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Comments 801 to 850:

  1. Analysis: How developing nations are driving record growth in solar power

    The nuclear power idea looks dead and buried.  

  2. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50


    Exactly. In one respect it doesn't even matter who or what eats them. Excepting people do need to eat and farmers do need to sell food to make a living themselves. But ruminants are part of a artificial agricultural biome that when functioning fully can sequester 5-20 tonnes CO2/ha/yr + or more. It also restores the functionality of the water cycle replenishing critically desertified areas. It also is a net sink for methane.

    Grazing management impacts on vegetation, soil biota and soil chemical,
    physical and hydrological properties in tall grass prairie

    Effect of grazing on soil-water content in semiarid rangelands of southeast Idaho

    Liquid carbon pathway unrecognised

    Soils as sources and sinks for atmospheric methane

  3. Analysis: How developing nations are driving record growth in solar power


    Your 5000 nuclear power plants would only be able to generate the electricity used, not all the heat and industrial power.  You need 15,000 running nuclear plants to generate total world energy.  Even then you would only generate the average power, not the peak power.  You would need storage for peak power (just like with wind and solar).  You would expect a major accident every month.

  4. Analysis: How developing nations are driving record growth in solar power

    If nuclear power was a great option, generating companies would build more plant. But they aren't, so that tells us something.

    There are 449 nuclear power stations globally, according to the nuclear energy institute. This provides 11% of global nuclear energy production.

    So crudely calculated we would need something like another 5000 nuclear power plants spread all around the world, over the next 50 years. This does not appear easy, given slow building and regulatory approval process and high capital costs. Such large numbers of reactors also puts pressure on prices of reserves of uranium. The risk factor from accidents would certainly become very 'significant'.

    Nuclear power only makes sense to me if its the cheapest option in a few countries with limited other alternatives.

  5. Analysis: How developing nations are driving record growth in solar power

    Dugga @2 , the Nuclear industry is dying.   Like a critically-endangered species, its growth rate is tapering off toward zero.   The number of planned new plants is small — plans are being cancelled or put on indefinite hold.   Nuclear (fission) cannot meet world electricity demand in a timely manner — the commissioning/build timing is decades too long.  The cost blow-outs too huge.

    Already about half of the USA nuclear plants are not profitable.   Not profitable, Dugga — and that situation will worsen as wind/solar grows cheaper by the year.

    Dugga, you simply haven't noticed that nuclear (fission) generation has been extensively discussed on SkepticalScience threads.   Dugga, your advocacy comes 25 years too late.   "Nuclear" is a very bad choice — it is simply not economic; it is too slow to build (to counter the global warming) ; and it is not "distributive" enough for impoverished nations.

    And there is another concern.  Would you like to see many Third World [in its usual pejorative meaning] nations like Zimbabwe, Angola and Chad — in possession of breeder reactors?   And who will pay for these massively costly reactor plants?  We are already having enough difficulty getting First World nations to donate the small sums required for solar panel installations in Africa !

    Dugga, your advocacy is hopeless, in the face of reality.

  6. Analysis: How developing nations are driving record growth in solar power


    There are a certain number of nuclear proponets that post at SkS.  I have asked at least four of them to write a post supporting nuclear power  Not one of them has felt that it was worth the effort to write something in support of nuclear power.  Perhaps you can write such a post.  If you provide links to peer reviewed literature it is likely to be put on the site.  I await your subission.  (If you only link industry propaganda it is much less likely that your article will be posted).

    Most energy researchers do not consider nuclear any more.  Jacobson  (summary powerpoint) concluded that the very long build cycle for nuclear plants meant that more CO2 was emitted while the plants were under construction than if wind and solar were used.  Abbott 2011 lists 15 reasons why it would be impossible to build enough nuclear power to generate a sigificant (>10%) amount of power using nuclear power.

    There are currently about 2 nuclear power  plants under construction in the USA, they are 5 years behind schedule (for a 3 year schedule), billions over budget and look most likely to be cancelled.  2 other plants were cancelled last year after billions were wasted.  I know of two  plants under construction in Europe, Both are enormously over budget and years behind schedule.  Westinghouse, the primary builder in the USA, has declared bankruptcy and might take all of Toshiba with it.  Nuclear is not economic.

    You will have to address these primary issues in your article:

    1. Nuclear plants take so long to build that it will be too late by the time they are done
    2. They are too expensive and not economic.
    3. There are not enough rare elements like hafnium and berrilium to build out nuclear plants.
    4. There is not enough uranium.
    5. To power the entire world we would need nuclear plants in Syria, North Korea and Iran.  That is generally considered unsafe.

    If you send in an article I will bring up the remaining dozen items on Abbotts list.

    The people at SkS are volunteers.  If you do not think it is worth writing in support of nuclear why should they? 

    Good luck with your article.  I look forward to reading it.

  7. Analysis: How developing nations are driving record growth in solar power


    Please pay attention to your words. In last paragraph, you called those who accept climate science or renewable energy "climate change supporters". That is very misleading, even insulting term, against those who try to teach the truth about AGW and the urgent need of AGW mitigation. Any honest person in your shoes would issue an appology here. You sould have used a term "climate science supporter" if you have science teachers in mind or "climate action supporters" if you have activists in mind.

    Sorry for my nitpick, if your error is, as I hope a genuine typo and not deliberate repeat of a misleading, insulting term. This term was coined by AGW deniers who not only don't understand science but also don't care about the meaning of their words.

