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Comments 1 to 50:

  1. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    The cost of nuclear accidents should also be factored in. It's estimated clean up costs for Fukushima are $180 billion US here. Ouch!

    I was watching something on nuclear power last night on television, and disposing of the many thousands of tons of contaminated soil is proving to be another headache.

    The sarchophagus containment vessel to encase Chernobyl also cost billions of dollars. It was originally intended to be concrete, but this proved not to be viable, because it was too heavy to slide into place on rails, and so they used stainless steel, which will have to be replaced eventually and does not completely contain some forms of the radiation. 

    Nuclear power was promised to provide limitless cheap energy. I always thought that sounded too good to be true. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

  2. michael sweet at 16:39 PM on 20 April 2019
    Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?


    I wasted 30 minutes listening to Shellenbergers lecture.  It was a load of mistruths designed to fool a non-techjnical audience.

    I have only a few observations to make, a full discourse would be far too long.

    1) Shellenberger did not address any of the 13 reasons Abbott presents why nuclear cannot generate a significant fraction (more than 5% of total power).  You have not addressed them either.  Since Abbott was peer reviewed and you have not addressed it we must accept his argument as correct.

    2) At one point Shellenberger argues that renewable energy is bad because electricity is more expensive in Germany.  Then he argues that renewable energy is bad because electricity prices decline when renewable energy is added to the mix.  This is a direct contradiction.  Since the lecture was prepared long before it is a deliberate contradiction.  Deliberate contradictions are lies and we can simply discard all of his talk since he has been demonstrated to lie.

    Why would anyone think that a decrease in electricity prices is bad???  Please justify that argument.

    2) Shellenberger denied that the nuclear industry is responsible for the people they killed at Fukushima.  The industry demonstrates their complete lack of concern for safety when they do not accept responsibility for the people they kill.

    3) I tried to source the graph you cite that claims more tonnage of materials is used in renewable energy.  Shellenberger cites a pro-nuclear book that I could not find on the internet.  I found the same graph at a site that supports nuclear power.  They referenced figure 10 from an EIA report from 2015.  The report did not have a figure 10.  From my position the graph is falsified since the reference I found for it was false.   We already know that Shellenberger is a lier.   Please provide a reference for the graph that shows how it was made.

    4) In any case, nuclear is not economic. In the Lazard report you cited in the first graph of the report (the most important) on page 2, the low levelized price of solar power is $36/Mwh and wind is $29/Mwh. The low value for nuclear power is $112/Mwh.  Nuclear is three times the price of solar and four times the price of wind. It costs more for operation and maintenance of a nuclear plant (with no mortgage) than the full costs of a renewable plant.

    There is no comparison graph on page 13 of the report you linked. Costs for disposal of the nuclear waste must be missing since nuclear has no plan for how they will dispose of their waste

    In general it is a waste of time to debate a nuclear proponent since they insist that black is white and up is down.  I have provided peer reviewed data that shows nuclear power is not capable of producing a significant amount of power.  You have not addressed those arguments.  You have not produced any peer reviewed data.

  3. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    Recommended supplemental reading:

    In 2011, after an earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi power plant, Gregory Jaczko, then the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, had to worry about two things: whether radioactive fallout would harm the U.S. and whether a similar accident could befall an American plant. The answer to the first question turned out to be no. The second question preoccupies him still.

    The NRC directed the operators of the 60 or so working U.S. nuclear power plants to evaluate their current flood risk, using the latest weather modeling technology and accounting for the effects of climate change. Companies were told to compare those risks with what their plants, many almost a half-century old, were built to withstand, and, where there was a gap, to explain how they would close it.

    That process has revealed a lot of gaps. But Jaczko and others say that the commission’s new leadership, appointed by President Donald Trump, hasn’t done enough to require owners of nuclear power plants to take preventative measures—and that the risks are increasing as climate change worsens.

    U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Weren’t Built for Climate Change by Christopher Flavelle & Jeremy C.F. Lin, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Apr 18, 2019

  4. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    Sauerj @13, 

    You are not reading what people say. It doesn't matter about replacing panels because solar energy is still cost competitive.

    As Lazard says costs of new nuclear power and solar / wind are similar, but nuclear power is a mature technology and prices are static. Prices for solar and wind have been on a falling trajectory, and virtually all commentators think they will fall further, so by the time new nuclear plant is half way through the approval process, solar and wind will almost certainly be cheaper options than nuclear and much quicker to build. 

    However I have no objection to the GND including a nuclear component, provided the choice is left up to generators and not forced by governments. So therefore it would be driven by the economics and practicalities and these currently dont favour nuclear power. This may change: but its up to the nuclear industry.

    If you think differently how so?

  5. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    All, 1) You guys mistook the 1.2mm panels per day figure being for global replacement; that figure is for the US alone (you all must not have watched the video very closely). The 15x mass differences (RE vs NP) is still a lot of "impact", a lot more energy; even if able to recycle all these materials. 2) Other reliable people question Jacobson's plan (see wiki article under his name). 3) Shellenberger: I see nothing on the internet that makes me believe he is a "nuclear shill paid by industry". He seems trustworthy to me; admitting his own past bias misunderstandings, and his genuine passion for zero emissions gives him (at least for me) a good spirit of credibility. This is bolstered by the fact that many other very trustworthy people are in the same camp with him; people like James Hansen, whom I greatly trust & admire. 4) Study Lazard's free cash flow methodology on page 13 of their energy PDF report (linked HERE). It DOES include capacity factor differences, but it does NOT account for service-life differences and it does NOT account for levelized on-demand reliability. So, I'm a bit skeptical that its costs are 100% levelized. Besides, even if putting these differences temporarily aside, Larard still reports NP as cheaper than solar & NP equal to wind (see nigelj's link above, 2nd slide). 5) France vs Germany comparison gives me pause (see this site). 6) So, I remain very skeptical that a anti-NP (no NP) policy is prudent. I fully admit I could well be wrong, but I'm seeing & reading signs (above refs & others, see below) that gives the prudent, due-diligence eng in me great pause. 7) I have no skin in this debate. Without a very steep $100-200+/MT CO2e CT (rev-neu so to allow it to be so steep), I am positive that we are going to be screwed anyway, no matter what we think we are going to do (RE or NP). But, my concern here is that even w/ a good CT policy (like EICDA), it won't be nearly as effective if all safe energies are not equally "on the table".

