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Comments 1 to 50:

  1. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    Note: in comment 107, I should be abbreviating Representative Concentration Pathways  as RCPs, not RPCs.

  2. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    In my previous comment, I referred to Risk Management. Risk Management is generally defined as the process by which you incorporate uncertainty into planning.

    • Risks are things that might happen. When a risk happens, it becomes an event, and you should have a plan for how you will react to that event.
    • Risks can be positive or negative. The risk that your house burns down is clearly negative. The risk that an unknown relative dies and leaves you $1M in her estate is positive.

    We often only think in terms of negative risks. Once a risk is identified (and climate change is definitely a barrel full of risk issues), you want to assess it on two scales:

    1. What is the probability? Almost certain? Likely? Possible? Unlikely? This will affect the resources we wish to apply to the issue.
    2. What is the potential impact? Negligible? Small? Moderate? Severe? This will affect the resources that we will have to put into it if it happens.

    Usually, Risk Management will place risks into a matrix with these two scales. Usually, any moderate to severe impact risk needs active management, even if the likelihood is small.

    Risk Management can use several techniques:

    • Reduce the risk, by taking actions that make it less likely to happen. (Emit less CO2.)
    • Reduce the potential impact. (Build sea walls, move cities away from coasts, upgrade infrastructure to mitigate damage from severe weather, breed drought-resistant crops.)
    • Transfer the risk to someone else. (Let the undeveloped world suffer while we live the high life.) Not a moral option, IMHO, and not an option at all if we consider ourselves to be part of a global community (there is no "them", just "we").
    • Just let it all happen and hope we can fix the mess later on (our current path, for the most part). Often a reasonable option for low risk, low impact issues (of which climate change is not one).

    IMHO, it is not acceptable to decide that we will only deal with risks that are almost certain or just highly likely. At the extreme high end of the IPCC possible outcomes, we are looking at events that would carry very high costs, even if these risks are unlikely to occur. We need to make sure these don't happen, if we can.

    IMHO, many of the arguments against strong action fall into three, non-exclusive, areas:

    • The risks are very low. ("It's all a hoax".)
    • The impacts are very low. ("CO2 is plant food." "Warming is beneficial").
    • The costs of taking action are extremely high ("You will destroy the economy").

    Each of these arguments consist of looking at a range of possibilities and picking a single value from one end of the range that most suits the individual's preferred course of action - Business As Usual. It is Bad Risk Management.

  3. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    NorrisM has asked @ 98 "Could you simply define what you would expect to have included in a US carbon tax? It would be helpful for you to also come up with a price per tonne of CO2."

    I have not done so, for the simple reason that I do not think that this is a problem that can be summarized using a single number. I will try to explain why.

    First of all, my background is climatology, not economics or policy. I have experience developing, using, and applying microclimate models. A general principle used in such work, which I think has broader applicabilty, is "sensitivity analysis". A model requires inputs, and these affect outputs. Sensitivity analysis say "if I alter this input, how does that change the output?". We hopefully can obtain independent measurements of the required inputs - e.g., solar radiation, heat capacity of water, etc. - but all inputs have uncertainty. Two fundament results of this are:

    1. if the uncertainty in the input has negligible effect on the output, then it is not a concern. This obviously depends on the output that I am interested in. Different applications may use different outputs, and therefore have different concerns about the uncertainty associated with different inputs.
    2. if the uncertainty in the input has a large effect on the output I am interested in, then I have two choices: try to get a better measurement of the input (reduce uncertainty), or accept that the output also has a range of uncertainty and consider that range in subsequent analysis.

    Two examples from the CO2 problem WRT climate modelling:

    1. As input, future atmospheric CO2 expectations depend on many non-climate issues, with a range of possible values. The IPCC handles this by looking at several Representative Concentration Pathways (RPCs) - different scenarios used in running climate models.
    2. As output, different models show different amounts of warming from the same CO2 values (RPCs). The IPCC handles this by talking about a range of warming for 2xCO2 (the "Climate Sensitivity").

    Taking any single value from a known range of probabilities is a mistake. Any value within that range may or may not be what happens, and there is a probability that the eventual output will be within a certain range.

    Handling that uncertainty is a problem in Risk Management. I will expand on that in a follow-up comment.

    Now, to the rhealm of personal opinion, I think a carbon tax in the fee-and-dividence class is a better choice than Cap-and-Trade, as it is more predictable for business (less uncertain) WRT to future costs, and it is probably harder to game (either by a business sector or government).

    I think that any carbon tax needs to start low to avoid sudden shocks on the economy, but needs to rise fairly rapidly to a level that realistically represents most, if not all, externalized carbon costs.

    There is uncertainty in the "true" SSC. There is also uncertainty in how the economy (and society) will respond to any changes such as a carbon tax. This will require monitoring and probably adjustment as time goes on.

    But it needs to start now, not decades later after we have waited to reduce uncertainty. We have already lost decades of time since the science of climate became clear, and the longer we wait, the more it is going to hurt and the faster we will have to react. (cf. the window glass example.)

  4. The war on coal is over. Coal lost.

    The process of providing the consumer with electricity has three major sources of costs:

    1. Generating the electricity and placing it on the grid.
    2. Transporting it across the grid to the consumer (generally called "transmission and distribution", or T&D)
    3. The losses during the T&D process - the difference between what the consumer's meter says came into the consumer's house or business, and what the generation company's meter says it put onto the grid. The generation company wants to get paid for everything it sent out, and the consumer wants to pay only for what comes out the end.

