate change, said Thorsten Reusch, a marine ecologist at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and senior author of the study.

        All right, maybe he reports the “science” as it came to him (more below), but it’s clearly both blatant scare-mongering and ign0rant pseudo-science.

        Anybody really familiar with ocean chemistry knows that increased growth of Emiliania huxleyi actually increases local ocean acidification. This means two things:

        •       existing E huxleyi are already well adapted to increased acidification, just as yeast are adapted to increased alcohol content.

        •       Reduction in coccolith formation actually constitutes a negative feedback on ocean acidification.

        So what about the “Research Article” it’s based on: Long-term dynamics of adaptive evolution in a globally important phytoplankton species to ocean acidification? Well, for me here are the money quotes:

        Here, we evolved replicate populations derived from a single clone of E. huxleyi for 2100 asexual generations (4 years) to ambient [400 μatm partial pressure of CO2 (Pco2)] and two elevated Pco2, simulating different levels of OA (5). [emphasis mine]


        Over 2100 asexual generations, mean exponential growth rates in all treatments increased with time [daily growth rates (μ) per generation: […] [emphasis mine]

        While I’ve often criticized and expressed skepticism of neo-Darwinian population genetics I can’t deny that these principles clearly reduce the present study to little more than useless pseudo-science.

        I won’t say “who cares what a single genome does?”, because obviously it’s one small (and slightly useful) brick in a large building. But any effort to predict ecological responses on the basis of a single clone is not only useless pseudo-science, but anti-science.

        I could go on, but I expect anybody who cares already knows what I’m talking about.

        tl:dr: Phys.org is nothing but agenda-driven junk science.

      • Apparently they post 100 articles per day, with a small staff who don’t write them or comment on them (contrast Daily Caller). They are just a reflecter site. You should be able to find “skeptical” articles too, if they are published. Don’t blame the messenger if you don’t like the science that is being published. Go here and check out the latest published science. Maybe you will find a skeptical-friendly one in there too if you look closely.

      • @Jim D…

        back-pedal much?

      • @Jim D…

        Sorry, that was cruel,

      • No, phys.org don’t write their own content and don’t distinguish between published skeptical and non-skeptical views. Maybe you don’t see any contrast with Daily Caller, but I do.

      • Maybe you don’t see any contrast with Daily Caller, but I do.

        That’s not what you said:

        Phys.org reports the science as-is.

        I certainly don’t trust the Daily Caller to report anything correctly, any more than I do any other “MSM” source. But I certainly don’t trust Phys.org to “report[…] the science as-is.

      • Go to their site. It is scientific press releases as-is, and some of these are on the skeptical side. Judith’s carefully chosen week-in-science papers also appear here. They are in among the majority view, so a bit hard to spot, but they are there. Check it out.

      • It is scientific press releases as-is, and some of these are on the skeptical side. Judith’s carefully chosen week-in-science papers also appear here. They are in among the majority view, so a bit hard to spot, but they are there. Check it out.


        As my example shows, at least some of them are news articles with a MSM slant. Anyway, it doesn’t matter to me. I just skip past whatever fluff anybody offers to the actual “peer-reviewed” report/article.

        My objection was to your statement that:

        Phys.org reports the science as-is.

        All your arm-waving doesn’t change the fact that that isn’t true. Often, at least, they just pass on whatever their source says without review or comment.

      • Nope. That also reads like a press release by the authors on a paper published within the last few days. No opinion was given other than from the authors. It likely had their approval.

      • I don’t understand where you’re coming from.

        For my money, all of the fluff at Phys.org is “like a press release by the authors on a paper published within the last few days.” My point is that it has nothing to do with “report[ing] the science as-is.

      • It quotes the scientists on the papers they themselves have just published. What else do you need? That is my definition of science as-is. You have a different definition, go for it, but that was mine.

      • It quotes the scientists on the papers they themselves have just published. What else do you need?

        How about a real scientific evaluation of the “work”?

        That is my definition of science as-is.

        Well that helps explain why your comments have nothing to do with real science.

        You have a different definition, go for it, but that was mine.

        I can’t think of a clearer proof that you don’t understand the first thing about science.

      • If you don’t consider the unfiletered explanations of the scientists about the papers they wrote in plain language as science as-is, you have been coddled/blinded by filtered views too much. Read the raw papers/abstracts and press releases. You can form your opinions on those as they are. The Daily Caller, WUWT, etc., don’t want you to form an opinion on these without intervening with their own take up front, and sometimes they don’t even bother to state the main conclusions. They hope their readers don’t go to the source to double-check them. Luckily we have places like phys.org that collect the unfiltered releases.

      • If you don’t consider the unfiletered explanations of the scientists about the papers they wrote in plain language as science as-is, you have been coddled/blinded by filtered views too much.

        Wrong! You make it sound like I can’t read, and understand the original “peer-reviewed” “science” in those papers.

        The “unfiletered explanations of the scientists about the papers they wrote in plain language” are (often/usually) basically tendentious political manipulation. In a venue where they aren’t subject to the same sort of “peer-review” and other compulsory standards their published work is.

        Of course, I don’t seriously suggest that all scientists take advantage of their access to unquestioning MSM to re-purpose their work for a political agenda. But there are plenty that do. IMO the vast majority. These days.

      • You have a different definition of reading science as-is, and this is all probably a misunderstanding based on that. Likewise phys.org provides a service that you don’t like because it gives you the press releases of new papers in near real time. Fair enough, I see where you are coming from.

      • You have a different definition of reading science as-is, and this is all probably a misunderstanding based on that.

        Well, I would regard “science as-is” as peer-reviewed publication.

        Likewise phys.org provides a service that you don’t like because it gives you the press releases of new papers in near real time.

        Nope. I don’t “dislike it”. I just don’t regard it as “science as-is.

        I just don’t regard it as any better than a naked link to the original “science”.

        Fair enough, I see where you are coming from.

        Maybe. For the moment I guess I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

      • Well, we got you from “Phys.org is nothing but agenda-driven junk science.” to a more reasonable stance where you now don’t actually dislike its service of providing early information about new papers on all sides of the issue. I consider that a success.

      • Well, we got you from “Phys.org is nothing but agenda-driven junk science.” to a more reasonable stance […]

        Not quite: My statement was actually:

        tl:dr: Phys.org is nothing but agenda-driven junk science.

        That “tl:dr:” is important: it qualifies the statement as a summary for people unwilling to dig into details.

        In a way you’re right: there’s (a little bit) more to Phys.org than “agenda-driven junk science.” But not enough to demand that “tl:dr” readers spend extra effort.

        By and large, any site that mostly just reproduces press releases from the reporting institution is spewing “agenda-driven junk science.

        And I would certainly include most (but not all) press releases for what you call “skeptical” papers.

        [… W]here you now don’t actually dislike its service of providing early information about new papers on all sides of the issue. I consider that a success.

        I don’t “[… D]islike its service of providing early information about new papers on all sides of the issue.” I just don’t consider it more than delivering “agenda-driven junk science.

      • OK, so you don’t like it then. This is probably because you prefer to only see papers after someone has dismissed them, and not before, and you certainly don’t want to see the papers that no one dismisses. It’s a bit like the firehose syndrome. Too much to dismiss all at once. Unfortunately your blanket “junk science” dismissal throws out some papers you would have agreed with, perhaps even the crop one, and maybe the Antarctic natural change one.

      • OK, so you don’t like it then.


        This is probably because you prefer to only see papers after someone has dismissed them, and not before, and you certainly don’t want to see the papers that no one dismisses.


        I prefer to review all new papers (if I only had time), and I don’t really care what anybody has to say about them ’till I’ve read the abstract myself. And as much more as I think the paper deserves.