    Here are three more articles that just hit my desk today, which only continue to add to my concern about a 0% NP plan. I have read the first two (they are relatively short), but not yet the 3rd one (very long) which is referenced in the 2nd article.

  6. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    "If people were to study what it would take to achieve 100% RE (both in coverage of land, how much MASS of material will need to be mined out of the ground and how much MASS of material is needed to keep replenishing all of that as it depreciates),"

    In fact if America was powered entirely with solar panels, it would use less than 1% of the land area here and of course much of that could be on rooftops anyway. Wind farms only use land to the extent of the supporting towers, and animals often graze around these towers. Wind farms are also located offshore, and costs for this are dropping fast.

    Regarding the quantities and types of materials needed to build solar and wind power, this article discusses problems and some very realistic and workable solutions. Use of materials is a valid concern and  a challenge that needs highlighting, but there are answers. Its obviously important to remember other forms of electricty generation also use a range of materials and would eventually need replacement and rebuilding.

    "Then, the real WHOOPER is that 1.2mm solar panels would have to be replaced EVERY DAY and FOREVER just to replenish the ones that wear out (on a 40 year rotation cycle)."

    Surely this is of little significance? A red herring? Millions of cars have parts replaced each year. Solar power is very financially competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear power, and cheaper in many places, based on levelised costs that include replacement and maintainance here. To me this is all that really counts. 

  7. The Future for Australian Coal

    I was trying the link to the estimated 18 Billion Dollars 2018 worth of damage, and the 40 billion Dollars that coal brings to Australia, but they both are subscriber only articles in the Australian.  Since I have no intention of giving any of my hard earned Dollars to the already obscenely rich, climate denier Murdoch, I was wondering if there are alternative sources for these figures.  If they are correct, it suggests that already, nearly 50 percent of our earnings from Coal are need to clean up climate disasters.  Why is this not being pushed more publicly?  It is only going to get worse..

  8. michael sweet at 15:41 PM on 18 April 2019
    Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?


    Googling automobile production I wee that last yeat world production of autos was about 70 million cars.  That would be about 1.2 million cars every 6 days.  Since solar panels are so much smaller than cars it would be a lot less than current automobile production.   I do not have figures on how many power plants are currently under construction.  In my experience when you do a global calculation it is a big number.  1.2 million panels per day seems like a reasonable number to me. As Scaddenp describes it is less than current production!  Since the panels can be recycled most of the materials would come from the scrapped panels.

    Schellenberger is a nuclear shill paid by industry.  His job is to mislead.  It may be correct that more tons of materials are required for wind and solar, although it has not been determined how much materials are needed to dispose of the nuclear waste since there are no operating waste disposal sites. 

    On the other hand, as Abbott 2012  describes, there are many many more tons of rare metals in a nuclear plant.  Wind and solar are almost entirely steel, aluminum, copper and sand.  Nuclear plants depend on a host of rare elements like uranium, hafnium, beryllium, zirconium and many others.  These rare metals simply do not exist in enough quantity to build out a nuclear utopia like Schallemberger describes.

    In addition, nuclear is too expensive and too slow to construct.  If we waste billions of dollars on expensive nuclear plants like the Hinkley plant in England,  Olkiluoto in Finland and the Vogtle and Summer plants in the USA, all of which are either years (decades) behind schedule or cancelled and billions over budget, we will never be able to deal with the carbon problem.

    Read Abbott 2012 and the other papers from Abbott I linked above to get an idea of some of the problems nuclear has to deal with.  Currently nuclear proponents are backing modular reactors that have not yet been designed or thorium plants that are also in the design stage.  The reactors being built by Korea and Russa are "unsafe" (as described by nuclear supporters) designs.  The "safe" designs are turning out to be unbuildable.

    We do not have the time and money to waste on a technology that has failed.  Nuclear has failed and cannot scale to the size required to help the carbon problem.  Wind and solar are proven technologies that can be scaled to any required scale.

  9. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    Those numbers sound big but on global scale, is it? 1.2m a day is what sized workforce in making and replacing them? IEA is saying 1.6m panels being installed per day at moment. The panels are recyclable so I dont see waste materials are as complex as coal or nuclear. And as for workforce, well WSJ isnt my pick of reliable source but it claims coal (mining, transport, plant operation) needs twice as many workers per MW as solar and 5x as many as wind power. I would welcome a more authorative source - ah, how about DOE.

  10. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    Michael Sweet, Thanks for your feedback. The 1.2mm (million) figure for replacement panels per day comes from the 1st video that I linked above (I think the link I gave above does not directly launch the video, so I'm linking again here). [In case this link too is bad, the title of the YT video is: "Mark Z. Jacobson's 100% Renewables (100% WWS) Roadmap to Nowhere by Conley & Maloney @ TEAC8"]

    The guys that did this presentation (video published 1-6-2018) are using the total panel numbers directly from Jacobson's report (18bn panels), and doing their own daily replacement math based on assuming the most ideal panel service life of 40 yrs. This seems like a earnestly fair use of Jacobson's own work. Doing the math, this does work out to be replacing 1.2 million panels everyday. (That's a staggering continuous maintenance consideration).