    In monopoly situations where the same company deals with all costs, they can shift the charges to suit their goals - e.g., increase consumption charges to subsidize connection fees in difficult-to-service areas, or crank up connection fees to get lots of money from people that found ways to minimize consumption, etc.

    T&D is a natural monopoly. Who wants 8 sets of wires running down the street so that 8 different T&D companies can compete for your business?

    As governments move to structuring the industry so that generation is a different company from T&D - hopefully creating competition in the generation sector - then gaming the system so that Someone Else has to bear the costs of your part of the business becomes an increasingly attractive business (or political) strategy.

    Add storage to the mix (generator and consumer want to produce and consume at different times), and finding a way for Someone Else to pay can be very lucrative.

  5. CliFi – A new way to talk about climate change

    Jim @2 - yes, I found "The Water Knife" novel terrifying in it's plausibility and sharply pointed in it's portrayal of fellow Americans as the new wave of unwanted refugees the fences and walls and armed militias were determined to keep out. Only one criticism - his treatment of the desert wildlife as somehow well adapted and likely to survive; I think much of that wildlife already exists close to the limits of survival even before addition of higher temperatures and new extremes of drought.

  6. The F13 files, part 1 - the copy/paste job

    BaerbelW @8 , thank you for that !

    How embarrassing.  I saw: October 17th, Part 1 of a series . . . etc etc

    I must remember that the pretty blue text can be clicked on !

    Please excuse my Kopffurz (if that's the correct word for my idiocy).

    I shall get reading.

  7. The war on coal is over. Coal lost.

    Lacklan @13, I dont think low income people will be too happy with high power prices somehow. There are probably better ways of incentivising efficiency.

    That's interesting about connection fees. By distribution companies I assume it's either the retailer or lines companies? Either way, as a government owned soe making a profit and I assume having at least a partial monopoly this is a crazy formula for rorting the consumer.

    But as you say theres a problem of investment. This is caused by poor planning in turn traced to climate denial combined with partisan political bickering and disunity. Britian has a central agency separate from government dealing with electricity, a great idea that has removed politics as much as possible and it has worked.

  8. The F13 files, part 1 - the copy/paste job

    Eclectic @4 - you can already read the other three articles which are linked from this one. They just don't yet show up on the homepage, but will in due course.

  9. The war on coal is over. Coal lost.

    nigelj, the problem in Australia isn't so much the price of electricity.  A high per-kWh price at least encourages responsible consumption.

    The biggest problem is that the flat connection fee is ridiculously high, in at least some states.  That problem is particularly bad in states with government-owned for-profit distribution companies, which allowed for blame-shifting.  This particular failure has nothing to do with climate denial.

    Still, I agree that the lack of a carbon price has caused a shortfall of investment in generation too, which may bite us this summer.

  10. The war on coal is over. Coal lost.

    Jenna, Australia's National Energy Guarantee is almost inconsequential compared with the proposed Carmichael mine that Adani is proposing for the Gallilee Basin.

    I heard someone say that the debate about a carbon price in Australia is irrelevant as long as Australia is a major coal exporter — which is about right.  (I'm not saying we should accept the NEG, just that stopping Adani is a higher priority.)

  11. The F13 files, part 1 - the copy/paste job

    I forgot to mention: in many universities, plagiarism is grounds for explusion, not just failing.

  12. The F13 files, part 1 - the copy/paste job

    I really like the "pressure heating" theory.  As I recall, it says that heating is due to the effect of gravity on the atmosphere — i.e., "the sky is falling".  They accuse climate "alarmists" of being Chicken Licken saying that the sky is falling, and I was tickled pink to see some deniers actually claiming that heating is literally because the sky is falling.

    (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

  13. The war on coal is over. Coal lost.


    >>Renewables remain a viable alternative in off grid locations, but without subsidies will still have to compete on the open market.<<

    Read up about the externalities of coal - ie., the massive economic subsidies that the oil and gas industries receive that are nowhere to be seen on any balance sheet except in government departments.

    Start charging the FF industry for the costs of health, restitution of the environment, lost water catchments etc etc and the renewables' subsidies actually look quite manageable.

    Better still, cut ALL subsidies and see how it pans out.

  14. The war on coal is over. Coal lost.

    Singleton Engineer, its just ridiculous that Australia cant sort out  a simple set of goals for clean energy. Plenty of other countries have no problem. 

    Australia also has among the highest electricity prices going, despite abundant wind and solar potential as well as traditional energy. This is just gobsmackingly dumb.

    Its  a political and planning failure, not a failure of  technology or renewable energy. Its a failure of climate denialism and a failure to come up with  a cohesive plan and set of goals.

    Check for yourself: Source: Google search: "Electricty mess in Australia" The first 20 articles or so will give you the background.

  15. SingletonEngineer at 10:46 AM on 19 October 2017
    The war on coal is over. Coal lost.

    Jenna, the Australian government's plan is little more than an outline of a possible plan - which does not yet exist.  It is all of 8 pages long and lacks modelling or defined goals, although they will presumably follow via regulation.

    It also carries many of the features of a carbon intensity scheme, to be administered by electricity retailers. 

    It also requires as-yet-undrafted legislation.

    In summary, it is a nothing, going nowhere fast and with slim chance of enactment.  Until modelling and proposed legislation are available, analysis is impossible - whether for or against, environmental or financial.  Its final shape may well be nowhere near the current proposal.

