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Comments 501 to 550:

  1. At a glance - Was Greenland really green in the past?


    Thanks, Nigel. It sounds an excellent addition to a reference shelf.

  2. The promise of passive house design

    I studied Archecture and while I did not finish my studies the house I desigened for my first house followed the principles of this article.

    The second house built on the secondary dune on a beach north of Cairns in tropical Far North Queensland, Australia did not need airconditioning.

    Flow through ventilation from the sea breezes cooled the house and the ceiling area.

    Large over hanging roof lines ment that no thermal heat was absorbed by the house.

    If I could do this in the early 1970's, we can do much better in the 20's, especially with the building materials available now with thermal insulation to mitigate heat gain in the tropics and subtropics or heat loss in cooler latitudes.

    Good article I must add.

  3. At a glance - Was Greenland really green in the past?

    This recent book is relevant to the MWP:  "The Earth Transformed, by Peter Frankopan, first published 2023".  The book is a  complete 700 page environmental history of earth from its formation to this decade. It covers both natural environmental changes and human caused environmental changes. 

    The book has  chapters on the MWP, Little Ice Age and modern anthropogenic warming period. And chapters on the impacts on the environment  of indigenous culture, farming,  early civilisations, the industrial revolution, and the colonial period, communist societies, capitalist countries and modern period and many other periods and issues.

    Haven't had time to read the whole thing, but what I've read is fascinating, a real eye opener, even if you think you know much of the material already,  and it flows nicely so is easy to read. You can also pick and choose chapters at random and still make sense of them.  It comes across as facts based, well researched, and objective and unbiased.

    Extensive bibliography running to 300 pages, not included in the book because its so long, but available online. 

  4. New study suggests the Atlantic overturning circulation AMOC “is on tipping course”


    The maps I have seen have some areas getting colder and other areas getting warmer.  Northern Europe gets especially cold while the tropiics warm.  Exactly how much the temperatures change depends on how much the AMOC changes.  If it completly collapses there will be bigger changes than if it only goes to half speed.  The heat will go into the ocean.  

  5. New study suggests the Atlantic overturning circulation AMOC “is on tipping course”

    I am not a climate scientists but I remember looking at images that show how the temperature on the Earth's surface would be cooler in many regions of the world if the AMOC collapsed. Is it true that the global average surface temperature of the Earth would go down as a consequence of the AMOC collapsing. If it does go down, then where did all the excess heat energy go to that was trapped by and will continue to be trapped by GHG's?

  6. Greenland is gaining ice

    Please note: the basic version of this rebuttal has been updated on February 18, 2024 and now includes an "at a glance“ section at the top. To learn more about these updates and how you can help with evaluating their effectiveness, please check out the accompanying blog post @

  7. New study suggests the Atlantic overturning circulation AMOC “is on tipping course”

    If the strength of AMOC is being correlated with AMO as shown in Fig 3 of the paper, does that mean that AMOC will oscillate as AMO does?Comparison of time series of SST anomalies and the strength of the overturning circulation in the CM2.6 model.The graph shows time series of SST anomalies (relative to global mean SSTs) in the subpolar gyre (sg; dark blue) and Gulf Stream (gs; red) regions in the CO2-doubling run relative to the control run, as predicted by the CM2.6 model. These two regions are defined as shown in the inset (see Methods). The anomaly of the actual AMOC overturning rate relative to the control run is also shown (light blue). Thin lines show individual years (November to May for SSTs), and thick lines show 20-year locally weighted scatterplot smoothing (LOWESS) filtered data. Using the CMIP5 ensemble, we independently determined a conversion factor of 3.8 Sv K−1 between the SST anomaly and the AMOC anomaly.




  8. One Planet Only Forever at 06:10 AM on 18 February 2024
    Can we be inoculated against climate misinformation? Yes – if we prebunk rather than debunk

    BaerbelW @2,

    I appreciate that the article’s prebunking is inoculation efforts that are focused on anticipated misleading marketing efforts, focusing on FLICC. And I understand the importance of that action. I can see inoculation prebunking as part of ‘government public education, especially leadership statements that increase awareness and improve understanding of what is harmful and helpful’ (clearly being compromised when pursuers of benefit from being more harmful and less helpful to others can significantly influence or compromise leadership actions by being 'popular enough to matter').

    I do not anticipate encountering a personal situation where I will be able to directly justify engaging a person or group with prebunking (I am not a public/government leadership competitor, an educator, or a magazine story writer). I anticipate encountering people expressing what I consider to be a misunderstanding.

    I have experienced many situations where a misunderstanding I try to correct is stubbornly maintained based on what appears to be a wilful lack of awareness, a lack of interest in learning (encountered this as an engineer). Asking the person making the claim to provide the facts justifying their claim can help. It can make it clearer earlier that a person is resisting improving their understanding of the matter.

    What motivates people to be susceptible to misunderstanding would be an important part of inoculation prebunking efforts (the business motivation to profit more from quicker and cheaper actions, more likely to be more harmful, was a very common 'engineering challenge' because it was essential that safety was not compromised by those 'other interests').