    On the relative difference in tonnes of materials per TWh, the Shellenberger videos give the tonnes/TWh values for SP, WP, NP of 16,447, 14,067 and 920 respectively. Doing the math, thus a SP/NP ratio of 17.9, and a WP/NP ratio of 15.3. Thus, there is more tonnage of materials "impact" associated with SP & WP than nuclear.

    I don't have peer reviewed critiques of Jacobson's work at my ready. I am a novice, and only just beginning to investigate & learn (in the last 9 months) on this specific branch of CC mitigation: the involved & complicated comparisons of RE vs NP (especially the complications of next gen NP). So, I can't offer any further serious, peer-reviewed critique of Jacobson's work. But, certainly, there have been serious researchers that have done that (as cited on Wikipedia).

    All I can personnally say is give my opinion from people I feel trustworthy and they are saying things that seem very concerning about a non-NP plan (as given in my 1st comment above). In the least, it seems that we should tred down the national macro-energy management path with eyes open wide on all options (being honest w/ ourselves & giving due diligence to all the facts). And, to that, I'm hearing reasonably concerning things about Jacobson's plan (who was the main citation for the above greenman video).

    I have no skin in this comparitive game; I could care less. My only goal is zero emissions as fast & smartly as possible. [And when I call people "trustworthy" above, I earnestly believe they have the same goals of urgency toward zero emissions and associated due diligence, in earnest good faith, to get there as fast & smartly as possible.] But, for giving serious peer-reviewed rebuttal of Jacobson, I transparently admit that I am an amateur here, and only passing on misc internet information that seems trustworthy to me.

    FYI: I am a 35-year career chemical engineer with lots of project experience under my belt who takes CC mitigation as priority #1, #2 #3 thru #10. I am also an fervently active Citizens' Climate Lobby member.]

  11. The Future for Australian Coal


    Sanjeev Gupta owner of the Whyalla Steel Mill in South Australia has announced investment to build renewable energy/storage projects with capacity of 1 GW dispatchable, part used by the Mill, part sold to the Grid. It is not clear that the Mill would use this energy source directly in the steel production process – I had assumed it would.

    This now seems unlikely since Gupta has subsequently purchased a leading coking coal mine – billionaires can do that sort of thing. So your point is well made, though gas and electricity may be able to reduce reliance on coking coal for steel production in the future?

  12. Models are unreliable

    MA Rodger @ 1105

    you'd surely have to be a bit of a foolish pedant to run away with the belief that 1880 was as warm or warmer than today's temperatures

    Yes, I would tend to agree. But I have seen it a lot. And recently.
    Actually I strongly suspect that CommonSense @ 1099 is afflicted by precisely that misunderstanding.

  13. The Future for Australian Coal

    Those references seem quite a long way from a commercially viable process for steel-making with coke. Or perhaps a better question would be what is the amount of a carbon tax that would make that commercially viable? My gut feeling is that even when you have a cost-competitive for making steel without coke, it would 30 years to wind down coke thanks to sunk costs in plant. "Green coke" might be a better migration path.

    If steel and cement were the only source of fossil carbon emissions, would we still have a climate problem? The much more easily substitutable thermal coal would be first priority in my opinion.

  14. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    I'm a bit "sceptical" of nuclear power, having grown up with watching Chernobyl etc, but I try to keep an open mind.

  15. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    Michael Sweet, interesting and I accept all that you say. I will try to explain better what I mean. Its well known from numerous reports that humanity is using resources too fast, including metals, which puts future generations under strain. However I think  there are some viable solutions to this if our generation acts proactively rather than dumping the problem on future generations.

    The starting point is metals are finite and some are in limited supply as you would obviously realise. Of course this has implications for all forms of electricity generation. As you would know we are using the resource up fairly fast and increasing population and economic growth can only amplify this. Some report, the UN I think, stated we are using materials up at twice the rate that is sustainable longer term.

    It's projected that we will run out of some metals by 2100, on the basis of known land based reserves at current prices. If we include for some more discoveries, higher priced reserves, and minerals in sea water there are several centuries left at current rates of use. 

    Clearly I think that means there is enough for a mass conversion to renewable energy. As you point out substitutes are found for the rare earths. Nuclear power is more troubling because it uses such a wide range of exotic metals that are harder to substitute for.

    However we are still using metals at a fairly rapid rate, and this risks leaving future generations in short supply of some of them. This risks shortagages, price increases and other problems that could be severe.

    So what are the solutions? Metals can be recycled almost forever, including lithium. But this doesn't resolve the problem of a fundamentally depleted resource, and intense population and economic pressure. It would therefore make some sense for our generation to conserve what materials the earth has left.

    Of course we have to be realistic. People want technology and aren't going to drastically cut their use of technology, metals, and electricity unless forced. But we can prolong a renewable energy and technology based culture as long as possible on this planet by our generation starting by wasting less, recycling more, being more efficient, and also proactively getting population growth to stop. If we don't do this in the near future, in a planned way, I fear shortages will create an extremely painful situation for future generations and some sort of relatively abrupt increase in mortality and hardship, to add to the climate problem if we don't fix that as well. Sorry if I have digressed a bit, but the issues interrelate.

    Nuclear power is clearly just not currently competitive. There are too many problems with it. However I don't think the GND should rule it out completely, because there is no sound basis to do that.

    I think we should let generating companies decide what to build, as long as its low carbon emissions, but with a condition that they must be able to build any nuclear power in a timely manner so that reliance on fossil fuels is minimised. This shifts the burden back to the nuclear industry to smarten up. It also avoids the government getting too hands on in deciding the proportional mix of generation and leaves it a little bit to the market. The government are there to give direction if the market starts to wander off course.

    It certainly doesn't make much sense to me to close existing nuclear plant.

    I'm a bit scperical of nuclear power, having grown up with watching Chernobyl etc, but I try to keep an open mind.

