Evaporative cooling and AGW

Earlier this evening an Instapundit reference reminded me of Eliezer Yudkowsky’s insightful essay Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs, in which he uses a clever physics analogy to explain why cult-like groups often respond to strong evidence against their core beliefs by becoming more fanatical.

Glen Reynolds used the reference to take a swipe at what political feminism has become, but a more interesting example occurred to me. I think AGW (anthropogenic global warming) alarmism is beginning to undergo some serious evaporative cooling. Let’s examine the evidence, how it might fit Yudkowsky’s model, and what predictions it implies.

The 15-years-and-counting period of no statistically significant measured increase in GAT (Global Average Temperature) has been increasingly embarrassing to AGW partisans for years, but the “strong evidence” I’m thinking of is well expressed by this quote from Judith Curry which she reported presenting at the American Physical Society in March 2014:

“The most recent climate model simulations used in the AR5 indicate that the warming stagnation since 1998 is no longer consistent with model projections even at the 2% confidence level.”

This is cautious jargon for “AGW theory is in a state of epic fail”. Curry is saying that by all the usual standards of scientific evidence, the IPCC sheaf of climate models that alarmists rely on is completely, utterly busted. Its dismal incompetence to predict the behavior of the actual atmosphere can no longer be ignored by actual scientists without doing violence to those standards of evidence.

(I really cannot resist pointing out that I have been predicting this something like this quite loudly since at least the beginning of the grand solar minimum in 2008, when I forecast correctly that measured GAT would track the falling direction of change in incident solar radiation rather the rising direction of CO2 levels. By a year later I had demonstrated a better predictive record than the IPCC ever has.)

Here’s a major sign of evaporative cooling: the American Physical Society has since appointed a committee of working scientists (one of whom is Curry herself) to reexamine and possibly reverse its public commitment to AGW alarmism. As well it should; the alarmists’ predictions have failed so massively that they no longer have a scientific case – they’re going to have to rebuild one with a set of models that at least retrodicts the actual data.

Whatever findings the APS committee issues, the very fact that it has been convened at all is a sign that (in Yudkowsky’s analogy) the higher-energy molecules have become excited by the counterevidence and are exiting the cold trap. Or, in the metaphor of an earlier day, the rats are looking for a way off the sinking ship…

This is happening at the same time that the IPCC’s AR5 (Fifth Assessment Report) asserts its highest ever level of confidence that the (nonexistent for 15+ years) global warming is human-cased. What Yudkowsky tells us is that AR5’s apparently crazed assertion is a natural result of the mounting counterevidence. The voices of sanity and moderation, such as they are in the AGW crowd, are evaporating out; increasingly, even more than in the past, their game will be run by the fanatics and the evidence-blind.

Thus, we can expect the screaming about “denialists” to become ever shrill and frantic as the edifice crumbles further. Many alarmists are now vocally hoping that a massive El Nino event will spike GAT to where it should be according to the models (directly contradicting their own previous argument that the 15-17 year apparent cessation of warming is a data artifact caused by a 1997-1998 El Nino spike). This reifies Richard Feynman’s famous warning about “cargo cult science”; if they wait with faith and purity, surely reality will conform itself to the sacred theory!

Others are attempting to bolt epicycles onto the models to make them retrodict the “pause” correctly; that’s why you’ll see references to “stadium waves”, “ANSO”, and “multidecadal oscillations” increasingly leaking into press accounts. All these attempts have the shadow of doom on them, something even many of their proponents seem to half-understand. But Yudkowsky’s analogy predicts nevertheless that these efforts will redouble.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the simplest explanation for the observed facts is that the CO2/H20 positive greenhousing feedback central to the alarmist models simply doesn’t happen – it was an unphysical fantasy all along. CO2 levels do affect GAT, but only in a straightforward logarithmic/sublinear way that leads to extremely low climate sensitivity – and even that effect is now basically saturated (the atmosphere is thermalizing as much as it can).

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the popular press to catch up to that, alas. They can be counted on to continue siding with the fanatics long after the sane scientists have left the building. Actually, to quote Douglas Adams, “There is another theory which states this has already happened.”

339 thoughts on “Evaporative cooling and AGW

  1. This would seem to tie back in to something you posted about being shocked to find not-insane arguments against desegregation.

  2. >This would seem to tie back in to something you posted about being shocked to find not-insane arguments against desegregation.

    I must be slow tonight, I’m not seeing the connection.

  3. I can agree that there is no warming. But will you reject other aspects of “climate change”? Melting polar ice caps? Acidification of oceans? Prolonged drought in some areas?

    I’m not trying to argue, I am genuinely asking, as you are a person I tend to believe (because of your work in the software world), and it seems that you are interested in the topic.

    Do we have anything to worry about?

  4. Don’t worry. The warmists controls the record keeping. As many of the skepticists have point out, warmists suppress tempurture from 1940 to 1980 while inflating the number from 1980 to 1998. It’s all part of the normalization.

  5. >But will you reject other aspects of “climate change”? Melting polar ice caps? Acidification of oceans? Prolonged drought in some areas?

    I was rather worried about ocean acidification, until I discovered that that “crisis” too seems to be all modeling and no measurement.

    The other problems you mention may be real, but there’s probably nothing we can do about them by cutting carbon emissions.

    >Do we have anything to worry about?

    Yes. Climate change that humans didn’t cause could fuck us over; the worst scenarios aren’t global warming but global cooling. Probably all we can do about this is adapt; the energy scales involved are way above any humans operate at.

  6. There is also a basic tendency for individual reformers of all kinds to become more extreme over time. It has to do with wanting to position themselves as leaders (in contrast to any moderates), and an inherent reluctance to declare victory and disband. E.g.: MADD pushing for ever-lower blood alcohol levels, and anti-racists having to find ever more trivial examples of racism.

  7. Apply the evaporative cooling analogy to newly desegregated communities. Who departs, who stays and what happens to the culture (among other things) of the remainder?

    I only read the evaporative cooling essay for the first time tonight, thanks to Instapundit. I think it can apply very broadly.

  8. >Apply the evaporative cooling analogy to newly desegregated communities. Who departs, who stays and what happens to the culture (among other things) of the remainder?

    Ah, yes. I see. In this application, “coolness” is social deviance and evaporation is the tendency of blacks with higher IQ and lower time preference to out-migrate to where those traits are more valued. Under evaporative cooling average IQ drops, average time preference rises, and street culture degenerates. Am I following your intention correctly?

  9. “higher IQ and lower time preference to out-migrate to where those traits are more valued. Under evaporative cooling average IQ drops, average time preference rises, and street culture degenerates”

    When applied to entire countries, the concept is called “brain drain”.

  10. >Can you comment on http://www.latimes.com/science/environment/la-sci-0513-antarctic-ice-sheet-20140513-story.html ?

    Yeah. Typical alarmist crap. Analysis at Watts Up With That. In this case it appears the scientists did their job, but the journalists ignored all their qualifications and invented a disaster.

    Money quote from WUWT: “neither of the studies addresses or make any claims about the impact of their research results on specific future sea level rise projections.” The WUWT article gives links to both studies, so you can check this; I haven’t done so yet myself.

  11. Polar ice caps has already been mentioned. I’m curious about that. Ginormous sheets of ice falling into the ocean doesn’t seem like nothing to me.

    Frankly, I’d need to see more information, and by actual experts in the field. “All modelling and no measurement” is a claim I’m skeptical about.

    I’d also like to maybe avoid kicking the teeth in on the best argument for not sucking in exhaust fumes.

  12. >I’d also like to maybe avoid kicking the teeth in on the best argument for not sucking in exhaust fumes.

    The best argument for not sucking in exhaust fumes is that they’re smelly and toxic. Atmospheric CO2 isn’t, not in the parts-per-million range.

  13. And meanwhile, respected scientists who publicly join the skeptics are shunned and ostracized and have serious attempts made to destroy their careers. See what recently happened to Lennart Bengtsson, the former director of the Max Planck Institute in Germany and a widely regarded meteorologist, as just one example.

  14. An unstated aspect of the evaporative cooling process is that nothing enters the cold trap, or at least nothing that isn’t already about as cool as the other atoms. (I imagine these experiments are conducted in a high-quality vacuum.) Otherwise, if room-temperature atoms regularly landed in the trap, it would stop the cooling.

    Then, as for the cults mentioned in Yudkowsky’s article… it seems reasonable to infer, though is not explicitly stated, that a more-fanaticized cult will put new recruits through some process that either brings them up to the current level of fanaticism or filters them out, before they become full members. (It also seems possible that some of the observations were carried out over a relatively short period of time, during which new members were not a significant force–though a couple of the groups mentioned have existed for a long time.)

    [For an interesting continuation to the analogy, according to this design, they pack 1.5 x 10^9 atoms densely into a trap, use laser cooling and lose about half of them, and use evaporative cooling and lose half again, ending up with 4 x 10^8 atoms. And I was right, they pump out the air to a pressure of 10^-14 times atmospheric pressure.]

    Eric, would you say that whatever paths scientists might take to get into organizations like the IPCC are good at either “converting” them or filtering them out if they fail to “convert”? (Where a “converted” scientist will, much more than a regular scientist, favor models and interpretations that yield alarming conclusions.)

  15. “We’re going to base our predictions on unpublished algorithms, cherry-pick our data, and shout down anyone who disagrees with us – and YOU are the ‘deniers’!”

    Seems like I saw that movie before…

    As for the IPCC… one problem with acronyms that they’re not always very specific. Whenever I see “IPCC” I think of Jack Vance’s excellent “Demon Princes” novels, not a bunch of pseudoscientific bureaucrats. In Vance’s universe the Deweaseling Corps worked against the IPCC, though the one in Geneva might require the services of Frank Herbert’s Bureau of Sabotage. Actually, a lot of governments and NGOs could do with a visit from them…

    On one mailing list I’m on, the topic is Mazda automobiles. Technical discussions are apt to refer to the ultimate authority of the FSM. Even after several years, my brain automatically translates “Flying Spaghetti Monster” instead of “Field Service Manual”, though in practice it works out about the same…

  16. while I was at university it was discovered, CFCs were depleting the ozon layer in the atmosphere such that increasing ozon holes appeared over the poles in the respective summer time. Over the years CFCs in refrigerators, air conditioning, fire extinguishers etc. were replaced by other substances and this effect is visible in the relevant statistics.

    Another thing I learned at that time is, those CFCs have a greenhouse potential up to four orders of magnitude higher than that of CO2. Furthermore because of their low concentration in the atmosphere, compared to CO2 which is almost saturated, changes in their concentration are directly correlated with the greenhouse effect they cause.

    Considering that it is not only not surprising, the measured global warming has not increased in the past decade. It has actually to be expected.

    Your ever more shrill and frantic AGW denying posts in the end will turn out as another false analysis.

  17. re: TRX

    Bureau of Sabotage works against organizational efficiency. Perhaps IPCC and Cult of Global Warming already got a visit from the agents of BoS.

  18. Awwwww, isn’t Manfred Wassmann cute?

    That would be the same CFC scare that was ginned up by the company who’s CFC patents were about to expire and wanted to shift the market to it’s other chemical lines in order to maintain the monopoly profits it was getting?

    The same CFCs that are so much heavier than air that they had no chance of getting up to the ozone layer?

    And the hole in that layer that was known of long before the introduction of CFCs?

    Thanks for playing, I needed a laugh.

  19. IIRC – the same CFC’s that a single volcanic eruption could dwarf the entirety of human output for a year or two…

  20. An excellent analysis, but at some point you have to address the “why” question.

    During the past half century of technology-driven economic growth (and attendant abundance), governments have been growing rapidly and politicians have been ensuring their incumbency by purchasing votes with borrowed money.

    There is a belief that, at some point, the bill will come due and it will become necessary to raise taxes substantially. Direct taxation will lead to a backlash, so the next best alternative is indirect taxation via imbedded fees in “necessities.” Hence the new universal health care paradigm with it’s hidden tax structure and the ever-growing fees associated with communications services.

    Not enough, and so a big whopper of a hidden tax is needed. AGW is supposed to gin up enough hysteria in order to pass new legislation which will imbed hidden taxes in every form of energy that consumers need (e.g. home electricity and heating fuel, automotive gasoline, etc.).

    The desperation you sense is the clock ticking toward the loan payback date, which may arrive sooner than most anticipate.

  21. I put as much trust in credence in this post as I would put in the post of a climate scientist who was saying the open source is bullshit and can never work.

  22. re: TomA

    I don’t think they think that far ahead. AGW (and all form of scaremonger) are about installing control. It matters not what the underlining things they’re trying to control, the end result is their control over YOU.

  23. DysgraphicProgrammer: The difference is that open source has been proven to work, and the models the “climate science” community uses have been proven not to work. That difference is crucial.

  24. >Eric, would you say that whatever paths scientists might take to get into organizations like the IPCC are good at either “converting” them or filtering them out if they fail to “convert”?

    Probably more the latter, I’d say.

  25. >DysgraphicProgrammer: The difference is that open source has been proven to work, and the models the “climate science” community uses have been proven not to work. That difference is crucial.

    Another difference is that we encourage you to check our work. They do everything they can to prevent you from checking theirs. Process transparency matters.

    And you don’t have to take my word that their models are busted; go read Judith Curry’s paper.

  26. I think motivated reasoning is enough to explain how AGW is perceived to a first order approximation. And not just on one side of the question.

  27. >I think motivated reasoning is enough to explain how AGW is perceived to a first order approximation. And not just on one side of the question.

    Good thing we have a predictive check to cut through all questions about motivation, isn’t it?

  28. > Good thing we have a predictive check to cut through all questions about motivation, isn’t it?

    Indeed. Those who are primarily reasoning in a motivated way would tend to pay much greater attention to evidences on one side of the matter than the other.

  29. @ BigFire – “I don’t think they think that far ahead.”

    The most fanatic AGW supporters are on a government-sponsored payroll and serve at the bidding of their politician masters. My guess is that they are fundamentally true believers and useful idiots, and ultimately serve as unwitting pawns A Game of Politics.

  30. >By the by, what was the warmest year on record, Eric?

    We’ll be able to answer that only when we get access to weather station data that hasn’t been “normalized”, “corrected”, “smoothed”, or otherwise massaged to fit a narrative. Good luck with that.

    And even when we know that, it will tell us nothing about the “anthropogenic” part.

  31. In any event, the cognitive dissonance effect mentioned in the linked article is very real, and I’ve experienced it in myself far too much to discount it. I make a daily practice of reading Judith Curry’s Climate Etc. blog and writings along with WUWT, RealClimate, Planet3.org, SkepticalScience.com, and etc., and I know for a fact that I have an emotional resistance to some of what I read on Climate Etc and WUWT, particularly in the comment threads. I have to expend not insignificant effort to push that aside and evaluate the arguments the best I can.

    Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned is how strong the Dunning-Kruger effect is, as well. A plurality of the comments on Climate Etc. seem to be much more informed than I am on a lot of the questions at issue, and I’ve had to internalize my own rank ignorance on a lot of it.

    I certainly don’t know of my own expertise which pieces of reported evidence or scientific hypotheses based on the evidence are most reliable.

    I don’t *think* that completely eliminates my ability to detect biased arguments, and I feel that I am qualified to notice when arguments are being made that seem to dismissively ignore counter-evidences that have been discussed elsewhere, but that’s about as far as it goes.

  32. > We’ll be able to answer that only when we get access to weather station data that hasn’t been “normalized”, “corrected”, “smoothed”, or otherwise massaged to fit a narrative. Good luck with that.

    And how will you know when that occurs? Do you have the expertise to evaluate raw data?

  33. Yes. Climate change that humans didn’t cause could fuck us over; the worst scenarios aren’t global warming but global cooling. Probably all we can do about this is adapt; the energy scales involved are way above any humans operate at.

    Nothing 300,000 km^2 worth of space mirrors can’t solve. I think that’s the number I heard to achieve 2.5% solar output difference…minus or plus depending on which way you want to reflect.

    Extremely challenging but within the capabilities of our tech base. What the side effects might be aren’t quite known but it beats freezing or baking to death.

  34. And even when we know that, it will tell us nothing about the “anthropogenic” part.

    Well, whether or not is it is mostly immaterial. In fact it would be better if it was anthropogenic if you think that the Toba catastrophe theory holds and we want to do more than just adapt but avoid.

    Given we (the US in specific and humans in general) are at the top of the current heap then maintaining the status quo is preferable.

  35. “Nothing 300,000 km^2 worth of space mirrors can’t solve.”

    Right. And if it does turn out to be getting too warm, we’ve got plenty of nukes to kick up some dust (maybe better to nuke the moon than the Earth itself).

  36. >And how will you know when that occurs? Do you have the expertise to evaluate raw data?

    I do not, but there are people in my trust network who do.

  37. > Meanwhile, back in the real world, the simplest explanation for the observed facts is that the CO2/H20 positive greenhousing feedback central to the alarmist models simply doesn’t happen

    Ironically, it actually looks like H2O performs literal evaporative cooling of the (primarily tropical) ocean surface, effectively transporting a lot of heat up to the tropopause, bypassing most of the pesky greenhouse gases, then freezing (liberating the latent heat at that higher altitude) and falling back to sea level (along the way melting back to water and absorbing some low-level heat) repeat the cycle.

    It appears that under low-relative-humidity conditions water vapor may represent a positive feedback, but at higher humidities, these phase transitions make it a negative feedback.

    Like so many other things, linear thinking leads to erroneous conclusions.

  38. >It appears that under low-relative-humidity conditions water vapor may represent a positive feedback, but at higher humidities, these phase transitions make it a negative feedback.

    Oh, that’s interesting. Cite?

  39. It appears that under low-relative-humidity conditions water vapor may represent a positive feedback, but at higher humidities, these phase transitions make it a negative feedback.

    Homeostasis for the win!

  40. Right. And if it does turn out to be getting too warm, we’ve got plenty of nukes to kick up some dust (maybe better to nuke the moon than the Earth itself).

    Actually, that number comes from how much is required to reflect enough sunlight to simulate a maunder minimum and I’m off by an order of magnitude (0.25% not 2.5%).

    I guess if things are too how you want them at L1 to act as a shade and if things are too cool at L5 and L4 to reflect some more light onto the earth.

    /shrug

    It’s a repurposed solar sail. IKAROS shows it’s possible to make and deploy small sails and Znamya 2 shows we can make small solar mirrors.

  41. > Oh, that’s interesting. Cite?

    I don’t know if anyone’s done a formal study on it (if so, there’s probably a cite at WUWT) but in general, just go with observing how maritime storms, especially of the tropical variety, work. This isn’t climatology; it’s meteorology. We know that warm moist air rising to high altitude precipitates out ice crystals that fall back to earth as precipitation. It is inarguable.

    The only question is whether this known effect of storms moving heat from the surface to higher altitudes is stronger than the greenhouse effect of the water vapor.

  42. >Homeostasis for the win!

    Exactly. One of the reasons catastrophic AGW theories never made any damn sense to me is that I know that CO2 levels and GAT have been higher in the past; this naturally leads to the question “why haven’t the end times already come?” So there must be homeostasis in the system that effectively prefers cooler conditions. It’s good to be able to identify these mechanisms.

  43. A good piece on the homeostasis issue: The Thought Experiment That First Made Me A Climate Skeptic

    The TL;DR condensed version:

    This is one of the most important points of the climate debate that is almost never explained in the mainstream media: that catastrophic warming forecasts are actually a chain of two theories. In the first, a doubling of CO2 raises temperatures directly via the greenhouse effect by 1.3C. Then, positive feedbacks in the climate system multiply this warming 3-8 times. As a result, most of the warming in catastrophic forecasts is not from greenhouse gas theory, but from a second independent theory that the Earth’s climate system is dominated by very strong net positive feedbacks.

    [...]

    I think any physical scientist should be extremely skeptical that a long-term stable system is dominated by positive feedback. Systems dominated by positive feedback — and we are talking about incredibly high implied feedback percentages to get to these catastrophic forecasts — don’t tend to be very stable, but it is Michael Mann himself who has argued over and over with his hockey stick chart that past temperatures have only varied in very narrow ranges for thousands of years. Not the behavior one would expect of a system dominated by strong positive feedbacks.