    My way to potentially get to the point of prebunking is to start by asking someone presenting what I believe is a misunderstanding about the justification for the claim they make, especially the independently verifiable facts and related understandings (I may be the one who lacks awareness or has misunderstood the matter). If the person’s claim is not well justified, then, in addition to introducing them to a more comprehensive set of facts and more justified understanding, I may have the opportunity to explore why they were tempted to misunderstand the matter, getting into FLICC but going beyond FLICC and getting into the motivation for their willingness to misunderstand the matter.

  9. Can we be inoculated against climate misinformation? Yes – if we prebunk rather than debunk

    OPOF @1

    I think that even more important than providing specific facts ahead of potential misinformation is to clue people in on the FLICC-techniques they are most likely going to see employed. The examples in the article do just that by pointing out "false equivalence", "conspiracy theories" and "cherry picking". The more people are aware of these techniques, the less will - hopefully - fall for and share the misinformation.

  10. One Planet Only Forever at 09:12 AM on 17 February 2024
    Can we be inoculated against climate misinformation? Yes – if we prebunk rather than debunk

    It is hard to argue against 'pre-bunking being more effective than de-bunking'. It is like having the relevant significant facts of a debatable matter being established before a debate and having every viewer of the debate be fully informed in advance of those established facts.

    But de-bunking is still required because pre-bunking is not a cure-all. Having the facts established will not mean that everyone accepts the established facts. Post-truth misleading and believing is nothing new. It is just being more shamefully abused by unjustifiably significantly influential people - people who do not deserve their developed perceptions of status.

    Now when I encounter a person publicly sharing misleading information I try to get them to establish the relevant facts for their claim. I then try to focus on improving awareness and understanding of the relevant facts (with SkS being an excellent resource). That puts the person sharing the misunderstanding on the spot to justify their claim. And it can potentially eliminate the need to make counter-claims to the misleading claim.

    Of course, like pre-bunking, 'focusing on the weak/lack of justification for a misunderstanding' does not significantly influence or change the minds of people who are powerfully 'invested in misunderstanding climate science matters'. And the studies of the effectiveness of pre-bunking confirm that by only finding 'measurable reductions of susceptibility to misinformation' rather than finding 'substantial elimination of susceptibility to misunderstanding'.

  11. 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #06

    Congratulations to M Mann for winning his defamation case against  Simberg and Stein. Perhaps it will make other sceptics think twice before making completely ridiculous claims and comparisons. 

    I have been involved in several civil law cases, sometimes using a lawyer and sometimes representing myself, and its a harrowing experience with intimidating lawyers so Mann  deserves credit for hanging in there. However I did find a lot of lawyer talk is  bluff, and the trick is to not let them intimidate you or get you angry in court, and just stick to the pertinent facts and evidence and be very firm and resolute. I won all my cases.

  12. One Planet Only Forever at 03:15 AM on 14 February 2024
    UAH atmospheric temperatures prove climate models and/or surface temperature data sets are wrong

    Bob Loblaw,

    Thanks for the Wikipedia link explaining 'compartmentalization'. It is another of the many considerations regarding the 'religious resisters of learning to be less harmful and more helpful to Others (many of whom are business-interested but claim to be religious - like the wealth pursuing Evangelicals)', along with cognitive dissonance (mentioned in the explanation) and motivated reasoning (Like the motivation to personally benefit. Especially attempts to unjustifiably improve status relative to others through actions that include attacking Others - the classic sport cheater who tries to intimidate or hurt the Other competitors.)

  13. UAH atmospheric temperatures prove climate models and/or surface temperature data sets are wrong

    Regarding an individual's religious viewpoints and conflicts with their behaviour, it helps to understand the psychological concept of compartmentalization. It's a psychological defence mechanism that allows people to believe two (or more) conflicting things.

    ...and there is always the George Costanza defence:

    Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.

  14. UAH atmospheric temperatures prove climate models and/or surface temperature data sets are wrong

    In the RealClimate post that scaddenp links to in comment 9, Gavin Schmidt makes specific reference to that Spencer claim that climate models do not conserve energy. Schmidt states:

    Do climate models conserve mass and energy? Yes. I know this is be a fact for the GISS model since I personally spent a lot of time making sure of it. I can’t vouch for every single other model, but I will note that the CMIP diagnostics are often not sufficient to test this to a suitable precision – due to slight mispecifications, incompleteness, interpolation etc. Additionally, people often confuse non-conservation with the drift in, say, the deep ocean or soil carbon, (because of the very long timescales involved) but these things are not the same. Drift can occur even with perfect conservation since full equilibrium takes thousands of years of runtime and sometimes pre-industrial control runs are not that long. The claim in the paper Spencer cited that no model has a closed water cycle in the atmosphere is simply unbelievable (and it might be worth exploring why they get this result). To be fair, energy conservation is actually quite complicated and there are multiple efforts to improve the specification of the thermodynamics so that the models’ conserved quantities can get closer to those in the real world, but these are all second order or smaller effects.

