Reflections on energy blogging

by Planning Engineer

Five years ago today I started guest blogging on Climate Etc., focusing on energy related issues.

My initial goal was to share some insights in a more formal fashion on energy related issues being discussed in the comments. I didn’t really get the values of blogging until I started. My first posting, Myths and Realities of Renewable Energy, provoked a good bit of commentary. .Discussions led to further postings which led to further discussions and the cycle continued. I discovered that many denizens of this blog have considerable expertise and knowledge as they shared valuable insight. Non-experts asked great probing questions and helped me uncover where explanations need to be tightened as well as offering insights from complimentary perspectives. Putting complicated thoughts into simpler language challenges and aids understanding.

It must be mentioned that one of the biggest challenges in blogging comes from the “noise” in the comments. I define “noise” as criticisms that have nothing to do with what is being said or ignore what is being said. The biggest challenge with “noise” is that coarse insults and stonewalling are often mixed in with legitimate criticisms and challenges. I can’t say that it’s been easy for me, but it has been good for me to better learn how to deal with “noise”.

Criticisms of the form, “If you know so much, why are you blogging here”, occurred fairly frequently. My goal was to make arguments that would stand up to scrutiny, not to issue an appeal for an audience to trust me based on authority or expertise. Questioning motives is a bad argument, because it’s only invoked when someone doesn’t like what is being said. But these critiques motivated me, and I began publishing articles in the trade journals with a coauthor. They built upon many of the topics discussed here at Climate Etc. In particular the last one on the German Miracle was driven by one commentator who kept claiming that my arguments were suspect because Germany had superior grid reliability compared to the United State with high levels of intermittent renewables. His claims were based on a widely held misconception.

While I’m glad blogging pushed me to experience publishing, counter to what many might think, I found blogging preferable to publishing. It’s nice to be in print, with a photo and your name while your writings are being read or scanned by some of your peers. I’m sure it’s more impressive to friends and additionally I’m sure publishing looks far better on a resume than blogging might. But the feedback is nothing like from blogging. Working with an editor cannot be compared to the flood of information that comes with blogging on a popular blog. I don’t know that writing either place makes a noticeable difference anywhere, but I suspect I reached more people who might be impacted through blogging. My experience has made me greatly appreciate Dr. Curry’s perspective that there is a place for blogging, technical journals and academic journals.

This brings up another criticism that relates to the differences between academics and engineers, or scientists and engineers. Engineers are less concerned with observations and theory, focusing more on creating workable real world solutions. Engineers have quite a track record and demonstrated considerable competence in the development of our modern power supply system. Academics frequently have a much narrower and specific focus and consequently are not as aware of the big picture. Some commenters would note that what I was saying conflicted with what professors from distinguished Universities were saying in prestigious journals. Generally I would read the articles and find there was not conflict with what was actually said, but rather the problem lay in the inferences drawn.

Academics often make narrower studies and analysis which are touted by others with much less careful language. For example, I’ve seen pronouncements about how renewable green technology can replace conventional technology. In the simplest case an academic could look at replacing MWHs of conventional technology with MWHs of renewable resources by 20XX. .What’s fine in generalities breaks down when you consider that we need the electricity to be produced when it is needed. At the next level an academic might consider the timing issue. Beyond that the issues increase exponentially with concerns for grid deliverability and grid stability. In considering statements as to what can be done, factors like the following must be considered: 1) What was studied?, 2) What else needs to be studied?, 3) What is being claimed?, 4) What has been demonstrated versus what is theoretical? And 4) What extra costs are or might be associated with the claim? I think blogging can serve as an important role checking on conventional media who too readily make outlandish claims based on misinterpretations of academic studies.

I cautioned against prevalent overly high expectations for green technology based on well accepted understandings of the power systems. Looking back I think my postings hold up well, except for the embarrassing typos. Back then there was not much out there of this type of information, but as time goes by more and more cautions and descriptions of this nature appear. There is a lot more evidence for what I was saying on the table today and some prominent figures are seeing the limitations with existing green solutions. However, in many sectors unbridled enthusiasm remains for 100% renewables.

It can always be argued that change is right around the corner, despite the failure of such predictions in preceding years. Critics can always ask, “If this renewable approach is uneconomic and unworkable why are they spending multi-millions to develop this project?”, regardless of how many similar projects in the past cobbled together financing but failed to produce. Perhaps a piece is needed on the many drivers that push for and enable projects that likely will end up infeasible or uneconomic boondoggles. Some are misled because they are satisfied by a limited understanding of the factors involved and don’t want to see the bigger picture. In addition to such reasons, there is just willful deliberate ignorance where contrary views are promulgated just because people will believe them.

My blogging just kind of tapered off as I’d said most everything I had to say. I appreciate this chance to give my thanks to the denizens of Climate Etc. for their support, comments and perspectives over the years. We had many great discussions that showed the value of blogging. Special names and handles are too numerous to thank individually, but I would like to single out Rud Istvan because I thoroughly enjoyed our collaborative efforts. As most here do, I really appreciate Judith’s efforts to promote dialogue as well as her expertise and commitment.

I retired this year and am playing pickle ball, paddle boarding, doing community theater, riding my one wheel, volunteering and living the good life. I’m contemplating going back and looking at the arguments made in my original postings and the challenges to them and commenting on how subsequent developments have played out. I think that might be valuable because mostly the old arguments just come back in new forms. If any of the denizens want to share observations good or bad as to how that’s gone, I would appreciate it.

Bio Notes: Russ Schussler (Planning Engineer), P.E., Retired Vice President of Transmission Planning at Georgia Transmission Corporations, has spent over 35 years in the electric utility industry. Russ has served in various roles working to ensure the reliability of the grid including serving on the NERC Planning Committee and Chairing the SERC Engineering Committee.

My blogs and co-blogs here can be found by searching Planning Engineer in search bar at Climate Etc. Below are some articles co-written in technical publications which follow up on Climate Etc. discussions.

Drivers & Determinants for Power System Entities, Electric Energy (RMEL), Summer 2016, pp. 30-38,

The Role of Fracking in the U.S. Utility: Battle of Gas vs. Coal, Cornerstone Magazine, Autumn 2016, pp. 42-46 (English and Mandarin versions).

Reports of the Electric Grid’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated, POWER Magazine, April 2017, page 68 and

The Grid End Game, T&D World, June 2017, p. 64 and

The Myth of the German Renewable Energy ‘Miracle,” T&D World: Grid Optimization, October 23, 2017,

Third World Grid, SmartGrid or a Smart Grid?   T&D World June 15th 2018





175 responses to “Reflections on energy blogging

  1. Planning Engineer, I have foillowed your contributions to Judith Curry’s Climate etc. blog since the beginning and as an engineer and MBA greatly appreciate the soundness of your analyses and directness in communication. You have contributed a great deal. I would reinforce that a difference between “engineers” and “academics” / “scientists” is a focus on the real problems and outcomes, directness, and not having agendas professional or philosophical.

    • Your post is heartfelt and timely.

      From the start to this day, we are all aghast at political interference in Science. We seek resolution for the Science corrupted for decades.

      Yet, when was the last time you realized and posted an article related to the amazing changes that have occurred during this morass?

      We now have an international science community focused on quantified research. <– forget the UNFCCC as they drag everything down with ignorance.

      What we don't have are international standards and practices related to climate science and its research nor an international methodology to structure the Science effort insightful!

      The "glass is half full" as it was from the first AR.

      • What we don’t have are international standards and practices related to climate science and its research nor an international methodology to structure the Science effort insightful!

        Waiting for a response as this is the issue!

    • Richard Greene

      Mr. Wolfe:
      I started reading this article thinking is was a very long goodbye, although written well, like the author i talking to the reader.

      That’s so rare among engineers and scientists, especially that I kept reading.

      Your complement convinced me to read my first Planning Engineer article today, so I picked one at random, and it was good.

      After I read one article, and skimmed a few others, I downloaded EVERY Planning Engineer article on this website, and will read every one.

      I want to thank Planning Engineer for his valuable contribution to our knowledge about energy, and tell him that someone who never heard of him before today, just became a fan.

      After his long retirement “speech”, the ideal move would be a “comeback”
      next year (and give up pickleball PE — I tried it — it will wear out your knees !)

  2. I will go over your previous blog posts, Mr. Schussler. This one on grid vs distribution reliability and the differences between German and U.S. on-the-ground realities is spot on.

    In addition to also having been a Planning Engineer, I was Manager of Planning for a generation, transmission and distribution utility and CEO/GM of a relatively small electric utility. Your observations in this posting are consistent with my understandings based on training and experience.

    • “If this renewable approach is uneconomic and unworkable why are they spending multi-millions to develop this project?”, regardless of how many similar projects in the past cobbled together financing but failed to produce.”

      Who is they?

      The support for engineering ignorance is absurd!!!

  3. Your posts and comments always displayed the one attribute I value the most…..professionalism. They were most helpful for someone who has been on the periphery of the issue.

    “His claims were based on a widely held misconception.”

    If anyone wants to experience widely held misconceptions, try having lunch with a group of 80 year olds each week.

    Thank you for your contributions and may you live the good life for a very long time.

    • You wrote:
      If anyone wants to experience widely held misconceptions, try having lunch with a group of 80 year olds each week.

      Include some breakfasts and dinners and include some younger and a few older people.

      The alarmist consensus group is the most vocal. The skeptic conservatives are reluctant to end the friendships by actually expressing their views.

    • Faustino aka Genghis Cunn

      I’m 77, I think that I am fairly free of misconceptions and expect that that will probably still be true in three years time. Change your aged friends.