        Unfortunately your blanket “junk science” dismissal throws out some papers you would have agreed with, perhaps even the crop one, and maybe the Antarctic natural change one.

        I don’t dismiss the papers, just the fluff that comes with them.

      • Fine. Done with this.

      • “Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-05-climate-feedback-site-scientists-media.html#jCp

        As a regular contributor to the comments section of Earth science pieces at Phys.org (as an expert in Meteorology).

        I have this comment on reading the above.

        That comes acoss to me an even-handed reporting of a project that garners reaction from climate scientists of climate articles that appear in the media.
        It reported comments from those who have had their pieces reviewed, as well as the arguments from “Climate Feedback”.

        If you wish to view any comment regarding climate science as political then of course this fits the bill, however it is reporting both sides.
        The science is the science … and it is then “owned” by those with an agenda. On both sides.

        Merely reporting on a mechanism that looks at claims in media through the eyes of experts in the relevant fields, and gives space to the critiqued authors – who give negative responses on that process is – very far from being biased reporting by Phys.org.
        I am staggered that you should think so.
        But not surprised, given the nature of the place I write.

      • Highlighting slack reporting/comment in more conservative media and ignoring the trashy, manipulative use of factoids and slob language (“climate change”, “global warming”. “record”, “unprecedented”) in Nature etc is hardly monitoring anything. It’s activism. We know the MSM is lame. The real scandal lies in the so-called scientific and specialised media.

        Personally, I’m sick of that trick of fudging away history and the natural history of our geological epoch to imply modern climate exceptionalism without actually claiming it.

        “Science communication” on climate is becoming one big HuffPo-meets-Alex Jones…but HuffPo and Alex Jones have the excuse that they need to sell stuff. If serious journals want to be taken seriously they have to knock off the Jerry Lewis science and the slob language.

      • mosomoso said:

        It’s activism. We know the MSM is lame. The real scandal lies in the so-called scientific and specialised media.

        Well said. It’s one thing for the MSM to be lame. It’s an entirely different matter when science and scientific journals, and the academe, become lame.

        So how did we get to this point where we have so many people like Stephen Segrest, Jim D and Tony Banton — and there are many more — who can’t tell the difference between science and activism, between reporting and opinion?

        In Culture of Complaint Robert Hughes lays the blame at the feet of our dysfunctional education system, offering up this explanation:

        “The prevailing ideology,” wrote the educator Daniel J. Singal, “holds that it is much better to give up the prospect of excellence than to take the chance of injuring any studenty’s self-esteem. Instead of trying to spur children on to set high standards for themselves, teachers invest their energies in making sure that slow learners do not come to think of themselves as failures….one often senses a virtual prejudice against bright students.”…

        Moreover, Signal warns, not enough thought has been given to a growing crisis at the other end of the social, racial and educational spectrum: the better-off students, mostly educated in suburban schools, who since the mid-1970s “have been entering college so badly prepared that they have performed far below potential, often to the point of functinal disability.”

        In 1970 new students came into leading colleges (Columbia, Swarthmore, the University of Chicago) with average verbal SATs ranging from 670 to 695 out of a possible 800. By the mid-1980s these averages had dropped to a range of 620 to 640. Exactly the same pattern, with a few areas of exemption, has held true across the U.S.

        Once there, the education they receive is downscaled to their reduced ability to read texts, sift information and analyze ideas. Thus it becomes an impoverished coda to the intensive learning students were once offered, and to the expectations that were made of them; geared to the students’ limited experience of life and ideas as though this were some kind of educational absolute, mushy with superficial social-studies courses that inculcate only buzzwords and are designed, as far as possible, to avoid hard questions of historical context. It is short on analysis and critical scrutiny but long on attitude and feeling.

        The full results of this emasculation will appear in the 90s… For when the 1960s animus against elitism entered American education, it brought in its train an enormous and cynical tolerance of student ignorance, rationalized as regard for “personal expression” and “self-esteem.”

        Rather than “stress” the kids by asking them to read too much or think too closely, which might cause their fragile personalities to implode on contact with college-level demands, schools reduced their reading assignments, thus automatically reducing their command of language.

        Untrained to logical analysis, ill equipped to develop and construct formal arguments about issues, unused to mining texts for deposits of factual material, the students fell back to the only position they could truly call their own: what they felt about things.

        When feelings and attitudes are the main references of argument, to attack any position is automatically to insult its holder, or even to assail his or her perceived “rights”; every argumentum becomes ad hominem, approaching the condition of harassment, if not quite rape. “I feel very threatened by your rejection of my views on [check one] phallocentricy/the Mother Godess/the Treaty of Vienna/Young’s Modulus of Elasticity.”

        Cycle this subjectivization of discourse through two or three generations of students turning into teachers, with the sixties’ dioxins accumulating more each time, and you have the entropic background to our culture of complaint.

      • Jim D goes round and round to get us to believe “science” by press release is actual science.

        Press releases have everything to do with public relations and almost nothing with science. But don’t try telling Jim that. He already knows everything.

  5. Alex Epstein has been making quite a splash in the climate and energy world. Besides his book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels and his pithy response to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, he’s done a lot of podcast interviews, including one with our hostess:


  6. This week, the UK’s Department of Entropy and Climate Change (DECC)




    exit the pseudo-science stage together:

    Astronomen vinden bewijs zwaartekrachtskolk

  7. Bad/Dead link to the paper/story on Integrated approach to #transport and #renewableenergy systems is so important

  8. Curious George

    “Mandating ethanol for gas does twice as much harm …” The article contains little gems like “You’re just not finding a lot of dirty cars any more.”
    “Improved technology by auto manufacturers has probably done a hundred times more to reduce environmental harm than government emission tests.”
    Does the author really think that the clean air mandate did not contribute to the improved technology? I find his conclusions unreliable.

  9. All that wasted food that can’t be frozen or dried makes me think of the world’s most underused and underrated resource: lacto-fermentation.

    Some ideas haven’t come to us yet, some great ideas have been around forever but we just stare at them. With lacto, it’s not like people have to be persuaded to eat something disgusting because it’s cheap or good for the stupid planet thingy. Natural pickle makes a big problem go away and makes delicious food twice as delish.

    No need for fridges, driers, heavy processing of any sort. Even the laziest recommended method can be made even easier by using a cooking oil seal to exclude air. Just need to keep the pasteurisation police calm. Then feed the world. No, seriously.

    Okay, enough hippie talk.

    • Curious George

      Not really all. Maybe a lot. The first picture in the article is a big pile of watermelons. Maybe you could lacto-ferment them, but the farmer rather fed them to his cows. That still counts as waste.

      • CG, actually it doesn’t. Economic waste yes. Food waste no. The cows have to eat food, too. See long detailed comment below.

      • I’d ferment granny’s rosary beads if I could get my hands on them. While the pickles I do most are raw but well-leached bamboo shoots or mash of whole limes/cumquats/lemons, I must say that watermelons have never been on my likely list of lacto-pickles.

        But would you believe…

        People keener than I ferment watermelon rind with great success. And there is a lot of rind out there!

    • Moso, the food waste article is green fantasy, not even close to correct. As bad as consensus climate science.I just spent a couple hours researching, and just posted below a more correct view.

