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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Comments 551 to 600:

  1. After years of stability, Antarctica is losing ice

    Wrong thread but so what

  2. After years of stability, Antarctica is losing ice

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

  3. 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 @ https://sks.to/at-a-glance

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. Other planets are warming

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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 @ https://sks.to/at-a-glance

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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. 

  20. 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.

  21. Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

    Addendum:

    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.

  22. Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

    Dominic68:

    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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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 www.Electricitymaps.com. 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. 

  26. 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.
  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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?

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    Natrium is not designed to compete with wind, but to complement it. I believe Warren Buffet has an interest in it, and his fund also owns large wind farms in Wyoming. Unlike most reactors, Natrium does not depend on selling steady base-load power. The sodium from the hot end is 200C hotter than the steam from a conventional light water reactor, and is to be run through a heat exchanger to heat a store of nitrate salts, as pioneered by solar thermal plants such as Ivanpah in California. The nitrate salt is pumped from a cold tank to a hot tank, both insulated, and is a much cheaper way to store energy than batteries. When the wind's blowing, the whole output of the reactor goes into filling the hot tank. When the wind dies, the reactor's output is used to heat steam for a turbine, as is the hot salt. The plant produces nothing when the wind's blowing, and prices are low, but when the wind drops and spot prices rise, it can make 50% more than its maximum nuclear output for as many hours as the hot tank lasts.

    Whether it will be economic is another story, but Kemmerer welcomes employment to replace the coal plant it's losing. The proposed Nuscale plant, in contrast, was to be in the middle of nowhere. The regional suppliers who had agrred ten years ago to put an option on it can get plenty of power from gas, but they expected a carbon price to penalise that. No carbon price eventuated. 

  34. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    Sekwisniewski,

    Perhaps I should have said there is no approved method of disposal of the sodium waste.  Given that there is no approved repository for the existing  high level waste either, perhaps that is no reason to worry about.

    I note that Terrapower originally had a completely different design that they gave up on.  Terrapower has not applied for a design certification yet.  Design certifications normally take 2 years or more.  How does that fit into Terrapowers' plan to start construction this year?  Where are they going to get the 16.5% enriched uranium now that Russia (the only current supplier) is constrained due to the Ukraine war?  It takes many years to develop a new fuel chain.

    According to your link the Natrium reactor would generate 345 MWE.  SMR's are generally described as under 300 MWE.

    I would prefer to delay any discussion of modular reactors until they have at least applied for design certification.

    My first argument is always that nuclear is not economic.  I am waiting for a cost estimate for the first natrium reactor.  Bill Gates will be able to foot the cost, but that does not mean it will compete with renewables.

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

  35. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    "I note that there is no process for disposing of the sodium coolant after it becomes radioactive." - michael sweet wrote at 337.

    Metallic sodium coolant can be converted to sodium carbonate and disposed as LLW (Low-Level Waste), which was done with previous sodium-cooled reactors. Source: Nuclear Waste Attributes of SMRs Scheduled for Near-Term Deployment Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Supply Chain (2022) by Argonne National Laboratory, pages 17-19.

  36. Other planets are warming

    Please note: the basic version of this rebuttal has been updated on January 28, 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 @ https://sks.to/at-a-glance

  37. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    “The Westinghouse AP300™ Small Modular Reactor is the most advanced, proven and readily deployable SMR solution. Westinghouse proudly brings 70+ years of experience developing and implementing new nuclear technologies that enable reliable, clean, safe and economical sources of energy for generations to come.
    Our AP1000® reactor is already proving itself every day around the globe. Currently, four units utilizing AP1000 technology are operating in China, setting performance records. Six more are under construction in China and one AP1000 reactor is operating at Plant Vogtle in Georgia while a second nears completion.” ?

    www.westinghousenuclear.com/energy-systems/ap300-smr/twclid/2-12i1qwjigi51ns54gt8fwic8o?utm_campaign=westinghouse&utm_medium=social-p&utm_source=twitter

    Contents snipped

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Warnings issued a long time ago do not lose their strength with the passage of time. The last time you posted - 2-1/2 years ago - you had received several warnings that posting short quotes and links without discussing relevance was not acceptable. You may not remember, but we do.