    Note that this statement from Schmidt is in a postscript added three days after the original post. At the top of the postscript, Schmidt states:

    Spencer has responded on his blog and seems disappointed that I didn’t criticize every single claim that he made, but only focused on the figures. What can I say? Time is precious! But lest someone claim that these points are implicitly correct because I didn’t refute them, here’s a quick rundown of why the ones he now highlights are wrong as well. (Note that there is far more that is wrong in his article, but Brandolini’s law applies, and I just don’t have the energy).

    This is not the first trip to the rodeo on Spencer's work of this sort. There is a pattern.

  15. UAH atmospheric temperatures prove climate models and/or surface temperature data sets are wrong

    retiredguy @8,

    The essay by Spencer is his usual mess of nonsense dressed up to look like an informed and reasonable account.

    Note for instance his second "takeaway":-

    Climate models that guide energy policy do not even conserve energy, a necessary condition for any physically based model of the climate system.

    This is not a "takeaway" as such but a simply a bold statement supported only by reference to Irving et al (2021) 'A Mass and Energy Conservation Analysis of Drift in the CMIP6 Ensemble', a paper which does not in any way conclude that 'model drift' invalidates the findings of CMIP models as Spencer states it does. Here Spencer is very badly wrong but likely, as with his other egregious mistakes that happen to support his denialist views, he doesn't care and will not correct it.

  16. One Planet Only Forever at 08:42 AM on 13 February 2024
    UAH atmospheric temperatures prove climate models and/or surface temperature data sets are wrong


    I am not personally religious. But I have been open to participating in the activities of a United Church of Canada congregation because my pursuit of learning to be less harmful and more helpful to others is well aligned with their collective understanding and pursuit of reasons to change their mind (and they are open to having people in their congregation who do not share the belief that Jesus was part of the Holy Spirit).

    So I know religious people who are also bugged by people who 'claim to be religious' but 'try to benefit by being manipulative and playing loose with the truth'.

    The root of the problem in this case is people who claim to be scientific but 'play loose with the truth'. They try to resist learning that they, and people like them, need to 'change their mind'. Many of them, especially more educated ones like Spencer, probably 'know better' than the stories they make up ... which is even worse behaviour.

    I will add that many religious people are open to learning about aspects of their developed beliefs that need to be revised. They want their understanding to be consistent with increased available evidence and related improved understanding about what is harmful and how they can be more helpful to others. There may even be a higher percentage of religious-inclined people who are open-minded than there are business-inclined people who are 'open-minded' on climate science matters.

    So, I agree that it is shameful for someone like Spencer to 'play loose with the truth' while claiming to be Christian (or any other religious belief group) by presenting a misleading story on a website that claims to be religion-based. Much of the current day understanding of religions pursues limiting harm done and increasing 'helpfulness to others'. The exceptions are people who cherry-pick points and make-up misinterpretations who, in cases like this, are likely business-inclined people hoping to appeal for support. They claim to be <insert religion here> but are clearly just 'playing games in ways they hope they and their tribe will benefit from' - which is shamefully shameless behaviour - but can be very popular'.

  17. UAH atmospheric temperatures prove climate models and/or surface temperature data sets are wrong

    retiredguy - see here. Always kind of bugs me to see someone pushing overtly Christian worldview being happy to play loose with truth.

  18. UAH atmospheric temperatures prove climate models and/or surface temperature data sets are wrong

    Any thoughts / comments on the below article by Roy Spencer ?

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Edited link. Please learn to create links yourself with the link tool in the comment editor.

  19. After years of stability, Antarctica is losing ice

    Wrong thread but so what

  20. After years of stability, Antarctica is losing ice

    I will never get tired reading about Prof Michael Mann's court win.

  21. Was Greenland really green in the past?

    Please note: the basic version of this rebuttal has been updated on February 11, 2024 and now includes an "at a glance“ section at the top. To learn more about these updates and how you can help with evaluating their effectiveness, please check out the accompanying blog post @

  22. Introducing an Atmospheric Radiation Model to Learn About Global Warming

    Thanks.  I would like to re-emphasize, as mentioned in the section "Model Versions", that the commercial version of MODTRAN was developed by collaboration with the U.S. Air Force and Spectral Sciences, Inc.  MODTRAN is a registered trademark of the United States of America, as represented by the United States Air Force.  Now in version 6, the commercial version is not free.  It provides much more flexibility for research purposes than the educational version hosted by the University of Chicago.  For this reason, I like to use the acronym MILIA (MODTRAN Infrared Light in the Atmosphere) to differentiate the two versions.

  23. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    Worth noting that the Lake Onslow scheme in NZ was for "dry-year" storage because of NZ high dependence on hydro. Solar and wind are still minor components of its electricity mix and easily backed by ordinary hydro in "normal" years. Ordinary non-pumped hydro also works as storage - hold back water when wind is blowing or the sun shining; release it to create power when its not.

  24. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    John Oneill at 352:

    You are simply making up unsupported BS.  You provide no citations to support your wild assertions.  

    Energy researchers have shown that it is possible to make renewable grids as small as all the individual states in the USA.  It is cheaper to make larger grids.  The most recent research, like Jacobson et al, make grids that cover most of each continent.  Like all North America for example.  Your repeatedly mentioning wind in Wyoming is simply BS.  No-one says that Wyoming should be able to economically generate all of its electricity 100% of the time using wind alone except nuclear supporters.  South Korea, Taiwan and Japan can build out completely renewable systems without relying on China if they choose to.  It will be more expensive for them.  That is just a political call.