      • It was meant as a little self deprecating humor, since I’m in that cohort. But we are all long on opinions in the group and almost always short on facts. But what should we expect from a bunch of former single digit golfers who have become old duffers. Painful to watch.

  4. Great essay — if I had any criticism, it would be that it’s a bit sparse in naming names. IMHO, there are two prominent names that stand out in the public discussion of energy:

    Mark Jacobson — The Stanford professor who’s been publishing studies and plans for converting to 100% renewable energy (no nuclear). He’s very charismatic, has the backing of celebrities like Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio, and is influential with politicians, most notably, New York governor, Andrew Cuomo. If one of the more radical democrats win the presidency, he’ll almost certainly be on the list of candidates for energy secretary.

    Michael Shellenberger — The world’s leading proponent of nuclear energy. He’s been writing a lot about the history of nuclear and renewables, and from following his Twitter feed, I suspect he may be planning a more serious run for governor of California. He’s very smart and looks at all aspects of issues. As an example, he has a defense of current light water reactors in this interview with Scott Adams, that I haven’t seen anywhere before:

    • Thanks. I need to check them out. I was following Massoud Amin who claimed concerns about grid reliability from renewable energy were totally wrong. Big smart grid guy from the University of Minnesota. Google tells me his career is over for lies and deceit in unrelated areas.

      • My grid service is likely going to get cut again later this week-

        Thanks for all your analysis PE- your independent expert look at some of the assumptions in the WWS plan(s) is needed!

      • Curious George

        kakatoa – this blackout has nothing to do with intermittent generators. Pacific Gas & Electricity is in bankruptcy, because they provided a spark which started a wildfire that destroyed the city of Paradise, California. Never mind that firefighters could not put that fire out, because forests were full of dry fuel which had to stay there because of progressive government’s environmental policies.

        The meteorological situation is similar today, and PG&E proactively shuts down power lines, to be sure that it won’t provide a spark again. They want to create “rolling blackouts”, bur they are not good at rolling, and a typical blackout is 48 hours, with 96 hours planned – at least they notified me to get ready for five days without power.

      • Curious George,

        Hope you are doing ok during this PSPS. This is our third one. PG&E’s grid went down at 3:52 pm yesterday afternoon at our place. I was looking into some of the details around PG&E’s Power context label when the power went out. It was kind of ironic that our PG&E Blue Bill arrived yesterday just before the grid went down. We running our generator currently for a few hours to ensure our food stays safe.

        I am a bit unsure about parasitic load(s) and who get credit or blame for various accounting schemes when it comes down to the power mix for PG&E or the RES metric. In any case it seems that PG&E is doing rather good if the metric is “Eligible Renewables” as it up to 39% for 2018. If you measure co2 free generation that value goes up to 85%!

        Just before the grid went down, and our PV system stop working, I had sent a message to the powers that be to find out if our pv systems output is accounted for in the RES or power content label. Not likely but you never know.

        Stay safe during the black out. As a just in case we filled up all our hand held sprayers with water to spray embers if some idiot starts a fire in our area while the grid is down.

  5. Seems to me the technical and economic proposition of providing reasonably cost-effective energy has been overwhelmed by a political movement that simply disregards reality and integrity. Attempting to inject practical considerations into the fray is somewhat like joisting with Don Quixote’s windmills (or wind turbines in this case).
    Facts and engineering are irrelevant in the near-religious world of green energy, which is now fundamentally about wealth redistribution from the poor and middle class to the wealthy elite and their cohorts in the private sector only concerned about making a tidy profit with no risk. Even the activist Michael Moore has figured out that the green movement has been subverted.

    That being said, I do not believe we should walk away from the fight. As professional engineers, we have an obligation to society to improve the lot of mankind.

    • If I can slightly expand on your sentence;

      ‘Seems to me the technical and economic proposition of providing reasonably cost-effective energy….’

      ‘That will be available where and when wanted….’

      Can anyone suggest a single definitive well referenced article on where we are with cost effective 24/7 renewable energy (mostly solar and wind) and where the means will be found to create ever larger numbers of them because of supply limitations of the various minerals required.


  6. Russ,

    I want to thank you very much for your work. I have assembled all your posts in a document that I use to educate folks who ask why I am so pessimistic about the value of solar and wind power. I will add this post to the list.

    I also think your work helped inspire me to post on environmental and energy issues on my own blog.

    Roger Caiazza
    Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York

  7. “If this renewable approach is uneconomic and unworkable why are they spending multi-millions to develop this project?”,

    They are spending public money and collecting the multi-billions!

    • Joe- nonclimate scientist

      My local school district was spending several million $ building additions to the high schools in a district with declining enrollment. I ran into the school president at an unrelated social function and asked why the district was spending taxpayer money. The response (and attitude) was it wasn’t taxpayer money – it was bond money

  8. I have found your posts interesting and enjoyable. Thanks.

    One question. Is there a good book that gives an overview of the electrical power grid and distribution networks? Blume’s IEEE book looks pretty good to me. Is there any thing similar but better?

    • As best I know, there is a gap between the highly technical books which are largely unreadable to anyone not a specialist and writings that are too general. Blume might be the best.

    • It is advisable to look at a wider perspective. The whole process from fuel to end use needs be looked into thoroughly.
      An example of a particular case. At one point it was argued to have load shifted from day peak to night, by changing end user habit. However system constraints meant that as the night time load dropped substantially the efficiency dropped drastically. Meaning that, in this particular case, load shifted to night would have to be generated at much higher cost. Apart from the end user inconvenience and his own added cost.
      Books, and all sorts of consultants, and particularly plant vendors, rarely come near to understanding one’s particular needs and best options overall. This technical field is very wide.

  9. If a grid for Houston can be fed from Nuclear and Fossil Fuel Power Plants that are not too far away, the grid can be very robust.
    If a grid for Houston is fed from Wind and Solar in West Texas, the grid is at much risk of not being robust. A local supply of Nuclear and Fossil Fuel Power Plants must be maintained locally at great cost while they lose money and have no reason to be, or there are major outages with every natural or man-made disaster.

  10. There is a one eyed view that any level of penetration of wind and solar is expensive and unreliable. It is simply not true – and is such an unreasonably narrow focus. In the broad context there are multiple responses to the emissions problem – and emissions of various greenhouse gases and aerosols is a problem in multiple ways. Electricity production is the source of some 25% of CO2-eq emissions. Wind and solar seem unlikely to be the whole solution to this narrowly defined problem – but they are getting cheaper and more reliable. In a wholly predictable course of technological progress. Engineers all over the world are working on this. Engineers are not a technocracy – we exist to meet societal aspirations efficiently and productively.

    Meeting grand challenges for humanity this century requires a multi-gas and aerosol strategy – carbon dioxide. CFC’s, nitrous oxides, methane, black carbon and sulphate. As well as ongoing decreases in carbon intensity and increases in efficiency and productivity. And technical innovation across sectors – energy, transport, industry, residential and agriculture and forestry.

    • Thanks. I forgot your “noise” specialty. Present something that was never said as someone else’s viewpoint (There is a one eyed view that any level of penetration of wind and solar is expensive and unreliable. ) Then offer some true vague and basic information as a counter to your mischaracterization and act like you are educating everyone. If you quote me I will respond to that part, but no more to your mischaractrizations, too time consuming and pointless as you shift about.

      • Only to have LCOE rejected on the basis of the most superficial of narratives? So much for David’s sophistication.

      • So David Fair’s trolling has at last been removed. The noise around a generic identification of a fake news meme of expensive and unreliable wind and solar energy remains.

      • PE. Forget about Robert – he is just a troll with no expertise or working knowledge of how the system works, only glib stuff from skim reading Google searches.
        I have enjoyed your articles, and your very polite and well-reasoned responses. Now you are no longer constrained by management, I hope you continue to write head posts.
        Working on the upstream side of the CBs to your area, I have a different view on some of the technical issues, but I agree with your thrust. And the practical knowledge being lost by people like you retiring is scary. You can’t learn it from books (or articles on the Internet). You have to do it or be there when it happens. From experience, we believe that it takes 5 years after graduation before an engineer doesn’t need babysitting. Full competency takes maybe 20 and many don’t want to spend that long. That lack of experience is why bad decisions are being made more frequently.

      • Chris Morris,

        Excellent comment. Thank you. Would you consider one or more posts for Climate Etc.?

      • Peter. I will restrict myself to commenting as I still work as a salaryman within the industry. My views don’t necessarily match those publicly espoused by my employer who doesn’t want to upset the idiots out there who continue to make factually wrong statements.
        My area of expertise, as defined by my chartered engineer documentations, is actually outside the range of most of this website. However, I regularly present to engineers and at industry forums like those run by EPRI. I also have my name on an embarrassingly long list of peer reviewed papers in a variety of journals. You can find them if you are in the industry and know where to look.

      • Chris, thank you for your comment. Sorry I didn’t see it earlier.

    • Go back and read the comment. It is one that contained no attribution to any person – and I would have been happy to leave it at that if not for the personal denigration.

      The comment goes to the root of the issue of climate policy – well beyond this one eyed wind and solar sceptic meme. I have spent decades in engineering and science and read and write extensively on a variety of interrelated Earth system subjects. It is quite obvious to most what the depth and breadth of my expertise is even if I rarely make a point of it.

      The trolling is not mine but that of the usual sceptic suspects with their groupthink memes and would be echo chamber bullying. It is far from the finest example of rational discourse even before we factor in the superficiality of their comments.

  11. Planning Engineer,

    Thanks you for this excellent post and for your many previous excellent posts.

    What I really appreciate is the wonderful example you set for other CE denizens on how to remain courteous and professional, ignore the trolls, and answer relevant questions clearly and politely.

    Some other denizens could be much more influential if they would follow your example (this includes me at times).