  16. The Future for Australian Coal

    Here is a reference

  17. The Future for Australian Coal

    Just curious.  Is it possible to use the reducing power of hydrogen to make steel instead of coke.

  18. michael sweet at 23:45 PM on 17 April 2019
    Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    Nigelj and Sauerj:

    Jacobson 2011 (cited over 1100 times) has done the analysis for renewable energy and all the materials, including land for the panels, are readily available for renewable energy.  Jacobson discusses the amounts of materials used for the panels and wind turbines.  Recycling solar panels and wind turbines is covered.  Your 1.2 mm (? what does mm mean) per day seems off.  Perhaps a comparison to Jacobson, which is peer reviewed, is warrented.

    Jacobson found that all materials exist in adequate quantaties except for rare earth metals used in the turbines.  Since then the designers of wind turbines have reduced the use of rare earth metals so that is not an issue.

    By contrast, Abbott 2012, published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (and other places and here), shows that sufficient materials for significant nuclear plants (more than 5% of world power) do not exist.  (Nuclear plants also use a lot of rare earth elements.) No nuclear supporter has attempted to show that enough materials exist for nuclear plants.  On Tamino's site a nuclear supporter told me to contact an economic geolgist on my own for answers when I asked if materials existed.  No citations exist. 

    It currently costs more to run a nuclear plant with no mortgage than to build and run a new renewable plant including mortgage costs.  Nuclear is not economic.

  19. michael sweet at 23:20 PM on 17 April 2019
    The Future for Australian Coal

    This Scientific American article discusses using electricity directly to manufacture steel.  It appears that it is possible to use electricity to manufacture steel directly.  One issue is the cost of rebuilding current factories.  If CO2 cost was high it would be more economic.  How much do people want to reduce CO2?

  20. The Future for Australian Coal

    Here’s one possible technology being looked at

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Fixed link. Please learn how to do this yourself with the link tool in the comments editor.

  21. Models are unreliable

    Ignorant Guy @1104,

    You are entirely correct to say that the problem is the use of the phrase "hottest year since X" when what is meant is "hottest year on record" when X is the start-year of that record. Looking at a few of those thousands of Google hits, the phrase usually does not track back to 'responsible' organisations but it seems to be later reporting when journalist-speak for "hottest year on record" & "the record began in X"  is edited down to a shorter phrase.

    There is ClimateChangeNews who use the headline "Earth on course for hottest year since 1880" yet NOAA put it as the likely "new record for the warmest annual average temperature since records began in 1880." Note this NOAA statement is correct. The ClimateChangeNews headline is not correct -1880 was a lot colder than the year they were reporting about  - 2015.

    Mind, the press officers attached to the likes of NOAA or NASA are also journalists and not immune to compressing information into a single but inaccurate statement. Although the article does say "Last year was the third consecutive year in which global temperatures were more than 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) above late nineteenth-century levels," it also promenantly says "Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA."

    But even so, you'd surely have to be a bit of a foolish pedant to run away with the belief that 1880 was as warm or warmer than today's temperatures, even if you inhabited that contrarian planet Wattsupia.

  22. The Future for Australian Coal

    I am a little intrigued by the comment: "coking coal is replaced by gas/electricity".

    My understanding is that making steel needs CO to reduction of Fe oxides, some carbon for the Fe-C alloy that is steel, and importantly, the porosity to allow the CO circulate within the furnace. I can see gas can provide CO, but the porosity? I know of bio-coke trials (happening here), but is there a commercial process for steel from iron ore without coke yet?

  23. The Future for Australian Coal

    Thanks for the clarification. I'll just add that the replacement of coking coal to make steel and other metals with the use of direct electrical smelting or the use of gas will be a quite slow process due to economics - hence Australian coking coal exports will be fine for at least the next decade or so. On the other hand the replacement of thermal coal for electricity generation, both in Australia and around the world, will be and is a quick process by replacement by renewables (and gas) and is already happening quickly as the article mentioned. 

    Whether new coking coal mines are needed in Australia is difficult to say. This was brought up in the Rocky Hill court case in NSW and the judge decided (on what basis was not really shown) that no more coking coal mines were needed to meet Australian export needs. This case may be appealed - we'll see. 

  24. The Future for Australian Coal

    jonb – thank you for your comment.

    In 2018/19 the expected value of coking coal exports is a reported estimate of ~$38 billion and for thermal coal ~$28 billion, though both are predicted to decline in value in 2019/20. A downward trend in the value of Australian coal exports, seems likely to continue thereafter as coking coal is replaced by gas/electricity and thermal coal is replaced by solar/wind generators.

  25. The Future for Australian Coal

    On the contary to the first comment I think this is a very unclear article. After mentioning the difference between coking/metallurgical coal and thermal coal early in the article all mention of coking coal and its role in exports is dropped. Australia exports are a majority of coking coal (more than 60% of value I think) used to make steel and other metals. While using this coal adds to considerable greenhouse gas emissions, at the moment there is no other economically way to make steel (excluding recycling). So unless we are prepared to give up or severely reduce our use of steel we will need to mine and use large amounts of coking coal. On the other hand thermal coal is completely replaceable in the generation of electricity by gas, nuclear, solar, wind, tidal, wave etc. The article needs to explain this difference and hence the quite different future for Australian exports of coking coal (probably good) versus thermal coal (not so good as described). Of course Adani (and all the other proposed Galilee Basin mines) is a proposed thermal coal mine and that is why it is quite unlikely to ever go ahead. 