  44. “I guess if things are too [hot] you want them at L1 to act as a shade”

    I was thinking on a more crude level — a big dust cloud surrounding the Earth-Moon system. If you arrange the blasts properly, a lot of the dust should stick around. Plus lots of pretty meteor showers!

    The L1 point of the Sun-Earth system oughta work, or maybe a ring of dust orbiting just slightly sunward of the Earth-Moon system (intuitively, though, that seems like it might require more dust than is actually available. Numbers welcome.).

  45. Slightly more formally, AGW theory posits a climate that, to a simple, local approximation, can be modeled as an autonomous differential equation in GAT – one with an unstable or semistable equilibrium at the historical temperature. The climate has remained in this equilibrium, with random year-over-year perturbations, for however long you want to go back.

    How any scientist with even a dim grasp of differential equations bought *that* howler, I may never know.

  46. @SBP

    Well, in theory the mirrors are under human control and can also be used for power generation. We can shade or not as we desire.

    Making a big ass dust cloud is somewhat less reversible…especially if we do an ooops along the way…

  47. Oh, definitely. But if the WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE THE EARTH IS BOILING scenario (which I personally don’t believe for a second) comes to pass, it would be there as a last resort.

  48. “that I know that CO2 levels and GAT have been higher in the past”

    And how. 7,000 ppm in the Cambrian compared to about 400 ppm now.

  49. > “that I know that CO2 levels and GAT have been higher in the past”
    >
    > And how. 7,000 ppm in the Cambrian compared to about 400 ppm now.

    And as far as we can tell, higher CO2 levels in the past have occurred when the GAT was significantly higher. What’s significant now is not that we may be going to a different (precedented) climate regime, but that we may be going there at unprecedented speed, at a time when there are seven billion of us already stressing ecosystems.

  50. >Exactly. One of the reasons catastrophic AGW theories never made any damn sense to me is that I know that CO2 levels and GAT have been higher in the past; this naturally leads to the question “why haven’t the end times already come?” So there must be homeostasis in the system that effectively prefers cooler conditions. It’s good to be able to identify these mechanisms.

    The homeostasis mechanisms identified to draw down CO2 over the long term have chiefly involved the burying of plant material and the weathering of rocks via carbonic acid. These take a long time to function, but that has been okay because the release of CO2 into the atmosphere has not tended to be all that fast or massive.

    When there has been rapid and massive release, the impacts have been significant, cf. the end Permian.

  51. > Making a big ass dust cloud is somewhat less reversible…especially if we do an ooops along the way…

    It has been pointed out that it would not be all that expensive to pump sulfuric acid into the atmosphere to decrease sunlight reaching the ground, thereby artificially replicating the kind of cooling that big volcanic eruptions cause.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/511016/a-cheap-and-easy-plan-to-stop-global-warming/

    It’s cheap enough that a single rogue nation or well-off Bond villain could easily start doing climate modification in this fashion just to screw with people, in fact.

  52. ESR said: Another difference is that we encourage you to check our work. They do everything they can to prevent you from checking theirs. Process transparency matters.

    One of the early things that made me even more wary of the IPCC and Mann’s claims, yes.

    “I won’t show you the data” is not how science works (at least not public science, and climate study isn’t nuclear weapon development).

  53. Nice writeup. Expect the volume level of AGW alarmism to increase anyway, as the hyper-regulation of energy use is a major piece of the statist agenda.

  54. Building a giant space mirror at L1 seems rather complicated. Tomorrow I might work out the size & logistics of such an undertaking (or maybe just ask at what-if.xkcd.com). Radiation pressure might be an issue.

  55. > The homeostasis mechanisms identified to draw down CO2 over the long term have chiefly involved the burying of plant material and the weathering of rocks via carbonic acid. These take a long time to function, but that has been okay because the release of CO2 into the atmosphere has not tended to be all that fast or massive.

    No one (but you) is talking about CO2 homeostasis; we’re talking about the negative feedbacks for temperature.

  56. >No one (but you) is talking about CO2 homeostasis; we’re talking about the negative feedbacks for temperature.

    Negative feedbacks for CO2 are negative feedbacks for temperature.

  57. Negative feedbacks for CO2 are negative feedbacks for temperature.

    Are you seriously going to go question-begging on that point in this thread?

  58. > Are you seriously going to go question-begging on that point in this thread?

    I didn’t realize the CO2 heat-trapping hypothesis was considered an open question in this thread. I understand knowledgeable skeptics to be concerned primarily over secondary feedbacks to CO2 concentrations. That is, haggling over the price rather than the principle, if you will.

    If we’re talking about the trivial, then obviously the primary negative feedback for temperature is infrared radiation into space.

  59. >I didn’t realize the CO2 heat-trapping hypothesis was considered an open question in this thread.

    I think everyone here understands about direct CO2 thermalization.

    What needs to be seriously questioned at this point is the CO2/H20 positive-feedback loop at the heart of the catastrophist models. I never found it physically plausible, and the models in which it features have predicted a range of upward GAT trends that are now effectively excluded by the measured data.

  60. What might prove worrisome is the fact that, if you look at the ice core data, the CO2 levels have yo-yo’ed up and down in response to other factors, such as insolation, and only added some feedback to the mechanism. What has happened since the industrial revolution is that we have added a sharp pulse of CO2 level in addition – we have added an additional forcing function to the system. What the results of this additional forcing will be are not easily predictable.

  61. What makes you think CO2 is a forcing function at all? It’s always been a lagging indicator by several hundred years, including rising as temperatures begin to fall.

  62. Building a giant space mirror at L1 seems rather complicated. Tomorrow I might work out the size & logistics of such an undertaking (or maybe just ask at what-if.xkcd.com). Radiation pressure might be an issue.

    Not one big assed one. A largish constellation of large but not impossibly gargantuan ones that combined to generate the area required.

    Pressure was factored in since they are big assed solar sails as part of station keeping.

  63. “What makes you think CO2 is a forcing function at all?”

    Please reread my comment. It wasn’t until recent times. We added a good deal more of it in a short amount of time. This is a stimulus, not a response.

  64. >Please reread my comment. [CO2] wasn’t [a forcing factor] until recent times. We added a good deal more of it in a short amount of time. This is a stimulus, not a response.

    As of about six weeks ago, depending on when measured GAT fell outside the IPCC model sheaf, there is basically zero evidence that recent CO2 is a forcing input at all. The models built on that assumption have been falsified to less than 2% confidence.

  65. I’m having trouble seeing how “evaporative cooling” is happening here, based on the evidence provided above. As I understand it, evaporative cooling would occur in the manner of a change in the membership of the set of climatologists. Or, if you’re using the IPCC as the specific example, their panelists (secretariat?). Is its membership changing? Specifically, are identifiably, objectively more scientifically inclined climatologists leaving, such that the remainder are more politically focused?

    Or are we to use their press releases as a proxy measurement? It seems so. But it seems like it would be easier to check who’s in the IPCC over time. Or the set of climatologists, although this set might be too large to be manageable. And I suspect it would reveal little. As David Friedman noted in February, there was never that large a consensus to begin with. To see things that way now, is to see them as they always were…

  66. esr on 2014-05-15 at 14:22:44 said:
    >And how will you know when that occurs? Do you have the expertise to evaluate raw data?
    I do not, but there are people in my trust network who do.

    All of the data is crap. All you need to do is read harryreadme.txt to realize that even the original data that hasn’t been lost is actually worse than crap.

    The underlying problem with all of the data is the uneveness and overcertainty about the data itself. Replicated random samples are required in order to get some handle on the reliability of the sampling, instruments, and associated errors. However, all we have until the advent of HCN (the 3 replicate sample ‘high quality’ stations) are single observations per day, one min, one max. The variance & error of a sample size of one are infinite by definition. A simple calculation of the sample size to get daily temperature variance down to a 95% confidence level is well over 20 random samples.

    Aside from the obvious problems discussed at some length at http://www.surfacestations.org, the data is obviously crap and the confidence in raw data itself is low. So here we are and the data is so bad that we would not know if our numbers reflect reality or just how unreliable they are.

  67. @LS – there is no convincing evidence that humans are responsible for the rising CO2 concentrations at all. We don’t know the details or actual numbers for CO2 flux or the carbon cycle at all. All we have is a decent estimate of how much humans are putting in the air via combustion of fossil fuels, and that is over twice as much as the average annual increase in concentration, but that amount varies considerably annually while the human contribution remains pretty constant. That alone should make you go hmmmmmm.

    The rest of the carbon cycle is a mystery wrapped in a conundrum covered with bullshit. See http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=murry+salby science presentations for a likely possible answer. We aren’t doing too well in understanding details how weather even works and chaotic systems may well be beyond human ability to predict much past a week or two, let alone a decade or century.

  68. Jonathan Abbey on 2014-05-15 at 15:54:07 said:

    > “that I know that CO2 levels and GAT have been higher in the past”
    >
    > And how. 7,000 ppm in the Cambrian compared to about 400 ppm now.

    And as far as we can tell, higher CO2 levels in the past have occurred when the GAT was significantly higher. What’s significant now is not that we may be going to a different (precedented) climate regime, but that we may be going there at unprecedented speed, at a time when there are seven billion of us already stressing ecosystems.

    Sorry, just about every statement in that para is incorrect but I am not going to abuse you with the details. They are easily discovered.

    1) estimates of geological-period high CO2 has no consistent linkage with estimates elevated temps in geologic time. The estimates are not very reliable or precise in any case, but following the evolution of life on land, temperature estimates correlate pretty well with estimated continental positions and their associated temperatures.

    2) we do not have a clue how fast climate changes at all past times but there is plenty of data to show very rapid climate change in the distant past. We do not actually know why this happens (there are plenty of theories) but the associated CO2 evidence actually shows that it is responding to temp change, not causing/leading it. Considering the estimated temperatures from ice cores, very rapid changes with much higher amplitude than we have seen recently to date are repeatedly observed. Gas concentrations in ice cores is not the most reliable data nor are the methods absolutely convincing, but there you have it. They are what they are, just like the crap weather station data we are forced to use now.

  69. @esr:
    >Exactly. One of the reasons catastrophic AGW theories never made any damn sense to me is that I know that CO2 levels and GAT have been higher in the past; this naturally leads to the question “why haven’t the end times already come?” So there must be homeostasis in the system that effectively prefers cooler conditions. It’s good to be able to identify these mechanisms.

    Just because homeostasis keeps GAT in a range that is survivable for life in general doesn’t mean that it keeps GAT in a range that is survivable for human civilization (although I believe that the latter range covers a significant chunk of the former, so that concern is probably minimal), and just because things stay in a range that is survivable for human civilization doesn’t mean that changes in GAT won’t cause sufficient misery to be considered catastrophic. (For example, it is not my understanding that world population growth rates went negative at any point during WWII, so the war, if it had continued forever with the same mortality rates, didn’t threaten the survival of the species. However, WWII is still generally considered a catastrophe).

    That said, I believe that even the likelyhood that AGW will cause sufficient misery to be considered catastrophic (especially relative to the measures that many suggest to reign it in) is fairly slim.

  70. @13:41:39 Foo Quuxman:

    > CFCs that are so much heavier than air that they had no chance of getting up to the ozone layer

    Wow, if you carfully add some ink to a glass of water it will sink to the bottom as it is heavier than water. But if you create some “wind” and “storms” it will mix eventually.
    Now have a look at a real tornadoes in the atmosphere surrounding you, even large objects which are much heavier than air, like cars, rooftops or even houses, are lifted way up from the ground. What do you think will happen to small objects?

    Oh, you AGW deniers … Eric, you perfectly pictured that kind of behaviour, you just _missed_the_target_by_180_degrees_

  71. > But if you create some “wind” and “storms” it will mix eventually.

    Then how can there be an “ozone layer” in the first place?

    Obviously, neither the mixing nor stratification is complete.

  72. >Then how can there be an “ozone layer” in the first place?

    The right way to think about the ozone layer is that it’s defined by the length of the mean free path of UV in oxygen. Of course it mixes with the N+O2-dominated atmosphere below but is perpetually re-created by O3 formation from above.

  73. TRX: Technical discussions are apt to refer to the ultimate authority of the FSM. Even after several years, my brain automatically translates “Flying Spaghetti Monster” instead of “Field Service Manual”, though in practice it works out about the same…

    I have the same issue with the gamer acronym “FTW!” which they intend to mean “For The Win!” but which I have long associated with the outlaw biker “Fuck The World!”. It’s always quite jarring. :D

  74. Climate models are tools of estimation being developed and applied to a huge, chaotic, highly complex, and continuously variable system. Local weather cannot be predicted reliably more than 10 days out, so an expectation of high correlation accuracy in long term climate prediction is naive at best.

  75. “@LS – there is no convincing evidence that humans are responsible for the rising CO2 concentrations at all.”

    @BioBob: Actual air samples from ice cores clearly show a change in the isotopic composition of the CO2 post-industrial revolution. We put it there.

    “Don’t shit where you eat.”

    “Leave the campsite in better shape than you found it.”

  76. TomA, the problem is that we’re being told we need to destroy our entire economic system and replace it with one based on government management of resource consumption based on predictions made by models that have been shown to have exactly zero predictive power. In what way is this not abject st00pidity?

  77. LS on 2014-05-16 at 11:37:52 said:
    @BioBob: Actual air samples from ice cores clearly show a change in the isotopic composition of the CO2 post-industrial revolution. We put it there.
    ———————————————
    Your statement is historical wishful thinking disproved by more recent actual real data.

    Fact: air samples from above vs within the ice cores have shown how permeable glacial ice is to gas exchange in surrounding layers, especially rapid during the first few decades of depositional accretion. The effect is to clip the high and low values by captured gasses seeking concentration equilibrium at an overall lower value due to loss to the atmosphere and other layers. Even the modestly rapid changes like those seen post WWII were actually lost to amplitude smoothing.

    Believing that snow entrained gasses would remain in place was always a fairytale. Ice is somewhat porous to molecular gasses over these times scales in any case, so the data was always known to have ‘issues’. Proxies always have issues. How about we start by gathering some reliable data to start with before we go spouting off pseudoscience, eh? That’s the usual desired sequence for science.

    However, the ice core data clearly demonstrates that not only is the purported current temperature regime smaller in amplitude than historical values, but increases in temperature as estimated by oxygen isotopes precede CO2 increase repeatedly, thereby indicating that current increases in CO2 are likely NOT the result of human agency of any sort. Never mind that we have been in a series of swings from ice age to ice age for the entire depositional history of all ice cores. We don’t really know why CO2 flux increases and decreases not do we know the actual numbers of ‘natural’ sources or sinks. In fact we are mostly clueless, bumping around into walls and furniture in the dark while we “endeavor to persevere” in our science.

  78. One other thing, LS. You are laboring under a misconception, that our contribution of CO2 to the global CO2 flux is significant. This is incorrect. Our total contribution from all human sources is estimated to be less than 2% of the positive global ‘deposition’. This is the size of the rounding error for the estimates of bacterial contribution to that value. Ants and termites both are estimated to have much larger contributions to global CO2 flux than humans do. But nice try.

  79. @BioBob: If the stuff leaked out so quickly, how come the people doing the measurements are able to get results from 400,000 years ago? It shouldn’t even matter too much, as they report concentrations of the components of the samples….

    I know that this blog’s readers are skeptical, but not every scientist is a fraud with an agenda. The ice-core gang labored very long and hard at what they did. They were very careful about it. Don’t dismiss that stuff so airily. Nobody goes through all that work without exploring possible failure modes really thoroughly first.

    “One other thing, LS. You are laboring under a misconception, that our contribution of CO2 to the global CO2 flux is significant.”

    Uh. Our contribution has already rivaled the peak-to-peak atmospheric concentration swings. It soon will double the absolute concentration. You don’t think this might be significant? Ants and termites didn’t do it.

  80. LS: “not every scientist is a fraud with an agenda.”

    Not every scientist, true…but at this point, it looks like every soi-disant “climate scientist” either is a fraud with an agenda or else aids and abets those who are. Real scientists would not suppress a paper from multiple known, respected authors with long track records just because a reviewer thinks it’s “less than helpful” – but that’s exactly what happened recently. See http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/05/105856.php .

  81. @ LS: If the stuff leaked out so quickly, how come the people doing the measurements are able to get results from 400,000 years ago? It shouldn’t even matter too much, as they report concentrations of the components of the samples….
    —————
    read what I said again – the data show upper layers (new deposits) have greater rates of gaseous exchange with surrounding layers, therefore the lower layers have LOWER rates of gas mobility. The point being that proxy analysis of glacial entrained gasses is more useful in showing general longer-term trends rather than ACTUAL temperature / gas concentration values.

    And they now know the approximate limitations of their data that they only suspected previously. There isn’t a scientist alive who does not couch their results in terms meant to indicate uncertainty. You do not seem to realize the actual possible dimensions of that uncertainty. That is why NOTHING is settled in science – ever.

    @ LS: Our contribution has already rivaled the peak-to-peak atmospheric concentration swings. It soon will double the absolute concentration. You don’t think this might be significant? Ants and termites didn’t do it.

    And you know that this is ‘ours’ …. exactly how ? We do NOT know shit about global carbon cycling / mass exchange / sources and sinks. All we have are estimates pulled from some yahoo’s ass. Period. We do not even know if those estimates are close to being correct. A simple calculation of insect biomass is all that’s required to indicate that TOTAL human global CO2 production is NOT significant, PERIOD. We humans are about as significant as a pimple on the elephants ass. Deal with it. Bacteria, plants, geochemistry all mediated by temperature and water control the global carbon cycle.

  82. >One other thing, LS. You are laboring under a misconception, that our contribution of CO2 to the global CO2 flux is significant. This is incorrect. Our total contribution from all human sources is estimated to be less than 2% of the positive global ‘deposition’. This is the size of the rounding error for the estimates of bacterial contribution to that value. Ants and termites both are estimated to have much larger contributions to global CO2 flux than humans do. But nice try.

    This turns out not to be correct, if by ‘positive global deposition’, you mean net positive global deposition. This is demonstrated by the isotopic signature of atmospheric CO2:

    http://skepticalscience.com/human-co2-smaller-than-natural-emissions-intermediate.htm

    Also, despite being acquitted, OJ Simpson has had little to show in his quest to find the real killer.

  83. >This is demonstrated by the isotopic signature of atmospheric CO2

    The argument is basically that there are two types of plant metabolisms, known as C3 and C4, which take up carbon 12 vs carbon 13 at known rates. Through paleontological research, the ratio of the prevalence of C3 to C4 metabolisms is known over time, and is recorded in fossil plant depositions. The current ecosystem has a known preference factor for carbon 13, which differs from that in fossil depositions. As we burn fossil fuels, the atmospheric ration of carbon 13 to carbon 12 is changing, demonstrating the fossil provenance of the gas.

    cf.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/?13C
    http://www.bgc.mpg.de/service/iso_gas_lab/publications/PG_WB_IJMS.pdf
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=87

  84. > Jonathan Abbey on 2014-05-16 at 15:31:09 said: This is demonstrated by the isotopic signature of atmospheric CO2
    ——————–
    yeh, that’s the story but the problem is that there is NOT actually any DATA, merely supposition. Murry Salby uses the actual data we do have and shows that there is evidence to indicate that the isotopic signature meme is incorrect. Like I said, we are at the stage where collection of actual evidence rather than proposing wild theories without any would be a good idea, LOL.

    Do your self a favor and watch this first vid to learn a bit and the second to be totally overwhelmed by the data, rofl.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMiuv6f9hd4 + part 2 (~ 20 minutes)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ROw_cDKwc0 (technical – 1+ hour)

  85. see https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_cycle for typical estimates of flux

    and if humans annually produce less than 3% of global CO2 production, how is that likely to be significant ? As I said, the numbers are so poorly known, our contribution could be the rounding error for bacterial production alone. Consider than a small percentage difference like 2% could result from a degree or two temperature change over large areas of the globe since biological process rates are controlled by environmental temps. This is largely Salby’s conclusion, supported by where CO2 is produced as indicated by satellite measurements (estimates LOL)

  86. > and if humans annually produce less than 3% of global CO2 production, how is that likely to be significant ?

    Because we produce CO2 but don’t absorb it in matching fashion, unlike the natural system which has not had this kind of an excursion for the last 10-15 million years?