  10. “For corn-fed animals, the efficiency of converting grain to meat and dairy calories ranges from roughly 3 percent to 40 percent, depending on the animal production system in question. What this all means is that little of the corn crop actually ends up feeding American people…”
    I think it means we get to eat hot dogs and bacon. Hot Wings. I do prefer these to corn on the cob but I’ll take some of both. However sweet corn is a small percentage of total corn production in the Midwest. Some efficiency is regained by not shipping the field corn very far and feeding it to local livestock, and then shipping the higher value products. Same economics as at the time of the Whiskey Rebellion. Which brings up ethanol. I’ll admit it’s a coin flip on that and I lack objectivity as high corn prices are a boon to my family. But it is also the case of taking low density corn and getting high density fuel. Saving on shipping costs, localizing things like the greens keep telling us to do.

    Going from memory, when the article was written in 2013, some Minnesota farmers were still dancing in the street because of high corn prices. It was drought that did that, but some place got good rain. Yes prices were high and yes insurance was being paid out. Seems a likely outcome.

    “In all, U.S. crop subsidies to corn totaled roughly $90 billion between 1995 and 2010 — not including ethanol subsidies and mandates, which helped drive up the price of corn.”
    I get $6 billion a year. I am supposed to be a libertarian, but only $6 billion per year for this monster of an economic machine? So much of rural Western Minnesota revolves around corn. It is the king crop. I might go so far as to say it’s the linch pin.

    • If they did away with corn-fed beef, corn-fed hog, corn-fed chicken, etc., with what would they replace it? I suspect they think salads can be grown in the cornbelt.

    • Ragnaar, those figures are wrong on a calorie basis. Approximately correct ‘efficiencies’ are 7:1 cattle, 6:1 dairy, 4:1 pork, 2-3:1 poultry, and better than 2:1 farmed fish. Details in my ebook Gaia’s Limits, chapter 3, food carrying capacity. But calorie to calorie is not the best comparison, because carbohydrate calories are being converted to higher value animal protein calories.

    • I am willing to look at some other crop rotations as suggested by the article. I would not say that soil nutrient depletion and erosion are not problems. By and large, farmers own their land as opposed to large corporations. Many are attached to it through family history. There is some trade off between long term value of the land and profits in the short term. One possibility for soil improvement is Alfalfa.

      “CO2 Sequestration. As a perennial crop, alfalfa fixes significant quantities of CO2 through photosynthesis. A portion of this carbon is retained in the thick root structure and in the rhizosphere surrounding the root. An alfalfa crop helps to temporarily retain carbon, both in the plant biomass and the soil rhizosphere, potentially lessening the effects of global warming.”


      It is also true that alfalfa fixes nitrogen to the soil. The link while being a bit of a puff piece seems to be saying, you can still sell the alfalfa as opposed to plowing it under. I am guessing the CO2 is stored a little bit more than temporarily. It’s taken us decades to deplete soil carbon so I am giving Carbon a bit more credit for sticking to soil.

      Alfalfa has it’s problems though. Dollars per acre are lower than corn. It is low density. I don’t know that it can be augured. Retrieve square bales all day with a Bobcat from a field to later be loaded onto to a flatbed, and you’ll see what I mean. Corn stores easily. Alfalfa will start drying from the get go and loss some feed value.

      It has some advantages. Plant once every 3 years or so. No plowing required. Seed purchased only every 3rd year. Having ground cover year round, that’s helpful. Wet cold springs with existing alfalfa, no problem.

      It seems bringing in alfalfa perhaps in small ways, for instance 1/10 of ones land, is a compromise. It has some long term benefits and current costs, that is, less current net income.

    • Ragnaar, we use a 3/2 contour rotation on my WI dairy farm. Three alfalfa, two corn or soy. We have 14 contours to manage in total. The first alfalfa year we plant an oats or spring wheat cover crop, and do not harvest the alfalfa to let the nitrogen fixing root system establish. In years 2 and 3 we get 3 cuttings/year. Traditionally just after flowering in late May, late July, and early September. Main dairy cow forage, as alfalfa is high protein and roughage. Supplemental feed was crushed corn when we started out, but now is mostly fermented chopped green corn silage whole plant, shredded, molasses and mineral supplements added, stored in those tall blue hermetic silos you see everywhere in dairy country) and distillers grain. By year 3, alfalfa contours are weed infested. So we plough under in the fall, and follow in spring post harrowing with Roundup resistant soy or corn. Two years of that, weeds are mostly gone and we can rotate back to alfalfa. Its all a balance between crop economics, productivity (weeds), and additional cost inputs like fertilizer. We primarily use dairy manure to minimize synthetic fertilizer costs. Some have large manure fermentation tanks ( you can take off the methane). We just use tractor drawn manure spreaders from the mechanised barn cleaner fed,concrete lined, open air manure pit. Still have to use KP. Not so much NKP.

      • You’re getting annually 5 more inches of rain than Renville County is and I think alfalfa is more viable where you are. And since you don’t have ship it, that’s another savings. I am betting as rich as our soil is, yours is better because of your practices. Ours is mostly a traditional corn/beans rotation and I do have my concerns about the soils long term health.

  11. WTI crude has been bumping around $45 for several weeks now. but it may not last. Gasoline inventories are high.

    Heating oil and diesel are derived from distallates, and that inventory is high.

    Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Russia have increased production; that along with weak global economy and energy efficiency gains will limit at least crude’s upside; and it might even drop back below $40.

    • Hardly an expert, but I think $60 is more likely than $40. IEA’s 2008 survey of ~800 fields producing >2/3 of world crude showed annual decline of 5-7%. Means you need new production ~4mbpd annually. Probably more like 6 now 8 years later. Projects under way will still come on, but much new stuff has been cancelled: Yamal, deepwater, more Brazil subsalt. Marginal old stuff is being shut, as in the North Sea. The fulcrum is US shale (light tight oil, LTO), not China demand. Except maybe for some viable $50/bbl Permian plays (rig count slightly up as evidence) it takes $60/bbl and up to restart US LTO. Bakken probably $70-$80. Shale decline curves are very steep (40-45% in 12 months, 85% in 36 months). The crunch hit in 2014. US shale LTO was 4.9mbpd in 2015. It will fall to 2.9 for 2016 without adequate replacement wells; the rig count and numerous shale play bankruptcies say that is not happening. The delta 2mbpd is about the entire world production surplus. Which means prices will keep going back up. I believe the Saudis know this.

      • I keep a fairly close look at the market (mostly because i mentor venezuelan engineers I’ve helped leave Venezuela over the last 13 years). The North Dakota Bakken wells continue to have a hyperbolic decline rate, and there’s no assurance as to when (if ever) the curve will be more “exponential”.

        I continue to read flawed analysis by “gurus” who claim the industry has become much better at drilling and fracturing the “shales”, but what we see is mostly the lower costs delivered by contractors who are treading water trying to stay alive, the improved personnel performance we get when we layoff 70 % of the work force, and the extra time available to make better decisions because activity is so slow.

        The system does allow for some activity at $50, more activity as the prices rise. But the negative feedback from increasing contractor charges means it’s not close to a linear function. As far as I can see the industry will need increasing prices to satisfy demand. But I can’t see where we can get the oil to produce 90 million barrels per day of crude oil and condensate. Even if prices jump to $100 we can’t physically get there.

        (Note for the public: international agencies publish garbled production data, they add NGL, refinery volume gains, synthetics from gas, and sometimes biofuels to create an inflated production figure quite unrelated to the core components, crude oil and condensates).

        As for the climate implications: RCP8.5 is confirmed to be a worthless projection which can’t be remotely used as “business as usual”.

      • fernandoleanme,

        Here in Mexico they have a saying, “Cada chango a su mecate [Each monkey to his rope].”

        And for you and ristvan, your rope is the Peak Oil ideology.

        For instance, you say:

        I continue to read flawed analysis by “gurus” who claim the industry has become much better at drilling and fracturing the “shales”, but what we see is mostly the lower costs delivered by contractors who are treading water trying to stay alive, the improved personnel performance we get when we layoff 70 % of the work force, and the extra time available to make better decisions because activity is so slow.