    You have returned after a long hiatus, with no change in behaviour.

    Final Warning

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can and will be rescinded if the posting individual continues to treat adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Moderating this site is a tiresome chore, particularly when commentators repeatedly submit offensive, off-topic posts or intentionally misleading comments and graphics or simply make things up. We really appreciate people's cooperation in abiding by the Comments Policy, which is largely responsible for the quality of this site.
     
    Finally, please understand that moderation policies are not open for discussion.  If you find yourself incapable of abiding by these common set of rules that everyone else observes, then a change of venues is in the offing.

    Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter, as no further warnings shall be given.

  38. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    John ONeil:

    Are you addressing my link at 334?  If you read the link it describes all modular reactors as costing at least twice as much as large reactors.  This is due to economies of scale.  Modular reactor supporters claim that by manufacturing thousands of reactors they will be able to learn by doing and reduce the cost of manufacture.  I note that this does not happen most of the time in the nuclear industry.   

    The link provides analysis that shows it is virtually imposssible for modular reactors to be produced at the low prices that supporters claim.  In addition, the costs of renewable energy continue to rapidly decrease.  Modular reactors are trying to compete with coal.   Coal is already too expensive compared to renewables.

    I note that Terrapower claimed they would have operating reactors by 2020.  They have not yet submittd a design to the regulators.

    I note that there is no process for disposing of the sodium coolant after it becomes radioactive.

    Nuclear power is too expensive, too slow to build and the materials do not exist.

  39. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    I think you're confusing the Nuscale proposal with Bill Gate's planned Terrapower reactor in Wyoming, Michael. Nuscale was to build at the desert site of Idaho National Laboratory, which has had plenty of test reactors built, but no real power plants. The consortium of local power suppliers who'd agreed to proceed at $58/MWh baulked at $89. (Offshore wind projects on the East Coast are suffering the same fate, as materials price rises lead to a consumer backlash.)

    Terrapower's proposed Natrium plant in Kemmerer, Wyoming, is the one to go next to a former coal plant. It's a much more radical design than Nuscale's, but with pretty deep pockets funding it. One of the reactors its design was based on did run at Idaho National Lab - the Experimental Breeder Reactor II. EBR2 had no electrical generation, and its heat output was only a fortieth of Natrium's, but it ran fairly trouble-free for thirty years.

  40. Reposted articles from Thinking is Power

    Updated this overview page with a link to our latest repost: Give science denial the FLICC

  41. 2023's unexpected and unexplained warming

    Cctpp85:

    What do you want the moderator to do?  At SkS the moderators delete inappropriate comments or try to explain the comments policy to readers.  They do not interpret posts or suggest what others mean.  I tried to be helpful.

    We do not understand what you are asking.  Try to rephrase your question so we can address your concerns.

  42. The Debunking Handbook 2020: Downloads and Translations

    Cedders @7

    Thanks for the heads-up! The "under the hood" PDF is now available on Skeptical Science and the links above are corrected. The best link to use for the handbook is the short URL https://sks.to/debunk2020 which leads to this page on SkS. We had already noticed that the old links to 4C no longer worked and "redirected" the short URLs for them to SkS where we have them all available.

  43. The Debunking Handbook 2020: Downloads and Translations

    As of Jan 2023 there are some broken links here and on the wider web to GMU/climatechangecommunication.org. The English 2020 edition is still available via Link and there's a related publication for broadcast meteorologists:Link

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Links activated.

    The web software here does not automatically create links. You can do this when posting a comment by selecting the "insert" tab, selecting the text you want to use for the link, and clicking on the icon that looks like a chain link. Add the URL in the dialog box.

  44. 2023's unexpected and unexplained warming

    Help, moderation!