  26. Models are unreliable

    The pattern "hottest year since VXYZ" is rather usual. As an example we can go to NOAA's web-site for presenting time series for global land and ocean temperature anomalies at You can see that the particular data set presented there is from 1880 upto now. And in this set there are new annual top records lately set in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Those years it was correct to refer to this data and say "this is the hottest year since 1880". And there are of course other data sets, global and regional, so other years are possible.
    I tried to net-search (with Google) for some instances of this pattern. I found:
    "hottest year since 1880" 18900 hits
    "hottest year since 1895" 59 hits
    "hottest year since 1896" 14 hits
    "hottest year since 1900" 51 hits
    "hottest year since 1901" 97 hits
    "hottest year since 1909" 11 hits
    "hottest year since 1910" 28 hits
    But the point is that if I say "2016 was the hottest year since 1880" that could make someone believe that I mean that 1880 was hotter. I most certainly do not mean that. So I avoid that particular wording.

  27. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    ELIofVA - I did an analysis of how my countrymen (NZers) spent energy and results were a little depressing on the conservation front. Every country would be different but it is worth looking at. Home energy costs were about 10% of energy used. Even a 100% reduction doesnt reduce emissions much. Worse, here at least where we have 85% renewable electricity, home energy wasnt a big part of emissions. Transport, especially flying and cars (retail petrol), were the big factors. With cars at least, a move to electric is a big saving. And the elephant in the room was the embodied energy in all the stuff we consume. Reduce, reuse, recycle (in that order) is probably the biggest conservation measure we can make outside transport.

  28. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    Metals are a finite resource and some are quite rare. It's very troubling but would effect nuclear power as well as renewables.

    But the answers are difficult. I suspect people wont voluntarily go without electricity, heating, computers, and transport etcetera.

    The most realistic answer is probably a fairly urgent drive to waste less, more energy efficient appliances and getting population growth to stop. Does the world need more people? I can't see a good reason why.

  29. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    Nuclear power is relatively safe as long as we have our present economy and infrastructure but we seem to be in the final phase of an exponential growth curve.  In the real world of biology, these end in a vertical graph — straight down.  Under these conditions, the finance and infrastructure no longer remains to manage these devices and they are likely to all go critical and  melt down.  This will result in areas around the plants which are no go areas of high level radioactivity.  Anyway, on a practical level, even now, wind and solar are financially feasible to replace fossil fuel and energy storage systems are improving by leaps and bounds.  We probably do not need nuclear.

  30. The Future for Australian Coal

    This is a clear, well composed, and well ordered article full of detail. Almost a textbook example.

  31. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    These kinds of discussions seem to always imply that our current energy demand primarily satisified with fossil fuels must be replaced with low carbon electric production.  The low hanging fruit is reducing the energy demand through conservation.  Pricing carbon emissions using a carbon tax would create a demand for the conservation sector of the economy.  We could retrofit all our existing buildings to be super energy efficient.  This becomes more economical as carbon emissions become expensive.  Yes, it would be inflationary.  I do not think we should commit to our current level of abundance as a given.  That is leading us to disaster.  

  32. Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power?

    I'm a bit concerned about a plan does not ALSO include an aggressive NP component, but only subsidizes for a 100% RE direction. If people were to study what it would take to achieve 100% RE (both in coverage of land, how much MASS of material will need to be mined out of the ground and how much MASS of material is needed to keep replenishing all of that as it depreciates), then environmentally minded people would start scratching their heads and say, whoa, I didn't realize how much we have to eat up the earth (read: that much harder to get off fossil fuels) to achieve 100% RE (no gas peaking in the mix).

    This video HERE is a little nerdy and these two guys throw out the #'s WAY too fast. But it is a real head scratcher. The chart at the very end makes NO sense to me and they don't explain it well. But, the chart near the beginning that shows the necessary land coverage is troubling. Then, the real WHOOPER is that 1.2mm solar panels would have to be replaced EVERY DAY and FOREVER just to replenish the ones that wear out (on a 40 year rotation cycle). ... I've checked their numbers; they are not lying about this.

    For any environmental person who also is very anti-NP and is willing to put due diligence in what we ultimately have to do to achieve 100% RE, then this should deeply make them think twice. If they are REALLY about zero emissions, then they've GOT to reconcile with this.

    Shellenberger videos are also very good on this subject, such as THIS one.

    I know NP takes time, but if we go the 100% RE route (like Germany, vs France), and don't succeed to get below 50% reductions 30-40 years from now (due to the not having a stable baseload source and use a lot of gas peaking power to 100% avoid brown outs), and then realize we need some other form of stable baseload NP, then we will be that much more be behind. So, I think we need to look at what it really takes to go 100% RE and then be honestly realistic. If that path doesn't seem really plausible, then we should ALSO include NP (R/D and commercialization) in the accelerated GND program. ... HERE is a good site to use to compare France w/ Germany.

    Ultimately we ALSO need a rev-neu CT so to comprehensively address the underpinnings of our economy away from carbon consumption as well. The current EICDA bill (#763) is ideal for this (now up to 30 house co-sponsors).

  33. Models are unreliable

    And where have you 'often' heard, "this year is the hottest year since 1898"?

  34. 3 clean energy myths that can lead to a productive climate conversation

    Looking at effect of subsidies, I am not following your argument on price. The Lazard graphic linked in orginal is unsubsidies cost. Comparison and effect of subsidies is in the linked 2018 Lazard report from the article. Graphic comparison of cost with/without subsidies for renewables in US:

    Comparison with fossil fuels

    And dont forget that FF is also subsidized.

  35. 3 clean energy myths that can lead to a productive climate conversation

    Thinking Man, I followed your link which was to again blog (and from a energy advocacy) but the blog did fortunately link to their source of data namely CME here. On pg 6, we find:

    "The comparator countries are all members of the Organisation for Economic
    Cooperation and Development (OECD)."

    which is somewhat different from "highest electricity rates in the world". The data is from 2015 except for exclusions noted. So no, I was not moving the posts back several years, and not updated since SA installed the storage battery for instance. Note too that the leading edge energy blog compares 2017 prices in Oz to 2015 prices in rest of world.