    As for the issue you raise, a lack of interest about nuclear energy on SkS, the reason for it is that that form of energy is in decline and more expensive than solar thermal or PV or wind, and even more expensive than gas, when all cost of setup, production and decommissioning taken into account. Numerous articles have been written on nuke economics and why it is on decline. Others may point the sources. If you have sources that point out otherwise (e.g. what your "levelised costs" means) plaese elaborate. Better if you do it on the appropriate thread, if mod points to you. Otherwise, your talk is an empty hand waiving.

  8. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    RedBaron @ 32

    Do I understand correctly?  Properly farmed beef cattle result in an increased ability of the land to sequester carbon.  Such farming can therefore be considered a method for sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.  The fact that people can eat the meat is almost incidental.

  9. Analysis: How developing nations are driving record growth in solar power

    Dugga12 @2

    I don't think anyone disputes that nuclear power is carbon-free — if you discount the mining, transportation and processing of its fuel — but it takes a helluva long time to plan and build a nuclear power station.  By the time you have enough new stations up and running we have to be at zero carbon anyway.  What do we do in the interim?  We might as well just go full bore for solar and wind power.  I've also seen indications that the latter is becoming comparable in cost to nuclear power.

    I would argue that if you have a nuclear power station, keep it going, but for any replacements for fossil plants, go for solar and wind.

  10. Analysis: How developing nations are driving record growth in solar power

    As this is your first post, Skeptical Science respectfully reminds you to please follow our comments policy. Thank You!


    Let us assume that AGW is accepted as a universal truth on the worldwide stage. Action then has to be taken to slow down, or even stop, the rate of CO2 production. Clearly with the significant impact of fossil fuel burning now accepted, surely we must turn attention to alternative forms of electricity generation. The sceptical science team seems to have its focus firmly fixed on wind and solar electricity generation systems, but little evidence is presented on the most obvious source of non-carbon generation, namely nuclear generation.

     Why is this? Is there an ideological bias against even mentioning the word “nuclear”? Or is the discussion of nuclear power versus wind and/or solar power too embedded in economic arguments to be of limited interest to those commentators who are scientifically trained and inclined?

    If the same level of scientific analytical rigour in climate change research was brought to bear on economic analysis of alternative energy versus nuclear energy generation, there might be surprising results emerge that confound the conventional “wisdom” that alternative green forms of energy are cheaper than nuclear power, when levelised costs of ‘firm’ energy, LCOFE, are taken into account. In the same way that climate change science points to a complex of factors that have to be considered, so perhaps it might be the case that full consideration has to be given to non-carbon energy generation. 

    Unless and until climate change supporters start to open up the discussion on alternative non-carbon energy sources, we will never find the answers to creating long term, sustainable, economical, reliable and non-polluting power generation.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Can you support your implied assertion that "climate change supporters" are unreasonably opposed to nuclear power? Sks has struggled to find someone that discuss the peer-reviewed literature on nuclear power alternatives in the past. This is however a specialist topic over at Bravenewclimate and perhaps is better discussed there.

  11. How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    The climate denialism pie charts are very one sided or extreme, because if they admit any uncertainty in their own views, the whole denialist edifice collapses. The deniaist edifice can only survive if it takes an extreme position of conceding nothing, because it cannot withstand open discussion and application of logic.

    The denialists also fail to look below the surface in terms of data. For example, the denialists claim numbers of polar bears are growing. However this is only in some areas, and is due to less hunting, etc. In areas where numbers of polar bears are falling, research has highlighted specific causative factors lined to climate change, so this is a better indication of what future trends are likely to look like for the arctic as a whole. So the denialists fail to look at the complete picture.

    Anyway the denialists claim polar bears and seals will "adapt". They might adapt to some level of shrinking sea ice, but it will certainly reach a tipping point where it becomes much more difficult to adapt.

    Someone said on some denialaist blog polar bears will just eat other foods like birds eggs. I doubt a few eggs will provide much nutrition, and other predators will be very well adapted to targeting those birds eggs. Yet the denialists seem immune to such obvious things.

  12. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    OPOF @35, beef cattle grazing (and sheep) done in the free range way does appear to have very considerable potential in encouraging deep carbon rich soils, and this makes it very significant for climate change as a carbon sink. The last IPCC report stated this.

    However IMO there are problems with devoting truly huge areas to cattle farming. Its unlikely to feed a population of 5 - 10 billion because its inefficient, and build up of carbon rich soils is a very slow process that cannot stop dangerous climate change process over the next 20 - 50 years, only renewable energy etc can do this. Soils can only mop up excess carbon on multiple century time scales.

    So I can't see a case for devoting truly vast areas of the planet to cattle farming, unless we fail to stop dangerous climate change and are in deep trouble as a result. I can see a case for keeping reasonable areas of cattle grazing, and farming them better.

  13. One Planet Only Forever at 02:12 AM on 23 December 2017
    2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50


    The research I am aware of regarding meat consumption and health may change with new research into the changes that come about from corrections of unsustainable developed practices. I understand the health problem of the quicker cheaper and therefore more profitable way beef is fed just before being slaughtered, combined with the riskier quicker work done by cheaper workers in the slaugherhouse that often occurs (all because of the power of pursuit of profit to over-rule doing things more responsibly, less harmfully, less risk of a harmful consequence).

