Science Marchers, Secretary Perry’s Memo and Bill Nye’s Optimism

By Planning Engineer

On April 14th, 2017 Rick Perry wrote a memo headed “STUDY EXAMINING ELECTRICITY MARKETS AND RELAIBILITY” calling for study to investigate how long term energy trends my impact the grid.

My “sciencey” friends on social media are linking to this article, “Energy Secretary Rick Perry Wants to Know if Solar is Eroding the Electricity Supply” and reacting with incredulity and derision. Overall the comments mostly are insults such as wondering if this is really an article from the Onion, to questioning if he were dropped on his head as a baby. As far a substance I have not seen much that has gone beyond asserting that various places with more solar and/or wind resources have better reliability and lower outage rates. If the later sort of comments were the start of a dialogue, that would be a good thing. Unfortunately they seem to be a way to emphasize the discussion is over and dismiss any concerns around renewables. Why does any potentially critical examination around the capabilities of renewable energy engender such outrage?

What is contained in the memo?

It starts out reasonably enough:

At the most recent G7 Energy Ministerial, my colleagues discussed the need for an energy transition utilizing greater efficiency and fuel diversity. There was also notable concern about how certain policies are affecting, and potentially putting at risk, energy security and reliability. It impressed upon me that the United States should take heed of the policy choices our allies have made, and take stock of their consequences.

A reliable and resilient electric system is essential to protecting public health and fostering economic growth and job creation. The U.S. electric system is the most sophisticated and technologically advanced in the world. Consumers utilize heating, air conditioning, computers, and appliances with few disruptions. Nonetheless, there are significant changes occurring within the electric system that could profoundly affect the economy and even national security, and as such, these changes require further study and investigation.

Discussing a need for an energy transition with greater efficiency and diversity sounds like a positive step and it is prudent to consider impacts on energy security and reliability. Clearly we should look at what other nations are doing. We do have a great electric system but there are changes underway that could profoundly impact the power system. It should be obvious we need further study and investigation.

Baseload power is necessary to a well-functioning electric grid. We are blessed as a nation to have an abundance of domestic energy resources, such as coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric, all of which provide affordable base load power and contribute to a stable, reliable, and resilient grid. Over the last few years, however, grid experts have expressed concerns about the erosion of critical baseload resources.

Could not agree more. See my posting, Renewables and Grid Reliability, from January of 2016 for a full treatment of such emerging issues.

Specifically, many have questioned the manner in which baseload power is dispatched and compensated. Still others have highlighted the diminishing diversity of our nation’s electric generation mix, and what that could mean for baseload power and grid resilience.

Renewable resources are leaning on the power system. These are mainstream concerns that have increasingly been articulated in various forums. For more detailed treatment see, All megawatts are not equal and More renewables? Watch out for the Duck Curve.

This has resulted in part from regulatory burdens introduced by previous administrations that were designed to decrease coal-fired power generation. Such policies have destroyed jobs and economic growth, and they threaten to undercut the performance of the grid well into the future. Finally, analysts have thoroughly documented the market-distorting effects of federal subsidies that boost one form of energy at the expense of others. Those subsidies create acute and chronic problems for maintaining adequate baseload generation and have impacted reliable generators of all types.

I think coal fired-generation within the US has taken a hit which it is unlikely to recover from. Policies may have hastened the retirements of various coal facilitates, which if left alone might still be operational and contributing to the grid today. However with the cost of gas and its associated infrastructure it is too costly to bring back or construct new coal generation for the foreseeable future. I would not spend too much time crying over spilt milk.

Each of these and other related issues must be rigorously studied and analyzed, and the Department of Energy is uniquely qualified for the task. The results of this analysis will help the federal government formulate sound policies to protect the nation’s electric grid. In establishing these policies, the Trump Administration will be guided by the principles of reliability, resiliency, affordability, and fuel assurance-principles that underpin a thriving economy.

I’m glad to see the attention given to these important considerations. I would prefer the last sentence read, “In establishing these policies, the Trump Administration will be guided by the principles of reliability, resiliency, affordability, respect for the environment and fuel assurance-principles that underpin a thriving economy.” As argued here before (Balance and the Grid), energy policy must balance economics reliability and public responsibility. However I expect that in this case the Secretary may be trying to emphasize the major components that have suffered from a lack of attention.

I am directing you today to initiate a study to explore critical issues central to protecting the long-term reliability of the electric grid, using the full resources and relationships available to the Department. By Wednesday, April 19, 2017, present to me an implementation plan to complete this study 60-days from that date, that will explore the following issues:

  • The evolution of wholesale electricity markets, including the extent to which federal policy interventions and the changing nature of the electricity fuel mix are challenging the original policy assumptions that shaped the creation of those markets;
  • Whether wholesale energy and capacity markets are adequately compensating attributes such as on-site fuel supply and other factors that strengthen grid resilience and, if not, the extent to which this could affect grid reliability and resilience in the future; and
  • The extent to which continued regulatory burdens, as well as mandates and tax and subsidy policies, are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.

I have committed to the President that this report will not only analyze problems but also provide concrete policy recommendations and solutions. I also committed to the President that I will do everything within my legal authority to ensure that we provide American families and businesses an electric power system that is technologically advanced, resilient, reliable, and second to none.

Certainly such information would help drive policy decisions. In closing he makes a strong commitment to advancing technology and providing resilience and reliability. This appears to be a perfectly reasonable request and commitment for the US Secretary of Energy to make. As mentioned earlier, perhaps this memo would include some commitment for environmental responsibility. But understand that in the United States we have multiple departments and agencies with often competing interests that are designed to provide balance. The Secretary of Energy will not operate in isolation and perhaps it is a good thing that he is primarily focused on “Energy” issues as his agenda will be balanced by other competing interests within our political process.

Reactions to the Memo

I struggle to find anything much of significance that anyone within the grid expert community would take issue with. Of course we will have to wait and see how the study comes out and examine its findings and conclusions. There may be problems at that point, but at this time it is just a call for information. Yet many “science fans” find Secretary Perry’s actions threatening, preposterous and ridiculous on the surface. Why is that?

The “science” support community as represented by recent marchers puts a lot of faith in what is seen as the consensus of climate experts. Evidently this respect for “experts” does not extend to grid experts. They tend to accept that there are no proper grid concerns because of assurances by those in the renewable industries, as well as those with strong self-promotional interests.

Does Mr. Nye have the answer?

I see “science fans” applauding and promoting Bill Nye’s call for 100% renewable generation by 2050.  One might think if one endorsed Mr. Nye’s plan it would also be prudent to encourage studies such as the one advocated by the Secretary of Energy. Certainly Mr. Nye is not a power systems expert, nor have I seen him reference any when he is explain how such a transition can be accomplished. We should all be at least somewhat skeptical about the potential consequences of such a significant endeavor.

What I may be missing is the role of “optimism” which Mr. Nye assures us is a necessary ingredient for this transition. I’d seen hints of this before and perhaps what is happening is that far too many people obstinately reject any criticism regarding renewables because they believe that optimism is crucial if the planet is to be saved. Consequently no one should utter a disparaging word about any of the potential “preferred” renewable solutions. The view seems to be that we must get started now and we will work out the distracting details as we go along.

Perhaps this explains why those who view climate with extreme alarm often show no tolerance for criticism of renewable energy? Otherwise, why are grid experts not trusted? Grid experts have academic credentials, share a common body of knowledge, and continually build and alter their understandings based upon empirical evidence. Individually and collectively they work to be innovative and develop new approaches and challenge older perspectives. Grid experts have a proven track record of success. As I’ve argued before grid experts do not for the most part have a strong vested personal interest in the status quo. An ambitious, aggressive transfer to greater renewables would increase the demand and likely compensation for most all existing grid experts.

Bill Nye says, “You are not going to accomplish anything unless you are optimistic”. Could it just boil down to a belief in optimism that causes the self-identified “science support community to recoil and scoff at projected potential risks to the grid? Is this the drive for so much anger and derision? Will increased knowledge and experience shrink the division? Certainly virtue signaling is going on, surely there is an element of tribalism, undoubtedly group think and cognitive dissonance play a part as well, but in the end is it just about optimism?

Hopefully it would go without saying, but let me be clear – The power system is a complex, crucial critical infrastructure that has overarching societal importance and benefits. Avoiding critical reflection while attempting to transition to something new, in order to maintain optimism with vague hopes that innovative solutions will somehow appear when needed is a ludicrous idea that will not only serve to harm us all, but will also work to retard the advance of future beneficial renewable technologies.

I enjoy the discussions here and look forward to your comments.

Moderation note:  As with all guest posts, please keep your comments civil and relevant.

406 responses to “Science Marchers, Secretary Perry’s Memo and Bill Nye’s Optimism

  1. Pingback: Science Marchers, Secretary Perry’s Memo and Bill Nye’s Optimism – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. Among those march organizers I interacted with in my decision to eventually not participate in the march, the sole test of whether or not you are a good scientist is whether or not you embrace the “current human caused global warming is carrying us to disaster and we must act now to avoid it”. Any questioning outside that was immediately dismissed as being either due to ignorance or being in the pay of big oil and a pronouncement that you are obviously not a real scientist qualified to comment. As for renewables, well science can always fix problems like wind power only works when the wind is blowing. Any criticism of renewable resources is dismissed as the utter nonsense of luddites of highly questionable motivation. This is ideology not science. Trying to discuss anything is like trying to have a discussion about how to get into heaven without Jesus with a fundamentalist southern baptist. Since this is the same group that had a proponent of Sharia law in the USA organize their march for women, cognitive dissonance was to be expected.

    • David Springer

      30% of US electricity comes from coal today. It peaked at close to 50% in 2008. Natural gas is now the #1 source at 34%. NG is far cheaper than coal where available and easier to idle for base load management. It’s due to improved technology in NG recovery whereas coal recovery is moribund and nobody likes a strip mine. Seems like this is a market driven change that might have gone a little faster with gov’t regulation on coal but it would have happened anyway.

    • David Springer

      The author’s criticism of Perry not mentioning environmental protection is unwarranted. Rick Perry and Scott Pruitt (new head of EPA and former AG of OK) are besties who worked together a lot in the past. Let Pruitt worry about the environment and Perry worry about the nation not collapsing and hundreds of millions dying in our major cities should our grid be attacked by our enemies. Our grid is an Achilles Heel and everyone knows it. National security and safety should most certainly override any concern about the environment so long as security and safety is at risk. Priorities matter and in this case they matter a lot.

    • David Springer

      Bill Nye is a m0r0n with no credentials in science. He graduated a mechanical engineer from Cornell but has almost certainly long since forgotten his training as an engineer.

      Natural science practitioners tend to be idi0t-savants completely lacking in common sense and batshiit crazy outside their myopic expertise. But Nye doesn’t even rise to that low bar. I fail to understand why he was even mentioned here to say nothing of having 20% of the article length devoted to him.

      • Yet he wiped the floor with Happer. Happer had only two things to say. One was that CO2 can’t be dangerous because we breathe it. Whodathunk? The second was, but the failure of Munich led to a disaster, so the failure of Paris will too. OK, think about that. Maybe that’s not the analogy he means. Presumably he is getting this Paris-Munich analogy from the conspiracy sites, so someone can enlighten us. Who plays the role of H1tler in this?

      • Jim D, who regularly demonstrates his inability to recognize simple facts, say like the difference between a mop and a squeegee, offers his opinion on who out pointed whom.

      • I think it’s pretty clear that greenhouse gas warming did not end up in the oceans. Especially given that carbon dioxide hasn’t increased – apparently – this century. Does this put into doubt the keeling curve?

      • Recent pause in the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 due to enhanced terrestrial carbon uptake

        https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13428

        Of course the El Nino warming of the past 2 years has turned it all about. LMFAO.

    • David Springer

      The future of energy production lies here. I’ve seen this ad on Fox prime time at least twice in the past week. Exxon must be getting close if it’s launching a TV ad campaign. Synthetic biology is the next great technological revolution. It promises to be the greatest yet. Clean, renewable, nearly cost-free hydrocarbon fuel made directly from sunlight and CO2 is just the tip of the iceberg – the low hanging fruit in this transformative technology. The best part is these fuels are drop-in replacements for gas and diesel requiring no modification to existing distribution and end-use infrastructure.

      • I visited one of these “energy farms” in 2011. Unless there has been a dramatic change in technology it can’t produce enough energy to make it worthwhile. We saw 40 acres of growth space at the farm they proudly showed off to us producing almost an entire litre after 30 days! Wow. This is green washing propaganda IMHO.

      • To produce synthetic hydrocarbons you need 3 things, a source of Carbon, a source of Hydrogen, and energy.

        they are getting the Carbon from the air, and the energy from the sun, but that still leaves the Hydrogen. Like most plants, they can get it from water.

        Lots of water.

        Lots and Lots of water.

      • How much of the world’s current energy consumption could be supplied by this technology?

        What area would be required to supply the world’s current energy consumption?

        How much water would be required?

        What is the likely cost per unit of fuel supplied?

      • “Hard Lessons From the Great Algae Biofuel Bubble”

        From 2005 to 2012, dozens of companies managed to extract hundreds of millions in cash from VCs in hopes of ultimately extracting fuel oil from algae.

        CEOs, entrepreneurs and investors were making huge claims about the promise of algae-based biofuels; the U.S. Department of Energy was also making big bets through its bioenergy technologies office; industry advocates claimed that commercial algae fuels were within near-term reach.

        Jim Lane of Biofuels Digest authored what was possibly history’s least accurate market forecast, projecting that algal biofuel capacity would reach 1 billion gallons by 2014. In 2009, Solazyme promised competitively priced fuel from algae by 2012. Algenol planned to make 100 million gallons of ethanol annually in Mexico’s Sonoran Desert by the end of 2009 and 1 billion gallons by the end of 2012 at a production rate of 10,000 gallons per acre. PetroSun looked to develop an algae farm network of 1,100 acres of saltwater ponds that could produce 4.4 million gallons of algal oil and 110 million pounds of biomass per year.

        Nothing close to 1 billion (or even 1 million) gallons has yet been achieved — nor has competitive pricing.

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/04/20/169658/

  3. Belief is not science or engineering. I’ll go with the guy with the computer code (was going to say “slide rule” but that dates me) rather than the guy with the optimism.

    • russellseitz

      If one is enough of a materials science optimist to believe in energy storage progressing about as far in the next generation from the Model T Tesla as auto performance has in the last, and photovoltaic economics following suit downhill to Cheap as half-milimeter silicon under glass gives way to ten microns of perovskite paint on an aluminum foil windowshade or a tin roof, some may elect to get the family capital out of petroleum coke and climate disinformation payouts to K-Street, and into applied physics where it belongs.

      The climate wars won’t killl coal, but materials science and the high cost of medicine & pensions is already playing hobb with its bottom line in America India and China are not planning on getting poorer either.

      Real technoptimists tend to prevail over pseudo-skeptics regardless of whether radiative forcing is fast or slow, leaving flat out climate denial with a future as bright as the Energy Crisis. Or for that matter, the Oil Glut that sank that once prosperous consensus.

      • russellseitz

        Renewables cannot supply much of the world’s electricity, let alone its energy demand – ever! Per capita energy demand will continue to grow as a power function as it has been doing since humans first discovered how to control fire and domesticate animals to do work. Renewables are not the future. Advocating for them, subsidising them and incentivising them through government dictates is delaying progress (and reducing global development rate and the rate people are lifted out of poverty) – as the anti-nuclear power protest movement has been doing since the 1960s.

      • russellseitz

        Peter, has the wattage of your home lights ,TV , and appliances been rising or falling since the 1960’s?

        Thermal, nuclear and hydro base load capacity is theatened with competition, not destruction, and it doesn’t take power law growth of photovoltaic electicity to see how attactive it may prove in both domestic contets– roofs that can run the air conditioners that make America’s sunbelt habitable, and in constructing the as yet unbuilt homes of the not yet rich in the world at large.

        What would Julian Simon say to Judy ?

      • Peter, has the wattage of your home lights ,TV , and appliances been rising or falling since the 1960’s?

        Since the 60’s, a lot more homes have air conditioning. They have a lot more TV’s and now have computers which are connected to the internet, which uses a lot of energy. And people who don’t have this stuff are going to want it!

      • russellseitz: “roofs that can run the air conditioners that make America’s sunbelt habitable”

        Actually, they can’t do any of that without having a grid to fall back on as and when required. They not only have this dependency, but the economics don’t work without having a grid to offload their surpluses for cash as well. These roofs are incapable of running anything and are merely parasitic, and where they are not they are far too expensive to make sense in all but exceptional cases.

        How many roofs are there that make America’s sunbelt habitable whilst also standing on their own two feet?

        Very few to none.

        It kind of reminds me of the self-sufficiency frauds who are self-sufficient apart from their weekly trips to the supermarket, the gas station, the seed merchant, lumber store, etc, and buy and sell through Amazon and Ebay while also running Gofundme and Patreon appeals requesting sponsorship from people who are fans of self-sufficiency and want to back it financially.

        I don’t mind bible salesmen – we’ve all got to make a living, after all. But do not ask me to believe they on a mission to save humanity. I’m not a hick or a twelve year old.

      • Canman,

        The way you get reliable, affordable electricity to people is with centralized systems, not weather dependent renewbles. The only fuel that can provide the world’s ever growing per capita energy consumption for thousands of years is nuclear.

      • Russellseitz

        Thermal, nuclear and hydro base load capacity is theatened with competition, not destruction

        Dead wrong on nuclear. The problem is an ideological agenda. Nuclear has been so over-regulated for 50 years that it has become uneconomic. If not for the over-regulation it could ne be around 10% of current cost [1]:

        The over-regulation was a response to the populations fear of radiation and nuclear power as a result of the nuclear power protest movement and the enviro-evangelists and activists. The same crowd, and their gullible supporters, have now turned to catastrophic climate change to push their agenda and renewables as their solution.

        [1] Peter Lang, 2017, Nuclear power learning and deployment rates: disruption and global benefits forgone https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/publication/cama-working-paper-series/9070/nuclear-power-learning-and-deployment-rates-disruption

  4. Quote: Yet many “science fans” find Secretary Perry’s actions threatening, preposterous and ridiculous on the surface. Why is that?

    That might have been a good point to finish. Discussion about the power grid will be far more illuminating than discussion about personalities.

    • education have been abandoned (or transformed into a weird cargo cult form of such). The community appears strident and unwilling to discuss anything. If you know of forums which are open to discussion – please advise.

      I welcome you and others to explain what you disagree with. I would love to hear the arguments that justify going beyond disagreement to how your are finding opposing positions ridiculous and why and how you can communicate anything of value by bare derision, ridicule and insult.

      • Unfortunately the start of my answer was striped above, will try again.

        Forrest –

        you said “That might have been a good point to finish. Discussions about the power grid will be far more illuminating than discussions about personalities.”

        Are “science fans” finding Perry’s “actions threatening, preposterous and ridiculous on the surface” for reasons related to the power grid or is for for reasons related to their personalities? I would love to hear the “grid” based reasons but their seems to be an aversion to articulating anything of that sort in open discussions – so I have speculated on personalities here.

        The “science fans” community used to to a great job engaging in discussion, debate and education on the topic of evolution. Now that climate and renewables have taken over their focus evidently discussion, debate and education have been abandoned (or transformed into a weird cargo cult form of such). The community appears strident and unwilling to discuss anything. If you know of forums which are open to discussion – please advise.

        I welcome you and others to explain what you disagree with. I would love to hear the arguments that justify going beyond disagreement to how your are finding opposing positions ridiculous and why and how you can communicate anything of value by bare derision, ridicule and insult.

      • Assuming you are the author of the article, I thought it was very good until when you focussed your attention on a particular fake scientist.

        I didn’t like the last part of the article was that it is very treacherous ground to talk about the positions of others because it takes you toward an implicit claim that you can read minds. Far better is to take them to task for what they have actually said or written.

        Hope that helps. Oh and my apologies if you are not the author of the article.

      • I am the author. I’ll ponder your advice. I have many friends in the skeptic (now science advocacy) community. I can’t read their minds, but I can follow much of what they say. I meant to draw a contrast between their seemingly reflexive dismissal of Perry and their widespread uncritical adulation for Bill Nye. I don’t mind Bill Nye as an individual, but when he is held up as a leader, teacher, hero …

        A number of years ago a friend was near livid that I was not wildly enthusiastic about T Boone Pickens plan for wind development. I didn’t think the finances worked (they did not- Pickens himself later said he needed gas price cres multiples above where they ended up.). He thought as a utility exec I had an obligation to support and be positive about such developments and potential opportunities. The closest I have come to understanding his perspective (as to my role) was when I heard Nye discuss the importance of optimism. Maybe that explains it maybe not. i lack a second best explanation.

      • education have been abandoned (or transformed into a weird cargo cult form of such). The community appears strident and unwilling to discuss anything.

        This is true. It’s very significant. It needs to be raised continually, recognised, and debated until solutions are found and implemented to return to Enlightenment.

    • Entertainment personalities like Bill Nye get extensive time on TV News networks p, where they get to sell their ignorant perspective, and attempt to silence and discredit very educated individuals who don’t agree with his position. Bill Nye does deserve to be exposed as a populist peddler of pseudoscience and the renewables cult.

      • Happer climbed through the ropes and entered the ring. And then he led with his chin. Blaming that on Nye is weird.

      • I see your point, JCH. What is important is that Bill Nye looks good on TV and has a better voice for it and that he is optimistic. Happer, on the other hand, does not come across well on TV due to the lack of optimism in his voice. Once again, you have cut to the heart of the issue. Thanks. :)

      • Nye is a lightweight; Happer’s arguments are ridiculous. The outcome was never in doubt.

      • Perhaps Happer would have done better if he wore a bowtie. Also look up Godwin’s Law. Happer succumbed when he mentioned Munich as a direct comparison to Paris. The hosts didn’t let it go. Happer had clearly not thought it through because the answer on clarification was vacuous.

      • JCH and Jim D lead the way.

        Into a world where style points are what matter, not facts. Anyone who will accept Bill Nye’s opinion over Will Happer’s on any science related topic is someone who doesn’t belong in an adult conversation. Nye has zero credibility. Hosting a tv show for kids does not qualify as a scientist. As an entertainer maybe, but not a scientist. That people treat him as one only tells us about their ability (inability actually) to discriminate between real and fake.

        Well, there is another explanation. Faith. When you are a faith based believer in climate change, you don’t need to be able to distinguish between real and fake.

      • …but Munich.

      • I said Nye is a lightweight. He wins because physics is totally against Happer, which his former, less senile self would have fully realized.

      • JCH

        “…less senile self…”

        Ageist!

        On another topic. I am kind of disappointed that the Prince of Irony hasn’t stopped by to show us pictures of the Denver People’s Climate March in their 8 inches of snow. Algore must have made an appearance.

  5. Isn’t this just a reformatted version of that Edison Institute white paper from a few years back? The Edison Institute represents the nation’s investor owned utilities, in other words the guys who own all that coal fired base load power.

    From today’s news:
    http://www.utilitydive.com/news/trumps-credibility-problem-threatens-to-undermine-doe-baseload-power-rev/440919/

  6. Necessity is the mother of invention. Not optimism.

  7. Is Mr. Nye’s buzz word ” optimism “, short for tax payers subsidies ?

  8. Roger Knights

    “Grid Reliability and Renewables Penetration” would be a good initial topic for a red team / blue team debate, because it’s somewhat of a bounded problem.

    • Roger Knights

      Having a public debate on any aspect of climate change policy would be a way of educating know-nothing-know-it-alls beyond their mantras. It would also be a test case to establish the viability of further public debates on certain manageable climate change sub-topics.

  9. Nature cannot be fooled. Every sports team starts the game with optimism and half the time they’re wrong.

  10. Interesting that, among the “sciency,” optimism with regard to nuclear power is not allowed.
    There are many excellent questions raised by A Planning Engineer, I’d like to propose another- why on earth did Bill Nye insist on 100% renewable by 2050 instead of a “(near) zero emissions grid” by 2050? The latter is supposed to be the goal, after all. Solar panels are just one possible way to get there.
    This, I think, is the reason for the outrage. The last thing the warm want is a serious appraisal of alternatives to coal and gas. Science won’t be kind to Bill Nye when this happens.

  11. Planning Engineer, thank you for the essay.

  12. Not surprised thatmprogressives and warmunists deride Perry’s perfectly reasonable request for this study. South Australia blacked out from too much wind last October. UK has struggled with sufficient reserve capacity. Renewables are intermittent and non-dispatchable. That has consequences that increase in severity with penetration. Those consequences are inadequately considered from a policy perspective. Essay California Dreaming gave some specific examples, including how when CPUC finally did act the form was further subverted by California’s green dreamers.

    IMO the real reason for the Perry hostility isnt Trump, or ignorance, or ‘green religion’, its a deep seated knowledge that these problems exist and such folks don’t want them exposed.

  13. Everything will be different in a big way when “sciencey” friends on social media are spending their own money to bring about their Leftist Utopia…

  14. As Vaclav Smil observed (in Energy Myths and Realities):
    “All energy transitions have one thing in common: They are prolonged affairs that take decades to accomplish, and the greater the scale of prevailing uses and conversions, the longer the substitutions will take. Although the second part of this statement seems to be a truism, it is ignored as often as the first part; otherwise, we would not have all those unrealized predicted milestones for electric cars or fuel cells or for clean coal or renewable conversions.”
    Something for those ‘science fans’ should ponder, and why electric power will not be 100 percent renewable in 35 years and why people like James Hansen hope that we can get over our nuclear-phobia now. But then according to some of those “science fans,’ Hansen is himself a (renewables) “denier.”

  15. Curious George

    Bill Nye’s crowd is certainly optimistic: They believe that they can think. An unbridled optimism refusing any suggestion of corrections.

  16. The industry perspective is less likely to include things like cost that are in the public’s interest. In parallel news the EPA had a “public” hearing about regulations. Again industry is at the table, and the public not so much. I see a pattern developing here.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/epa-clean-air-public-comment_us_58fe2c1be4b00fa7de1665cb?tzi&ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

    • “parallel” ??? More like a 90 degree deflection.