  16. The F13 files, part 1 - the copy/paste job


    Scientific journals are rarely interested in papers that just point out errors in other papers. You will occasionally see "Comment on..." short contributions, but not often.

    Scientists also don't get much credit for publishing such critiques - career advancement is based on new research, not pointing out that junk was published that ignored vast quantities of old research and got many basic things wrong.

    ...but it does happen. Read this RealClimate post from a couple of years ago that tells the sorty of publishing such a paper.

    Let's Learn From Mistakes

  17. The F13 files, part 1 - the copy/paste job

    Derek, your question may be a little premature.   Let's see more on the details of that paper.   Valid "denier literature" is rarer than rocking-horse poo.   But anything which shows even a degree of verisimilitude, is like a sticking-up nail that ought to be hammered down.  (Unless the "literature" appears in Shonksville extremist publications like Journal of American Physicians & Surgeons ~ where Richard Lindzen has published [more a rant than a paper]).

    I keenly look forward to Ari Jokimaki's next instalment.

    (My apologies, Ari — for I haven't discovered how to correctly make the umlaut in your surname. ) 

  18. CliFi – A new way to talk about climate change

    I do however recommend "Adventures in the Anthropocene, by Gaia Vince" which is factual account of environmental issues and climate impacts, but told through the lives of individuals and local communities. This style may appeal to some people.

  19. CliFi – A new way to talk about climate change

    I highly recommend Paolo Bacigalupi's The Water Knife. It aptly describes how the modern overdelveloped Southwest US will experience what the Anasazi did through the lens of water rights.

  20. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    I think this is the paper you wanted.

  21. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races


    Here is another reference  (Connolly et al) that documents that the cost of a renewable energy system is low.  In this paper the cost of a renewable system for the entire EU is estimated at 10-15% higher than BAU using fossil fuels.  They point out that many fossil fuels are imported while renewable energy is generated inside the EU so there are additional financial advantages to renewable energy (about 10 million jobs).

    They do not quantitate the advantages of much lower pollution from renewable energy, although we should keep in mind that coal use alone kills 10-15,000 people each year in the USA alone and causes over $40 billion per year in health costs.  All those costs would be in addition to not having to import fuel from the Middle East.  One meter of sea level rise would flood over $1trillion of real estate in south Florida alone.  Many trillion more in the rest of the USA alone. 

    It is easy to find these types of studies.  I used Google Scholar and typed in Jacobson 2015 renewable energy.  It currently has about 115 references.  I clicked on the cited by papers to get a list of them.  Click on the paper to get a copy (usually they are not free, but sometimes they are).  Connolly et al was the first one on the list.  Most of the rest are additional studies that document that renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels.  Read several to get more up to date.

    Connolly et al does not use any nuclear energy

    "due to its economic, environmental, and security concerns. In addition, nuclear power does not fit in a renewable energy system with wind and solar, since it is not very flexible". 

    Your support of nuclear is opposite to the scientific tide.  Even Brave New Climate no longer posts new papers.

    You need to figure out how to research this information on your own if you want to be serious.  If you want a copy of Clack google his name.  Academic persons invariably have a web page and usually have free links to their papers.  Google Scholar can help find free papers if you cannot find their web page.  Clacks paper will be one of the references to his paper in Google Scholar (Clacks paper is on the list of cited by papers for Jacobson linked above).

    The Clack study has been discredited since most of the persons on the paper did no work (only 3 did any work). It is generally considered to be dishonest to list persons who did no work on the paper as authors.  You are welcome to refer to a discredited study if you wish, but Jacobson has a much stronger record of honesty.  Jacobson's work has stood the test of time over the past 10 years.  The huge number of papers citing his work tell you that scientists listen to what Jacobson says.  Discounting Jacobson in favor of Clack would be accepting an inferior paper just because it supports your preconceived notions.  Jacobson has many more supporting citations which generally tells the story.  Connolly et al is an example of a paper that supports Jacobson and contradicts Clack.

    Connolly's paper I linked above uses liquid electrofuels as primary energy storage instead of hydrogen.  There are existing facilities for these fuels so no storage has to be built.  I have never liked Jacobson's use of hydrogen as primary energy storage.  Jacobson does not like the pollution caused by electrofuels being burned (and they are less efficient than hydrogen).  This shows that the models of renewable energy systems are conservative since whichever method of energy storage ends up superior can be used.  Both Jacobson and Connolly use conservative assumptions for renewable energy so the final systems will be lower cost than they have estimated.  I note that their cost estimates are not very different even though their systems are very different.

  22. CliFi – A new way to talk about climate change

    Personally such a book would drive me nuts.  I struggle with historical fiction or anything that mixes fact and fiction. I prefer dry old books  full of graphs, photos, tables and charts, or a completly fiction novel like the Tolkein Trilogy. But thats just me.

    However I appreciate different people connect to different things and in different ways and such a semi fictional book would be perfect for them. The world is complicated, with deep seated differences between people relating to some things and how they connect, think, imagine, and what switches them on.  Of course we have have many basics in common as well, or it would be chaos. 

  23. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    Norris, I also largely agree with what Bob Loblaw is saying, apart from the business of what you admitted to or didnt. I understand how lawyers are trained, I have used enough lawyers for various things. 

    But I want to reiterate his point "In terms of climate change, experts are warning you to get out of the way (or stop creating the problem)."

    This sums it up so poignantly for me . You cant expect the science community to do more. You have to do more to come to the party and be open minded about the issues and find information.