        I suppose the best defence is a good offence: to accuse the other of being “gurus” when you and ristvan are yourselves the quintessential Peak Oil gurus.

        You guys sit off in Spain and Florida, and look down upon the oil patch in North Dakota or Texas from 30,000 above, making sweeping proclamations as if you had some knowledge about what is actually happening on the ground here.

        For the factual reality is that “the industry has become much better at drilling and fracturing the ´’shales’.” And for someone like myself who actually has skin in the game, and isn’t just sitting off in Spain or Florida pontificating about something they know nothing about, this is no small matter.

        And for those of us who actually have skin in the game, the only three criteria that matter — above and beyond all the theoretical BS spouted by the Peak Oil “gurus” — is 1) how much it costs to drill and complete a well, 2) how much oil goes in the tanks, and 3) the price that oil commands.

        Empirical studies confirm the extent to which the industry, due to recent advancements in fracking techniques, “has become much better at drilling and fracturing the ´’shales’.” Not only are initial production rates much higher, but the decline is much slower:

        According to data compiled and analyzed by oilfield analytics firm NavPort for Reuters, output from the average new well in the Permian Basin of West Texas, the top U.S. oilfield, declined 18 percent from peak production through the fourth month of its life in 2015. That is much slower than the 31 percent drop seen for the same time frame in 2012 and the 28 percent decline in 2013, when the oil price crash started.

        The change was even more dramatic in North Dakota’s Bakken shale, where four-month decline rates for new wells fell to 16 percent in 2015 from almost 31 percent in 2012.


        Today’s production techniques use larger volumes of sand and pressurized fluids to frack more spots along longer well bores, to extract more oil from the wells.

      • ristvan said:

        US shale LTO was 4.9mbpd in 2015. It will fall to 2.9 for 2016 without adequate replacement wells….

        That’s quite a bold prediction.

        In order for US shale oil production to decline to 2.9 million BOPD by January 1, 2017, the decline rate will have to accellerate to a rate greater than that registered over the last four months for which data are available (see graph).

        What evidence do you have that the current rate of decline will accellerate between May 1, 2016 and January 1, 2017?

      • Here’s a more recent example of shale oil well performance: two shale wells that were recently completed on the section just north of a property of mine.

        During the first nine full months of production, the two wells have produced 314,052 BO and 261,233 MCFG.

        And as one can see, the wells have experienced little, if any, decline in production over their first nine months of production.

        Technological advancements, in the case of shale oil, does matter.

      • And not only have there been advancements in completion technology (which greatly enhances well performance), there have also been advancements in drilling technology which greatly reduce the number of days to drill a well, which greatly reduces drilling costs.

        Here’s an example where Cimarex Energy, by using more advanced drilling technology, shaved 6 days off of the time required to drill a well, from 18 days to 12 days.

        Cimarex Energy Saves 6 Days of Rig Time Using Integrated Schlumberger Services in Permian Basin.
        Opertor sets company records for fastest curve and lateral ever drilled


        Pioneer Natural Resources reports that the cost to drill and complete a Wolfcamp shale well with an 8500 foot lateral has dropped from $11.1 million in 4Q2014 to $7.6 million in 1Q2016. Granted, much of that can be explained by falling day rates and other prices. But some of it can be explained by cutting drilling time too. And one must recall that the newer wells have frac jobs that are much larger, which makes them more expensive.


      • GS, just saw your repostes. It is apparent you do not know FL is a retired professional petroleum geologist. And you think I know know nothing. Here are a few ‘facts’. OGJ pegs current shale recovery factors at ~1.5%. That could well double or triple thanks to 2x closer lateral spacing (the interference problem isn’t) and more perfs per linear section thanks to plug and perf substituting sleeve perf. So that would take estimated US TRR from ~15Bbbl (without Monterey) to as much as 45Bbbl. It is also true that drilling productivity has increased, and supplier pricing has come doWhat’sn, and that decline curves have become less steep thanks to synthetic proppants and plug and perf. That all makes shale LTO less vulnerable to price declines.
        But in the greater scheme of things looking out a decade, none of it matters much to peak oil production timing. Just too small in yhe big picture. Conventional has peaked. Two of three unconventional (Athabasca bitumen sands, Orinoco tar sands) are very price sensitive because they are higher cost to extract and yet lower value ‘oil’. There is simply not enough shale oil (LTO) TRR in the world once the EIA geological mistakes are corrected (my above comment cited two, there are others like Sichuan) to bridge the growing conventional decline gap. You should be glad, because that means price increases and growing job security in your profession.
        I think we will just have to agree to disagree. BTW, I did a lot of additonal research on the Permian basin after a previous disagreement, and concluded your reliance on operator statements was not appropriate. Extending sweet spots to basins, calculating recovery factor far beyond the optimism I cite in this comment, neglecting to account for basin thickness variation, are all good investor tricks. But they dont change the ground truth.

      • °°°°°ristvan said:

        It is apparent you do not know FL is a retired professional petroleum geologist.

        If I’m not mistaken, he’s a retired petroleum engineer, just like I am.

        But he’s also a true believer in Peak Oil and a frequent commenter on Peak Oil blogs like Peak Oil Barrel.

        And the appeal to authority is a misfire. For instance, Michael Mann and James Hansen are renowned climate scientists. Does that prevent them from becoming doctrinaire and dogmatic, falling in love with a pet theory and becoming detached from reality? Of course not.

        °°°°°ristvan said:

        Here are a few ‘facts’.

        Here, let me fix that for you:

        Here are a few attempts at baffling people with BS.

        You are very good at throwing around a lot of technical jargon and acronyms, initials and abbreviations. But it’s all bluff, for it’s pretty obvious you don’t know come here from sic ’em about what any of it means, beyond a very superficial understanding.

        You are also very good at throwing out references to sources like the Oil and Gas Journal, without providing any actual links. We can’t even check to see when an article was written, and in these environments of fast-moving reservoir development and exploration, and technolgical advancements, a year or two can make all the difference in the world.

        °°°°°ristvan said:

        But in the greater scheme of things looking out a decade, none of it matters much to peak oil production timing. Just too small in the big picture. Conventional has peaked….

        There is simply not enough shale oil (LTO) TRR in the world once the EIA geological mistakes are corrected (my above comment cited two, there are others like Sichuan) to bridge the growing conventional decline gap.

        I know of no recent, comprehensive academic study which asseses reserves of any of the major shale oil plays in the United States. All the recent studies I’ve seen are industry studies, or “operator statements” as you call them.

        However, there was a recent comprehensive, academic study conducted on the Utica shale, which is not an oil shale, but a gas shale. The conclusions, nevertheless, illustrate just how much recent technologies and knowledge can have on reserve estimates:

        Utica Shale holds 20 times more gas than previously thought – study finds

        The results of a research partnership organized by West Virginia University estimate Utica’s technically recoverable volumes at 782 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1,960 million barrels of oil.

        This is a far cry from the previous assessments carried out in 2012 by the U.S. Geological Survey which estimated the technically recoverable undiscovered resources at 38 trillion cubic feet of gas, 940 million barrels of oil and 208 million barrels of natural gas liquids such as ethane, butane and propane.

        The study was a collaboration of the West Virginia University National Research Center for Coal and Energy, Washington University, the Kentucky Geological Survey, the Ohio Geological Survey, the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, the U.S. Geological Survey, Smith Stratigraphic and the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory.