    • johnfpittman

      From your link “”A utility lobbyist called on regulators to do less work monitoring greenhouse gas emissions. An oil and gas lobbyist praised the Trump administration’s retreat from safeguards and urged federal rulemakers to limit regulations on carbon emissions and smog. A lobbyist for wood-product manufacturers complained about the “ever-tightening” public health standards for ozone pollution and asked regulators to change the permitting process.””

      What wasn’t told: 1.) GHG emissions are required by no less than 3 regulations and all three are tabulated: a. GHG emission reporting CDX; b. Annual emissions reports for large discharges required by state SIP’s, Title V and CAA, and c. monthly/quarterly/annual fuel use reporting requirements. 2.) what safeguards are actually being affected and by how much. 3.) The public health standards for several parameters went from actual measurement to computer generated where the natural variability and measurement in error means that certain areas will be in non attainment even if no industry discharges occur; it is being challenged for legality b y the states.

      From your link ““Out of that process came a very robust and very responsible regulation and now we’re being asked to roll it back,” he said. “These are people’s lives. These are my children’s lives. This is the future of the planet. We cannot move backward on that. We need to have a strong, robust process, at least as robust as what we had in the past.” A private citizen with an opinion. We should ignore actual science and just trust the concerned of our society.

      Perhaps this is why the scientists felt obligated to march. This gentleman indicates what the reasoning in the past was. Emotion.

      It would be a shame to recognize that the industry voices had to sue and have won a stay because the EPA violated its own rules in order to avoid their stakeholder input. As one of the people who had input, and had to watch our head of our state air department retract that concerns would be addressed in both a legal and scientific manner, after having been informed by WattsUpWithThat, I would hope you would understand that WUWT was better than HuffPo and others. Imagine my chagrin when I read the WUWT and thought what a bunch of bull, only to have the head of a state agency confirm that WUWT story was correct, and yes, legal standards had not been met.

  17. PE

    Another thoughtful, articulate and rational post, the kind of work we have come to expect from you.

    You have asked several questions at various points in your piece. I think I have the answers to your questions but let me add a few of my own.

    Why would students at Middlebury College engage in violence due to an invitation to a speaker with whom they disagree?

    Why would Berkeley students deny free speech to a speaker with whom they disagree?

    Why would a person apparently shoot into the offices where John Christy works?

    Why would so many have such adoration for Bill Nye and believe he should play a prominent role in setting public policy?

    There is a nexus between your questions and mine. It lies with the mentality of those who are involved in certain beliefs and behaviour. The answers to our questions begin and end with the same segment of the population. It is what we have come to expect from them and, sadly, we are not surprised when they reveal what they really are.

    • On the other side, I would say that there is a measurable increase in bigotry and hate crimes, and a number of people trying to go around campuses preaching to their likeminded fans to incite those things. These people have become somehow emboldened in recent months that this kind of preaching is OK.

      • Jimd

        Evidence please to support that sweeping statement
        Tonyb

      • Unfortunately, the feeble minded are increasingly incapable of distinguishing between intellectual disagreement and hate speech. Read the book “Coming Apart” then get back to me how it preaches hate.

        The same mindset that throws out “denier” so easily to marginalize those with whom they have a public policy difference also so easily tries to shut down free speech. Mussolini would have loved them.

      • As far as I can tell from wikipedia, Coming Apart is a look at the social phenomenon behind the richer getting richer and the poorer getting poorer even within the white community, and a consequent new class division. This is reinforced by poorer education in the poorer community. It seems to explain the large uneducated white population that have been left behind and became Trump supporters, so it is a worthwhile idea. Middlebury rejected it because of ‘community standards’ that they use to judge speakers. This is a concept that needs better definition. Clearly there are some forms of demagoguery that should be rejected outright. Where to put that line is a question. Is it just defined by potential to incite or to denigrate, demean, belittle or vilify classes of people? These are the questions. No one would argue that all types of content are acceptable for campuses, would they?

      • Thinking more of Coulter and Milo who Berkeley rejected. People who have seen Murray’s speech think it is mild, so I guess his past is the issue there. Just putting the other viewpoint up in case you were not aware, and it seems to have taken you by surprise. Glad to help.

      • climatereason, you might not have noticed(?) a similar thing after Brexit, but that increase is happening in the US of A. Certain non-white people are being approached in public places and being told to go home or blamed for terrorism, even though they have lived here for years, and not experienced that before, and religious centers are being attacked in various ways. These people have types of speech that rail against the PC-ness of the left, which is effectively anti-protection in the eyes of their fans. Just my opinion.

      • Wake up Jim, what many see on college campuses today are hate crime hoaxes used to perpetuate smears.

        And if you really want to expose thugs inciting hate, look no further than those rioting, starting fires, breaking windows and beating people with bike locks to stop others from exercising their 1st Amendment rights.

        In todays NYTimes, there is a fantastically poorly thought-out piece advocating censorship on college campuses:

        Snippet:

        ““The recent student demonstrations at Auburn against Spencer’s visit — as well as protests on other campuses against Charles Murray, Milo Yiannopoulos and others — should be understood as an attempt to ensure the conditions of free speech for a greater group of people, rather than censorship.”

        Thankfully, even the Times’ own commenters (who can be incredibly dense and rationality-challenged at times) are having none of it:

        1) “Double-thought and double-think in an attempt to muddy the waters of a simple concept. Free speech is only meaningful in the circumstance of speech that one detests. It is an example of an absolute concept. As soon as the power to “decide” what speech is allowed, is granted, free speech is eradicated. How hard is it for intelligent people to grasp the concept that what one person views as “unacceptable” discussion another views as vital? And tell me, who will decide what speech is acceptable, the author?”

        2) “The point of free speech is that if it is not truly free and unfettered it is all too easy to restrict it. There is no consensus there has ever been, including this one, that will not use its power to impose conformity of ideas through censorship once it is allowed to determine what speech and ideas are ok to have and which not.

        All the talk about marginalized communities needing protection from the ideas of big, bad social conservatives is simply special pleading from those afraid to see their own shibboleths challenged. It is simply another manifestation of the same proclivity that has driven fascism, Stalinism, and every other authoritarian regime and movement in history. People do not wish to hear that with which they disagree.”

        3) “Destroying property, physically blocking fellow students from attending the presentation of a speaker you oppose, threatening violence, and drowning out speech by slamming against the windows, banging drums and hollering, are not examples of defending free speech or the rights of minorities.

        I would much rather live in a society where all voices–even the most reprehensible ones–can be heard, than one where militant young people convinced of their righteousness and completely closed to any countervailing arguments get to decide what is acceptable and non-acceptable speech through intimidation and the threat of violence and chaos. The historical precedents are not comforting.”

      • Jimd

        There was an extremely short lived spike after Brxit. I posted a link to the chief constable at the time.

        It was fake news.

        Now….about your evidence to support your sweeping statements?

        Tonyb

      • Which sweeping statements? Britain’s leaders at least are not like Farage, but in the US, it is like Farage got elected, and you would get some idea of the state that leads to.

      • No, Jim, nothing caught me by surprise. I followed the entire faux, illiterate outrage 20 years. The idiots who criticized the Bell Curve are just like the pinheads who engaged in violence because of his appearance at Middlebury. They had IQs too low to understand the nuances of the research then and the next generation is no better prepared to grasp the issues. This group most likely didn’t read the book or the study any more than the uninformed did in the 90s.

        Here is the point. There is no difference between the social dynamics used to protect the “good life” in North Korea and the cultural norms that keep all citizens in line for the good of their
        society and the kind of sanctions employed by the left to keep their idea of the ” good life”.

        I’m sure that comparison is too hard to swallow for the left, but it is the truth. The only difference is that in North Korea the penalty for violating behavioral norms is to be whacked by an anti-aircraft gun and in the US you get accused of hate speech.

      • Yes, I believe Murray is construed as having a racial prejudice because of his work, rightly or wrongly. Those people on that campus had an opinion of him that may also be right or wrong. How does he correct that? He probably sees the problem and why some people don’t like him, and has to shrug it off, or he has an enormous blind spot.
        The left view is live and let live and not in a passive way. The Let Live part is active. It means no bigotry or prejudicial treatment. Note that it deals with how you treat others, not how you live yourself.

      • In contrast to the left’s live and let live attitude allowing for diversity, the right aspires to a perfect monoculture, as we have seen from historical examples. North Korea is an example of a monoculture. Everybody has to think and behave alike according to top-down norms. Diversity is not encouraged. Freedoms of choice are restricted.

      • The only incitement to violence I have seen on campus has come from ANTIFA. The increases in hate crimes increase I have seen have been discovered to be hoaxes. As for “this kind of preaching is OK” I thought that free speech meant any kind of preaching was okay. What happened to the good old days of “I hate what you say but I will fight for your right to say it?” Does this mean you support shutting down speech you disagree with Jimmy?

      • You have to ask yourself where you draw the line on speech. There must be a line somewhere. How about someone ranting on about fake conspiracies and vilifying a class of person as part of it? A lot of people just believe what they hear in speeches in the same way they believe fake news. Should a university endorse that?

      • You act like letting someone speak is “endorsing” what they says which is complete nonsense and rather disingenuous on your point since I specifically said ““I hate what you say but I will fight for your right to say it”. If people spew verbal garbage you let them spew and then you take your turn and show what piles of garbage they have been spewing. In the good days that is what universities were supposed to be about. Now it seems they are about snowflakes, anarchy, and violence directed at anyone who doesn’t fit the leftist ideology.

      • Usually these people are not coming to debate. They spew and then they go. It’s when they do take questions that things get out of hand with insults leading to chanting, stage-storming, etc. You have to choose people that won’t lead to this. And, yes, the audience can be blamed in many cases for not just sitting there and taking it. As a university, it depends what you want out of these events on your campus, and what you can do to protect these types of speakers who may be rightly afraid of their audience, but at least they can probably sue the university if things go wrong. Not that easy, is it.

      • Actually, what needs to be controlled is the lunatics and thugs so they don’t do disgusting things like chanting so that others can’t hear and “stage storming” (such a polite euphemism for attacking a . speaker). If the universities were actually interested in free speech they would forbid face covers on campus and expel any student who indulges in that kind of nonsense. It’s invariably leftists whether they are shouting down conservatives, or Zionists, or scientists who question the religion of climate change. Conservatives generally are quite content to simply make someone look like a moron in a good debate. It’s the leftists who think they have some kind of right to silence speech they don’t like hear. If the lunatics and thugs knew they faced immediate expulsion and loss of funding to any student group involved in violence (Students for Justice for Palestine comes to mind), they would start behaving themselves. As it is, since they know the university administration tacitly approves of their behaviour and they will suffer no consequences and even have leftist professors leading them on to violence, this crap will continue until some conservative finally does win a big law suite. I am hoping Trump follows through on his treat to cut off funding to any university that does not allow free speech.

      • Why do the conservatives even want to speak to these people on a campus? Surely they can find somewhere else better to do this. Is it just to incite and be in their face? What are they thinking? Do they seek the headlines? They are preceded by their previous talking points, so how do they get past the ill will that leads to on these campuses?

      • Last time I checked it was conservatives on the campus who invited in a speaker they wanted to hear speaking. As for incitement, it is pretty obvious liberals think just the mere existence of people who disagree with them is justification for violence.

      • I’m curious Jimmy, why do you seem to think violence against speech you don’t like is justifiable?

      • I think speech that incites riots by virtue of being bigoted is the problem. If you can have the speech even with the riots, fine. Trump mostly was able to hold his campaign speeches, but had to call one off.

      • I think speech can only incite riots in morons who have no self restraint or evil people who are interested in seeing democracies turned into fascist tyrannies.

      • I don’t condone riots, and the right should be equally condemned when they do it, but we don’t see it so much from them because their demonstrators tend to be older folks from what I have seen.

      • Jim D: “On the other side, I would say that there is a measurable increase in bigotry and hate crimes”

        As measured by the monkey who hears no evil, sees no evil, and speaks no evil when it comes to his own side. Good to hear what you have to say.

      • I gave the other side, so now you see both sides, right? Is hate speech free? Spreading fake conspiracies? Defamation? Should a university endorse this stuff on their own campus? These are the questions. Food for thought. Glad to help.

      • Jim D | April 24, 2017 at 7:33 pm |
        You have to ask yourself where you draw the line on speech. There must be a line somewhere. How about someone ranting on about fake conspiracies and vilifying a class of person as part of it? A lot of people just believe what they hear in speeches in the same way they believe fake news. Should a university endorse that?
        _____________

        Actually, Jim, the Supreme Court has already drawn the line, repeatedly. It is drawn such that one cannot directly incite violence. Short of that, one is free to speak anything he or she likes, including so-called hate speech. In fact, that line makes the US unique in the world as other countries do indeed ban “hate-speech”.

        It matters not if one is speaking the truth or not – for who, in the end, gets to decide what is true or not?

      • There are also rules about what is acceptable in workplaces and in doing business, and these exclude certain types of bias or prejudice. Universities seem justified in promoting workplace-type civility from their speakers to set an example. They should not invite people that would disregard normal workplace rules. They can speak outside somewhere if they must.

      • Jim D, your point about businesses having certain rules not just about acting on bias, but speaking bias is correct. The point you make seems good, until one combines this with academic freedom. Universities have been using academic freedom to avoid publicizing, and independent review. These are items that businesses MUST comply. I think it would be wiser for the Universities to make a different plea.

      • An article on the difference between academic freedom and free speech.
        http://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Limits-of-Academic-Freedom/49354
        To qualify for academic freedom, it has to be within the confines of academic discourse, usually made by academics. It is hard to qualify the trollish rantings of Milo Y. as academic in any way, similarly Anne Coulter.

      • Jim D: most of the publicized “hate crimes” on campus and elsewhere have turned out to be hoaxes. Further, Emory called chalk campaign slogans on sidewalks “hate crimes” and went nuts. People are calling Trumps speeches hate crimes. The term has become meaningless. Claims that people are preaching hate are often based on daring to discuss illegal immigration–as if a country does not have a right to refuse admittance to some criminals or decide how many immigrants we can handle.

      • Maybe the ones in your chosen media turn out to be hoaxes, but not from what I read. These have real victims or real vandalism. Generalized denigration of people based on religion, race or nationality by exemplifying the actions of a few is another common way to do hate speech.

      • Jim D from the article: “The practice of citing academic freedom to condone a limitless range of bad behavior has begun to take on the flavor of that hackneyed student excuse: The dog ate my paper (or, nowadays, My computer crashed). The magical incantation—”I’m protected by academic freedom”—is thought to offer instant indemnity. In reality, academic freedom, like tenure itself, is not a blanket protection.”

        The article indirectly supports that academics should be required to answer legal requests even if they believe the act is a violation of their academic freedom. Even the worst example, as was those who were wanting to get climate scientists’ emails to score political points, meets the minimum requirement for compliance.

        Such a search does not violate this from the article: “The second meaning of academic freedom involves the concept that faculty members may engage in research on controversial subjects (and, by extension, discuss those subjects in their classrooms) without fear of reprisal. This refers specifically to academic subjects and is not a blanket protection for any and all speech in any venue. As the AAUP’s well-known statement on academic freedom cautions, professors “should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.” In claiming that emails, etc were about hiding results of research, this is not covered by the above quote.

        Most important is this conclusion: “Some people confuse the constitutional concept of freedom of speech with the less grandiose notion of academic freedom, but they are two distinct concepts. Academic freedom is limited to the confines of academic discourse while free speech is a broad constitutional right central to our democratic system of government.”

      • The last point is the important one for the topic at hand. Academic freedom is not going to be a loophole for free speech on inflammatory topics, even for an academic, because that would not count as academic discourse, and besides which the university controls what is academic discourse or not within its walls.

      • Hadn’t heard of Milo Yiannopoulos – he is fabulous. Thanks.

      • As is a trend now for the anti-PC right, he has been caught in a PC-related scandal. Sad.

      • Jim D,

        You unfortunately seem to show a misunderstanding of the legal concepts at play here. The article you link to on “academic freedom” is largely irrelevant to the question of first amendment free speech. You claim: “besides which the university controls what is academic discourse or not within its walls.” In the context of public universities (like Berkeley as discussed in this thread), this is flat out wrong. Courts have repeatedly held that Universities cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination, see Healy v. James or Keyishian v. State University of NY, among a substantial body of case law. There is also no exception to the first amendment for hate speech. If a student group wishes to invite Milo or Coulter to speak, a public university has no control to prevent this. And we should all be grateful for that.

        The issue on private universities is more complex. The first amendment does not apply but there may be contractual obligations that give similar protections, see Havlik v Johnson & Wales University.

      • Good point. If it incites the audience to riot, would that count as a form of incitement which is not protected. Some of these people know the leanings of their audience and incite anyway, sometimes even before they speak by what they have said in the past. I think that is why we get the riots. They are a clue to the level of incitement that person has for that audience. Would it be wise to continue? Is the university obligated to protect them? Not an easy situation, for sure. Do you blame the rioters who were angry at past speeches and expect more of the same?

      • The Left has already declared that ‘Freedom of Religion’ means they should be free to never have to face a desplay of religion they disagree with.

        Now they declare that ‘Freedom of Speech’ means they should be free to never hear a word they don’t agree with.

        Tomorrow they will surely declare that ‘Freedom of the Press’ means they can burn all the books they don’t like.

        And all the while their street protest group Antifa marches through the streets in their black hoodies and masks smashing things like a bunch of Brownshirts on Kristallnacht.

        ~¿~

      • Is protesting free speech too, or does it need to be suppressed or banned?

      • Jim D,

        You may want to research “Heckler’s Veto” and how it applies to the 1st amendment. You are going down well trod paths that have been long addressed and there are many useful resources out there that can help you with your questions.

      • If they are well trod, what is the solution? It doesn’t seem to be working because those speeches still get stopped by riots before or during. I don’t think this issue is resolved.

      • Jim D,

        I don’t fully understand your question. From a legal perspective, the prohibition against viewpoint discrimination at public universities is settled law. There is nothing to resolve.

        If you mean the solution to stopping riots, well that is really a law enforcement issue.

      • I think the argument is that the riots stop free speech. That would appear to be a bogus argument because it can’t be prosecuted that way.

      • Milo is hilarious. Of course he is the object of a fake scandal. As a fabulously attractive gay man who was sexually active from a young age and who is refusing to be a victim as a result. Meh.

        This is par for the course for the insane and ludicrous progressive left. As is fake hate crimes.

        http://www.fakehatecrimes.org/fakes?page=2

        Are you saying he incites riots by the insane and ludicrous left? The rioting is not from the audiences of the dangerous faggot tour.

        Universities from the first were hotbeds of “inquiry and expression both inside and outside of the classroom.”

      • I think he is hilarious too, and quite tame. However, when confronted with minority audiences, he does like to stereotype them to their faces like the troll that he is. He wants an argument, then acts innocent when people don’t want him around their campuses. Anyway the scandal lost him the support of Breitbart (which takes some doing) and the righties won’t invite him anymore.

      • If they didn’t want their faces offended – there is a simple solution.

      • It was their college he was speaking at, and he did not know his audience, which was a big mistake for a speaker. That can go bad.

      • Preaching aside as well as the likemindedness of many campus students, bigotry and hate speech remain protected speech so sayeth the Supreme Court in Healy v James 408 (1972):

        “In this decision, the U.S. Supreme Court first affirmed public college students’ First Amendment rights of free speech and association, saying those constitutional protections apply with the same force on a state university campus as in the larger community.”

        The recent efforts of University of California Berkeley administrators to impede Ms Coulter from expressing her ideas on campus violates not only the US Constitution but the spirit of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement of the mid-1960’s.

        This perspective of the UC Berkeley Administration, ie, imposing conditions upon Ms Coulter speaking as well as the realities playing out in the climate change alarmists suppression of dissent, represent a national and broader trend for many people not wanting to hear contrary information as it maybe just plain upsetting. And this seems to be the crux of the matter, people who have fixed beliefs are not interested in acknowledging contrary information as they would have to process such information resulting in: cognitive dissonance.

        Cognitive dissonance seems to be the quintessential barrier to progress in the climate change information structure.

      • However, the Supreme Court also said “the First Amendment does not guarantee access to property simply because it is owned or controlled by the government” (Perry Educ. Ass’n v. Perry Local Educators’ Ass’n, 406 U.S. 37, 46 (1983)) and that reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions are allowed. …

        As I understand it the university claims there were threats of violence. If they can prove this, then it would appear the outcome of the case is obvious… Berkeley wins.

      • JCH, If there is a threat of violence, it is the duty of authorities to arrest those doing the threatening and provide a safe environment for the exercise of the 1st amendment. just as if there was a threat of violence if black men voted, it is the duty of the government to make sure the back men can vote. “Threats of violence” is just an excuse for giving in to fascism and street bigots.

      • JimD, You obviously don’t understand the nature of the 1st amendment. There has actually been a decrease in hate crimes, except against Jews, where the increasing anti-Semitism of Islamists and left wingers is taking a toll. This truth is covered up and ignored by the media because it goes against a deep cultural prejudice that hate crimes are always a “right wing” phenomena. That’s a very big lie.

      • I think incitement to riot is not protected, whether those riots are for or against the speaker’s views. When the riots occur in anticipation of the speech it seems like the speech itself would not be protected by this definition. Why do these people want to go to liberal campuses to give these bigoted speeches? Do pro-choice people go to religious universities to talk about the benefits of choice? No, because there is no point except to incite, and they have the sense not to.

      • When possible, but it’s not always possible. Threats can be anonymous. They can be ambiguous. A public university clearly has a right to postpone and otherwise delay a guest speaking event if there is a legitimate security issue. In this case, it depends on the specific facts.

      • Perhaps, JCH, but in this case, the city of Berkeley and the University administrators are playing the role of George Wallace blocking the schoolhouse door. It’s a clear case of failure to protect the constitution and our very important 1st amendment. No excuse except bigotry.

      • What is the name of the young Republican who was being denied entrance to Berkeley because he was a young Republican? Was Ann Coulter showing up for class and denied entrance?

      • Bowing to threats is surrendering freedom. The FBI should strenuously investigation and arresting the worst of these perps. There has been one professor arrested for attacking with a bike chain for God’s sake. Another women priming glass bottles with fireworks and throwing them. And perpetrators of violence in the streets as well as on campuses should be put down and put down hard.

        http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/04/24/college-republicans-lawyer-suggests-deploying-national-guard-if-mayor-of-berkeley-cannot-maintain-order/

      • Or, the university should be allowed time to provide a safe venue instead of being forced into a situation that could get out of control.

      • Jim D,

        Your postings have shown a significant deficiency of knowledge of the 1st amendment including an unfortunate unfamiliarity with the wealth of case law and academic discussions on the topic. You have been corrected by multiple posters but you refuse to acknowledge your mistakes and just move on to new misstatements without skipping a beat.

        I’ll try once more to correct some of your misconceptions. You clearly did not research the heckler’s veto as I suggested, but you now seem obsessed with incitement to riot. You say: “I think incitement to riot is not protected, whether those riots are for or against the speaker’s views.”

        Ok, you are really conflating two legal concepts here, namely incitement and fighting words. On incitement, the key case is of course Brandenberg. The test adopted by the Supreme Court there is very narrow. It held that even speech that advocates violence is protected under 1A. To be unprotected, the speaker must intend to incite a violation of the law that is both imminent and likely. This is a very high hurdle and there is no way any of the examples above (Coulter, Milo, Murray) would ever meet the threshold, or even come close. I have not heard a single reputable legal scholar even suggest it. Note that in Brandenberg, SCOTUS even granted 1A protection to the speech of a KKK leader accused of advocating violence against racial minorities and the national government.

        As regards a riot against the speaker’s view, this is covered by the fighting words doctrine. This doctrine holds that those words that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace can be made illegal. However, the bar here is also very high. SCOTUS has ruled, for example, that statutes prohibiting flag-burning and verbally abusing the flag are unconstitutional and that that mere offensiveness does not qualify as fighting words. In a 1992 case, the Supremes ruled against the constitutionality of a statute prohibiting speech that “arouses anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender”. Again, no reputable legal scholar would claim that the situations discussed in this thread would fall under the fighting words exception to the 1A.

      • This is why I have said that those protesting have that right too, and it is not an infringement of free speech to do so. I am not saying they should not try to give speeches where they are not welcome, but they can also expect protests. Both sides have those rights. If the organizers can’t control the protests or the auditorium, who gets sued. This has to be a consideration too, and events can’t just go ahead regardless of that angle.

      • In Jim D’s world if The Klan had spent less time marching and more time lynching then they would have won, because obviously all those blacks voting was inciting a riot. ~¿~

        Perhaps the Government should shut down Spencer and Christy, and gag all climate skeptics (and lukewarmers, and anyone that even slightly disagrees with the Concensus) because having someone shoot at their building clearly shows their position is inciting the Climate Faithful to violence.

        Needless to say, I reject Jim D’s assertions that all the Left needs to do to get its way is cause enough distruction and fear.

      • I reject that too.

      • “In contrast to the left’s live and let live attitude allowing for diversity…”

        LOL! You mean the Left’s “parrot our current year party line or find yourself unemployed and the subject of a national 2 Minute Hate” attitude, of course.

      • Apart from what I mentioned, there are political elements to the left, but those vary person to person. Basic principles are freedom of choice, and equality of opportunity, the general welfare, and possibly a few others.

      • “Why do these people want to go to liberal campuses to give these bigoted speeches? Do pro-choice people go to religious universities to talk about the benefits of choice? ”

        Living proof that to lefties liberalism/socialism/statism is a religion, the university their church and academia their clergy.

      • Science means something to the left.

      • Jim D,

        Debating you on this issue is a little tiresome as you tend to write authoritatively without really knowing the subject area.