    Furthermore, the prices paid in other countries are converted to AUD at "Purchasing Power Parity", which is a good methodology, but a different basis to that for world electricity comparison in my source.

    I would say that your industry blog is misrepresenting their data source frankly. I would also say, that if you want to make a case renewables and electricity pricing, then you need to be comparing wholesale generation rates not retail, since retail is affected by many considerations other than the full cost of generating the required power. In your reference, I find wholesale cost makes up 31% of the retail price. The report does quite an analysis of change in wholesale price. Retirement of coal plants and slow development of new capacity certainly do figure but SA is also particularly vunerable to gas price. Market issues around concentration and gaming the system were also identified.

  36. Models are unreliable

    CommonSense @ 1099

    Yes, we often hear things like e g "this year is the hottest year since 1898". But that does not mean that 1898 was hotter. It usually only means that the data set referred to starts at 1898. So the phrase is shorthand for "this year is the hottest year in the entire data set upto this year. And that data set starts in 1898".
    Note to others: And that's a good reason to avoid that ambiguous way of phrasing. Because if you try to interpret it using only your common sense you may get it all wrong.

  37. Philippe Chantreau at 03:21 AM on 16 April 2019
    3 clean energy myths that can lead to a productive climate conversation

    Thinking man, it would be appreciated if you could format the links so they actually function and can be clicked on. Use the insert tab, the rest is fairly self explanatory. As it stands, I didn't follow your links because I didn't have the patience. It may be that you have a point with the Australian electricity prices but so what? The higher prices reflect the real costs, they are not as artificially low as fossil fuel electricity that relies on higher externalization. Everywhere in the world, we are going to have to get used to higher electricity prices, or pay dearly in other ways. Where I live, we enjoy very low electricity prices due to the abundance of hydropower in our mix. I personally would have no problem absorbing a cost increase of 50 or 75% if it was for the purpose of switching to all or more renewables. That is something I am willing to spend money for, it's worth the cost. I will gladly cut on less important petty consumption to allow for that.

    Whatever we think we save with cheap power is externalized. It does not go away. It accumulates, compounding interest in that pesky physical world where money is irrelevant. Then the physical world leverages its position, most recently in the disastrous form that has been predicted by climate science. Australia, and Europe, and the US all have experienced record heat, fires, drought and heavy rains on a regular basis in the recent past. Houston saw three 500 year type of rain events in 3 consecutive years; this year's extreme weather in the midwest is adding to the bill; Australia has been burning its summers with fervor several years in a row, while the great barrier is showing signs of stress never seen before. What's the price tag? 

    I do have to agree with you on one point though, the regular joes are the ones coughing up the dough in this mess. I don't see the people who raked in profits from fossil fuels pitching in now to help those who lost their farm, their house. Are the fossil fuel barons offering extraordinary help for the great barrier? Considering how much denial they spread, even if they did, that would be a token. Capitalism being what it is, they continue to try to obtain maximum advantage, at the expense of everything and everybody else. Within this dominant ideology, one can hardly blame the wind industry of also trying to obtain maximum advantage...

  38. 3 clean energy myths that can lead to a productive climate conversation

    This post replies to scaddenp’s misleading comment about South Australia electricity prices and the commonly made claim wind electricity is cheap. Another post will deal with other comments about other points made by me.

    SOUTH AUSTRALIA ELECTRICITY PRICES— scaddenp moved the goal posts back a few years and to the average for all of Australia. During those years, much has happened in South Australia plus the neighboring states of Victoria and New South Wales to drive up their electricity prices. Specifically, South Australia and New South Wales have closed thermal generators, installed renewables and increased purchases of electricity from Victoria.

    All three states now pay extraordinarily high prices for electricity. The 27 June 2017 issue of Australia’s ABC (aka Australian Broadcasting Corporation) makes the same point made by the Financial Review article scaddenp disputed. See: . An Aussie energy services firm shares that assessment. See: The point is: South Australia’s electricity price became the HIGHEST IN THE WORLD during the second half of 2017. 

    The assessment is based on data from the US Energy Information Administration for electricity prices outside Australia. Domestic sources provided electricity prices for the Australian states.

    The 18% price increase cited in the Australian Financial Review and ABC articles and elsewhere merely worsened the global rankings of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. Their retail electricity prices were already among the 5 highest in the world in early 2017 and during 2016. See pages 12 & 13 of .

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission echo the assessment that retail electricity prices are higher in South Australia than elsewhere in the world. See p. 26 of .

    WIND MUST BE THE CHEAPEST SOURCE OF ELECTRICITY because wind wins power auctions.

    Wind has lower levelized costs than and gets picked ahead of new natural gas generators and old coal fired generators largely because of preferential treatment by government. Preferential treatments range from “renewable portfolio standards” to loading order regulations favoring wind to production tax credits, investment tax credits, property tax rebates, renewable energy certificates and other forms of assistance.

    Renewable mandates affect long and short term decisions about wind’s share of total electricity supply. In the U.S., Renewable portfolio standards profoundly affect the types of generators constructed and closed, as well as how much of each. “Loading instructions” influence wind’s share of “day ahead” sourcing decisions. California’s Public Utility Commission, for example, orders the CA ISO to choose renewables before choosing fossil fuel generated electricity. See:

    How important are tax credits, tax rebates, renewable energy certificates and other forms of financial assistance? They are vital individually and collectively. The U.S. production tax credit was $23 / MWh in 2015 & 2016. $23 is almost 60% of the levelized cost of wind power shown on the SkepticalScience blog that started this discussion. In the New England region of the U.S., renewable energy certificates were valued at $45-50 / MWh in 2015. $45-50 exceeds the levelized cost. In one of the New England states, Massachusetts, renewable energy certificates exist because “… renewable projects cannot generate enough revenue for private developers to finance the project solely from selling electricity … . Private developers rely on REC sales to the utilities in order to make up the difference.” (source: ). Maine’s Green Power program buys renewable energy certificates to offset renewables’ cost disadvantage vs. conventional electricity (see: ). My town granted a 60% property tax reduction to the wind farm located here.