        To put 782 trillion cubic feet of natural gas into perspective, and illustrate how shale is not “just too small in the big picture”:

        °°°°°ristvan said:

        I did a lot of additonal research on the Permian basin after a previous disagreement, and concluded your reliance on operator statements was not appropriate.

        Well actually much of my research relies on production figures — oil in the tanks — which comes from the Texas Railroad Commission.


      • Here’s a study released by Rystad Energy just a few days ago, and is yet more evidence that shale is not “just too small in the big picture”:


        A new independent estimate of world oil reserves has been released by Rystad Energy, showing that the US now holds more recoverable oil reserves than both Saudi Arabia and Russia. For US, more than 50% of remaining oil reserves is unconventional shale oil.

      • Last month the USGS released a reassessment of the technically recoverable resources in the Mancos shale. It goes to show how upward reassessments are not based solely on advancements in drilling and completion technology, but on greater knowledge of the reservoir as well.

        USGS Updates Mancos Shale Gas Assessment

        “We reassessed the Mancos Shale in the Piceance Basin as part of a broader effort to reassess priority onshore U.S. continuous oil and gas accumulations,” said USGS scientist Sarah Hawkins, lead author of the assessment. “In the last decade, new drilling in the Mancos Shale provided additional geologic data and required a revision of our previous assessment of technically recoverable, undiscovered oil and gas.”

  12. Half of US food tossed. This is not research, it is anecdotally based green ecojournalism. And wrong.

    I did some research; my farmer side got curious. USDA estimate for a high spoilage food category, fresh fruits and vegetables, is 31% from farm to table. (Tonnage, not value). Unlike the article, USDA does not consider diversion to animal feed as food waste (its just economic waste). The article’s broken watermelons are not food waste- they are in a cattle feedlot. The spaghetti squash anecdote will end up this way if reduced prices don’t get the blemished fruit sold eventually; picked spaghetti squash ambient shelf life is several months. USDA definition includes field picking losses (missed, damaged so left), sorting losses (undersized, under/over ripe, picking damage), storage losses, shipping losses, store spoilage (which for f&v combined is under 2%), and ‘consumption waste’ when kids don’t finish their veggies. EPA estimate for consumer/ restaurant total food waste is ~21% based on sampling municipal waste streams. That is more than just f&v but should be proportional. U. Arizona sampling research for several perishable f&v food processing chains in Arizona and California averages 12 % (only about 40% of perishable fruits and vegetables are used ‘fresh’, ~60% is processed: canned, frozen, juiced, preserved [jams, jellies, pickles], dried (raisins, fruits), or fermented into wine. Blemished but usable fresh f&v is normally sorted/ diverted into processed. There is not a lot of canned watermelon or spaghetti squash, hence the misleading lead off examples in the article. 12 + 21 = 33, so Arizona plus EPA foots reasonably well to USDA for the highest loss category.

    Losses in meats and grains are significantly less thanks to either dry harvesting/processing/packaging (e.g. wheat flour) or baked goods preservatives (bread, refrigerated/frozen dough) or refrigerated/frozen (meats). I have been in the largest pork slaughterhouse in the US, Hormel’s Minnesota packing plant. 8000 hogs per day. The only thing wasted was the squeal.

    The spoilage factor in dairy is very low, essentially limited to mastitis milk contamination (treatment antibiotics mean the milk cannot be sold and has to be dumped) at the farm level. The massive commercial dairy plant nearest my dairy farm is in Richland Center, Wi. run by Dean Foods. Bottled milk (0 (skim milk), 2%, 4% (whole milk)), cheeses from whole milk, with the rest of the cream (our fresh milk averages about 6.5%) turned into butter, yogurt, sour cream. Only dairy product that plant does not make is ice cream. Plant is one block wide and almost four blocks long, two stories high, 24/7 operation. They pick up once a day from our chilled milking parlor tank, 7 days/week. Even the whey from cheesemaking isn’t wasted. It is lyophilized (turned to dry powder via vacuum processing) and used as protein supplement for calves and health food stores. Spoilage/waste factor in that plant is close to zero.

  13. This guy seems to believe Brexit means the UK won’t exist, but otherwise a decent article. From the article:

    Brexit is unlikely to have meaningful consequences for the uranium industry. The United Kingdom represents just 2%-3% of global demand. Europe as a whole makes up 30% of global uranium demand, with about half coming from France. Our projections do not include meaningful growth expectations in Europe. In fact, we expect Germany and Belgium (4% of global demand) will shut down all of their existing reactors. As we had not forecast much growth from Europe, any further impact from Brexit should be limited.

    Our long-term thesis continues to play out, as 10 nuclear reactors came on line in 2015 (8 from China). With just over 400 reactors operating today, we see 86 under construction or restarting over the next five years, with a further 172 planned over the coming decade. We continue to expect the bulk of the growth to come from China, with support from South Korea, India, Russia, and restarts in Japan. Together, these five countries make up 30%-40% of global uranium demand and should account for 70% of the demand growth over the coming decade.


  14. If we Google: North Dakota shift from wheat to corn, we find adaptation.
    Wheat: Needs less rainfall, less warmth.
    Corn: Needs more rainfall, more warmth.
    Very rough yields:
    Wheat: 50 bushels per acre.
    Corn: 135 bushels per acre.
    With global warming the corn belt should expand to the North allowing more food to be grown in the Midwest.
    Still, none of this is certain.

    My theory is that because to the Rocky Mountains and the distance from the Pacific, a lot of Midwest precipitation comes from the Gulf of Mexico. A large low may track East from Kansas and kick Gulf moisture counter clockwise to grateful Minnesotans. That needs to continue to happen.
    Adaptation has always been part of Minnesotan agriculture. Minneapolis used to have a ball team called the Millers. Minnesota is the home of General Mills. We grew wheat and milled flour with water power. Now wheat is a minor part of what we grow. We are probably producing more field crops than we ever have before.

    • Plus many. I have been in old International Multifoods flour mills in Minneapolis along the river. Not much wheat grown in Minnesota any more. Corn and soy for the hog industry. Hormel calls Minnesota home.

      • As I do tourism promotion now, from The Stone Arch bridge in Minnepolis one can see some of the old flour mills. It might be the best view in all of Minneapolis. Let’s not forget Hormal’s Spam museum in Austin.

      • A great deal of the wheat that was processed in Minneapolis St Paul was grown in the Eastern Dakotas. They did not find gold in Eureka, South Dakota… the Russian Germans knew how to grow wheat, and there was a huge economic boom.

      • JCH:
        And likewise, they did not find oil in Minnesota. Perhaps explaining lutefisk.

    • Curious George

      Corn seems to be more subsidized than wheat. In Europe you can see huge yellow fields of subsidized oilseed rape.