        You now say comment: “This is why I have said that those protesting have that right too, and it is not an infringement of free speech to do so.” Again (surprise, surprise) you are mostly wrong. Please spend a minute or two and research the heckler’s veto. Again, this is longstanding law. Protesting per se is (generally) protected under 1A, but protesting in a way that prevents the other party from speaking (which is what occurred in the situations discussed) is not. This last point is longstanding, settled law.

      • Thanks for making that clear. Who gets charged for that in the Berkeley case, or why didn’t it apply?

      • “Science means something to the left.”

        Ya, apparently it mean ‘Shut Up!’, as in ‘I’m right because Science!’

      • There were two incidents at Berkeley. For the Milo protests, campus and local police would have been entitled to arrest and charge the protesters. This is quite clear: in addition to preventing Milo from speaking, they committed arson and destruction of property. In reality, the police arrested only a single person on the basis that they didn’t want to exacerbate the situation and they were unable to identify most of the protesters.

        The so-called “battle of Berkeley” was not as clear. This degenerated into a street brawl where both sides seems culpable. Twenty-one people were arrested and charges included suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. This is really not a free speech issue – the use of violence (except in very limited circumstances like self defense) is a crime and can be prosecuted.

      • Can/did Milo sue anyone for preventing his speech? I see that Coulter’s inviters are suing the university just because she got rescheduled.

      • “Basic principles are freedom of choice, and equality of opportunity, the general welfare”

        Motherhood and apple pie.

      • Yes, indeed, who could argue with that.

      • No one does, which is why you evaded the comment. :)

      • You would be surprised. I doubt many Trump fans have these things as priorities over things like immigration and lower taxes.

      • The hatred and bigotry on the Left certainly caught you by surprise in this thread.

      • Milo fan?

      • Milo’s ineptitudes aren’t even making Breitbart’s anymore.

        Freedom Fighters ought to get over this one.

      • ‘You don’t agree with me, therefore you must be a bigot, or a homophobe, or are antiMuslims, or are cisgender, or whatever is the Lefts current 2 Minute Hate.’

        ~¿~

      • Milo is probably best known for outing himself as a racist on Twitter, and people here flood to his defense, and then try to lecture, with him as an example, on morals.

      • Personally I’d never even heard of Milo before all this. I still don’t know what his postions are or what he was going to talk about.

        All I really know is that, as usual, someone on the Left didn’t like what he had to say and shouted ‘He’s Racist’, and all the other good little thought police immediately jumped on the bandwagon. And I’m sorry, but every time I actually look into one their acusations of someone being racist, homophobic, counter-revolutionairy, whatever, it allways turns out to be bunk. Hell, half the time the person claiming that it’s alright that so-and-so got chased out of town by an angry pussy-hated mob because they were ‘Racist’ can’t even tell you what they did to earn them that title. They read it at Huffpo, so it must be true. Shut up.

        So, what did Milo say that makes him the next Hitler? ‘Build the Wall’?

        Regardless, I don’t care what Milo said. If it was stupid enough to get your panties in a twist, do what I do when the Klan marches. Stand at the side, point, and laugh. That’s how Freedom of Speech works. Better yet, give your own speech explaining why what he said is wrong.

        When all you do is try to silence someone with a different opinion, it makes it look like you know you couldn’t win a real debate. Then again, from how you do in these threads, that’s probably true.

      • He owned it with public Twitter behavior, the alt-right and Breitbart still embraced him. Facts speak for themselves. No need to guess.

      • > That’s how Freedom of Speech works.

        It’s not even a Free Speech issue.

        Next post, please.

      • “Facts speak for themselves”

        Yes, they often do. So far, you haven’t given any.

        You keep saying he desplayed his ‘Racism’ or Bigotosity with something he tweeted, but you haven’t said what it was. Do you know? Or are you just parroting what you’ve been told by your ‘Thought Leaders’?

      • Wikipedia is your friend.

      • I’m not your lab partner, Jim. Do your own research.

        For now I’ll just go on assuming that you (and by extension the whole Left) have nothing. Frankly they’ve cried wolf so many times I’m not even surprised anymore. ~¿~

      • Then you are the only one here who doesn’t know what I am referring to. I checked wikipedia before referring you to it because it has what you need to know.

      • “On the other hand, I would say there is a measurable increase in bigotry and hate crimes”

        Oh, cause you say so. Data? Who are the targets of the hate crimes? How many are fake? How do you define “Bigotry”?

        Why is it that those who are protesting bigotry and hate crimes are always wearing black masks and rioting?

      • Most often on the right it doesn’t show as rioting, but as individual acts of violence or threats or vandalism.

      • I actually did end up doing Jim D’s homework for him in a later exchange down below. But since he listed Wiki here is what they have to say on it.

        “In July 2016, Yiannopoulos panned the Ghostbusters reboot as “a movie to help lonely middle-aged women feel better about being left on the shelf.”[87] After the film’s release, Twitter trolls attacked African-American actress Leslie Jones with racist slurs and bigoted commentary. Yiannopoulos wrote three public tweets about Jones, saying “Ghostbusters is doing so badly they’ve deployed [Leslie Jones] to play the victim on Twitter,” before describing her reply to him as “Barely literate” and then calling her a “black dude.”[88][89][90] Multiple media outlets have described Yiannopoulos’ tweets as encouraging the abuse directed at Jones.[91][92] Yiannopoulos was then permanently banned by Twitter.[93]”

        Like in the Articles I linked to below, Milo was apparently found guilty of not being sufficiently apologetic for the hurt feeling of a designated minority. He didn’t say anything Racist himself, and with only 4 Tweets on the subject total (2 in response to Jones tweets directed at him specifically) he was somehow deemed to be “leading” a band of 4chan Trolls that had be raging about the new Ghostbusters movie for MONTHS before this happened.

        Now while Milo’s tweets can’t really be seen as racist, two of them CAN be described as sexist. So why does the Left claim Milo was banned for racism instead of sexism?

        Because most people aren’t impressed by cries of sexism anymore. Racism still gets to people, because there are still many examples of it in real life. People can feel it. But sexism has become the stomping ground of Tumblr Feminists and SJW, and nobody BUT them cares anymore. It’s become a sad joke, and the Left knows it.

        So, how to punish Milo for being so Unapologetic and Right Wing. Well, SOMEONE was Racist, And Milo didn’t do anything to stop it. Guilt by association (even the weak association of ‘used twitter’) was enough to get Milo branded a racist.

        And really, do the Left need anything more. ~_~

      • You are delusional Jim.

        Or you believe everything a biased media puts out. As in 89% negative stories from the MSM since Trump’s inaugural.

      • So clueless Jim, how do you explain the cancellation of Portland’s Rose Parade? Two leftist groups calling themselves anti-fascist, threatened violence if the Multinomah Republicans did not withdraw or were not allowed to participate.

        Or are you in agreement that anyone calling themselves Republican is a fascist, racist and deplorable who doesn’t deserve to be seen in public?

      • Unlike you I don’t automatically attach a host of qualities and beliefs to someone by their political, religious or ethnic label. I believe each individual is different. Call that a liberal attitude if you want.

      • And winner of the awards for best demonstration of lack of self awareness and best example of irony is Jim D with this comment:
        “Unlike you I don’t automatically attach a host of qualities and beliefs to someone by their political, religious or ethnic label.”

        Ignoring the fact that you have little in the way of evidence to back up your assertion regarding myself, there is the overwhelming list of examples in this thread alone that shows us this is exactly what you do. After rolling in the mud puddle for hours, you walk into the house and accuse someone of tracking mud into the room on their shoes. Without checking first to see if they are even wearing shoes. Nice, Jim.

  18. John Carpenter

    Rick Perry = Republican/contrarian/denier

    He’s obviously up to no good.

  19. I am optimistic that Bill Nye’s advice will totally be ignored. We elected Trump to trump people like Bill Nye!

  20. David Wojick

    Electric power is not a Federal responsibility.

    • Reliability and resilience of the electric grid is a national defense topic in most nations. It’s also a subject of critical analysis and regulation because it can impact the national economy. I would say the USA, and especially the right wing, gets too focused on counting fighter jets and nuclear submarines, and does a terrible job focusing on the economy and infrastructure defense, border control, reducing crime, and similar subjects. The democrats are historically worse, but the GOP I used to know has been taken over by a bunch on incredibly incompetent individuals who show no disposition to grow a brain. Between the two parties there’s really no good choice, and I’m afraid that, long term, the USA is doomed unless a new party emerges to govern with common sense.

    • DW, not entirely true. NRC looks after nucs, and FERC looks after power plants, the grid, hydro dams, and nat gas pipelines. More than just safety. Interoperability and such. It is true that states or regional grid operators have primary investment, operations, and maintenance responsibilities.
      For example FERC has stepped in concerning the Oroville dam fiasco and is keeping California DWR on a very short leash.

  21. David L. Hagen

    Such irrational (“optimistic”) exuberance would very likely lead to more frequent national and state wide blackouts.
    India blackouts leave 700 million without power

    Power cuts plunge 20 of India’s 28 states into darkness as energy suppliers fail to meet growing demand

    South Australian blackout blamed on thermal and wind generator failures, plus high demand

    A blackout in South Australia that has intensified a political brawl over energy policy was caused by three factors: demand for power was higher than forecast, wind generation was lower than forecast and several thermal generators were unable to step into the breach, according to the energy market operator.

    List of Major Blackouts

    Largest: Year people affected (millions)
    July 2012 India blackout 620 M
    January 2001 India blackout 230 M
    November 2014 Bangladesh blackout 150 M
    2015 Pakistan blackout 140 M
    2005 Java–Bali blackout 100 M
    1999 Southern Brazil blackout 97 M
    2009 Brazil and Paraguay blackout 87 M
    2015 Turkey blackout 70 M
    2003 Northeast US/Canada blackout 55 M
    2003 Italy blackout 55 M
    2016 Kenya Nationwide Blackout 44 M
    1978 Thailand Nationwide blackout 40 M
    1965 Northeast US/Canada blackout 30 M

    • You should have read the final AEMO report on the SA blackout, the Grauniad – as usual – has its own spin on events.The blackout was caused by switch-off of several windfarms. Of course that was lower than forecast, but writing that is a devious way to hide a malfunction. There was no thermal malfunction; because the sudden switch-off of windfarms caused a spike on the interconnector with Victoria it tripped, to protect itself. If SA would have had more thermal generators, they would have provided rotational inertia which probably would have prevented the blackout.

      • Read it over at Jo Nova’s. What was worse, SA knew the storm was coming, knew high wind speeds would likely cause wind to trip off and feather, but were so green they did not have their gas turbine capacity in hot standby mode. The entire fault cascade from wind to interconnector to dark took about 5 seconds because of insufficient grid inertia, a subject PE has addressed directly more than once here.

  22. Optimism is a virtue that we should all share — in Science, since the 1950s, it has manifested as the “American Can Do Attitude” — it has been successful when used to move forward reasonable and rational science — to find ways around problems — to spur invention.

    The social revolution of the 1960’s turned to Optimism as Love Love Love — and a airy-fairy deception that if one just thought positive thoughts everything would be just groovy.

    Nye is a barely reformed Hippie — like much of the Hollywood crowd…. still thinking that Love Love Love/Optimism will see us through all the technical problems of the world without having to face the hard choices and the hard work. He is cheerleading like-thinking anachronistic 60’s throwbacks in the Environmental Movement.

    I have dealt with these types in Humanitarian work in the 3rd World. Passing out solar powered ceiling lights and free American reject T-shirts when what the people need are steady paying jobs, medical care for their children, clean safe drinking water, poverty vitamins, anti-parasiticals and honest governments. They were Well-Intentioned and Optimistic but very very misguided.

    Solving complex and complicated real world problems (like the Nation’s power grid) requires knowledge, hard work, and persistence. That’s what the American Can Do Attitude is really made of. Nye’s “optimism” is a shallow and ephemeral fake.

    • Kip Hansen,

      +1

    • What 3rd world people need is low cost abundant power. Then they can spend their time more productively. Now they struggle to find dung to burn to cook their food.

      • Popes ==> Yes, food when they can get it — mostly they collect every branch, stick, and twig within walking distance, then within carting distance, then the charcoal burners in the hills burn everything down into charcoal and cart it to the towns until you have a Haiti-like denuded tropical paradise with devastating floods and mudslides or Somalia where the environment is so degraded by deforestation/de-vegetation that rain won’t fall and nothing grows.

        If these countries had stable benign governments, they would provide bottled-gas distribution at affordable prices. The Dominican Republic has done this to good effect — but every home outside of the Capital still has a cook stove outside that burns wood or native charcoal for when the propane runs out or is unavailable.

    • I have a ten year solution to a stable power grid.

      We start out with a pair of hamsters, and those produce 23 new hamsters each year (a very, very conservative estimate). In 10 years we’d have 43 trillion hamsters (weighing about 1.4 billion tons), which we of course run in little hamster wheels. If their power output per pound is similar to a horse, they should produce about 1 Terawatt of power, which is about equal to the current US installed generating capacity.

      It not only green and renewable, it’s organic.

      We pitch this idea to Bill Nye, who will convince countless American kids to start breeding hamsters like they were going to save the planet. Then Bill Nye gets buried under an avalanche of hate male from pissed off parents whose homes are overrun.

      • Turner ==> By odd coincidence, I was once a commercial hamster breeder — for the pet trade. A female hamster can produce up to ten offspring every six weeks….recalculate and let me know

      • Well, he did say it was a very, very conservative estimate. ‘Up to 10’ just gives us an upper limit to our growth figure.

      • GT and KH, this hamster good news means Nye will buy the idea. He can be head of hamsters, a new division of the green climate fund. Gonna give Planning Engineer headaches, though. Not clear hamsters are dispatchable.

  23. I fully approve of optimism when given its proper name (now fallen into disuse), namely, faith.

    I fully approve of faith in its proper place.

  24. The culture of science unfortunately, like most things, is ruled by fashion.
    Think Clovis.
    Politics, art, even warfare, are usually stuck in one fashionable absurdity or another.
    Rick Perry is one of the unfortunates the cool kids love to hate.
    At the moment he can do no right.

    One of the underlying issues here is the fact that most humans don’t change much after high school.

  25. Radiation from the solid or liquid surfaces of earth is defined by the Planck Spectrum and the Stephan-Boltzmann (T^4) law. Much of this energy is absorbed and thermalized warming the surrounding molecules including non-ghg molecules. Radiation from ghg molecules in the atmosphere depends on the energy of individual molecules which is described by the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution which favors the lower energy photons from water vapor. The physics, as further described at http://globalclimatedrivers2.blogspot.com explains why CO2 has no significant effect on climate.

    • DP, a favor, please. You believe you know radiative physics. But evidentally not all of it. Learn the rest. The doubled CO2 ‘grey body’ Earth response absent feedbacks is 1.16C ECS. The devil is in the feedbacks, not the primary, experimentally lab established (first by Tyndall in 1859) GHG response. The net warming is a lack of IR cooling. Nothing more.

      • ris – The reduced IR cooling results from increased water vapor which is increasing more than twice as fast as expected from temperature increase alone (increased vapor pressure, hence increased water vapor, from increased temperature is what causes the feedback). Initial temperature increase was from increase in solar output which appears to be amplified by cloud changes. The reduced IR cooling is countering the average global temperature decline which would otherwise be occurring as a result of declining solar output which dropped below ‘break even’ in late 2015 and declining net of ocean cycles which peaked in about 2005.

  26. My thoughts to answers of why is more of anxiety. So much fear and apocalyptic messages of the end of the world has happened that anything to take away anxieties will overlook any deficiencies. Kind of how food fads work and if you fear your food you can get people to eat all kinds of things as “better” without critical thought. Perhaps that is this message of “optimism” is a lifting of these fears. Any fear that you can’t get away from causes damage to the mind, PTSD like symptoms that occurred when all the fears of nuclear annihilation was at the fore of public consciousness. It causes lasting damage and there are many cases of people with climate change anxiety affecting every part of their lives. The fear mongering isn’t without consequence or an opportunity to be exploited for benefit.

  27. “Creative destruction refers to the incessant product and process innovation mechanism by which new production units replace outdated ones. This restructuring process permeates major aspects of macroeconomic performance, not only long-run growth but also economic fluctuations, structural adjustment and the functioning of factor markets. Over the long run, the process of creative destruction accounts for over 50 per cent of productivity growth. At business cycle frequency, restructuring typically declines during recessions, and this add a significant cost to downturns. Obstacles to the process of creative destruction can
    have severe short- and long-run macroeconomic consequences.”
    https://economics.mit.edu/files/1785

    Subsidies, taxes and regulations distort energy markets. It is often done under the guise of externalities – but I have yet to see a reasonable, comprehensive accounting. I doubt if one is possible. For the most part it is health costs – although they bring in factors such as traffic congestion. Obviously if you can’t afford gas – I get a better run to work. Health concerns are much better addressed by modern pollution controls.

    Oil and gas have a limited future. Oil is in decline and will continue to increase in cost. Gas production will fall off a cliff within decades. A transition to alternative sources is neccessary relatively soon. Left to its own devices the market can very rapidly transition to new modes of production. It is – as Joseph Schumpeter noted – the essential fact of capitalism.

    Nor am I all that fussed about where the energy comes. If there are transparent pricing rules in place – suppliers can make their own decisions. The Australian market operates as a gross pool market – all electricity generated is traded.

    “The National Electricity Market (NEM) has five trading regions covering New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. The trading regions are interconnected via extra high voltage transmission lines. These interconnectors have sufficient transfer capacity to ensure wholesale prices in each region are similar for much of the time. However, prices can diverge significantly when the interconnecting transmission lines are constrained.

    The NEM operates as a gross pool market, where all electricity delivered to the market is traded 24-hours a day, seven days a week. See the wholesale pricing section for more detail on how this gross pool operates.

    The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) manages trading in the NEM, according to trading rules governed by the National Electricity Rules. Key elements of the market’s operation include:

    Demand for electricity is matched with supply from generators in five minute periods in the order of the generators’ bid prices. The bid price of the last increment of supply determines the dispatch price for that five-minute period.

    Six dispatch prices are averaged every half hour which determines the spot price at each half-hourly trading interval for each region.

    The National Electricity Rules stipulate a maximum spot price of $12,500 per MWh which is the market price cap and a minimum spot price of minus $1,000 per MWh which is the market floor price. This negative market floor price allows generators to pay to stay online when the cost of staying online is lower than the cost of shutting down and re-starting their plants. For a renewable generator, staying online may also cost less than what generators receive from support mechanisms like the Renewable Energy Target scheme, plus their own costs.

    Ancillary service markets are used by AEMO to manage the power system safely, securely and reliably. These services maintain key technical characteristics of the system, including standards for frequency, voltage, network loading and system restart processes and allow supply and demand to be continuously balanced within five-minute dispatch intervals.
    The primary market participants are generators and retailers, although several large end users are also registered as participants.

    Market participants must meet all the administrative and operational control requirements set by AEMO. There is also a requirement to post funds to meet prudential requirements set by AEMO to mitigate defaults.” https://www.eex.gov.au/large-energy-users/energy-management/energy-procurement/energy-pricing/how-the-energy-market-operates.”

    At the end of the day transparent price signals will influence both demand and supply. Taxes, subsidies and regulation distort markets and disturb the orderly operation of the energy supply. Wind and solar supplies are as good as any other if they are allowed to meet the market and are not crowding out other supplies as a result of market distortions.

    Energy transitions are technology driven and happen more quickly in vibrant markets. I suggest that it is happening and is largely a result of nuclear innovations in small to medium sized reactors.

    http://mragheb.com/NPRE%20402%20ME%20405%20Nuclear%20Power%20Engineering/Autonomous%20Battery%20Reactors.pdf

  28. Pingback: Science Marchers, Secretary Perry’s Memo and Bill Nye’s Optimism – NZ Conservative Coalition

    • dpy6629,

      Sadly, most of the visitors to his blog (judging from the comments) seem to disagree with his position, some inevitably following Godwin’s law all the way to contrasting the march with German scientists of the 1930’s failing to protest Hitler.

      • I left him the following comment.

        *****
        What frustrates me is how the left holds back useful science. For example, Obama famously said that he was for science instead of primitive religious beliefs, but then added that he wouldn’t allow human cloning because human cloning is wrong. Well that isn’t scientific at all. Human cloning would yield an amazing amount of data, and would be far more efficient at generating hard data than scrounging up genetically random twins for medical experiments or dissection.

        This unscientific fear of cloning has delayed our development of genetically engineered super soldiers, and even any attempts to increase average female body height and muscle mass so they can more effectively perform in combat despite their natural genetics.

        And yes, I did have a cousin executed at Nuremberg, but that was because he didn’t have a good lawyer.
        *****

        My comment is meant to highlight the fact that there are many avenues of science to pursue, and those aren’t necessarily chosen on scientific grounds, but by value choices.

        My cousin, BTW, was Heinz Eck, captain of the U-852. He ordered his crew to machine gun the survivors of a Greek ship he’d torpedoed, under Doenitz’s standing order to leave no survivors. Later in that patrol his sub was damaged and his crew landed in Somalia, where they were captured by the Somaliland Camel Corps. I blame the Kriegsmarine for not properly training U-boat crews in camel cavalry tactics, probably because the commanders were too lazy to cover things that might not be useful in the North Atlantic. It turned out to be a major oversight.

        Anyway, what the prosecutors were looking for was someone to finger Doenitz for the “no survivors” order without us revealing that we already knew about the order due to Enigma intercepts. The next U-boat officer on trial mentioned the order in passing and he and all the rest were let go.

  29. Its worse than you thought with Bill Nye. He got his start in media as a comedy writer on Almost Live, a Seattle local inferior knock off of Saturday Night Live. Nye knows virtually nothing about science and it showed in an interview he did recently with CNN and also Bill Happer. Happer talked science and Nye talked silly sound bites and didn’t really respond to any point Happer made. Nye also seems to believe the most silly left wing nonsense about gender. His choice as a leader of the “March for Science” indicates the real nature of the march.

  30. Planning Engineer,

    Thank you for another excellent post (as always).

    You say (my emphasis added):

    Discussing a need for an energy transition with greater efficiency and diversity sounds like a positive step and it is prudent to consider impacts on energy security and reliability. Clearly we should look at what other nations are doing. We do have a great electric system but there are changes underway that could profoundly impact the power system. It should be obvious we need further study and investigation.

    Good point. I suggest the starting point for any rational debate is to document, and get agreement to, the primary requirements of the electricity system. I suggest they are (in priority order):

    1. Energy security (this applies to the long term; e.g. years to decades, and most likely caused by regional and global disruptions to supply such as economic, trade, and military)

    2. Supply reliability (this applies to timescales of seconds to weeks or months; e.g., electricity system disruptions; such as the recent power outages in South Australia and the NE USA power outages when the DC transmission line from northern Quebec was knocked out by a solar event)

    3. Electricity price – especially for business and industry

    4. Health and safety

    5. Environmental impacts

    Renewables fail on #2, #3 and to some extent on #5. However, most important is that renewables will never be able to supply a substantial proportion of global electricity, let alone global energy.

    Conversely, nuclear fuel is effectively unlimited. And nuclear power is the safest and most environmentally benign way to generate electricity (on a life cycle analysis basis). Why do we continue to allow anti-nuke activists to block progress?

  31. “Why does any potentially critical examination around the capabilities of renewable energy engender such outrage?”

    Because challenge to blind faith is unacceptable to the blindly faithful.

  32. Mr. Nye, the rah rah guy, speaks only in tongues regarding climate and energy.

  33. You should point your “sciencey friends” to the final AEMO report on the blackouts in South Australia:
    https://www.aemo.com.au/Media-Centre/AEMO-publishes-final-report-into-the-South-Australian-state-wide-power-outage

  34. John Costigane

    Judith,

    There are 2 trends in human progress Utopianism and Dystopianism. Adherents of both can be optimistic. The difference lies in empathy for fellow humans, absent in the latter trend. Pathological types lack this empathy.and simply seek to exercise power over others, think climate alarmism.

  35. My letter in yesterday’s Australian newspaper is pertinent:

    Robert Gottliebsen says that our energy system should be in the hands of engineers rather than politicians, and should have three equal priorities (“Plan to avert power crisis,” 22/4). The first two, low energy prices and reliability, have been totally discarded by our state and federal politicians in pursuit of a meaningless conceit – Gottliebsen’s absurd third priority – a high proportion of renewable energy, which both negates the other priorities and provides no benefit to Australians. Renewables will not provide reliable base-load power, and the proposals to deal with that, such as new interconnectors, involve throwing good money after bad. What is needed is baseload stations powered by coal or gas, both of which we have in great supply but which have been demonised by politicians, particularly by NSW, Victorian and South Australian state governments.

    The alleged rationales for anti-coal and gas policies – to reduce global warming or protect local environments – are furphies: whether or not further warming will occur and be dangerous – and both propositions are questionable and are being ignored by major emissions producers China and India, and soon the USA – Australia’s emissions reductions will have no measurable impact on world climate. The gas restrictions are ignorant nimbyism.

    Almost all politicians have climbed on the dangerous warming bandwagon. The first to jump off will benefit at the polls, so long as they explain clearly to the electorate the facts of life rather than the myths which have disastrously prevailed.

    • If we lived in a world of truth and the free exchange of information this Perry report would be fast and simple. If one follows the now extensive history of the wind, solar and biofuels experiments it is blatantly obvious that they are not fit for purpose in modern society. Energy is the life-blood of everything human society has achieved to date. As with all essentials, energy should be as reliable, secure and cost-effective as possible. It is no less important than food and water, if for no other reason than that the production of food and water depend on energy. The impasse faced today revolves around the perception of human impact on the environment – “saving the planet”.

      Collectively, society is widely divided into the vast majority of folks who only want reliable essentials to live a satisfactory life. In underdeveloped cultures/nations that means food, water and shelter. In developed nations it means safe food, clean water, shelter, mobility, discretionary income, cell phones, lake homes, vacations and all the other trappings we enjoy. Everything everywhere depends on energy.