    Its natural to have a little healthy scepticism, but its easy for this to go wrong and turn into something  irrational, negative, defensive, and self justifying and dogmatic. 

  24. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    Norris M @101

    I just dont have time to find peer reviewed assessments of costs of switching to renewable energy right now. Some of this stuff is not easy to follow and full of jargon, and I don't have time to find the right study for you.

    What I suggest is the following, which will be more useful to you anyway:

    The IEA (International energy agency) says it costs 1% of a countries gdp approx. to convert to renewables, phased in over a reasonable period 20 - 30 years. 

    I strongly suggest you contact the IEA directly. I'm sure they would  be only too happy to provide information, help and answer questions or alternatively point you at whatever information you need. 

    Or just talk to one of the electricty organisations in your own country.

    Just some final notes. The study I gave you does indeed say " £29.46 trillion – but that’s still only 21% of global wealth." It also says further on 1% of gdp, because such a scheme is obviously phased in over time, not all done in one year. But you realise this.

    It's just actually not that complicated to calculate. We know Americas (for example) generating capacity in mw's,  and how much renewable energy costs in mw's, and that we need about 10% gas fired backup, and approx. 50% transmission lines upgrades over time. Multiple agencies do the maths and keep getting 1% of gdp. Obviously it will vary around this somewhat in individual countries depending on for example how much current supply is renewable or hydro etc. 1% is very easily affordable. 

    Of course plenty of Americas transmission lines will need to be replaced regardless of renewables, I have read the whole transmission grid is ancient and needs upgrading,  and much coal plant only has limited years left, and renewable energy will drop in price further its just a question of how much. And of course you will have inflation in some other things like perhaps copper cables.

    But my point is estimates of approx. 1% are if anything pessimistic. 

    You must realise these sorts of things, you are well educated. 

    Sea level rise doesn't have to immediately jump to 10mm. You would be aware of accelerating curves, parabolic curves, that sort of thing. Sea level rise has long been predicted to be an accelerating curve, particularly after 2050.

  25. The F13 files, part 1 - the copy/paste job

    Out of curiosity, what are the advantages and disadvantages to writing a rebuttal paper when shoddy science is used in the denier literature?   I realize this is a slightly different case since it involves plagarism, but I hope you all don't mind because it is something I've wondered for awhile.

  26. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races


    Cut with the histrionics of genuflecting. What I said in comment 79 was "...if you cannot appreciate the difference between what I said in comment #68 and your first paragraph in comment #70..."

    Although you apologized with a conditional "if" @75, your latest comment states " So I hardly understand how I have misrepresented your views."

    So I finally have a direct answer - no, you cannot appreciate the difference between what I said and how you characterized it. And your apology was not based on an honest realization that you had misrepresented my views. You would have saved us both a lot of time if you had given a direct answer to begin with, instead of avoiding the question.

    I will simply repeat what I said in #92: Can you understand how it is difficult to have a discussion with you when you are making incorrect assumptions? Suggestion: ask more questions, make fewer assumptions.

    Most of the rest of your comment is a continued repetition of misconceptions and refusal to either read or inability to understand materials that others have point you towards. You continue to use emotion-laden words like "bury our economy". You continue to imply that we have lots of time to decide what to do, when others point to studies that say we need to get going on actions as soon as possible (and that there are many actions that are both technologically feasible and economically favourable now). Complete solutions? No. BUt it is better to start with partial solutions now than to do little or nothing and gamble that a perfect solution will present itself later. Any project plan that includes a dependence on planning breakthroughs is at high risk.

    I find it very telling about your mindset when the first response to my falling window glass thought experiment was to deny the physics of falling glass and assume a different physics that allows you to wait before you react. Did you notice that I asked two questions in that experiment?

    1. When do I warn you to get out of the way?, and
    2. When are you justified in taking action?

    In terms of climate change, experts are warning you to get out of the way (or stop creating the problem). The action that you are taking is to deny that the problem is urgent, and therefore you are concluding that there is little justification in taking much action now. Your assimilation of information is being strongly biased by that mindset.

  27. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    nigelj @97

    The references below do not reference specific facts and despite the reference to 29.46 trillion pounds, here is what they have to say as to how much this is going to cost:

    "This new infographic by QuidCorner shows that the global cost of switching to renewable energy is high at £29.46 trillion – but that’s still only 21% of global wealth."

    Could you point me to some peer reviewed studies on the cost of switching the continental US to wind and solar similar to my same  request to BaerbelW? 

    I have shown that I am prepared to read detailed papers having read on my recent holiday, all of Chapter 9 from the IPCC 2013 assessment on "Evaluation of Climate Models" and all of Chapter 10 of the IPCC 2014 Report on RE and its Costs entitled "Mitigation Potential and Costs".

    I have not yet read Jacobson's reply and will not comment further on the Slack June 2017 paper until I have done so.  But in the meantime, can you help me locate the Clack study I referenced in my reply to BaerbelW?

  28. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    BaerbelW @ 99

    Thanks very much.  I am aware of this proposal  but had not taken the time to actually read the website.  I think it makes a lot of sense provided that the level of the proposed carbon tax is something which only levies a charge on carbon for the pollution costs at this time.  I am assuming that this website, which is attempting to appeal to Republicans, is proposing to take a position similar to mine that we have to limit this proposed carbon tax to something like 20-30 t/CO2. At that level, I can live with the imposition of a duty on other nations which do not have such a carbon tax.

    If you have any sources of peer reviewed papers that have considered the conversion of the continental US to wind and solar power combined with FF/hydro/nuclear for base load generation I would be very appreciative.

