Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


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.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Support

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest MeWe

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


Recent Comments

Prev  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  Next

Comments 851 to 900:

  1. Climate Confusion

    nigelj@8, interesting thoughts.

    From what I understand, the ice anchors ocean and atmospheric currents. We might avoid the next ice age, and completely mess up the currents that sustain life by thinning the ice too much.

    Could humans ever hope to "adjust" the level of CO2 for a particular purpose, such as preventing the next ice age? Although I have no data nor science to back me up, I am sure that the best we can do to stabilize the atmosphere will leave us without any looming ice ages, but will leave us with whacky weather.

    The reason I wrote this piece is that I continually here this kind of talk about "how far we should go with NET technology," as though we will have the ability to deploy it at any arbitrary scale. I don't mean this in response to what you're writing Nigel, but to me this represents just one thing.


  2. michael sweet at 07:40 AM on 29 June 2022
    Climate Confusion


    The last time CO2 was this high the sea level was over 20 meters higher.  Most major cities are located at sea ports.  If the level of CO2 was reduced the final sea level will be lower.  

    I am skeptical that large amounts of CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere.  Who will pay for it?

  3. Climate Confusion

    Regarding the ideas of getting to 'net zero' and going beyond this perhaps getting back to pre industrial levels of CO2. There is a school of thought and some science that says atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are already high enough to stop or limit another ice age, so would it actually make sense to suck too much CO2 out of the atmosphere?

    That said, obviously we need to cut emissions fast and at least reach net zero.

  4. Climate Confusion

    Love the balance acknowledgements. I dont hear this much yet it covers all of nature. By nature I extend to include the universe. Balance to me is like gravity. It is everywhere and will drop the apple on your head for lunch or speed you to demise when you step off the ledge. Orbits, plantlife, rivers and mineral cycles; even the milky way is in a 350M year orbit around our galaxy group. Balance. Co2 is a close brother of oxygen, and even though we draw up old reserves of that goo, Ox too is captured in the limestone and will require storms and erosion to bring it back up. Ox is in a steady decline for a M years in another cycle. I am watching for Co2 to balance with the 20% increase in foliage (Nasa) since 2000, 5% each last couple years, and the evaporation and cooling and added clouds and albedo this brings. Until once again there is balance, as this author references. There are millions of cycles interacting and the only constant is change and a desire to balance, without regard to one species or intent (see apple and falling above). Earth balanced after the big one (which sequestered the co2 and ox in the calcium and carbon slew), back from 4k ppm co2. If we consider balance, then warmer and erosion and trusting gravity and balance could mean the bigger picture just has us hubristically interjecting ourselves in to something, well, that might be needed later. Involving ourselves in something, not past our understanding, but past our paygrade. Interjections we are too important to get understanding just from an apple or acknowledging we know truly little, and that we can and will fall when we go past the edge.

  5. Climate Confusion

    There is the idea that a sudden end to CO2 emissions will result in the reduced forcing from continued CO2 draw-down balancing the pipe-line warming such that there is no extra warming beyond the end of emissions. As a theoretical exercise it is roughly correct but there is more to AGW than CO2 and a worldwide end to CO2 emissions (tomorrow morning, 0930 hrs GMT - set your watches) is but theoretical. But there it is, and folk do check it is a valid interpretation of what would happen (as per the lt blue trace below - graphic from this CarbonBrief item).

    CarbonBrief warming after zero CO2 graph

    But realistic zero-CO2 scenarios will not react like this. The IPCC AR6 SPM shows temperature peaking under SSP1-1.9 before zero CO2 is reached in 2050. And note its Fig10 which attempts to set AGW ΔT as a function of cumulative CO2 emissions. If you scale that graph, you'll find +1.5ºC equals to 2,960Gt(CO2). Note this is Gt(CO2) not Gt(C). And as of today June 2022 we have managed 2,510Gt(CO2).

    IPCC AR6 SPM fig 10

    But what is less well known is that post-2050 the SSP1-1.9 scenario expects negative emissions which according to the graphs in Meinshausen et al (2020) total 1,100Gt(CO2). That means we maintain the +1.5ºC (or a statistical chance of maintaining it) by extracting and storing out of harms way all our emissions from now to zero-CO2 as well as all the emissions back to 2008.

    That's quite a task to prevent pipeline warming from messing up the +1.5ºC limit. And the SSP1-1.9 scenario also shows (as does any logical analysis of what the 2,960Gt(CO2) budget implies) global CO2 emissions halving by 2030. And 2030 is not now very far away.

  6. Climate Confusion

    wayne@3, thanks for your comments.

    The ocean time lag is a complicated function of the difference between the Equilibrium and Current temperature anomalies. Currently it is about 30 years for the current, specific CO2 profile, but this could change in the future. Currently temperature is increasing about 0.2C/decade, but hopefully this will decrease if and when we begin to aggressively cut GHG emissions.

    An ECS of 3C is a reasonable estimate, and is about midway between the range of low and high estimates used by the IPCC.

    EddieEvans@4, it's easy to write about the need for net-zero or net-negative emissions. Realizing them is quite another matter. The reason I focus on showing the CO2-stabilization scenario depicted in Fig. 2 is that by definition, we must achieve this much "easier" goal before we can ever hope to achieve the more ambitious net-zero or net-negative goals. So think of Fig. 2 as kind of a necessary first goal, first step. Just doing what Fig. 2 depicts would already be a huge success and would be a necessary precursor to more ambitious action.