      We (in western societies) now have a significant track record in experimentation with current energy technologies. Wind is a total loser and has no redeeming qualities – environmental, cost or reliability. How many Germanies, Denmarks, Britains, Australias, USAs and Canadas have to spend billions and receive so little usable wind energy before this is obvious. Solar has niche applications in remote areas but is not fit for base load power. The main failure revolves around energy density and intermittency. Options like tidal power are a pipe dream (except perhaps in The Bay of Fundy). None of these are environmentally friendly. Until inexpensive and functionally reliable power storage is developed these options cannot work.

      Accounting for inputs and ecological impacts (land based), biofuels are nothing short of disasters; seriously – wood pellets?

      Human history has progressed as much from failure of ideas as from success. So-called renewable energy is a failure because, in spite of innovations and improvements over time, they remain low-density and unreliable energy sources. Simply, they were commercialized before they were functional. Hydro and nuclear are the best environmental options, but only the fossil fuel based sources can maintain and expand development in the near-term. Other potential base load technologies should be explored using the money now wasted, and commercialized when proven functional.

      We ignore the history of our follies at great risk. Peanuts from Canada.

      • Richard Rounds,

        Very well said, especially this take-away message:

        Energy is the life-blood of everything human society has achieved to date. As with all essentials, energy should be as reliable, secure and cost-effective as possible. It is no less important than food and water, if for no other reason than that the production of food and water depend on energy.

  36. People need to go back and read/watch Eisenhower’s farewell speech. It is all coming true.

    Climate “Science” on Trial; The Prophet Eisenhower Warned Us About Climate Scientists
    https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/climate-science-on-trial-eisenhower-warned-us-about-climate-scientists/

    Here is a clip of the Eisenhower speech used in a global warming documentary. The entire documentary is worth watching and was/is very prophetic.

  37. Environmentalists want wind and solar in the abstract, but in the real world where these take up space and require transmission lines, they lobby against them. They are “anti-“, just say no, NIMBY people. It is just who they are.

  38. Evidently this respect for “experts” does not extend to grid experts.

    Or coastal engineers.. Many of the biggest disconnects in the policy debate occur where climate science crosses over into climate engineering — the rules for engineers are very different, it can’t be merely plausible that your bridge won’t fall down or your grid won’t strand people without power when it’s 40 degrees below zero.

  39. Pingback: Rick Perry’s Memo | Transterrestrial Musings

  40. Al Gore’s New Group Demands $15 Trillion To Fight Global Warming
    http://dailycaller.com/2017/04/25/al-gores-new-group-demands-15-trillion-to-fight-global-warming/

    Charles A. S. Hall discusses the faults of the Dismal Science
    “Economics is not a science because it doesn’t use the scientific method”
    “ Don’t tell me dollars. Tell me energy. Because Dollars are only a lien on energy. That’s all they are”
    http://tinyurl.com/mbqowln

    Do we think that the $15 Trillion will be enough to compensate for the fact that The Dismal Science isn’t really scientific, and is not in accord with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?
    How much will the Banksters have to print to give to Al Gore and his buddies to repeal the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?/sarc

    Liquids – projections (Page 14)
    Natural decline in the absence of further investment
    Additional liquids to keep supply constant
    http://cdn.exxonmobil.com/~/media/global/files/outlook-for-energy/2017/2017_outlook_for_energy_highlights.pdf

    Demonizing C as CO2 is a “Proxy” for HC Depletion

  41. The link below comes from an Canadian petroleum industry daily news site and discusses the aspect of the real ability of moving away from hydrocarbons. It’s a very inciteful read and has some good advice for talking to true believers of the green revolution
    http://boereport.com/2017/04/25/if-youve-never-built-anything-please-sit-down-some-realities-of-transitioning-away-from-fossil-fuels/

  42. Bill Nye’s optimism: –

    As a certain YouTube commentator with a sense of humour remarked (in paraphrase), “If I was a person confused about my sexuality or sexual identity and saw Bill Nye’s video I would be so traumatised I’d join a monastery”.

  43. With reduction of particulate emissions by 99.9% with fabric filters or electrostatic precipitation – the health impacts of coal generation are vastly overstated. With HELE there is a 32% increase in efficiency.

    http://www.minerals.org.au/file_upload/files/publications/Why_HELE_is_part_of_Australias_energy_solution_FINAL.pdf

    Plan B in the unlikely event that high temperature, fast neutron, small modular reactors don’t pan out.

  44. Geoff Sherrington

    About steel trap minds and scientists. About half way through a science career, I was exposed to a run of scientists with what I came to name the “steel trap mind” or STM in recognition of their strong use of logic and observation in analysis of scientific evidence.
    When you get people like Bill Nye meeting with STMs like Will Happer or (maybe, I don’t know enough about him) Rick Perry, there is often an embarrassing display. The STM tends to say little, then when something is said it often gives an unexpected perspective to the problem. The other party tends to go through a quick response cycle of being lost for words, then gushing whatever fills the mind at the time, but seldom answers the logical challenge, because it can require thought and mental reformulation.
    When you have been in public debate with an STM, as I have been, you feel terrible that people are watching you in your ignorance. The response in the longer term is to try to discipline yourself to be a STM. It can be done but it requires practice, as does a top golfer or musician. There are several STMs in the climate debate from whom you can learn. You can possibly pick them out. Watch again the recent Nye-Happer video where Happer raises the Munich Agreement.
    Unfortunately, the blog format is not kind to the STM scientist, because the offering can too often be seen on quick reading as off thread or straw man or hijacking and deleted by moderators.
    Keep in mind that there are STMs with views that differ from yours, among the warmistas if you like, so be careful of being too assertive unless you know you are on really strong ground, with logic and observation.
    Geoff

  45. Freedom Fighters say the darnednest things:

    The inciting event is a lightly fictionalized version of the Reichstag fire, but a careful student of history would note that a decade after the Reichstag fire, most of German society still looked pretty much like it had in 1925. No, I’m not excusing Nazi atrocities in any way shape or form, nor discounting the sweeping changes that Hitler did make. But they didn’t gut-renovate the economy, wipe out all religions that competed with the state, and completely reorganize society in the space of a few years; they left much of the economy and the culture alone.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-04-25/no-the-handmaid-s-tale-is-not-unexpectedly-timely

    Hmmm. Big hmmm.

  46. Robert I. Ellison | April 25, 2017 at 6:31 pm |
    If they didn’t want their faces offended – there is a simple solution.

    Jim D | April 26, 2017 at 4:46 am |
    It was their college he was speaking at, and he did not know his audience, which was a big mistake for a speaker. That can go bad.

    Jimmy has taken to inserting comments in the middle of long threads – that appear as a red dot on my WordPress bell. I don’t really need Jimmy appearing so insistently in my feed. I could live without responding to this.

    But as I’m here now – and I have now watched hours of Milo Yiannopoulos. People who just want to hector and disrupt are politely asked to leave by very efficient security guards. They are quite free to demonstrate peacefully outside – in the cold. Wish I could do that with Jimmy. They may of choose not to turn up to be offended by anything said.

    The problem in Berkeley and elsewhere is that are not peaceful. The policing problem is very simple. Set up cameras and arrest and imprison the worst offenders.

    • Yes, bigots should be allowed to listen to other bigots in peace, but a liberal university is not the best place to do that. What were they thinking?

      • Liberals own the university? Not any more.

      • If he wants to incite people, he went to the right place.

      • Besides which American liberals have betrayed the classic liberal principles on which the US was founded. They are not liberals at all but pissant progressives.

        Yes he ridicules pissant progressives relentlessly and effectively with humour and fabulous style darling — but provocation is not a defense. Arrest them and put them in jail.

      • Deliberate provocation and bigotry is a reason to not want him to give a speech in your university. It doesn’t surprise me that these problems happen, and yes people do get arrested. They are willing to do that for their cause too, and that is part of the deal.

      • Jim D: “a liberal university is not the best place to do that. What were they thinking?”

        A liberal university is the very best place for contentious views to be expressed. By doing so you discover whether the university is liberal, as claimed, or indeed bigoted.

        Milo’s tour demonstrated how violent, closed-minded, emotional, immature, irrational, bigoted and intolerant of dissent supposedly liberal students and institutions actually are. By blowing the myth that modern liberals are in any sense liberal Milo performed a vital public service.

      • He’s talking to people who have already rejected his bigoted views as not belonging in a diverse society. Instead of listening to that, they prefer to protest against it as a counter. Nothing wrong with that. He did not expect to go to a campus and expect people to meekly listen to his rantings. He was expecting exactly what happened, and probably wanted it to make headlines, being a publicity hound.

      • JIMD

        Good grief Jim, have you taken up permanent residence here? :)

        It can not have escaped your notice that many people are intolerant of other peoples views. Whilst uncomfortably widespread, it is typified by the young left (in particular) protesting about any views that differ to their own.

        In recent months Peter Tatchell -long standing gay rights campaigner- Germaine Greer, feminist and Jenni Murray, feminist, have all been ‘non platformed’ because they hold views which are considered distasteful by the children they were meant to talk to (children in this case equals students)

        Despite their impressive liberal credentials offence was taken at the idea that someone could hold different views about transgender and other issues, whereby the students views were much more hard line and black and white than those who sought to talk to them.

        This is a frequent occurrence . Unfortunately for students, we don’t (yet) live in a world whereby you can go through life without being offended, shocked, intrigued or even influenced by the views of people who hold different values to the ones you may hold.

        tonyb

      • If there is one thing the left doesn’t tolerate, it is intolerance and removal of choice. On the whole, the left is more tolerant than the right, and will protect the rights of those that the right would attack.

      • No – he is talking to people who invited him to show up. Bigots who show up to shut down discourse are politely asked to leave. They may protest anywhere they like – other than in the room. But resorting to violence and intimidation is intolerable in a free society. That you seem to endorse violence as a justifiable reaction to provocation speaks volumes.

      • Protests and violence are not the same thing. Some may join in and want to go to jail for it. That’s just what to expect. Campuses have a tradition of that. There are activists at those universities.

      • Jim D: “He’s talking to people who have already rejected his bigoted views as not belonging in a diverse society.”

        When Milo talks at a university he is not “talking to people who have already rejected his views” unless you assume that all students think the same. While this may be the case on your ideal campus, I don’t believe it’s been achieved yet, even at Berkeley. Whether his views are bigoted or not is a matter for people to decide for themselves, which they can only do if exposed to them. You evidently think they are bigoted and therefore ‘don’t belong’. However, believe it or not it is perfectly possible to come to a different conclusion. Personally, I think your notion of some ideas (i.e. the ones you agree with) ‘belonging’ and others (i.e. the ones you don’t agree with) ‘not belonging’ is pretty-much the most bigoted notion of all notions. However, you are certainly in sympathy with the Berkeley protesters who also think that some ideas “don’t belong” at their university and will use any means, including violence, to exclude them.

        If you’d taken the trouble to get to know Milo’s bigoted views, you would have learned that he rejects the notion that some ideas ‘belong’ while others do not. Personally, I think that shows him to be a heck of a lot less bigoted than you. The reason, of course, that Milo needs to be excluded from liberal campuses by people like you is because when people like you and people like Milo confront each other it becomes abundantly clear who are the true bigots.

        Sorry, but I do not believe your “diverse society” justification. I think that is the tiniest piece of dishonestly-fabricated loin cloth and, sadly for liberals, a great many people are increasingly coming to exactly the same realisation.

      • OK, you like and respect Milo, but what I have seen of him is exceedingly immature, prejudiced and trollish. Call it a difference of opinion. If you can put an opinion or cause of his into words, we can debate it, but when I saw him interviewed by Bill Maher it was mostly about himself, and completely unmemorable.

      • So it’s a few bad apples? Yes send them to jail.

        “I don’t expect people to agree with me. On the other hand, I don’t expect them to throw things at me and, in the past, in New Zealand I have had things thrown at me and in the end it’s just an internet campaign, which is virtual rather than real.

        “I just don’t think that surgery turns a man into a woman. A perfectly permissable view. I mean, an un-man is not necessarily a woman. We don’t really know what women are and I think that a lot of women are female impersonators, because our notion of who we are is not authentic, and so I am not surprised men are better at impersonating women than women are. Not a surprise, but it’s not something I welcome.” Germaine Greer

        There is no discernible differences in brain structures between men and women – it all exists on a spectrum. The differences are mostly socialised and I am not surprised that some boys would prefer to be socialised as a girl. Most of them get over it. For those that don’t – they may make whatever decisions they like about their bodies. But I think it’s a psychological illness to cut of your dick. Starting gender reassignment with pre-pubescents is child abuse. Views offensive to pissant progressives? Who gives a rat’s arse.

      • Making a somewhat weird generalization there. Progressives tend to be for free choice and free lifestyle. Conservatives, not.

      • Really just an of example of progressive intolerance – one that Tony raised above. Defending individual freedoms is the true tolerance.

      • “defending individual freedoms” is not what Milo is all about. It is ironic to use that defense for him.

      • Jim D “what I have seen of him is exceedingly immature, prejudiced and trollish.”

        “Immature” and “trollish” relate to matters of personality and style. Milo is a provocative flamboyant gay man. You must have lived a very sheltered life if you haven’t come across such people before. Moreover, personality and style are inconsequential things unless you are judging someone with a view to having a relationship with them. How Milo presents and what he thinks are different things.

        As to whether Milo is “prejudiced” – it is not he nor his supporters who are trying to shut down people they disagree with. I think that makes him tolerant rather than “prejudiced”, but I guess that depends on how you define prejudice versus tolerance. It’s true that he has many opinions that run counter to liberal orthodoxy, which is bound to get him into trouble because an important part of liberal orthodoxy is that anything that runs counter to it is by definition prejudiced and so must be suppressed.That has to do with how liberals view themselves morally. They do not consider that their view of themselves as morally superior to those they disagree with could be reflective of a kind of prejudice. Indeed, to do so would generate a paradox that would cause an ideological implosion. It is in the avoidance of this existential horror that they become violent.

        You made an interesting comment earlier implying that Berkeley students protesting Milo, even violently, are acting in the historical tradition of student activism. From what I remember of the tradition of student activism it used to be about protesting the establishment and demanding that new ideas were heard, rather than silencing non-establishment voices. On a liberal university campus the protesters ARE the establishment. They are its paramilitary wing, as it were. Perhaps a better comparison would be with Hitler’s brown shirts who only really became emboldened to exert their power anywhere and everywhere after their man was running things.

      • I have yet to find any intellectual merit to Milo’s musings. He started by attacking people on Twitter, and that is what he is known for. He stays away from political views, making him somewhat an irrelevance for serious discussion. I think he regards himself as an entertainer rather than thought leader, but his followers may disagree. As for those on the left, yes, being intolerant of any intolerance, or prejudiced about those who have any prejudices may be a fair description. Note that this is a meta-view in that it doesn’t describe itself.

      • Jim D: ““defending individual freedoms” is not what Milo is all about. ”

        It is exactly what he is about. I don’t know on what basis you’ve formed your views on Milo, but it certainly couldn’t have been from giving him a fair hearing, which suggests that your opinions are mere prejudice. Or perhaps that is unfair. It’s more likely you’ve formed your views by listening to the bleats of fellow liberal sheep and having learned the lyrics and tune, merely bleat along in order to demonstrate that you are an upstanding consensus guy.

      • You are right that I don’t know any intellectual opinion by Milo that is worth commenting on, and it is possible he has none. He usually just attacks individuals or religions in ways that get him banned from Twitter, and where others have made that judgment that his goal is just to incite.

    • I’m coming to the conclusion that JimD doesn’t actually KNOW what Milo’s opinion or message is. All I hear from him are Leftist talking points about how ‘bigoted’ Milo is without any actual examples. He complains about Milo’s style of talking but not what was said.

      Like most ‘Progressives’ Jim hates because he was told to hate. Someone has a different opinion then his tribe, and that makes them EVIL (racist, homophobic, anti-muslim, whatever). He doesn’t need evidence, he has his faith to guide him. And his high-priests have already declared the unbeliever to be evil.
      Indeed, it sounds like Jim is so blinded by his righteous (lefteous?) Hate that to even come across the words of one who his tribe has declared evil leaves him in such a tizzy that all he can remember is that ‘yes, they’re an evil begot all right’.

      The 2 Minute Hate lives on. ~¿~

      • I’ve given you that Milo was involved in a racist Twitter attack last year, and that despite that the alt-right and Breitbart stood by him, and the Republicans even invited him to speak at a conference. It was only the later scandalous remarks revelation that turned them off, so they do have limits, and he is now even toxic to them.

      • Like I said Jim, you’re just parroting what your political masters have told you to believe. You have no idea what Milo actually said or tweeted. Not that it’s really all your fault, the Left is very good at leading it’s sheep.

        I said way above that I wouldn’t do your research for you, but maybe that was foolish. I doubt you even CAN do it yourself. So let’s dive down the rabbit hole of Leftist Media.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/07/21/what-it-takes-to-get-banned-from-twitter/

        Well, this article makes many of the same baseless acusation that you do. And it shows a tweet sent to Jones that is vary racist indeed… from someone other the Milo. The only full quote from Milo is “EVERYONE GETS HATE MAIL FFS,” boy, the bigotry just boils off it, hmm.

        You know, for an article literally titled “Just how offensive did Milo Yiannopoulos have to be to get banned from Twitter?”, it does a remarkably poor job of showing how offensive Milo had to be to get banned from Twitter. Oh well, let’s try the next.

        http://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2016/7/20/12226070/milo-yiannopoulus-twitter-ban-explained

        Ah, now this one actually shows some of Milo’s tweets. In one he said “At least the new Ghostbusters has a hot black guy in it.” He also referred to the 4 leading ladies as fat, ugly, or both. Imagine, a flamboyantly gay man not thinking they are pretty, what could be more racist then that.

        From this article it appears that Milo never actually targeted Jones with any of his tweets, he was just commenting on the perceived feminist slant of the new Ghostbusters film. But others did post racist and derogatory tweets to Jones, and when she complained he posted his ‘Everyone gets hate mail’ tweet. To which Jones replied, calling him “the Uncle Tom of gay [people]”

        Remind me, which of them was I supposed to see as a bigot?

        Here’s another one
        https://www.buzzfeed.com/amphtml/charliewarzel/twitter-just-permanently-suspended-conservative-writer-milo

        And this one(completely by accident) gets to the truth. The whole thing was a huge trolling by the kind of jerks that hang out at 4chan. And I remember it there. The New Ghostbusters movie was the subject of trolling for months before it even came out. Apparently they found out Jones had a twitter account and did what they do. (These are the same people who flood online polls to name new Doritos flavors with suggestions like ‘Hitler did nothing wrong’)

        Anyone who has ever spent more then a minute in /b, /pol, or any of the other nastier corners of 4chan can no doubt guess what kind of things were tweeted. And Jones did exactly what the Trolls hoped she’d do, she reacted.

        Of course, ‘Trolls Trollin’ couldn’t be the response from Twitter, they needed a scapegoat. And who better the ‘Alt-Right’ blogger Milo. Suddenly he was ‘leading’ the attack on Jones. Of course, anyone familiar with the /btards know that leading them anywhere is about as likely as leading a herd of cats 15 minutes after the last one’s gone out the window.

        So is Milo a Troll? Probably. What I’ve seen of his writing now makes me think he’s just the kind of juvenile jerk that enjoys seeing people get mad. Is he Racist? Not that I’ve been able to find. Nothing in any of his Tweets that I’ve read so far (and I’ll admit, that isn’t that many) have shown any spacific problems with anyone based on their race.

        Is he Sexist? Maybe. Between the ‘I’m such a gay man’ shtick and the (justified? ^¿^) distaste for Tumblr style feminists, it’s hard to tell.

      • Maybe you think he is just misunderstood, because he runs with the racists on Twitter attacks. Perhaps he is innocent and doesn’t know how it looks to be associated with those attacks and not show any sign of discomfort about them. Poor misunderstood Milo. Maybe in his real life he hangs out with blacks and Muslims and trans, the people he vilifies on stage and on media. For him the bigotry may only be an act to get the attention he seeks and the adulation of the real bigots. Stage act or real? We just don’t know.

      • The bottom line is a rejection of political correctness entirely. There is a confusion on the difference between language and behaviour. Language is harmless – it may be vile and boorish but is hardly an existential threat. It gets labelled sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic and whatever other phobic de jour there is.

        It culminates in a culture of self censorship to fit within left imposed restrictions on speech. It drains colour and spontaneity from public discourse in the name of not offending these poor little dears with our bigoted ideas.

        Germaine Greer recently transgressed (pun intended ) by saying that putting a man in a dress doesn’t make him a woman. I’d cheer her on – but she doesn’t give a rat’s arse either way. Germaine as much as anyone is fighting for the space – not a safe space – to be as racist, sexist and bigoted as we f…king want. In language – and preferably with a little wit, charm and intelligence – and to discuss ideas with gusto. And the fundamental idea is to respect individual freedom – and not actually behave – as opposed to speak – in ways that limit freedom.

        It is the difference between embracing diversity and liberty and attempting to enforce conformity to a state of victimhood essentially – a victimization described in fine distinctions. Unless you are a white male – and then it is a state of privilege. I think they should define themselves as not victims and get some privilege of their own. Send the kids to school for God’s sake. But regardless – screw pandering to it. Call me whatever you like – I’ll own it.

      • RIE, do you count Milo and Trump among your number, now that you have owned it? In related news, the Trump government is losing and losing, and their supporters are getting tired of losing. They are telling Trump, Mr. President, stop losing so much, we can’t take it anymore. From Breitbart, their own media, no less.
        http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/04/26/coulter-on-berkeley-speech-cancellation-and-trump-wall-funding-can-republicans-ever-win-now/

      • I have no idea if Milo is misunderstood. What I do know is you said “I’ve given you that Milo was involved in a racist Twitter attack last year”, and when I did your homework for you I found that Milo DIDN’T make any racist attacks, he just wasn’t sufficiently simpathetic when some other people did. And when I posted the truth here you moved the goalpost with “because he runs with the racists on Twitter”. So now it’s guilt by association. Except that ‘association ‘ amounted to 4 tweets, 2 not directed at Jones about his opinion of the movie she was in, and two responding to her tweets directed at him personally.

        Now, maybe Milo DOES get racist, anti-muslim, homophobic, reactionary, whatever in his actual bloging/speeches. I have no idea. I don’t honestly care enough to dig into this characters past. I did run across that he was apearntly part of the right wing side of the reporting of Gamergate. (Another left wing angst fest based on a Designated Minority not receiving sufficient simpathy) Maybe, if you were to dig into it and provide some actual evidence (as opposed to more baseless assertions) you might convince someone from outside your tribe.

        I however will NOT be doing anymore of your homework, because I am SICK and TIRED of digging into these things just to find out that, once again, the Left lied. Your thought leaders lie to you all the time, and like most Leftist drones you believe it without question and repeat it far and wide.

      • “While many of Trump’s actual proposals are misguided, nonsensical, or untenable, by smashing the (Overton) window, he’s begun the process of freeing the American people from the artificial and destructive constraints of Left-defined discourse. Serious and substantive politicians like Ted Cruz will get a more respectful hearing, and PC shibboleths about allegedly boundless virtues of Islam and immigration will be treated with the skepticism they deserve.”

        Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/428200/donald-trump-overton-window-american-political-debate

        Someone like Milo who – with a serious underpinning of classic liberal thinking – pushes the limits of social discourse with such style, humour, flamboyance and fabulous hair darling is a breath of fresh air through the broken window. And he has a new $12m contract.

  47. Jim D | April 26, 2017 at 4:04 am |
    I think incitement to riot is not protected, whether those riots are for or against the speaker’s views. When the riots occur in anticipation of the speech it seems like the speech itself would not be protected by this definition. Why do these people want to go to liberal campuses to give these bigoted speeches? Do pro-choice people go to religious universities to talk about the benefits of choice? No, because there is no point except to incite, and they have the sense not to.

    Their are two benefits of abortions performed in medical facilities.
    The avoidance of unsafe procedures and the preservation of a woman’s right to self determination under God given provisions of the US constitution. As decided in law. But it is not a procedure to undertake lightly. Much better a civilised discourse on how to practically reduce the incidence. We are in fact more likely to get riots from the absolutely loony left in reaction to something like this.

    http://hushfilm.com/the-story/

    Jimmy seems prepared to give up one of these other fundamental rights because the loony left threatens violence. Free speech is not allowed because someone may act illegally in anticipation? Craven nonsense.

    • Free speech allows you to make a speech on any subject. Where you choose to make that speech may have consequences you also have to weigh up. You Tube is a great way to get messages out without these side issues so this is not preventing the message getting out.

      • Jim D “Where you choose to make that speech may have consequences you also have to weigh up.”

        You seem to have a fundamental lack of understanding of the unique role universities perform in our society. They are supposed to be places where ideas can be freely expressed and tested in a manner unfettered by particular political or other interests. If restrictions are placed on discourse in universities they merely become factories for perpetuating orthodoxies because it is only through the clash of ideas that better ideas are discovered, refined and promulgated.

        But is seems you are right. Berkeley is not a fit place for such activities because expressing ideas that do not uphold liberal orthodoxies is likely to be met with violence.

      • I think that the protests were what Milo and Coulter wanted, and they succeeded. Especially Coulter, who must have put that as a must-do on her schedule having seen the Milo protests making the news.

      • Jim D “I think that the protests were what Milo and Coulter wanted”

        Let me get this straight. Milo wanted the protests, so the students who claim to oppose him laid on protests? So, basically, they are secret Milo supporters acting to further his aims? Yup, that makes total sense.

        Does your analysis of anything ever get past espousing your personal opinions on the personal motivations of the parties involved to considerations of what they actually say and do?

      • Exactly. He is an attention seeker who has a big opinion of himself. Mission accomplished with Berkeley. However, his fall with Breitbart soon followed, so he didn’t bask in that for long.