    Thank you and thanks to the others who have posted excellent supportive comments on this thread so far.

  12. Dr Francis Manns

    I doubt that carbon dioxide causes any greenhouse effect. In my view the whole issue is the prime assumption is wrong. Environmental paranoia has made nuclear uneconomic. In the meantime you have a huge political issue because true believers have their careers on the line.

    This was NOAA data before they closed down the web site. The misinterpretation of linear regression boils down to wishful thinking on the part of modelers.

  13. Russ, as a layperson who is not an engineer but was had to solve problems with practical and cost effective solutions at a Fortune 500 company for many years, I appreciate the opportunity to learn from you. Many of the comments on the blog are as you pointed out, noise, and detract from the discussion in so many ways, particularly those whose comments are consistently the same in many threads.

    As a resident of California, it would be interesting to hear your take on our blackouts during potentially high fire danger days. It seems the political class wants it both ways…

  14. Dr Francis Manns,

    I doubt that carbon dioxide causes any greenhouse effect. In my view the whole issue is the prime assumption is wrong.

    I disagree with your first sentence. However, I agree that the whole basis for the AGW scaremongering is wrong. The reason is that analysis of empirical data suggests that any global warming that might occur will be beneficial, not damaging. However, global cooling is damaging and an abrupt substantial global cooling would be very damaging. For these reasons, there is no reason to be concerned about AGW and no valid justification for policies and programs to reduce GHG emissions.

    Environmental paranoia has made nuclear uneconomic.

    I agree. This paper quantifies the effect on the cost of nuclear power, the resulting stall in development and deployment rates and the resulting lives lost: ‘Nuclear Power Learning and Deployment Rates; Disruption and Global Benefits Forgone’

    Abstract: This paper presents evidence of the disruption of a transition from fossil fuels to nuclear power, and finds the benefits forgone as a consequence are substantial. Learning rates are presented for nuclear power in seven countries, comprising 58% of all power reactors ever built globally. Learning rates and deployment rates changed in the late-1960s and 1970s from rapidly falling costs and accelerating deployment to rapidly rising costs and stalled deployment. Historical nuclear global capacity, electricity generation and overnight construction costs are compared with the counterfactual that pre-disruption learning and deployment rates had continued to 2015. Had the early rates continued, nuclear power could now be around 10% of its current cost. The additional nuclear power could have substituted for 69,000–186,000 TWh of coal and gas generation, thereby avoiding up to 9.5 million deaths and 174 Gt CO2 emissions. In 2015 alone, nuclear power could have replaced up to 100% of coal-generated and 76% of gas-generated electricity, thereby avoiding up to 540,000 deaths and 11 Gt CO2. Rapid progress was achieved in the past and could be again, with appropriate policies. Research is needed to identify impediments to progress, and policy is needed to remove them.”

    A short opinion piece, with links to relevant Notes in Appendix B, is here: ‘What Could Have Been – If Nuclear Power Deployment Had Not Been Disrupted’

  15. I echo the appreciation of the series of posts and comments by planning engineer. The topic is difficult for those like me who have no direct experience with electrical power systems (other than flipping switches and expecting current to be there). It seems there is a technical, engineering side to be understood, and also an economic viability aspect.

    On the latter issue I have learned also from Gail Tverberg who writes at Our Finite World. One of her articles is
    My synopsis is
    On the technical side I read articles by Anthony at kiwithinker on power systems stability. See
    My synopsis

  16. Planning Engineer,
    Thanks for all the excellent discussions and insights.

    I enjoyed and respected your contributions.

    I also am a chemical engineer PE w construction mngmt certification and worked in energy and renewable energy. Solar and wind are developing but the unexpected ramifications need to be explored. Bird deaths came as a surprise, and grid instability you describe continue to confound the simple solutions preferred by many.

    All complex technology developments are filled with surprises so is best to continue exploring options, use logical economics and evaluate analytically.

    You added a lot to this blog.

  17. Steven Mosher

    Planning E,

    who knew that years after reading your articles on the grid my job would depend upon understanding grids around the world? Life is weird.
    thanks for all your help in understanding this stuff.

    • Err Dave read a bit more carefully. hint he helped me.
      Note this does Not imply that
      A) he was the ONLY help I got.
      B) the ONLY thing I did was read his blog.

      This is basic logic.
      It is in NO WAY a claim that reading his blogs is sufficient.
      Your brain is diseased

  18. Many thanks to the posters of the nice comments above and especially for the posters of over kind ones. You have made blogging a special thing for me and I appreciate your feedback tremendously. I kind of wanted to thank you each individually with separate replies, but thought that might get too tedious for readers.

  19. It must be mentioned that one of the biggest challenges in blogging comes from the “noise” in the comments. I define “noise” as criticisms that have nothing to do with what is being said or ignore what is being said. The biggest challenge with “noise” is that coarse insults and stonewalling are often mixed in with legitimate criticisms and challenges.

    This is the biggest problem with climate blogs. And it’s called trolling. Hopefully we’ll look back one day at the cro-magnon days of blogging when trolling took the upper hand (and laugh). Some day moderation standards will hopefully be up to snuff where the ridiculous “noise” will become a thing of the past. Don’t know what it will take to get there. (probably money) Planning Engineer, i think that you’ve nailed the problem here in one nice concise paragraph. The state of blogging today is beneath the dignity of quality posters and commenters (who deserve better). It’s high time that somebody steps up to change and innovate the climate blogosphere — finding a balance of censorship without creating an echo chamber. It’s easy to be an arm chair quarterback, though. Very few blogs are actually of the caliber which draw an extensive following. Just think about how rare an animal that Climate, etc truly is (and how truly grateful to dr. curry that we should really be). And, just think of how exponentially rare it would be to find a climate blog of this caliber with that ideal of perfection in moderation. So, it may take some time to get there. It’s not something that will come by a popular vote. Blogs are monarchies, so it’s really up to individual bloggers (of those rare blogs of caliber) and there’s not likely to be sweeping changes any time soon — given that those individual bloggers won’t necessarily change as a group. But, the change really should come. As an insignificant layman (yea, indeed, a highschool dropout in a leather jacket), it breaks my heart to see brilliant professionals being denigrated on a daily basis in the climate blogosphere. The expectations of each and every blog poster & commenter should be met. (but, to date, those expectations being met are woefully lacking)…

    • afonzarelli

      BraveNewClimate blog site (no longer posting new posts or comments) had a good Comments Policy which was actively enforced by moderators. This might be a good example to implement. Excerpt:


      This is a website for people concerned about mitigating climate change, protecting biodiversity, whilst also enhancing human well being and growing our civilisation. A core goal is to seek timely, cost effective and technology-driven solutions. If you are not interested in these focal areas, and are instead looking to aggravate those who are, then go elsewhere. It’s a big internet, and there are plenty of ‘alternative’ places in which you can rant.

      Commenting rules:

      Civility — Clear-minded criticism is welcomed, but play the ball and not the person. Rudeness will not be tolerated. This includes speculation about motives or what ‘sort of person’ someone is. Civility, gentle humour and staying on topic are superior debating tools.

      Relevance and Evidence — Please maintain focus on the topic at hand. Do not attempt to solve big problems in a single comment, or to offer as fact what are simply opinions about complex matters. Please avoid posts that are convoluted, irrelevant (Off Topic -there is a separate Open Thread thread for these) repetitious or circular. To avoid this provide scientific data, links, references, etc. to support your arguments.

      Citing literature and other sources — appropriate and interesting citations and links within comments are welcomed, but please DO NOT cite material that you have not yourself read, digested and understood. As a general rule, please introduce any and every link or reference with a short description of the material, your judgement on its quality, and the specific reason you are including it (i.e. how it is relevant to the discussion).

      Politics — The BNC blog does not support any particular political ideology. Blatant political tirades (of any persuasion) and attempts to rally support for any political party will not be tolerated. When presenting facts, please frame them in a politically non-partisan manner. Obviously the odd, off-the-cuff political comment is permissible.

      Moderator — Any moderator decision has the blog owner’s full support. Please desist from appealing any such decision.


      • Peter, i don’t know if it really has to be all that heady. As long as moderation is consistent and vigilant, then everything should be o.k. (iow, dr c. would, say, have to clone herself so that she could moderate her blog 24/7) It would probably mean paying for a moderation team. i, for one, wouldn’t think twice about paying $100 a year for decent moderation. Donations from people with deep pockets would be nice and perhaps even worth while, because blogs do serve a good and important purpose. Key also would be feedback from commenters to the mod team. (moderation should be dynamic) What are the moderation issues that are important to commenters and what exactly should they be on the lookout for? Don’t know exactly what would make this sort of thing work. But, the climate blogosphere really needs to progress in that sort of direction. i hope comment pages aren’t as dismal as they currently are twenty years from now. Bloggers deserve better, commenters deserve better. (it would seem rather ridiculous for the status quo to remain this way forever)…

      • afonzarelli,

        Thanks you for your reply.

        I think the BNC code of conduct for commenters is a good guide to follow. Most of that should be stated on the web site so that commenters and Denizens know what behaviours are expected and tolerated, and what will happen if they continually breach the code of conduct.

        On BNC, moderation was done voluntarily by people who the Blog owner trusted to do the job well and professionally.

  20. Not sure it’s a good idea to limit free speech because someone might get their nose out of joint. Although obvious vulgarity should be short-circuited, who decides what is “acceptable”? Some easily manipulated computer program?
    Put another way, if discourse is censored, do we risk sinking to the same level as those attempting to brutally quash the free exchange of ideas?

    I hold out the hope that truth will ultimately emerge from the interplay of ideas, no matter how peculiar or conflicted some may seem. In any case, most folks are reasonable at their core and evolve over time as better information becomes available. From that emerges a better world.