  7. Climate Confusion

    From the article, "EMISSIONS 29 April 2021 15:00
    Explainer: Will global warming 'stop' as soon as net-zero emissions are reached?.   
    "To stop these impacts may require reducing global temperatures through net-negative global emissions, not just stopping temperature from rising by reaching net-zero."
    Negative net-zero seems intuitive to me and necessary as a goal to promote, rather than "net zero." It's a wicked problem and negative net-zero may sprout its own wicked problems; we'll never know.
    I'm stumped.

  8. Climate Confusion

    I don't know the graphs above are meant to be or if I am reading them right. But..

    The ocean time lag is 30 yrs?

    The current temperature anomaly is 1.2C?

    The current CO2 concentration is 420ppm?

    30 yrs ago the CO2 concentration was 350ppm?

    pre industrial CO2 concentration was 280ppm?

    So 350-280 is a 70ppm rise has resulted in a 1.2C increase in temperature?

    420-350 is also a 70ppm rise so what temperature anomaly are we expecting in 2050?

    Is the ECS of 3C for 280ppm rise overly optimistic?

    I know I am being extremely simplistic here, but?

  9. Climate Confusion

    Doug, do you have a suggestion for better terminology that reflects the warming delay due to the difference between the current and equilibrium temperature anomalies?

    I like the mental concept of "warming in the pipeline" from a pragmatic viewpoint. If atmospheric CO2 concentrtions are increasing, then there is additional warming to come. If CO2 concentrations are stable or decreasing, but there is a difference between the upper and lower curves in Fig. 2, then there is also "warming in the pipeline.: This is consistent with the statement that future warming is due to future emissions, because if CO2 concentrations are increasing it implies continued emissions. But whereas the average person cannot easily get a handle on global GHG emissions, they can readily follow what the Keeling Curve is doing. So even if the phrase "warming in the pipeline" is flawed from a purely scientific viewpoint that says that all future warming is due to future GHG emissions, I find the concept of "warming in the pipeline" appealing from a purely pragmatic viewpoint.

    From Fig. 2, if and when we manage to achieve net-zero emissions, then the upper curve will come down towards the lower curve, the springs will relax, and the amount of "warming in the pipeline" will also decrease. But as long as these two curves are separated, there is effectively "warming in the pipeline".

    But I am open to a better way to phrase this. Comments?

  10. Doug Bostrom at 06:54 AM on 28 June 2022
    Climate Confusion

    Confusion over "warming in the pipeline" reminds me a bit of the general  confusion over the so-called "hiatus" observed in certain temperature records during whenever-to-whenever (1998-...?) any particular study showed a deceleration or halt of temperature rise.

    There was never and could never be a "hiatus" in overall planetary warming short of a vast and mysterious disappearance of various GHG species, or some other impossibility. What appeared to be a slowdown or stall in warming to the extent this showed up in our metrics was (had to be) simply lack of perception on our part, incomplete instrumentation. There was no implausible change in radiative balance, sudden (and oddly unobserved) global albedo change or any other physical means of actually reducing the amount of energy accumulating on the planet. The energy was simply going where certain means of measurement couldn't see it. 

    But "hiatus" means a specific thing in the minds of most people, an actual pause in action. 

    "Warming in the pipeline" and "hiatus" are both examples of hastily conceived, poor terminology, sharing the feature of being mental pitfalls for information consumers of the normal, average variety. 

  11. Skeptical Science tackles 'discourses of climate delay' and 'solutions denial'

    I'm now hearing about "global warming is a good thing" by previous deniers: poor climate literacy and awareness of climate deception leap decade by decade.

    One generation to the next feeds off of the sustainable prospects of future generations, "kicking the can down the road" and "passing the buck" remain at the heart of modern climate change and "better technology." So I don't see a technological "fix" for deception, denial, and delay. It comes down to public education.

    "Better technologies" translate into unsustainable growth in one way or another, and more burdens passed to following generations.

    We know the horror of searching for a perpetual motion machine—our planet's poisoned by radioactive waste too hot to contain safely. Talking about unleashing more "improved technologies" leads to unleashing ecocide on wild nature and humanity.

    It's an education matter. Expose the means and sources of climate deception, denial, and delay. Otherwise, we promote another generation perpetuating intergenerational moral corruption while seeking an improved perpetual motion machine.

  12. One Planet Only Forever at 06:11 AM on 25 June 2022
    Skeptical Science New Research for Week #25 2022

    In my comment @3, the term 'accurate information presentations' would be presentations that are good explanations of the evidence related to the matter being presented.

    That would mean more extensive presentations by News Media:

    • Very few news-bytes (it is seldom that brevity properly conveys the fuller story)
    • No 'speculative' reporting (because that is gossip, not reporting)
    • No brief 'attention getting' headlines that inaccurately represent the fuller story
    • No opening statements or concluding statements that are inconsistent with the fuller story (people are more likely to remember the first or last parts even if those parts are inconsistent with the fuller presentation).

    That News Media limitations would also apply to political marketers with the following additions (and likely more restrictions required):

    • No 'focusing on talking points' (points based on bits of evidence, or completely made up claims, or points unrelated to the matter being discussed are not the fuller story of the matter)
    • No 'wide-open to interpretation' slogans (no populist propaganda)

    That would require the equivalent of scientific peer review for News Media and Political Marketers. It would require corrections and retractions to be intimately connected to the original presentations with the corrections and retractions being presented as prominently and as broadly as the inaccurate presentations were.