      • “I think that the protests were what Milo and Coulter wanted, and they succeeded. Especially Coulter, who must have put that as a must-do on her schedule having seen the Milo protests making the news.”

        The old Alinsky tactic of blaming the rioting on anyone but the rioters.

        Would fit right in with those murdering over drawings of Muhammed.

      • I do blame the rioters. Universities do have activists. No surprise there.

      • Jim D: “I do blame the rioters.”

        You say that and yet you say that people simply stating something that the rioters disagree with have no right to be on campus. You frame it disingenuously with terms like “hate speech” and “bigots” but you are really saying that anyone who crosses ideology not only isn’t welcome but should be barred from campus. Curious for someone speaking for an institution dedicated to unbiased inquiry and with the motto “fiat lux” (‘let there be light’).

        Even Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders publicly disagree with your totalitarian views . Maybe they understand the “heckler’s veto” concept that has been explained to you repeatedly by David T. and which you either refuse or are unable to grasp..

      • It is possible to blame the rioters, but also see why they are protesting. Rioting is a crime if it involves harm or damage. Protesting is not. We have to distinguish.

      • Curious George

        “Where you choose to make that speech may have consequences you also have to weigh up.” You may murder freely, but it may have consequences you also have to weigh up.

      • Damn Jim D, it must suck being pwned this hard.
        Twice.
        After reading the first one upthread I almost felt sorry for you.
        But the second one here just showed me you deserve it.
        Thanks for the spectacle though, thoroughly enjoyed it.

        Do yourself a favor. Watch a couple of Milo’s speeches. You can find them on youtube. Weird that you have not already, the way you speak with such authority about him
        Hopefully after watching him speak for more than 2 seconds you will realize that all that crap you spouted above about him being a racist and a bigot and being protested by his own audience (wow, talk about being uninformed…) is so far off the mark it is not even funny.

      • As I said, he is just badly misunderstood, mainly because of what he says in public, and probably has lots of minority and trans friends in real life, don’t you think?

      • “You are judged not by your skin colour but by the content of your character.” Milo

        Even the use of the word minorities puts Jimmy firmly in the identity politics camp. I just groan at how widely he misses the mark.

      • Just plagiarizing MLK is not a get out of jail free card. His most hated minorities appear to be Muslims and transgenders, if you judge him by what he says, but it is more likely an act to get attention, as you seem to be hinting.

      • There are phrases that enter the cultural lexicon – and are used so often that retweeting it could hardly be considered plagiarism. I have heard Milo describe it as something someone once said. He uses it quite a lot.

        Most Muslims want to throw Milo off a roof – so it’s understandable if he is a bit peeved. And as Germaine Greer said – putting a dress on a man doesn’t make him a woman. It’s makes him a counterfeit woman. She goes on to say that femininity is a social construct anyway and we don’t know what an authentic woman is – so she’s not surprised that men are better counterfeit women than actual women. They try harder than most actual women.

        Masculinity is a social construct as well and boys are socialised to violence and risk taking. So it’s not surprising to me that some boys just don’t want this and would rather be a girl – it’s mostly boys and most grow up to be gay, urbane, sophisticated and fabulous. The latter probably acts to increase the disconnect felt as the core of the psychological disorder. Most grow out of it after puberty as they become increasingly sophisticated and realise that it really doesn’t matter what genitals you have – you can sleep with whomever you like.

        There are no essential physical differences between male and female brains – although we have been fed the claptrap that there are for generations. It feeds into the aberration that some people have the brains of the opposite gender and that painful and dangerous surgery will solve the problem. It won’t. What’s much more disturbing is that on the basis of transgender identities children are given powerful cocktails of drugs to delay pubescence. It is a very great evil sponsored by the cultural left.

      • You share the same preconceptions about transgender people as Milo who labels it as a mental illness that needs to be cured. As for Muslims, yes, gays don’t fit with their religion, and you could say the same about Evangelicals. Do you judge these differently from each other, and would you set out not liking a person of that religion based on that judgment that you have of it. I suspect Milo would for Muslims, but am not sure what he thinks of Evangelicals. Those Muslims or Evangelicals who even care, may think these don’t fit with their various religious ideals, but at the same time would tolerate it outside their religion. You don’t know that, but prejudge them by their label. That is prejudiced by definition. Also, his defense for cyberbullying seems to be that it doesn’t count if the attacked person fights back. It’s just all so immature and poorly thought through.

      • You are in the authoritarian mind frame – where every thought bubble demands government intervention – and cannot get around it. There are not discernible differences between male and female brains – perhaps at most a clustering of structures on a spectrum of normality. So gender dysphoria is a pshychological construct rather than a physical reality. This doesn’t involve the necessity of putting chicks with dicks in gulags for treatment. It does suggest that dosing children with powerful drugs to delay pubescence is child abuse and has no place in a civilised society.

        Sure if evangelicals wanted to throw me off a roof – or shoot me in a nightclub – I’d be a bit pissed at them as well. They can pray for me all they like. Milo claims to be a Catholic. Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall of that confession? He is consistent in being anti-abortion. That other great left regressive shibboleth. So am I. My classic liberal instincts suggest that this is a matter for a woman, her doctor and her God – but better information and different options are always welcome.

        “I don’t expect people to agree with me. On the other hand, I don’t expect them to throw things at me and, in the past, in New Zealand I have had things thrown at me and in the end it’s just an internet campaign, which is virtual rather than real.” Germaine Greer

        Opponents of Milo actually throw things. I have seen him get punched in the face in the street while doing an interview. These are angry and appalling people – that’s what police are for. The less confrontationist actively conspire in social networks to destroy lives and careers for going outside an ever diminishing window of acceptable – to the regressive left – discourse.

        The idea that the vulgar and offensive twitter comments on Leslie Jones were orchestrated by Milo is nonsense – he wrote a movie review for God’s sake. These other people are just internet crazies hurling hatred about a Ghostbusters remake for God’s sake. Delete them – report them to the police if there are credible threats of violence – or leave them up to show how stupid these people are. I don’t care – but Leslie Jones is a big girl. Get over it. The sensibilities of children to cyber-bullying are a different matter and it is socially irresponsible to confuse the issue.

      • It is Milo that demands rehabilitation, and you seem to disagree with him on that, and should say so. My view and that of the left, as I have said, is live and let live. Milo would prefer to suppress some religions and lifestyles maybe through state instruments.
        You again make assumptions on all Muslims about their attitudes to gays leading me to think you don’t talk to Muslims to know them. It’s like if I assumed someone that calls themself a Christian is therefore a Creationist and believes in the Revelations End Times. I don’t jump to that conclusion just based on a religion label. Do you?
        Did I say Milo orchestrated the Twitter attack? No. But he does blame the victim, which is a despicable view to have.

      • No, no… the ones going to the gulag UNtopia re-education camp Workers Recreational Facility in Minnesota are the heroes of the left faction. Activities will include learning the 86 names for snow that Minnesotans have. Your invitation will be delivered shortly. You are advised to dress warm.

        20-30 percent of American Muslims support Muslim extremism – 10% are rooting for suicide bombers in an upcoming reality TV show. Worldwide – 62% think Americans are immoral and should be thrown off roofs for the amusement of the congregation.

        Seriously? In Europe murder and rape are a daily occurrence. Do you want that? I don’t jump to conclusions based on a religious affiliation – I jump to conclusions because so many are murderous bastards.

        There is one God – and all true religion – including Islam – leads to life and not death. The laws of God are written in the heart and funny ideas are not necessarily problematic. The rest God abhors. “The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

        But what to do about the thieves who come to kill and to destroy? America has a right to harden its borders in this uncertain time – even over the bleatings of the regressive left.

      • Your vilification of Muslims is only equal to the vilification you would get from some in their countries. Talk to Western Muslims. They are tolerant of your type, probably more than you are of them. You fell for the right-wing propaganda on fearing ‘the other’. How do we get you not to fear every Muslim man, woman and child? Maybe you could try to meet some. They don’t bite, honestly. Sure, Muslim society is no more free of illiberal bigots than the West, but it is a mirror image, and you would do well to see your reflection there.

      • “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

        Fact based assessments are not vilification. A substantial number of American Muslims support extremism and terrorism. That’s a problem – and calling me a bigot is not going to solve it.

        Nor am I going to play your game about not knowing Islam. I come from Wollongong for God’s sake – a centre of diversity in a culturally diverse country. The problem is not Islam as such – but the numerous extremists in the ranks who do much worse than biting.

        I’ve read read the Noble Quran – it takes a bit to interpret it as not 7th century horror stories – it can be done with a little imagination. But many Muslims seem to lack the skills.

        You seem to still find it difficult to distinguish words from rape and murder.

      • If you are not generalizing from extremists to the general population of Muslims in the West, fine. Milo does, but you seem to differ. You have not made your differences from Milo clear at all, and that is where we started. Has Milo ever favored diversity rather than see it as a problem and a way to divide? I think not. Watch his language. He is not a liberal, but maybe you are. Congratulations.

      • Enough of this. I am a liberal in the classic sense – and you are not Jimmy boy. I believe literally in the God given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – which pre-dates the Declaration of Independence.

        There is not one Islam by any means – and substantial portions of it are a medieval death cult.

      • This wasn’t about what you believe. It was about Milo, an illiberal attention-seeker who you appeared to worship without reservation. Glad we sorted that out.

      • Like Most Leftists Jim D defines everything in accordance to Hate. He assumes that everyone else is motivated by Hate. If you don’t like how some Muslims behave, then you must Hate all Muslims, If you think transgenderism is a disease of the mind, you must Hate transgenders. If you don’t care for the new remake of a favorite move that happens to have a black person it in, you must Hate blacks. the list goes on and on.

        And WHY do the Leftists believe that every opinion is based on Hate? Because every opinion that the Left HOLDS is based on Hate. The Left WALLOWS in Hate. And it is an unquestioning Hate, Immune to all facts or rebuttal. We could spend the next 2 weeks proving that every opinion that Jim D holds on any subject has no bases in reality, that looking at the facts prove that his worldview is based solely on the lies that the Left wing media has feed him, and it wouldn’t change his opinion in the least. He will never question what he has been feed by his thought leaders.

        And that is just what the Left wants. Indeed, they’ve spent the last few decades fine tuning our education system to produce just this effect.

      • No, I don’t like Prejudice. Some people just label groups of people and don’t like them based on that label. You only have to look at speeches by their leaders, or bloggers, to see them doing this constantly, whether it is immigrants, gays, Muslims, Jews, blacks, etc. Prejudice is a very easy thing to identify, and there is no denying it exists. And it exists in those other communities. There are prejudiced black people and Muslims too. In every case it is a minority. As a liberal, this is what I find the worst in people.

    • The intent is to offend the defenders of the left regressive canon. These people want to limit public discourse on everything from climate to gender to the approved regressive left meme. Going beyond to real free speech is guaranteed to offend.

      The people inciting voilence and rioting are the regressive left.

      • RIE: “The people inciting voilence and rioting are the regressive left.”

        As are their apologists – engaging in every equivocation, deflection, misdirection and excuse while wearing a mask of qualified disapproval.

      • Andre,

        + many.

        And a spot on description of our very own Jim D here.

        Jim’s saving grace is that he is completely unaware of it in his earnestness to show the rest of us the way to a better world.

    • It is essentially a process of identifying insiders and outsiders. Insiders attempt to control the limits of social discourse –
      to ‘safe spaces’ and at the same time buttress feelings of moral and intellectual superiority.

      “Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.

      Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.

      Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.

      Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.

      Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.

      Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.

      Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.

      Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.” http://www.psysr.org/about/pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm

      Jimmy goes around in circles. He will now define everything again in terms of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia and racism expressed in public discourse and call it tolerance.

      They throw out the value of free expression in a western, liberal democracy – for which we suffer much that we disagree with. Such as the inanities of the regressive left groupthink. And of course he can’t see it.

  48. Perhaps the right term for Bill Nye’s hare-brained recommendation is : Catastrophic Optimism.

  49. I have a request to try to verify something. Kyle Swanson posting at Realclimate had a graph consistent with the pause here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/
    On the graph at about 1998 there is a step, and Swanson I think draws a flat line to the ascending trend line. The image appears in the results of a Google search but clicking it brings one to a lost page. Perhaps the image has been retired.

    • It has to do with ocean and atmosphere regimes – and established through network math.

      I think its trigger is solar UV.

      https://watertechbyrie.com/2017/01/12/an-earnest-discovery-of-climate-causality/

    • How it came out:

    • The red line was their projection for the future – flat temperatures. It’s flat, which is what it should be. That was their bet.

      The original graph is ~2meters above the surface plus SST. UAH and RSS are not relevant.

      What it shows is Tsonis et al were wrong, and that Smith et al actually made a pretty good decadal forecast… not bad for their first try at the “impossible”. The forty-year trend, purple, is closer to the Smith et al, aqua, forecast than it is to the trend since 1950, green.

      • From my above link:
        “We propose that there is negligible in situ atmospheric warming and that almost all of the added heat trapped by anthropogenic greenhouse gases is absorbed by and stored in the ocean.”
        Measuring the SST interface might not be as useful as the UAH data.
        Here’s an example:
        “When passing from land to water, this will see all of the available heat energy taken up by water if the temperature of the air mass exceeds that of water (Morton, 1983, 1986), with the temperature of the overpassing air mass reaching equilibrium with the water beneath within a very short time.”

        Ragnaar’s carton climate model:
        CO2 warms the atmosphere. It is warmer. The oceans are cooler because of their thermal mass. As quoted, the joules go into the ocean and are converted to Hiroshima bombs by SkS. Look the SSTs are higher, so therefore the atmosphere is warmer. It is the joules leaving the atmosphere that are counted as in the atmosphere as they are in the SSTs. So when the oceans warm, removing atmospheric joules, that’s the atmosphere warming, just look at the SSTs. UAH data sits way above the SST interface and doesn’t record a lot of this. The atmosphere is the spend thrift. It either gives its joules to the TOA or the oceans. If you give the atmosphere more CO2, it holds more joules and at times give more of those back to the oceans. The SSTs emit in both directions. Upwards where at times they are ping ponged back to the oceans and downwards partly through mixing and partly because they are warmer than before. Some the SSTs go to the Arctic (Gulf Steam) and Karl counts them, before they go to the TOA.

        So are temperature series that use SSTs for the GMST fit for purpose? The more the oceans cool the atmosphere as Morton said above, the warmer the GMST. When the SSTs go to the atmosphere, the SST cools signaling the opposite thing. You mentioned problems with UAH and El Ninos I think. Are we anywhere near an answer?

      • We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the great climate shift of the 1970s. We also find the evidence for such type of behavior in two climate simulations using a state-of-the-art model. This is the first time that this mechanism, which appears consistent with the theory of synchronized chaos, is discovered in a physical system of the size and complexity of the climate system.
        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL030288/full

        The significance of Tsonis et al 2007 goes well beyond the prediction of temperature trends. They used network math to identify tipping points in Earth climate at decadal scales. These are associated with changes in the intensity and frequency of ENSO events, shifts in the PDO and inflections in the atmospheric temperature trend. Shifts around 1912, 1944, 1976 and 1998 – triggered I believe by solar UV/ozone chemistry. It explains the millennial scale correlations of ENSO and surface temperature with solar activity. And suggests a shift to more intense and frequent La Nina and cooler temps this century. The graph btw was not part of the study – but was posted by Kyle Swanson at realclimate.

        A couple of years of drought affected surface temps are not relevant at all.

      • Lol… J.T. Reager.

      • Raeger for anyone interested used GRACE to determine that terrestrial water storage had increased from 2002 to 2014 – slowing down sea level rise by a fraction of a millimetre. It is associated with a cool Pacific and they said that the Pacific would warm again decadally and sea level rise take off with a vengeance.

        These people pray that natural decadal warming trends are going add to warming again. Or that it doesn’t matter and isn’t happening. It’s all a bit schizo. There is in fact no theory that says the 20th century pattern should repeat – much more likely is a return to cooler conditions over centuries.

        JCH’s intent with this cryptic little reference was to deny that there was a global drought in 2015-2016. It was a little warmer in the Pacific. Drought changes the balance between latent and sensible heat over land surfaces – increasing temperature readings. It’s a surface temperature artifact that contributes to the difference between surface and tropospheric records.

  50. There was a movement in the 60s and 70s to counter the theme of Environmental Doom by the likes of Philip Adelson, S. Fred Singer and others. Toward this end, they took public stances and formed organizations such as “American Geophysical Union Committee on Environmental Quality”. The rise and efforts of this group is detailed in the following dissertation https://etd.lib.msu.edu/islandora/object/etd%3A3235/datastream/OBJ/view
    In which the author states ” Considered scientific experts, these individuals — S. Fred Singer, Helmut Landsberg, Philip Handler, Philip Abelson, Frank Press — strongly believed in the importance of what sociologists of science call “organized skepticism,” whereby scientific claims are validated by
    scientists prior to being released to the public. To protect the integrity of their position, they frequently leveled two kinds of criticism against those with whom they disagreed. The first criticism was direct toward those scientists whom they felt engaged in advocacy in that they used their scientific credentials to advocate for policy changes based on their own non-scientific value judgments. Advocacy, they argued, threatened the credibility and authority of the scientific community. Second, they reserved their most potent criticism for those whom they called prophets of doom — individuals who appeared overly emotional and irrational in their imaginings of future catastrophe. This latter criticism was more serious because it suggested that scientists used the language of science to buttress their public claims while simultaneously avoiding or overlooking the technical uncertainties that could undermine their own authority. Additionally, the claims of so-called prophets of doom appeared to resemble the kinds of sensationalized claims that appeared in the media; without a proper appreciation for the uncertainties within one’s public claims, some scientists could risk appearing as unprofessional headline seekers. Whether perceived as an advocate or a prophet of doom, scientists — as argued by the aforementioned experts — had an obligation to avoid inflaming pre-existing public anxieties about the future. Doing so, they believed, could minimize what they saw as a gradual
    undermining of public confidence in science to solve the nation’s environmental problems. “

    • Evidently the challenges are many and the rewards insufficient to maintain a stronger no presence of the elusive middle path.

      • Evidently the challenges are many and the rewards insufficient to maintain a stronger presence of the elusive middle path. Alarm sells.

      • Manufacturing doubt sells even more.

      • Manufactured Doubt:
        “In their persistent fight to affect regulation, firms have developed specific strategies to exploit scientific uncertainty. They have spent large amounts of money to generate and publicize favorable scientific findings, to discredit and downplay unfavorable ones and to shape the public’s perceptions through large-scale communication campaigns. We develop a new model to study the interplay between scientific uncertainty, firms’ communication and public policies. The government is benevolent but populist and maximizes social welfare as perceived by citizens. The industry can provide costly evidence that its activity is not harmful. Citizens incorrectly treat ‘the industry’s information on par with scientific knowledge’. We characterize the industry’s optimal communication policy. As scientists become increasingly convinced that the industrial activity is harmful, firms first devote more and more resources to reassure people. When scientists’ beliefs reach a critical threshold, however, the industry stops its efforts abruptly.”
        The industry’s information is not on par with scientific uncertainty. We go from, there is scientific uncertainty to scientific knowledge.
        They did it first, so we will reach a critical threshold.
        If not for the corporations, we wouldn’t have to do it.
        I am an anti-corporate warrior because capitalism.
        It’s not up to me to teach of uncertianty as the corporations are doing that.
        Because capitalism, I teach of certianty.

      • I’ll agree the middle path between alarm and manufactured doubt is the tough one,

      • Goldilocks’ niche is already taken.

        Mr. T has yet to win its custody.

        He’s a Proud Boy, after all.

      • From the Henderson dissertation quoted above by Chas Scott: “Additionally, the claims of so-called prophets of doom appeared to resemble the kinds of sensationalized claims that appeared in the media; without a proper appreciation for the uncertainties within one’s public claims, some scientists could risk appearing as unprofessional headline seekers.”

        Obama science advisor John Holdred addressed the AAAS at Harvard last week stressing the importance of bringing to the public a clearer case for action. In the speech, here on CSPAN, at 50:00 he stresses that uncertainty is not our friend, that all indications are things are worse than we think, and that we need to give the public simpler clearer analogies. For example, the uncertainties are only relevant in ethereal and as unimportant to everyday reality as Relativity is to a car crashing into a wall at 60mph. “Newton’s Laws work just fine” to explain what will happen to you. You don’t need to know about continental drift to fly from New York to London.

        Holdren spoke of the “war against science” but I’m not sure if Holdren is friend or foe.

      • Holdren also pointed out the President Trump has not chosen a scientific adviser like Obama did. I know Dr. Curry has expressed no interest in working in the administration. But perhaps that’s exactly the type of person that is needed.

        Judith, would you suggest Trump get a scientific adviser? Any suggested nominations?

      • Ron Graff,

        Did you know that John Holdren was a anti-nuke campaigner and renewable energy zealot from as far back as the 1980s?. He never changed his stripes. He was an ideologically driven campaigner for his beliefs throughout his appointment as “Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology”.

  51. Speaking of optimism, check out this Bloomberg article. You would think the US will be on 100% “green” energy tomorrow. From the article:

    Wind and solar are about to become unstoppable, natural gas and oil production are approaching their peak, and electric cars and batteries for the grid are waiting to take over. This is the world Donald Trump inherited as U.S. president. And yet his energy plan is to cut regulations to resuscitate the one sector that’s never coming back: coal.

    Clean energy installations broke new records worldwide in 2016, and wind and solar are seeing twice as much funding as fossil fuels, according to new data released Tuesday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). That’s largely because prices continue to fall. Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity in the world.

    But with Trump’s deregulations plans, what “we’re going to see is the age of plenty—on steroids,” BNEF founder Michael Liebreich said during a presentation in New York. “That’s good news economically, except there’s one fly in the ointment, and that’s climate.”

    Here’s what’s shaping the future of power markets, in 15 charts from BNEF:

    With renewables entering the mix, even the fossil-fuel plants still in operation are being used less often. When the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, the marginal cost of that electricity is essentially free, and free energy wins every time. That also means declining profits for fuel-burning power plants.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-26/the-cheap-energy-revolution-is-here-and-coal-won-t-cut-it

  52. Planning Engineer: Thanks for your excellent article, and especially the links. The problem of maintaining stability on the grid is much more subtle than I thought.

    Still puzzling to me, however is why nuclear power isn’t considered a practical or economic solution to the problem of load following. I was once a nuclear submarine officer, and can testify that the on-board reactor was not only stable, but also exquisitely responsive to the load demands placed on it.

    What is it that makes a utility nuclear power plant lose those vital characteristics?

    • Thanks Silvertomster. Two factors I think tell most of the story. One is nuclear has the cheapest incremental cost, so practically it overwhelming makes sense to run it full out all the time it’s available. The other reason is that backing generation off and raising it is judged to have some extra risk (but no doubt that happens on subs ). But utility nuclear generation is very risk aversive. Many argue that nukes should be able to ramp up and down and in some futures that might make sense.

      • Some argue ramped nuclear could be paired with wind. No question engineering wise that could work, but what does backing down nuclear to allow wind gain. Has about the same overall costs and impacts as letting the turbines spin without generating. But backing nuclear down to allow wind takes money from one pocket to another,

    • Silvertomster and Planning Engineer,

      I suggest, there is no need for ramping-capable nuclear power plants until nuclear capacity is sufficient to supply most of baseload – as is the case in France. Once that stage is reached, then the whichever is cheaper, ramping-capable nuclear, gas or coal (and hydro to the extent it is available) should be the choice in an economically rational market.

  53. I lifted this from the Duck Curve post Dr. Curry cites. It is a wonderful post and all should read it.

    Let me quote one part “Backing up intermittent resources with gas turbines and combined cycle units would work. The cost comparisons for such a system should not be based on the difference between average solar or wind energy cost and the average cost of gas generation. Rather the proper cost comparison is the average cost of solar and wind plus the backup costs of gas generation, compared to just gas generation.”

    True. With recent advances in wind technology it seems we are about there. There is a “wind belt” that stretches from Texas to the Canadian border. Power costs in this area are generally below the national average.

    As for grid reliability Iowa is generating more than a third of their power from wind. Is the power system in Iowa less reliable than that of Mississippi, that is about the same size and generates none from wind?

    • Bob Wert,

      You must be dreamin’
      https://i2.wp.com/i.imgur.com/m72CxQv.png?zoom=2
      Source: posted on a CE thread some time ago, I don’t remember by whom

      US federal government subsidies:
      solar = $280/MWh
      Wind = $35/MWh
      Nuclear = $2.10/MWh

      http://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf

      Solar is subsidies over 100x more than nuclear and wind more than 15x.

      And this is only part of the subsidies and other market distortions that favour wind and solar

    • Yes, Iowans may hold the U.S. record for percentage of wind power generation, but I’d like to see a formal study that details what it actually cost Iowans and other U.S. taxpayers to achieve that distinction – adjusting for differences, if any, in actual grid reliability.

      According to the Wikipedia article on wind power generation in Iowa, the industry is subsidized by a one cent per KwH tax credit, plus property and sales tax breaks for generation facilities and equipment, plus unenumerated but presumably meaningful support by taxpayers of other states in the form of federal subsidies.

      This situation brings to mind an 1850 essay, “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen” in which the great French economist Frederic Bastiat warned of the folly, indeed the harm, of downplaying the hidden costs and unseen effects of government subsidies. Citizens may not realize it, but they really did give up other things of value so that Iowans could have a third of their electricity nominally supplied by wind. A competent economist could quantify this, and I hope that an unbiased journalist would want to report it.

      • Per previous guest post True Cost of Wind, about $146/MWh compared to $56/MWh for CCGT. So on the order of 2.7x. Great deal for Iowans. NOT.

      • Ristvan: Thanks for the True Cost of Wind data. Allow me to add the following very rough analysis.

        According to the EIA, since 2001, Iowans have generated approximately 130 million MWh using wind power. Using the numbers you cited, if Iowans had generated that same amount of electricity using CCGT, it might have cost $90 per MWh less, or roughly $12 billion less.