    Your claim that Jacobson supports "massively overbuilt wind and solar capacity is coupled with a 'copper-plate' grid" is deliberately false.  The overbuild of the grid is less than 10%.  The current fossil and nuclear grid has way more excess capacity than the proposed new renewable grids.

    I note that nuclear supporters invariably ignore the immense storage needed to have a primarily nuclear grid since nuclear cannot load follow or provide peak power.  The needed storage greatly exceeds the storage needed for renewable energy.  All the big pumped hydro in the USA was originally built to store excess nuclear power generated at night.

    Giving examples like the current California grid do not show that renewable energy cannot power the entire economy.  Renewable power has only been the cheapest for about 8 years.  There has not been enough time to build out the new renewable grid yet.  Battery storage has only been economic for 2 or 3 years.  You noting that California only gets 0.29% of power from a brand new technology is simply blowing crap on the discussion.  I note that in the past 20 years nuclear power in California has dramatically decreased while battery storage has increased.  The future trend is clear.

    I note that the current grid took over 100 years to build.  Nuclear power is 70 years old and only generates less than 5% of world energy. As an aside there is not enough uranium to generate more than 5% of all world power, the remaining 95% will have to be renewable, mostly wind and solar.

    So what if Germany has to increase the size of their grid?  They will save money and the environment in the end.

    I have followed nuclear power for over 50 years.  Nuclear has never been economic. 100% of the existing reactors in the world were built with extensive government subsidies.  That is why construction of new reactors in the West has been mostly stopped.  Most of the current reactors under construction are being built by the Chinese or the Russian governments.

    Please provide one example of a peer reviewed proposed future world power system that uses more nuclear than the currently built reactors.

    Whenever I examine nuclear supporters claims closely I find that they are not supported by the data.

    Nuclear is not economic, takes too long to build and there is not enough uranium.

  25. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    1000 km of grid interconnections is clearly inadequate for solar, where potential power providers are literally half a world away much of the time. Wind, too, is usually in synch over areas above 1000km in diameter. Wind farms across the whole of northern Europe are positively correlated. Going as far away as Spain gives a weakly negative link; southern Russia, Turkia and north Africa are other possibilities, assuming that 1) the donor region will have enough excess capacity to keep both ends of the link powered at night, and 2) you trust the governments of said region not to pull a Putin, and cut supply any time it gives political advantage. Cutting off power would cause instant chaos, worse than a fuel supply, where there's more time to react. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan would never allow dependence on wind and solar power from China.

    Proponents of '100% wind, solar, water' (usually effectively 95%+ just wind and solar) claim that comparatively tiny amounts of storage will suffice, if a massively overbuilt wind and solar capacity is coupled with a 'copper-plate' grid, where power produced anywhere is effortlessly transported to wherever it's needed. Both those preconditions are far from being met anywhere. California has enough wind and solar to theoretically cover its peak daily demand, Germany has twice as much (151 GW for a peak demand yesterday of 73GW.) Germany still has to complete the HVDC cables that would let it transport North Sea wind power to industry in Bavaria, let alone from Moroccan solar. The North Sea-Bavaria link might be completed by the mid-30s, and will supply, weather permitting, about half as much power at peak as the three reactors Germany closed a year ago did all the time. California last month got 0.29% of its power from grid scale batteries, despite having the world's largest capacity by far. I was a supporter of the proposed Lake Onslow storage scheme in New Zealand, but most countries do not have the topography for projects large enough to cover their power needs for a significant period.

    The size of the existing nuclear fleet shows that, at least in the past, it did make economic sense. The number of countries committing to extensive new build - Japan and South Korea, China, India, Egypt, Turkia, most of eastern Europe- suggest that it still does. Ontario has by far the lowest-carbon electricity in North America, apart from in three other Canadian provinces, and parts of Washington State, which are pretty much all hydro. They've recently announced a major refurbishment of four large reactors at Pickering, plans to build four smaller 300MW reactors at the Darlington site, and intentions for many more large reactors, including at Bruce, already the largest operating nuclear plant in the world. Sweden, which correspondingly has the lowest-carbon power in Europe, also announced a goal of two new gigawatt-scale reactors by 2035, and up to ten by 2045. Czechia, with a population of 10 million, has just opened tenders for four gigawatt-scale reactors, to supplement the four GW worth which already provide nearly half its power.

  26. Introducing an Atmospheric Radiation Model to Learn About Global Warming

    Good to see this post - MODTRAN is the basis of a great deal of solid research.

  27. The Teachers' Guide to Cranky Uncle: Downloads and Translations

    Just a quick heads-up, that the Teachers' Guide to Cranky Uncle is now also available in Albanian and Macedonian!

  28. Other planets are warming

    Thanks, OPOF! We'll add in that link soon.

  29. One Planet Only Forever at 13:52 PM on 7 February 2024
    Other planets are warming

    I recommend a minor update to the first sentence of last paragraph of "Further Details".