    I am open to changing my mind based on any new learning that is consistent with, and supports, the acheivement of all of the Sustsinable Development Goals. Right now, my understanding is that reduction of Beef production, along with corrections of the way it is done, are required (as well as changes/reductions to other meat production/harvesting).

    I also see no evidence that Beef production for meat consumption is a superior way to deliver food for humans. So there would need to be some pretty amazing changes regarding Beef from permaculture to make it a Winner from the perspective of efficiency of delivery of human nutrition.

    However, I also do not see any harm in a responsibly limited amount of beef production. All things that 'are not harmful in moderation' are OK.

  14. It's cosmic rays

    To his credit, Watts in his WTFUWT post about Svensmark's "new" claims solicited Leif Svalgaard's opinion. Here is what Watts posted as the reply from Svalgaard:
    "TSI over a solar cycle causes a variation of 0.05-0.10 degrees C. If GCRs as per Svensmark has 5-7 times the effect of TSI, that would translate to a temperature variation of 0.35-0.50 C over a cycle, which is simply not observed, hence the paper can be dismissed out of hand."

  15. From the eMail Bag: Carbon Isotopes, Part 1: The Basics


    Maybe JohnBoy@10 would better grasp the meaning of the graph 3b if he had got the δ13C unit used in the graph explained. Perhaps I'm jumping ahead here because you promissed to explain the δ13C measurement process in the next part, but JohnBoy's question warrants such jump.

    As a typical isotopic measure, δ13C is a measure or enrichment of 13C in a C sample, compared to the standard sample. A standard 13C/12C, as you mentioned above, is about 1%, or more precisely 0.0112372 as explained by Wiki.

    Looking in that wiki link, the isotopic enrichment of 13C is defined as (13C/12C - STD) / STD, where STD is the standard value of ~1% above. From that simple formula, you can see that standard's δ13C value is 0 (not enriched nor depleted) as expected.

    The value on the graph 3b changes (in per mil) from -7.6 (in 1980s) to -8.1 (in 200s). Which means δ13C in atmospheric CO2 is always depleted (negative) compared to hte standard. But it is becoming more depleted, in accordance with the teachings of the article. So there is no error in the red scale of the graph, it is intuitively correct.

  16. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    Red Baron @32, in reality  the best we are likely to see is to stop a huge global increase in beef production. If people eat less beef,  remember population is still going to be increasing for some time,  so the numbers of beef cattle might freeze, but are unlikely to drop sharply. So there will still be plenty of beef cattle. Relax.

    I eat a mixture of beef, chicken, and fish. Moderation in all things. Sounds 'trite' but it makea lot of sense as Im sure you would realise. I have learned the lesson from bitter experience.

    There's no doubt in my mind  permaculture has multiple benefits and should be promoted. Good luck with your cause.

  17. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    Digby @31, I'm not so sure. Get a few 'celebrities' like Kim Kardashian going vegetarian, or even just  low meat consumption, and eventually the whole younger generation will follow like lemmings.

  18. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    And the point most of you are missing is that if the method changes to where the raising of beef (and other animals) is beneficial to the land instead of destructive, and they regenerate and increase resources rather than deplenish them, then everything you guys are saying about reducing beef production has the opposite effect there. Less production means less land gets healed, less water to replenish criticle aquafers and springs rivers etc..., less wildlife, less AGW mitigation. All because you blame the cow and not the manager of the humans. It is denialism every bit as much as AGW  denialism.

    As for health effects, same there too, but that is off topic. Just suffice to say that management of the cow has everything to do with ALL the negative impacts.

    There is no down side to changing how we do agriculture to regenerative carbon farming...especially  beef. No other technique for sequestering massive quantities of stable carbon deep in the soil profile at rates high enough to reverse AGW even comes close.

  19. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    OPOF @30

    Yes, so the conclusion is clear:

    (1)  Eating much less beef is very good for your health — and doing so reduces the demand for beef cattle, which reduces the impact on the planet.

    (2) Farming beef cattle properly reduces the impact on the planet even further.

    (3) It won't happen.  Sigh!

  20. Philippe Chantreau at 08:21 AM on 22 December 2017
    It's cosmic rays

    First thing I noticed on the link: a "LIA" period that is now considered to have lasted from 1300 to 1900 AD. That's going to impair those medival warm periods that fell right in the middle of it...

    Seems it's just more recycling of the same stuff but hard to tell from the sciencedaily because that's not the paper itself. More digging in order. AFAIK, CERN has not rescinded their take on their experimental results, which weren't very supportive of the hypothesis.

  21. From the eMail Bag: Carbon Isotopes, Part 1: The Basics

    Johnboy, the values for the red scale are negative. So normally on a graph like this they would look like:






    But on this graph the red scale is reversed to show that increasing  emissions of CO2 track along with the change in the 13C/12C ratio:





  22. citizenschallenge at 06:51 AM on 22 December 2017
    It's cosmic rays


    He's baackk, 

    H. Svensmark, M. B. Enghoff, N. J. Shaviv, J. Svensmark. Increased ionization supports growth of aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei. Nature Communications, 2017; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02082-2

    December 19, 2017
    Technical University of Denmark
    The study reveals how atmospheric ions, produced by the energetic cosmic rays raining down through the atmosphere, helps the growth and formation of cloud condensation nuclei — the seeds necessary for forming clouds in the atmosphere.