    The financial and competitive advantages gained from the above is revealed by the wind lobby’s efforts in 2015 to extend U.S. incentives that were about to expire. The wind lobby pushed to extend incentives even though the investment per unit of capacity had plunged over the 2010-2015 period and further declines were anticipated.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Fixed links (I hope). Please learn how to create links yourself using the link tool (chain icon) in the comments editor. It is simple to do.

  39. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #15

    Massie, with two MIT engineering degrees has discovered real-politics.  Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune.  It is almost unthinkable that he doesn't realize that the climate is changing and that we are doing it so he is looking to who will pay for his next election campaign.  Far better a one term politician who is honest than a multi term politician who continually bows to vested interests.

  40. Stauning and Friis-Christensen on Solar Cycle Length and Global Warming

    The misleading Friis-Christensen correlation is again presented by a german anthroposophic wannabe guru. No that the Fridays For Future movement gets attention, many deniers shoot counter attacks, blaming the activists to be manipulated.

  41. What will Earth look like in 2100?

    This year the Arctic is expected to become ice free.
    When that happens the polar air will shift to Greenland where there still is ice. This will dramtically change the jet streams in the northern hemisphere and we can expect to see even more wild weather extremes.
    But that is not the biggest threat.
    Warmer air will move into the Arctic region which just so happens to be surrounded by permafrost. There is enough greenhouse gases in the permafrost to triple what we currently have in our atmosphere. It is over 7 times more than what we have emitted with the burning of fossil fuels in the last 300 years.
    In the seabed below the Arctic ocean there are vast reserves of methane hydrates that can destabilize from the water warming up. Just 1% of that being released will cause a global extinction.
    The President of Finland has already stated that if we lose the Arctic, we lose the world.
    When the Arctic loses all of it's ice, it will be like turning off the air conditioner in the Northern Hemisphere during the hottest time of the year.
    Temperatures will very quickly climb by as much as 18°C in just a decade.
    We will see a 4-5°C rise in just 3 years. A 3°C rise is probably enough to kill off most humans.
    It's not the temperature rise that will kill us but the speed in which it happens.
    Whereas humans have proven to be versatile with temperature change, the species that we depend on for food and the air we breathe are not so resilient to temperature changes.
    Even if we could somehow survive the extreme heatwave events during the summer months, we would still need food, clean water and an atmosphere with at least 19% oxygen content.
    Sorry folks but the oxygen content is also falling. That is to be expected when we chop down the trees that provide the oxygen. Wildfires will destroy the rest as well as convert some of the oxygen to CO2.
    Can the world really change in 81 years?
    Just in the last 40 years there has been a loss of 60% of the world's wildlife. It's not going to take another 40 years for the rest to die off.
    81 years is more than enough time for the world to change.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] "This year the Arctic is expected to become ice free"

    That's not what the science tells us to expect.  Pretty much most of what you wrote after that is nonsense.  This is not the venue for you, if you're going to engage in speculation and fearmongering.

    Rhetoric and sloganeering snipped.

  42. What will Earth look like in 2100?

    Imagine we would have evolved just a million years ago , do you think climate would have changed ? To what it is now ? Climate has been changing, is changing , and will always be changing untill our sun becomes a red star. We can't even predict the weather correctly for the next month . And you are talking about predicting the weather in 2100 ? The best way to go is nuclear power, solar and wind is a strain on the environment . Nuclear thorium power , that is.  I am far more worried about platstics everywhere in the food chain.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Sloganeering, off-topic, logical fallacies and disinformation snipped.  Please familiarize yourself with this site's Comments Policy and comport future comments to comply with it.

  43. Models are unreliable

    CommonSense @1099,

    I will read your comment less literally than Eclectic @1100.

    The instrument temperature records becomes less extensive the further we run back in time, eventually measuring just Western Europe, Eastern US & a record in India. And then they require the invention of thermometers so there are none before the 1700s. But there are proxy measurements that show us (with the few temperature records) that global temperature was cooler in those times.

    The proxy data on its own allows us to see that it was warm back a few thousand years ago (the Holocene Thermal Maximum) and warmer still 100,000 years ago (the Eemian Thermal Maximum). Before that, to find it hotter still, you have to go back millions of years to the time when North & South America were joining together and there was no Arctic Sea Ice. But one difficulty in a definitive ruling about how hot these periods were relative to today is calibrating those proxy data with instrument data. The evidence is pointing to today being hotter than the Holocene Maximum but not as hot as the Eemian, athough we soon would be if we allow AGW to run its course. And the present warming is sudden relative to the arrival of those earlier warm periods.

    As for the thermal effect of solar panels. The panels must surely absorb more solar energy than the land without the panels. And a portion of that extra heating will replace fossil fuel use. As fossil fuel use results in higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere, that portion of extra heating by the panels results in an annual reduction in warming at least equal to that portion of extra heating. So after 10 years, the CO2 from the fossil fuels would have beeen warming the planet 10x more than the extra heating.

    Mother Nature will surely take care of the planet in the long run. But the mass extinction humanity is generating in the meantime will be very destructive, for humanity as well as for the natural world.

  44. Models are unreliable

    "CommonSense" @1099 :

    <Well, I don't have the credentials of many of you ... >

    Actually, the word you meant was credibility.

    Gain some credibility by citing the evidence that "temps were the same or higher in the 19th century".   Your other claims are similarly bizarre, and seem to be based on religion rather than science.  Or you are simply jesting.

  45. Climate's changed before

    Hi Again,

    I'm not sure how to respond to these types of denalist claims.