    A percent or two out of balance can make a big difference, after all.

  87. A question or priorities.

    AGW fanaticism is speculative at best and fraudulent at worst, but the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is a broad-based energy tax needed to feed government’s revenue addiction. Politicians/bureaucrats win, consumers/taxpayers lose; regardless of whether the sky is falling.

    If you’re the sort of person that needs a cause celebre, please feel free to rant and rave about the global overuse of antibiotics (past and continuing). This trend is more likely to be the looming danger that results in a major population correction. No new taxes needed, just less expenditure on unnecessary antibiotics overuse.

  88. > [we] don’t absorb it in matching fashion
    —————-
    LOL we are real animals…

    yes, it’s very sad — most other animals and even bacteria also produce CO2 without absorbing any as well….hell, plants only absorb CO2 in the presence of light, so it’s all the fault of the growing global darkness & evil !!!

    Sorry, I wasn’t around for the entirety of the last 15 million years, so I was totally unable to collect actual CO2 concentration values. Oh wait !! none of any of us were either…
    What are we to do — I know !! We can make some values up and pull them from our asses !! Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    Seriously Jonathan, you MUST view data produced by studying questionable proxies with a bit more skepticism – please !! 200 years ago, the primary mechanism for humans to produce light was a candle. We are just starting to get some traction on this science stuff. No rush, we eventually will learn how to get useful data but we will likely NEVER get reliable data from when we were NOT. That’s just the way it is.

    We know things were different and we know that CO2 was very high long ago and we know when that was the case the earth did not turn into a cinder but instead had the most massive proliferation of life on land ever seen. Clearly high CO2 was not catastrophic then. Perhaps after we have burned up every ounce of the fossilized waste from that period, productivity will also increase to make a golden age for man. /slight sarc

  89. If you disbelieve that we are digging up fossil carbon reserves and burning them at a faster rate (“matching fashion”) than we are taking carbon out of the atmosphere, well, I’m not sure what I can say to that.

    How do you know that CO2 was high long ago if you don’t trust the physical record? Why do you trust the figures for one side of the argument and not the other?

  90. Which physical record was that ??? Just how many papers producing CO2 values from the Miocene do you think were published ? [ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011GL048873/abstract ]

    I never use actual figures when employing proxy data, merely indicate it was “higher” or “very high” which is about as accurate as we can reliably expect from proxies, like those that employ relative isotope concentrations (which is all we have for data older than C14 or differential entrained CO2 concentrations or relative abundance of biota in benthic deposits). Or did you think they were as accurate as a calibrated digital thermometer ? NOT. However, they are probably good enuf for relative abundance values as I employed. [ http://geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html ]
    “Late Carboniferous to Early Permian time (315 mya — 270 mya) is the only time period in the last 600 million years when both atmospheric CO2 and temperatures were as low as they are today”

    We do NOT take ANY CO2 out of the atmosphere except to make fizz for drinks. Get real. I said this before and I will say it again until you understand. Human production of CO2 equals something less than 2-4 % of the total global production (from all human activity eg fossil fuels, respiration, landscape alteration, etc.) according to estimates from a number of sources which pull data from their collective asses. Even AGW fanatics say this estimate is reasonable. I say the estimate probably is within an order of magnitude as well. Something like 5 to 7 human compared 200 to 250 gigatons of carbon production from natural sources.

    Even if we burned every ounce of known fossil fuel reserves, the AGW types published estimates say we will end up with something like 5-600 ppm CO2. We / some agency would need to mobilize all geologic carbonate deposits to get the kinds of levels seen during the lead up to the carboniferous age. Actually, all of these deposits, organic and inorganic will eventually mobilized by plate tectonics, which is one of the CO2 source numbers we need actual annual production data on.

    Like you said, science IS hard but accurate science is even harder.

  91. @esr:

    > All of the data is crap. [...]
    > The underlying problem with all of the data is the uneveness and
    > overcertainty about the data itself. Replicated random samples are
    > required in order to get some handle on the reliability of the sampling,
    > instruments, and associated errors.

    This is the mathematical theory, if you apply that to the real world,
    you should refrain from seeing any doctor or taking any medication because
    most medical research is crap according to that standard. They even try
    to prove they can generate reliable data from few samples by taking
    earlier research into account, which is the mathematical equivalent of a perpetuum mobile IMHO.

  92. Bob, I think we’ve been talking at cross purposes. I have understood your point about relative magnitudes of human emissions vs. non. The absolute magnitude of the total carbon cycle fluxes is not relevant if they have been balanced, and atmospheric CO2 has been comparatively steady over a significant run of millennia, indicating that they have been. There are obviously homeostatic mechanisms that have kept the numbers on a fairly even keel, but they are not acting fast enough to keep the level steady at the present.

    As far as our taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, I was referring to the amount due to crops. I didn’t claim it was a large amount.

    As far as comparisons to the carboniferous, that’s not what anyone is worried about. The question is of the rate of change and the cost of adaptation vs. mitigation for our civilization. The Earth is in absolutely no danger from climate change in any event, of course.

    Thank you for the informative links.

  93. Here’s a major sign of evaporative cooling: the American Physical Society has since appointed a committee of working scientists (one of whom is Curry herself) to reexamine and possibly reverse its public commitment to AGW alarmism.

    I’m just going to quote a couple of primary sources here. First, from the climate change statement review note: “The members of the Subcommittee are: Steven Koonin (chair), Phillip Coyle, Scott Kemp, Tim Meyer, Robert Rosner and Susan Seestrom.” Dr. Curry appeared in front of the subcommittee as part of a workshop. (The transcript is great reading. I recommend it.)

    The unkind conjecture is that Eric’s source wanted to make Dr. Curry’s involvement more significant than it was. The kind conjecture is that someone got confused.

    I’ll note in addition that the APS seems to have a no-win situation here. If it fails to invite skeptics to the workshop, it’d be accused of hiding from the truth. Inviting skeptics to the workshop is interpreted as evidence that the skeptics are correct.

    Second, from the Charge to Review the APS 2007 Climate Change Statement: “The APS By-Laws require the Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) to review all APS Statements every five years. POPA asks the subcommittee to review the 2007 Climate Change statement during 2013 and 2014, and report back to POPA by its February 2014 meeting.” Likewise, the Workshop Framing Document is dated December 20th, 2013. The implication that the subcommittee was formed as a result of Dr. Curry’s testimony is incorrect. If there is any question at all about this, I refer you to Dr. Curry’s blog post on the subject.

    The bylaws read as follows: “Statements of the American Physical Society are subject to review on the 5th anniversary of issuance or renewal, or earlier at the discretion of POPA or the Council. POPA will provide a recommendation to the Council, and the Council will vote to either renew or archive the Statement.” The intensive investigation we’re seeing here is not required; I think it’s fair to say the APS is taking a closer look at this than they do at most of their statements.

    Anyway, those are the corrections, for what it’s worth. When I catch my circle of trust making errors of fact which strengthen their position, I reduce my trust in them by some degree. You may or may not wish to follow the same process.

  94. @ Jonathan
    When I poke at the actual links (16,000 with +Miocene +atmosphere +carbon +isotope) I find that many provide data which actually disagree with your assertion about CO2 concentration stasis and unprecedented excursions in the last 10-15 mya compared to modern ones.

    I see numbers in the range of 190 – 500 ppm during the last 15 million years. Like “estimates for the Middle Miocene are notably higher than published records, with average pCO2 concentrations in the range of 400–500?ppm.” Try looking at a few yourself – always enlightening. I suppose there were just too many primates driving their SUVs on all that newly formed grassland. heh

    I doubt many studies have the kind of resolution that would unmask the kind of “slow and steady” changes we have seen in the last 50 years but have not looked at all that many. Amaze me.

  95. @ Jonathan
    Homeostasis – a complex topic – which assumes that some agency is controlling some value. Well, there is no actual reason to assume that homeostasis perpetually exists. Instead we see long periods of boring — punctuated by shorter periods massive panic.

    The problem with purported long-term stability in CO2 concentrations over geologic time scales is that those may be an artifact of the poor resolution of proxy data, etc., in other words just appearance vs reality. I am certain that very few studies that employ proxies from geologic deposits have the kind of resolution that would consistently generate data on the scale you are talking about (say annually for each of 50 years) over geologic long periods that would let us know the truth about that.

    in any case, there is no indication that life or climate processes act any differently today than they would to the massive variance of natural weather vs the natural weather + .8 degrees C or 300 vs 380 ppm. Plants actually can do much better with higher CO2 concentrations which acts like fertilizer since CO2 is often a limiting nutrient. If the planet was littered with bodies and shriveled plants, it would be another matter. But it isn’t.

  96. @ Manfred Wassmann on 2014-05-16 at 21:19:11 said:
    This is the mathematical theory, if you apply that to the real world,
    you should refrain from seeing any doctor or taking any medication because
    most medical research is crap according to that standard. They even try
    to prove they can generate reliable data from few samples by taking
    earlier research into account, which is the mathematical equivalent of a perpetuum mobile IMHO.

    On the contrary, I simply consider the results of those studies as LESS reliable / certain than many people believe them to be. Surface station data is anecdotal in quality and must be treated as such. They are NOT accurate to the nearest tenth or thousandth degree. We do not have any useful estimate of any type of error. We should not employ such data as starting conditions in any model and expect accuracy of those values, etc etc.

    BTW, it is not really math theory; it is probability & sampling theory. Scientists employ it for very specific reasons, as I have indicated. It allows us to get some handle on just how close our data approaches reality. Most medical studies attempt MUCH more rigorous sampling and statistical methods than ANY climate data. Climate scientists actually make ZERO effort to use these methods at all.

  97. Medical studies have complex models, but to a much lesser extend than a
    global climate model, but that aside.

    In the early 90ies, when calculating thermodynamic models like heat
    transfer in a fluid flowing through a simple heat exchanger, a ten
    percent error was regarded a /good/ estimate. Considering the increase
    in average computer power this certainly will have improved, but this is
    a very simple application.

    Then I was working in a team where we had to carry out experiments which
    required a setup large enough that it was only possible to run one test
    at a time. One of the tests had to run for several weeks. Considering
    there were plenty of other experiments to carry out we could not get
    more than three test runs with this long term setup. Thus we had to
    approximate the results from three points in a chart. Statistically
    these results were completely invalid, but this was all we had and
    nobody else had something better. That is the difference between
    (mechanical) engineering and mathematics, physics or software design.

    Of course it is bold to calculate a global climate model based on the
    scarce data available, but engineering always implied to boldly go where
    no one has gone before. If engineers had constrained themselves to use
    only statistically validatable data, there would be no Eiffel Tower, no
    Statue of Liberty, no Empire State building and not even any USA,
    because, apart from a lot of other things, there would not have been any
    ships to get there.

    And of course any models and calculations should be based on statistically
    significant samples if possible. But if not possible, you can sit back
    behind the stove or take whatever there is and get going.

  98. > If engineers had constrained themselves to use only statistically validatable data, there would be no Eiffel Tower, no Statue of Liberty, no Empire State building and not even any USA

    Yes but if they fell over, the engineers would admit they were wrong. The skeptics often make accusations that the models are constantly having ‘epicycles’ like multidecadal oscillations added rather than being abandoned.

    >after we have burned up every ounce of the fossilized waste from that period

    Don’t do that, the sulphur and the radioisotopes released wouldn’t be great. Use nuclear power instead.

  99. See what recently happened to Lennart Bengtsson, the former director of the Max Planck Institute in Germany and a widely regarded meteorologist, as just one example.

    Bengtsson’s “research” was bogus, and that’s why he was rejected by that journal. Honestly, if he’s pulling crap like this, it’s no wonder his colleagues started shunning him.

    Once again this is simply a case of one side of the global warming “debate” having all the actual scientists doing actual client research, and the other side consisting largely of fools, shills, and charlatans. Nothing to see here.

  100. Bengtsson’s “research” was bogus

    Actually, your link says:

    “Summarising, the simplistic comparison of ranges from AR4, AR5, and Otto et al, combined with the statement they are inconsistent is less then helpful, actually it is harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of “errors” and worse from the climate sceptics media side.”

    “As the referees report states, ‘The overall innovation of the manuscript is very low.’ This means that the study does not meet ERL’s requirement for papers to significantly advance knowledge of the field.”

    To me, that doesn’t say “bogus” so much as “Pointing out problems with Our Side’s views gives ammunition to our critics, and we can’t have that unless we really, really can’t avoid it.”

  101. >To me, that doesn’t say “bogus” so much as “Pointing out problems with Our Side’s views gives ammunition to our critics, and we can’t have that unless we really, really can’t avoid it.”

    Exactly.

    Jeff’s “real scientists” have no grounds to call anyone’s research ‘bogus’ when, after decades of insisting on their ability to predict the behavior of the atmosphere, they not only can’t do that but can’t even retrodict the old data.

  102. Manfred Wassmann on 2014-05-17 at 05:24:30 said:
    If engineers had constrained themselves to use
    only statistically validatable data, there would be no Eiffel Tower, no
    Statue of Liberty, no Empire State building and not even any USA
    —————–
    hehe overstated much ??

    I don’t have any problem with using anecdotal data accurate to a few degrees in general.

    I have REAL problems with using anecdotal data and saying “the science is settled”, reporting values to the nearest thousandth of a degree, etc. That’s just BS.

    Just look at all the folks that believe this shit because of that over-reach.

  103. > esr on 2014-05-17 at 13:31:13 said: can’t even retrodict the old data.

    hehe, agree. Actually the problem is much worse than that:

    they can’t even FIND the old data – almost ALL the historical data used by Phil Jones & CRU has been lost [outside of that maintained by the USA & UK].

  104. >Lambert on 2014-05-17 at 07:18:17 said: Don’t do that, the sulphur and the radioisotopes released wouldn’t be great. Use nuclear power instead.
    ———————-
    that radioisotopes meme is just hype. even concentrated in flyash , the levels are similar to those found in common granite bedrock /shale & soils produced from them. We are in the “radioactivity of a banana” zone here.

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/1997/fs163-97/FS-163-97.html

    Likewise for coal plants equipped with scrubbers, like all in the USA already are. Modern plants do a much better job minimizing sulfur emissions.

    OTOH, I would not presume to use Three-mile-Island, Chernobyl, or Fukushima as the poster-boys for ‘Nukes’. The reality is that if you include radioactive waste remediation and liability insurance costs, nuclear energy is just not very cost effective at the current time, nor is there any kind of quick return on investment. It takes well over half the nuke plants lifespan to break even even without those costs.

    Of course, coal plant cleanup costs aren’t included in their cost per kW either, but they are much cheaper to build & operate than nukes as long as ridiculous EPA regs do not abound.

    Let me know when these realities change.

  105. Let me know when these realities change.

    The waste-disposal issue, which AIUI accounts for at least the largest plurality of those costs, is technically solved and politically Jimmy Carter’s fault.

  106. I got the best available surface instrument data, and made an honest effort to assess climate change to 1998.

    My best guess would that temperatures fell a lot from 1950 to 1975, rose from 1975 to 1998, but by considerably less than claimed, and that the warmest period in recent times was the 1950s.

    However, it was genuinely necessary to do horrid things to clean up the data, and I think that I could have done defensible things to get the warmist account, defensible things to get global cooling, and defensible things to get the temperature to dance the watutsi.

    In other words, the surface station record was not something from which I could honestly infer global temperatures to the required accuracy.

    As for icecaps melting. Global sea ice, in the time it has been recorded, has remained within the normal range, though these days it tends towards the lower end of the normal range.

    The records of the Mawson expedition show that one hundred years ago, the Antarctic icecap was substantially smaller then than it is now.

  107. > Christopher Smith on 2014-05-17 at 16:11:42 said: The waste-disposal issue, which AIUI accounts for at least the largest plurality of those costs, is technically solved and politically Jimmy Carter’s fault.
    ———————–
    In other words, it hasn’t been solved — and isn’t likely to be any time soon. In any case it likely will be expensive and would be absurdly expensive if all of the legacy costs to date were included. You ever examined the current issues with the really HOT liquid waste at Hanford ? “Out of control” understates the issue.

    Really, nuke proponents stuff the cleanup issues under the rug so badly that the issue imperils the entire industry. Ever wonder why well over a thousand ‘spent’ fuel rods were stored above the operating reactors at Fukushima [also the case here in the USA] ?

  108. By the by, what was the warmest year on record, Eric?

    Isn’t the answer to that “some time during the Medieval Warm Period”?

  109. @PapayaSF, @esr:

    “Summarising, the simplistic comparison […] actually it is harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of “errors” and worse from the climate sceptics media side.”

    Ever thought the word “oversimplified” might have some meaning here?

    This blog is the perfect example the argumentation against publishing is in fact valid.

  110. Re: abbreviation overloading, I have a similar problem with the logical term “iff”, meaning “if and only if”. I first learned IFF in OCL, (the operating control language for IBM minis, sort of the kid sibling of JCL), in which it means “if false”! It’s the opposite of “IF”. And when I see it used to mean “if and only if”, it’s usually in a context in which “if false” would also make syntactic sense, so my mind automatically translates it that way, and it’s only a step or two later that I realise it’s not making any sense. I don’t have that problem with “identify friend or foe”, because the context doesn’t allow the other two meanings.

    Also, to me, the first thing that “RPG” brings to mind is neither “role playing game” nor “rocket propelled grenade”, but “report program generator”!

  111. Jeff Read on 2014-05-17 at 08:39:41 said:
    Bengtsson’s “research” was bogus, and that’s why he was rejected by that journal. Honestly, if he’s pulling crap like this, it’s no wonder his colleagues started shunning him.

    The reviewer whose comments you cite so admiringly turns out not to be quite as smart as he thought he was.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2014/5/16/that-error.html

    It is unclear to me whether the error makes a significant difference but it suggests that the reviewer hadn’t actually read the source material properly.

    Once again this is simply a case of one side of the global warming “debate” having all the actual scientists doing actual client research, and the other side consisting largely of fools, shills, and charlatans. Nothing to see here.

    I would tend to agree with the statement but I think it is a bit hrd on climate scientists because I think it is only a few vocal ones who are fools, shills and charlatans. Bluntly, and despite the best efforst of the alarmists, it is becoming increasingly clear that ECS (and TCR) are at the lower end of estimates and as a result the whole climate change scare is based on a falacious premise. This is almost certainly a good thing because the preferred responses (which essentially boil down to keep the world and particularly the darkies in the deveoping world poor) won’t actually work.

  112. Exactly the opposite is true – but that has always been a good strategy, nice try.

  113. Really, nuke proponents stuff the cleanup issues under the rug so badly that the issue imperils the entire industry. Ever wonder why well over a thousand ‘spent’ fuel rods were stored above the operating reactors at Fukushima [also the case here in the USA] ?

    I used to be a nuke proponent but nah. Useful for carriers and subs and not so good for civ use in the US. Solar, despite a large payback period, has distinct advantages in system resilience. Same for neighborhood sized fuel cells like Bloom. Apple, eBay and Google may be investing in solar and fuel cells for data centers because of green but not JUST because of green. If were a hugely money losing proposition they probably wouldn’t do it.

  114. The nuclear waste disposal issue is a political problem. The technical issues are all well understood.

  115. Could you just dump the waste deep underground in the Austalian interior?
    There’s not much seismic activity and is incredibly remote.
    There is water percolating through, but it takes thousands of years to reach the surface again, plenty long enough for any isotopes to decay.

  116. > plenty long enough

    Sounds like one of those famous last words jokes.

    BTW why don’t you stack it inside the Statue of Liberty, then paint it with fluorescent color and it will get a terrific glow in the dark. Wow!

  117. > BobW on 2014-05-19 at 11:22:07 said: The nuclear waste disposal issue is a political problem. The technical issues are all well understood.
    ————————————–

    Haha, yes, the technical stuff is well known, the problem remains. Just how does a society/civilization that crashes & burns every 1-2 thousand years at best deal with a problem that exceeds it’s lifespan and a civ which may not be around to mitigate the problems which it created. What happens to all those thousands of fuel rods above reactors if things collapse before “politics” change ?

    You can call it political, I just call it reality. There has not been a solution created ANYPLACE where nuclear waste exists. So, not political, just insurmountable ? I don’t have a clue, but it would appear so.