    And that can be expected to be fought against - powerfully and persistently. Because harmful pursuers of 'winning their way' like to be able to abuse the Freedom to claim whatever they want as the excuse for doing something understandably harmful, including resisting correction of harmful misunderstanding and related harmful actions that they want to get away with as much and as harmfully as possible (like benefiting from prolonged fossil fuel use - intimately connected to the 'discourses of climate delay').

  13. One Planet Only Forever at 04:22 AM on 25 June 2022
    Skeptical Science New Research for Week #25 2022

    The following NPR item exposes the challenges of getting people to better understand climate science (or any improved understanding).

    Factual climate change reporting can influence Americans positively, but not for long

    The study referred to confirms that accurate reporting regarding climate science can be temporarily influence many Americans to be more concerned about reducing climate change impacts. But it also confirms that many Americans are easily tempted to unlearn what they learned when they are later presented with misleading marketing regarding climate change.

    The authors believe that means that more repeating of accurate climate science information will be a solution. That is likely only part of the solution. And, by itself, the repeating of accurate understanding of the requirement to correct harmful developed popular and profitable stuff is unlikely to be a solution. However, it is likely almost impossible to prove what needs to be done to sustainable correct harmful misunderstandings because the other thing the study exposes is how difficult it is to perform social science research.

    The study does not appear to establish a comprehensive understanding of the 'starting point beliefs and basis for those beliefs' for each participant in the study. They did not delve into what the participant originally believed and why. That would include verifying how many times they had seen messages aligned with their beliefs and how those messages were presented (how scientifically misleading were the messages that form the participants starting point). They also did not investigate what motivated the participant to develop their starting point belief.

    The study appears to compare each study participant's level of belief that climate change is real and that government should act: before being shown accurate science information, immediately after the accurate presentation, and after being shown subsequent messages that included misleading marketing messages.

    The reasons for not investigating the participant's starting point in more depth include:

    • the attempt to determine the starting point beliefs and the participant's motivations would likely bias the study.
    • the more difficult part of base-lining study participants is that the study participants may not accurately share their history or motivations, either because of suspicions about the study or simply because it is more subconscious than being something they are honestly aware of.

    What is undeniable is that many people develop a powerful preference for harmful misunderstanding (the persistence of popularity of harmful climate misunderstanding is one of the many proofs of that). They can exhibit an appropriate response when they know they are being observed regarding their response to accurate climate science information. But, given an excuse, they will revert to a powerful preference for harmful misunderstanding.

    Therefore, in addition to requiring all leadership contestants and all news media to only report accurate science information, there needs to be actions that limit the repeating of harmful misleading marketing messages in alt-media venues, especially the influential social media systems - no matter how loud and angry the demands for 'Freedom to believe whatever a person wants to believe' become.

  14. Neville Thompson at 21:29 PM on 24 June 2022
    What to expect during the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season

    scaddenp : I never wrote about helicopters or nukes  .

    The vortex of a tornado is what has to be eliminated and to do that massive heat should affect  the updraught rotation thus dissapating the storm cell using drones no different to that of operating them   in Afganistan by remote from Las Vegas 

  15. What to expect during the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season

    This does not tally with what I understand about tornado formation. In fact, it seems rather like the idea of nuking hurricanes. (see for why this is a terrible idea). Never mind the logistics of vast swarms of napalm-armed helicopter patrolling supercells looking for tornado formation...

  16. Doug Bostrom at 03:08 AM on 24 June 2022
    Skeptical Science New Research for Week #25 2022

    I thought Kuper's book would ring a bell, OPOF. :-)

    And thank you for pointing out that it's the review that's new, not the book. 

  17. One Planet Only Forever at 02:57 AM on 24 June 2022
    Skeptical Science New Research for Week #25 2022

    Doug and Marc,

    Thanks again for pointing to enlightening documents. Am am particularly interested to read Roland Kupers' book "A climate policy revolution: what the science of complexity reveals about saving our planet". Mind you, that may just be me having a confirmation bias for presentations that point out that what has currently developed is popularity and profitability due to harmful over-consumption. And that bias would also lead me to claim that my bias is for helpful learning rather than being one of the diversity of alternative biases that resist helpful learning (minor note: The book was published in April 2020. The review is what is recent.)

    Regarding storage of excess energy generation. Building a system that deliberately stores excess generated electricity would be an improvement on the current systems that "shed (waste)" excess generated electricity at substation locations rather than have a way to save it for future use. Some current systems are set up to store excess generated electricity with pumped hydro. But many systems do not operate that way.

    Also, another way to store excess generated electricity is to hang weights that can be lifted by the excess and lowered to generate electricity later. Abandoned mine shafts could be used. But many abandoned mine shafts are not conveniently located and may be unreliable. Facilities with purpose built below ground chambers can be built in more useful locations. A Scottish firm is developing this - BBC News item from 2019 "Edinburgh company generates electricity from gravity"

  18. Neville Thompson at 00:26 AM on 24 June 2022
    What to expect during the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season

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

    I would like someone in authority to consider using 4 drones armed with napalm or similar  to fire into the spout of a tornado from 4 different directions just below where it fans out and up into the sky to disapate the cold air with massive heat to stop the tornado .

    If this were to succeed , Tornadoes could be nutralized forever 

  19. One Planet Only Forever at 11:31 AM on 23 June 2022
    Skeptical Science tackles 'discourses of climate delay' and 'solutions denial'

    Thanks for the encouragement to participate in developing an item regarding the Alberta Oil Sands. My initial reaction was to get started. Then I thought about it in more detail.