    I have tried to access a Clack et al paper on Nat Clim Chang (referenced in a June 2017 paper on the Jacobson study) but have not been successful.  I have not fully exhausted my search but thought someone on this website would be able to assist. 

  29. There is no consensus

    Adrian White @764 , regarding "the laws of history" [your quote] ,

    Adrian, you appear to have a very strange and peculiar definition of the meaning of the word "laws".

    By failing to use English words in a standard English sense, you render your comments rather meaningless.   Please re-state (more intelligibly) the ideas you are trying to convey.

    (B) Question: Is there a mathematical formula agreed by 97% of biologists, which will describe & predict the processes of Evolution?   If so, what is it?   If not so — then we must presume that Evolution is false (and a form of Junk Science).

    We need better communication from you, please Adrian !

  30. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    Norris @98

    Regarding a carbon tax or fee (however you want to call it): have you checked out Citizens' Climate Lobby's suggestion of Carbon Fee and Dividend yet? It shows, how such a fee could be set up without inconveniencing households. You can start reading about it here:

    There is also the Climate Leadership Council which makes the "Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends":

    You'll find links to a PDF with more information as well as to a TedTalk presentation on that page.

    Hope this helps!

  31. There is no consensus

    The laws of physics are not in dispute whereas those of geology are. The laws of physics apply to an infinite number of possible events at any time: geological theories state whether certain events occurred at certain times on this one planet. The laws of history are endlessly debatable. The laws about which there is the greatest certainty are capable of mathematical formulation: those about which there is least certainty are not.
    Is there a mathematical formula agreed by the 97% in the matter of global warming according to which the future can be predicted depending on stated variables? If so, what is it?

  32. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    Bob Loblaw @ 92

    I have no idea why you are asking me to genuflect to you.  I thought I had fairly summarized your views on what you wish to get out of a carbon tax but I am at a loss to understand what you think a carbon tax should reflect.   So I hardly understand how I have misrepresented your views. 

    Could you simply define what you would expect to have included in a US carbon tax?  It would be helpful for you to also come up with a price per tonne of CO2.

    It might also be useful for you to explain how you expect to sell such a high carbon tax to the US public. 

    Let us get away from analogies for the moment and deal with reality.  At the present time sea levels are rising at somewhere around 3 mm/yr (See AR5 WG1 Figure 3.14).  Based upon that rate, the sea level in 2100 would have risen an incredible 9.8 inches.  For sea levels to rise by 1 metre by 2100 would mean that the sea level rise would have to immediately rise to 12 mm/y and stay at that level for the rest of the century.  Even this is not the end of the world.  This is not exactly a large glass window frame coming crashing down on you in seconds with no time to react.

    But as for your other anology with respect to the purchase of a TV from Walmart.  Before we buy the solar and wind package, it might be an idea to check the cables and sound system, I agree.  Those would be the cost of a US continental power grid system that can properly support the unique electric current provided by wind and solar power as well as the cost of the back up FF in the form of natural gas power generating plants to provide base load power because this will be needed and has to be built into the costs.  Based upon the Slack report, "there are no electric storage systems available today that can affordably and dependably store the vast amounts of energy needed over weeks to reliably satisfy demand using expanded wind and solar power alone." 

    How can you propose a carbon tax at a level which would bury our economy unless you can point to detailed studies that show that this change to wind and solar power can be achieved at a reasonable cost?

    I keep hearing about 1% of GDP as this magical figure but where are the studies?  My understanding is that the problems of integrating a wind and solar solution into existing grid systems (let alone a continental wide new grid system) were not built into the models described in Chapter 10 of the IPCC 2014 Report nor was the issue of intermittency of wind and solar taken into account. 

    Politicians cannot commit the public purse to significant expenditures without having some detailed cost studies.  If the IPCC Report I read is all we have then we have a long way to go.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Inflamatory snipped.

    It would also be useful for you (and everyone else particpating in a discussion with you) to cease summarizing what another poster said. If you want to challenge a statement made by someone else do so directly without recasting what the other person stated. 

  33. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    NorrisM @96

    "Thanks for the reference to this site but I have to say that it seems to be more of a video setting out some simple numbers. Perhaps my browser cannot show everything. "

    No Norris. The information below the video in the text showed value of a variety of renewable energy options, and below that along list of source material. Its also easy to check these prices against other sources of prices. I chose this website as its reasonably straightforward, and you complained before about complexity of some sources. Now you complain its too straight forward.

    The duty is on you to provide evidence they are somehow wrong. Again you fail to do this, and simply moan about the quoted material. Its not good enough Norris.

  34. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    nigelj @ 94

    Thanks for the reference to this site but I have to say that it seems to be more of a video setting out some simple numbers.  Perhaps my browser cannot show everything.  I clicked on the video and got two pages.  Not that this makes a material difference but I think they are quoting 29 Trillion pounds not US dollars.  I think this would increase the figures by about 30%.  But my main problem is that it simply states numbers.  I truly wish someone could point me to the a way of getting the two Clack papers on converting the US to 80% solar and wind in the power generation sector.  After their paper slamming Jacobson they have a certain amount of credibility.  Does not hurt having the NOAA label.  I admit I have not yet read the Jacobson response and I promise to do so.

  35. The war on coal is over. Coal lost.

    To the writers at SKS, most probably Dana, PLEASE write something about the situation in Australia where the cabinet has dumped the 'Clean Energy Target'. This is the plan for more renewales to meet their Paris accord goals.