    Meanwhile we have this latest tidbit:
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/05/17/national/record-high-radiation-in-seawater-off-fukushima-plant/#.U3jiMyjTxrj

  118. @FrancisT:

    > I would tend to agree with the statement but I think it is a bit hrd on climate scientists because I think it is only a few vocal ones who are fools, shills and charlatans. Bluntly, and despite the best efforst of the alarmists, it is becoming increasingly clear that ECS (and TCR) are at the lower end of estimates and as a result the whole climate change scare is based on a falacious premise. This is almost certainly a good thing because the preferred responses (which essentially boil down to keep the world and particularly the darkies in the deveoping world poor) won’t actually work.

    I’m inclined to correspond with your statement, but on the other hand, those climate scientist who are /not/ vocal in an overwhelming majority also agree there is anthropogenic global warming. Its only isolated vocal ones – and in fact those who are fools, shills and charlatans – who deny the human-driven climate change. Over the past decades it has become increasing clear, global warming is a fact and caused by humans, and it is the fossil fuel businesses and companies like car makers behind the AGW denying FUD – though they don’t really have to fear anything, even last year’s 608 / 887 hp Porsche 918 Spyder is able to exceed the 2020 EU regulations by about 15 % and consume only 3.4 l/km (78 mpg) in the test cycle.

  119. Manfred, the problem is that soi-disant “climate scientists” don’t act like scientists. They hide their data. They refuse to disclose their programs. They actively work to shut down dissenting views. None of that is how science works.

    If they acted like scientists, and let people who had no stake in the outcome review their work, then they’d be credible. As things stand, they’re not.

    You’re letting your vision be blinded by the “climate scientists”‘ claim to be scientists.

  120. Once more with correct formatting – I hope.

    Could you just dump the waste deep underground in the Austalian interior?

    I *am* Australian and I agree wholeheartedly. For a fee, of course. There’s any number of played out mines, some going down a thousand metres (particularly goldmines) that would be as suitable as Yucca Mountain, if not more so. Geologically stable and well below any aquifers.

    But it’s gunna cost ya. Pony up some bucks and we’ll organise it.

    You can call it political, I just call it reality. There has not been a solution created ANYPLACE where nuclear waste exists. So, not political, just insurmountable ? I don’t have a clue, but it would appear so

    Bullshit, Biobob. Australia exports lots of yellowcake – we don’t use it locally because of idiot greenies and more importantly, cheap coal (nuclear isn’t really worth it, there is precisely one nuclear reactor on Aust for medical isotopes and research). How about we put the the waste back in the holes it came from? But done better, and as I said, for a fee. Wasn’t doing any harm before, won’t do any harm now. And if civilisation collapses and they can get a few hundred metres down, good luck to them.
    It really is just a political issue. I can’t remember which Scandanavian country it is (Norway or Sweden?) that’s carving a massive storage facility into the rock under the North Sea, but they certainly don’t seem to think that waste disposal is insurmountable.

  121. Hmmm, I normally loathe the “we can put a man on the Moon but…” argument when it compares apples with oranges (pick fix poverty/racism/class warfare as you like), but nuclear waste disposal actually fits. It’s a pure engineering problem, just like the Moon shot was.

  122. What happens to all those thousands of fuel rods above reactors if things collapse before “politics” change ?

    Well, getting them underground would be a good start. Ok, you’ll always have a certain number in cooling ponds while the residual radioactivity slows down, but that should just be a temporary measure, not permanent storage as it is now.

    Problem is, too many people want to block a long term storage solution for nuclear waste because it takes away their best argument. And that is political.

  123. >paint it with fluorescent color

    Fluorescence is glowing in response to UV radiation. If you want a glow you would probably want to find some way of creating Cerenkov radiation. OTOH if you do want fluorescence, some uranium (VI) salts are fluorescent and cause uranium glassware to glow under UV light.

  124. I’m inclined to correspond with your statement, but on the other hand, those climate scientist who are /not/ vocal in an overwhelming majority also agree there is anthropogenic global warming.

    This turns out to not be interesting. That a human being warms the overall environment in the course of his or her normal endeavors is about as believable as the notion that a heat pump does as well. What is more interesting is how much a human being warms it, according to science. The largest supported estimates say “so small that if the earth were sentient, it would laugh”. This is less well publicized. Which brings us to:

    Over the past decades it has become increasing clear, global warming is a fact and caused by humans, and it is the fossil fuel businesses and companies like car makers behind the AGW denying FUD…

    Seriously, you need to read David Friedman’s post.

    The best FUD is FUD that makes the other side’s facts look like FUD.

  125. “Ever wonder why well over a thousand ‘spent’ fuel rods were stored above the operating reactors at Fukushima [also the case here in the USA] ?”

    Because those “spent” fuel rods were awaiting reprocessing. Once they are reprocessed, the new rods (made from the recycled old rods) are reused, but they hang onto them until there enough to make it financially worth while to cover the transportation and processing costs.

    The fundamental difference between Civilian Nuclear power and Military nuclear power was explained to me by a Physics student in college who was on active duty assignment with the Navy as a nuclear engineer.

    To summarize, in a nuclear Carrier, there were three reactors, the first one would be loaded with fuel and they would run on that for about 7 years, then they would load the next reactor, and then the next. At year 21, they would remove the spent fuel rod from the first reactor and reload it. In civilian plants, this cycle is 3 years, not 21 years, and all reactors are reloaded simultaneously.

    The reason for this is that in a civilian power plant, they must maximize the heat generated to maximize their revenue. At about the 3 year mark, the heat generated falls to a level which is no longer profitably, and so the rods must be replaced.

    The result of this is that the rods removed from a civilian plant are still HIGHLY radioactive, while the rods removed from a military reactor sufficient spent that they can be safely handled with minimal caution.

    The solution to much of the nuclear problem is simply to us the rods longer, perhaps by creating a fleet of civilian nuclear ships (e.g. tankers and cargo ships) which would need significantly less heat energy to run their systems than the civilian plants.

    To use an analogy, if you have a 20 gallon fuel tank in your car, and you use the first 2 gallons, then pour the rest on the ground and refill the tank, you’re going have significantly more problems than if you burn down to the last teaspoon, pour that out, and refill.

  126. You can call it political, I just call it reality. There has not been a solution created ANYPLACE where nuclear waste exists.

    You keep, and it has to be intentionally at this point, conflating fact that US politicians don’t want to apply known solutions with a claim that no solutions are known. France would like a word with you about NO SOLUTION ANYPLACE.

  127. > The solution to much of the nuclear problem is simply to us the rods longer, perhaps by creating a fleet of civilian nuclear ships (e.g. tankers and cargo ships) which would need significantly less heat energy to run their systems than the civilian plants.

    Your argument may seem valid, but, as even the nuclear energy activists admit the technology is obsolete, the much better solution to the nuclear problem is to abandon it altogether. We already have the next generation nuclear power plant up and running safely for about 4,5 billion years. It is located at a distance of about 150 million kilometers, which has proved save in the past 4,5 billion years and will likely be safe for the next 4,5 billion. The reactor is generating much more energy than is needed on earth and more than enough of it is transferred to earth through a reliable mechanism involving electromagnetic waves. This is an energy supply with a safety record no human created power plant will ever be able to achieve. So why even bother trying?

  128. That wonderful “next generation nuclear power plant” is only available less than half of the time.

  129. >So why even bother trying?

    Because energy density. Renewables currently don’t deliver enough of it; they can’t carry the industrial baseload.

  130. @Lambert

    > Fluorescence is glowing in response to UV radiation.

    Sorry, but that is only partially correct. Fluorescence is glowing in response to ANY radiation.
    Earlier twentieth century wrist watches had hands painted with fluorescent colors containing radioactive elements like radium which allowed them to be visible in complete darkness even without being exposed to light beforehand. That were the colors I was talking about.

  131. @PapayaSF on 2014-05-20 at 15:32:31 said:

    > That wonderful “next generation nuclear power plant” is only available less than half of the time.

    Ah yes, I see, you still believe the sun is switched off at night.

    > Because energy density. Renewables currently don’t deliver enough of it; they can’t carry the industrial baseload.

    I tend to agree with your statement, but isn’t it a much more prospective course for development, after all Moore’s law in a similar way also applies to the performance of solar cells.

  132. … a much better course then to stick to a technology which already was obsolete ba 4.5 billion years on its invention. And a much better course than trying to par with the sun through nuclear fission reactors on earth, which is impossible to achieve.

  133. >I tend to agree with your statement, but isn’t it a much more prospective course for development, after all Moore’s law in a similar way also applies to the performance of solar cells.

    But there’s an upper limit on the energy density they can deliver at Earth surface that’s purely a function of the physics. It’s not enough. To get around that, we’d need at a minimum very high-density, very low-loss accumulators. They don’t yet exist.

  134. There seems to be too much ignorance about the ACTUAL state of nuclear waste in France – learn something:

    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/WR_Public_comment_on_French_waste_disposal_16051311.html

    “France has accumulated around 2700 cubic metres of high-level radioactive waste and about 40,000 cubic metres of long-lived intermediate-level radioactive waste….Given permission, Andra would hope to begin construction of Cigéo in 2019 and bring it into operation by 2025.”

    I know I am a bit absent minded but … 2025 … are we there …yet ?

    Perhaps you are conflating reprocessing with radioactive waste elimination….or just plain mistaken.

  135. @Manfred: Yuck, yuck. Storing vast amounts of energy is non-trivial. The sun would be all we’d need if we had cheap, lightweight, efficient batteries, but we don’t.

  136. Christopher Smith on 2014-05-20 at 15:25:09 said: You keep, and it has to be intentionally at this point, conflating fact…

    READ what I said – the FACT is that the solutions do NOT EXIST or are not being used, so NOT REALITY….

    We could stuff it in salt layers in Yucca Flats BUT WE ARE NOT.
    The French could stuff it in Cigéo, but it has not been built.

    In fact, nuclear waste continues to accumulate, except in perhaps in Hanford, Los Alamos, etc. where it is leaking into the ground, etc., just like at Fukushima.

  137. PapayaSF, I somewhat agree with your comment, but we already have lightweight, efficient batteries and the the energy density doubles somewhere between every five and ten years. Furthermore there are other ways to store energy, batteries are the best solution not in every case. Even the existing power grid eliminates the need for storing electrical energy to a significant degree.

    @Jay Maynard:

    > Manfred, the problem is that soi-disant “climate scientists” don’t act like scientists. They hide their data. They refuse to disclose their programs. They actively work to shut down dissenting views. None of that is how science works.

    The argument in your comment may seem valid, but alas, it is completely off topic. I was not talking about soi-disant “climate scientists”. Iwas talking about approved scientists some of whom are in fact climate scientists. But even Bengtsson can’t be regarded a soi-disant “climate scientist”, he was respected until he apparently got an offer he wasn’t able to reject by some group interested in promoting AGW denial FUD. It was too profitable perhaps, maybe he needed it desperately. But I agree that breaking into sciance labs, stealing personal documents and propably even vandalizing scientific databases is not science, and that schould be considere, when evaluating the AGW deniers FUD.

  138. >Don on 2014-05-20 at 14:39:59 said: Because those “spent” fuel rods were awaiting reprocessing.
    ————–
    Not exactly… but I suppose one could say that and be correct.

    the USA has now abandoned commercial reprocessing entirely for a number of reasons eg newly constructed plant failures, high costs, proliferation PC….

    Japan is maybe, possibly, could start reprocessing REAL SOON NOW ™. Delays continue from original start date 2011-2012 ? They now say October…

    http://www.jnfl.co.jp/english/operation/

  139. Ltw on 2014-05-20 at 09:54:26 said: Bullshit
    —————-
    LOL

    I am certain there are any number of POSSIBLE solutions; the problem is that there are not any that are actually functioning that I am aware of. That’s the point.

    Aussie “can do” has not DONE yet. Crickey, get to work ! Good as gold.

  140. @esr:

    > But there’s an upper limit on the energy density they can deliver at Earth surface that’s purely a function of the physics. It’s not enough. To get around that, we’d need at a minimum very high-density, very low-loss accumulators. They don’t yet exist.

    Your argument appears valid, but there are two flaws in int. Firstly other ways to harvest solar energy, apart from solar cells, wind and hydro-electric power plants are two examples. Most energy on earth stems from solar radiation, even a significant amount of geothermal energy, tough the exact figures are disputed. Secondly, not being able to cater to *all* the worlds energy needs *right now* doesn’t mean you can’t provide a significant and rising amount. Disruptive changes have some benefit wrt software libraries, but not in the real world, generally. I don’t advocate them.

  141. >Secondly, not being able to cater to *all* the worlds energy needs *right now* doesn’t mean you can’t provide a significant and rising amount.

    I repeat: you can’t run an industrial baseload with solar or wind. The accumulators aren’t good enough, and if they were transmission losses are too high. This is well known to anyone who has studied energy economics for half an hour. Give me room-temperature superconductors and some as-yet unimagined technology of superbatteries and we’ll talk.

  142. This may be well known for anybody who has studied energy economics for half an hour, but not more, as I did. Of course, if you limit the ways to harvest solar energy to solar cells and wind turbines and restrict your view to the current situation, the share is much less. But as I said, there are more ways to harvest solar power, I mentioned two examples from which you only cited wind power. As I said there is hydro-power, but this also was just one example. If you need heat, you can use thermal collectors e.g. which can be built to be much more efficient than today’s solar cells. There is marine current power with a potential vastly exceeding hydro-power. And power can be generated from biomass. There is geothermal power which also is partly solar power. Even the energy in fossil fuels is stored solar power. And last, but most effective, you have the option to save energy.
    The difference is here, you don’t have a catchall solution, you have to decide locally which is the best way to go in a specific environment and for a specific application.

    But I don’t say you can substitute all other energy sources now or in the near future with truly renewable energy, I just say, developing them is much better than investing in any nuclear power generation and especially crude oil is a much needed resource in the chemical industry, it’s worthwhile to save some of it from simply being burnt. And, I repeat, there is more than enough energy hitting the earth from the sun every day than is needed worldwide.

  143. Yeah…yeah…solar..nuclear…hydro….you name it. Trouble is, no matter what you propose, there’s always some vocal, well-funded group to yell, “You can’t do that!”

  144. I was particularly amused by the mention of hydropower. Sure, the greenies will be fine with building dams and flooding valleys!

    (Of course, in reality, they are trying to get existing dams torn down.)

  145. ESR> Because energy density. Renewables currently don’t deliver enough of it; they can’t carry the industrial baseload.

    Agreed. Just a quick back-of-the-napkin calculation, assuming there was never a cloud in the sky 365 days/yr, with a 1/3 duty cycle (because we aren’t going to stop the planet rotating), using the current best photo-voltaic technologies (about 20% efficiency), to reproduce the 4 Trillion kWhs/yr would require almost 65,000 sq miles of panels, or an area just slightly less than the State of Wisconsin.

    Plus, you have to build enough storage that could store about half that amount of power for use at night and early/late in the day.

    All things considered, learning how to deal with nuclear waste might pale in comparison as an engineering problem, not to mention a logistical one.

  146. BioBob> Not exactly… but I suppose one could say that and be correct….

    Nice. So, the plan, which was to keep reusing the spent rods to make new rods until the uranium was all depleted, isn’t happening at all.

    That’s a data point I had not heard. Thanks.

  147. Manfred: Can you please explain, based on your “more than half and hour of economic study” how it is that there is not sufficient economic incentive to do all those things you’ve listed and all the other things you’re imagining? How is it that there’s less economic advantage in collecting something that pours from the sky for free in a seemingly limitless amount and we can magically turn it into a salable product, and nobody wants to put money into the project unless A) there’s a government subsidy or B) they have a serious sense of altruism (indicating they expect to lose money)?

    Put another way, why is free energy from Sol not economically competitive with digging in the ground for coal, uranium, and oil?

    BTW, solar radiance at earth’s surface in the southern US is approximately 1 kW/sq. meter. That is the upper limit that Eric is talking about. I don’t care WHAT technique you use, that is you upper limit, you cannot go beyond it (and that number falls off sharply as you move north).

    The problem with ANY solar solution (photo-voltaics, wind, whatever) is that it is at best an application-specific technology. For instance, photo-voltaics on the roof of a house in San Antonio, TX make some since (but not at the current idiotic subsidized prices!) because you get a double bang for your buck. First you generate part of the electricity required to cool your house when you need it most, and second you shade part of your roof, reducing the overall cooling load. However, CPS Energy is spending MANY millions of dollars on green fields filled with photo-voltaic panels, which necessary reduces your return by half. It’s insane, but the current regulatory regime, coupled with wasteful “incentives” are pushing people to do dumb, wasteful things.

    Please apply your vast economics training on that Public Choice issue.

  148. >BTW, solar radiance at earth’s surface in the southern US is approximately 1 kW/sq. meter. That is the upper limit that Eric is talking about.

    And with current technology transmission losses are so high that there’s a hard ceiling at about 0.6kW/m**2 unless the power is used right where it’s generated. That’s why solar is a decent fit for residential use (below about latitude 45°, and if you’re prepared to ignore payback time) but crappy for industrial. You can’t aggregate enough of it to get decent energy density; the line losses would kill that even if we had the superbatteries to pool the power.

  149. Once upon a time, when I was very young, the dominant cultural meme regarding energy production and use was efficiency, low cost, and reliability. This paradigm literally fueled the industrial revolution and resulted in the largest percentage improvement in standard of living in the history of the planet.

    What is the rationale or incentive to cast this aside? Or to put another way, what is the evolutionary benefit of stupid?

  150. Or to put another way, what is the evolutionary benefit of stupid?

    Power hoarding by the elite. Harmful to society as a whole, but breathtaking violence and stupidity did amazingly well evolutionarily for Genghis Khan, who’s estimated to be the ancestor of something like 2% of men alive today.

  151. > Don on 2014-05-20 at 21:40:27 said: keep reusing the spent rods to make new rods until the uranium was all depleted, isn’t happening at all.

    That’s a data point I had not heard. Thanks.
    ——————————-
    np…

    Lots of countries DO reprocess fuel rods to mitigate the volume of radioactive waste (it does reduce the volume to 1/5 of original) and create new fuel (or bombs) from used rods eg MOX. But that does not negate the need to sequester all the other waste. Every step (mining thru decommissioning) of the nuclear power industry generates some waste, both low and high level, and this includes the touted ‘safe’ Thorium reactors. The containment vessel, pipes, etc. become radioactive after being bombarded by high energy particles for long periods. Even the Thorium fuel cycle generates long-lived radioisotope materials that need to be dealt with like Protactinium-231 (half-life 32,760 yrs).

  152. I repeat: you can’t run an industrial baseload with solar or wind. The accumulators aren’t good enough, and if they were transmission losses are too high. This is well known to anyone who has studied energy economics for half an hour. Give me room-temperature superconductors and some as-yet unimagined technology of superbatteries and we’ll talk.

    Not that I disagree with you, but what about orbiting solar collectors and microwave power? Assume no political problems (gives BioBob a dirty look); i.e. no risk of collectors being harnessed for use as weapons. Would they pay for their own maintenance costs and still provide enough power for industrial use?

  153. >Not that I disagree with you, but what about orbiting solar collectors and microwave power?

    Different game. The insolation available in orbit is much higher, so you can eat the losses associated with beaming power down to a rectenna.

  154. @ ESR – “beaming power down to a rectenna.”

    The proverbial death ray from space. Ming the Merciless would be proud.

  155. Yeah. Precisely the reason I caveated that. Military concerns aside, some of the physical concerns utterly go away. All collectors in space can be oriented for maximum efficiency per square meter. Efficiency is also not a problem if you can just beam more down. Which means the concerns then include the fact that the collectors are a whole AU away from the source (or at least the rectennae are), have to be kept in the same general place, and have to be replaced or repaired.

  156. >The best FUD is FUD that makes the other side’s facts look like FUD.

    Yes, and both sides seem to be doing just that, which makes it very hard for a simple Bayesfearing rationalist to make up their mind. I might have to just sit on the fence until it is unequivocal as to which side is correct.

  157. I am certain there are any number of POSSIBLE solutions; the problem is that there are not any that are actually functioning that I am aware of. That’s the point.