    • Put another way, if discourse is censored, do we risk sinking to the same level as those attempting to brutally quash the free exchange of ideas?

      Keller, i think the idea would be that with good moderation the free exchange of ideas is achieved, not quashed. In a sense, it is the bad behavior that quashes the free exchange. And in essence, quashing is what trolling is all about (the goal of the troll). i think, say, WUWT is a good example of that sort of bad behavior ruling the day. If you step one foot outside of conservative orthodoxy there, you get hammered. (and the result is the ensuing echo chamber) Let the exchange of ideas be free and let it be civil. i think that would objectively live up to the expectations of anyone visiting a climate blog…

      • post script ~ the reason i’m picking on WUWT here is that, among the few well trafficked climate blogs that even allow the free exchange of ideas, it’s the poster child of how not to moderate a comment page

  21. Russ, another nice comment! I’ve really appreciated your blog posts, I think that I have them saved although I haven’t looked for them recently. Your injection of real-world reality into the debate on costly and ineffective emissions-reduction policies was very timely, and I drew on it in mainstream media contributions. Thanks again.

  22. Russ, excellent article at T&D World, I’d encourage everyone to read it.

  23. There is a type of humanities “intelectual” who seem to know best what society “needs” – which is renewable energy. So they say to engineers: “you know how to produce anything – there is nothing you can’t do, so, go to work and produce us renewable energy”.
    They seem to beleive that if renewable energy is lacking it must be either because engineers are too dumb and don’t get what is needed, or because of greediness of oil or coal companies or refusal of the dumb public to spend enough money on it (greed and stinginess).

    No amount of engineering explanations (facts) will convince them that not everything that you dream up is possible. The understanding of physics and engineering (quantitative thinking) is totally absent.

  24. Thanks for your fantastic posts! A couple questions/ideas for posts:
    1. Nord Stream 2 and the Volkswagen plant- is Germany switching to natural gas for electricity production as they close nuclear?
    2. Power grid funding is an interesting topic. Power companies are highly regulated monopolies. My understanding is that if the government tells them to use hamster treadmills to generate electricity, they’ll do it as long as the rate is approved and permits are simultaneously granted for something that actually works.

  25. Russ, it was a real pleasure coauthoring some stuff with you.
    Enjoy your well earned retirement.

  26. Congrats on your retirement.

    One thing that concerns me is, I think, our over reliance on natural gas due to the low cost. What makes it cheap in the short term, it’s relative ease to extract, transports, and burn quickly and cleanly, is also what makes it valuable in the long term.

    Evidence suggests to me that the climate of north America was considerably more extreme and variable in the past than the recent century. I imagine potential for prolonged extreme winter events temporarily driving up gas prices to the point it could cost lives.

    I think ideally, we should only be using modest amount of natural gas for baseload, it should generally be conserved to handle variability. We should develop a highly flexible natural gas system for heat and power that is generally operated at the low end of capacity, with the ability to re-rout when equipment failures inevitably happen at the worst times (e.g. the explosion in southeast Michigan during an arctic blast this winter). We should probably develop production which can be brought online on demand, but is generally mothballed. This would make room for nuclear power to supply us secure baseload and increase security by diversification.

  27. You make a good point, that natural gas might be saved for the future. I would add: get moving on the deployment of safe nuclear energy!

    • Nuc,ear power is the safest way to generate electricity by a wide margin, and has been since the first power reactor began sending power to the grid in 1954.

  28. Hard to say. EIA estimates we have 80 years of technically recoverable resources. Back in the 90s when looking at building potential gas plants we were concerned That we might not have enough gas for 30 years. Our backup then was that worse case we assumed could get LNG from the former Soviet Union nations or alternatively construct coal gasification units to fuel the units. It was unthinkable at the time to imagine the US would be flush with gas for anything approaching half this range. We now are exporting LNG.

    • *0 years is of course at current production rates. Long before then there is a supply and demand crunch. Including in the US as LNG export facilities ramp up to supply lucrative global markets.

      • Good point, we shouldn’t look at just the US (though I’m been meaning to research and write an essay exploring the idea of an anti-fragile US energy policy for several years). The nature of NG makes it well suited for handling variability. Because we have plenty for baseload in the US doesn’t mean that’s a great use, export for similar uses by our allies makes sense and will significantly shorten the life of reserves and raise prices.

      • Allies? You mean customers? The Japanese reference price is three times that of US domestic supplies. All you need is the LNG export facilities. There are 2 more under construction.

      • Yup. But the way Europe is going, I’ll be surprised if Russia will always be able to meet their needs. Their climate is much more stable than ours, but they are not likely prepared for the cold that they’ve had in the past. They need to be able to take shipment from us in emergencies too. (Regardless of what the global average temperature does, expect the chaotic pattern changes we’ve seen in the past.)

        You happen to know what price nuclear become viable for the US?

      • Advanced reactors are very likely to be cost competitive in most of the world today. They are super competitive in regions with an underdeveloped grid. And they are being built. This is from General Atomics – they have done everything in atomics. Expect fuel fabrication facilities in the early 2020’s and a prototype soon after. First of a kind facilities should be publicly supported.

        But I expect we will find that core energy demand increases will come from emerging economies. And that a key technology there is HELE coal plants.

        All in accordance with Paris commitments – despite the faux precision of the fake 1.5 degree C math. It is after all a chaotic world.

        Wind and solar work perfectly well without backup up to a relatively low penetration depending on the energy mix. These days they have a competitive levelised cost with excellent prospects for ongoing cost reduction.


        Despite endless sceptic obsessions with rotational inertia.and a loss of grid stability. Narratives based on the fallacy of an appeal to their own authority as seen here. The mutual admiration society is cloying and the assertions of the ignorance of some loosely defined cohort absurd. I have pointed out that there are 1000’s of engineers and scientists with a different view. Calling it noise is a preposterous ad hom.


        There is no reason wind and solar – as well as advanced nuclear – cant have a place in a diversified energy mix.

        The sceptic meme here is complete nonsense. We can add that to a long list. The most ridiculous being an often repeated claim that light water reactor costs can be reduced by 90%. This comes under the heading of too cheap to be credible let alone metered,

      • Yup. Largely in agreement. By what I’ve seen, my wag is US can expand wind and solar to 10-15% before it becomes a problem. Not really concerned with CO2 emission, but we should be doing it for development, diversification, and incase that’s a direction we want to go as tech develops or climate turns out to become more sensitive rather than less sensitive by some miracle.

      • Climate, hydrology and ecology are chaotic subsystems that are forced by small changes past thresholds into more or less extreme and abrupt emergent behaviours due entirely to internal variability. A core climate paradigm over decades.


        Although not an easy idea it seems.

      • It’s actually a very simple idea, easy to grasp.

      • It is a threshold concept that took me a very long time. Before it was cycles – after it was a lot less certain. It is a matter of shifting spatio-temporal patterns in the global flow field. Sceptics have a love hate relationship with chaos. There was a time when it was embraced as overturning the forcing/feedback paradigm. Dropped when people suggested that a chaotic system is potentially much more dynamic and sensitive to small changes. These we call tipping points. Anathema to sceptics.

        Phil is trying to tame Wally’s angry beast with magical words. Oscillations rather than climate shifts. I googled climate dynamics yesterday and ended up at Roy Spencer’s and his much belated acknowledgement of nonlinearity. Seemingly over the heads of most there. I noted David Wojick waxing lyrical about chaos. I”m waiting for the penny to drop but not holding my breath.

    • That’s good. Looks like there isn’t too much need to moderate use for baseload. Not great for the prospects of nuclear in the US. But I think we do want to moderate somewhat and create a better, more flexible natural system to handle disasters and extreme weather better.

    • Back in the 90’s, natural gas plants were lucky to hit 50% efficiency. Now they are nearly 60% efficient. Fracking is also providing huge amounts of natural gas.
      Agree with your basic point, technology has a way of pulling off the unexpected.
      Attempting to predict the future based on today’s technology undoubtedly produces overly pessimistic predictions. That is part of the reason I am not too concerned about CO2. Technology will find a way as part of the never ending quest for better mouse traps!

      • We also have advanced gas turbines that produce the same amount of power that only a few years ago required 2 or more machines. These same advanced gas turbines produce the same amount of power as a large nuclear plant, but are operated by a total of a few dozen personnel, versus over +500 for the nuclear plant.

        Technology finds a way, as long as innovation is not stymied by the bureaucrats of big government and their economy killing quest for more and more regulations.

    • My understanding is that resource companies are concerned that they will have sufficient economically extractable resources in, say 15 years or so. So they might identify that there is 15 years of resources. In 15 years time, they may still see 15 years of available supply. They aren’t concerned with what might be available in 100 years time with advances in search and extraction technologies. I don’t know the basis for IEA’s 80-year projections, but they will also be made in ignorance of techniques available at that time. Just as in the 1930s, they would not have foreseen widespread use of nuclear power.

  29. I mentioned the sceptic meme of expensive and unreliable wind and solar. In the context of a multi-gas and aerosol strategy and technological innovation across sectors. But for the proponents of fake blog sceptic science – and the ideologically hidebound – there is no imperative to reduce emissions and their motivations are suspect. Say so here and the trolls emerge.

    All of these gases – as well as black carbon and sulphate – are ecologically damaging to one degree or another. And that is not something worth another argument with sceptics. There are diverse technological responses that are collectively needed in a comprehensive strategy.

    Electricity, heat production and liquid fuels require both cost reductions in alternative technologies and innovative grid engineering.

    There is a place in future grids – or in niche applications – for low levelized cost technology. Landfill gas, geothermal, hydro, wind and solar – even with modest capacity factors. Alongside small modular nuclear reactors.