    My 'denier' friends won't shut up aout this, I need a rebutle!

  36. The war on coal is over. Coal lost.

    You keep hearing about "clean coal", but the technology of producing electricity from coal and capturing the CO2 is still in its infancy.

    In Canada, one of the early large-scale installations is in Saskatchewan. Hailed as a breakthrough, it has been far less effective and more costly than originally claimed. It is also a "carbon capture" project where the CO2 is injected into oil-bearing rocks so more oil can be produced. Burning the oil seems to release more CO2 than was captured by the coal-burning plant. This article provides details.

  37. The F13 files, part 1 - the copy/paste job

    What nigelj said about plagiarism.

    As for the bit about partial pressures affecting warming - it is probably part of the Sky-Dragon-class physics that says the whole atmospheric temperature profile is due to pressure heating (or something like that - I can't do justice to an idea that is that far from reality). There is a recent post on the subject over at And Then There's Physics.

  38. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    Norris, a lot of plant would require replacement anyway, so probabaly less than my figures. They are conservative figures.

  39. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    Norris @90, here is a study on costs of converting the entire world to renewable energy.

    The cost of the entire planet going to renewables is estimated by Inhabitat as $29 trillon America dollars in total. They give all costs and calculations in simple form so its an easy study to follow rather than twenty pages worth. This is the entire planet not just america.

    If this is phased in over 30 years between now and 2050 this represents about $1 trillion per year globally.Total global gdp (total wealth or economic output if you like) is approx. $100 trillion from Statistica etc. Therefore by simple maths it costs about 1% of global gdp per year to convert to renewables, exactly as I previously stated.

    It will therefore cost America about 1% per year of gdp per year as well. Americas total gdp per year is approx. 20 trillion dollars so this represents about $200 billion per year. This gives you an indication of where things are at. Its less than they spend each year on the military or old age pensions.

  40. The war on coal is over. Coal lost.

    CJones1 @3

    "Many believe thst the dangers of Carbon pollution have been exaggerated while reduction of other particulates remain a concern.'

    Beliefs are often just little more than gut reactions and cosy sounding assurances. Better to read the science as presented in a digestable way on websites like this,  and think, rather than believe.

    And if particulates worry you that much, this is another good reason to phase out coal, as it's implicated in all sorts of respiratory problems particularly with coal miners, and its hard to filter out all the noxious components.

  41. The F13 files, part 1 - the copy/paste job

    Great detective work. Plagiarising would get your university essay failed.

    The consistent changing of just a few words sure looks like it might be an organised and deliberate pattern. For whatever reason I "couldnt possibly say".

    The abstract of the F13 paper does indeed look like an excuse to sneak various myths into a so called research paper. It looks like a tasty gish gallop of debunked things to cause as much doubt as possible by careful word choice and subtle implication. Its not healthy upfront science, its a form of word play and unspoken communication by hitting hot buttons in the intended audience.

    I don't know on what basis they would say Greenland is  representative of the entire northern hemisphere. Looks like an empty assertion, unless they explain better somewhere else. I know this jumps the gun away from the copy and paste issue, but it jumped out and I will forget if I don't mention it now.

    I also don't understand their ideas about global warming being related to partial pressure of gases in some sort of bicycle pump affect. Its true P/T = C for a given body of gas, even I remember  stuff from chemistry class a million years ago, but nobody has been able to show where this additional pressure is coming from, to cause an actual increase in temperature. I certainly dont see any evidence from quantities of added gases, or changes in flow of masses of air bodies. Smells like pseudoscience to me.

    I look forward to your in depth look at this side of things.

  42. The war on coal is over. Coal lost.

    Coal is the starting point for a huge variety of products.  If used this way coal would last for thousands of years and be enough to fend off the next glacial  period rather than wasting it in a great outburst of carbon dioxide production which will shift the climate the other way with all the disasters this will bring.

  43. The war on coal is over. Coal lost.

    A large percent of coal miners are techically competent hard working people.  Retrain them to be solar panel installers, wind turbine maintainers and so forth.  There will be more than enough jobs to absorb any who want to retrain and they will work in  a far better environment.

  44. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    Now adressing a couple of NorrisM's other statements:

    "So I agree that the "external costs" of FF are well beyond the pollution costs"

    "Until you come up with some solutions..." is very bad to make plans that assume that those external costs that are well beyond the pollution coast are zero, which is what you are doing. "Politically expedient" for those trying to protect the status quo.

    I need to buy a new TV for the family room, but I don't know how big, or what imputs it will have, or if I will also need new cables or a new sound system and speakers, so I will take the price of the 32" TV on sale at Wally's World and base all my plans on hoping the project will only cost $99 and ignore the rest. That way my spouse will say "Sure. $99? You can buy a new TV."

  45. It's a natural cycle

    Postkey @29 , yes that video presentation evoked both laughter & boredom, simultaneously.

    Postkey, as you increase and extend your knowledge of climate matters, you will soon discover two things :-

    (A) For all their imperfections & uncertainties, the scientists aim to present things as honestly & truthfully as they can.