    Bit of circular argument there Biobob. 1. There are no solutions in operation (not true, but with some caveats, low and intermediate waste only). 2. The reason is because we’ve told everyone they’re unsafe and shut them down. 3. There are are solutions but we can’t build them. 4. You can’t build them because no one else has.

    Anything can be done, but nothing must be done for the first time. Ad infinitum.

    Aussie “can do” has not DONE yet.

    And as I said, for political reasons. Which you said weren’t the issue. So is it a technical problem or a political one?

  158. I might have to just sit on the fence until it is unequivocal as to which side is correct.

    Be careful of your balls on that fence Lambert. Oh right, you haven’t got any.

  159. >Yes, and both sides seem to be doing just that,

    Apply the predictive check. Science is about making testable predictions.

    The AGW alarmists have not predicted the behavior of the actual atmosphere correctly; GAT has been level for 17 years or so. This makes them wrong. You don’t have to delve any further into the motivations or theories of either side to know this.

  160. Are there any skeptics that are professional climate scientists. I don’t want to make any appeal to scientific authority but the skeptics seem to have devoted much less time and effort than AGW believers (The term ‘alarmist’ has far too many connotations to be used in a mature debate, as has ‘denialist’.). Saying ‘but the temperature has stayed the same for x years’ seems awfully like saying ‘but guns kill people’ both are positions that could potentially ignore more nuanced effects ,such as volcanic eruptions, an extended solar minimum, El Nino and La Nina in the first case, and guns as a deterrent and for self defense when assailed in the second case.

  161. >Are there any skeptics that are professional climate scientists.

    Yes, quite a few. Richard Lindzen is perhaps the best known of them. He was a lead author of Chapter 7, ‘Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks,’ of the IPCC Third Assessment Report and is a vocal skeptic.

    >both are positions that could potentially ignore more nuanced effects ,such as volcanic eruptions, an extended solar minimum, El Nino and La Nina in the first case

    Clearly forcing inputs such as the solar minimum are in fact dominating the effects of CO2 greenhousing. If this weren’t the case, the IPCC models might not be be huge piles of useless bullshit. But it is the case, and they are.

  162. Don: To carry your gas tank analogy further, if you run your car down to the last teaspoonful of gas regularly, you’ll wind up with at least a fuel filter plugged with the crap that accumulates at the bottom and at worst a fried fuel pump. (That’s why I fill up at 1/4 tank or so these days, or at least try to.) What’s the nuclear analogue to that?

    Manfred: When I say “soi-disant ‘climate scientists'”, I’m referring to the mainstream CAGW-supporting “scientific” community. They’re the ones who aren’t acting like scientists. The folks exposing their fraud and lies aren’t claiming to be scientists in the first place.

    And that’s a nice way to avoid the argument: that ski-disant “climate scientists” – the CAGW-supporting “climate science” community – don’t deserve the honorable name “scientist” because they don’t uphold basic scientific principles, instead hiding behind the mantle of science to spread their bullshit. Try answering that…if you can. Or are you going to simply ignore it and say “la la la, I can’t hear you!” again?

  163. And as for Bengtsson, I’m sure crossing over to the skeptical side was driven purely by a desire for money and not out of principled scientific skepticism, right?

    RIIIIIIGHT.

    Of course, the pittance oil companies pay for research is utterly, fundamentally corrupting, totally unlike the billions upon billions that governments pay for CAGW-supporting research, which is only driven by the purest motives and has no corrupting effects at all. Right, Manfred?

  164. What would convince me of the fraudulence of climate models would be a skeptic applying the same techniques as climate scientists use in order to produce a model which ‘fits’ evidence yet predicts cooling and another that predicts no effect and one that predicts fall-then-rise and one for rise-then-fall. This would prove AGW models to be pseudoscientific as a technique that can be used to ‘prove’ anything to be true in fact proves nothing.

  165. I see Lambert. This would be the “you have to do it right to prove me wrong” defence. What’s wrong with being intellectually honest and saying I’ve got nothing better, but yours isn’t working?

  166. Lambert, the burden of proof is on the scientists predicting a perpetual rise in temperature in the face of evidence. After 15 years of steady state that no one predicted, it’s pretty fair to say the models are broken.

    You don’t need to have a competing model to point that out.

  167. I’m not talking about for the skeptics producing a countermodel using valid statistical techniques, I’m talking about use of the same data sets and similar techniques to produce different conclusions, or a clearly random data set and similar techniques to conclude that temperature is rising. The former would show that conclusions drawn depend upon the statistical manipulation of the data and the latter would show that the statistical techniques are able to cleverly manipulate *any* data to conclude that global warming is happening. (By ‘statistical technique’, I mean things like temperature anomaly, that 5 degree grid thing and the introduction of multidecadal oscillations.)
    A good example of this reasoning is here http://lesswrong.com/lw/2w/are_you_a_solar_deity/

  168. > Even the Thorium fuel cycle generates long-lived radioisotope materials that need to be dealt with like Protactinium-231 (half-life 32,760 yrs).

    This sort of statement always leads me to think… If it takes 32 millennia for half of it to decay, then the radiation level it produces can’t be very damned high, can it?

    It seems to me that the waste problem is neither with really short half-life isotopes nor those on the millennial scale or longer; it’s those in the middle that have short enough half-lives to emit meaningful amounts of radiation but long enough that long-term safe storage is required.

  169. Burden of proof is on climate scientists to show their models are right – which they are demonstrably are not.

    I’m talking about use of the same data sets and similar techniques to produce different conclusions, or a clearly random data set and similar techniques to conclude that temperature is rising.

    That’s buying into the game on their terms. Model predictions don’t match reality, so models fucked. That’s all you need to know. No one needs to disprove anything. No further action required.

  170. @Lambert
    >I’m not talking about for the skeptics producing a countermodel using valid statistical techniques, I’m talking about use of the same data sets and similar techniques to produce different conclusions,

    But the CAGW theorists won’t let us have their data because we’ll try to use it to prove them wrong. They’ve said as much, nearly in those exact words. Which is why Jay is correct to say those “climate scientists” do not deserve the name. Real science requires that you make an honest effort to disprove your hypothesis before you promote it to “theory”. It requires replicable experiments.

    Anyone who refuses to release their raw data sets, the “corrections” they applied to it, and the source code for all of the statistical manipulations they did to produce their “hockey stick” graphs is not doing science. They’re saying “Trust me, I’m a scientist.”, which should be recognized as the logical fallacy “appeal to authority”. (It’s more obvious when it’s worded “Trust me, I’m the Pope”, etc.)

  171. I know where you’re coming from Lambert, but you’ll never win on those grounds. The underlying data is so corrupted already, assuming you can get hold of it, and the statistical methodology so tightly held, that trying to show either “The former would show that conclusions drawn depend upon the statistical manipulation of the data and the latter would show that the statistical techniques are able to cleverly manipulate *any* data to conclude that global warming is happening” is virtually impossible.

    The ground to fight on is ‘model doesn’t match reality – now what?’

  172. “The proverbial death ray from space. Ming the Merciless would be proud.”

    This has always been by problem with orbiting power stations. Imagine what happens when the guidance system fails. And people thought F5 tornadoes left a path of destruction. It would look like Sherman’s March!

  173. “What’s the nuclear analogue to that?”

    Jay, there is such a thing as taking an analogy too far ;^).

  174. Putting an object in geostationary orbit takes c. 50 Kj/gram in terms of potential energy. Assume 1% efficiency, to be conservative, for a space elevator motor. If radioactive waste still has enough energy to power the elevator car, either by fission or radioisotope thermoelectric generation (RTG), then we can build a giant spacedump for the waste. The car can be unmanned, reducing the amount of shielding needed (although some might still be needed to protect the electronics).

    Perhaps waste could be used to power giant RTGs, whether in orbit or underground.

  175. Ltw on 2014-05-21 at 05:32:22 said: Bit of circular argument there Biobob….And as I said, for political reasons. Which you said weren’t the issue. So is it a technical problem or a political one?
    —————–
    You have a serious problem with reading comprehension ?
    I said there may be any number of technical solutions for sequestration of nuclear waste. There are also any number of technical reasons why those solutions have problems. In addition there are ALWAYS political issues, largely NIMBY but also expense-based, etc.

    I don’t claim to understand how one can separate one of the above from another but the bottom line is that progress has been slow or abandoned in many cases. The end result is that there is NO WORKING long term repository for sequestration of all that accumulating waste.

    Humans have very real limitations. We don’t like to admit it. We do REALLY STUPID stuff because of our short term perspective. So far, nuclear fission and it’s entire meme is one of these. Nuclear power is pretty much nuclear warfare writ politically correct; a solution looking for a problem and a justification for it’s existence, imo.

  176. >This has always been by problem with orbiting power stations. Imagine what happens when the guidance system fails. And people thought F5 tornadoes left a path of destruction. It would look like Sherman’s March!

    Er. No. If you’re willing to build a good big rectenna form you can design the beam power density to be low enough that it’s not a threat if it wanders.

  177. esr on 2014-05-21 at 05:39:39 said:Apply the predictive check. Science is about making testable predictions.
    The AGW alarmists have not predicted the behavior of the actual atmosphere correctly; GAT has been level for 17 years or so. This makes them wrong.
    ——————————-

    Careful, esr.
    GAT, as inaccurate as it is, has been level for 17 years or so as best we can tell, trying to discern a signal from all the noise. SO FAR, This makes them wrong.

    There, I fixed it for you ;P

  178. >GAT, as inaccurate as it is, has been level for 17 years or so as best we can tell, trying to discern a signal from all the noise. SO FAR, This makes them wrong.

    Fair enough. But if GAT is too noisy and inaccurate for the 17-year nothing to disconfirm AGW, then it was too noisy and inaccurate to confirm AGW when they thought temperature were rising. So I don’t think the qualification is very meaningful.

  179. Lambert on 2014-05-21 at 07:42:29 said:
    What would convince me of the fraudulence of climate models would be a skeptic applying the same techniques as climate scientists use in order to produce a model
    ——————-
    You don’t seem to get it. The fraud is that the data is so bad, the unknowns so significant, that any model or any prediction fails on the basis lack in one or the other.

    Any data from before satellites is so noisy that the problem is that any signal of the size actually observed (.8 C per century) is indistinguishable from the potential error, if we had a decent estimate of the error. We do not understand all the components of ‘climate’. We don’t understand the behavior of the sun. We can not predict the outcomes of chaotic systems. We can not seem to collect and collate data without losing bits and pieces of it, fail to be consistent about it, or get enough of it to make it reliable.

  180. hehe. I don’t think ANY of this booshwah is meaningful. There you have it. That’s been my position since 1990 and I am sticking with it.

  181. What it boils down to for me is that
    – we know CO2 is rising but we don’t know why.
    – we know the temperature seems to rise and fall in cycles but we don’t know why
    – we know the sun has cycles but we don’t know why
    – we know weather seems to have long term behavioral patterns but we don’t know why
    – we know the oceans have cycles but we don’t know what

  182. >But if GAT is too noisy and inaccurate for the 17-year nothing to disconfirm AGW, then it was too noisy and inaccurate to confirm AGW

    Then the answer is that nobody knows. The evidence from GAT does little to change the probability that AGW is happening. The posterior probabilities are similar to the prior probabilities.

    If you could find a measure that is objective and incorruptible enough, you skeptics should probably start putting your money where your mouth is and place bets with people on global temperatures or heatwave frequencies.

  183. Lambert, “nobody knows” is not even ion the same ballpark as enough certainty to warrant destroying economies over, as the CAGW alarmists demand. Yet those of us who say that are painted as flat-earth antiscientific people.

    Who’s antiscientific? The soi-disant “climate scientists”, or those of us pointing out how unscientific they are?

  184. @ ESR – “you can design the beam power density to be low enough that it’s not a threat if it wanders.”

    Isn’t that called sunshine?

  185. You can design the beam power density to be low enough that it’s not a threat if it wanders, but high enough that you don’t have to cover massive areas of land in PV cells which are expensive to make.

    I wonder whether using orbital mirrors to focus light that would otherwise miss the Earth onto a PV cell would be more feasible and efficient than an orbital PV cell and a laser pointing at the Earth.

  186. @Jay Maynard
    “Who’s antiscientific? The soi-disant “climate scientists”, or those of us pointing out how unscientific they are?”

    Those who have to pay for the damage of AGW bet on science, and not your kind:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2014/05/18/rift-widening-between-energy-and-insurance-industries-over-climate-change/

    “The heavy losses caused by weather-related natural catastrophes in the USA showed that greater loss-prevention efforts are needed,” says Munich Re Munich Re board member Torsen Jeworrek.

    He says that the United States suffered $400 billion in weather-related damages in 2011 and insured losses of $119 billion, which were record amounts. In 2012 — and despite Superstorm Sandy — losses were well above the 10-year averages at $165 billion total, of which insurers paid $50 billion. In 2013, insurance companies paid out, globally, $45 billion in claims, says Zurich-based Swiss Reinsurance Co., adding that the United States accounted for $19 billion of that.

    Meantime, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services just issued a report saying that the credit ratings of sovereign countries would be affected by global warming. It pointed to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, heavy flooding in Great Britain and the record cold temperatures this past winter in the United States, all of which caused economic damages and disrupted business practices.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jun/28/climate-change-climate-change-scepticism

    Unlike the “poisonous polluters and rightwing ideologues” Al Gore recently skewered in Rolling Stone, the insurance industry is perfectly willing to rely on the scientific consensus as put forth by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Citing the IPCC, Munich Re noted, “The view that weather extremes are more frequent and intense due to global warming is in keeping with current scientific findings.” Meanwhile, on the investment side, Munich Re is jacking up its investments in renewable energy assets and operations, while assigning SunPower Corp to develop a massive, 2.5 megawatt solar power system for its offices in New Jersey.

    Let’s be clear: insurance firms aren’t altruists; they’re capitalists. A rise in extreme weather means a fall in their profits. This is hardball economics based on risk analysis, not save-the-polar-bears stuff.

    European reinsurers have taken the lead in this outburst of rational behaviour, with their counterparts in the US lagging in their wake. In Europe, insurance companies have pressured their governments to push policies that mitigate the human role in climate change, while in the US, insurance firms have tended to focus more on extreme weather events and how to adapt to them.

    Quite logically, property insurance companies are taking the lead, with life and health insurance firms trailing behind. Reuters recently reported the spate of tornadoes in the US midwest will cost insurers more than $7bn, while the twister in Joplin, Missouri alone will spawn a $3bn bill. Insurance companies are perfectly willing to pass along premium hikes to consumers, but they’re also up for concerted CO2 regulation that could eventually assuage the pocks on their profits.

  187. There’s only one problem with that argument, Winter; extreme weather is moderated compared to historical trends.

    The insurers are using their CAGW advocacy as a cover for rate hikes.

    Next?

  188. Lambert on 2014-05-21 at 10:01:57 said: If you could find a measure that is objective and incorruptible enough
    ———————
    well, the problem is historical (nobody is going to go back in time to get a century’s worth of surface temperatures on the scales needed) and current. The skeptics can’t pry raw current data nor control the nature of that data collection from the warmists who currently control that process. So, the raw surface station data is biased, adjusted, etc.

    Even satellite data has been massaged, errors unresolved, and so on because those collecting the data have been perverted by the AGW meme.
    ================
    Winter on 2014-05-21 at 11:23:34 said:”pay for the damage of AGW”
    —————–
    Simple and definitive analysis has demonstrated “weather-related natural catastrophes” have declined in frequency and intensity at the same time as AGW effects have been claimed. Much lower numbers of intense hurricanes, MUCH lower numbers of tornados. So the facts we DO have trash your conclusion.

    There certainly has been an dollar increase in claims but not because AGW:
    as I said, the data do NOT support human agency cause, significant frequency increase, any association of increased CO2 being conclusively responsible for any significant effects at all other than increased plant growth.

  189. Lambert on 2014-05-21 at 10:01:57 said: “Then the answer is that nobody knows”
    ————————
    “Then the answer is that nobody knows with enough certainty to draw conclusions about the WHY”

    There is nothing wrong with anecdotal information. There is plenty wrong with drawing conclusions & certainty which exceed the ‘quality’ of the data collected.

    There, I fixed it. Science is about iterative collection of data & hypothesis solution to approach understanding & conclusions; To understand how things work, general rules, etc. Sampling & probability theory are about understanding how we are doing in our resolution of that process of understanding certainty.

  190. @Jay
    “The insurers are using their CAGW advocacy as a cover for rate hikes.”

    As usual, corruption of the opposition is the answer to every objection.

    Still, you do not have data, and the “skeptics” do not bet their money on beating AGW.

    @Lambert
    “Much lower numbers of intense hurricanes, MUCH lower numbers of tornados. So the facts we DO have trash your conclusion.”

    Except, that those who have to pay for them do not believe you.

  191. > Manfred: Can you please explain, […] how it is that there is not sufficient economic incentive to do all those things you’ve listed

    Don, the short answer: There *is* sufficient economic incentive. There are plenty of examples where using renewable energy sources and even solar cells were and are an economic solution. And I wasn’t talking about photovoltaics alone, which is one of the least economic ways to harvest solar power.
    The longer answer I currently don’t have the time to write down, you’ll need a little patience, sorry.

  192. … and I mean: an economic solution *without* subsidies – that’s the difference compared to nuclear power.

  193. Winter on 2014-05-21 at 12:50:57 said: Except, that those who have to pay for them do not believe you.
    ————————
    Actually, that’s not what the data you presented shows. NO scientists, not even IPCC contributors disagree with the facts about declining frequency of severe weather events despite CO2 increases. Plenty of folks disagree about magnitude & causes of same.

    http://myweb.fsu.edu/jelsner/HTML/Research/papers/mortality/mortal.html
    http://r.duckduckgo.com/l/?kh=-1&uddg=http%3A%2F%2Fsciencepolicy.colorado.edu%2Fadmin%2Fpublication_files%2F2013.38.pdf
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303603904579495581998804074

    etc. Let me know if you want a few hundred more cites.

    Frequency DOWN
    Mortality DOWN
    Intensity DOWN
    Costs UP
    Why ?
    McDonalds burgers used to cost a dime. A coke used to cost 5 cents. Are you following that ? Go discuss that with the Federal Reserve, the IMF, all the central banks in Europe. Fiat currency and central bank manipulation is responsible for inflation.

    DIscuss it with local zoning authorities that allow (for a “cash consideration”) building on flood plains, on beaches, etc. Discuss it with the folks who will underwrite insurance in those areas. Following the money is usually instructive.

    Discuss it with your libido & the increased population density.

    The honest insurance companies use actuaries. The dishonest insurance companies use lawyers. Heh

  194. Manfred: “you’ll need a little patience”

    I’m good with that, I’ll wait. If there some way to take free energy and get somebody to pay me for it, I’m more than willing to hear you out. As a serial entrepreneur, I’m always looking for the next big thing :^).

  195. >As usual, corruption of the opposition is the answer to every objection.

    So what is your response to criticisms of climate scientists hiding raw data and ‘HARRYREADME’

    >Except, that those who have to pay for them do not believe you.

    Those who release large amounts of CO2 such as fossil fuel energy companies are *going* to be denialists, just as those who compete or want to tax these companies such as wind farm companies are *going* to be alarmists. I don’t really care who is a proponent of what or who is corrupt. What I DO care about is whether or not the Earth is getting warmer, and whether man is to blame.

    If AGW is happening,
    I desire to believe that AGW is happening;
    If AGW is not happening,
    I desire to believe that AGW is not happening;
    Let me not become attached to beliefs I may not want.
    (from the Litany Schema of Tarski)

  196. ESR: “Er. No. If you’re willing to build a good big rectenna form you can design the beam power density to be low enough that it’s not a threat if it wanders.”

    Hmmm… I’d be curious just how big a power concentration one could safely use. And that makes me wonder what the maximum safe kW/sq m is and at what frequencies you could get that signal through the atmosphere without high losses. I’m sure most of that has been answered somewhere … I don’t see how you’d get the rectenna to something less that gargantuan without at least 100X increase in power/sq m.