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] As stated by Michael Sweet, below, readers and moderators here have no idea what you are asking for. The comments area is provided to allow discussion of the points made in the original blog post. The blog software does not have a "read commenters mind" function.

    Moderators are here to make sure that the Comments Policy is followed. There is a link to it in the "Post a Comment" section that you have been using to post comments. Before posting again, you should probably read it in its entirety.

    For example, in comment #7, a moderator removed part of your comment due to it violating a combination of items in the Comments Policy: accusatory tone, politics, and inflammatory tone.

    If you are going to make comments here, you also need to be willing to engage in honest, constructive discussion of the points you have made. People have been asking you for clarification, and you have declined to respond - instead dismissing the issue as being of "secondary importance". If your point is not important enough for you to respond to questions, then don't be surprised if people think your point was not important to begin with. You reap what you sow.

  45. Venus doesn't have a runaway greenhouse effect

    Please note: a new basic level version of this rebuttal was published on January 21, 2024 with the "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 @ https://sks.to/at-a-glance

  46. 2023's unexpected and unexplained warming

    Cctpp85 , your post #9  is even more difficult to comprehend than your earlier posts.

    To be charitable, it would appear that English is not your Mother Tongue.   In that case ~ let me first compliment you on the degree of fluency you have achieved thus far.   English is a language cursed with a rather excessive amount of synonyms having many shades of meanings, and it is all too easy to convey a meaning which is misleading or nonsensical or unintentionally offensive.  (But of course, every language has that room for error, to some extent.)

    Allow me to respectfully suggest that you enlist the help of a bilingual compatriot who has a very high fluency in English.   Alternatively, write out your questions/statements, and then use one (or more) of the on-line automated translator programs to render your comments into English parallel.   Post both versions !

    Yes, SkepticalScience  here is primarily an English-based website, but there are very likely some volunteers here who are expert bilingualists.  They can be helpful midwives, in delivering your "brain-child".

  47. 2023's unexpected and unexplained warming

    cctpp85:

    It is not clear at all what you are asking.  Please re-ask with a straightforward statement.

    You appear to me to be asking why the NCEP reanalysis product is not mentioned in the OP and some other reports on the 2023 record setting year.  Dr. Hausfather, who wrote the OP, is a specialist who worked on the BEST project.  Thus he is most interested in the data from measurements around the globe.  The NCEP reanalysis does not compare directly to instrumental measurements.

    I Goggled a little and found this article about the ERA5 reanalysis.  A quick review of the article indicates to me that the ERA5 reanalysis is the same as the instrumental data reviewed in the OP.  I presume the NCEP reanalysis is the same.  Dr Hausfather does not have space in the OP to discuss all the data.  The reanalysis data do not change any of his conclusions.  He discusses what he is expert in.  Since the conclusion from reanalysis is the same there is no nefarious intent in leaving their data out.

    If the reanalysis data were significantly different it would be interesting to figure out why they were different.  Since they are the same  it is too time consuming to add more data to the article.

  48. One Planet Only Forever at 01:56 AM on 21 January 2024
    CCDH Report: The New Climate Denial

    John McKeon and Evan,

    As and engineer with an MBA I have learned to be on 'high alert' for potential marketing disinformation by people wanting to manipulate me into 'using their products or services'.

    The following follow-up questions should be asked after asking for a persons ‘information source’:

    • How did the person find the source among the massive amount of potential sources?
    • Among the massive diversity of opinions, how did the person determine that the specific understanding they are sharing is the most justified based on all of the available verifiable evidence (could be confirmed to be valid by other people – the way science pursues disproving a theory - the more consistent it is with all the available information and evidence, the more ‘warranted’ it is).
  49. 2023's unexpected and unexplained warming

    Hello,

    I have said several times it is of second order importance regarding your expectations so I am not expecting anything more.

    Hoping moderation convinces you better than me.

  50. CCDH Report: The New Climate Denial

    John@1, I would like to echo your tactic of asking people for their sources. I also find this an effective tactic. Some get agitated when asked for their sources, because they realize that they themselves don't really know.

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