    I live in Alberta. So I am very familiar with the messaging used by Alberta leaders. But my passion is pursuing increased awareness and understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals and the importance of achieving all of them and improving on them. Limiting climate impacts is a major interest because rapid climate change makes it harder to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

    Unsustainable activities, not just fossil fuel use, can misleadingly appear to be helpful. But ‘impressions of improvements’ obtained due to harmful unsustainable activity will not stand up to closer inspection (they are just mirages). The actions cannot continue to be beneficial into the distant future. And, undeniably, humanity should be striving to constantly pursue sustainable improvements through the 100s of millions of years that this amazing planet is likely to be habitable for humans. From that perspective it is fairly obvious that consumption of resources, anything short of full recycling is consumption, and accumulating harmful effects cause long lasting damage to future generations.

    As a result of my passion I have learned that reduction of consumption is essential to Sustainable Development. I have also learned that this is not a new understanding. A diversity of versions have been presented through the ages. But they were less popular and ignored or attacked by those of higher status who were uninterested, or threatened, and resisted the understanding.

    The recent CBC News item “Internal DND study calls green technology minerals 21st-century 'oil weapon'” exposes that transitioning the developed, and continuing to grow, over-consumption of energy and resources to ‘zero-carbon’ would create different over-consumption and harm. Though the article is about the harm of conflict over the ‘Green transition resources’, it exposes the unsustainability of the resource consumption and consumption growth in a ‘green system’ future.

    Back to the “Carbon intensity threshold for Canadian oil sands industry using planetary boundaries: Is a sustainable carbon-negative industry possible?”item you linked to @11. It provides a great set of references. And I liked seeing that Planetary Safe Boundaries as a basis for the evaluation. Also, it appears that past impacts by Canada are accounted against Canada’s share of the Global Carbon Budget. But I would question the way that a portion of Canada’s Carbon Budget gets assigned to the Oil Sands. Taking the level of impact it developed to as a starting point for the proportioning of Canada’s Carbon Budget would be harmfully incorrect. The oil sands were expanded and their total impacts increased after it was well understood that ghg emissions needed to be reduced. Dividing Canada’s Carbon Budget based on 2005 impact levels would be better, but still potentially harmfully incorrect. The requirement is to rapidly end fossil fuel harm, not maximize the benefit some people can obtain by getting away with exceeding the 1.5C impact based getting a bigger share of a National Carbon Budget (and that ‘discourse of delay’ by hiding significant harm within a national total allowance would apply to many nations on many issues).

    Also, Canada is a major food producer. And it is well understood that food production, particularly the industrial type of production, will be a significant cause of carbon impacts far into the future. And those impacts need to be properly accounted for in the National Carbon Budget, no discounting of future impacts allowed. Also, global food production is far more important to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals than global energy production is. So Food trumps Energy in the priorities for Carbon Budget.

    But the major question I have regarding the paper is that it concludes that there may be a carbon-negative way of exploiting Oil Sands and suggests that Blue Hydrogen is a potential solution. That appears to be part of the ‘discourse of climate delay’ problem.

    The real issue is the need to end, not reduce the rate of, harm done by the use of buried ancient hydrocarbons. There are many more harms to be considered, not just the climate change impacts of using the ancient buried hydrocarbons as fossil fuel.

    A concluding thought leading me to lack interest in an item targeting the Alberta, Canada, Oil Sands us that there are many potentially more harmful aspects of the global fossil fuel system than Alberta Oil Sands.

    So, based on that, I would be more interested in helping prepare a more globally applicable item regarding claims made by beneficiaries of any portion of the global ‘fossil fuel use’ system that they deserve credit for suggesting that ‘their portion of the fossil fuel use system’ will be ‘net-zero’ by 2050 (or sooner, or later). It could be brief. The main point would be that the global objective, from the perspective of the future of humanity (the most important perspective because all of future humanity is by far the largest portion of humanity to be considered), would be to keep the peak of climate change impacts from fossil fuel use below the Safe Planetary Boundary of 1.5 C. That objective would be supplemented by, starting now, implementing significant measures to draw CO2 levels back down. The current generation owes the future generations CO2 levels of 350 ppm or lower. That would minimize the surprises and challenges for the future generations and make it easier to achieve Sustainable Improvements.

    However, tragically, reducing the already excessive level of harmful impact cannot undo many results of the harm already done to the future of humanity by the irresponsible over-development of harmful consuming activity. A blunt point from that perspective is that it is impossible to use fossil fuels without adding to the harm that the current generation must attempt to correct for the benefit of the future generations. Part of the fossil fuel system being ‘net-zero’ is irrelevant since it is highly unlikely, nothing is impossible, that the end use of fossil fuel can be made to be ‘harm free’.

    I would also be interested in helping to prepare an item regarding claims that Blue Hydrogen is a legitimate alternative to Green Hydrogen. By its fundamental nature, Blue Hydrogen would almost certainly be more harmful than Green Hydrogen. And it is technologically possible to produce Green Hydrogen so a more harmful temporary transition system is not necessary.

    And the Blue Hydrogen item would link to an item that evaluates the merits of Green Hydrogen rather than the alternative of having the renewable power that produces Green Hydrogen be part of the electric grid system to more rapidly displace fossil fuel generated electricity. That item about Green Hydrogen would include the harm of the Hydrogen system and the relative energy inefficiency resulting in Green Hydrogen needing to be restricted to essential energy needs are least harmfully met by Green Hydrogen.

    As a final point, I would be pushing to see the following as part of all of the items developed: The most important action is reducing energy, and other, consumption that exceeds what is needed for all humans, especially all future humans, to live a decent life on this one amazing planet with its limits on consumption and harmful impacts.