    (B) The anti-science propagandists (such as Mr Heller/Goddard) do not hesitate to mislead and deceive.   They will cherrypick / "doctor" / fabricate . . . to whatever extent they think they can get away with.  They aim to outright deceive the reader — or at least get him thinking that with so much "controversy" then he might as well put the climate/AGW issue on the backburner 'cos it seems nobody knows what the hell's going on.   ~Either of those outcomes will satisfy the propaganda industry, as represented by GWPF, Heartland Institute, and other such "front" organizations.  (And you will notice, Postkey, that the more scientifically-ignorant their audience, the more these proagandists extend their lies & deceptions.  You will see that in places as diverse as Wall Street Journal op-eds and "lie & spin" websites like WattsUpWithThat or JoNova.  They are completely shameless in their disregard for truthful presentation.)

    Postkey, as for the AMO — what do you mean by "a statistical base"?   There are very short-term trends (e.g. the ENSO) having a short up-or-down effect on the global surface temperature, but which (when you think it through) are incapable of altering the long-term climate trends produced by real drivers of climate change (e.g. long-term solar activity changes / Milankovitch-cycle insolation / Northern Hemisphere ice albedo changes / continental drift positional effects / and of course Greenhouse gas alterations).

    But as for long-term (decadal) oceanic events such as the AMO — do they actually exist as some sort of real physical cycle, or are they only a collection of random natural variations that we interpret in our minds as some sort of "real" thing?   ~Interpret in a similar way as our minds "see" a Face in the Moon . . . when in reality we are only observing a random asteroidal-bombardment pattern on the Moon's surface.

    Still, whatever existence the AMO has or doesn't have — it does not and cannot cause significant climate change in the real way that Greenhouse gasses & other such "drivers" do.

    That video presenter was way off into crazy territory.  Either from his own ignorance or from his insane Conspiracy Theory beliefs or from some underlying extremist-political ideation.  And he was certainly shooting himself in the foot by using the mendacious Mr Heller as his "rock".   BTW, the presenter seemed to be "into" some form of agricultural permaculture (which in general I would say is a reasonable thing) but he hints at a Survivalist-type tendency — which is crazy-wrong in regard to apocalyptic "ice-age" threats . . . but which might well make some sense if North Korean nuclear attack occurs!   ~Alas, if the ongoing Global Warming gets very bad, then there will be no "hiding out in the mountains" for would-be Survivalists, since the climate change itself and the hordes of climate refugees will render such plans null & void.

  46. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    NorrisM @ 90:

    "Those items are not listed by you, but I assume they would include all "external costs" which can be directly attributed to FF use."

    Wrong assumption.

    "your proposal for a carbon tax which, I assume, you would suggest should be $90/t taking the mid point"

    Wrong assumption.

    Can you understand how it is difficult to have a discussion with you when you are making incorrect assumptions? At best, it's impolite. At worst, it's  a strawman fallacy. You call it "an assumption". I call it misrepresenting my position. Please answer the last part of my question: are you willing to retract your statement and fully admit that it was a misrepresentation (even if not intended)?

    "Your proposal of a massive carbon tax on FF"

    There you go with the emotional words again. "Massive" by what objective definition? You argue uncertainty in things like IPCC numbers, then use highly subjective adjectives in your own arguments.

    "Your analogy of the window coming crashing down from a large high rise building has to be revised in one slight manner. The window is travelling at one foot per year. Lots of time to figure out how to get out of the way. "

    And you can only move at one inch per year. We can either discuss the analogy as is, or keep revising it, but so far you are just avoiding actually answering it.

  47. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races


    Who needs a tax anyway? Many many billions of dollars go into subsidizing  fossil fuels and industrial ag, the two biggest causes of AGW. Before we tax even more, we should stop sibsidizing AGW in the first place. That might even work alone without any need of tax schemes at all. I know certainly coal is on its last legs without massive subsidies and same goes with industrial agriculture. Pretty sure that it won't be too long before renewable energy becomes the best in every case and at no additional fact a reduction in costs.

    As far as the tractor goes, that is a spurious argument. The amount of fossil fuel used by a tractor is insignificantly tiny compared to the soil sink potential of the land the tractor plants.

  48. Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

    Bob Loblaw @ 88

    I am responding to your request re #68 versus my first comment in #70.

    I think your position on the level of a carbon tax is summarized by the following paragraph in #68:

    "The argument behind a carbon tax is to monetize the external costs. Choosing the lower limit means continuing to fail to monetize a portion of the (likely) external costs. Choosing the lower limit increases the likelhood that a large fraction of the external costs will be born by others (non-fossil fuel or reduced-fossil fuel consumers). The fossil fuel sector of the energy business has had a large competitive advantage by virtue of the fact that is has operated in a system that leaves much of the true cost externalized. Choosing the lower limit of such costs fails to level that playing field."

    My reference in the first paragraph in #70 was only meant to refer to the items that you would include in the above quoted paragraph and nothing more.  Those items are not listed by you, but I assume they would include all "external costs" which can be directly attributed to FF use.

    Perhaps part of our problem is that I am focussing on getting the US public onside but the issues remain with China and India as well.  But my comments will largely be directed to the US because if you do not get the US onside, I highly doubt that you will get China and India to go along with any serious carbon tax.

    Here are my problems with your proposal for a carbon tax which, I assume, you would suggest should be $90/t taking the mid point:

    1.  Firstly, your proposal is unrealistic both in the US and I suspect in China and India.  The American public is NOT onside notwithstanding vagues climate worries evidenced in the Pew Reseach 2016 paper I have referenced before.  They are not satisfied that all GW is AGW.  If you just want to talk in theory then so be it but what is the use of that?