    According to this, there’s approximately a 50% loss in solar radiance in the atmosphere, so the power received by the orbiting panels would be approximately double what they’d receive on the ground, reducing the area to about 32K sq miles to achieve 100% replacement of current US power generation (CUSPG). Then back out the 66% overage for low-light/night usage, and we’re down to around 10K sq miles. Going back to the back of my napkin, I’m seeing approximately 45.6 MW/sq mile generation, so to replace a typical coal fired plant (667 MW), you’d need each reflector to be a little more than 14.6 sq miles, or about 2.5 miles diameter, with the rectenna array at some factor smaller than that (depending on the concentration of the beam) and just to replace coal, we’d need almost 600.

    Wow! The mind boggles at the costs involved, even if it was done by private industry. Government getting involved would add a few zeros on the end of that. :^) Just the cost of lifting that much material and sending it into orbit or to L1 would be simply astounding, to say nothing of the cost of the earth stations that receive the energy and convert it into usable electical power, which would probably increase as a function of size, encouraging higher power concentrations and playing the Sherman’s March against economic break-even as the trade-off.

    Sorry if my thoughts are meandering here a bit. It’s an interesting problem :^).

  197. What would convince me of the fraudulence of climate models would be a skeptic applying the same techniques as climate scientists use in order to produce a model which ‘fits’ evidence

    The alarmists have yet to produce a model that fits the existing evidence, i.e. one that retrodicts the past 20 years.

    I’m talking about use of the same data sets and similar techniques to produce different conclusions,

    For that one would need access to their data sets

    or a clearly random data set and similar techniques to conclude that temperature is rising.

    Already been done to Mann’s “hockey stick”.

  198. The problem with using microwaves is that the rectennas have to be huge, and therefore impossibly expensive, as Don wrote.

    Eric, next time you see Jordin Kare, have a talk with him about lasers. He’s working on using lasers to beam energy from a powersat, which means the antenna can be got down to less than the size of a football field. And they can aim the beams to avoid “cook[ing] the occasional goose”, or having the cattle “smell of roast beef every time we go by”. Last I heard the main problem they were dealing with was how to get through clouds.

  199. Perhaps a form of space fountain with the solar panels driving motors at the top and generators at the bottom would be a way of sending energy to Earth.

  200. No, Winter, those who have to pay for them are covering their bets. You know, that honorable financial term called “hedging”. If adverse weather events rise in frequency, they want to have sufficient reserves to pay the claims and avoid the fate of insurance companies that lost bucket loads of cash back in the 80s in Florida.

    Milhouse, the problem with the laser you cite is that it makes a dandy area-effect weapon…

  201. Milhouse, the problem with the laser you cite is that it makes a dandy area-effect weapon…

    Which is no reason not to develop it.

  202. Perhaps not, but since Eric was objecting to power transmitters from space that could be readily weaponized, that does bear on the relevance of your answer.

  203. Giant orbital death lasers are fine, so long as they are pointed at the Bad Guys.
    Also, a space fountain could be modified to redirect its pellets at enemy bunkers, acting as an orbital kinetic bombardment.

  204. BioBob on 2014-05-19 at 17:40:31 said:

    Just how does a society/civilization that crashes & burns every 1-2 thousand years at best deal with a problem that exceeds it’s lifespan and a civ which may not be around to mitigate the problems which it created. What happens to all those thousands of fuel rods above reactors if things collapse before “politics” change? […] There has not been a solution created ANYPLACE where nuclear waste exists. So, not political, just insurmountable ? I don’t have a clue, but it would appear so.

    I’m partial to Jerry Pournelle’s answer, as quoted by Larry Niven (http://www.larryniven.net/stories/roentgen.shtml):

    The No Nukes types tell us that stretches of American desert have already been rendered useless for thousands of years because thermonuclear bombs were tested there. Let us take them at their word. Cart the nuclear wastes out into a patch of cratered desert. Put several miles of fence around it, and signs on the fence:

    IF YOU CROSS THIS FENCE YOU WILL DIE.

    Granted, there will be people willing to cross the fence. Think of it as evolution in action. Average human intelligence goes up by a fraction of a percent.

  205. > Er. No. If you’re willing to build a good big rectenna form you can design the beam power density to be low enough that it’s not a threat if it wanders.

    Um… Doesn’t adding beamed power to the existing insolation make any global warming problem worse?

  206. >Um… Doesn’t adding beamed power to the existing insolation make any global warming problem worse?

    No. All the radiation you collected was going to thermalize in the atmosphere anyway. (The minor exception for when the powersat is transiently near the terminator, then it might catch radiation that would have missed.)

  207. Joel C. Salomon on 2014-05-21 at 18:25:40 said: I’m partial to Jerry Pournelle’s answer, as quoted by Larry Niven
    —————————–
    that’s one choice and there are a number of other decent choices. how about we decide one or two and actually build them. Something which almost works is better than what we have now, which is a guaranteed disaster in heavily populated areas.

    I am not holding my breath, tho because nothing seems to ever get completed and doing the job. Like I said, this is not good for the nuclear industry, which is teetering on the cusp of eventual extinction. The stuff is so capital cost expensive and we are in such debt, that it would seem insurmountable. CO2 is certainly not going to be the impetus unless things REALLY heat up (pun intended).

  208. The Monster on 2014-05-21 at 19:11:12 said: Doesn’t adding beamed power … make any global warming problem worse?
    —————-
    umm… which global warming problem was that ? The observed real world increase of .8 degrees C which is lost in observation error, adjustments, daily variation, seasonal variation, spatial, etc. Most all the future figures predicted are output from models and this post is all about how the models are predicting badly.

    Think about that — most folks won’t even notice a .8 degree temp difference. Especially when temperate zone daily variation can be something like 30 degrees, for example. The reality is that earth’s temperature is remarkably stable and predictable for long periods of time and within a narrow range compared to off planet.

  209. > (The minor exception for when the powersat is transiently near the terminator, then it might catch radiation that would have missed.)

    How low of an orbit are we talking about here? I assumed our power satellites would be best positioned in Clarke orbits to make tracking the ground station easier, which means they’d spend most of their orbits catching radiation that would not otherwise hit the earth.

  210. @BioBob

    I know that GW isn’t the catastrophe the alarmists say it is. I’m saying that even if we accept their claims arguendo, what follows is that capturing sunlight that would otherwise pass by the earth and redirect it to the earth’s surface would only make the problem worse.

    But that won’t stop a politically-connected corporation or twelve from getting billions in subsidies for Green Power a la Solyndra etc.

  211. The Monster on 2014-05-22 at 01:12:56 said: “I know that GW isn’t the catastrophe”
    ——————

    I am pleased you realize this, although it IS possible that it COULD get higher or it could get lower or it could remain as it is, in a slow meander getting nowhere fast. We really need to collect data in a way that is appropriate to the precision we desire-and-need to resolve any possible issues.

    Since it seems as (un)likely we will construct orbital infrastructure as it is we will see a new ice age, I don’t see the need to worry about heat input of power sats overmuch about it. Large capital intensive public works are probably the last thing on our agenda as we teeter on the edge of currency collapse. Private companies could do this kind of thing on small scales for certain clients I suppose but …

  212. >How low of an orbit are we talking about here? I assumed our power satellites would be best positioned in Clarke orbits to make tracking the ground station easier, which means they’d spend most of their orbits catching radiation that would not otherwise hit the earth.

    That would probably be a good idea, actually. I think I was responding from memory about versions of powersat proposals that used lower orbits in order to mimimize the delta-V to get them on station. But now that I think about it, those would have to be steerable-beam – which would probably be politically impossible (Ming the Merciless, which see).

  213. Yeahbut even geostationary satellites need steering mechanisms…

  214. ” I think I was responding from memory about versions of powersat proposals that used lower orbits in order to mimimize the delta-V to get them on station.”

    Go to a low orbit. Start collecting power. Use it to boost yourself to the orbit you really want. Start beaming the power down.

  215. My thinking was that if you really wanted all the “renewable” energy you could ever want for the foreseeable* future, you’d keep on putting up orbiting solar collectors until you got it. Eventually we might cover, say, twice the earth’s cross-sectional area in panels, beaming all that power down to earth. And part of the whole point is to have many of them catching radiation that would otherwise miss the earth entirely. I think that would have a substantial effect on global temperature, by anyone’s reckoning; the earth, as a whole, would receive somewhere between 1.1 and 2 times the solar radiation it gets today.

    The catch is that that’s a lot of solar collectors, and all that implies. Assuming it were enough power to pay for its own upkeep, it’s also several technological leaps away. These would necessarily be higher orbits, with steering transmitters, perhaps to rectennae that are in lower orbit which would then step that power down to the ground (which would reduce the overall efficiency, but might also reduce the Ming panic). This would also be a lot of material to put up there at the necessary delta-V, either from the earth’s surface or from NEAs. We would have a much more mature space industry by the time we got something like that going, which would probably mean we’d have a better handle on climate management as well. (If you can put up that many solar collectors, you can also put up mirrors that intercept earth-bound radiation and reflect enough away to regulate the temperature. Although that would be pretty Mingous as well…)

    In somewhat related news, I see a company called Solar Roadways that wants to cover highway surfaces in solar cells. Nice idea, if they can recoup the cost, that is…

  216. *foreseeable = next 100 years in this scenario. Past that, given the space industry necessary, you probably would solve future energy needs by moving more of your industry into space anyway.

  217. >Paul Brinkley on 2014-05-22 at 12:58:25 said:
    My thinking was that if you really wanted all the “renewable” energy you could ever want for the foreseeable* future, you’d keep on putting up orbiting solar collectors until you got it.
    ———————–
    As long as we are dreaming, might as well put up a space elevator or half a dozen and run the power down a wire that is part of the tensile concept structure….bingo – waste heat from transmission is almost eliminated. Now all you need is superconductors to route the power loss-free to wherever it was needed. A mere peccadillo.

    Entropy – feh !

  218. As a nit, some people who read the AR5 say it makes the weakest claims of any IPCC report.

    “My conclusion is that the IPCC’s estimates of the negative effects of climate change due to human action are much smaller than the rhetoric surrounding the subject suggests, a fact the report attempts to conceal as best it can by its presentation.”
    http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2014/03/bits-from-latest-ipcc-report.html

    I have not read it myself, but there you have it from someone who at least made it through the executive summary.

  219. esr:

    > And with current technology transmission losses are so high that
    there’s a hard ceiling at about 0.6kW/m**2 unless the power is used
    right where it’s generated.

    You again are limiting your view to technologies harvesting solar power directly from sunlight. Thus your limit is a theoretical one only and has no practical meaning for regenerative power sources as a whole. E.g. wind transports energy over large distances, even around the globe. Furthermore wind includes energy which never reaches the earth surface because it is absorbed by the atmosphere. Thus it isn’t limited to the amount of sunlight hitting the ground per square meter. Likewise hydropower lets you harvest energy which e.g. initially hit the oceans as sunlight. If transmission losses were such a problem, we would not have any nuclear power stations at all. The storage problem only applies to electrical energy. Energy from biomass can be stored and transported like e.g. gas from fossil resources. Finally renewable energy already accounts for about 20 percent of the global energy consumption, earth generated nuclear energy is just a puff.

    @Don:
    > BTW, solar radiance at earth’s surface in the southern US is approximately 1 kW/sq. meter. That is the upper limit that Eric is talking about.

    Wrong number, I guess you meant the 1kWh/sq. meter which can be harvested over a day by current solar cells in the region you mentioned. The 1 kW number ist the amount of energy which hits an area perpendicular to the sun.

    But anyway. 1 kW/sq. meter, so what? The active earth surface capturing radiation from sun is about
    127,000,000,000,000,000,000 square meters, thus you get a whopping 120 trillion TW radiation from sun. Compare that to the 18 TW consumed on earth. That’s not a limit.

  220. Unconventional energy sources are an interesting novelty on a small scale, and occasionally make sense at remote or optimized sites where economy-of-scale conventional energy supply is problematic.

    I know of a few remote homestead sites that use wind and solar to move water uphill to a small storage reservoir, and then employ hydro to generate electricity as needed. Beats $150K to install a branch powerline.

  221. 20 bux say we first use every economically recoverable ounce of fossil fuel before the next echelon of more expensive energy becomes the default source.

    AGW is a croc and will be swept away (as has just happened in OZ) by economic necessity. Likewise GMO and Vaccine antiscience. In the latter case they will just win Darwin awards. When you are facing cold, starvation and disease as immediate issues, everything but survival goes out the window.

    Given the tenuous fiat currency & job situation, I expect that will be the case in short order, unfortunately. 49 million already on ‘foodstamps’ are not ALL gaming the system. I don’t have a clue how bad the food-dole dependance is in Euro-land…perhaps Winter can tell us.

  222. @TomA

    That type of thing is also used on a larger scale in order to make sure power meets requirements at peak times (a common one is after the end of soaps when people start putting the kettles on). I have been to one in Scotland a number of years back.
    Here in the UK, though requirements for tranferring electricity are probably quite unusual, given that the *vast* majority of electricity generation, transfer and consumption is on the National Grid.

  223. “My thinking was that if you really wanted all the “renewable” energy you could ever want for the foreseeable* future, you’d keep on putting up orbiting solar collectors until you got it.”

    You can get all the energy humanity uses from planting solar cells in deserts. And that is all energy. And you most definitely will not run out of desert space to supply all of humanity with energy.

    http://www.withouthotair.com/c25/page_178.shtml
    http://www.withouthotair.com/c25/page_179.shtml

    Concentrating solar power in deserts delivers an average power per unit land area of roughly 15 W/m2.

    To supply every person in the world with an average European’s power consumption (125 kWh/d), the area required would be two 1000 km by 1000 km squares in the desert.

    Fortunately, the Sahara is not the only desert, so maybe it’s more relevant to chop the world into smaller regions, and ask what area is needed in each region’s local desert. So, focusing on Europe, “what area is required in the North Sahara to supply everyone in Europe and North Africa with an average European’s power consumption? Taking the population of Europe
    and North Africa to be 1 billion, the area required drops to 340 000 km2, which corresponds to a square 600 km by 600 km. This area is equal to one Germany, to 1.4 United Kingdoms, or to 16 Waleses.

  224. >You can get all the energy humanity uses from planting solar cells in deserts.

    Once again, this will not work. All such schemes founder on transmission losses and the crappy state of accumulator technilogy; it doesn’t do any actual good to have bimpty-bump hundreds of square miles of solar cells in (say) the Sahara, because there’s nowhere near enough to the Sahara to consume the output.

  225. @Winter

    So, 5KW (c.125KWh/d (I would happily move to decimal time just to get rid of the KWh as a unit of energy)) per capita * 7 billion people * $0.6/W at peak for PV cells
    =35TW * $0.6
    =$21000000000000
    =$2.1*10^13

    About 1/3 of the world GDP, excluding all the infrastructure needed.

  226. @esr
    “All such schemes founder on transmission losses”

    Not with HVDC
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-voltage_direct_current

    Depending on voltage level and construction details, HVDC transmission losses are quoted as about 3.5% per 1,000 km, which is less than typical losses in an AC transmission system

    @esr
    “and the crappy state of accumulator technilogy;”

    For the accumulator technology, there are two directions:
    – High power storage, e.g., pumping hydroelectric systems
    – Use batteries in electrical cars as storage. Offer electrical car owners money for offering their car batteries as power storage.

    Smart electric meters are introduced just for such a purpose.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle-to-grid

    @esr
    “because there’s nowhere near enough to the Sahara to consume the output.”

    At 3.5% losses per 1000km, a trip from Sabha in Libya to Berlin is ~4300km by car. 3.5% losses per 1000km over this distance come dome to 14% total losses. Not really crippling.

    You need to use your imagination when solving such puzzles.

  227. @Lambert
    ” $0.6/W at peak for PV cells”

    These calculations were done for concentrated solar, not photo voltaic. See the original book link.

    The prices of PV cells are coming down fast. They can also be constructed in breeder plants. That is, you construct a seed solar power plant that powers a PV plant to produce more cells. PV cells are pure silicon and glass that are produced from sand. There are many deserts with enough sand.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahara_Solar_Breeder_Project

  228. >Depending on voltage level and construction details, HVDC transmission losses are quoted as about 3.5% per 1,000 km, which is less than typical losses in an AC transmission system

    Doesn’t help with the transmission losses you incur when you convert to AC, which is a big part of the problem.

    >- High power storage, e.g., pumping hydroelectric systems

    Which are rare because it takes favorable accidents of geography to make them work at scale. I’m not sure you can get decent power density from them even when they do scale, but I concede that I may be too pessimistic about that.

    >Use batteries in electrical cars as storage.

    No good. You definitely can’t get the power density required for industrial baseload from that.

    Still a pipedream. My imagination is fine, but so is my grasp of basic physics and economics.

  229. @esr
    “Doesn’t help with the transmission losses you incur when you convert to AC, which is a big part of the problem.”

    Converter losses come down to ~1%

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HVDC_converter

    @esr
    “Which are rare because it takes favorable accidents of geography to make them work at scale. I’m not sure you can get decent power density from them even when they do scale, but I concede that I may be too pessimistic about that.”

    I am not too optimistic about that. But it is fairly easy to build a ring dike in the sea and pump out the water. However, this is not cheap. There were plans for such thing in the Netherlands. They were never build.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okinawa_Yanbaru_Seawater_Pumped_Storage_Power_Station

    @esr
    “No good. You definitely can’t get the power density required for industrial baseload from that.”

    The USA has ~250M cars. If they were all electrical vehicles and we would withdraw 10kWh a night (10 hours), we could draw 250GW continuously over night. Or, 780W per capita. This does indeed not cover average daytime demand (at 1.4kW per capita in the USA).
    I cannot get the exact numbers, but this might well be enough to cover the nightly household needs of the USA. But it would be close and it would not master the morning peak demand. And it does not cover heating.

    Anyhow, there are solutions to this grid storage problem. With almost unlimited solar energy in view, people will become imaginative.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_energy_storage

    Compared to putting mirrors in orbit, this must be a piece of cake.

  230. esr:

    > Still a pipedream. My imagination is fine, but so is my grasp of basic physics and economics.

    Your imagination may be fine, but only in areas of special interest to you and your application of physics and economics is based on models which are much to simplistic to be meaningful at all.

    @TomA:

    > Unconventional energy sources are an interesting novelty on a small scale, and occasionally make sense at remote or optimized sites

    So how is it, that renewables already make up about 20 percent of the energy supply? Exactly the same what you claim here has been argued in the eighties. Reading posts like yours I have to imagine a bunch of gaffers pondering, who have not realized what development has happened in the past 30 years.

  231. Manfred> Wrong number, I guess you meant the 1kWh/sq. meter which can be harvested over a day by current solar cells in the region you mentioned. The 1 kW number ist the amount of energy which hits an area perpendicular to the sun.

    >But anyway. 1 kW/sq. meter, so what? The active earth surface capturing radiation from sun is about
    >127,000,000,000,000,000,000 square meters, thus you get a whopping 120 trillion TW radiation from sun. Compare that to the 18 TW consumed on earth. That’s not a limit.

    First, no, I didn’t mean “1kWh/sq meter”, that would be a rate of production, I meant exactly what I said. In San Antonio Texas, the year round average peak solar radiance (for a surface that is angled perpendicular to the solar zenith) is approximately 1 kW/sq m. If you assume the peak is produced approximately 3 hours/day, then that’s 3 kWh/sq m during that 3 hour time window, and total for the day is about 8-10 kWh/sq m (not sure of this number exactly, might be as low as 7). I hedged all the numbers appropriately to convey my level of confidence in them. All my information comes from a local solar expert that was driving the push for installation of solar panels on large buildings, and he’s been active in solar in the SA Area since the early 90’s.

    Second, I also gave the amount of surface area in the southwestern US required to replace total energy production for the US and I believe all the assumptions I made in that calculation. If you cannot read for details, you shouldn’t be haggling over them. I didn’t say it was impossible, I said it was impractically expensive (at best). Basically every bit of Arizona outside of the major urban areas would have to be covered with solar panels, and you’d have to store approximately half of that energy for use during off-peak hours. AND, you’d have to clean and maintain those panels constantly to maintain peak production. Typical solar panels lose 5-10% production/yr, depending on design, quality, and maintenance, and dust accumulation can more than double that.

    To put it bluntly, photo-voltaics suck for anything but very specific applications, including off-grid, battery charging, and cooling-offset on residential and commercial buildings. That last application is still prohibitively expensive, however, mostly because of the combination of the economic effects of government subsidies and requirements by local zoning laws.