    Henrik Svensmark confidently broadcasts and hundreds of astroturfers are busy spreading the word: "Finally we have the last piece of the puzzle explaining how particles from space affect climate on Earth. It gives an understanding of how changes caused by Solar activity or by super nova activity can change climate." says Henrik Svensmark, from DTU Space at the Technical University of Denmark, lead author of the study. Co-authors are senior researcher Martin Bødker Enghoff (DTU Space), Professor Nir Shaviv (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), and Jacob Svensmark, (University of Copenhagen).


    Links to serious critiques of this paper and ther authors claims would be appreciated.

  23. From the eMail Bag: Carbon Isotopes, Part 1: The Basics

    The comments by chrizkoz ring a familar bell. I used to work for a multinational european company. I was asked to present a talk to one of the continental partners. In order to distinguish the subtle difference between tally and count an illustrated joke suggested by my supervisor was used. This was followed later on by another joke and a red herring both to illustrate points. I passing the slides to my supervisor he then deleted the second joke stating that one was enough any further attempt at humour would not go down well. OK so it was deleted. It then came to the continental manager to check out the talk who was emphatic that the red herring be omitted as it could mislead. My reply was that it was to illustrate a point, he agreed but it had to go out since I had used up my limit of hunour stating that he understood us and was not offeneded and my bahaviour was perfectly acceptable in my country but not in his.

  24. Analysis: How developing nations are driving record growth in solar power

    One of the greatest challenges Africa has is a lack of energy infrastructure, because without electricity nothing much else can progress. Yet they have considerable solar potential.

    Local decentralised solar power in small instillations can do much to help families and business, even if it just helps power medical equipment in isolated regions, or provide some light at night with a few batteries added obviously. The potential is huge, and its sad a region with great sunlight hours, does not have more solar power. Decentralised systems may be of more practical viability than large expensive centralised supply.

    The did a great article recently on energy needs and solar power in Africa, here.

    Africa has jumped ahead with mobile phones helping greatly with business. Solar power will help in a similar way, without needing massive investment like a hydro power station, or large cental solar array and expensive lines network.

    IMO one of the best favours the western world could do is targeted assistance with solar panels in Africa and other poor countries. It will help their people as a compassionate gesture, and ultimately help them contribute better to the global economy, and we all benefit from this.

    However such aid should be arranged to ensure its spent on solar power, and not going into leaders pockets or military spending. It needs monitoring and some conditions.

  25. One Planet Summit: Finance Commitments Fire-Up Higher Momentum for Paris Climate Change Agreement

    NorrisM @9,  ha ha, yes no doubt the Paris meetings include some of Mao's talk and spin. But at least Paris 1) has the right general idea and 2) has at least some definite projects and commitments to show for things. Things have to start somewhere. They always start slow and talky, but eventually things firm up and lead to more solid action. 

    Enlightened people actually do know what needs to be done in terms of international assistance to poor countries. It's a case of getting voters on board, and making them see the wider benefits more fully. One thing that would help is international auditing mechanisms that ensure money is well spent, and if specific countries are unwilling to have some accountability like this, they will risk not getting assistance. We should hep countries and substantially, but we are entitled to expect some things in return.

    America is going in fast reverse on many things, and in the end may find itself isolated. Trump threatens punative actions against nations who disagree with Americas agenda on various things. He should pause and remember the world is bigger than America, and nations might decide they have had enough, and may take punative actions against America. I would of course not like to see things end up like that, but it is looking  inevitable.

  26. One Planet Only Forever at 03:53 AM on 22 December 2017
    One Planet Summit: Finance Commitments Fire-Up Higher Momentum for Paris Climate Change Agreement


    Another way of expressing the point:

    Any nation that fails to have responsible leaders (in business or politics) loses the priviledge of sovereignty. So it is up to the population of a nation/region to ensure that all of its Winners/Leaders are responsible considerate pursuers of the corrections and types of new things that are consistent with and supportive of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

    Any region or nation that fails to keep damaging Private Interests from Winning will require external guidance/correction. And that external action will be diplomatic to the extent that is practical. with targetted financial penalties and International Criminal Procedings as required to achieve what the future of humanity requires to be achieved.

    How the USA system processes the "  vs. " case will be an indication of how deserving the USA system is of sovereignty. Developing a sustainable better future for all of humanity is quickly becoming the "Global Golden Rule". Sub-sest of humanity (Regions and Tribes) that fail to adapt to or accept that improved understanding will suffer consequences.

    History is loaded with examples of unacceptable pursuers of Private Interest Winning for a while even though they are understandably creating harm, but ultimately suffering failure - the learning is that understandably harmful people, 'trouble-makers', need to be 'addressed' quicker and more aggressively - though never with a Death Penalty).

  27. One Planet Only Forever at 02:49 AM on 22 December 2017
    One Planet Summit: Finance Commitments Fire-Up Higher Momentum for Paris Climate Change Agreement


    The global collective action against other 'trouble-makers is targetted financial penalty and International Criminal Court.

    If the Trouble-makers regarding climate change do not change their ways it is ikely that the International community of responsible leaders will have 'no choice' but to implement targetted financial sanctions on the Trouble-makers and step things up to trying the worst offenders for Cries against the future of humanity.

    It would be great if everyone could be expected to responsibly and considerately limit/control teir behaviour and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. And that requirement should be increased for the wealthier or more influential people.