    "For lots of useful information about Pluto and the other dwarf planets, NASA has a useful resource on its website, including a link to Pluto: Facts."

    And some interesting Pluto: Facts are quoted below:

    • Pluto's 248-year-long, oval-shaped orbit can take it as far as 49.3 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun, and as close as 30 AU. (One AU is the mean distance between Earth and the Sun: about 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers.)
    • From 1979 to 1999, Pluto was near perihelion, when it is closest to the Sun. During this time, Pluto was actually closer to the Sun than Neptune.
    • When Pluto is close to the Sun, its surface ices sublimate (changing directly from solid to gas) and rise to temporarily form a thin atmosphere.

    So, maybe Pluto would appear to warm rapidly during that orbit event ... but that would explain things in ways that climate science deniers, and the related delayers of harm reduction, would resist learning from.

  30. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    The problem with solar plus storage in the LCOE from Lazard is that the basis is 4 hours storage x 50 MW = 200 MWh for a 100 MW solar plant.  It is not steady base load, but an "energy storage system designed to be paired with large solar PV facilities to better align timing of PV generation with system demand, reduce curtailment and provide grid support."  Technologies assessed were Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) and Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) batteries.  Maybe the costs would be lower if storage was pumped hydro.

  31. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    "why would you not support at least research on an energy source that is already larger than wind and solar combined..."

    Current capacity of nuclear is completely irrelevant to whether it is a good investment or not. Latest LCOE from Lazard:  Note that solar plus storage beats nuclear. This way to deal with wind is either storage or integrated grid system over distance of at least 1000km.

    You are welcome to invest your money any way you like, but don't be surprized if other people reading the numbers decide that nuclear is waste of money.

  32. Arctic sea ice has recovered

    Please note: the basic version of this rebuttal has been updated on February 4, 2024 and now includes an "at a glance“ section at the top. To learn more about these updates and how you can help with evaluating their effectiveness, please check out the accompanying blog post @

  33. One Planet Only Forever at 07:48 AM on 4 February 2024
    Skeptical Science New Research for Week #5 2024

    Doug Bostrom,

    Thanks for the link to the informative presentation of 'matters of fact' related to governmental economic financial considerations.

    The write-up and BBC Reel video are nice concise explanations of matters of fact that contradict some developed popular (and profitable for some) beliefs.

    I am encountering increased instances of being less able to learn and educate (open-minded pursuit of increased awareness and better understanding) by rationally discussing important matters with people.

    Some political opportunists pursue benefiting from misleading people into believing things that are contradicted by 'objective matters of fact'. The result is more people becoming 'deliberately learning-resistant'. They lock themselves into carefully selected and made-up 'facts and conspiracy theories that support their preferred beliefs regarding matters that matter - 'motivated resistance to reasoning' being popularized and profited from by harmfully misleading political game players.

  34. Introducing an Atmospheric Radiation Model to Learn About Global Warming

    As there have not yet been any comments on this post, I'd just like to add a tip of the hat to Charlie for contributing this. MODTRAN has been referred to many times in the comments here at SkS, and this post presents a very useful introduction.

    I would encourage readers to follow Charlie's suggestion to experiment with the model.

  35. Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

    Yes, Charlie Brown's guest post on the MILIA (aka MODTRAN) model is definitely worth reading. You'll often see references to MODTRAN in comments her at SkS, and Charlie's post give a good introduction and encourages people to try experimenting with the model.

    Thanks to Charlie for taking a deeper look into the Seim et al papers. For me, the egregious errors displayed in the abstracts were enough to not want to make me waste my time on the main parts of the papers. Sometimes you can tell a book by its cover.

  36. Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

    The problem with the articles by Seim, et al., is that the poor experimental design is inadequate to simulate an Earth/Atmosphere environment. It does not simulate and cannot demonstrate the mechanism of global warming. This is a result of an incorrect description of the mechanism provided by the authors, who apparently do not understand the descriptions offered by their references. The authors fail to describe the global energy balance properly by focusing on backscatter (an incorrect term for re-radiation) or back radiation. Instead, the correct mechanism for global warming is a result of reduced energy lost to space emitted from the cold atmospheric layer at the bottom of the stratosphere. This is neglected in both the description and the experimental design. Reduced energy loss to space emitted by CO2 from this layer is obvious from the spectrum. Global warming is a result of upsetting the steady state global energy balance as increasing CO2 further reduces emittance to space. To learn more about the mechanism, please read my guest post at: Introducing-an-Atmospheric-Radiation-Model-to-Learn-About-Global-Warming.html
    This is in addition to the comments made on Seim’s paper a year ago, as pointed out by Bob Loblaw @453, by Bob, MA Rodger, and myself. MA Rodger also uses the MILIA model in those comments.

  37. Skeptical Science New Research for Week #5 2024

    Thank you OPOF.