  15. Warning of energy crisis to hit the nation

    “An energy crisis in South Australia created by an over-reliance on untrustworthy and expensive wind and solar will force the state Labor government to seek greater access to cheaper coal-fired electricity from the eastern states.
    This comes amid rising concern that federal renewable ¬energy targets will force other states down the path taken by South Australia, which has the highest and most variable energy prices in the national electricity grid.
    South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, who is also the Energy Minister, yesterday put the eastern states on notice, vowing to “smash the national electricity market into a thousand pieces and start again”.
    He warned other states that the energy crisis was “coming to get them”.
    “This is coming to Victoria, this is coming to NSW … every jurisdiction is facing what we’re facing now,” the Treasurer said.
    South Australian Labor’s ¬admission that it needed urgent reform of the national energy market rules, so that in addition to upgrading connection with Victoria it also could tap into NSW baseload power, reveals the vulnerability of its reliance on ¬renewables. The last coal-fired power stations in South Australia closed in May.
    Wind and solar make up more than 40 per cent of the state’s ¬energy mix under a green policy agenda driven by Labor, in power in South Australia since 2002.
    Several major companies, ¬including BHP Billiton and Arrium, this week warned Mr Koutsantonis of possible shutdowns because of high energy prices, forcing him to plead for a temporary power spike from a private owner of a mothballed gas-fired power plant. Private energy supplier ENGIE fired up its Pelican Point plant near Port Adelaide for a short time yesterday, bringing an extra 239 megawatts of power into the grid.
    Mr Koutsantonis said the federal government had encouraged South Australia, which has the best conditions for wind farms, to chase the energy source as part of Australia’s renewable energy target of about 24 per cent by 2020.
    “Wind is paid by the commonwealth to produce power … if you are going to pay wind farms to produce electricity regardless of demand, you better make sure that is distributed equally across the country because you can’t have a national policy implicating just one state,” he said.
    He called on Malcolm Turnbull to immediately appoint an energy minister and schedule an urgent meeting of federal and state ministers to undertake ¬energy market reform.
    “If you want a true national electricity market, you really need to have all of the states interconnected.
    “What we have is a series of state-based markets with very poor interconnection between them,’’ Mr Koutsantonis said.
    The market was supposed to integrate the east coast states with South Australia and Tasmania to allow the free flow of electricity across borders via a ¬series of interconnecters, he said. It excludes West Australia and the Northern Territory.
    An upgraded interconnecter with Victoria is scheduled for completion next month, and South Australia also wants a larger interconnecter with NSW, at a cost of between $300 million and $700m.
    “Victoria has multiple markets it can draw from; we have one, NSW has two and Queensland has one. That’s not a national electricity market,” he said.


    • Unfortunately, Australia’s Prime Minister is a strong advocate of renewable energy. He was Minister for Environment in the Howard Government and actually started the rot with $8000/kW subsidies for solar PV. And he endorsed the totally crazy ‘Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy by 2020″ Plan (Nicholson and Lang critique here: https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/08/12/zca2020-critique/). He has demonstrated on many occasions he is gullible and a true believer in CAGW and renewable energy is the saviour.

  16. David L. Hagen

    Greenpeace Shocked China Is Putting Another $150 Billion Into Coal Power

    China’s total coal power capacity grew by 7.8 percent in 2015 to 990 gigawatts, while energy consumption only increased by 0.5 percent, according to the country’s National Energy Administration. Consumption of coal in China has already grown by a factor of three from 2000 to 2013. Of the over 2,400 coal-fired power plants under construction or being planned around the world, 1,171 plants will be built in China. . . .
    China consumes approximately half of all coal used worldwide and gets roughly 66 percent of its electricity from coal, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

    Oh so sorry.
    = Reduction in coal will naturally occur as working population declines and nuclear power increases.

  17. In the comments section of the article on Germany’s need to shut off and it seems end of life some wind:


    “The reality is that diversifying our energy mix with wind energy
    makes the power system more resilient, and better able to withstand both
    intentional and unintentional disruptions. . . .[Lots of claims] -Greg Alvarez, Writer and Content Manager, American Wind Energy Association”

    Responded to by some guy:

    “I have been in the power generation and T&D business for 36 years, and there is not one true statement in this.

    Though I love wind and solar to make up some power, they are inherently unstable for the grid. It is like taking the two 100MW jet engines off of a Boeing Dreamliner and replacing them with 100 propeller engines – that you cannot control when they come on and off, won’t respond to pilot controls, etc.”

    Reminds me of a Yogi Bera quotation:

    “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.”

  18. Geoff Sherrington

    Ten years ago I researched nutrition values of seaweed and kelp senso lato following claims and Court cases related to fertilizer and magic growth potion claims.
    As for snacking on seaweed, it is so low in nutrition that you might want to compare it to chewing a truck tire, which might have the benefit of added sulphur and iron.
    The puff piece of praise is yet another case of the public being hoodwinked by pumped up claims and expensive advertising.
    It is useful for alginate production but for little else. I do not know why people waste energy gathering it and processing it for nutritional misuse.

  19. African #charcoal production has doubled in the past two decades. [link]

    ““We cut down everything,” he said, looking at the shrub land now surrounding his village. “We used to have trees all around us.”

    And keeping the IMF from financing coal fired power plants in Africa is “green?” The green warmist, beginning here at Columbia University, Boulder Colorado, Silver Springs Maryland and elsewhere are a major driving force to the deforestation of the globe. By far, shrieking, marching, government lobbying, fundraising, influence peddling are the tools to keep major portions of the world’s people in energy poverty, directly lead to environmental degradation, and is hell bent on making the developed world in the same image.

    We have met the ecoterrorists, and they are us. (sorry, Walt Kelly).

  20. The Collapse of California’s Carbon Cap-and-Trade Market

    90% of the available carbon allowances went unsold in the May 2016 auction, and California received about $880 million less than expected.

  21. The danger of public policy based on “97% consensus science,” glued together with government research funds, will be discussed at the London GeoEthics Conference on September 8-9, 2016. A time is scheduled for questions after each presentation.



    Making high-quality bio-diesel is hard.

    Getting paid $100 million to not make it was kind of a snap.

  23. $160bn food thrown away by consumers and retailers every year? By definition, the price of something is set by supply and demand. If there’s no demand for it, it’s worth nothing. That’s the great thing about a free market economy. Consumers are allowed to make their own choices. If they choose to buy more than they can physically consume, that’s their right.

    • David Wojick

      Perhaps what these folks are yearning for is the old system where you went to the store every day to buy what you cooked that night. Of course this values your time at zero. I try to buy groceries every two weeks so of course I have a good bit of waste.

      • Having an economics/business background, I experimented finding an optimum. About 7 days. Timed by the Florida Natural fresh squeezed OJ cartons, and the fresh green beans we buy for our vet recommended dog treats. The gating items. So buy everything else to suit, except non-perishables on sale where you load up. Turns out Winn-Dixie and Publix change those sales weekly. So 7 days really is optimal.
        Has actually cut our home food bill by nearly 1/3 since I figured this out, based on store receipts. And we have very little waste/spoilage, since have also got portion control under reasonable control.

      • I prefer daily grocery shopping. Not hard nor that time consuming. Not with the abundance of grocery stores.

  24. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Science

    Consuming butter does not increase the risk of heart disease, a recent study found. Those who believed in the accuracy of U.S. government dietary guidelines — which for decades have demonized saturated fats — were doubtless taken by surprise. But for those of us who follow nutrition and politics, it’s just another government nutritional “gospel” that science has revealed to be misguided.

    Yet, government agencies continue to spend millions to nudge consumers into following guidelines that may do little to improve health for most and may even result in harm….

    These recommendations emanated from hearings held in the mid-to-late 1970s by the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, despite a “boisterous mob of critics,” including those within the scientific community who pleaded with the Committee to wait for more research “before we make announcements to the American public.”

    In response, Committee Chairman Sen. McGovern responded that “Senators don’t have the luxury that the research scientist does of waiting until every last shred of evidence is in.”….

    The real issue is that government agencies pass judgement on developing science in the first place.

    Scientific progress is not achieved via committee — whether Congressional or scientific. Rather, science advances toward an understanding of reality through years — often decades — of research, with scientists fighting for their own hypotheses. They present, defend, test, and modify their ideas over time….

    Congress, of course, is an inherently political entity. And so when it — or any other government-appointed body — privileges one theory over another, it creates bias that trickles down to the research community. The problem is not simply that the government makes decisions on the basis of imperfect information, but that government intervention, itself, can distort the development of research.