    But realistically there will always be some who deliberately try to benefit from behaving in understandably unaccepable ways. So the financial sanctons and criminal proceedings against the worst climate change offenders (irresponsible wealthy ones and elected representatives) will likely occur in the future. And the basis for doing that is well established, and being improved/strengthened with each new international meeting regarding the Sustainable Development Goals (not just climate change).

  28. One Planet Only Forever at 02:30 AM on 22 December 2017
    2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    Digby and Nigel,

    I have learned similar things in reviewing published research regarding protein and meat consumption.

    Though there are a variety of results because investigating complex interactions is, well, Complex, my take-away understanding regarding Beef consumption, open to new results from more robust research, are:

    • Do not eat more than 4 oz (100 g) of beef (or any other meat), in a meal. The human body is unlikely to extract any benefit from a larger consumption in a meal.
    • Only eat beef a few times a week. There are health risks to eating too much red meat. You should diversify the other parts of your diet in a way that ensures you are getting adequate nutrition like iron - Without taking pills.
    • Severely limit consumption of processed beef such as sausage or corned-beef. This category of meat products seems to aggravate the health risks of eating beef. Probably wise to minimize consumption of any processed meats (like ham). And what humans 'think is appetizing' needs to change to maximize the consumption of every edible nutrient providing part of animals grown for consumption in ways that are 'healthy'.
    • Definitely pay more for a good cut of beef to BBQ. Since you are only eating 100 g, the expensive stuff is not that expensive. And keep the BBQ temperature low and slow cook the meat. It will be more tender and will have less of the harmful mutated protiens that are created by high-heat cooking.

    Everyone following the first two pieces of advice would dramatically reduce the amount of beef (or other meat) that 'needs' to be produced.

    And following the 3rd piece of advice could reduce the energy intensity of the meat that is consumed. And reduced energy consumption is an important aspect of achieving the required climate action as well as many of the other Sustainable Develoment Goals.

  29. From the eMail Bag: Carbon Isotopes, Part 1: The Basics

    Am I missing something? The red scale on the lower plot is not reversed.  

  30. One Planet Summit: Finance Commitments Fire-Up Higher Momentum for Paris Climate Change Agreement

    nigel @8

    Nigel, this reminds me of a quote from Mao Tse Sung (sp) when he was developing his nuclear capabilities and other nations were trying to discourage him in various ways but could not agree on how to do so.   Mao's quote was:  "Talk, talk, talk, spin, spin, spin!"

    I am sure this quote could be adapted to nations coming together to actually commit funds to other countries regarding assisting them to advance climate change agendas.

  31. Research shows that certain facts can still change conservatives’ minds

    OPOF @16, actually you raise a couple of good points there. Almost didn't notice anyone had added a comment to this page, glad I did. 

    The ox parable is of course pretty old now and more a parable of the pasasitical finance industry that exists mainly to serve itself. I liked the punch line at the end, where the ox died, in reference to the "real economy" being neglected among all the financial betting, wheeling and dealing.

    The melamine scare implicated a company in my country, but it was a subsidiary of their's in China that operated largely independently. The NZ company has a good safety record on the whole, and was immediately cleared of blame. But it just amazes me how anyone could actually put such poison in baby formula, just at a moral level. Even if one is desperate for money for some reason, how could they do that?  Of course it was partly due to slack oversight and so on.

    The republican view in America is almost libertarian: Corporates should be allowed to do precisely anything they like with no consequences, but we will grudgingly accept they can be sued in civil court, but no more than that. They don't want any imposed state regulations, standards,  fines, and inspections and so on, and see this as the work of the devil.

    The trouble with civil court is only the lawyers win, and the small guys can't afford to take court action. Only huge problems that can bring class actions makes the courts. And even then,  out of court settlements  dominate, that mean valuable knowledge on what caused the problem is never made public, so nobody learns anything.

    Sometimes cases make criminal court. Now of course sometimes thats sometimes 100% appropriate for serious situations,  but if you threaten companies with such dire consequences for general routine safety breaches it can backfire and make them too cautious.

    And I have noticed that governments and courts in NZ are very reluctant to even bring any criminal charges, even in serious cases, so people walk free. We have had two disasters, a mining tragedy and building collapse, and no charges were bought against anyone, much to the publics disgust, even although there was a good case against specific individuals, however the law is now being changed to make it easier to hold people and companies to account.

    In some cases its better to have simple codes of practice, an inspection system, and fines / penalties,  and for serious breaches a method of firing the negligent people involved. Fines are often not enough alone, because such costs can be passed onto the customer. Firing people hurts, especially if its made public with some humiliation. 

    The bottom line is safety and environmental breaches and negligence must have immediate punative consequnces of some sort. I agree the public should not be paying, ever. Responsibility has to be sheeted home to companies and individuals, of course proportionately to the problem we don't want to destroy people over minor things. But I'm tired of seeing a lack of accountability.

  32. One Planet Summit: Finance Commitments Fire-Up Higher Momentum for Paris Climate Change Agreement

    Ger, Norris asked for a list of projects and some idea of funding. The link I pointed to does just this. Maybe its not perfect in the exact format that would keep Norris happy, well he is an intelligent guy and can use google to track things down.

    He is also a lawyer, and I'm used to reading many documents by many lawyers, and they are mostly incomprehensible and often don't answer my questions,  and are never in a form that suits me, or any normal human being, and lawyers charge a fortune. So I have no symapthy if Norris has trouble with the above article!