        To put it bluntly, Iowans (and others “contributing” to the wind power subsidy) could have enjoyed all that electricity PLUS whatever else $12 billion dollars could have bought. Instead, they have only the electricity. This is supposed to be progress?

        https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/browser/#/topic/0?agg=2,0,1&fuel=008&geo=00000g&sec=g&freq=M

      • Enclosed is the chart for average cost per kilowatt by state. About 36% of Iowa power is hydro. If you add back the one cent benefit per kilowatt by the .36 factor you increase cost by .36 cents per kilowatt. That increase the cost to 8.24 cents per kilowatt. My by count that means Iowa still has the ninth cheapest power in the country.

        This does not count some sales and property tax beaks. Many of the states with cheaper electricity rates than Iowa receive a lot of cheap power in the country is provided by hydro plants controlled by federal power authorities. A general principal of law is that entities controlled by the federal government are exempt from taxation by local governments. So to keep the comparison as close to an apples to apples basis I excluded those because I don’t know how much if any the power authorities pay, if any.

        I did not count federal tax subsidies because I consider the use of wind a public benefit because of the benefits of providing cleaner power to the populace than coal or gas. Here is my link on costs.

        https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_6_a

        As for reliability I would like to see the empirical data about the relative dependability of systems that use more renewable energy vis a vi grids that rely on fossil fuels. If none exist for the United States grid are you aware of such a study comparing European systems. Do you know of such a link?

      • Bob Wert,

        Enclosed is the chart for average cost per kilowatt by state.

        Bob, electricity consumption is not measured in kW. It’s measured in kWh. kW is a measure of power, not energy.

        The fact you don’t know this indicates you have little understanding of the subject you are commenting on. In a previous response to you I suggested you read this:
        Managing Flexibility Whilst Decarbonising the GB Electricity System http://erpuk.org/project/managing-flexibility-of-the-electricity-sytem/
        If you haven’t already done so, I’d urge you to do so you can gain some basic appreciation of the issues involved.

    • Bob Wert,

      Do you have a more recent comparison. Wind seems to have come done a lot in cost recently an evidenced by it rapid expansion.

      The recent expansion is due to the massive subsidies. Technology costs go up and down all the time. Over the long term the learning rate of wind is around 7% per doubling of global capacity. Global capacity has almost stalled.

      If there were no subsidies no more would be built. Then, with little production, the costs would skyrocket.

      You need to face facts. the only thing causing wind and solar to be built is ideological belief, causing governments to have to waste huge amounts of tax payer funds on subsidising them. This is not rational. It’s insane.

      Can I suggest you read and consider this excellent study: Managing Flexibility Whilst Decarbonising the GB Electricity System http://erpuk.org/project/managing-flexibility-of-the-electricity-sytem/

      Or you can read my post on it here: https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/19/is-nuclear-the-cheapest-way-to-decarbonize-electricity/

  54. There is really no choice to be made about the energy mix – unless you are a supplier. Suppliers – including residences – will make their own investment decisions about energy generation. As far as I can see – the decisions today include more wind and solar in the near future. I suspect that any attempt to change this will fail under restraint of trade laws.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2017/04/26/coal-heavy-utilities-are-changing-course-as-the-new-energy-economy-unfolds/#724f9402737c

    Nor can I see much of a problem if the appropriate price signals are set. This includes dismantling subsidies and paying spot prices for electricity delivered to the grid by residences – as well as charging a separate grid connection fee.

    For the US – wind is competitive when available and residents can swallow solar losses if they insist. Gas if the obvious balancing technology that will operate at marginally less capacity – and therefore higher cost – due to giving way to competing technologies. There are advantages. It gives a more decentralised energy system – less dependence on vulnerable inter-connectors – less transmission losses. It gives some buffer against fuel price increase – gas is not going to be super abundant forever and price rises are expected over the coming decades. It conserves gas reserves for future use.

    Gas plants are quick and easy to build – and have relatively low capital and operating and maintenance costs. Fuel costs are high which makes them vulnerable to fuel cost increases. Coal plants are uneconomic – elsewhere in the world HELE technology may be feasible – but the US will not squander its gas price advantage. I am hopeful for small, modular, fast neutron reactors but the costs are still an unknown to an extent. General Atomics expects its EM2 reactor to be cost competitive against natural gas generation in the USA at a gas price of $6-$7/MMBtu. A ways to go.

    I suspect that the US will need to integrate increasing amounts of wind and solar energy into the system – and this may require new pricing mechanisms for gas generators.

  55. The power system is a complex, crucial critical infrastructure that has overarching societal importance and benefits. Avoiding critical reflection while attempting to transition to something new, in order to maintain optimism with vague hopes that innovative solutions will somehow appear when needed is a ludicrous idea that will not only serve to harm us all, but will also work to retard the advance of future beneficial renewable technologies.

    Moron’s, if they keep at it, Baghdad’s electrical system will be more reliable than ours.

    • micro6500: “Baghdad’s electrical system will be more reliable than ours.”

      You forget that Baghdad is the model for humanity perfected through policy, and, as such, is far in advance of where you currently are (when properly understood).

      The reliability that you currently perceive yourself as enjoying is a mistaken illusion that has been fostered by special interests – who also perpetrate myths about Baghdad power cuts (which are all agreed in advance).

      Baghdad is the crucible of humanity perfected through policy – a ‘proof of concept’ experiment. Every dumb ass knows that every proof of concept experiment is going to prove its concept and so is a completely unnecessary exercise.

      When the power cuts come you will understand them properly as an ascent to the ideal of Baghdad.

  56. I think folks have missed the major result of this whole event. We talk, and rightfully so, about facts and issues that are real and important. What really happened, however, is the greens have once again captured the moral high ground in the debate. They now have grabbed the lead in the optimist/pessimist configuration. They can now shift from the “fossil fuel control” meme to the very basic human dichotomy of basic psychology – who wants to listen to “pessimists”. Skeptics will now become just that – pessimists!

    • Nah. These things are only proposed to be necessary because of extreme Green pessimism in the first place. I think it will be hard for Greens to convince people they are actually optimists when all they ever do is pronounce doom and gloom.

      • I didn’t mean to imply that they are “optimists”, but rather that they will use the language. Of note – Nancy Pelosi used the term “optimists” twice in a news clip on Friday. Ah the unity of propaganda! Worth watching.

    • RE: Richard: “They now have grabbed the lead in the optimist/pessimist configuration.”

      From the archives: An optimist sees the glass half full. The pessimist sees it as half empty. The engineer realizes the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

      Energy issues will be solved by those that are working on solutions not problems or wishful thinking.

  57. Beta Blocker

    Planning Engineer, in their public announcements concerning their decision to close the Diablo Canyon nuclear station by 2025, PG&E’s management states that Diablo’s output will be replaced by a combination of wind, solar, and energy conservation.

    The rumor I’m hearing is that PG&E’s actual plan, as opposed to the one they’ve announced publicly, is to replace the great bulk of Diablo’s capacity with gas-fired generation. The renewable energy technology and the energy conservation measures which PG&E talks up as the foundation of their plan will play only a relatively minor role in taking up the slack.

    Does California have enough regulatory authority to demand PG&E replace Diablo Canyon only with the renewables and with energy conservation measures; and further, to directly and explicitly prevent PG&E from placing greater reliance on natural gas for servicing California’s electricity demand?

    • I’ll defer to others who know more. The California PUC regulates PG&E and would oversee initiatives of the state. I don’t know current initiatives there. In general I would not expect direction to be a specific as to Retired plant X must/must not be replaced by Y. But they have a lot of leeway and chance sto pressure for what they want by their power over rate recovery. You Netherlands end they might say it was the utilities choice, but sometimes choice is an illusion.

  58. instability is not a result of intermittent renewables. it is the result suspending wholesale pricing for renewables.

    all conventional power producers have variable pricing, which ensures the supply matches demand. wind and solar however have a guaranteed fixed pricing, which destabilizes the grid.

    when there is too much supply on the grid, the wholesale price drops to $0. It can even go negative. but wind and solar still get paid full price, so they keep pumping out unneeded power.

    worse, this unneeded power has to go somewhere, but there is no somewhere to go. breakers start popping to protect the grid, and you end up with a blackout.

    as soon as the installed capacity of wind plus solar exceeds demand, you have a grid failure waiting to happen. midday on a windy, cloudless day, the grid is guaranteed to fail. it is not a matter of “if”, it is a matter of “when”

    • RE: ferd
      “. . . when there is too much supply on the grid, the wholesale price drops . . . but wind and solar still get paid full price. . .”

      I don’t have to look any further than my last hydro bill (Southern Ontario) for proof of that. The current provincial government’s ‘Alternative to Energy’ program has just made things even worse. Higher prices because of (mostly) over priced renewables was to encourage conservation and do our part in saving the planet. However, skyrocketing energy costs have apparently become an electoral issue. Who knew? So now the same high foreheads and deep thinkers, have decided to give rebates on our electrical bills. So no longer is conservation as much a concern (or doing our part in saving the planet) as getting re-elected. And the higher costs are simply pushed back further so it ends up costing even more in the long run. I’d laugh it was happening somewhere else . . .

    • Ferd,

      This is exactly what happened a few years ago in the PNW. Peak wind and peak hydro happen at the same time of the year. First response to excess generation by BPA is to spill water. However Federal regulations for salmon protection limit how much. Which means they have to start restricting access to the grid. The lone nuclear plant in the region is usually the first to ramp down. BPA keeps going down the list until Gen and load are balanced. During the year I am referring to, wind generators were the very last to get kicked off. Some could argue that was preferential treatment, particularly as they were among the very last to come on. BPA pays generators for lost generation revenue, in the sense that they keep the contracted revenue while BPA provides the power. Wind generators wanted the subsidy dollars from BPA as well. They said no. So they filed a FERC complaint and sued. (Made me proud my utility did neither.)

      Maybe next time BPA should simply allow the breakers to pop.

  59. Science or what passes for science has morphed into a new realm from past practices of blaming current weather on global warming to this latest: showing digital depictions of various cities underwater –e.g., New York 2100 — with the caption, Extreme Sea Level Rise Scenarios… Western academia now has the credibility of the Enquirer, The bitter pill to swallow is that golden promise of universal education has become a propaganda campaign against individual liberty and personal responsibility waged by the Leftist bureaucracy an liberal state-run institutions against the productive.

  60. Subsidies for electricity production, Australia (2013–2014)
    Fuel/technology Subsidies ($/MWh)
    Coal $0.86
    Gas $0.30
    Solar $412.11
    Wind $41.64
    http://www.minerals.org.au/file_upload/files/media_releases/Electricity_production_subsidies_in_Australia_FINAL.pdf

  61. David Wojick

    This article on Nye is interesting for the wrong reasons:
    https://newrepublic.com/article/142260/bill-nye-not-right-guy-lead-climate-fight. The author is a staunch warmer, yet she says this: “A Pew Research poll in October found that more than three quarters of Republican voters and nearly a third of Democratic voters don’t think climate change is caused primarily by human activity.”

    The only way to conclude from this data that there is no scientific debate, which she argues, is to believe that people are incredibly stupid.

    • Same goes for the fake news and Russian interference in the past election story lines. Early studies are showing neither has much impact. Why? Because most people are fairly competent at recognizing fake from real. Meaning the people pushing these story lines must think we are not as intelligent as they are. Yet they wonder why their credibility rating is so low when we have President they hate who plays fast and loose with the facts.

      Personally I’m loving it. They are getting schooled by a guy using their own tricks against them.

  62. Ross McKitrick makes a good case for, “Pulling the U.S. Out of the Paris Climate Accord,” and while we’re at it, it’s time the UN was given notice: move out of the US–

  63. Renewables cannot supply much of the world’s electricity, let alone its energy – ever! Per capita energy consumption will continue to grow as it has been doing since humans first discovered how to control fire and domesticate animals to do work. Renewables are not the future. Advocating for them, subsidising them and incentivising them through government dictates is delaying progress (and slowing global development and the rate people are lifted out of poverty). The anti-nuclear power protest movement has been doing the same – i.e. blocking economic progress and improvement in human well-being – since the 1960s. Some of the benefits forgone as a result of the effects of the enviro-evangelists’ impacts are quantified here: https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/publication/cama-working-paper-series/9070/nuclear-power-learning-and-deployment-rates-disruption

    On the other hand, uranium fuel is sufficient to supply all the world’s energy for thousands of years. Add to that four times more thorium than uranium; then fusion which is effectively unlimited.

    What is needed is to remove the market distortions that are impeding the development and deployment of nuclear power, not distort markets even more with ideologically driven ‘solutions’ that can never succeed – such as weather-dependent renewables.

    Fossil fuels will be replaced by other energy sources, over time, in the same way as all previous major infrastructure technology transitions have occurred. It takes around 100 years for such transitions to reach saturation. The transitions are driven by demand and market forces in relatively free markets. They are delayed by government and regulatory interventions that distort markets (which is the case with renewables and climate change agendas).

    For example, see Gruebler’s chart, Figure 2.10, here: http://user.iiasa.ac.at/~gruebler/Lectures/Leoben00-01/ch2%20from%20book.pdf
    Gruebler has published many other charts of diffusion of infrastructure in many countries. The transition normally accelerates to 20% of saturation, then roughly linear to 80% then decelerates to 100%.

    The transition to nuclear power began in 1950, was accelerating to mid 1960’s then stalled – thanks to the scaremongering by the anti-nuclear power protest movement. The equivalent enviro-evangelist groups have now turned to climate change scaremongering to push their ideological agendas.

    • Nuclear power in its current form is not competitive (in the US and other regions with multiple fuel resources) because the technology is toô expensive to build and operate, relative to the competition. The technology is also quite mature and heavily over-regulated (at least in the US). That means meaningful cost improvements are highly unlikely to occur. The bankruptcy of Westinghouse graphically demonstrates the problem.

      The developing advanced reactors might overcome these problems, but face daunting over-regulation as well as financial hurdles. Desired investment returns are generally not compatible with long development time frames.

      The point is conventional nuclear power has to evolve into a new form or go the way of the dinosaur.

    • kellermfk

      Nuclear power in its current form is not competitive (in the US and other regions with multiple fuel resources) because the technology is toô expensive to build and operate, relative to the competition.

      You are correct that nuclear is too expensive compared with fossil fuels at the moment. I agree, and I agree the costs cannot come down quickjly even if it was possible to quickly change public attitudes to nuclear and to quickly removing the regulatory and legislative impediments that have cause it to become so costly. But consider the following:

      1. renewables are many times more expensive if not for the huge subsidies. And they cannot supply a substantial proportion of electricity, so they are not an economically rational alternative to fossil fuels.

      2. The high cost of nuclear is not an inherent property of nuclear power. Nuclerar could be 10% of current cost https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/publication/cama-working-paper-series/9070/nuclear-power-learning-and-deployment-rates-disruption if not for the effects of the anti-nuclear power protest movement and the enviro evangelists advocacy and scaremongering over the past 50 years.

      3. Nuclear fuel is effectively unlimited. And nuclear power is inherently cheap with almost unlimited potential for cost reductions. But the world can only reap the benefits when the impediments to progress are removed. Therefore, the USA especially needs to lead the way to remove the impediments. IAEA and Europe and the rest of the world will follow USA’s lead, but they are incapable of leading.

      4. Gen IV and fusion will follow eventually, but they are many decades away from being commercially viable. They will become viable much faster if we remove the impediments that are blocking all nuclear power. With faster deployment, less financial risk to investors, more production competition competition between vendors will spur development.

      The do gooders and ideologues trying to interfere and impose their beliefs need to get out of the way and allow the industries and vendors to compete. That’s the way to faster development. But first, the impediments need to be removed by implementing appropriate policy. Go Trump !!

      • To make a significant quantum improvement, nuclear needs to be significantly passively safer, significantly more efficient and significantly simpler (leads to significantly lower build and production costs). Some of the advanced reactors under development can meet these objectives.

        However, the current massive over-regulation is major barrier that is difficult to overcome unless the embedded complications can be streamlined. While the process is logically relatively easy to simplify, the bureaucrats are unlikely to allow large scale loss of their power (and jobs).

        The other near fatal problem is funding. The current approach of relying on the federal government for development funding invariably leads to bureaucrats attempting to pick the winners-and-losers in the marketplace. Their record is billions of taxpayer dollars spent with their “winners” complete commercial flops. NUSCALE is about to go that same dismal route, as the financials do not support the use of the technology in the US.

        The financial development problems can be overcome by simply allowing tax write-offs by investors providing venture capital. Unlikely to occur because such an approach removes the government (and politicians) from control.

        Could Trump drain the regulatory and financial swamp? Sure, but as we have seen, Washington will fight him every step of the way.

      • Kellermfk

        I’ll parse your opening statements and reply to each

        To make a significant quantum improvement, nuclear needs to be
        1. significantly passively safer,
        2. significantly more efficient and significantly simpler (leads to significantly lower build and production costs).
        3. Some of the advanced reactors under development can meet these objectives.

        #1. Nuclear is already the safest way to generate electricity. So, what is the basis for that assertion? The issue is public fear which has been generated by 50 years of misinformation and scaremongering by the anti-nuclear protest movement, of which Roger Sowell is a classic example.

        #2. Nuclear will become significantly simpler and cheaper when production and competition ramps up. This will happen once the irrational impediments to nuclear power are removed. But it will take a long time, because progress has been delayed by 50 years – see Figures 3, 4, 5 and 6 here: https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/publication/cama-working-paper-series/9070/nuclear-power-learning-and-deployment-rates-disruption

        #3. It will be before the “advanced reactors under development” become commercially viable for utilities to risk investing in, other than in a few subsidized demonstration reactors. Nuclear power plant design improvements cannot progress rapidly like mobile phones.

        Only slow progress will be made until people get over their fears and beliefs that nuclear is unsafe, that renewables can make a substantial contribution to global energy supply, and that fossil fuels are evil. To achieve this, people like you need to become better informed about the relevant fact and then inform others – and stomp all over the anti-nuclear zealots like Roger Sowell.

      • The current generation of reactors are not passively safe; active core cooling and actively cooled containments are required to prevent the fuel from melting and subsequently releasing radiation to the environment. The public’s misgivings have some merit.

        Further, the current generation of reactors carry considerable financial risk to both owners and the taxpayer. Alternative energy production methods do not share these rather severe drawbacks.

        From a broader perspective, why would a company want to take on all the problems associated with nuclear power? Other energy production methods are unlikely to bankrupt your company.

        When somebody comes up with a reactor that provides fail-safe energy at a reasonable cost, then nuclear energy may once again come to the forefront. As for the time frame, the early reactors were conceived, designed, built and operated within a few short years. However, massive over-regulation was not a millstone around the neck of progress.

      • kellermfk,

        The current generation of reactors are not passively safe; active core cooling and actively cooled containments are required to prevent the fuel from melting and subsequently releasing radiation to the environment.

        No electricity generation technology, and no industry, is perfectly safe. Every technology has a risk. Nuclear is the safest way to generate electricity. If you want to penalise nuclear, you should be advocating for financial penalties for all industries for the cost of the mortality and morbidity they cause – i.e. all industries not just electricity, and not just selected technologies based on irrational beliefs about their relative risks.

      • Clarification: “However, you need to deduct the value of electricity (higher value if supplied by a reliable secure electricity system).”

        That sould read:

        However, you need to deduct the value of the deaths avoided by electricity (higher value if supplied by a reliable secure electricity system).

      • Repost in correct place (I hope)

        Clarification: “However, you need to deduct the value of electricity (higher value if supplied by a reliable secure electricity system).”

        That should read:

        However, you need to deduct the value of the deaths avoided by electricity (higher value if supplied by a reliable secure electricity system).

      • Kellermfk

        You did not respond to the three points I gave in response to you previous comment. You have simply restated your beliefs. It seems you do not understand the points I made or you ignore them.

        I’ll try a different way to explain the important point about safety. If the world applied a tax on the basis of $1 per death attributable to production by a technology (or a multiple of $1 representing the VSL per country), then the tax (world average) applicable on electricity produced by different fuel/technologies would be, in $/TWh:

        Energy Source Deaths tax ($/TWh)

        Coal electricity – world avg 60
        Coal electricity- China 90
        Coal – USA 15
        Oil 36
        Natural Gas 4
        Biofuel/Biomass 12
        Peat 12
        Solar (rooftop) 0.44
        Wind 0.15
        Hydro 0.10
        Hydro – world including Banqiao) 1.4
        Nuclear 0.09

        That is, death tax on Nuclear = $0.09/TWh, wind = $0.15/TWh, solar = $0.44/TWh, coal = $60/TWh.

        However, you need to deduct the value of electricity (higher value if supplied by a reliable secure electricity system).

      • Kellermfk,

        I should have said, I do agree with much of what you say.

        1. I agree nuclear is uncompetitive with fossil fuels in most countries – but much cheaper than unsubsidised renewables; therefore, the economically rational alternative to nuclear power is fossil fuels, not renewables.

        2. I agree the financial risk for vendors and utilities in developed countries is prohibitive – the root-cause is the anti-nuclear protest movement (since the 1960s – their fear-mongering scared the populations and caused governments to respond by imposing the impediments to progress you mention (and more).

        3. I do not agree that nuclear is less safe than any other electricity generation technology, and therefore it should not be penalised.

        4. I do not agree we should wait for new advanced reactor designs to emerge. It will take decades for them to become commercially viable if we remove the impediments to progress, and much longer if we don’t.

        5. I agree that even if we remove the legislative and regulatory impediments and if the bulk of the voters in the developed countries suddenly became strong supporters of nuclear power, it would still take decades for all the imposts already built into nuclear designs and operating reactors to wash out of the system. But that is not a valid argument to not get started and move as fast as possible.

        6. I do not agree with adding more market distortions to favour nuclear power (such as tax write offs). I suggest we should focus on removing all the market distortions and doing so in such a way that vendors and utilities can be confident they will not reemerge within the 80 year life of nuclear power plants. However, I do accept subsidies are warranted to offset the cost imposts that have been imposed since the 1960’s. These should be wound back progressively so they are all gone by the time all the imposts that have been imposed have been removed. This could take 100 years! That’s the scale of the damage the anti-nuclear protest movement has caused.

        7, Go Trump! Drain the swamp!. Make USA great again! Lead the developed world out of its decline.

      • For Peter Lang, once again spouting false statements on nuclear power.

        For those new to this, Mr. Lang and I have crossed words (not swords) on many occasions re nuclear power costs, safety, and policy. He spouts nonsense, and I provide the facts. It’s quite entertaining, for me.

        Mr. Lang asserts that nuclear plants could be built at one-tenth the present cost if only the regulations were relaxed. That is untrue, as demonstrated by almost every nuclear power plant that has been built. In fact, the steam turbine and generator alone account for ten percent of the plant installed cost. see e.g. “REDUCTION OF CAPITAL COSTS OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS,” NUCLEAR ENERGY AGENCY, ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT (2000), which is the basis for my article at the link below:

        http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2016/08/a-nuclear-nut-claims-90-percent-cost.html

        It infuriates Lang to know that I published more than 30 articles on nuclear power on my blog, and make references to same. Each shows factually and logically with impeccable data sources that nuclear power is not safe, not cheap, and not sustainable.

        Anyone can have a look, at the link below. Links to 30 of the articles on Truth About Nuclear Power are provided in the article.

        http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-30.html

      • Roger,
        While nuclear power does have issues, renewable energy is not necessarily safe, cheap or sustainable. Indeed, nuclear power is better on all three of these fronts.

        Wind turbines can throw missiles a considerable distance which means the exclusion zone (I.e. no people) is quite large. Solar takes up large tracks of land that cannot be populated (threat of electrocution and shear size of panel/structures). Both these renewable sources take out much more land area from habitation than nuclear power. This is based on say providing the same amount of energy over the course of a year (e.g. 8760 hours x 1000 megawatts).

        Both wind and solar are not cheap because of their dismal capacity factors. Absent subsidies and mandates, the technologies are financial disasters.

        The unreliable nature of wind and solar makes them dismal from a sustainability standpoint. Power cannot be supplied when needed. Rather, it is supplied when it is available.

        This is not to say renewable energy does not have virtues. Ditto for nuclear energy.

        Bottom line: use the right technology in the right place.

      • Peter Lang

        In case some readers are misled I should respond (again) to Sowell’s comment that the generators comprise 10% of the cost of nuclear plants. I have responded and refuted this point each time he has raised it on CE (which is many); apparently he doesn’t read the responses or ignores them and continues to post his misinformation. Sowell argues that because the turbines comprise around 10% of the cost of the current cost of a nuclear power plant, projection of the pre-1970’s learning rates is not valid because the whole plant could not be 10% of current costs. The turbines probably cost, roughly, a similar proportion of the the total plant costs as they have throughout the past 64 years. He doesn’t understand what learning rates meant. His point is not valid

        Here are some other points to consider:

        • The fact is, over time, innovation finds ways to improve technologies and substitute better and cheaper technologies. Nuclear plant costs were reducing at around 30% per capacity doubling until around 1970. There is no inherent technical reason why this rate would not have continued indefinitely.

        • If we apply his logic, the cost of anything could not have reduced since it was invented. We could never have advanced from James Watt’s steam engine.

        • The chart below plots Overnight Capital Cost (OCC) of all US nuclear power plants versus cumulative global capacity of all nuclear power plants (global) that entered commercial operation up to 2013.


        Source: https://judithcurry.com/2016/03/13/nuclear-power-learning-rates-policy-implications/

        • Project the blue trend line to 497 GW cumulative global capacity of construction starts (it was 497 GW at end of 2015). The projected OCC in 2015 is $349/kW. According to OECD/IEA 2015, the actual average OCC for USA in 2013 was $3,881/kW (2010 USD). Therefore, OCC of new nuclear power plants starting construction in 2015 in USA would have been 9% of what it is now if the learning rates had continued. This is what OCC would have been if the pre-reversal learning rates had continued and if the deployment was as the historical actual. However, if the accelerating deployment rate that prevailed up to about 1976 had continued to 2015, and the pre-disruption learning rate continued, the OCC of nuclear power in USA in 2015 would have been $177/kW, i.e. just 5% of what it is now.