    So how does one parse out the individual influences of the sun, CO2, water, and now "sulphate aerosols"?

  46. Models are unreliable

    Well, I don't have the credentials of many of you, but I do have some understanding of statistics, modeling, and the like.  I also understand that if you take a graph of temps from any small period of time, (remembering that we could be dealing with a couple of billion years, at least, that you can pretty much get any trend you want, if you only look at a few hundred of those years.  I also often hear thing like 'this is the hottest year since e.g.,1898, which leads me to ask the question about how we have suddenly caused a cataclysm, yet the temps were the same or higher in the 19th century (before the proliferation of the internal combustion engine) Lastly, I know that solar panels generate lots of heat, so why does anyone think that having 100x the number (or more) will somehow reduce the average temperature of 'anywhere'.  Somehow, I think that Mother Nature will take care of the planet just fine, while we waste our time trying to justify a few degrees here and there, when I doubt that we could have done anything to prevent (or help) any of the Ice Ages . . . let's think a little more long term, rather than just a few hundred years . . . then maybe wecan accomplish something productive.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] "yet the temps were the same or higher in the 19th century (before the proliferation of the internal combustion engine)"

    There's no evidence of that.  Please use evidence for claims instead of making things up.

    US Government Hockey Stick

  47. 2015 SkS Weekly News Roundup #5C

    curiousd - in my understanding, the effect of forcing change is usually interested in the change in radiation at the surface. This must produce a temperature change on the surface in accordance with S-B to satisfy 1st law. However, the energy lost from that heated surface will be mix of radiation, evoration and convection. Ultimately though, at TOA, these convert to radiative losses. While the conventional energy balances figures show atmospheric convection etc , they dont show the energy associated with ocean systems. Not immediately apparent to me why not.

  48. Does providing information on geoengineering reduce climate polarization?

    "That geoengineering is an anethma to climate activists is hardly a secret"

    It is? I think that should read "some climate activists". I hear increasing talk of requiring more geoengineering than CO2 reduction because we are not doing it fast enough.

    Can you point to me any geoengineering scheme which is a ""get out of jail free" card? All that I have seen about CDR or SRM involve large costs and various SRM schemes (eg sulphate aerosols) have significant enviromental risks as well.

    I'd be all for geoengineering provided is a/ safe and b/ more cost-effective than emission reduction.

  49. Does providing information on geoengineering reduce climate polarization?

    This article misinterprets Kahan's work. It's four years old, but the subject is more important than ever.

    Kahan studies polarization that forms around scientific issues, particularly those that evince scientific consensus. He does research on public response to vacines, evolution, and more.

    Skuce critized Kahan's study for the type of geoengineering information it presented: giant scrubber filters, organics to accelerate ocean CO2 absorbtion, reflectors that "could be turned on and off" to reduce solar heating. Skuce is correct that these are very expensive and require massive deployment, which isn't stated in Kahan's material. For that reason, Skuce claims subjects were misled to believe geoengineering was an affordable option.

    Kahan did not describe the most likely to be deployed technology, stratospheric geoengineering. That is "affordable" and far easier to understand. Kahan didn't use it because he wanted to emphasize a human ingenuity "dimension". Many who study the public's response to climate change posit that its mass scale and global impact make people anxious and unable to respond. The human agency implied by clever technology might mitigate that.

    But Kahan also finds that people shape their opinions about global warming in response to what others believe. For example, Republicans were much less skeptical about it near the end of the G.W. Bush administration, when prominant party leaders expessed strong agreement with climate change consensus. Republicans become strongly opposed, however, when they recall that Gore is a leading global warming activist, and that President Obama pulled together the Paris agreement.

    That geoengineering is an anethma to climate activists is hardly a secret. That it could temporarily delay global warming acceleration is something many activists want to avoid discussing. Instead they jump to censor it, sometimes stating that human technology caused global warming, so deploying more technology to solve it is illogical. Most would not object to having complex medical technology treat themselves or a loved one, even though cancer may be caused by technological byproducts.

    This censorship is tacitly, if not manifestly, understood by many climate change skeptics. Hence attractive geoengineering information demonstrates their ideological opponents aren't morally superior, because they repress an important solution to a great crisis. As preceding comments show, some activists put their intentions clearly: they don't want geoengineering discussed, because it's a "get out of jail free" card. They want to corner skeptics, humble them into assention, and talk about geoengineering may defuse that.

    Unfortunately, human nature doesn't work like that. When people are cornered, they fight.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Inflammatory rhetoric snipped.

  50. Why results from the next generation of climate models matter

    I follow CMIP and IPCC developments with great interest, and my daily Skeptical Science emails like the one that linked to this article are greatly appreciated. 

    Science and science reporting websites and web pages are targeted at varying levels of reader technical expertise. Good, accurate information is always right at the tip of your fingers via Google and other internet search engines, although clever folks in AGW/CC denialist and anti-scientist websites can overwhelm and bury actual peer-reviewed science and legitimate science reporting under mountains of clever and persuasive b.s.

    Websites like this John Cook project - Skeptical Science - have for me replaced Science News Magazine, my favorite back in the 1980's and 1990's. Back then, I worked in sales and tech support for a company that developed and sold early examples of scientific software programmed to work on MS-DOS PC's. Science News was our most effective advertising venue, because at the time, it was the most read multidisciplinary scientific news magazine.

    Science News and Skeptical Science both publish short informational articles that allow one to keep up with current scientific research and news - small bits of knowledge and accurate summaries to keep us informed and provide incentive for further reading.

    It is best to look at climate science as a continuous endeavor that produces periodic reports and summaries - and no endpoint. Each report here at Skeptical Science is just another milestone as the work continues.  Scientific papers and reports - in this case, about climate science - are simply more pieces of a never-finished puzzle that can be seen as an evolving and clearly recognizable threat to human civilization.

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