  20. What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?

    If anyone here would like to continue the discussion of Cs-137 leakage, or any other substantive criticism of the Citizendium articles, please join us on the other forum. We have a reponse to Michael's point from a nuclear engineer, but so far it is rather dismissive. I am pressing him for more detail. This is a rare opportunity to bring together people who are technically smart, but on opposite sides of this issue.

  21. What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?

    Michael, Quoting from your comment #39: "you said 'the cost of uranium is unlimited', not the supply." I did NOT.

    I did edit the article in Citizendium. I told you that I did (in comment #41), and I thanked you for pointing out a possible misunderstanding of the WNA statement. You did not just "notice" some sneaky edit.

    The original text from "my site" (I assume you mean the article in Citizendium, not my site) is "As for the cost of fuel, the World Nuclear Association says it is essentially unlimited.[22]"  This seems pretty clear to me. The statement makes no sense if you think "it" refers to cost. To make that even more clear, I changed "it" to "the supply of uranium".

    Please stop these attacks. You won the debate. I am bowing out.

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] You are not behaving well.

    "I noticed" carries no implication of notorious intent on the part of the editor. You are over-interpreting the writing of others - in exactly the way you are accusing others of acting.

    Regarding the quote "As for the cost of fuel, the World Nuclear Association says it is essentially unlimited", the subject of the sentence is "the cost", not "the fuel". Changing the subject of the sentence mid-sentence is bad writing. Better writing would improve readability, reduce ambiguity, and reduce mis-interpretation. Quoted from another source or not, you are the one posting it.


  22. michael sweet at 01:38 AM on 22 June 2022
    What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?


    I noticed that you have edited your post at Citizendum.   My orignal quote was cut and pasted from your site.  An interesting Freudian slip.  The WNA do not address the cost of their supposed "unlimitted"  supply.  In the real world cost is a critical factor.  Nuclear engineers have not learned that lesson yet.  You might want to consider cost more closely.  Read the article about NuScale, the modular reactor closest to building.

  23. What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?

    BL, I did NOT accuse anyone of dishonesty. My response was defending my honesty against your earlier comment that others claiming to be honest brokers were actually acting on behalf of someone else (i.e. shills).  I appologize for any lack of clarity in my statement above and in other statements where I am attempting to defend myself while not accusing others. Search this discussion for ten instances of "deliberate", and I think you will see who is on the offense here.

    Enough of this battle.  I came here in my role as a neutral editor to collect critiques of our Citizendium artcles on nuclear power, and sifting through all the hostile verbiage, I have some good ones. I will continue to follow up on these, getting responses from the other side, and summarizing the arguments from both sides on our discussion pages.

    My link above was not "advertising", but an offer to anyone on this forum to continue the discussion in a more neutral forum where there are actual experts with years of experience in nuclear engineering. I have tried other ways to communicate with you, including your contact form, but gotten no response.

    Hey, does anyone here have a sense of humor? You might enjoy this confession from a pro-nuclear advocate revealing her secret payment for shilling.

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] You accused an entire site of being incapable of allowing an honest broker. My earlier moderation comment was intended to try to help you understand why people are reacting to you in a particular way.

    Enough. Further moderation complaints will be deleted in their entirety.

  24. What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?

    Notice: I have started a discussion on the Cs-137 problem at:

    If you disagree with an argument, attack the argument, not the person making the argument.

    I will not be commenting further in this forum, other than these notices encouraging your participation in the discussions.

    I know that being an honest broker is difficult, and not at all possible in this forum. Still, it is worth the effort on an important issue like what is the best solution to our climate crisis. I can assure you I am not acting on behalf of anyone.

    Moderator Response:

    [BL} Accusations of dishonesty deleted.

    While telling others to not attack the person, you continue to personalize disagreement of the material you post.

    Regarding future activity, simply posting links is not acceptable. Skeptical Science is not a place to put advertising material. I refer you to the Comments Policy, which you should review before continuing to post anything here.

    No link or picture only. Any link or picture should be accompanied by text summarizing both the content of the link or picture, and showing how it is relevant to the topic of discussion. Failure to do both of these things will result in the comment being considered off topic.

  25. Antarctica is gaining ice

    Oh, and please consider deleting all these off-topic comments here.

    Thanks, BL.

  26. Antarctica is gaining ice

    Thank you , Bob.

    A coffee + diligent searching, has shown me that not all SkS  pages rollover at just 25 comments.  But your calm philosophical attitude points me toward taking a more relaxed view of this "existential"  threat posed by page irregularities.   (When did existential  become the must-use word for all politicians' discussions? )

  27. Antarctica is gaining ice

    [ Note to Moderator ]

    I must take back part of my above comment ~ I see on other threads that each page of comments holds only 25 comments.   Must have been dozing at my keyboard all this time . . . I had remembered 50 comments as the standard size page.

    Nevertheless, can the coding be altered to deliver the latest page, when clicking on the latest comment on the general Comments section?  Thanks.

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] What's the difference between 25 and 50, between friends?

    I, too, have noticed the odd behaviour of following links from the Recent Comments page to the long comments sections of some blog posts. In this case, clicking on your most recent post gets me to page 11 (claiming to be out of 20), when your post is actually on page 22. I need to go to page 13 or later before page 22 is listed as an option.

    I'll bring this to the attention of our more technical volunteers.