  64. Michael Shellenberger says:

    Please Don’t Climate March

    If you are considering attending tomorrow’s climate march, I’d like to respectfully ask you not to go.

    If the march organizers get their way, they are going to destroy any chance of dealing with climate change. That’s because they are aggressively working to kill America’s nuclear power plants, which are our largest source of clean energy.

    read: http://www.environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/4/28/please-dont-climate-march

  65. Jeffrey Taft, chief architect for Cisco’s smart grid business, told me during a Wednesday panel that this challenge calls for new distributed architectures to manage “transactive loads” between generation and demand resources at both macro and micro-grid scales. Of course, he added, it’s been difficult to properly balance the mix of economic imperatives and immutable laws of physics that are involved in balancing energy generation and consumption amidst a set of independent actors operating in a market for a product that’s delivered the instant it’s produced.

    If the grid can’t be made flexible, new technologies won’t make it into the picture. Despite the complexity, it’s imperative that the industry come to common solutions for these problems — because without them, utilities will be forced to hold off on the distributed energy revolution. That’s because all of these technological, regulatory and business-case solutions to the distributed energy challenge will have to abide by one golden rule: reliability. Keeping the lights on is a utility’s core responsibility, and any innovations that threaten that reliability metric simply won’t be allowed onto the grid, Azar said.

    At the same time, utilities have to change their mindset on these challenges, said David Mohler, chief technology officer for giant U.S. utility Duke Energy. “We have to stop asking what could go wrong with this, and start asking what’s possible,” he said. https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/on-the-uncertain-edge-of-the-renewable-powered-grid

    It has become an argument about subsidies. Most of which seem double counted. The whole cost of meeting renewable targets rather than the marginal cost – or booking all loan guarantees as cost rather than just the loan defaults. It results in subsidy estimates that are patently absurd – multiples of the cost of the technology as installed. But as much as I think that subsidies have been double counted – it is irrelevant.

    In Australia the target is not being expanded and feed in tariffs are reverting to spot market prices. I even have a new stand alone grid fee on my power bill. I’d go even further and charge distributed power suppliers and wind farms the true cost of back up power.

    Let economics rule by setting true price signals – but the expansion of solar and wind generation seems inevitable.

  66. Subsidies for renewables in selected European countries, 2015 [€/MWh]
    Country France Germany UK
    bioenergy 94.85 153.68 63.13
    hydro 35.21 62.3 73.27
    solar 354.07 276.8 155.19
    wind onshore 50.98 68.82 72.26
    wind offshore – 154.58 61.53
    Source: Council of European Energy Regulators, 2017, Status Review of Renewable Support Schemes in Europe, Table 9 file:///D:/Downloads/C16-SDE-56-03%20Status%20Review%20RES%20Support%20Schemes.pdf

    • Link for Source: Council of European Energy Regulators, 2017: Status Review of Renewable Support Schemes in Europe, Table 9 :
      http://www.ceer.eu/portal/page/portal/EER_HOME/EER_PUBLICATIONS/CEER_PAPERS/Electricity/2017

    • Nuclear power has multiple subsidies in the form of:
      -direct payments for new nuclear plants of 2.3 cents per kWh generated for the first ten years (in the US), — this is US$ 2 billion for a 1000 MW plant after ten years operation,
      -complete indemnity under the Price-Anderson Act for harm caused by a radiation release (above a modest insured amount),
      -changes to safety regulations to allow continued operation,
      -new plant construction loan guarantees,
      -direct subsidies for existing plants to keep operating as a jobs-protection program, and others.

      Nuclear power itself resulted from government research, and was promoted by Eisenhower as a way to show the world that atomic power has peaceful uses, not just the terrible destruction from atomic and hydrogen bombs.

      • US federal subsidies per MWh for solar, wind and nuclear according ti EIA are:
        Solar: $231/MWh
        Wind: $35/MWh
        Nuclear: $210/MWh

      • Correction: Nuclear = $2.10/MWh

      • Rule #5 in any discussion of Nuclear power: If someone mentions the Price-Anderson Act, then they probably don’t fully understand the Price-Anderson Act.

      • For schitzree,

        “If someone mentions the Price-Anderson Act, then they probably don’t fully understand the Price-Anderson Act.”

        I’ll match my understanding of PAA against anyone. Being an attorney in the energy sector, that comes with the territory.

      • “The Energy Policy Act of 2005 provided financial incentives for the construction of advanced nuclear plants. The incentives include a 2.3 cents/kWh production tax credit (PTC) for the first 6,000 MWe of capacity in the first eight years of operation (same as that for wind), and federal loan guarantees for the project cost”

        http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/usa-nuclear-power.aspx

      • Well, I mentioned Price-Anderson as well, so Rule #5 say I ALSO probably don’t fully understand the Price-Anderson Act. ^¿^ But let’s give this a whorl.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price–Anderson_Nuclear_Industries_Indemnity_Act

        Funding and procedures
        Power reactor licensees are required by the act to obtain the maximum amount of insurance against nuclear related incidents which is available in the insurance market (as of 2017, $450 million per reactor).[2] Any monetary claims that fall within this maximum amount are paid by the insurer(s). The Price-Anderson fund, which is financed by the reactor companies themselves, is then used to make up the difference. As of September, 2013, each reactor company is obliged to contribute up to $121,255,000 per reactor in the event of an accident with claims that exceed the $450 million insurance limit. As of 2013, the maximum amount of the fund is approximately $12.61 billion ($121,255,000 X 104 reactors) if all of the reactor companies were required to pay their full obligation to the fund. This fund is not paid into unless an accident occurs. However, fund administrators are required to have contingency plans in place to raise funds using loans to the fund, so that claimants may be paid as soon as possible. Actual payments by companies in the event of an accident are capped at $18,963,000 per year until either a claim has been met, or their maximum individual liability (the $121,255,000 maximum) has been reached.[3][4] This results in a maximum combined primary+secondary coverage amount of up to $13.06 billion for a hypothetical single-reactor incident.

        All right, I give up. How is this a subsidies? It forces reactor owners to buy the largest insurance policy out there, and if an accident ever does happen that cost more then that policy pays out, it forces all reactor owners to pitch in and help pay for it. If I’m reading this right the only way the government pays a dime under Price-Anderson is if a disaster ends up costing over $13 Billion.

        For comparison the Chernobyl disaster cost $15 Billion, and I think we can safely say something like chernobyl happening in the US is more then unlikely.

        So, do you think if we offer the renewables a ‘Subsidy’ that says they all have to buy the most expensive insurance that is offered, and if one of them has a accident that costs more we’ll force all of them to help pay for it, that they’ll go for it?

        ~¿~

    • Peter,

      Have you looked at CO2 sequestration through Enhanced Oil Recovery, which seems to offer (at least technically) the prospect of preserving liquid fossil fuels in the energy equation for, e.g., transportation, but making it carbon neutral or negative? The key, of course, is getting the economics of CCS right!

      There is no doubt that fossil fuels will deplete long term – that cannot be changed – but what can be changed is the management of this transition to make it as risk-free technically and economically as possible. Given the massive scale, efficiency and value of infrastructure already built around oil, with no credible replacement that I can see, any path that has the potential to make oil carbon neutral is worthy of serious consideration. We can then roll out existing nuclear for electricity in a mix with existing coal and existing natural gas, retain existing oil for transportation, existing natural gas for heating, all with CO2 reductions.

      There is an interesting paper by IEA looking at this option: –

      https://www.iea.org/publications/insights/insightpublications/Storing_CO2_through_Enhanced_Oil_Recovery.pdf

      • Andre,

        I have looked only superficially at CO2 sequestration with enhanced oil recovery. Having had some limited involvement with Hot Fractured Rock Geothermal, and a background in geotechnical engineering, I doubt CCS of any description can sequester a significant proportion of global CO2 emissions. Furthermore, it seems it can only become economic if it becomes a global industry, like oil and gas. And the safety risks are much higher than with nuclear.

        You say:

        Given the massive scale, efficiency and value of infrastructure already built around oil, with no credible replacement that I can see, any path that has the potential to make oil carbon neutral is worthy of serious consideration.

        I’d make two points:

        1. I am not persuaded that GHG emissions will do more harm than good, overall, so I am not concerned about CO2 emissions. I am concerned about:
        – sustainable, highest possible economic growth rate for the world
        – secure, reliable, cheap energy supplies for all countries
        – conserving fossil fuels for other uses in the future
        – minimising harmful pollution (but I am not persuaded CO2 emissions are harmful)

        2. I believe there is a “credible replacement” process that could supply the world with the same transport fuels we use now, and with the only change in infrastructure required being the production and processing end of the process. The cfredible replacement process is production of petrol, diesel, jet fuel – and any other hydrocarbon fuel you want – from seawater using cheap nuclear power. Both the US Navy Research Laboratories and Audi have been investigating this and both have estimated the production cost at $3-$6 per gallon using currently available technologies. Th cost would decline as the process develops and as the cost of energy and hydrogen (from nuclear power plants) decreases. Here is a clearly explained post on this (with links to source material):
        John Morgan (2012) “Zero Emissions jet fuel from seawater“: https://bravenewclimate.com/2013/01/16/zero-emission-synfuel-from-seawater/

        And here is an independent cost estimate of the Audi diesel proposal:
        Is Audi’s carbon neutral diesel a game-changerhttp://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2015/04/30/is-audis-carbon-neutral-diesel-a-game-changer/

        Both these analyses assume the hydrogen is produced by electrolysis of sea water. But the hydrogen can be produced much more cheaply with high temperature nuclear reactors. This alone could reduce the estimated costs of the Audi diesel and the US Navy jet fuel by 50%.

        Furthermore, these fuels do not have the many unwanted ingredients and pollutants that are present in transport fuels produced from oil by conventional processes.

    • “wind offshore – 154.58 61.53,” € per MWh, France – Germany – UK

      Does not match at all the actual costs of offshore wind energy as demonstrated by the Nordsee One wind project, offshore Germany. Nordsee One has 6 MW turbines with 54 turbines total to produce combined 332 MW. The first turbine began operating and sending power into the grid in late March, 2017. Full operation is anticipated by 4Q 2017.

      Fully costed, unsubsidized operation for Nordsee One is only $81 / MWh, or approximately €72/ MWh, not the 154.58 €/MWh that Lang stated above.

      http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2017/03/offshore-wind-power-comparison-1991-to.html

      • Peter Lang

        The subsidies are not the costs. The subsidies are the subsidies. no subsidies no wind farms.

      • The unsubsidized, fully-costed cost of offshore wind is already $81 / MWh, far below the cost of best-in-class nuclear power – as clearly evidenced by the financial fiascos in Finland and France at Flamanville, also the just-begun twin reactor plant in UK at Hinkley Point C.

        Wind power just keeps getting better and better, cheaper and cheaper, with higher annual capacity factors each year.

        The Germans know this and have mandated the installation of 15,000 MW of offshore wind for their grid. Hats off to the Germans!

      • Peter Lang

        Don’t you understand basics? The subsidies are subsidies, they are not the costs.

        The subsidies are what the governments are paying, and consumers are forced to pay as subsidies. If you want to show that EIA, the US Government and the European government agencies numbers are wrong, you have a hell of a task in front of you.

        You also have not included anywhere near all the costs of renewables integration in the grid, and don’t seem to understand that they supply low value, unreliable power. They would not exist if not for the subsidies.

        Your problem is you are a gullible, and you believe the misinformation the anti-nuclear protesters have been spreading for the past 50 years. And you won’t listen. You are incapable of a rational discussion about the relevant facts.

      • “The unsubsidized, fully-costed cost of offshore wind is already $81 / Mwh…”

        Let’s say a coal power plant had a 90% up time. It’s there 90% of the time. And your wind had a 60% up time.

        $81/0.6 = $135 / Mwh

        If the coal power plant was also at $81 per we’d have:

        $81/0.9 = $91 / Mwh

        My calculation may not be the right way to do it, but it’s movement in the right direction I think.

        Also PE talked about:
        “Conventional Rotating Generators Support the Grid in Ways That Solar and Wind Do Not…”
        That 50 – 60 Hertz thing.

        Planning Engineer if you are around, I have a question for you.
        Say we are at 95% rotating generators at a certain time. Does the 5% of renewables being pushed onto the grid, get formed into the proper frequency? Does it yield to the attributes, call it a sine wave of the 95%? Are there any significant losses if it does?

      • Some perspective. Energy subsidies in the US add up to $16 billion. This is 0.1% of GDP. Pocket change in the budget, and well worth the pollution they save.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_subsidies

      • jimd

        Oh come on now, whilst I may be distracted by the British elections I am not THAT distracted. Quoting Wiki is on a par with quoting Huffpo.

        Here is the latest person to change the page you cite;

        “I am Joshua Issac. I am a British Indian student reading Pure Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Birmingham, originally from Cochin, India.

        I have been a registered editor on Wikipedia since late-2006. I am interested in, and contribute mainly to, topics in computing (including computational biology, software and programming languages), history (demographic, military and political), mathematics, science (astrophysics, biology, computing, geography, linguistics), literature (ancient literature and science fiction) and religion (Christianity, Judaism and folk religion).

        I was formerly an administrator on the English Wikipedia Account Creation Interface, but I am no longer active there. I occasionally edit Wiktionary, Wikiversity and the Malayalam Wikipedia.”

        So Jos**ua Issacs, a student from Britain is an expert of the US subsidy system because…….?

        The subsidies in the UK are said to be much greater than the 16 Billion you cite, so presumably the size of the US economy will reflect a far larger amount than the 16 Billion. I am not commenting on whether the notion of a subsidy is right or wrong, just the source and the amount

        Now, back to the intriguing results of the British local elections and the two fingers they appear to have given to the EU.

        tonyb

      • JIMD

        I have reposted this as I accidentally included a banned word….
        —- —- —–
        Oh come on now, whilst I may be distracted by the British elections I am not THAT distracted. Quoting Wiki is on a par with quoting Huffpo.

        Here is the latest person to change the page you cite;

        “I am J**hua Issac. I am a British Indian student reading Pure Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Birmingham, originally from Cochin, India.

        I have been a registered editor on Wikipedia since late-2006. I am interested in, and contribute mainly to, topics in computing (including computational biology, software and programming languages), history (demographic, military and political), mathematics, science (astrophysics, biology, computing, geography, linguistics), literature (ancient literature and science fiction) and religion (Christianity, Judaism and folk religion).

        I was formerly an administrator on the English Wikipedia Account Creation Interface, but I am no longer active there. I occasionally edit Wiktionary, Wikiversity and the Malayalam Wikipedia.”

        So Jos**ua Issacs, a student from Britain is an expert of the US subsidy system because…….?

        The subsidies in the UK are said to be much greater than the 16 Billion you cite, so presumably the size of the US economy will reflect a far larger amount than the 16 Billion. I am not commenting on whether the notion of a subsidy is right or wrong, just the source and the amount

        Now, back to the intriguing results of the British local elections and the two fingers they appear to have given to the EU.

        tonyb

      • climatereason, instead of complaining you need to find an alternative number. Why are you so upset that subsidies for energy are such a small percentage of GDP? Isn’t that what you want? If you can research who last might have changed a word on a wikipedia page (not necessarily the number I quoted), you can find out what the US subsidy level is. I checked that the number I gave is also somewhat consistent with US total MWh and subsidies per MWh quoted earlier. These subsidies, though small, keep consumer prices down, which is a good thing.

      • For Peter Lang,

        re “Don’t you understand basics? The subsidies are subsidies, they are not the costs.”

        I fully understand the design issues, economics, financing, and all the rest. It is you, sadly, that cannot see what is plainly in front of you.

        Consider this: Since the data clearly shows that €72/ MWh is sufficient to give an offshore wind plant investor in the Nordsee area a decent return (10 percent per annum), does it make any sense in any world for your statement that subsidies are €154.58 /MWh?

        How about you understanding that for basics?

        You are so blinded by the false statements of the nuclear advocates (if only the plants had fewer regulations, they would be built for one-tenth their present cost!!! — that is but one of the howlers you have stated over the past couple of years) — you cannot and will not accept any factual data on the relative merits and risks of nuclear vs wind.

      • JIMD

        Complain? No I merely pointed out the figure appeared suspect.

        I am also not upset at the size of subsidies as I also said

        ” I am not commenting on whether the notion of a subsidy is right or wrong, just the source and the amount ‘

        As you should know by now I am certainly not against the notion of renewables, just that the correct ones need to be used according to the appropriate circumstances and by now they should be able to stand on their own two feet.

        For example, in the UK, Solar has been extensively deployed. Being an expat you know how little sun we get-some 1700 hours a year in the sunnier places. In California they might be a terrific idea.
        tonyb

      • The UK has the nuclear option, and can plan with that as a part of it, which it is Germany’s mistake not to. They may not have much sun in the winter, but they do have a lot of wind, and Scotland is taking advantage of it. The UK recently went a day with zero coal burning, which will increase in frequency. They appear to be decommissioning North Sea platforms, so that seems to be past peak. I was just over there in recent weeks. At least their government is more forward thinking on the required energy transition than the US one.

      • jimd

        you said;

        ‘The UK recently went a day with zero coal burning, which will increase in frequency’

        No it didn’t, as all the coal fired power stations were burning coal on standby. The vast majority of the energy came from Gas fired stations.

        As you know the UK goes for long periods without sun or wind. This is most common in the winter when a high pressure system is in the wrong place. That is just when we need the most energy of course

        As far as renewables go the answer for us is to use tidal/wave power but that has been overlooked in favour of windmills and the sun.
        tonyb

      • The day without coal was highly publicized so you will have noticed surely.
        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/21/britain-set-for-first-coal-free-day-since-the-industrial-revolution
        It is a sign of things to come. The future is in renewables plus combinations of nuclear, storage and biomass as backups after the fossil fuels are replaced.

      • Wikipedia on energy subsidies:
        “…tax credit; accelerated depreciation allowances on energy supply equipment.”

        Most equipment is 5 year property. It is written off by almost 100% of companies large and small.
        ½ year in first year usually, then 4 years, then ½ in the last.
        In year 1 you get half of what you would’ve got. It’s a simplification rather than having 12 different amounts depending on which month you place the equipment in service.

        If ExxonMobil places equipment in service and uses section 168, they’ll get accelerated depreciation. But what is the total write off over the 6 years? It is the same. This is a subsidy as much as a payday loan is.

        This is simple stuff and anyone saying accelerated depreciation is a subsidy isn’t trying to be fair or report on reality.

        Guess what, a for profit can do with solar panels? Please find me something from the IRS saying for profit solar, not you, cannot use section 168 bonus depreciation.

        Wikipedia is vague on what credits? Others have written that the foreign tax credit in not a subsidy and it is not. Many companies and individuals take the same credit. If BP withholds 20% of your dividend as you live in the United States, in some cases with aftertax accounts, you are going to take a credit that might equal that. This avoids being taxed by 2 countries on the same income. Our states with income taxes will usually do something similar (there are exceptions). Are we going to call that a subsidy?

      • JimD

        Of course I noticed it was highly publicised, which is why I was shouting at the BBC news for most of the day.

        But the main thrust of the story was that no coal was burnt in British power stations for the first time since the industrial revolution. This is not true. Plenty of coal was burnt in power stations in case the wind didn’t blow and the sun didn’t shine. Its just that it was in effect wasted as it was not translated to energy.

        Until renewable energy can be cheaply stored it can not be relied on for cheap base power only an expensive add on.

        As I say, wave/tidal energy is the way to go for an island

        tonyb

      • The three largest fossil fuel subsidies were:
        1. Foreign tax credit ($15.3 billion)
        2. Credit for production of non-conventional fuels ($14.1 billion)
        3. Oil and Gas exploration and development expense ($7.1 billion)

        1. See my above.
        2. This one is hard to figure out. Perhaps it should be scaled back.
        3. http://www.investopedia.com/articles/fundamental-analysis/08/oil-gas.asp

        Long story short for development expense. Either capitalize or write off now these expense. What is a capitalized, I’ll call an asset. This asset is an expense waiting to happen. It is written off over future years. It appears it’s a 5 year life. I am outside my area of knowledge here. So this timing difference of 5 or so years is claimed to be a subsidy. It is not one.

      • Peter Lang

        Sowell says

        Consider this: Since the data clearly shows that €72/ MWh is sufficient to give an offshore wind plant investor in the Nordsee area a decent return (10 percent per annum), does it make any sense in any world for your statement that subsidies are €154.58 /MWh?

        How about you understanding that for basics?

        Sowell misunderstands and misrepresents the cost estiamtes. He ignores that the wind farm has to be mandated by government and subsidised or it does not get built. The EIA figures show that the subsidies for wind power are are some 17 times higher for wind tnha for nuclear and 160 times higher for solar than nuclear. These figures are actually spent by the US Federal government. European subsidies are similarly huge.

        In a previous comment Sowell said:

        Wind power just keeps getting better and better, cheaper and cheaper, with higher annual capacity factors each year.

        The Germans know this and have mandated the installation of 15,000 MW of offshore wind for their grid. Hats off to the Germans!

        If wind power is economic why do the Germans have to mandate it, as well as subsidizing it by €69/MWh?

      • Peter Lang

        TonyB and Ragnaar,

        Regarding subsidies for renewables, EIA https://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf says:

        Renewables (excluding biofuels) received 72% of all electricity-related subsidies and support in FY 2013 (see Table ES3 and Table ES4), yet accounted for 13% of total generation in calendar year 2013.

        The EIA figures for US federal subsides in 2013 were:
        Coal: $1.075 billion
        Nuclear: $1.660 billion
        Renewables (excluding biomass): 13.227 billion
        Grid: $9.124 billion

        However, these numbers do not include all the federal subsides, and they do not include any of the state and local government subsidies, mandates and favourable regulations that distort the markets in favour of renewables. Nor do they include the distortions that favour renewables by severely negatively impacting the economics of nuclear power and the financial risk of investing in new nuclear plants.

  67. French Academy challenges national energy policy

    The French Academy of Sciences has issued a report questioning national energy policy, and pointing out that contrary to a July 2016 law, the country cannot reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also reducing its reliance on nuclear power. The belief that it might “be possible to massively develop renewable energies as a means of decarbonizing the system by ridding it of both fossil fuels and nuclear energy” is challenged. Some basic facts are presented, the obvious need for dispatchable capacity is underlined, and the country’s CO2 emissions are compared with Germany’s, which are over six times as much per kilowatt-hour. “Nuclear energy is objectively the most effective way to reduce the share of fossil fuels in the production of electricity.” Furthermore, “many studies show that the total share of renewable energies in the electricity mix cannot go beyond 30-40% without leading to an exorbitant cost of electricity and increasing emissions of greenhouse gases.” France already gets 10.5% of its electericity from hydro, which is dispatchable, so the issue is with intermittent wind and solar possibly providing 20-30%.”
    WNN 21/4/17. France

    • From memory, if France reduced nuclear’s share of electricity from 76% to 50%, and replaced it with renewables and gas, emissions intensity of electricity would increase from the current 44 g/kWh to 150 g/kWh.

  68. The winning strategy isn’t arguing the “science,” the winning strategy is arguing that the benefits don’t justify the costs. The benefits of fighting climate change are estimated to be measured in a fraction of a Degree C change in global temperature a hundred or more years in the future. The cost of preventing that highly speculative Degree C increase in global temperature is measured in percentages of world GDP. The speculative benefits simply don’t justify the costs.
    https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2017/04/29/the-winning-climate-change-strategy-isnt-debating-science-it-is-arguing-politics/

  69. Re Secretary of Energy Perry’s 4-14 memo, my full blog post on this is here:

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2017/04/electrical-grids-coal-fired-baseload.html

    Excerpts:

    This 4-14 Memo is quite interesting for what it says, and what it does not say. Others have reacted (apoplectically and hysterically, in some cases) to the absence of the word “environment” or derivatives thereof.

    The Secretary did use the words reliable and resilient, affordability and fuel assurance, technologically advanced, affect the economy and national security, diminishing diversity of generation mix, changing nature of electricity fuel mix, previous policies to decrease coal-fired power generation, market-distorting effects of federal subsidies, regulatory burdens, but no mention of environment.

    First, the overview of what the Secretary is doing here. This is entirely my judgment and not based on any insider information. This 4-14 memo is part of the President’s policy and campaign promises to revive the US coal industry. Most of the coal production has provided electric power in conventional, Rankine-cycle steam power plants. Recent regulatory changes by the Obama administration resulted in many coal-fired power plants closing. Essentially, the coal-fired plants closed because they are now required to remove various pollutants from their stack gases, but cannot afford to retrofit the plants with the pollution control equipment. This is a part of the “regulatory burden” the Secretary referred to.

    The balance of the intent is to study grid reliability as baseload power is reduced, primarily from coal-fired plant closures. For background, in recent years the overall US grid has had a few nuclear and many coal-fired plants retired, with natural gas-fired plants, solar, and wind power plants installed.

    So, there is the intent: can the policies of former administrations that brought abrupt closure of so many coal-fired power plants have an adverse affect on grid reliability, resiliency, and electricity affordability? Next, how can the Trump administration justify bringing back coal-fired power?

    The 4-14 memo lists fuel assurance, which is a topic that has several aspects. Most notably, this concerns the variability of wind and solar power. This is no surprise, wind has always varied, and the sun’s intensity at the ground is affected by many factors including season, and clouds. In fact, a notable event will occur in California’s solar plants this year as a total eclipse of the sun occurs in August.

    Coal-fired plants are touted as having substantial fuel assurance with 80 days or more fuel supply stockpiled at the plant. This is not always true, as coal deliveries are affected by rail shortages, shipping delays due to ice on lakes, and other reasons.

    The major unknown at present is the technology for grid-scale batteries. SLB has several articles on grid-scale storage and batteries. The fact is, such batteries already exist and are operating in many locations. The problem today is their high cost to install. That cost is steadily declining, however. Also, new battery technologies are in research and development. Great advances are being made.