    • the trolls emerge

      A self-fulfilling prophecy if ever I saw one.

      However I share your enthusiasm for small modular nuclear reactors.

      • Realistically – they take personal umbrage at impersonal challenging of collective sceptic memes. And if I use the term sceptic with less than the respect they believe they deserve. But no one accuses Phil of being realistic.

      • You’re right that I over-reacted, my bad. But I sense that you are getting more irritated and caustic in your comments to skeptics. Their point of view also deserves respect when based on science and observations. I would hate to think that skeptics are corroding your sunny optimism and positivity – these are a welcome part of the blog discussion. And you make some good scientific points – if one is a fast reader. (I’m not particularly being dyslexic.)

      • I have no more patience for fake blog science, sceptic memes way down the rabbit hole of motivated reasoning and would be cyber bullies.

      • RIE
        There’s this odd psychological phenomenon whereby people become the thing that they condemn. The more they hate something, the more they become it.

        Nietzsche called it “looking into the abyss and the abyss looking back at you.” Someone in the Levant ~2000 years ago said something like “judge not, for with the judgement with which you judge, you shall be judged”.

        You are a good exhibit of this phenomenon in relation to motivated reasoning and selective attention to data. And your skepticism of skeptics.

      • With your fractal imaginings you have lost sight of physical realities in the climate system. And now you are indulging in psychoanalysis via Nietzsche and scripture. The emphasis is on psycho and not analysis.

    • Green energy is unreliable because of the diffuse and intermittent nature of the resource. Just a fact of nature. It is also expensive, as evidenced by the subsidies and mandates forcing folks to use the resource.
      That is not to say green energy is not useful in select applications, but it is clearly not the panacea to the planet’s energy needs. Use the right energy in the right place, recognizing that the objective is reasonably clean and reasonably affordable.

  30. Thanks Russ for your insightful comments, enjoy your retirement and safe monocycling!

    The German Energiewende is not looking so healthy according to this article from a German blog (in English):

  31. Planning Engineer, Thank you very much for your posts. I’m an EE with no background in power engineering. When all the hype about renewables came about, I read one college text for an overview course on generation, transmission and distribution – but it was far less useful than your many excellent posts.

    In addition to your wealth of knowledge that you shared, your humility and the care you took to avoid bias is much appreciated.

    I hope you return here, or start your own blog. I am sure new schemes and plans will appear in the public sphere that can benefit from your perspective.

  32. Planning Engineer – congratulations on your retirement, may it long and active. Like others posting here, I appreciate your posts and especially appreciate your responding to laymen like me to questions. You have added much to the discussion and I hope you will continue to participate in the comments.

  33. Great work. Thank you!

  34. It’s possible we may have seen nothing yet -e.g., we’re probably overdue for a ‘Torquemada’ to lead a movement to properly homogenize the climate change religion… a Grand Inquisitor of Western science who has the power to expel the scientific skeptics.

  35. Sceptics are fond of invoking groupthink in some unspecified cohort. Yet on the basis of an inability to review assumptions, denigration of those not explicitly in the club and an illusion of certitude – so many sceptics are so far down the rabbit hole of motivated reasoning they are unlikely to ever see the light of day.

    The ‘solutions’ have always been obvious. Infrastructure strengthening and emergency response planning, pollution reduction, scientific soils and ecosystem management and technical innovation across multiple economic sectors. Engineering and science solutions that are happening in the world. Essential in fact to meeting the grand challenges for humanity this century. Proactive realpolitics policy formulation – as opposed to formulaic reactions – don’t seem to be a sceptic strong suite.

    Quite a lot of climate science is very clever. Sceptic blog science is not in the right ballpark. But it is an excuse for not taking policy responsibility.

  36. Geoff Sherrington

    Planning Engineer,
    Please add my congratulations for the quality, realism and professionalism of your past contributions here.
    It remains a puzzle that some bloggers continue to argue about the reality, in favour of subjective choices partly directed by their wishes to be seen as part of a group with similar ideas. When there are several professional analyses of a topic like the economics of windmills and solar in USA, there has to be a convergenge of results to the inevitable, the best answer that rides above subjectivity, wishful thinking, ideology, mischevious noise and so on.
    Yours has been a clear voice doing that. It is valuable.Thank you. Geoff S

    • Dead right Geoff. This who believe wind and solar are economic or can ever be or that they can ever meet much of the world’s energy demand are just plain ignorant. The greater the penetration of intermittent renewables the higher the total system cost and the higher the price of electricity. The empirical data demonstrating this is unequivocal. As penetration increases, more transmission line length and capacity is needed (because they are widely dispersed and all have very low capacity factors). And, as the penetration increases more storage capacity is required. This is a huge cost. The capacity has to be sufficient to supply reliable power through long periods of low production. It has to be sufficient for a worst case scenario.

  37. One idea for grid storage that continues to show promise – air compressed to liquid to store excess energy for grid balancing:

  38. Wind and solar subsidies have added 10% to my electricity bill. I could save that if only I could persuade Daisy to turn of the large screen HD TV she uses as a clock in the mornings. We – as a country – are in the process of winding back subsidies. Penetration of wind and solar energy is so low that dependable back up can be provided by very low capacity factor hydro – we are a dry continent. Yet no one wants to throw out hydro – or indeed bioenergy?×981.jpg

    The system works fine. I’ve considered solar voltaics and hot water. But power interruptions are so infrequent and short lived I decided that my off peak water heater powered by a regional coal plant is perfectly cheap and adequate – and uses energy that would otherwise be uselessly shed. If I could install enough solar capacity to power my air-con I might reconsider.

    Wind and solar work day in and day out without any obvious problem.

    Wind and solar have these days a low levelised cost and prospects for further cost reductions are excellent. The sticking point is broadening the supply curve to meet demand. Frankly – synergistic systems to supply heat and electricity and manufacture liquid fuels with a diversified supply seems the creative, efficient and productive solution for an emerging economic problem that is not answered with wishful thinking about fossil fuel supplies.

    With some of this emergent solar technology – the opportunity is for supply to be colocated with demand at office buildings or shopping malls. An excellent application in my neck of the woods.

    Some people have so very little information on which to found any analytical depth. And seem to lack the curiosity or perhaps the technological and scientific literacy to find out. Whatever – the answer is not throwing the technological baby out with the ideological bathwater.

  39. In the 1980s I attended a symposium that included a presentation on PV paint: if memory serves, the presenter was from the University of Mississippi. I confess that I lack the cursity to spend a lot of time following the latest technology breakthrough that was first announced as a breakthrough in a previous century. The term “vaporware” comes to mind.

    • Many innovations have resulted in a cost decrease of 97% since the 1980’s. Resulting in a competitive levelised cost.

      They can go two ways. Thin film high efficiency.


      Or organic photovoltaics.

      The other article I linked above was on a test bed for a technology I have been following for years. I have no particular barrow to push – I’m just a technology enthusiast. Frankly – I see the foundation of future global energy systems must be small modular nuclear reactors. Do they just see wind and solar and start frothing at the mouth?

      And I can’t see how your lack of ‘cursity’ (sic) inspires confidence in your views.

      • Thank you for the reply. I concur with your comment about the future of small modular nuclear reactors. Fifty years ago, we were told that by 2000 all of our energy would come from fusion. Unlike battery technology, it is still possible that in our lifetime, fusion may make a breakthrough. I also follow hydrogen, with the hope that one day it will be economically feasible.

        Being a retired engineer, I spend much of my time reading about technology and particularly energy; although water and land misuse are high on the list of serious problems. My crystal ball says that, in the foreseeable future, there will only be incremental advances in battery technology. Although I don’t have the writing skills of many on this blog, I am a frequency contributor on technology in the local paper. I don’t have the time or interest to read all the misleading information on batteries and PV, and prefer to direct my curiosity to technology that, IMHO, has the potential to make a difference.

        Although there will always be a need and a market for solar and wind, virtually every day I see, and sometimes read, that incremental advances in solar and battery technology are our energy future. The majority of those articles are written by vested interested, and are misleading at best. Yes, I have lost my curiosity about battery and PV advances and prefer to spend my time reading about technology that has a future in my life time. I do read your comments, and although I sometimes have, and will express a differing opinion, I do find them thought provoking and informative. Suggest you skip over my and other commenters that don’t “inspire confidence.”

      • The difficulty with technology is in predicting breakthroughs.

        Is this a high energy density supercapacitor breakthrough?

        I tend to take an interest in technology and leave such judgements to markets. This is contrasted with not taking an interest and rushing to judgement.

  40. Planning Engineer, thank you for your essays and congratulations on your retirement. Pleasing me hasn’t been your goal, but I was pleased to read that you had written your comments for publication.

  41. Curious George- it seems the post below got lost in the dark web……. As Sonoma is burning currently I hope you and your family are safe. We anticipate our fourth PSPS over the weekend.

    Hope you are doing ok during this PSPS. This is our third one. PG&E’s grid went down at 3:52 pm yesterday afternoon at our place. I was looking into some of the details around PG&E’s Power content label when the power went out. It was kind of ironic that our PG&E Blue Bill arrived yesterday just before the grid went down. We are running our generator currently for a few hours to ensure our food stays safe. I am a bit unsure about parasitic load(s) and who get credit, or blame for various accounting schemes, when it comes down to the power mix for PG&E or their RES metrics. In any case it seems that PG&E is doing rather good if the metric is “Eligible renewables” as it up to 39% for 2018. If you measure co2 free generation that value goes up to 85%!

    Just before the grid went down, and our PV system stop working, I had sent a message to the powers that be to find out if our pv systems output is accounted for in the RES or power content label. Not likely but you never know.