    In rough connection with that, see:

    How Not to Worry About Expense: Modern Monetary Theory and Climate Spending

    There is a lot of conventional wisdom (and motivated reasoning) glued onto our understanding of economics, particularly when in collision with governmental finance. Some supposed degrees of freedom are inoperative in reality, dead-end hypotheses that arguably live on in part because they're amenable to exploitation by narrow interests. On the other hand, we have degrees of freedom lying fallow because they contradict traditional, deeply accepted but often wrong thinking— and challenge self-interest. As in the case of MMT, where plain facts contradict what we're habituated to believe without question. 

  38. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    Electricity is a natural monopoly, and its supply is a service, not a commodity. The introduction of the auction system for supply was pushed by Enron, which expanded like a cancer through the natural gas markets during the 90s, got a foothold in power through Oregon-based West Power, and proceeded to game the industry till a series of blackouts, massive power price increases, and financial scandals lead to its downfall. Enron also introduced large-scale wind into the US - after its bankruptcy, Enron Wind was the only surviving American wind manufacturer, and was bought by GE. Wind's erratic fluctuations are a natural partner for gas. Its alleged low price is for the developer - the power user pays it the same price as whatever supplier was needed to produce the last watt on the grid. Wind often bids negative prices, secure in the income from production tax credits and renewables mandates certificates. The increasingly-frequent negative wholesale prices seen, usually around midday, on high wind and solar grids are not shared by the customer at the end of the month.

  39. Increasing CO2 has little to no effect


    As noted in the other SkS post I linked to in my previous comment, there is also discussion of the first Seim and Olsen paper on this SkS thread.

  40. Increasing CO2 has little to no effect


    Both those papers are published in "journals" from Scientific Research Publishing (SCIRP), which has a pretty bad reputation. In addition to the Wikipedia link, note that SCIRP is listed on Beall's list of predatory publishers. Not a good start.

    The first one also mentions Hermann Harde in the abstract, who is a known crank.

    Third strike: the abstracts both refer to "backscatter" of IR radiation. CO2 does not scatter IR radiation - it absorbs it. The absorbed energy heats the air via collision with other gas molecules, and that warmer air leads to increased radiation (as IR, for earth-atmosphere temperatures). Any competent climate scientist understands the difference between absorption and later emission of IR radiation (what greenhouse gases cause) versus scattering of radiation (which happens to sunlight in the visible spectrum).

    The experiments they propose are not worth looking at.

    The second paper was previously discussed in comment on this post at SkS.

  41. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    John... "largely because in the west none was being built..."

    Don't you think that was primarily because it's hard to attract investment when, once built, these plants wouldn't be able to produce electricity at a competitive price? Even if projects are claiming they can produce at a lower cost, they're very far from proving that out.

    In the meantime, wind and solar continue to scale exponentially

    If you're an investor in energy markets it seems pretty darned clear where the best place to put your capital is. 

    As I said before, I think there's perhaps a place for some nuclear. I know there are going to be people out there insisting it's going to work. I'd just say that's a long, tough row to hoe.

  42. Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

    I have had this publication and this one cited against me in argument. Has anyone come across them? Essentially they are being used to argue that C02 > 400ppm concentration will not trigger further heating.

  43. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    Sorry, nuclear, as you cite, only provides more power than either wind or solar separately, not together. Also as you say, it hasn't done much to cut emissions for the last twenty years, largely because in the west none was being built, and fairly successful efforts were going on to shut down those plants already existing. Whether wind and solar will manage to do so this year, we shall see.

    Figures for wind and solar production were from Elecricity Maps, which I can no longer access on my computer, only on my phone app. You could try You'll be pleased to see that since Jan 26, when wind only made 3% of Wyoming's power, it's been picking up, to about a quarter, and emissions are correspondingly down, to 'only' 580grams CO2/kWh.

    If you're charging your electric car off Florida Power and Light, 23% of it last year would have been from nuclear, 5% solar. Gas did the rest. Supposedly those gas plants are to be converted to hydrogen in the next decade or so. 

  44. One Planet Only Forever at 15:59 PM on 2 February 2024
    Skeptical Science New Research for Week #5 2024

    Thank you for another informative and enlightening curated set of research reports.

    I particularly recommend: How Economics Can Tackle the ‘Wicked Problem’ of Climate Change, Stiglitz et al., School of International and Public Affairs/Institute of Global Politics, Columbia University (from this week's government/NGO section)

    The entire document is a relatively brief presentation. I am a fairly slow reader. And it only took me 40 minutes to read all of the document.

    The following extracted points may encourage people to read the full document.

    Introduction ends with:

    This report describes how the tools of economics, when combined with insights from other disciplines, can help policymakers address tradeoffs, implement climate policies that are both equitable and cost-effective, and help the world achieve a more sustainable future.
    The Conclusion ends with:

    We cannot “optimize” climate actions with any useful precision by balancing the benefits and costs of action — understanding risk and uncertainty and the concomitant urgency of addressing climate change are central to climate policy. Carbon prices work best when combined with other policies to support the development of infrastructure, institutions, regulations, and alternative technologies. In addition, international treaties are most effective when they combine sticks and carrots to encourage deeper cuts in emissions over time while maintaining broad — if not universal — participation. As befits a “wicked” problem, we need to continue to learn from the past and adapt our strategies for reducing emissions as we go.