    2.  The "health costs of pollution" appeals to the libertarian spirit of Americans because they can clearly see these effects of CO2 just like what occurred with SO2 (acid rain).  The Chinese public as well will "sign on" to costs of pollution for obvious reasons.  I suspect (without knowing what went into the lower $17/t estimate) is that basic health costs incurred by the public directly attributable to pollution constitute this figure.  Once we start getting into putting some dollar value of each human life lost, I get into having problems with it.  I want to limit this charge so something we can measure knowing that the reduction of pollution will also have the benefit of saving lives.  But putting a "cost on a human life" is very problematic.  How the studies get to $90/t I do not know.  I am quite sure that the upper level of $350/t has included all adaptation costs related to rising sea levels around the world, the cost of increased drought, damage from more intense hurricanes etc.  I have no idea whether they then offset those costs with increased benefits of other areas of the world being more arable.  If these studies only limit the adaptation costs to North America then I stand corrected.  I would like to see the Clack et al studies on converting the US power grid to 80% wind and solar but so far cannot locate them.

    3.  Although "logically" you can justify this very high number, it is a "global" number I suspect and does not look at each country and ask what costs will be incurred by that country.  As a result, you are asking Americans to pull money out of their pockets in the form of carbon taxes to pay for the costs of adaptation in other parts of the world.  Or, are you suggesting that all of the carbon tax be refunded to the Americans who paid same at their local gas station or for their natural gas used to heat their home.  I suspect not.  Do these funds stay in each country or, as I believe, was agreed in the Paris Agreement, large transfers are made between the developed countries and the undeveloped countries?  So are large transfers of American taxes to go to China and India?  These are real problems with a carbon tax beyond "pollution costs".

    4.  As noted in of Chapter 10 of the IPCC 2014 Report, the price of carbon can also be considered from other standpoints, namely what price level of CO2 emissions is required to limit atmospheric concentrations to a given stabilization level?  I suspect that the upper levels of these studies is focussed on this but I do not know.

    5.  However before we elimate the use of FF, we should have some very clear studies as to what the costs will be for implementation of a change from FF to wind and solar with other sources for base load backup and for the costs of new power grids then we are whistling Dixie because until you can tell the American public how much comes out of their pockets, they will not get onside.

    6.  I see that the IPCC study suggests that the total costs of electrical power generation changes (not heating or transportation) would be something less than 1% of world GDP.  Does that mean that a small island in the Pacific spends its own 1% of GDP?  Or does it mean that the US public will be asked to pay for it?

    7.  Your proposal of a massive carbon tax on FF (which would have to be supported by an equivalent duty on imports from other nations) would put millions of poor people into poverty in China and India and elsewhere in the world because their governments have only in the last generation pulled them out of poverty relying on globalization and cheap FF energy.   This point has been made by both Nigel Lawson and Alex Epstein.  I have never seen it refuted.  Tractors in fields do not work with electric batteries.  Trucks cannot deliver produce any distances without diesel fuel for the transportation.  

    Your analogy of the window coming crashing down from a large high rise building has to be revised in one slight manner.  The window is travelling at one foot per year.  Lots of time to figure out how to get out of the way.   

    So I agree that the "external costs" of FF are well beyond the pollution costs but there is simply no consensus on how you share the substantial costs of changing the infrastructure based upon FF into one based upon RE backed up by either hydro, nuclear or FFs for base load.  Until you come up with some solutions, you do not throw the baby out with the bath water.

    My point is that until you do come up with some answers, it would be politically expedient to levy a carbon tax that only represents the pollution costs.


  49. It's a natural cycle

    MA Rodger @30.

    Thank you for your reply.

  50. It's a natural cycle

    Postkey @26,

    I would concur with the replies so far. I note the oft-repeated word "lie" that features in the YouTube you link to (narrated by "Diamond(?) from the Oppenheimer Ranch Project") which is a pretty good description of the entire video. In the main, the descriptions provided of the data presented is nothing but nonsensical verbal diarrhea, although within this nonsense description, the data presented is mainly genuine. There are however parts of the video where even the data is entirely misrepresented.

    Featuring large in the misrepresentated data is the laughable attempt by Tony Heller to graft on satellite Sea Ice Extent data onto Vinnikov et al (1980) Figure 5 (or more exactly Hoffert & Flannery (1985) fig 5.2).Vinnikov fig5.2 & Heller's crayon workNote H&F(1985)'s fig 5.1 reproduces Vinnikov et al's temperature graph. Heller would have had a more difficult time misrepresenting this temperature data, and also explaining it in light of his fictional ice record. (The image here is the same data as H&F fig 5.1 but presented by Robock 1982.) Robock (1982) fig1

    As for Fig 5.2, as presented by H&F(1985), this at first glance reproduces Fig5 of Vinnikov et al (1980) faithfully. (The original was is published in Russian in Soviet Meteorology & Hydrology Vol6.1 and isn't on-line.) But while the caption of Vinnikov et al's Fig5 is roughly reproduced by H&F(1985), the actual data presented has become misrepresented by the caption. As shown within this Vinnikov slide show, V(1980)fig5 is a plot of the annual ice coverage for the months of July, August & September and not the plot of a 12-month annual average. That is how a value of 6-7 million sq km can be plotted for the period 1925-75 and how any grown-up splicing of more recent ice coverage would be plotting levels of 4-5 million sq km over the last ten years.

    Which brings us to the AMO. The video attempts to suggest that the Arctic Ice Cover matches the wobbles of the AMO. Frankly, that is risible. Even with Heller's nonsense graph it is risible. So I can quite understand Eclectic @27 saying "It was the best laugh I've had this week !"

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