    You also make many claims of fact about those projects that are not immediately apparent to me in the summaries. 

    But thank's for the link to the OECD study. I agree totally the funds allocated are well below what is required. Window dressing is too harsh, but yes so much more could be done, and has to be done. Most of the latest research evidence reported on websites like this shows an ever growing problem with the climate. But what is needed is some ideas on how to do more, not complaining.

  33. One Planet Summit: Finance Commitments Fire-Up Higher Momentum for Paris Climate Change Agreement

    Nigelj@6, what I see in that list of 25 descriptions of projects are 25 different views on projects formely known as Official Development Assistance projects. Funded by budget allocation guarantees, fully paid for by the recipients over a 20,30,40 years. 

    The equity of such projects is mainy paid for in kind (equipment like trains, busses, generator sets and 'Technical Assistance' in the form of consultancy on design and organisation executed/paid for from the same equity budget) often not reaching 10% of the total budget. 

    All costs are retrieved from local and service (maintenance, adaption, managment fees) activities which guarantees the salaries and part prices of the foreign assistance. 

    None of the projects specify a particular climate goal those one to reach. Sure lines have been added to show a lower CO2 eq emissions as before the project. mentions that a 6.3 trillion is needed, yearly till 2030. Committed is 100 billion from 2020 onwards( not yet there): 15% and not sure it is there. The list of finance mentioned a lot of asset value of several companies but those do not even add up to the required 100 billion. Let alone that bonds on those assets do reach 10 billion. Divesting in oil & gas & coal is not 'new' money ready for investment.

    So I agree that One Planet Summit is not more than window dressing, Business As Usual in a new coat. So much more could be done. 

  34. From the eMail Bag: Carbon Isotopes, Part 1: The Basics

    I always read scientific articles literaly. And that includes SkS. This incident of a colloquialism being misunderstood underscores the need of using precise language when talking to a large, especially international audience as is the case here.

    I work for a company doing scietific research for a large Japanese company. For obvious reasons, any idioms/jokes/colloquial terms (Australian, American, British or otherwise) are forbidden in communication with our cutomer. Simple grammar and usage of words in their basic meaning only are strongly encouraged. Even with such cautionary principles, the meaning of your discourse can be lost in translation. Of course these rules are relaxed when we socialise with a sip ok sake, and we can tell jokes by then. Our Japanese collegues usually don't understand our jokes but are happy to learn them as is appropriate during partytime.

    But during scietific reporting or education time (as is the case here), I learned to be very strict in such environment, hence my comment @1,

    Thanks for teaching me a new idiom involving the word "weed". Like many idioms, it just does not make sense at face value. Although I acknowledge its existence, I will never use it, because it's simply silly to me, as it would probably be in any formal context to every bush or forrest regenerator.

    But let's move on, because the mistake of using a silly idiom in this article can be disregarded: it does not affect the informational value of the article. And said value is excellent: clear at the intended level of understanding and accurate to the best of my knowledge, nothing to add. Lots of people will benefit from that information, so thanks David for writing it.

  35. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    Digby Scorgie, sorry I got the numbers a bit wrong. The article says "That’s why the Department of Health advises people who eat more than 90 grams (cooked weight) of red and processed meat a day to cut down to 70 grams, which is the average daily consumption in the UK."

    I'm assuming of course NZ is similar. And your consumption is still looking low.

  36. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    Digby Scorgie @27, from what I have read high red meat consumption can cause problems with cancer risk, although the increase was moderate increase nothing too drastic. But obviously its still a concern. I have also read research that low meat consumption in general (all types of meat) is associated with longer life.

    But you got me curious about quantities of beef, so according to this article below the average intake in the UK is 90 grams a day, and the latest health  recommendation is 70 grams per day,  so  your intake looks low to me. I would actually eat even less but mainly because I prefer taste of chicken and I'm going thru a chicken curry phase.

    "Moderation in all things" is perhaps the answer to many problems.

    I agree low beef consumption gets cattle numbers looking sensible, and cattle farming has to also be done right. We have problems with rivers and over stocking etc. Hopefully there's a clever way of solving it that is fair to everyone concerned. I would like to think we can find that answer.

  37. From the eMail Bag: Carbon Isotopes, Part 1: The Basics

    I appreciate the "thanks" and praise!

    "The statement "For the average citizen, who perhaps has a rudimentary grasp of general science" was a bit patronising."

    Yeah, I should have worded that differently, I certainly don't mean to be patronising. Everyone has gaps in their education, by no fault of their own, myself included. But the truth is everyone (even with an exceptional education) has some limited knowledge in some field of study. There's nothing wrong with that, that's just the way things are. There's no judgement in that, merely a statement of fact.

    Skeptical Science strives to make all of climate science accessible to the widest audience possible. It is important for us to keep in mind that not everyone in that audience has the same interests in science, the same background knowledge of science, or understands the science-ese that scientists use.

  38. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    From everything I've read I conclude that it's much better for one's health to eat small quantities of beef.  My intake is 250 to 300 g per week.  I'm guessing that this is quite low.  So what it boils down to is that if everyone adhered to a healthy diet the demand for beef cattle would be low.  Even so, I agree with RedBaron that it has to be done right.