    Stay safe during the black out. As a just in case we filled up all our hand held sprayers with water to spray embers if some idiot starts a fire in our area while the grid is down.

  42. This is a test to see if any comment will post.

    1) PG&E’s 2018 Power Content label indicated- 39% “Eligible Renewables”.

    2) The label, referenced in the posts under moderation. also notes that 34%of PG&E generation was from nuclear.

    • kakatoa
      If you’re using a mobile device, have you tried storing your log in WordPress credentials and setting the phone to apply them automatically? In the case of the iPhone 10, with face recognition. I did this and found after that that my posts appeared immediately.

  43. Economics drives engineering – physics, materials science, chemistry, etc are merely the tools of trade. Electricity system physics requires that demand equal supply. Within technical and generating cost constraints. The spot price supplies signals to generators to adjust supply to meet demand. On a daily basis and in response to extreme weather. Although most trade is done via swap or cap contracts. The critical metric there is average spot prices over a year or years.

    Retailers in Australia are required by government to purchase 33,000 GWh of renewables a year – all the available supply contracted under power price agreements. Prices there are falling to levels where investor returns are marginal.×2-700×467.png

    Spot prices in Australia have ranged from -$1000/MWh to $14,500/MWh in 30 minute segments. Changing to 5 minutes in 2021. Intermittency may add to spikes in spot prices – but due to reserve generating
    capacity it kicks in during extreme weather. Either as demand spikes or supply trips out.

    There is a political failure to maintain enough reserve capacity over a long time. There is as well a failure to expand fracking at the rate required to meet both domestic demand – for gas peaking plants specifically – and to match the demands of new LNG export facilities as they came online.

    Rising average spot prices provide both windfall revenue for low cost generators – and an incentive for bringing new capacity online. The latter is why electrical engineers are needed. My feeling is that most of them should refrain from commenting on policy or economics.

  44. The cheapest and most practical source of renewable energy is carbon dioxide itself. It produce sustainable forestry and biomass through photosynthesis. We should capitalize on its high concentration to produce renewable, reliable, and high density power generation.

  45. Pickleball is magnificent

  46. There is an interesting article here on the problems Australia is having with the lack of inertia and excess of asynchronous generation on their grid. Nothing will be done until there is another blackout – just like the changes forced on SA after the last one.
    On of the referenced papers ( strongly urges for the big coal plants to be generating more and back on governor control. The graphs showing the frequency variability are sobering. I am of the opinion that the increased damage we are seeing in the round rotors is a direct consequence of this variability and the consequential swings in load angle. Sooner or later, that damage will cause a catastrophic failure which will kill a worker. Then the recriminations will fly.

  47. Mechanical Engineer, P. E. also retired to Planning Engineer, P. E.

    Analysis shows that the energy generated by wind turbines during their life is less than the energy to produce and maintain them and necessary backup for when the wind isn’t blowing. High cost of electricity from renewables, as shown at is a clue.

    The fallacy of renewables is revealed with simple arithmetic.

    5 mW wind turbine, avg output 1/3 nameplate, 20 yr life, electricity @ wholesale 3 cents per kwh produces $8.8E6.

    Installed cost @ $1.61E6/mW = $8.05E6.
    Operation & maintenance @ $210,000/yr = $4.2E6
    Total cost = $12.2E6

    Add the cost of energy storage facility and energy availability loss during storage/retrieval, or initial and maintenance cost of standby CCGT for low wind periods.
    Solar voltaic and solar thermal are even worse with special concern for disposal and/or recycling at end-of-life (about 15 yr for PV).

    The dollar relation is a proxy for energy relation (the earth does not charge). Bottom line, the energy consumed to design, manufacture, install, maintain and administer renewables exceeds the energy they produce in their lifetime.

    Without the energy provided by other sources renewables could not exist.

    Combined cycle gas turbine $614/kw ($0.6E6/mW) installed cost.

  48. The 97% ‘science’ claim is that renewable energy will prevent CO2 apocalyptic global warming – in Australia …
    “For decades it has been clear that a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is critical to protecting Australia from worsening extreme weather.”

    Q. How many solar panels per-person must Queensland install before Queensland prevents its first drought and/or bushfire?

    Queensland celebrates 4GW solar milestone, three panels for every person
    “Queenslanders are embracing solar energy because they know that solar reduces power bills and carbon (sic) emissions.”

    Stanthorpe farmers go to incredible lengths to weather horror season of fires, drought

    The KPI is the prevention of apocalyptic global warming.

  49. The perception that renewables are needed to reduce burning fossil fuels is bogus.

    Hitran calculates the relative absorb/emit intensity of water vapor molecules vs CO2 molecules. Comparison at zero altitude is shown at . Comparison by the ratio of the summation of intensities (line lengths) for each wavenumber for each molecule species is 8.7/0.07 = 124. On average at ground level, WV molecules outnumber CO2 molecules by about 10,000/410 ≈ 24 to one. After accounting for molecule count, each WV molecule is still more than 124/24 ≈ 5 times more effective at absorb/emit of thermal radiation than a CO2 molecule.

    The relative effectiveness of the increases of WV and CO2 over the last 30 years is calculated as follows:
    CO2 increase in 3 decades, 1988 to 2018 = 407 – 348 = 59 ppmv

    Water vapor increase trend from NASA/RSS TPW data, is 0.04272/28.9 * 100 * 10 = 1.47 % per decade.

    Average global WV = 10,000 ppmv. WV increase in 3 decades = .0147 * 10,000 * 3 = 441 ppmv

    Therefore, WV has been 441/59 * 5 = 37+ times more effective at increasing ground level temperature than CO2.

    Above the tropopause WV molecules are reduced to about 32 ppmv because of the low temperature while CO2 molecules remain at 410 ppmv. Therefore, CO2 molecules outnumber WV molecules 410/32 ≈12 to one. At higher altitudes the molecule spacing increases and more and more of outward directed radiation makes it all the way to space. The increased cooling by more CO2 well above the tropopause counters and apparently fully compensates for the tiny added warming from CO2 increase at ground level. The result being that Climate Sensitivity is not significantly different from zero.

    • You wrote:
      The result being that Climate Sensitivity is not significantly different from zero.

      You really got that right!

      No one has ever proved that Climate Sensitivity of increased CO2 is significantly different from zero.

    • Dan
      Also, more CO2 in the upper atmosphere above the emission height, around the top of the troposphere, will re-radiate more far IR from incident sunlight (this does exist) out to space, reducing TSI. Climastrologers pretend that sunlight is visible range only to hide this fact that increasing CO2 reduces incident solar energy.

      As you say, the net effect of CO2 is essentially zero and the historic record confirms no temperature causation from CO2.

  50. Criticisms of the form, “If you know so much, why are you blogging here”, occurred fairly frequently.

    If you know anything that goes against accepted peer reviewed consensus, it is difficult to find anyplace that will let you post what you know.

  51. Dan Dan Pangburn,

    “High cost of electricity from renewables, …

    Yes. This chart makes the true cost of renewables very clear. In simple terms it shows that for Germany and Denmark, with installed capacity about 1000 W/capita, the price of electricity is about 2.5 times higher than in countries with 0 W/capita renewable capacity.

    The total system cost of renewables escalates as penetration increases to higher levels.

    The evidence is clear from a great deal of empirical data. Intermittent renewables are very expensive.

    What is also clear is that renewables can never provide much of the world’s energy.

  52. Climate, hydrology and ecology are chaotic subsystems that are forced by small changes past thresholds into more or less extreme emergent behaviours resulting purely from internal variability.

    Clouds may evaporate over warmer oceans or orbits and thermohaline circulation changes result in runaway ice sheet growth. Both modulate TOA energy dynamics. I can’t tell which is more likely. But climate will shift again. Very soon in the limited case of Pacific Ocean states.

    Michael Ghil’s model shows that climate sensitivity (γ) is variable. It is the change in temperature (ΔT) divided by the change in the control variable (Δμ) – the tangent to the curve as shown above. Sensitivity increases moving down the upper curve to the left towards the bifurcation and becomes arbitrarily large at the instability. The problem in a chaotic climate then becomes not one of quantifying climate sensitivity in a smoothly evolving climate but of predicting the onset of abrupt climate shifts and their implications for climate and society. The problem of abrupt climate change on multi-decadal scales is of the most immediate significance.

    This is the foundational paradigm of Earth system science. It can be contrasted with spectacularly incompetent sceptic blog science – or indeed the equally absurd and simplistic notions of practically everyone. I’d suggest that gross incompetence rather than consensus is why these people can’t get published in Nature.

    But as I originally said – reducing pressures on the Earth system is simple enough.

    Without technological innovation – it doesn’t include all that much renewables. This is from a NREL ‘Energy Futures’ report from a few years ago.

    Even with this broad mix of sources – 80% penetration results in substantial cost increases. Politically not feasible – even if there were a point to it. This is so obvious that repeating the dog and pony show at every opportunity is stupendously pointless. It remains the case – however – that ‘subsidies’ for sunrise industries – including advanced nuclear prototypes – are entirely justified.

    I have been experimenting with a pared down language – but sometimes superlatives are needed.

    • Robert thanks for the NREL reference. I wonder if their new study will address the issues with CSP and energy storage not working out to well to date.

      Dr. Mann says all we need is political will to use the technologies that already work to meet the co2 reduction goals. That graph on prices seems to indicate it might be closer to political ill will.