    What I found particularly informative was in the section headed WHAT SHOULD BE THE GOAL OF CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY? The following quote is from the middle of the section:

    A surprising source of fodder for the climate action naysayers has come from a group of economists who use models that generate so-called “optimal” pathways by attempting to balance the benefits and costs of climate action. While these models can be calibrated to show virtually any result, the versions that have received the most attention show that the “optimal” level of action would be to allow the earth to warm between three to four degrees Celsius by 2100 — a level of warming that most scientists say is truly frightening.4 Recent updates to the model suggest an optimal warming of 2.7 degrees in 2100.5

    This level of warming is still high. Researchers at Columbia and elsewhere have investigated these models, called Integrated Assessment Models (or IAMs) because they integrate environmental effects with economics, something that all good models do. The assumptions ingrained in these models about the environment, the economy, and how they interact are badly flawed.

    The section then elaborates on the flaws including the following selected quotes:

    • ... while climate change is a threat multiplier that will affect societies in countless ways, damage estimates focus on the few effects of climate change that are easiest to capture. Many or most categories of climate damage — migration, conflict, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, etc.— are not included in state-of-the-art models.
    • ...the models usually ignore distributional concerns, which are highly relevant to policy responses because climate change has the greatest impact on the poor, who have the fewest resources to protect themselves.
    • Future generations will also be disproportionately harmed by climate change, and they are typically undervalued in IAMs as well. Indeed, a critical assumption in the IAMs is how future benefits are “discounted.” A dollar today is worth more than a dollar 100 years from now, but how much more? And how do we value the reduced risk of a climate catastrophe confronting our grand-children? Most climate damage estimates implicitly undervalue future generations by discounting future benefits using market rates of return, which are determined largely by the preferences of individuals today over consumption at different points during their lifetimes — thus failing to grapple with the ethical issues raised by taking on risks that will be borne by future generations.
    • More reasonably, and more ethically, we should value our children and grandchildren as much as we value ourselves. Consider a situation where climate change’s effects turn out to be particularly severe, which is a realistic possibility that most IAMs ignore. Incomes of future generations will be reduced as a result — but they will have to spend a lot to repair the damage and to adapt to the new climate, at precisely those times when they are least able to do so.
    • In addition to undervaluing the benefits of action, the IAMs do not provide useful estimates of the costs of climate action, in part due to the extreme difficulty of forecasting technological innovation over centuries. The models also assume that markets are perfectly efficient, or that they would be efficient if only we could get the price of carbon right — the only distortion is caused by green-house gas pollution. But, as we discuss further in the next section, research over the past 50 years has highlighted the multiple inefficiencies in market economies that serve as barriers to emissions reductions — imperfections of competition, of information, of absent markets, and ill-informed or less-than-rational individuals.
    • To be sure, the most recent studies have produced enormous improvements over earlier versions of IAMs. For example, an analysis by Danny Bressler of Columbia University shows a seven-fold in-crease in climate damages from incorporating an estimate of human mortality caused by temperature increases.9 The latest estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now includes damages from temperature-related mortality.10 However, even the state-of-the-art estimates of climate damages are plagued by the same limitations noted earlier.
  45. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

     It is difficult to reply to a post filled with so many half-truths and mistakes.  All your claims have been shown to be false upthread.

    1) As you pointed out, Jacobson and hundreds of other researchers have shown that an all renewable energy system (primarily wind and solar) can support the entire economy.  It will cost trillions of dollars less than fossil fuels and save millions of lives.  Your mentioning a few days with low wind is simply fake news.  Since you provide no links to support your wild claims I will not link any either.  There are several countries that generate essentially all of their electricity using renewables, a technology that has only been installed widely for less than10 years.  France had to purchase a boatload of expensive electricity from its neighbors during the electricity crisis because their reactors failed.  I note that no energy researchers support using nuclear power as the primary energy to power the world.  Few or no researchers support using even a small amount of new nuclear energy in the future.

    2) Your claim that nuclear power "is already larger than wind and solar combined" is deliberately false.  According to Our World in Data, in 2021 wind and solar produced 2900 TWH of electricity and in 2022 wind and solar produced 3422 TWH of power world wide.  That will increase by at least 15% in 2023.  In 2021 nuclear produced 2750 TWH of power and in 2022 nuclear power produced only 2632 TWH of power.  The amount of power produced by nuclear has not increased significantly for over 20 years.  It is unlikely that the amount of nuclear power will increase for at least 10 years and it is more likely to decrease substantially as old reactors are shut down.

    3) Why would a sane person suggest pouring more public money into a failed technology like nuclear?  The "new" modular reactor proposals are old designs that were rejected in the 1950's and 1960's as uneconomic or simply too difficlut ot build.

    4) Projections of 2024 energy use are that renewable energy will be built at a fast enough rate to reduce world wide carbon dioxide emissions.  After 70 years nuclear provides less than 4% of all energy in the world and has not helped reduce carbon emissions for over 20 years.  I note that 70% of primary power produced by nuclear is wasted heating the surroundings versus essentially zero waste heat using renewables.