  28. Antarctica is gaining ice

    [ Note to Moderator ]

    Strangely, the post #526 by MA Rodger has been jumped from page 21 (which would normally host 50 comments) onto a new page [22].

    Is the SkS long-suffering volunteer coder able to correct this?  And if I may also point out ~ clicking on the latest comment for this thread (in the standard heading comments section) produces a jump to page 11, rather than to the latest page.

  29. Antarctica is gaining ice

    My apologies, MA Rodger, for using the word "obsolete" , in describing the Zwally 2015 paper.   I am guilty of achieving more brevity than wit.

    And thank you for the Zwally (et al.) 2021 paper , illustrating the academic bun-fight re mass balance (too many buns for me to wish to digest).

    However, it was amusing to see his wording: "... disparate estimates [of about 100 Gigatonnes per annum] of the [East Antarctic] mass balance have not been properly resolved."

    Overall, my suspicious mind detected a whiff of rear-guard justification, with Zwally attempting to juggle isostatic changes / altimetric measurements / gravimetric measurements.

    For me, the take-home message from all the Antarctic studies, is that the totality of the ice-sheet is in approximate stasis (plus or minus a few decades).    And most importantly, Antarctica supplies no support for science-denialists who wish to claim that the south polar situation disproves the mainstream climate science.

  30. What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?

    Michael: Quoting from my comment #38 "from your last comment, a challenge to the WNA statement that nuclear fuel is essentially unlimited." This is referring to the supply of fuel, not the cost. It is also not my statement. I am simply reporting on what WNA has said. Please stop misquoting me. Thank you, however, for pointing out a possible misunderstanding of the WNA statement. I have changed "it" to "the supply of urantium".

    Thank you also for the substantive challenges to ThorCon's article and correcting my misunderstanding of the origin of Cs-137 in the gases. I wish I could get some nuclear engineers to participate in this forum, but it seems the world is divided into pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear "safe spaces".  You are right about the FB forum being too pro-nuclear. I report comments I see there that are too disrespectful, even when the anti-nuclear visitor is just repeating what she heard about Fukushima, or whatever. The moderators have been very good at deleting inappropriate comments.  Still, the forum is heavily pro-nuclear.

    You are also right that I have taken the pro-nuclear side in some debates. Honest debate is a good way to get to the truth, and for the last year I have been engaging in these forums to learn more about the nuclear option. My participation in these debates does not mean I am "pro-nuclear".  I am pro-science, and I try to avoid advocacy. My current belief, which has changed in the last 12 months, is that nuclear is going to be an essential part of the solution. That belief will change again if I see good evidence to the contrary. I have read Abbott 2012 and parts of the other anti-nuclear articles in our bibliograhy. I am not convinced.

    I will be following up on your critiques by quoting from your comments in other forums, but only as "a discussion at" not using your name. My goal for Citizendium is that it becomes the neutral forum we really need, where both sides can make their best case.  Citizendium is what Wikipedia should have been, no mob editing, no industry shills or other advocacy groups "piling on", authors by invitation, based on their knowledge of the subject, like a tradional publishing company.

    Again, please notify me at gmail, name macquigg, if you have anything further to say. There is no notification feature in this forum.

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] This debate is getting increasingly counter-productive.,

    I do not think that "discussion by proxy" is a viable mode of continuing this debate. The process of "I heard this said over here, I am repeating it over there. Bring stuff from there back here" is time-consuming, subject to error in interpretation, and subject to irritation. People will tend to think that what you say here is your own view - and what you select to repeat here will undoubtedly be affected by your own view (intentional or not).

    You seem to be characterizing this space as "anti-nuclear". The bits you have selected to display in this context seem to fall into the category of complaints characterized by "it would be easier to discuss this with those poopy-heads if they'd stop calling us poopy-heads". It smacks of tone trolling.

    As for the bias towards peer-reviewed science, the climate science area has been long subject to dishonest and biased "reporting" from industry. This is not a case of "both sides deserve equal respect".  Fossil fuel interests made considerable effort to hide their activity behind apparent "third party" and "independent" groups. The Tobacco Institute was also not a good source of information on the links between cancer and smoking - this is a long-established approach to protect financial interests. Industry in general has a long history of denying science where it suits them.

    Attempting to be an "honest broker" is a difficult role. Certain individuals have claimed this position with respect to climate science, while essentially acting on behalf of climate denial. Read this blog post over at Eli Rabett's to get the gist of how this plays out in climate science.

    To keep a long story from getting too long, the nuclear industry in general has frequently gone over budget, overdue, etc. There are good reasons to be very skeptical of claims that "this design won't run into that problem" - especially when those claims come from industry or industry trade groups.

    Please take a bit of time to decide what you want to accomplish. What is happening here will not be allowed to continue much longer.

  31. michael sweet at 02:44 AM on 21 June 2022
    What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?

    Doing background reading I found this report about the NuScale reactor that they hope to build in Montana.

    NuScale’s Small Modular Reactor
    Risks of Rising Costs, Likely Delays, and
    Increasing Competition Cast Doubt on LongRunning Development Effort


    This report is written by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.   They describe themselves as "The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) examines issues related to energy markets, trends, and policies. The Institute’s mission is to accelerate the transition to a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy."

    The report is very grim reading for nuclear supporters.  The first line in the Executive Summary is "Too late, too expensive, too risky and too uncertain."  It is easy to read if you are interested in seeing why the NuScale reactor is a terrible investment and is unlikely to ever be built.

    On the issue of vaporware discusssed upthread, I note that in 2008 NuScale said they would have operating reactors by 2015-2016  (7-8 years).  They now plan to have working reactors by 2019-2020 (7-8 years). 