    • RIE
      Climate, hydrology and ecology are chaotic subsystems that are forced by small changes past thresholds into more or less extreme emergent behaviours resulting purely from internal variability.>/i>

      This is arm-waving. Just like the last 999 times you recited the same paragraph. Can you give a real world example? The climate has supported multicellular life for 635 million years with CO2 levels between 150ppm (borderline CO2 starvation and plant death) and 10,000 (no apparent bad effects). Has the robust survival and fecundity of life over this period with widely varying temperature and CO2 suggested a system poised on a knife edge of catastrophic instability as you are implying? No – the exact opposite. It shows instead that stability and attractor seeking is also a characteristic of the chaotic systems that you pretend to understand but don’t.

      Clouds may evaporate over warmer oceans or orbits and thermohaline circulation changes result in runaway ice sheet growth.

      Was this textual monster a copy-paste mishap? Ice growth might be runaway during glacial inception. But such excursions don’t just happen out of nowhere, they are constrained to occur during a period of inter-attractor flicker as the global system cools from a hothouse attractor to an icehouse attractor. Only during that borderline transition is there a few million years of glacial-interglacial flicker.

      Positive feedbacks in a chaotic system do not create runaway to catastrophe. They create oscillation. The perfect example of this is the He1+-He2+ positive feedback driving the oscillation of Cepheid variable stars. This is your biggest and recurring mistake, waving chaotic dynamics as a threat of catastrophe. It’s actually more a force for stability – with oscillations.

      The problem in a chaotic climate then becomes not one of quantifying climate sensitivity in a smoothly evolving climate but of predicting the onset of abrupt climate shifts and their implications for climate and society.

      This is the foundational paradigm of Earth system science.

      Pure nonsense. None of the mainstream climate science narrative includes abrupt transitions except the occasional passing speculation. Which of the ensemble of 40 odd GCMs predicts an abrupt transition any time soon? You are parroting utter transparent falsehood. As Pat Frank has recently shown, the GCM climate models only project forward linearly – and vacuously – the CO2 response programmes into them.

      I agree with you that chaotic dynamics should be the foundational paradigm of climate science. But it is absolutely not. Climate science is firmly locked inside La La Linear Land.

      It can be contrasted with spectacularly incompetent sceptic blog science

      As usual your habitual flail of verbal abuse against “skeptics” is baseless to the point of incomprehensible. You and I (one warmist and one skeptic) are practically the only ones talking about chaos in climate. That’s 1-1. Anastasios Tsonis worked on it for a while but he’s retired now. There is by percentage much more mention and openness to chaotic climate dynamics in the skeptical community than in the La La Linearland climate mainstream. Your statement is wishful thinking detached from reality. You are I’m afraid a blowhard and your rhetoric while it touches on important themes, does not cohere.

      or indeed the equally absurd and simplistic notions of practically everyone.

      Again our views converge. None of us understands climate, I agree. Did you really mean to say this? Does practically everyone include you? I’m sure it includes me. Yes scientifically we are for sure a long way from understanding why climate has changed in the way it has over deep time or how weather changes over days and weeks. What explains the mid Pleistocene transition between obliquity and eccentricity interglacial pacing? We’re all absurdly simplistic together. Although I don’t see the need to put it in those terms.

      I’d suggest that gross incompetence rather than consensus is why these people can’t get published in Nature.

      Nature has been quite busy retracting flawed alarmist papers recently. This doesn’t look like consensus to me.

      But then again I (and everyone else in the world except you) are absurdly simplistic, what would we know?

    • Only data matters in such a complex and dynamic system. And chaos is such a rich vein in science over so many decades that Phil imagining that only he and I are discussing it is incredible nonsense. The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) defined abrupt climate change as a new climate paradigm as long ago as 2002. A paradigm in the scientific sense is a theory that explains observations. A new science paradigm is one that better explains data – in this case climate data – than the old theory. The new theory says that climate change occurs as discrete jumps in the system. Climate is more like a kaleidoscope – shake it up and a new pattern emerges – than a control knob with a linear gain. .

      The trolls here are Phil and Peter. Phil loses himself in absurd abstractions and Peter is so far down the motivated reasoning rabbit hole that he will never again see the light of day.

  53. Most post hiatus warming emerges with cloud cover reduction in the eastern Pacific. Cloud evaporating over warm ocean.


    Although there are fine scale modelling results. Here’s Tapio Schneider of the CALTEC climate dynamics group.

    Cold transitions – orbits and THC driving ice sheet feedbacks – are more -10 degrees C than 5 as a global average. As much as 16 degrees C regionally in as little as a decade.

    We have no idea how close the system is to tipping points. Greenhouse gas emissions and land use change cannot be eliminated as a potential trigger for future climate transitions.

  54. Planning Engineer,

    Congratulations on your retirement, and I very much appreciated your postings and comments here on Climate Etc.

    I always tell people the largest machine in the world is the interconnected three-phase rotating machines comprising the North American grid. My graduate studies in power engineering were nothing short of magic. There are nearly infinite good reasons why electrification is considered the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century. Thanks for your contribution to that.

  55. Pingback: Weekly Abstract of Local weather and Vitality # 383 – Next Gadget

  56. Pingback: Weekly Local weather and Power Information Roundup #383 – The Daily Tab

  57. Ghil and Lucarini is a good review of nonlinear dynamics approaches in climate and geosciences.

    Moreover, with increasing computer power and storage capacity, Ockham’s razor is neglected more and more, preference being given to high‐end models with massive details over the simpler and more easily understandable models.

    This could be a mistake. One of the most important climate simulation to date continues to be the one Lorenz reported in Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow 1962. We still don’t know all the fundamental mechanisms and phenomena underlying climate especially in regard to nonlinear-chaotic dynamics, emergent pattern, limit cycles etc. You can only decorate with detail after the theoretical foundations are in place.

    However the work reported by G&L covers in great depth the essentials of chaos-nonlinearity theory in application to climate. They have some notable success in simulating bistability of glacial and interglacial regimes.

    However I missed any reference to feedbacks. The word is absent from the paper. They haven’t yet connected with the research in chemical engineering where feedbacks role is understood in reducing dimensionality of chaotic systems resulting in emergent oscillation. The chaos-nonlinear perspective on feedbacks would greatly improve the general treatment of feedbacks in climate science, it’s one of the important things that the study of chaotic dynamics has to offer climate research.

    • Lorenz used a nonlinear set of partial differential equations just like the big boys.

      “The global climate system is composed of a number of subsystems — atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere — each
      of which has distinct characteristic times, from days and weeks to centuries and millennia. Each subsystem, moreover, has its own internal variability, all other things being constant, over a fairly broad range of time scales. These ranges overlap between one subsystem and another. The interactions between the subsystems thus give rise to climate variability on all time scales. We outline here the rudiments of the way in which dynamical systems theory provides an understanding of this vast range of variability.”

      Phil electrical circuit analogy extrapolated from one study far beyond rhyme or reason is putting lipstick on a pig.

      “There is something much more complicated and qualitatively radically different from the temporal (Lorenzinan) chaos – the spatio-temporal chaos. There is no established spatio-temporal chaos theory. It is cutting edge and a few people have worked on this only for a few decades. Spatio-temporal chaos deals with the dynamics of SPATIAL PATTERNS. Mathematically we deal with fields described by non linear PDEs; Navier Stokes equation is an example. Spatio-temporal chaos is as far from the temporal chaos theory as QM is from classical mechanics.”

      These oscillations that Phil fondly imagines tames Wally Broeckers angry beast are utter nonsense – we are talking patterns shifts in spatio-temporal chaotic flow fields.

      Lorenz on Navier-Stokes?

      “Finally, Lorenz’s theory of the atmosphere (and ocean) as a chaotic system raises fundamental, but unanswered questions about how much the uncertainties in climate-change projections can be reduced. In 1969, Lorenz [30] wrote: ‘Perhaps we can visualize the day when all of the relevant physical principles will be perfectly known. It may then still not be possible to express these principles as mathematical equations which can be solved by digital computers. We may believe, for example, that the motion of the unsaturated portion of the atmosphere is governed by the Navier–Stokes equations, but to use these equations properly we should have to describe each turbulent eddy—a task far beyond the capacity of the largest computer. We must therefore express the pertinent statistical properties of turbulent eddies as functions of the larger-scale motions. We do not yet know how to do this, nor have we proven that the desired functions exist’. Thirty years later, this problem remains unsolved, and may possibly be unsolvable.”

      Yeah we love you too Phil but you need to motivate your reasoning a bit more.

      • Robert
        Yes quoting Lorenz is good, but you haven’t yet commented on my argument which was not about electrical circuits but about chemical engineering.

        Spontaneous pattern formation and spatiotemporal chaos (turbulence) are common features of spatially extended nonlinear systems maintained far from equilibrium. The aim of this work is to control and engineer such phenomena. As an example, the catalytic oxidation of carbon monoxide on a platinum (110) single crystal surface is considered. In order to control turbulence and to manipulate pattern formation in this reaction, two different control methods, global delayed feedback and periodic forcing, are employed.

        The Nullschool live images of ocean circulation illustrates well the chaotic nature of atmosphere-ocean dynamics.

        The insights from chemical engineering are that two phenomena highly relevant in climate can cause oscillatory pattern to emerge from this chaos. These were demonstrated in the above papers to be feedbacks and external periodic forcing. Feedbacks include the North Atlantic salinity-downwelling positive feedback at the heart of the AMOC, and the Bjerknes feedback at the heart of ENSO. Many others exist. External periodic forcing includes the annual cycle and lunar and solar cycles. (The Ghil and Lucarini review cited the work of Tsipermann et al. on modelling ENSO as a nonlinear oscillator periodically forced by the annual cycle.)

        Some may consider it a stretch to take theory from chemical engineering to climate dynamics but I think not – the principles of chaotic dynamics are universal.