    5) Your claim work on using renewables for "transport, steel and fertilisers has hardly even begun" is simply false.  Nuclear has not done anything to address these technologies.  I, and millions of other people, already drive an electric car.   More electric cars are sold every year.  Electric trains are widespread.  Electric heavy trucks are being manufactured.  It is easy to make ammonia fertilizer from renewable energy.  Steel is being made with electric furnaces and using green hydrogen.  As more and more renewable energy is built it will be used for those purposes since renewable energy is cheaper than fosil fuels.  Since renewable energy has only been the cheapest energy for about 5 years there has not yet been time to build out a completely new power system yet.  After 70 years nuclear cannot even keep up with its current production as old reactors are retired.  

    6) Nuclear power in France was down by 50% last year. At all times in a system with nuclear power they require at least enough spinning reserve to cover for the sudden shut down of the reactors because nuclear reactors are prone to unplanned shutdowns at any time. This is not needed for renewables since they do not shut down with no notice. Ways to control for down transmission lines are still required.

    7) Nuclear is a failed technology.  It is too expensive and takes way too long to build.  Due to economies of scale, smaller, modular reactors will be more expensive than big reactors that are already too expensive to compete with renewable energy.  Since reactors take so long to build, the entire electrical system will be renewable before new nuclear designs are ready to be widely built.  I do not even need to mention that there is not enough uranium in the world to power more than 5% of all power, an insignificant amount.

    Whenever I examine nuclear supporters claims closely I find that they are not supported by the data.

    Nuclear is not economic, takes too long to build and there are not enough rare minerals.

  46. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    It's not what they are producing now, it's the extreme variation between what they produce at different times, and always will do. Solar obviously varies from zero to ~100% of its capacity on its best day, at any one time, but also by not much less, averaged over longer periods. Wind's minima are not so low, but even places in the trade wind belt have months well below the average. Mawson Staion in Antarctica, which is battered by near-constant catabatic winds (strong enough to destroy one of the wind turbines there), still has a calmer season. Modern economies facing loss of power are not analagous to reptiles - they can't just shut down for a while. Proponents of solar celebrate yearly records in capacity, but their predictions of a corresponding decrease in fossil use, or even of coal use, fail every year (covid excepted.) Fossil fuels still make up about 80% of energy use, as they have done for the last forty years, and they continue to grow every year. A few places have managed a majority of electric power from wind and solar, always backed up by either hydro, or imports of fossil-generated electrons. Academics such as Mark Jacobson's Stanford group, or the Lappeenranta University team, confidently predict 95% plus of all mankind's energy will be from wind and solar; so far work on huge sectors such as transport, steel and fertilisers has hardly even begun. That being so, why would you not support at least research on an energy source that is already larger than wind and solar combined, and that is the primary power source, not just for low-population examples such as Uruguay, Iowa and South Australia, but for major economies like France, Ukraine and Ontario ? Which three, incidentally, have all recently committed to a major expansion of their already large nuclear sectors.

  47. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    John, to my mind you are still not addressing the key - why would you invest money in expensive nuclear rather than cheap renewables with storage? What wind and solar are producing now isn't the relative no. The question is what could they produce for the same money spent on the nuclear plant?

  48. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    Pacificorp East, which owns the Kemmerer plant, has 7.5GW of coal capacity, and made 47% of its power from coal, 23% from gas in 2023. Wind and solar combined totalled 25% over the year. Like most grids, its power profile shows an evening peak, with a relative drop overnight, a pattern the Natrium reactor could follow. Wind over the last eight days in the area has been producing 6-7% of power produced, versus 20-30% for the seven preceding days - not the kind of variation that could be easily covered by batteries. Daily solar over the last month has varied from 2.09% of the area's production to 6.51% ( @Electricity Maps)

    If the reactor proves successful, there are plenty of other areas where a coal plant could be replaced by nuclear, especially one with the potential to load follow, and eventually to run on transuranics and depleted uranium.

  49. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    I would add, at least battery storage has the benefit of arbitrage (storing cheap renewables during peak generation to sell back later), whereas, nuclear is just expensive. Period. The only benefit I can see is relative to overall demand, where battery storage may run into deployment problems at full scale. Perhaps there nuclear can take up some of the available slack.

  50. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    John ONiel,

    The Natrium plant can only store about 2 1/2 hours of the plant power output.  It can only generate 50% more power for 5 1/2 hours.  That is not really load following.  The overwhelming majoriity of the time it will have to run full out competing directly with renewable electricity producers.  You need to read the details of the proposal instead of just the industry propaganda sheets.

    I am surprised that you consider the Nuscale location to be "in the midddle of nowhere" compared to Kemmerer.  Kemmerer is the seat of county government with a population of 2,414 in 2020.  That is hardly a booming metropolis.  There are no towns with a poppulation over 12,000 within 100 km.  The biggest employer is the coal power plant that is shutting down.  The Nuscale location must have a few people to support the Idaho National Lab.  It appears to me that it would be difficult to be further "out in the middle of nowhere" than Kemmerer.  Where will the workers building the plant stay for the seven years of construction?

    Whenever I examine nuclear supporters claims closely I find that they are not supported by the data.

    Nuclear is not economic, takes too long to build and there are not enough rare minerals.

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