    The coal-fired power industry, and all those involved from mining, transportation, power plant design and construction, pollution control systems supply, and plant operation, all are keenly aware of the dramatic transformation that awaits when, not if, such batteries do achieve reduced costs for installation.

    Such batteries then allow wind and solar power to be stored as that power is produced, then fed back into the grid on demand for load-following or even baseload power.

    • David Springer

      Cost effective grid scale battery that actually works…

    • Battery economics are very good when input power is free or at a negative price, and the output power replaces a simple cycle gas turbine peaker plant.

      This is not news; every utility knows this. That is exactly what Southern California Edison is doing with their 20 MW / 80 MWh grid-scale battery installation that replaces a peaker power plant. Input power is solar, which is already near the curtailment point in Southern California.

      • Beta Blocker

        Roger Sowell: “…….. The state (California) does not have very much, if any, untapped wind resources left, so the new installations will be solar. The economics of solar thermal are not as good as solar PV, therefore the new installations will be solar PV. …..”

        Wind power advocates discount the need for huge volumes of grid-scale energy storage, saying that “the wind is always blowing somewhere.”

        We can say with some certainty the wind is always blowing somewhere in the state of California. I find it difficult to understand why California has reached the limits of its own untapped wind energy resources; i.e., those which exist within its own state borders or along its coastline if we include offshore wind resources.

        Roger, could you give us some insight as to why untapped wind power resources are approaching their limits in California?

        André Friedli: “…… As far as I can discern from various documents I’ve found on the PG&E website, they have plenty to wiggle-room to do pretty much whatever they want under the rubric of grid integrity and demand response. California has placed an upper limit of 2% on “emergency” standby generation capacity for utilities, and PG&E are already up to their limit, but demand response generation falls under a different category and is definitely anticipated as growing. …… “

        My anti-nuclear, pro-renewable relatives now living in California believe it is only the entrenched opposition of well-financed nuclear and fossil fuel interests which prevents America’s rapid transition into a mostly wind and solar energy future.

        They believe the transition to a wind & solar powered energy grid could be made in two decades or less using current technology, and at an affordable cost — but only if the many roadblocks now being thrown up by nuclear and fossil fuel interests can be overcome.

        Today’s approach to energy regulation is byzantine, to say the least. It attempts to balance energy cost issues, energy reliability issues, energy availability issues, energy-related health issues, environmental protection issues, and to some extent, social justice issues.

        If you look at the complicated regulatory environment PG&E faces inside California, there is no practical way each and every one of the state’s many regulatory statutes could be revised in ways that might encourage a more rapid adoption of wind and solar through selective prioritization of competing regulatory issues..

        IMHO, the only way these many regulatory roadblocks can be overcome is to create a regulatory oversight Super Agency in California which can examine every decision all other state agencies and regulatory boards make, and which has authority to modify or reverse those decisions which the Super Agency judges to be roadblocks to the quick adoption of renewable energy technology.

      • For Beta Blocker,

        “Wind power advocates discount the need for huge volumes of grid-scale energy storage, saying that “the wind is always blowing somewhere.” “

        That is indeed what they say, and it is somewhat true. The problem is, the wind is not sufficiently strong in enough places to fully rely on wind power alone. The electrical engineers, especially the IEEE publications, have thoroughly covered this dimension of wind power. Hence, the need for grid-scale storage.

        “We can say with some certainty the wind is always blowing somewhere in the state of California.”

        As before, the wind is not nearly sufficiently strong in nearly enough places in California. More on that below.

        “I find it difficult to understand why California has reached the limits of its own untapped wind energy resources; i.e., those which exist within its own state borders or along its coastline if we include offshore wind resources.”

        My comments on reaching the limit of California’s wind resources are based on the fact that California has but three onshore areas where wind turbines are economic at this time. Those three are rather well-known: the Altamont Pass (East of San Francisco), Tehachapi Pass (north of Los Angeles), and Banning Pass (between Los Angeles and Palm Springs along I-10).

        Each of the passes is a gentle slope to a saddle in a low mountain range, so that the prevailing winds are concentrated in the pass. Altamont, Tehachapi, and Banning all run east-west, and collect the wind energy as the west wind blows.

        A map of US wind resources shows those are the only areas onshore in California with sufficient average wind. see e.g. the 50-meter high wind resource map by NREL at

        http://www.nrel.gov/gis/pdfs/windsmodel4pub1-1-9base200904enh.pdf

        Also, an 80-meter high US wind resource map is found at
        http://apps2.eere.energy.gov/wind/windexchange/wind_maps.asp

        The 80-meter onshore California map is found at
        http://apps2.eere.energy.gov/wind/windexchange/wind_resource_maps.asp?stateab=ca

        A 90 meter offshore California map is found at
        http://apps2.eere.energy.gov/wind/windexchange/windmaps/offshore_states.asp?stateab=ca

        The offshore wind resources in northern California near Cape Mendocino are some of the best in the entire US, however. As is the usual case with offshore wind farms, the strong winds, difficult seas, and relatively deep water make the economics of offshore wind at Cape Mendocino and surrounding areas unattractive. There is also the high cost issue of long transmission lines, and expensive high-voltage transformers to bring the wind energy from remote Mendocino to the power-hungry cities in the Bay Area.

        Finally, the environmentalists would raise serious roadblocks to wind turbines installed offshore anywhere in California.

        “Roger, could you give us some insight as to why untapped wind power resources are approaching their limits in California?”

        As above, the only three areas that are economic onshore are already built up. It is certainly possible that wind retrofits will occur, with taller and bigger wind turbines replacing older, smaller, less efficient turbines. However, the amount of wind energy from onshore will likely not increase much with such investments, perhaps to 5 GW rather than the present 4 GW.

    • Beta Blocker

      Roger, I will ask the same question of you that I asked of Planning Engineer in a previous comment up above

      In their public announcements concerning their decision to close the Diablo Canyon nuclear station by 2025, PG&E’s management states that Diablo’s output will be replaced by a combination of wind, solar, and energy conservation.

      As I said to Planning Engineer, the rumor I’m hearing is that PG&E’s actual plan — as opposed to the one they’ve announced publicly — is to replace the great bulk of Diablo’s capacity with gas-fired generation. The renewable energy technology and the energy conservation measures which PG&E talks up as the foundation of their plan will play only a relatively minor role in taking up the slack.

      I ask the same question of you that I asked of Planning Engineer:

      To your knowledge, does California have enough regulatory authority to demand PG&E replace Diablo Canyon only with the renewables and with energy conservation measures; and further, to directly and explicitly prevent PG&E from placing greater reliance on natural gas for servicing California’s electricity demand?

      • Beta Blocker: “To your knowledge, does California have enough regulatory authority to demand PG&E replace Diablo Canyon only with the renewables and with energy conservation measures”

        As far as I can discern from various documents I’ve found on the PG&E website, they have plenty to wiggle-room to do pretty much whatever they want under the rubric of grid integrity and demand response. California has placed an upper limit of 2% on “emergency” standby generation capacity for utilities, and PG&E are already up to their limit, but demand response generation falls under a different category and is definitely anticipated as growing.

        Here is a good place to start if you want to take a look for yourself: –

        https://www.pge.com/en_US/about-pge/company-information/regulation/general-rate-case/materials.page

        Also, the “Demand Response” case stuff from here: –

        https://pgera.azurewebsites.net/Regulation/search

      • For Beta Blocker, you asked me:

        “. . .does California have enough regulatory authority to demand PG&E replace Diablo Canyon only with the renewables and with energy conservation measures; and further, to directly and explicitly prevent PG&E from placing greater reliance on natural gas for servicing California’s electricity demand?”

        The short answer is probably Not. The long answer is more complex.

        Renewables generation in California are regulated under multiple regulations, including (but not limited to) the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard). see http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/RPS_Homepage/

        The law requires PG&E (and other Public Owned Utilities) to procure 33 percent of their power sold in 2020 from renewable sources. PG&E is reported to already have under contract 43 percent renewables for 2020.

        The next milestone for RPS is 50 percent by 2030. Clearly, PG&E must find a source of more renewable energy to meet the 50 percent requirement. With Diablo Canyon nuclear to close the reactors in 2024 and 2025, that gives PG&E an opportunity to obtain approximately 2,200 MW of power from renewable sources. However, RPS does not work on installed capacity, it requires kWh delivered to be from renewables.

        As most everyone knows (and detractors cannot stop shouting it), wind and solar renewable power do not run 24/7, they have approximately 25 percent annual capacity factor in California. Thus, about 8,800 MW of either wind, solar, or both, would be required to replace the retired nuclear output. However, installing that much renewables would likely create grid issues, and put PG&E in the 60-percent range for RPS.

        The state does not have very much, if any, untapped wind resources left, so the new installations will be solar. The economics of solar thermal are not as good as solar PV, therefore the new installations will be solar PV.

        The main point is that solar PV must have some form of backup due to intermittency with sunshine. Those aspects are well known, from night, to clouds in daytime, to seasonal variation, to solar eclipses (a big one is coming in August 2017), and to normal outages for maintenance.

        The usual backup in California is natural gas-fired plants that use combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) technology. Indeed, CA law requires a minimum efficiency for fossil power plants that essentially dictates that only CCGT can be built. Therefore, it is safe to conclude at this time that PG&E will very likely build, or purchase power from, approximately 8 to 10 GW of new solar PV in the next 7 to 8 years. That will also require the installation of some amount of gas-fired CCGT.

        The situation would change if and when grid-scale batteries (or other storage) are sufficiently economic to be installed for baseload power. As I wrote above, the economics are already good for peaker power plants. Whether the battery installed cost declines sufficiently by 2022, when investment decisions must be made, of course is not yet known.

        I do not always agree with what Planning Engineer writes, but on one thing we do agree: a large amount of solar power on a grid creates the problematic Duck Curve. California is already managing very well with a substantial Duck Curve, with recent numbers showing thermal generation in mid-day at 11 GW and 26 GW at the peak 8 hours later (data from 4/29/2017).

        However, if an additional 8 to 10 GW of solar generation is installed, the grid would have thermal generation of 2 to 3 GW in mid-day, then must produce 26 GW only 8 hours later. That is a problem for the grid planners and operators. It remains to be seen how all this will play out.

      • Re Diablo Canyon nuclear plant shutdown in 2024 and 2025 and ramifications to the grid from that, here is a link to an article I wrote on that when the plan was announced almost one year ago.

        http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2016/06/california-to-close-diablo-canyon.html

        Excerpts:

        “The state has ample sunshine that presently produces approximately 8000 MW at noon (recent data from CAISO) – (Note, it is now up to 9,700 MW in April, 2017). With a total annual power demand of 300,000 GWh, half by renewables then is 150,000 GWh. Wind and other non-solar renewables in 2014 produced 34,000 GWh, leaving 116,000 GWh for solar to produce. With the annual average capacity factor for California utility-scale solar of 26 percent (per EIA and California Energy Commission), the state would then require 51,000 MW of solar installed.

        And there lies the problem. The solar arrays would produce too much power for the grid to absorb on any given sunny day. 51,000 MW of solar output greatly exceeds the typical summer day’s peak demand of 35,000 MW. What, then, to do with all that mandated solar power? One solution, already proposed and under consideration, is to store at least a portion of the solar energy output as hot oil, or molten salt, to be used to produce electricity later at night.

        Yet another is to increase the pumped storage hydroelectric capacity in the state, and store the energy by pumping water into elevated lakes. A third solution is to store some of the excess solar energy in grid-scale batteries. A fourth solution is to store some of the excess solar energy in gravity-based heavy rail storage systems, as the ARES system in Nevada will do when construction is complete.

        A fifth solution is to split water via electrolysis, store the hydrogen for later and produce electricity when needed via fuel cells; and sixth, have a multitude of electric vehicles on smart chargers to charge the batteries with excess power. “

      • Who is going to pay for all that storage in California?

      • Beta Blocker

        Roger and Andre, my two responses are up above, having been attached upstream of where I should have put them.

    • Batteries are making huge leaps of progress. Of course they are. Just around the corner!!

  70. The Dangers of Optimism
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anxiety-files/201110/the-dangers-optimism

    “positivity characterized by greater risk taking. This is based on an exaggeration of current and future resources (“I have all the money, the sex appeal, the brilliance”), over-estimation of ability to persevere and replicate (“I can do whatever it takes to make it work”), over-estimates of the utility of gains (“I will really enjoy the wonderful things that come with this”), underestimation of the negative disutility of costs (“The costs won’t be that painful”), discounting of costs (“There won’t be any costs”), over-emphasis of the value and predictability of current information (“I know what’s going to happen”), and the perception of the urgency to obtain gains (“I need it now and I can get it now”).

  71. Upthread, kellermfk said:

    To make a significant quantum improvement, nuclear needs to be significantly passively safer

    This demonstrates the fundamental problem stalling humanity from making the next giant leap human well-being. It will inevitably come, eventually, but has been stalled for 50 years by that anti-nuke protest movement and the fear-mongering they practice. Unfortunately, most people are scared stiff of nuclear power. They think it is unsafe. In fact, nuclear power is the cheapest way to generate electricity http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html. It is also the only sustainable energy source known – the fuel is effectively unlimited and it has about the lowest environmental impact of all energy sources.

    Furthermore, if not for the delay caused by the anti-nuclear protest movement over the past 50 years, nuclear power could now be 10 times cheaper and some 50 times safer than it is (and as said above it is already the safest way to generate electricity). Some might ask, what’s the basis for the 20 times safer? It’s from drawing a parallel with another complex system that also has a high level of public concern about safety – air travel.

    The aviation industry provides an example of technology and safety improvements achieved over a similar period in another complex system with high public concern about safety: from 1960 to 2013, US aviation passenger-miles increased by a factor of 19 while aviation passenger safety (reduction in fatalities per passenger-mile) increased by a factor of 1051 (US Department of Transportation, 2016), a learning rate of 87% for passenger safety.

  72. Kellermfk

    Further to my previous comment on death taxes, if we assume for simplicity the value of a statistical life is $1 million, the death tax per electricity generation technology in $/MWh is the same as the numbers I posted in the list of death taxes per TWh. Therefore, the LCOE of each technology would need to be increased by ($/MWh):
    Nuclear: $0.09
    Wind: $0.15
    Solar: $0.44
    Gas: $4.00
    Coal: $60.00

    These are global averages. For coal in USA add $15/MWh

    The key point is that nuclear is the safest way to generate electricity. If we want to argue to penalise nuclear for its health and safety risks, then it would seem fair we should also argue for higher penalties for other technologies. Would you agree?

  73. David Wojick

    The New York Times has a funny article on the need to disavow climate alarmists. I was surprised, until I figured it out. If they want to have a “conversation” on climate policy with the Trump Administration then they need to disinvite the radical activists, at least at the policy table.

    But notice this:
    First they quote “Whoever says he’s 100 percent right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal.”
    But then later they say “…the modest (0.85 degrees Celsius, or about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warming of the Northern Hemisphere since 1880 is indisputable, as is the human influence on that warming…”

    Which is two claims to be 100% right! Both are actually subject to deep scientific debate. They cannot learn.

    Here are the key passages (I do not have a link for it):

    Climate of Complete Certainty
    Bret Stephens
    nytimes.com | April 28, 2017

    “When someone is honestly 55 percent right, that’s very good and there’s no use wrangling. And if someone is 60 percent right, it’s wonderful, it’s great luck, and let him thank God. But what’s to be said about 75 percent right? Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100 percent right? Whoever says he’s 100 percent right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal.”
    — An old Jew of Galicia >

    Long snip

    With me so far? Good. Let’s turn to climate change.

    Last October, the Pew Research Center published a survey on the politics of climate change. Among its findings: Just 36 percent of Americans care “a great deal” about the subject. Despite 30 years of efforts by scientists, politicians and activists to raise the alarm, nearly two-thirds of Americans are either indifferent to or only somewhat bothered by the prospect of planetary calamity.

    Why? The science is settled. The threat is clear. Isn’t this one instance, at least, where 100 percent of the truth resides on one side of the argument?

    Well, not entirely. As Andrew Revkin wrote last year about his storied career as an environmental reporter at The Times, “I saw a widening gap between what scientists had been learning about global warming and what advocates were claiming as they pushed ever harder to pass climate legislation.” The science was generally scrupulous. The boosters who claimed its authority weren’.

    Anyone who has read the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change knows that, while the modest (0.85 degrees Celsius, or about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warming of the Northern Hemisphere since 1880 is indisputable, as is the human influence on that warming, much else that passes as accepted fact is really a matter of probabilities. That’s especially true of the sophisticated but fallible models and simulations by which scientists attempt to peer into the climate future. To say this isn’t to deny science. It’s to acknowledge it honestly.

    By now I can almost hear the heads exploding. They shouldn’t, because there’s another lesson here — this one for anyone who wants to advance the cause of good climate policy. As Revkin wisely noted, hyperbole about climate not only didn’t fit the science at the time but could even be counterproductive if the hope was to engage a distracted public.

    Let me put it another way. Claiming total certainty about the science traduces the spirit of science and creates openings for doubt whenever a climate claim proves wrong. Demanding abrupt and expensive changes in public policy raises fair questions about ideological intentions. Censoriously asserting one’s moral superiority and treating skeptics as imbeciles and deplorables wins few converts.

    None of this is to deny climate change or the possible severity of its consequences. But ordinary citizens also have a right to be skeptical of an overweening scientism. They know — as all environmentalists should — that history is littered with the human wreckage of scientific errors married to political power.

    I’ve taken the epigraph for this column from the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, who knew something about the evils of certitude. …. Perhaps if there were less certitude about our climate future, more Americans would be interested in having a reasoned conversation about it.

    End of NYT article.

    • Beta Blocker

      David, repeating myself for the nth time — too many times even for me myself to keep track of — public debate over the validity of today’s climate science will not reach a critical mass until and unless real sacrifices are being demanded of the American people.

      Sooner or later, the Democrats will be back in power in Washington DC. At which point the insurgent climate science of the Republicans will be replaced by the mainstream climate science of the Democrats.

      Once they are back in power, if the Democrats push for a tax on carbon and start pushing the kinds of energy policies that will actually produce large-scale and long-lasting GHG emission reductions — in other words, policies that demand significant personal life-style and economic sacrifices on the part of the voting public — only then will the public debate move beyond the narrow confines of the Internet into the general political consciousness of the average voter.

    • David Wojick

      Extremist warmer’s response is hysterical (in both senses — insane and funny):
      http://nypost.com/2017/04/28/times-columnist-blasted-by-nasty-left-for-climate-change-piece/

      http://nypost.com/2017/05/01/times-subscribers-are-fleeing-in-wake-of-climate-change-column/

      Also predictable, being thrown under the policy bus and all that.

  74. “Hybrid systems combine the advantages of ESP and FF and have improved PM collection efficiency, to 99.99%. The US EPRI’s Compact Hybrid Particulate Collector (COHPAC), China Fujian Longking’s Electrostatic Fabric Integrated Collector (EFIC), and China Feida’s ESP-FF hybrid system (EFF) are all commercially available. To date, there are over 1700 MW of COHPAC and 25,000 MW of EFIC installed. The Advanced Hybrid Collector (AHPC), Electrostatically Stimulated Fabric Filter (ESFF) – Max-9™, and Multi-Stage Collector (MSC) all have promise but need further investment and emonstration trials before they can be brought to the market.

    Multi-pollutant control systems that include a FF or ESP element are commercially available. They achieve a high PM2.5 collection efficiency, can capture additional pollutants and have lower capital and operating costs than a series of traditional systems to remove the same number of pollutants. Commercially available technologies with the most benefit for fine particulate control are the TOXECON™ and ECO® systems.” http://www.iea-coal.org.uk/documents/83882/9684/Emission-standards-and-control-of-PM2.5-from-coal-fired-power-plant,-CCC/267

    Not all coal generation is the same. High efficiency low emission (HELE) plants even reduce CO2 emissions to gas thermal levels.

  75. “Nuclear Regulation at a Glance (costs per plant)

    Paperwork Costs – $4.2 million

    Security Costs (wages only) – $4.4 million

    Fees – $22 million”

    Read more: https://www.americanactionforum.org/research/costs-benefits-nuclear-regulation/#ixzz4flgsReGL

    It is possible to reduce delays and red tape – but the cost impact – while significant in a market competition with gas – is marginal.

    This is for a $10 billion plant. The plants are so large in an attempt to capture economies of scale and higher efficiency. But the capital cost is a huge disincentive. Technically – light water reactors use 0.5% of the energy in uranium and leave high level, long lived waste and irradiated infrastructure to dispose of. There are alternatives.

    “To provide [electricity] in today’s world, an ‘advanced reactor’ must improve over existing reactors in the following 4-core objectives. It must produce significantly less costly, cost-competitive clean electricity, be safer, produce significantly less waste and reduce proliferation risk. It is not sufficient to excel at one without regard to the others.” Dr. Christina Back, Vice President, Nuclear Technologies and Materials for General Atomics, May 2016 testimony before the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the status of advanced nuclear technologies.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2017/04/26/canada-aims-for-a-fleet-of-small-modular-nukes/#17c26cd730a8

  76. I find it hard to reconcile the actual cost of wind and solar with claims of hundreds of dollars per MWh of subsidies. Unless – we account for cross subsidies demanded by renewable targets as late as 2010. But very high cost installations are no longer the case.

    Lazard provides a comprehensive cost analysis, Unsubsidised, subsidised, renewables with storage, etc.

    https://www.lazard.com/media/438038/levelized-cost-of-energy-v100.pdf

    Wind and solar have tax credits of $11 and $15 per MWH respectively. When available the cost is competitive. The problem is that it isn’t always available, storage is prohibitively expensive – https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-storage-analysis-20/ – and backup costs money.

    The reality is that coal and nuclear will continue to be replaced by gas and renewables in the US giving lower energy costs overall. Gas generation is however a fairly short term proposition – ultra low prices cannot continue indefinitely. Conserving gas supplies by supplementing with wind and solar would seem a reasonable objective – leading to lower gas prices for longer.

    I would expect that more renewables would result in higher bids from generators on the spot market when wind and solar are not available. It all balances out in the marketplace.

    • Your conclusion seems unlikely.

      Forced displacement of gas with unreliable renewables drives the gas plant capacity factor downward, driving the production cost upward. Fundamentally, power producers will not provide power if they lose money. That is indeed occurring, but for the reasons largely the result of dim-witted government interference in the markets.

      The current skewing of power markets to favor renewables badly corrupts pricing signals, inevitably ultimately driving up costs for the consumer.

      In a free market, unreliable power is not as highly valued as reliable power. Further, dumping unneeded power into the market can and does result in negative pricing; you have to pay to provide the grid power. However, that is not generally the case for renewables.

      You spot market pricing is over a short time-frame insufficient to cover costs for most power plants financially designed for base and intermediate loading.

      Also, you might want to take a hard look at the assumptions underlying Lazards analysis involving levalized costs.

      It is not possible to have a balanced market with widespread, illogical and inefficient interference by the government.

      • I don’t suggest anything but free market fundamentals. The spot market works 24/7 and over very short intervals. Providers make offers and this is aggregated into a market price. Distributors choose the lowest prices for the energy demand. This is all automated. If wind and solar receive very low spot prices – so be it. Other generators are free to recover costs and generate a profit when wind and solar are not available – and to offer low cost electricity when they are.

        It is called accommodating reality in a free market. Something that many of you appear to ditch in favour of government controls.

        I suggest not banning renewables on ideological grounds – I would suggest not putting all the eggs in the gas basket – I would suggest not chasing chimeras of expensive coal and nuclear.

  77. Peter Lang

    Key relevant facts about energy sources to supply the world’s energy after fossil fuels

    Nuclear fuel is sufficient to supply the world’s energy needs effectively indefinitely.

    In contrast, renewables cannot supply a substantial proportion of global electricity – let alone global energy needs – so they are not a sustainable or economically viable solution.

    Nuclear is the safest way to generate electricity – it has been since it began. Therefore, those who argue for market distortions – including regulation because of perceived risk – should really be arguing for subsidies for nuclear, or penalties for other technologies in proportion to the deaths and health effects they cause per TWh of electricity supplied.

    There is no valid basis for the nuclear power scaremongering? The widespread fear of nuclear power has been generated by 50 years of misinformation and irresponsible scaremongering by the anti-nuclear protest movement, including the so called ‘environmental’ NGOs.

    Without market distortions, including the exorbitant subsidies, renewables are many times more expensive than nuclear.

    The current high cost of nuclear is not an inherent property of nuclear power. Nuclear would now be 10% of current cost of the pre 19070s learning and deployment rates had continued: https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/publication/cama-working-paper-series/9070/nuclear-power-learning-and-deployment-rates-disruption .

    The root cause of the disruption to progress was the anti-nuclear power protest movement and the enviro-evangelists’ scaremongering over the past 50 years.

    Nuclear power is inherently cheap with almost unlimited potential for cost reductions. But the world can only reap the benefits when the impediments to progress are removed.

    The USA especially needs to lead the way to remove the impediments. IAEA and Europe and the rest of the world will follow USA’s lead, but they are incapable of leading.

    Nuclear will become significantly simpler and cheaper when production and competition ramps up. This will happen once the irrational impediments to nuclear power are removed. But it will take a long time, because progress has been delayed by 50 years – see Figures 3, 4, 5 and 6 here: https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/publication/cama-working-paper-series/9070/nuclear-power-learning-and-deployment-rates-disruption

    Only slow progress will be made until people get over their fears and beliefs that nuclear is unsafe, that renewables can make a substantial contribution to global energy supply, and that fossil fuels are evil. To achieve this, people like you need to become better informed about the relevant fact and then inform others.

  78. It is interesting this article, wind energy is one of those that probably in the future are the most used I think that it is necessary to invest in these energies, I think nuclear energy is very harmful, I invite you to check the following http://www.ups.edu.ec/web/guest/canal-ups link where Analyze similar topics to this http://www.ups.edu.ec/