        This interaction between thermodynamic chaos in climate with internal feedbacks and external periodic forcing produces natural spatiotemporal oscillations. So when these oscillations are observed, they cannot be dismissed, as often is the custom, by saying “we can’t see any mechanism that can cause this” (so it can only be CO2).

        I don’t want to thrash this point to death but at least try to read the posts that you reply to. FWIW I am not closed-minded on these questions and am influenced by yours and others’ posts, and the “motivation” is only curiosity about climate answers.

      • Yes – I remember now. A chemical analogy.

      • Phil Salmon: Some may consider it a stretch to take theory from chemical engineering to climate dynamics but I think not – the principles of chaotic dynamics are universal.

        I agree. I frequently cite the textbook “Modern Thermodynamics” by Kondepudi and Prigogine because it specifically addresses thermodynamics, but the experimental and computational examples of dynamics (including pattern formation) are about chemical reactions (though not specifically chemical engineering.)

        I endorse your praise of the review by Ghil and Lucarini. Another good survey relevant to climate is “Nonlinear Climate Dynamics” by Henk Dijkstra, published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press.

      • There are boundary conditions It’s a resonant system of oceans and mountains. Tectonics slowly change boundary conditions. Energy dynamics evolves with TSI and orbits. The planet is in one state and then a threshold is forced and ice, cloud, dust, biology interact in an emergent shift to another state. You may call it oscillation but it’s a lot moire fun than that.

      • Yes indeed, the rules of the game are constantly changing.

  58. It is a travesty of misleading propaganda to show a chart of greenhouse gases which does not include water vapor. Water vapor accounts for about 95% of the ghg molecules in the atmosphere and is the only ghg which we can be certain affects climate.

    For the time that both WV and average global temperature have been accurately measured worldwide (since Jan, 1988) WV has been increasing faster than it would if caused only by feedback from increasing temperature. Therefore, temperature increase is a result of water vapor increase, not the reverse. The increased WV comes mostly (about 86%) from increased irrigation.

  59. A few comments on blogging and the blogosphere:

    1. Different bloggers blog for different reasons: some to educate and inform; some to make money; some to create a persona and visibility in a field; some to gain a following of sycophantic and fawning disciples.

    2. The nature of followers differs between those with different motives: I stopped contributing to several blogs in a variety of fields when it became clear that I was supposed to be a sinner repenting before the vicar, mouthing inanities about how holy the vicar was etc etc. No blog is advertised after all as ‘a place to kiss the ass of a huge narcissistic ego’, is it? Politics, gardening, weather, climate, football, science: you name it, the narcissistic egos are out there.

    3. Those wishing to contribute toward enlightening others should steer clear of blogs where the blogger is driven by making money. They will be used and abused and the bloggers rottweilers will be sent out at suitable times to trash the enlightener. Their arguments will be trashed contemporaneously and then miraculously recycled weeks to months later as ‘cutting edge insights’ of the blogger. You will be not be acknowledged in any way whatever. Caveat emptor….

    4. Bloggers wishing to build power may operate several false IDs where they are blogging scripts supportive of the blogger. All so easy to create an aura as the puppet master, eh?

    5. Some blogs operate old boys’ clubs using a coterie of handpicked bloggers. Outsiders submitting material are never published, but their content is distributed without their permission. I make a habit of deciding who to send things to and do not appreciate wider dissemination without consultation or consent, particularly when not even a cursory acknowledgement of submission is evident.

    6. Several blogs use vitriolic trashing language but cannot take it back, banning those who say ‘if you dish it out, you have to be able to take it back’. Right wing political blogs and newspaper websites are particularly guilty of this character flaw.

    7. Some blogs start out idealistically but become shills in return for funding. Usually the transition is marked by branching out into eider subjects with clearly partisan blogging the result. Well educated readers are not deceived….

    8. Several well funded campaigns pay typists to type prepared memes into BTL comment on articles of interest to try to show more support for particular viewpoints. Those campaigning against High Speed Rail in the UK were particularly unsubtle in this regard. No-one should ever use BTL comment as a proxy for public opinion as anonymous accounts mean rigging is endemic.

    9. WordPress and other big money online organisations now bias debate by censoring comment deleterious to certain political positions. This should be made illegal as those censors are entirely unaccountable and always filter out criticism of the Israeli state but not other states. They are racist, in other words. Jews can be racist you know, just like Muslims, gays, women, chinese, even though it is right-wing-,white-, blue-collar men who are routinely smeared with such labels.

    10. The internet is no longer the transformative educational forum that it was around 2000-2005. It is now a new ‘opium of the masses’, a mind control tool. 99% of search engine search results now lead you to MSM articles vaguely associated with your search terms. Did you ever consider such an appalling online library worthy of continued membership?

  60. More step stuff:

    Rather than wade into the sea of insults above, I want to made a few more simple points.

    But first a recap: here again is Joe Bastarti’s picture of the El Niño step up in global temperatures, with nothing but pauses on either side:
    Here is my description of the big step up, from 22 months ago (no picture):
    There is no CO2 warming in the entire satellite record. Just a step up warming due to the super El Niño 20 years ago. We may now have a second El Niño step warming but it is too soon to tell.

    Regarding the supposed surface and ocean warming, while it may be real, to my knowledge it cannot be due to the CO2 increase. (I say may be real because I have serious doubts about the validity of the convoluted statical methods.) In any case I know of no mechanism whereby increasing CO2 in the atmosphere can cause surface warming without first causing atmospheric warming, which the satellite data say has not happened. The surface warming would require increased back radiation which requires increased atmospheric temperature, which we do not see.

    If the surface and ocean are in fact warming, then why is a very big question, which ought to be the focus of research. A solar effect seems most likely. But this warming is not evidence of AGW.

    The elegant thing about science, at least in principle, is that a single observation can falsify a popular hypothesis. But as Kuhn pointed out, this may not be true in practice when the hypothesis is deeply entrenched, due to what I call paradigm protection. So we get the argument that the data must be wrong. However, I think the satellite data is accurate enough to falsify AGW.

    Popper said at science was a process of elegant conjectures, followed by refutations by observation. The conjecture of AGW has now been refuted by observation.


  61. And today, the debate over the utility of climate models (“better than nothing” might not be if it conveys false knowledge) rages in the popular press and among wonks.

    If the surface and ocean are in fact warming, then why is a very big question, which ought to be the focus of research. A solar effect seems most likely. But this warming is not evidence of AGW.

    We have history and ice core data. After every cold period, climate warms. We are still coming out of the little ice age and we should stay warm for several hundred years. Yes, the sun is always warming the oceans and earth, it does not vary much, ice extent determines if climate is warming or cooling.

    There is no actual proof that supports AGW. We are colder than we have been for the most recent ten thousand years.

    Alex Pope

  62. Repost on intended thread:

    From WNA Newsletter, re the Fukushima nuclear accident

    Hidden costs of nuclear accidents and government responses

    While some lessons were learned from the Chernobyl accident about not exacerbating the radiological effects of an accident, they were not applied at Fukushima in 2011. A new report builds on what was already disclosed by government sources, and magnifies the death toll arising from government decisions and actions. There were no fatalities from the accident itself – most radionuclides from the three meltdowns due to the tsunami were contained. The significant releases that did occur were exacerbated by Prime Ministerial interference with plant procedures. The tsunami directly killed over 18,000, most in neighbouring prefectures.

    In 2014 the government of Fukushima prefecture reported a death toll from the evacuation as 1656, as determined by municipal panels. About 90% of these indirect deaths were people over age 66. The figure is greater than for Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, though they had much higher loss of life in the ‘quake and tsunami. As of March 2019, the Fukushima prefecture government reported 2268 “disaster-related” indirect deaths in the prefecture. Causes of indirect deaths include physical and mental stress stemming from long stays at shelters, a lack of initial care due to hospitals being disabled by the disaster, and suicides.

    The new report is published by Germany-based IZA Institute of Labor Economics and addresses wider impacts from the government’s over-reaction in shutting down Japan’s nuclear reactors to placate public anxiety. In particular, it suggests that increased electricity prices and greater use of fossil fuels have led to more deaths following the March 2011 accident than the prolonged evacuation from the area surrounding the nuclear power plant. “Our estimated increase in mortality from higher electricity prices significantly outweighs the mortality from the accident itself [ie evacuation], suggesting the decision to cease nuclear production caused more harm than good.” The study estimated 1280 deaths over 2011-2014, and did not quantify the air quality impacts of replacing nuclear with fossil fuel generation. The study’s data covered less than one third of Japan’s population, so the estimate is low.

    The findings of the IZA study concur with those of medical and environmental experts, who have stressed the lethal consequences of evacuation that is unnecessary or unduly prolonged. The UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) has published reports on Fukushima suggesting safe radiation dose criteria and pointing out that government policies were unrealistic and broadly harmful. The precautionary principle in such situations relates to “perceived risk, which is often based more on emotions and instincts than on reason and rationality,” according to IZA. Well-established science is marginalised.

    The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) is currently revising its guidance for people affected by large nuclear accidents, and the World Nuclear Association has strongly submitted that it should properly draw “upon the vast literature and efforts post-Fukushima.” In particular, “Putting radiation risks in proper context and perspective against other hazards and any socio-psychological impacts is essential, and would be fully in line with the principle of justification and ensuring that actions do more good than harm.”
    WNN 29/10/19. Fukushima accident

  63. Re-post on intended thread:

    Also see the articles on the true impact of nuclear accidents and what the response should be. The Editorial is here:

    Thomas, P.; May, J. Coping after a big nuclear accident. Process Safety and Environmental Protection 2017, 112, 1-3.

    The main articles are here:

    You can download the full text.

  64. we all need to get on to the renewable energy train and save the our life on the hold tire environment has we know it to be. the time shorty lets do better right now on take action.