    They have decided to change the design they submitted to the NRC for review.  They plan to submit their new design to the NRC in December 2022 and hope to have an operating reactor by December 2029.  This report shows that timeline is not credible.  Their cost estimates are also not credible and all the risk is set on the buyers of the reactors if the timeline slips or the costs overrun.  There are many other very serious issues.

    That sounds like vaporware to me.

    Apparently buyers are starting to wise up.  The subscriptions for buying power have fallen from 213 MW in October 2020 to 101 MW.  Since the current design of the plant calls for producing 462 MW of power they are a long way from their targets.

    MacQuigg,  this paper will probably be easier for you to read.  I suggest you read the entire 39 pages like I did.  There are a lot of diagrams.  It should be added to your discussion of modular reactors.

    It is clear that these analysts think the debate around nuclear is over, nuclear is not economic.

    Nuclear power is not economic and the materials do not exist.

  32. Antarctica is gaining ice

    Eclectic @525,

    I don't think it is correct to say that Swally's Antarctic ice loss hypothesis is "now obsolete." It is glaceologists conundrum which implies a level of ice loss from Antarctic Ice Sheets that are certainly outside the levels calculated by more conventional methods, thus an "outlier." But surely the conundrum has yet to be resolved, thus Zwally et al (2021).

  33. Antarctica is gaining ice

    Philippe Chantreau , the Antarctic study mentioned by AndrewLB was not only an outlier (and is now obsolete) from the main group of studies of Antarctic ice loss : but at the time (2015) the author Dr Zwally himself commented that he expected to see further reduction of ice mass within 20-30 years (owing to continued global warming).  That comment of his was personal opinion I gather, rather than a scientific projection.  But it fits in with overall consensus.

    AndrewLB , the political ideas you mentioned (@522) are not science, and so do not get discussed in this thread.   However, I can refer you to the blog WattsUpWithThat , where you can find plenty of discussion of wacky paranoid conspiracy theories including contrail chemical poisons, Gatesian mind-control vaccine microchips, Jewish Space Lasers, and Soros machinations for World Marxism.

    True, the WUWT  conversations are rather one-sided, but if you wish to discuss those sorts of topics, then WUWT  is a good entry point for you.   (Take a torch with you  ~  the rabbit hole is very deep.)

  34. michael sweet at 09:48 AM on 20 June 2022
    What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?


    You have acted as an advocate of nuclear here so I have responded in kind.   The Renewables vs Nuclear Debate forum on Facebook seems to me like a lot of nuclear advocates slamming the "greenies".  You frequently state there that you support nuclear power.  I see little informed discussion.  The nuclear proponents who come here to post usually have little knowledge about reactors.  One poster, Ritchieb1234, was very informed and we had a good discussion.

    As I have previously told you, Abbott 2012 describes the issue with uranium.  He shows that with low uranium concentrations in the ore it takes more energy to mine the uranium than you get from using it in a reactor.  Your WNA article assumes that future engineers will develop mining processes that are orders of magnitude more efficient than any currently known processes.  I doubt that is possible.  Nuclear supporters would not work on breeder reactors or thorium if they thought there was enough uranium.  We could get unlimited supplies of hydrogen simply by syphoning off the surface of the sun, but that is impossible.  I note that you said "the cost of uranium is unlimited", not the supply.

    Thor Cons statement that they do not process the salt is obviously false since they remove the noble gasses from it.  That is a chemical process by definition.  You do not understand the difference between a chemical "process" and "reprocessing" nuclear fuel.  Thor Con is misleading.  That is not my problem.  Chemical processing the fuel is not a proliferation risk.  Reprocessing the fuel is a proliferation risk.  It appears to me that you are decieved by misleading information from Thor Con.

    137Cs.  As stated clearly in Lyman 2021, which I linked for you at least twice about this issue, giving you the page number (91) to read here, Thor Con would remove 137Xe, a noble gas, from the salt as part of their scheme to remove the noble gasses.  The Xenon then decays into 137Cs in whatever storage system they have for the noble gasses.  It would coat the inside of all the piping and the pumps.  Thor Con has to answer the question of how they plan to deal with radioactive cesium-137  formed in the noble gas stream.  Read the reference I have given for you to get the question that you are seeking.  Lyman stated (in advance) that Thor Cons answer is misleading.

    Your statement about Cesium being in column one is uninformed.  If you had read the citation I gave you, you would know that the cesium is formed in the gas stream from radioactive decay, it does not evaporate from the salt.  Since I am a professional chemist and I have read much, much more about reactors than you, I understand the chemistry of reactors better than you.  If you framed your statments as questions I would be more helpful and less irritated.

    Keep in mind that I have been having this debate with nuclear supporters for 15 years.  From your posts I understand that you are a newbie.  I researched most of your points years ago.  Nuclear supporters online repeat the same old tired arguments that were already false 15 years ago.  Back then renewables were more expensive than nuclear and there was a debate.  Now renewables are much cheaper than nuclear.  Informed debate ended several years ago, you have just not learned enough about nuclear and renewable energy yet to realize you are barking up the wrong tree.  Read Abbott 2012 about 15 reasons why nuclear cannot work.  His arguments have not been answered by nuclear supporters.

    This discussion has become very repetitive.  Since you do not read the references that I give, you do not understand the questions and answers.  I note that I have read your citations, read your Facebook site and read your Citizendium posts.  I have read Abbott, Krall and Lyman entirely and the response to Lyman on Facebook (the response is completely worthless).  Why don't you come back when you have done your homework and can address the issues that I raise.