  39. From the eMail Bag: Carbon Isotopes, Part 1: The Basics

    I'm also from Down Under, but I too knew immediately what was meant by "lost in the weeds".  I've done my share of complicated physics (many many years ago) and I don't feel insulted.

  40. One Planet Summit: Finance Commitments Fire-Up Higher Momentum for Paris Climate Change Agreement

    NorrisM @5, I'm not going to waste much time on this.The very first link in the article above namely "One Planet Summit" contains a page titled look at projects with 25 videos of different projects, plus a written summary of each. But apparently that is to hard for you to find, and not sufficient information?

  41. One Planet Summit: Finance Commitments Fire-Up Higher Momentum for Paris Climate Change Agreement


    If there had been major commitments I would have expected this author to detail them.  The onus is on  the person writing the article to provide evidence for broad statements.

    OPOF @ 4

    My criticism is of politicians who are good at making announcements but not so good at following through.  If those are the troublemakers, I am not sure what you do with them other than vote them out.  I think we are past the point in our political development when they get marched up to the guillotine.

  42. One Planet Only Forever at 09:10 AM on 21 December 2017
    2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    The bottom line for me regarding Beef production:

    I support any actions that are consistent with, and supportive of, achieving all of the Sustainable Development Goals.

  43. One Planet Only Forever at 07:49 AM on 21 December 2017
    One Planet Summit: Finance Commitments Fire-Up Higher Momentum for Paris Climate Change Agreement


    I completely agree with your identification of the problem: "People able to get away with pursuits of Private Interests that are impediments to the pursuit of the Global Public Interest of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals."

    What do you propose should be done to/about those trouble-makers?

  44. One Planet Only Forever at 07:15 AM on 21 December 2017
    Research shows that certain facts can still change conservatives’ minds


    I have been considering the parable of the ox.

    It is a reasonable presentation of the steps of departure of commodity trading from reality, into irrational gambling.

    But it does not quite capture the real world problem of irresponsible gamblers in the game. Those irresponsible gamblers will not support truly sustainable improvements for all of humanity because they see a quicker bigger buck can be made by pushing over-development in a wrong direction. Their often irrational pursuits create bubbles that have to burst, like the massive bubbles of unsustainable perceptions of prosperity and opportunity that have developed due to the pursuit of benefit from burning fossil fuels.

    The parable does allude to the competitive advantage obtained by being willing to behave less acceptably than others in the competition. But it does not properly highlight the powerful role of misleading marketing in drumming up unsustainable regional or tribal popular support for profitable activity that is understandably damaging and ultimately unsustainable.

    And the story completely misses the power of misleading marketing in politics that can result in elected representatives deliberately participating in the misleading marketing scams even when those scams are fooling less than half of the population. A politician can win by playing the game of carefully target marketing appeals about many single issues that individually are understandably unacceptable and have less than majority support. Collecting enough unacceptable single issue voters and having them understand the power they can have if they vote for each other's unacceptable Private Interests is understandably the Power Game played by the Uniters of the Right.

    A better ending of the Ox parable would be to have the gamblers betting on getting a share of the Winnings of the most successful farmer, with the most successful farmers being the ones who have low costs because they produce something that looks like an Ox but is very low in nutrients for the consumer, and maybe even be harmful to the consumer.

    That would be like those profitable Bady Food Powder producers who added melamine to the powder because it was cheap and would be counted as protein by the testing that was done. And the nation that that happened in is less important than understanding that the nation had low monitoring of what was done so it was not able to stop the problem before it became a real serious problem.

    That 'let trouble develop then see it anything gets done about it' type of system is what the likes of the Republicans push for in the USA. They 'Promote the Belief' that the threat of legal consequences will keep people from behaving less acceptably. It is undeniable how that turns out (As a Canadian Professional Engineer, I saw how some States let anyone claim to be an Engineer with legal consequences for not properly doing something being the only threat they faced - and I saw how popular with executives it was to hire that cheaper person who claimed to be an Engineer). A real serious problem always has to occur/develop before any serious attempt is made to deal with it. The result is often a Lack of Any Corrective Action. And even when corrective action occurs it is Always Too Late, And Always Too Little Done to Correct the Problem, or the general population pays to fix it.

    The climate change challenge is a big one because the non-USA people and all of the future generations suffer the consequences but have no real legal recourse against the 'greedy Private Interests focused people' who gamble on getting away with behaving unacceptably.

  45. Philippe Chantreau at 06:24 AM on 21 December 2017
    CO2 limits won't cool the planet

    And that last piece about Swinbank vs MODTRAN. Note that the Swinbank model dates back to 1963.

    Excerpt: "Besides, the formulae of Swinbank (1963) and of Czeplak and Kasten (1987), which both express the emittance as a quadratic function of dry bulb temperature, turned out to reflect the radiation physics of “normally” stratified not too dry atmospheres."

    Interestingly, it turns out that MODTRAN in fact validated the Swinbank model under the somewhat narrow circumstances described above. Swinbank came up with a good way to estimate things that were later derived much more precisely from radiative physics. That's how science works. I don't see how anyone would prefer to use Swinbank over MODTRAN or HITRAN at this point in time, except for the simplicity of use, but computers mostly solve that problem.

  46. Philippe Chantreau at 05:43 AM on 21 December 2017
    CO2 limits won't cool the planet

    Mods; I'm having problems losing comments when using the link insert function, hence the non embedded links at the end.