    For example, the theory that dietary fat plays a large role in cardiovascular disease was controversial in the scientific community, even as the government began relying on it to develop the first federal nutritional guidelines. In fact, a lot of the existing research contradicted it. Nevertheless, the theory flourished. Why? In part, no doubt, because researchers — many of whom rely on government grants — faced risks associated with bucking the new zeitgeist created by the government.

  25. It is my impression that political leaders are now much more worried about possible racial or ethnic violence than they are about climate change. May world leaders and society be restored to sanity without social violence!

  26. “African #charcoal production has doubled in the past two decades.” –> This is a continuing problem in the Dominican Republic (as of three years ago, personal experience) with native charcoal burners denuding hillsides for woody brush and small trees to burn down into charcoal. One would see little mini-trucks piled high with burlap bags full of native charcoal for sale on the city streets.

  27. johnvonderlin

    ‘Half of all US food produce is thrown away, new research suggests.”
    “Suggests?” I think that is just slightly higher in the “weasel” word hierarchy than “linked?” As someone who cares about food wastage I found this poorly written, poorly researched and poorly documented article a disservice to the problem.
    Note below the photo of the watermelons left in the field they assert the EPA says that discarded food is the major component in landfills. No they don’t. The EPA says “organic matter” is the major component. That includes the actual largest component in landfills, paper waste, as well as lawn clippings, food waste etc. This is such a ridiculous mistake everything after that caption should be viewed skeptically.
    Since this bad start in the article is mostly followed by nearly irrelevant anecdotes, flimsy quotes of the type found in testimonials from late night infomercials, and a dearth of useful statistics from reliable sources I didn’t even need to turn on my B.S. meter to smell the rancidity.
    That said, developing mechanisms to optimize the efficiency of our food production, storage, delivery and usage systems are worthy goals. Spreading false, exaggeratedly pessimistic,, ,alarmist analyses of the situation is counterproductive; whether about climate trends, farming or crime..

    • It’s written by Susanna Goldberg John. Had it been any different, we say wager with certainty that someone else penned it under her name.

  28. This is for the Deniers who keep on arguing renewables can provide a high proportion of electricity supply economically. Some academics even argue renewables can provide 100% of electricity. This is what 14 years of Labor governments have done to one Australian state. (The Labor Party is ideologically Left of Centre and true believers in CAGW, carbon pricing and advocates for renewable energy no matter what the economic cost to the nation).

    South Australia intervenes in electricity market as prices hit $14,000/MWh

    “Turmoil in South Australia’s heavily wind-reliant electricity market has forced the state government to plead with the owner of a mothballed gas-fired power station to turn it back on.

    The emergency measures are needed to ease punishing costs for South Australian industry as National Electricity Market (NEM) prices in the state have frequently surged above $1000 a megawatt hour this month and at one point on Tuesday hit the $14,000MWh maximum price.”

    Read more: http://www.afr.com/business/energy/south-australia-intervenes-in-electricity-market-as-prices-hit-14000mwh-20160714-gq5sac#ixzz4EiOstFOQ

    • If you do stupid stuff, expect to pay a hefty price.

    • If you are South Australia and all the whirlygigs, emergency gas plants and diesel gen aren’t enough to power your writer’s festivals and wine promotions, don’t worry. Brown coal rich Victoria is just over the border. There’s no problem you can’t solve with lots of money you haven’t got.

      The greener this world gets the better for the diesel generator business. Of course, it takes a lot of Australian coal to make those diesel generators anywhere but Australia, and a lot of Middle East sourced diesel to run those diesel generators. But a war or two in the right places can assure supply of oil…unless it stops supply.

      Now that Conservation has been replaced by its polar opposite, Environmentalism, fewer questions are being asked about mega-fiascos and wasted resources in the cause of “tackling” the climate. That’s why we have MSM. Those media luvvies just can’t tackle enough climate.

      And why worry over the quality of our climate tackling? Gaia is an indiscriminate old hag who just wants lots of expensive offerings, preferably burnt, and mixed in with some human blood. Moreover, she doesn’t exist.

    • “Pockets” of high renewables can survive longer without incident the more they are surrounded by systems made up of largely conventional generation. To the extent that their neighbors dilute conventional generation (through greater reliance on renewables) or to the extent they are more isolated systems, the more likely incidents like what was seen in South Australia will arise. Many high renewable “pockets” are often saved from these incidents because of the margin in neighboring systems. It’s cheap insurance as their shortfalls freeride out of danger on the backs of their neighbors. But not everyone can be a freerider.

      • PE,

        Agree with all that. My concern is that this problem will be addressed by building more interconnector capacity to Victoria. But that just encourages us to build more renewables.

        I just do not believe that renewables are the rational solution. They can survive up to some level of penetration, but at increasing cost per MWh (much of it hidden cost). If we build the extra interconnectors, we’ll keep building renewables in South Australia and in the other states until the problem now occurring in SA is repeated right across the NEM. What capacity can be accommodated and at what cost? (You’ve addressed this in past threads so my question is rhetorical, not expecting an answer).

      • i agree, more capacity does not seem like a good long term approach. It does allow you to lean on your neighbor more. But if he’s headed where you are, that may not prove to be as much of a benefit down the road.

      • PE — I would modify your use of words, replacing conventional with the word flexible. Big difference between an older vintage pulverized coal unit versus a new, load following, combined cycle natural gas unit.

        I approach this a little different than you. In most decisions on whether to install NGCC capacity, renewable energy has little to no impact in this decision (e.g., retiring early a pulverized coal unit). But once a decision has been made for NGCC capacity — this provides flexibility which can very well impact future renewable energy decisions (especially the back-up argument I often see here at CE).

        I will say again for the gazzionith time: New capacity decisions should be made by our Engineers using state-of-the-art best practices (e.g., ELCC, etc.) of integrated system engineering economics — and not Politicians through mandated renewable energy portfolio standards.

        In engineering economics planning on a highly inflexible System with very limited integration — if renewable penetration is less than 1% then so be it.

        If the System is highly flexible (e.g., lots of NGCC units) with significant integration to resources like bulk hydro — renewable penetration levels of +20% should not be surprising.

      • Stephen,

        There is a big difference between old coal and new gas, but the bigger distance is intermittent renewables from either.

        I haven’t had the time to respond to all of your gazillion assertions that the decision should be made by engineers using state of the art models. I do agree and have in the past that that should overwhelmingly should take place. I just don’t see how that helps you make your case (unless your case is that everyone should shut up and uncritically trust utility experts.)

        (Small aside, I understand the models that you typically refer to are for generation mix, not optimizing the performance of “essential reliability services” – Those models aren’t sophisticated enough to model dispatch to support transmission needs with any great accuracy – so I think that assertion is a little misguided applied to the discussion here. I think you’d have to make some grand assumptions about LOLP and apply them accurately to market models – they would not do a great job forecasting particular market events like the recent ones in S. Australia.)

        While I generally trust the experts, I don’t think that everyone should just shut up and trust them. I think we need to explain why the models generally give the results they do. I think it’s okay to talk in generalities about what we might expect. I think people do that appropriately here. (
        Whether or not they are familiar with the particulars of production cost modelling to your satisfaction.)

      • PE — As I’ve previously stated, my background is in generation (not transmission) but the models that I’ve worked with (like GE MAPS) absolutely incorporates transmission. Certainly, every major utility planning team includes transmission Gurus.

        No, I do not believe that everyone should just “trust” the so called utility planning experts. But there is a fundamental problem in how Renewables are discussed here at CE. They are generally talked about in a micro basis (stand-alone) rather than a correct macro (integrated grid) context. Just because a Renewable may have a certain stand alone characteristic doesn’t mean that these characteristics will occur as problems to deteriorate a grid.