    Quit building straw-men and throwing them at me.

  232. >You can get all the energy humanity uses from planting solar cells in deserts.

    If your goal is to reduce AGT, this is the worst possible strategy. Deserts are not only the hottest places on earth, but also the coldest (for their latitude) because they are reflectors. They release much of their accumulated heat into space at night. Absorbing that heat as electricity, moving it to more temperate (i.e. humid) climates and releasing it there as heat (which is what happens to virtually all electricity) would significantly exacerbate the problem.

    IF you a warmist, desert solar is an AMAZINGLY bad idea, for a very large number of reasons, this one being probably number 3254.

  233. @Don
    “To put it bluntly, photo-voltaics suck for anything but very specific applications, including off-grid, battery charging, and cooling-offset on residential and commercial buildings. ”

    Photo-voltaics are not the only game in town. And the sums have been done better in:
    http://www.withouthotair.com/c25/page_178.shtml

    Basically, you need the surface area of Germany to supply 1 billion people with the energy current day Germans use. Which is not bad at all.
    http://www.withouthotair.com/c25/page_179.shtml

    The investments are huge, certainly. But the current costs of carbon based energy are huge too. It all comes down to dollars per kWh.

    And, it has been observed that the main inputs for producing PV cells energy and sand. So, a solar power plant in the desert could easily fuel a solar cell production factory to increase the power output of the solar power plant which produces more solar cells… etc.

    The physics are not the problem, neither is surface space, and the economics are very close.

  234. Manfred> So how is it, that renewables already make up about 20 percent of the energy supply? Exactly the same what you claim here has been argued in the eighties. Reading posts like yours I have to imagine a bunch of gaffers pondering, who have not realized what development has happened in the past 30 years.

    Because that number includes things like Niagra and Hoover Damn. We already use hydro where it makes sense, and that accounts for about 25% of total US production Wind and solar are a relative drop in the bucket, but are nearly as expensive per kWh generated, as nuclear.

    The issue here isn’t that I, or Eric, or ANY OF US are against solar or wind. We are against solar and wind when they don’t make economic sense. Right now, that is the case. Their return on investment is horrible! The maintenance costs are ridiculous, the life span of a wind turbine averages out to about a decade of total use (remember, they idle those things for hours at a time, so even if the wind is blowing, they don’t produce 24/7 like coal/nuke/hydro). And worst of all, these horrifyingly bad/immature technologies are being paid for with OUR money, not investor’s money.

    There are numerous problems, and your arguments show me that you really know very little about the actual technology behind this stuff or the practical application of it’s use and suitability to specific applications.

    And Winter: Electric cars? Really? Hahahahaha!

  235. @Don
    “And Winter: Electric cars? Really? Hahahahaha!”

    I think this illustrates the depths of this discussion and how well it covers the physical and economic realities.

  236. @Don:

    > To put it bluntly, photo-voltaics suck for anything but …

    Again you focus on photovoltaics despite my many comments on that matter. Well thanks, this AGW deniers coffee klatsch gets boring.

  237. @ Manfred Wassman – “So how is it, that renewables already make up about 20 percent of the energy supply?”

    As others have pointed out, hydro is already used wherever it makes sense, and the oddball schemes are all forced by government subsidy or regulation, regardless of technological or economic efficiency.

    If you really want to make a serious go at this idea, here’s a suggestion. Conquer Europe, enslave the untermenschen in energy generation camps, enforce order. Zeig heil.

  238. @TomA
    “If you really want to make a serious go at this idea, here’s a suggestion. Conquer Europe, enslave the untermenschen in energy generation camps, enforce order. Zeig heil.”

    And you complain about not being taken serious?

  239. “PV cells are pure silicon and glass that are produced from sand. There are many deserts with enough sand.”

    All that sand has to be processed. A finished PV cell is a far cry from the dirt it started out as, and the journey involves a lot of really nasty chemical compounds that can lead to terrible pollution problems. You don’t hear much about Silicon Valley’s pollution problems because chipmakers strive to design their chips to be as small as possible, which limits the damage. As it is, they also hide away their foundries in the far east….

    Start making PV cells, and now you are processing as much silicon area as you possibly can. Those pollution problems are going to show up big time.

  240. @Winter
    > The USA has ~250M cars. If they were all electrical vehicles and we would withdraw 10kWh a night (10 hours), we could draw 250GW continuously over night.

    Night is when people want to charge their vehicles, not discharge them. It’s a great time for, say, LFTR power that’s not needed to run air conditioners during the heat of the afternoon to be sold at a lower price to the car owners. And there’s definitely logic for covering roofs with solar cells to provide supplemental power to operate those air conditioners, reducing the base load the nuke plants have to produce. Assuming, of course, that the cost to produce and install those cells is justified by the power produced.

  241. > As others have pointed out, hydro is already used wherever it makes sense…

    That’s your notion, but as you point to it, it’s again one of those far too many flaws in the argumentation of you AGW deniers, you are victim to the fallacy power generation would make sense only in large scale applications. While this is true with nuclear power, it is awfully wrong with renewables. The ability to use renewable energy harvesting in small scale units is not a downside but actually an advantage. Using small scale generators allows you to harvest the energy where it’s needed, which e.g. eliminates the need for lossy transport. The argumentation on that matter in this thread is like saying, it’s not economic to sell honey as, a bee can only carry a far too small amount of nectar.

  242. @ Winter – “And you complain about not being taken serious?”

    It was intended as sarcasm, not humor.

    Regardless, that is the logical endpoint you will arrive at when rational people refuse to buy overpriced electric autos and “volunteer” their batteries as storage for the continental grid. Collectivists will impose their will first by attempting persuasion, then government coercion, and if that is unsatisfactory, then a Fourth Reich is not so far fetched.

  243. @TomA:

    > It was intended as sarcasm, not humor.

    Sorry, but that’s nothing but a lame excuse. Your comment came as an answer to one of mine and, regarding that, it completely missed the point.

  244. >That’s your notion, but as you point to it, it’s again one of those far too many flaws in the argumentation of you AGW deniers, you are victim to the fallacy power generation would make sense only in large scale applications.

    Only “large scale applications” can run an industrial baseload. Renewables fans sweep this inder the rug; they talk as though all electricity use were home heating/cooling and appliances.

    Power density matters as much as power volume. With very optimistic assumptions, renewables might be able to deliver enough volume – but (except for hydro, and all the good hydro sites are taken) they can’t deliver density. Which means they can cover home heating/cooling and appliances, but not (for example) smelting aluminum.

  245. As you again pick on the baseload. Even the baseload is not a fixed number, it varies over the course of the day and the year. Furthermore residential use *is* a significant part of your baseload and it can to a significant degree be met even with PVCs but also other sources. And reducing energy transport through the use of renewable power supply in residential ares can further reduce the baseload by eliminating transport losses.

  246. … just as an example, you may not be able to power your aluminum works with solar cells, but you may be able to do so with hydro-power and moving residential areas from using up the existing hydro-power resources may free them up for the use by your aluminum works.

  247. >And reducing energy transport through the use of renewable power supply in residential ares can further reduce the baseload by eliminating transport losses.

    Again, this only addresses power volume, not power density. Do you not understand power density at all?

  248. @ Manfred Wassman – “regarding that, it completely missed the point.”

    No, I understand your point and your point-of-view. For you, it’s renewable energy right or wrong, because that’s the collectivist mantra. Any hare-brained scheme can be rationalized by a true believer. You know this because you’re smarter than the businessmen and engineers that built the world’s existing energy supply system over the past few centuries.

    If what you advocate is such a good idea, then why don’t you convert all your savings and assets into PV arrays and make a killing selling power to your neighbors?

  249. @esr:

    > Again, this only addresses power volume, not power density. Do you not understand power density at all?

    I already explained your energy density argument is only a theoretical limit, but apparently you are not able to understand that (or you don’t want to).

  250. >I already explained your energy density argument is only a theoretical limit

    When did that happen?

  251. >I already explained your energy density argument is only a theoretical limit

    I see. You don’t understand energy density, then. It’s not a “theoretical” limit, it’s brutally practical. It’s why ten 1-kilowatt sources are much less useful than 1 10-kilowatt source, and why important kinds of heavy industry need to be sited near power plants.

    If there were no transition losses and there were perfect accumulators, energy density wouldn’t matter. But we don’t live in that world, and if you don’t want to sound like a fool when talking about energy economics you need to grasp this.

  252. > Manfred Wassmann on 2014-05-23 at 09:39:21 said: So how is it, that renewables already make up about 20 percent of the energy supply?
    ————–

    20% is incorrect for the US, from my sources, which say 13% in 2012

    In any case,
    50 % is wood chips, etc which contribute more carbon than NatGas
    40 % is Hydro
    16 % is Wind
    the remainder is evenly split between solar and geothermal

    So only 21% of 13% total production is “green approved” energy production, a far cry from 20% of all energy production.

  253. esr on 2014-05-23 at 16:03:33 said:
    I see. You don’t understand energy density, then.
    ———————

    this is certainly true if we continue to manufacture as we always have with mass production the rule.

    However, if we integrate the production with the local available power eg return to the smaller scale of production, this would not be the case. Computers certainly make this more feasible and it would seem that dispersing certain types of production is a better fit to our current situation. This would reopen smaller scale sustainable energy production from things like low-head run of the river hydro, etc. with better fish passage (it’s not hard). Mill towns would potentially see a awakening again. Almost certainly feasible if absurd regulation and taxes were waived. At least worth trying.

  254. On a thematically related note, Eric, you may be interested in the in-progress Piketty implosion. A good place to start is Twitter for Popehat and Taleb.

  255. Sorry — typo on Hydro percentage — was supposed to be 30 percent NOT 40

  256. @esr:

    > I see. You don’t understand energy density, then. It’s not a “theoretical” limit, it’s brutally practical. It’s why ten 1-kilowatt sources are much less useful than 1 10-kilowatt source, and why important kinds of heavy industry need to be sited near power plants.

    Sorry, but obviously it’s you who does not want to understand. From the example I have given you can see, that your limit is not as hard as you suggest when you replace high density power sources with low density ones where they are not needed, thus freeing the high density power sources for the applications which need them.

  257. Manfred: “However, if we integrate the production with the local available power eg return to the smaller scale of production, this would not be the case.”

    And thus you provide yet more proof that it’s not about the environment, it’s about destroying economies.

  258. Jay Maynard on 2014-05-23 at 19:14:55 said:
    Manfred: “However, if we integrate the production with the local available power eg return to the smaller scale of production, this would not be the case.”
    ————
    And thus you provide yet more proof that it’s not about the environment, it’s about destroying economies.
    ================

    I am unclear what your intent here is Jay, since that was MY statement and I am an environmental realist willing to compromise the pristine for economy, efficiency, & jobs, within limits. No murdering babies & such. My position is use ALL fossil fuels until they are too expensive, then switch to the next tier of expense. Worrying about CO2 is absurd at this point.

  259. However, at some point we WILL need to cough up some alternatives like that one I mentioned and some of these are potentially cost effective at this point if the ‘state’ really wanted to compromise.

  260. @Biobob

    So you are saying that industry will decentralise (and partially lose economy of scale & division of labour) but this will be when the oil runs out and will be driven by market forces, not meddelling politicians, out of the sheer cost of having a lot of energy in one place.

    I do not consider it improbable that the cost of transporting energy over long distances to one point will be less than the gains in efficiency from keeping industry centralised.

  261. >On a thematically related note, Eric, you may be interested in the in-progress Piketty implosion.

    Yes. My next blog post may be a compare-and-contrast with the Bellesisles fraud, with some general observations on how to spot political ax-grinding masquerading as science.

  262. @esr
    “You don’t understand energy density, then. It’s not a “theoretical” limit, it’s brutally practical. It’s why ten 1-kilowatt sources are much less useful than 1 10-kilowatt source, and why important kinds of heavy industry need to be sited near power plants.”

    Quite a large fraction of energy use is domestic and local transport. Large industrial plants need their own power sources. Just as they do now. But there really is no reason why industry could not run on electricity from far away. Because that is already the economic trend.

    @esr
    “If there were no transition losses and there were perfect accumulators, energy density wouldn’t matter. But we don’t live in that world, and if you don’t want to sound like a fool when talking about energy economics you need to grasp this.”

    You have lost touch with technological progress. We are not in the 19th century where steel production lost 30% of their coal to transport.

    Just a reminder: There are no physical or technological objections to replacing all energy use, except air traffic, by electrical power and to replace all electrical power generation by solar energy.

    – The surface area of Germany in the Sahara can supply 1B Europeans and North Africans with the power used by average Europeans now (all of industrial and domestic power use). We need just ~10 such assemblages to power all of humanities energy use.
    http://www.withouthotair.com/c25/page_178.shtml

    – Power losses over HVDC lines of 4000km (central Libya – Berlin) are 15%, added are 2% losses for transformation up/down
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-voltage_direct_current
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HVDC_converter

    – An electric car battery can easily supply continuous storage power over-night of 1kW. That alone would mean ~250GW electrical power at night from storage in both the USA and Europe. Losses are in the 30% range.

    Flow batteries are becoming commercially available and are currently build to store “alternative” energy. The biggest problem for wind power currently is a lack of capacity in the power cables. (but there will never be enough wind energy to supply more than a few percent of the total use)

    – There is are more grid storage options.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_energy_storage

    From our perspective in NW Europe, with a shallow North sea, there are several plans using ring-islands or pumped sea bed storage that are very attractive. They all will have losses in the 30% range. But that just means we need ~10% more solar capacity.
    (note, power efficiency in conventional production processes is bad too)

    – The solar energy from deserts alone could be enough to supply all needs of humanity if it could be tapped. There are suitable deserts on all continents.

    – Solar cell production plants can be build together with seed solar power plants to produce more solar capacity. Currently, concentrating solar power stations might currently be the better commercial option, but solar cells are getting better and cheaper by the month.

    Objections to an all solar economy:
    – Production costs. The costs of carbon energy are huge too. Much of the costs of conventional energy are externalized or absorbed by subsidies. The difference in real costs is shrinking rapidly.

    – Capital cost: Solar requires a huge buildup of infrastructure and new political ties. But the switch does not have to be made in a year, or a decade.

    – Environmental costs: Not much different from conventional energy

    So, what I see is that all of your objections are based on economic and ideological arguments. Then just admit it, you do not want an all solar economy because it will always be too expensive (reference needed) and a switch requires (international) state intervention.

  263. @esr:
    > Yes. My next blog post may be a compare-and-contrast with the Bellesisles fraud …

    Well that’s of course a topic where your imagination knows no limits. Have fun with your gun crazy AGW deniers coffee klatsch (pun intended). Even if there are valid points in your argumentation, turning it into an Anti-AGW ideology has you lose all credibility.

  264. @ Winter – “Then just admit it, you do not want an all solar economy because it will always be too expensive … and a switch requires … state intervention.”

    You make this sound so benign. Here is my problem with your attitude.

    You are free (right now, this very instant) to spend all of your own money on solar power and do whatever you damn well please about growing this industry as you see fit. This dream is limited only by your imagination and financial resources.

    However, that’s not good enough for you.

    No, you are only interested in raising everyone’s energy costs so long as a jackboot thug from the state security service forces all your neighbors to do likewise under penalty of confiscation or imprisonment.

    This is as fundamental as it gets. You really don’t give a shit about solar power, you just want to control over the neighborhood.

    Only one small problem. Whatcha gonna do when they come for you.

  265. @TomA
    “You are free (right now, this very instant) to spend all of your own money on solar power and do whatever you damn well please about growing this industry as you see fit. This dream is limited only by your imagination and financial resources.”

    I am one of the billion(s) of people who live on land that will become uninhabitable when the sea level rises. That is one of the externalized costs of burning fossil carbon. Your believe is not free for me.

    But that is probably the basis of your criticism of AGW science: You have externalized the costs of your current life-style, and you want to keep it that way.

  266. Lambert on 2014-05-24 at 03:45:16 said: @Biobob
    So you are saying that industry will decentralise (and partially lose economy of scale & division of labour) but this will be when the oil runs out and will be driven by market forces, not meddelling politicians, out of the sheer cost of having a lot of energy in one place.
    ————————————-

    close…

    My point was that transition to smaller, less centralized intensive energy production is already underway despite government interference. In the case of the mini-steel mills, it is a function of recycling existing scrap, better labor efficiency (no unions), elimination of high transport costs by servicing the local market, specialization of production, matching production to local available energy, etc.

    We are well past economies of scale being the sole consideration or even the most important. When you automate production, 30-50% of your costs disappear or are minimized and computers are the key to that process. Reference the whole minimum wage issue and McDonald buying 12,000 payment / order kiosks in Europe. People in business are infinitely inventive provided coercive or punitive government lets them be so, or even inventive because government makes them so.

    All this argument about solar/wind vs fossil energy, etc boils down to economics, not feasibility. We can do either but there are severe cost constraints. Obama has managed to destroy growth in the USA simply by adding a layer of expensive perverse incentives and higher energy costs. We tend to forget that gasoline prices were roughly half their current price during the last administration – Bush did it indeed.

    There is too much BS out there – we can summarize our sad economic condition by simply looking at this mind boggling chart displaying total retail sales of gasoline down from 66 thousand gallons per day during Bush to 18 today:

    http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=A103600001&f=M

    And that isn’t due to efficiency and electric cars either. That is increased cost and 10s of millions not going to work.

  267. @ Winter – “Your believe is not free for me.”

    Only if your AGW supposition is correct. And you are free to move to higher ground right now based upon your belief. Asking to enslave the rest of us to higher energy costs because of your personal worry is arrogance on steroids. This is the mindset that has led to tyranny in past few centuries.

    You believe that what you’re asking for is a trivial minor sacrifice as an insurance policy against certain future catastrophe, but what if you’re wrong (by a lot). What if AGW is a hoax and the trivial sacrifice proves to be a slippery slope into indentured servitude (modern day slavery). You just gonna say “sorry, my bad” and expect forgiveness.

  268. @TomA

    ‘Identured servituse’ seems a bit far-fetched. *If* AGW is happening, all that will be needed is a carbon tax to internalise the externalities from greenhouse gas emission and solve the atmospheric tragedy of the commons.

  269. all that will be needed is a carbon tax

    Which tax rate will be a convenient political football undetached from any objective assessment of the real-world factors involved, similar to the proposed free-handout schemes for cap-and-trade. (A legitimately honest approach to the problem might be cap-and-auction, though even there the idea of a unilateral cap in the face of industrializing economies is absurd.)

  270. > total retail sales of gasoline down from 66 thousand gallons per day during Bush to 18 today

    so what’s bad about that? The retail sales of steam engines have gone down by 100%.

    @TomA:

    > And you are free to move to higher ground right now based upon your belief.

    And I presume you will happily open your door for some billion people following your advice.

    > … a slippery slope into indentured servitude (modern day slavery).

    well, renewables actually give you the opportunity to counteract modern day slavery by producing your own energy and reduce the power of the energy masters. But that’s probably the driving force behind this AGW denying FUD – and it brings discredit on an Open Source activist emphatically promoting AGW denial.

  271. Winter: “Just a reminder: There are no physical or technological objections to replacing all energy use, except air traffic, by electrical power”

    This goes with your other howler, the assumption that all 250 million cars on the road (where/ the US? For 300 million people?) would suddenly be switched to electric. Free clue: Electric cars still won’t handle the mission requirements of lots and lots and lots of people. Period, end of story. Until they do, and until they have been out for long enough to substantially replace the current fleet (hint: that’ll require being around enough to have been sold as a used car at least twice), and until the infrastructure is in place to handle all that, then you’re just handwaving.

    You really need to quit telling us what to do for transportation until you’ve come to the US and driven around the western part of i. You know, the part leftists like you call “flyover country”.

    “and to replace all electrical power generation by solar energy.”

    Uh, yeah. See storage issues and land area issues and transmission issues discussed above, all of which you continue to handwave away.

  272. Manfred Wassmann on 2014-05-24 at 16:06:37 said:
    so what’s bad about that?
    —————————
    The number of cars has not gone down. The number of people permanently unemployed has gone up. The number of people in poverty has gone up. The number of people in the middle class has gone down. US (and Euro) economic output output is WAY DOWN. The number of crony capitalists has gone WAY UP. We have gone from more or less free societies to left wing police states oppressed by bloated corrupting bureaucracies / government. What ? You like the idea of swat teams from the department of education & agriculture ?