    Aaron:  Your Mars/Earth trick ignores the facts that Mars does have some GH effect that raises its average temp by approximately 5 deg K compared to no GH effect at all. Mars remains cold because of the very low atmospheric mass, the lack of other GH gases in sufficient quantity, the low solar irradiance and low outgoing IR radiation to be captured. You did not mention any of these facts, and your little mars/Earth comparison is irrelevant to the point of being misleading. The shame is on you for that.

    MODTRAN and HITRAN are sophisticated models using physics. I'm not sure what you are trying to say with the predictive/descriptive thing. The values predicted by HI/MODTRAN have been verified for many conditions and show close agreement with observations. This was especially important from early on when developing the model and was the subject of abundant research. There is an entire body of litterature on this aspect of validation. These models superseded simple models such as the Swinbank many years ago, and allow for far more accurate and refined representations of atmospheric radiative processes. The tutorial that you linked only claims to be useful for cloudless vs cloudy night comparisons. It states to be valid for a surface "isolated from its environment." 

    The reason why CO2 receives emphasis in IPCC works is because all the research compiled continues to point to it as the forcing responsible for the changes observed. No other forcing fits the bill, no matter how hard we look. Furthermore, paleo evidence also points to CO2 as the major control knob. That is why it is necessary to accomplish a carbon free energy transition, then decarbonize as much of the World economy as possible. I do not advocate for geo-engineering, but if it comes to that, large scale carbon capture is likely the least risky option. Not only it will just reverse the recent trend, but it will also mimic what has happened naturally in the past.

    In contrast, the geo-engineering schemes that you propose are among the least realistic I've ever seen. Paleo evidence suggests that the closing of the Panama isthmus was associated with the onset of the glaciation/deglaciation cycles. Forcing large amounts of sea water to do anything could lead to the mother of all unintended consequences and would require to transform the entire planet in some sort of gigantic engineering project.

    As of now, airplanes emit CO2, H2O and various particulates. Although the altitude of release poses its own problems, the quantities involved make them far less of a priority than coal fueled electricity production. Recruiting commercial air traffic for the purpose you suggest would imply that they're equipped with carbon/water free propulsion, and then loaded with equipment decreasing their payload, while they already have the problem of energy density to contend with. That is nowhere near realistic.

    Your remark on moving thermal and nuclear plants seem to allude to waste heat. This has been discussed on this site and shown to be an order of magnitude too small to be a significant factor. In addition, large industrial facilities of any kind can not be "moved." They would have to be dismantled (expensive process) then rebuilt somehwere else (even more expensive). In the case of electricity producing facilities, relocating far away from consumption sites also carries innumerable other problems. 

    I don't see that you've shown to understand atmospheric radiative processes anywhere near as well as you claim, and certainly not in a way to turn current understanding by experts on its head; it would be a euphemism to call your geo-engineering ideas far fecthed.

    About Mars:

    One (among many)  relatively recent MODTRAN validation study:

    About moving sea water:

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Links activated.

  47. From the eMail Bag: Carbon Isotopes, Part 1: The Basics

    Perhaps Lost in the Weeds is an American colloquialism. I do not use it but I knew what it means right away.  I found a reference to American slang.  Does anyone from England know this phrase? I think Nigelj and Chriskoz are from down under.

  48. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    I agree with OPOF, the question of beef is not just about one thing.It requires weighing up several things as follows:

    In defence of meat: I know Red Baron is coming from the angle of maintaining large prairie types of cattle grazed grasslands, because its natural, and leads to deep carbon rich soils. This is good for the climate, and because a lot of this land can only really be used for cattle anyway, unless you throw enormous irrigation and fertiliser resources at it, in a desperate and dubious attempt to grow crops.

    Meat is also a rich source of iron and protein, and lets face it people nothing tastes as great as a grilled steak.

    The case against meat: On the other hand, meat is essentially an inefficient use of resources, and too much meat can cause certain cancers. We also dont want an absurd situation where huge quantities of land are used for cattle and their feedcrops, which starts to crowd out other crops and make basic cereals expensive. It's also not really feasible to try to revert to the early hunter gatherer period of 20,000 years ago of vast tracts of grasslands and wild cattle roaming, and no human crops. (Although red baron possibly dreams of this in his sleep)

    Clearing vast tracts of rainforest for cattle grazing has a lot of detrimental effects to me.

    The verdict: So what am I saying? I sure dont think we all have to become vegeterian, but keeping meat consumption low to moderate makes sense.

    There's probably a sensible balance, or optimal balance between crop lands and cattle grazing. If we have good environmental policies, education and laws in general terms, particularly in respect of agriculture we will find that balance without having to try to pick a number and impose it.

  49. From the eMail Bag: Carbon Isotopes, Part 1: The Basics

    I have to agree with Chriskoz. I found the lost in the weeds termnology rather  off putting terminology.

    The statement "For the average citizen, who perhaps has a rudimentary grasp of general science" was a bit patronising. Only has a general grasp of science is better. But its a nit pick.

    Overall this article has stunning precision and clarity. It's the best written article on a complex subject I have read in years, and I read a lot. Frankly it sets the standard.

  50. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

    Dr. Jeff Masters reviews a book on sea level rise called The Water Will Come.  It is written by a Jouralist but Dr Masters rates it highly.  Just the review is interesting.  Miami gets three chapters (out of twelve).

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