        So many things here at CE that I’ve discussed — like inappropriate LCOE comparisons between technologies; incorrect discussion of backup (regardless of System’s penetration levels and flexibility); incorrect Intermittency conclusions (e.g., SAIDI) — and I could go on and on.

        BTW — Straight up yes or no question — In your System Planning experience, have you used ELCC methods?

      • PE — about trust. Certainly you’ve been in rate hearings where the toughest crowd will often be the large Industrials that usually form a group to represent their interests. If they ever smell something suspect, its like blood in the water for a shark.

        Have you ever been involved in law suits that an Industrial has brought against the Utility?

      • Stephen,

        I’ve called you out on this before – you ask me a lot of questions, but you have consistently failed to answer the few I have asked you. Here again are a couple chances to correct that.

        Certainly I realize and do not expect blind trust. I have been part of challenges associated with industrial lawsuits, rate hearings, regulatory oversight processes and the like. Utilities challenge each other as well. FERC Order 1000 requires transparency in the planning process and provides for considerable stakeholder input. When done right, these are all good things. These are matters of major consequence involving major resources. I also think the general public has a place in these discussions as well.

        These discussions do not all occur with the same level of rigor/specialization/focus or technical focus. I always tell my people it’s not enough that you have run ton’s of studies, have reams of data and know more than anyone about the specific matter – you need to be a storyteller and communicate that so that others can understand. Saying it’s complicated and you wouldn’t get it – does not cut it.

        Stephen – you seem to have a rhetorical trick of trying to derail discussions by pointing out that they could be conducted at a more technical level. (With out actually adding anything there.) While the better more technical discussion could be relevant, I don’t find that the case in many of your postings. Transmission stability, SAIDI and ELCC are very different focus areas. ELCC does not begin to model the concerns one finds as part of stability analysis. But you don’t care- you breeze right past that. For example in past general discussions of reliability you have honed in on SAIDI. Now you are bringing up ELCC. Opportunity and Question 1 for you: “Can you cite any source suggesting that ELCC and SAIDI are measures that correlate in assessing system conditions?” Question 2 – “If ELCC shows capacity concerns, can we discount that because the system has great SAIDI numbers?” (You have implied that in the past for Germany.)

        I have participated in NERC meetings (and other regional meetings) talking about incorporating, analyzing and standardizing the ELCC/LOLP type measures across utilities and regions. This is in its infancy. The major hope now is that it can serve as some sort of report card to track changes with time. If your only claim is that you are aware of ELCC, that’s not much. The fact that you know of good measures later does not table discussions or give your perspective more gravitas than someone here who might not, but is making a good argument at a more basic level.

        Here’s a NERC paper discussion ELCC http://www.nerc.com/files/ivgtf1-2.pdf Have you been involved in ELCC studies? Do you know of any utility that has based resource additions on ELCC studies? Do you know of any regional studies of ELCC (It’s much more rigorous than LOLP and those aren’t modelled well at the regional level.) Any yes’s to the questions in this paragraph will get my attention and I will appreciate the education you can provide me. But barring that I think we both should know these models have a long way to go and a lot of information that is being talked about is not effectively incorporated into them.

        I am thinking your experience was with Southern Company. They have completely different people/departments doing SAIDI and transmission reliability. If they are doing ELCC that is likely far from those groups as well and I’d be surprised if they talk much. I think it’s very unlikely Southern Company has made resource decisions based on ELCC analysis. The results for Southern Company would not be that meaningful as they are part of an interconnected grid. I am near certain ELCC has not been studied effectively at that level. Please, correct me if I’m wrong.

        I look forward to your response, but I am not holding my breath.

      • PE — (1) I’ve given you many examples of where ELCC is being practiced like Nevada and New York State. Tons of studies/papers out of DOE labs using this approach. Talking about ELCC is important on a discussion blog like Dr. Curry’s as it brings up fundamental points of how utilities plan — especially for peaking load.

        (2) I’ve never stated or implied that SAIDI was an end-all on reliability (short and long duration) — and if I’ve written something that you have interpreted be otherwise, then I should have made my remarks clearer. My SAIDI remarks were always intended to respond to the many negative comments at CE that Renewables will always lead to quality problems. Germany (and other EU countries) are showing the “sky is falling” rhetoric often seen at CE is not occurring. Again, SAIDI is not an end-all metric — but as an internationally recognized metric, it does mean something.

        As to major outages (which SAIDI of course doesn’t address) — where is your smoking gun from Germany?


        But your questions don’t get to the root of my concerns here at CE. I’m balking at the common practice of taking about or cherry picking data of Renewables on a micro — stand alone basis rather than a macro basis.

      • BTW — I wish people could stand in a control room of an older pulverized coal unit and see just how often the unit trips.

      • Stephen Segrest said:

        But your questions don’t get to the root of my concerns here at CE. I’m balking at the common practice of taking about or cherry picking data of Renewables on a micro — stand alone basis rather than a macro basis.

        Well how about this for data “on a macro basis”?

      • Stephen,

        You addressed a question, which is a big step up, but you did not answer it.

        I did not ask if ELCC was being practiced. People are working on the measure. Using to asses as I noted.

        I asked you:

        Have you been involved in ELCC studies? Do you know of any utility that has based resource additions on ELCC studies? Do you know of any regional studies of ELCC (It’s much more rigorous than LOLP and those aren’t modelled well at the regional level.) Any yes’s to the questions in this paragraph will get my attention and I will appreciate the education you can provide me. But barring that I think we both should know these models have a long way to go and a lot of information that is being talked about is not effectively incorporated into them.

      • Mr. Stehle As usual I balk at how you cherry-pick data or don’t present a fuller picture to support some ubiquitous negative conclusion you want to make. When you present data like this you should break out pieces parts — primarily how the EU taxes consumption on just about everything (e.g., VAT). How much of these differences are caused by wind/solar power? How much is caused by a new fleet of coal units in Germany? How much is caused by the difference in natural gas prices? How much is caused by creating a 21st century transmission system?

        And how exactly are these numbers meaningful to current U.S. decisions on the vast majority of wind and solar projects where penetration levels are currently very low (in the U.S. solar penetration is ~ one-half of 1%) . An engineering economics fundamental point you and others absolutely refuse to accept is that e.g., solar can very well be the lowest option to a combustion turbine in meeting a peaking load requirement.

        A third point is that in numerous studies, it has been shown that German residential customers’ monthly electricity bills are less or about the same as in the U.S. Obviously, Germans are doing better in efficiently using electricity.

      • PE — Have I personally been involved in ELCC methodologies? The answer is no. I left the utility industry years ago into agriculture and biomass energy technologies. Maybe we could get someone from say NREL or EPRI to come to CE and debate some of these issues (much, much better than I ever could).

        I know ELCC is a function of LOLP, and also integrated — where changing assumptions regarding transmission can also have an impact on the ELCC of generators.

        As you your other points — what am I saying that’s non responsive. Again — Yes, utilities like in Nevada and New York State have used ELCC in their generation decisions. Also, DOE labs have done numerous evaluations using ELCC on a regional basis (NREL’s wind work immediately comes to mind).

  29. The often-told narrative of environmental activists is we have exceeded the “holding capacity of our planet.” They obviously have never spoken to US farmers. Throwing away half of food production, we have exceeded the holding capacity of our garbage dump sites

    • My personal opinion is that anyone who talks about the “holding capacity” of our planet should be offered, at government expense, their preferred choice in how they can do their part to reduce the strain. Pill, injection, bullet to the head, whatever works best for them in checking out.

      Of course the people who argue for earth having a limited carrying capacity always believe it is someone else who needs to bear the burden.