    If you cared, you would not ask the question. If you were one of the permanently unemployed, you wouldn’t think it was so good. Anti-humanist or inhuman ?

  273. Manfred:”well, renewables actually give you the opportunity to counteract modern day slavery by producing your own energy and reduce the power of the energy masters. But that’s probably the driving force behind this AGW denying FUD”

    As opposed to the driving force behind the CAGW FUD: increasing the power of governments to run the lives of the average person and control the economy.

    “and it brings discredit on an Open Source activist emphatically promoting AGW denial.”

    Open source is about thinking for yourself and doing things yourself to make your world better. Working to counter a determined effort to impose massive state control on our lives and our economies and transfer massive wealth from rich to poor in the name of a ginned-up catastrophe not supported by the warmists’ own models does not bring discredit to anyone with eyes to see.

    From your rhetoric, though, I’m surprised you’re not unhappy Eric’s not supporting soi-disant “free software” instead.

  274. Whenever I read someone making sweeping proclamations about what’s needed to save the planet (e.g. just replace every car in the US with an electric one!), I always have two questions:

    1) What will that cost?
    2) If it’s done, how much cooler will the Earth be in 50 or 100 years?

    The answers always seem to be 1) tens or hundreds of billions of dollars, and 2) some tiny fraction of a degree Fahrenheit. It may well make sense to, instead, make society richer and fund research into CO2 removal or some other technological fix later on, because a fix later may be far more economical than one today.

  275. @ Manfred Wassman -“And I presume you will happily open your door for some billion people following your advice.”

    Who elected you as spokesman for this mythical billion people who are panicking over an imminent rise in sea level. Is this what passes for liberal justification? You simply assert that you speak for the masses.

    OK, I’ll speak up for the human race. Stupidity is not an evolutionary advantage.

  276. @ TomA

    The imminent rise in sea level is mythical as well, since the latest numbers supposedly are 1.8 mm / yr plus or minus 1.8 mm /yr.

    More junk science, since actual delta-sea-level estimation is so complex as to be effectively impossible to measure on an annual basis. The satellites simply do not have the measurement resolution plus required adjustments required to determine the number accurately (the delta is within instrument measurement error).

    Yes, there ARE things humans can NOT do.

  277. > Another difference is that we encourage you to check our work. They do everything they can to prevent you from checking theirs. Process transparency matters.

    Whatever happened to your “data-n-demagogues” project, ESR? Seems to me you’re more than fibbing here, since you did acquire some GCM code but didn’t have the ability to get it to work.

    That was some time ago; have you looked at any GCMs recently?

  278. > Yes. My next blog post may be a compare-and-contrast with the Bellesisles fraud …

    Well that’s of course a topic where your imagination knows no limits. Have fun with your gun crazy AGW deniers coffee klatsch (pun intended).

    Waitaminnit. Are you seriously denying that Belleisles is a fraud?!

  279. Of course Manfred is, Milhouse. He has to justify disarming the common people so they can’t rise up against the all-powerful state his CAGW advocacy is designed to foist upon us.

  280. >Whatever happened to your “data-n-demagogues” project, ESR?

    We lost a collaborator we needed to make the project work.

    I don’t think the project is now needed the way it was when I proposed it. Then, it was still possible to believe – if you strained hard enough – that the IPCC model sheaf was predicting the behavior of the real atmosphere. Now it isn’t. (If I were a petty person, I would mock the alarmists by calling them “data deniers”.) Thus, the “science” has imploded without our help; all that’s left is the politics and the ranting.

  281. @BioBob:

    > The number of people permanently unemployed has gone up. The number of people in poverty has gone up. The number of people in the middle class has gone down. US (and Euro) economic output output is WAY DOWN. We have gone from more or less free societies to left wing police states oppressed by bloated corrupting bureaucracies / government.

    And that of course is caused by Obama rising the petrol price in the US ROTFLBTC. The prices in Europe have been much higher than in the US for decades and they even came down significantly towards the second decade of this millenium.

    May I remind you, “full employment” in modern times you find only in socialist states. When you look at Germany, while the number of unemployed people in West Germany after the hype years of reconstruction in the fifties settled somewhere near 10 % there were no unemployed people in the GDR, people got some work to do, if it made sense or not. After the fall of the iron curtain unemployment in East Germany rose to much higher numbers than in the West.

    @Jay:

    > Open source is about thinking for yourself and doing things yourself to make your world better. Working to counter a determined effort to impose massive state control on our lives and our economies and transfer massive wealth from rich to poor

    And people who advance the use of renewable energy sources exactly do that, in contrast to those who spread the AGW denial FUD.

    @TomA:

    > Who elected you as spokesman for this mythical billion people …

    Another one of your big mouthed comments. It’s ridiculous to claim from my comment I had acted as a spokesman for anyone, I simply drew a conclusion which was inevitable from your comment, and it seems to have bitten you ;-)

    @BioBob:

    > The imminent rise in sea level is mythical as well, since the latest numbers supposedly are 1.8 mm / yr plus or minus 1.8 mm /yr.

    … and you are happily assuming this numbers to be correct while you refute significance of the other numbers ;-)

    @Millhouse and Jay:

    > Waitaminnit. Are you seriously denying that Belleisles is a fraud?!
    > Of course Manfred is, Milhouse

    Your conclusions lack evidence even more than you claim those of climate scienctists did.

  282. Manfred: Uhm, no. It is the CAGW cult that’s working to impose massive state control on our lives and our economies and transfer massive wealth from rich to poor. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 14 November 2010:

    Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated. – Ottmar Edenhofer, chair, IPCC Working Group III

    CAGW skeptics like me are working to keep the UN from implementing its unprecedented wealth transfer, and to keep unelected bureaucrats from taking over the world’s economies and running them they way they want to instead of letting the free market work.

    As for Bellesiles’ book, it’s been widely discredited. A quick Google for “bellesisles arming america” will turn up more information than I can quickly summarize.

  283. @Millhouse and Jay:

    > Waitaminnit. Are you seriously denying that Belleisles is a fraud?!
    > Of course Manfred is, Milhouse

    Your conclusions lack evidence even more than you claim those of climate scienctists did.

    What do you mean? Are you in fact not denying that Belleisles is a fraud? If so, what did you mean by your response to Eric’s mention of him (in the context of comparing Piketty to him)?

  284. @ Manfred Wassman – “I simply drew a conclusion which was inevitable from your comment,

    Since you are fixated on prickly accuracy . . .

    You presumed that CAGW is real, you presumed that it will cause a catastrophic rise in sea level, you presumed that this will impact at least a billion people, you presumed that these billion souls will respond this threat by attempting to move to my neighbor; and finally, you presumed that I would happily welcome them as a demonstration of my commitment to my beliefs (not).

    Here is the inverse of your presumptions. Germany is moving politically toward CAGW activism and there is still (hopefully) some residual guilt about WWII. Why don’t you and your ilk just foot the bill for the rest of the planet when the time comes to pay for all this nonsense. You can have your self-righteous cake and eat it too.

  285. Thanks for the response. But, the claim that there wasn’t “process transparency” really isn’t true, so you’ve had to drop that claim and move on to something else. There’s reasons why there are discrepancies between models and obs – it’s not clear that the models are entirely at fault.

  286. @TomA on 2014-05-25 at 11:46:28 said:

    > Since you are fixated on prickly accuracy . . .
    >
    > You presumed that CAGW is real,

    In that comment? No!

    > you presumed that it will cause a catastrophic rise in sea level,

    WRONG

    > you presumed that this will impact at least a billion people,

    WRONG

    > you presumed that these billion souls will respond this threat by attempting to move to my neighbor;

    WRONG

    > and finally, you presumed that I would happily welcome them …

    ironically, RIGHT

    For the record: in my comment I clearly stated only one thing, that you will happily welcome some billion people who have reason to expect the same fate Mr. Winter expects an thus may follow YOUR ADVICE “to move to higher ground right now” – and this higher ground quite probably is where you live, there isn’t /that/ much choice.

  287. > The imminent rise in sea level is mythical as well, since the latest numbers supposedly are 1.8 mm / yr plus or minus 1.8 mm /yr.
    … and you are happily assuming this numbers to be correct while you refute significance of the other numbers ;-)
    ——————————
    You have a failure of reading comprehension? Note the words “supposedly”, “plus and minus”… and elsewhere I said:

    “More junk science, since actual delta-sea-level estimation is so complex as to be effectively impossible to measure on an annual basis.”
    1) Those are the numbers reported by the folks collecting the satellite data (meaning worst case)
    2) The error range indicates that the reported values can be anything from ZERO to 3.6 mm/yr meaning there is no sea rise or it is trivial since 3.6 mm /yr times 100 years = 360 mm or between 14 to 0 inches per century (we are doomed) which is bound to flood the whole world /sarc YOU.ARE.THAT.STUPID ?

    The point is that even the AGW crowd who control the data don’t think the sea level rise is significant. I don’t either. But you buy it and think billions will be affected ?

    You comment on my interpretation of Obama’s effect on the economy are too just stupid to require a response. The reality is the answer. And there IS no society with full employment let along socialists, unless you redefine ‘work’ (which they do).

  288. >But, the claim that there wasn’t “process transparency” really isn’t true

    The East Anglia crew still won’t release their primary data sets.

  289. @Millhouse:

    > What do you mean?

    Go back and read, I didn’t give any statement about Mr. Bellesisles, his book or whatever relates to it. I gave a statement on Eric’s imagination which appears to be quite selective.

  290. Manfred, you’ve lost me. If your point isn’t to claim that Bellesiles’s book isn’t thoroughly fraudulent, then what is your point?

  291. @
    BioBob:

    > We have gone from more or less free societies to left wing police states oppressed by bloated corrupting bureaucracies / government.

    > You comment on my interpretation of Obama’s effect on the economy are too just stupid to require a response. The reality is the answer. And there IS no society with full employment let along socialists, unless you redefine ‘work’ (which they do).

    Now you are calling for a True Scotsman. If you had a left wing police state as you claim, your unemployment figures would have been defined away, thus you would not see them and not be able to complain.

    What you experience is the backlash of the freedom you demand. Your employer uses his freedom to move his production to China, where he finds slaves who demand much less money than you do. The same has happened some decades ago with Japan, but you may not have noticed because of the size of the US and its economy compared to Japan. Yet people in other countries have noticed. But now China has taken the role of Japan and it’s a much different picture, now the size of your country no longer protects you from company holders and the like exercising their freedom. Now, as an employee, you have to compete globally.

    BTW I think, the freedom you want is the freedom of a well rewarded slave. As long as you work as an employee, you are a modern day slave who is not the master of his schedule. You don’t complain about that, you start to complain when your masters no longer need your workforce and of course no longer reward you.

  292. Manfred, I have neither the time nor interest to teach you the basics of logic, but your conclusion is only valid if premised upon the predicates that I summarized. I certainly agree that the entire train of statements is wrongheaded, thereby leading to an inane conclusion on your part, but that was your brain at work, not mine. I merely pointed a spotlight on it.

  293. Sorry TomA, I wouldn’t take any lessons in logic from you as obviously my knowledge in that field is better than yours. And sorry, what you trying to tell me is complete BS. The only assumptions I made were that people may believe what Mr. Winter believes and thus might follow YOUR ADVICE. This does not tell you anything about my stance and any conclusion you derive from it regarding my personal view is a fallacy.

  294. … and of course the assumption, you would happily open your dorr, but that (obviously) was ironic.

  295. > The East Anglia crew still won’t release their primary data sets.

    Why? Are you sure?

    If there’s something in those datasets that overturns AGW, then how come all the other analyses (NASA, NOAA, JMA, UAH, RSS, BEST) match CRU very closely? I believe your argument is a few years out-of-date and obsolete.

  296. derecho64: If that’s true, why won’t they release their data? You know, like real scientists do?

    What are they hiding?

  297. @Manfred Wassman

    Being an employee != being a slave. Employees have property, their employers have contractual obligations to them and, most importantly, they can leave and work for someone else if they are not happy with their current employer. Slaves enjoy none of these rights.

  298. @Lambert >Being an employee != being a slave.

    You’re taking this far to litteral. Of course employement differs from slavery.

    The point is that , while theoretically “free”, an employee can be told what todo, how to do it and when to do it 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week. Some employment situations extend well into the private sphere – an employer may object about what you say or how you behave outside the hours of employment and you may risk loosing your job over it.

    Of course, as en employee, you’ve “freely” entered this contract, but that is quite relative. Most employment contracts I’ve seen are “take it or leave it” propositions.
    You’re “free” to quit your job and move to, say, India to find better employment. You’re free to quit your job and retrain for a new occupation, but with mouths to feed and kids to put through school that option may not be really an option, … You’re free to quit your job and start your own business but that requires an additional skillset and possibly startup capital, both of which you first need to acquire (while those mouths still have to be fed, etc)

    So yeah, you have choices, but in most cases the rational choice will be to try and keep your job, and on the employer’s terms. That’s why people sometimes liken employment to slavery rather than contracts between free men.

  299. I’m not usually on-side for renewables, but I can’t buy the transmission theory.

    Build Saharan solar panels. Use them to electrolytically crack water. Transport the hydrogen. It’s not safe, but it would work. My point being not that I’m an amazing civil engineer, but that focusing on line losses is thinking inside a box which you need to get out of. Or: batteries suck. Tanks of hydrogen don’t. (Much.)

    Need deep wells? Build more panels. Need to liquify the hydrogen? Build more panels. Vehicle distances expensive? Crack more water, with more panels. As long as you have positive EROEI, you have an unbounded source of energy. Use it to fund making more.

    (I have agreed with Winter on something. The end is nigh.)

  300. I doubt the losses from H2 piping would be any lower than for an HVDC cable. As ESR has said, atoms are heavy (http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=5558). I would guess that the limiting factor for a giant PV cell array would be the supply of precious metals used for doping etc. (e.g. Boron).

  301. Energy density of hydrogen is 142 on the scale where gasoline is 46. It is not too expensive to pipe oil.

    Yes, I would be sympathetic to an argument about capital barriers to solar usage.

  302. Yeah, hydrogen is energy-dense. It’s also slippery as hell. Making things hydrogen-tight is hard.

  303. “Energy density of hydrogen is 142 on the scale where gasoline is 46. It is not too expensive to pipe oil.”

    Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen and then recombining it to get the energy back is a very inefficient business.

    http://energystorage.org/energy-storage/technologies/hydrogen-energy-storage
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_energy_storage#Hydrogen

    The AC-to-AC efficiency of hydrogen storage has been shown to be on the order of 20 to 45%, which imposes economic constraints.

    That is losses in the range of 50-80%. I think people will prefer the ~16% loss (84% efficiency) of HVDC. But I could understand the capital outlay might lead to other options. On the whole, I do not think the hydrogen economy is a good option. Currently, it seems nothing more than another way of consuming oil and gas.

  304. @Jay:

    > Yeah, hydrogen is energy-dense. It’s also slippery as hell. Making things hydrogen-tight is hard.

    Your statement may be valid in some generic sense, but the problems already have been solved in everyday applications. While the first generation of NiMH batteries suffered from heavy self discharge rates, that has been eliminated, trading a little capacity, in the second generation starting with the Sanyo Eneloop brand. And NiMH technology actually works by splitting water and storing the hydrogen in a metal hydride when charging, while freeing and recombining it with the oxygen on discharging.

    And Winter, the AC-to-AC efficiency number you state obviously applies only if especially you produce hydrogen from AC which generally is not the case with solar cells. With NiMH batteries you can simply prove yourself the efficiency of hydrogen storage is much higher. In my own records I have a number of 80 percent, but that battery was already somewhat discharged. So its definitely not the upper limit.

  305. @Manfred: I believe that what Jay was referring to is how hard it is to confine hydrogen as a liquid or gas fuel, in some sort of tank. Hydrogen atoms are the world’s smallest, and they slip in between other atoms easily. They eventually cause tank walls and pipes to become brittle.

  306. @Manfred Wassmann
    “And Winter, the AC-to-AC efficiency number you state obviously applies only if especially you produce hydrogen from AC which generally is not the case with solar cells.”

    Isn’t the problem not with splitting water? But 80% “might” be possible. But is current efficiency not more around 50%? It would then be better to not use photovoltaic cells, but do a direct photochemical conversion.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_economy#Electrolysis_of_water

  307. LS: I did not refute the general case, what I stated is, the problems have already been solved for some practical application, so others quite probably will follow.

    @Winter:

    > Isn’t the problem not with splitting water? But 80% “might” be possible. But is current efficiency not more around 50%?

    No. As you can read in my comment I was actually referring to very current and very practical applications.

  308. … and 80 % isn’t even the limit, just a concrete, measured value.

  309. @Manfred Wassmann
    “… and 80 % isn’t even the limit, just a concrete, measured value.”

    OK. The upper limits would be determined by thermodynamics. And is that 80% efficiency one-way or round trip? For an electrical/chemical/electrical system to end up with 80% efficiency round trip, each conversion has to run on 90% efficiency.

    But in the end, these last few percent do not matter much when you view the amount of energy you can harvest by simply adding more panels.

  310. @Winter
    > Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen and then recombining it to get the energy back is a very inefficient business.

    This is true if your objective is to get back AC power at the other end. However, if it’s to power vehicles that emit zero pollution, the front-end losses aren’t all that important. What matters is whether the storage requirements are easier/harder than the batteries our current electric cars require.

    Personally, what I’d like to see Sahara solar power used for is to convert a lot of the sand there into glass panels for evaporative desalination of sea water, greenhouses, etc. Domed neighborhoods could be built, connected to the greenhouses, in which the hydrogen-powered vehicles could be used (along with hybrids operating in electric mode for short distances, having fully charged their batteries just outside the dome) to keep the air clean and moist. (The hydrogen-powered vehicles emitting water vapor not only isn’t pollution, it’s needed humidity to counter the dryness of the desert air.)

  311. @The Monster
    “Personally, what I’d like to see Sahara solar power used for is to convert a lot of the sand there into glass panels for evaporative desalination of sea water, greenhouses, etc. Domed neighborhoods could be built, connected to the greenhouses, in which the hydrogen-powered vehicles could be used (along with hybrids operating in electric mode for short distances, having fully charged their batteries just outside the dome) to keep the air clean and moist. (The hydrogen-powered vehicles emitting water vapor not only isn’t pollution, it’s needed humidity to counter the dryness of the desert air.)”

    Indeed, and this is already worked on, e.g., on the Arabic peninsula. But that leaves enough room to also supply all the other power needed in, say, Europe.

  312. For powering Europe, damming the Strait of Gibraltar for HEP (like in ‘Man in the High Castle’) seems an interesting prospect. The politics would be difficult though. (The original plan deftly sidestepped this by means of Nazi imperialism.)

  313. @Lambert

    I’ve thought about damming the Strait of Gibraltar as well, for two reasons. One is to produce power, the other to deal with subsidence in places like Venice. If the Med were allowed to fall a few feet, those problems pretty much go away, at least until an earthquake or terrorist event takes out the dam. But then some people with beachfront property would be a lot farther from the beach than before.

    Like you said, politics.

  314. kn wrote:
    > @Lambert:
    > >Being an employee != being a slave.
    >
    > You’re taking this far to litteral.

    Not only that, I did not write slave but modern slave, and BTW I wasn’t even the first one to use that term here.
    It’s the same sort of misquotation Inhofe and Palin et al. used to create the impression, climate scientists had lied back in 1999. They took the word “decline” from one of the stolen emails, as if it was relating to measured temperatures whereas actually it was relating to the tree ring growth only and the measured temperatures in fact were rising.

  315. At some point in this discussion, there was some speculation about what energy source was better for CO2 emissions. I won’t bother looking up-thread to find the who and what of it.

    Anyway, Warren over at CoyoteBlog just put up a post which has the data in question in a neat little graph (which he pulled from elsewhere… see the post for citation).

    http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2014/06/are-you-desperately-worried-about-global-warming-then-you-should-be-begging-for-more-fracking.html

    Bottom line: NatGas wins, hands down.

    Thought there might be a few who wound find this interesting.

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