    I have authored three posts on Skeptical Science about producing all the world's energy supply using renewable energy.  Read them here here and here.  All three say nuclear power is not necessary or economic.  That is what scientists think about future energy supplies.  You could use them as a basis of your renewable post.  Dana Nucitelli also authored a post about renewable energy powering the world.

    Nuclear power is not economic and the matrerials do not exist. 

  35. Philippe Chantreau at 09:11 AM on 20 June 2022
    Antarctica is gaining ice

    I did not expand on the other subjects you approached since they are clearly off topic for the thread.

  36. Philippe Chantreau at 09:09 AM on 20 June 2022
    Antarctica is gaining ice


    Your accusations are unwarranted. The recent exchange on this thread is a shining example of how some will believe assertions that are false, and will continue to believe them even after being shown without a shadow of a doubt that they are false. This behavior is contrary to a sincere scientific approach. It is not widespread among those who participate regularly on this site. The allusion to government bla-bla is rather ironic for 2 reasons. One is that you used a government agency as a source for your argument, and said government agency was publicizing scientific work headed by a government employee (Jay Zwally), pretty much the boss of glaciology at NASA. How did that irony escape you?

    Second, because governments have taken so far no significant action and most of them can even be described as actively resisting change. Some may pay lip service and have plenty of nice sounding declarations, but actions are more important than words, and governmental actions have so far been tepid, at best.

    I note that NASA has updated their position since publicizing the Zwally study, as well they should, because knowledge and understanding evolve and what matters is the weight of the evidence. I have no doubt that Dr Zwally thinks no different.

    The Zwally study (full paper with that link) is a well known outlier. It was a surprising outlier back in 2015 when published and generated a lot of interest. In the 7 years since publication, it has been contradicted by numerous subsequent studies that benefited from the data from IceSat2 launched in 2018.

    Because of that 2015 paper, there has been more scientific enquiry into this problem, which led to multiple publications. That is science at work. The Rignot et al (2018) paper is arguably one of the best researched, but there are plenty more:


    ww (full article accessible as pdf)

    About sea level:

    I have worked in various areas involving science and engineering. Anecdote is no substitute for data and rigorous analysis.

    Careful data gathering and analysis has been performed by numerous teams and, once again, there is an unmistakable convergence of results. Multiple scientific works can be fond in literally seconds on this subject.

    It is entirely expected that see level not be uniform and that sea level changes vary by region. That variability itself is the subject of multiple studies.

  37. Doug Bostrom at 08:51 AM on 20 June 2022
    Skeptical Science tackles 'discourses of climate delay' and 'solutions denial'

    Thanks for your thoughts, OPOF (One Planet Only Forever). You mention a spectrum of concerns, some within our span and some not. It's helpful to see matters arrayed in this way, as a menu. One item jumps out as particularly amenable to what we're seeking to achieve with our increase in scope.

    A person minded to do so could use this article:

    Carbon intensity threshold for Canadian oil sands industry using planetary boundaries: Is a sustainable carbon-negative industry possible?

    which by its nature draws on a considerable body of prior work to gain a reasonably circumspect toehold on the topic, based in published literature. With that information, one could produce a usefully coherent reply to "Canadian tar sands can be made net zero," an answer grounded in numbers derived from a sufficiently broad provenance as to lend confidence in forming and offering plausible conclusions. 

    It'll take quite a bit of digging into citations to write such a treatment, some hours. But one must start somewhere, and the above article is a helpful gateway to relevant cites.

    The misconception of "net zero Canadian tar sands is just  a minor technological challenge and will happen automatically through market forces" is rather narrowly specific, but if it's a frequent tripping point the investment of effort in correction might be worth it— especially if the conclusions will map onto other analogous situations such as Venezuela.

    We talk about prioritizing misconceptions centered on discourses of delay and solutions denial. Ideally we'd be able to staff such a rational plan and crisply work through the list of priorities. We'll try to follow that mode as best we can.

    But if somebody has a passion for a particular topic and feels like investing work in a durable product that will undoubtedly end up being read thousands of times, that's an opportunity for genuine efficacy for that person and for Skeptical Science. And as a practical matter, strong personal interest in a particular subject is how choices are often made about what we end up publishing here. 

    The above is a long winded invitation to participate, with some framing about how to do so usefully for Skeptical Science. 

  38. Antarctica is gaining ice

    "Over the last two decades, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass, glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide, and Arctic sea ice and Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover have continued to decrease in extent (high confidence) (see Figure SPM.3). (4.2-4.7)"

    NASA Study in 2015 clearly states Mass Gains of Antarctic ice sheet are greater than losses. I'll quote it.


    A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.

    The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.

    According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.


    On a separate personal note, having lived less than a 2 minute walk from the pacific ocean for the past 40 years, i have yet to see any rise in sea level. One of the docks near my home has pole marked to indicate the current tide height and it's been there for at least 30 years, and a  zero foot tide is still indicated spot on all these years later.


    I think a lot of the people on this site are unaware of their own motivations and almost religious adherence the government mandated narraitive. It's usually a good idea to actually listen to the people in charge of international climate policy and you'll realize it's all a lie. United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer said the following just a couple years ago.


    "One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,"

    And just a few years prior to that he said:

    "the next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world's resources will be negotiated."

    And a bit more insight:

    "This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,"

    "This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history."

    And my favorite is how they went on to say that in order to make this happen, they must plunge the world economy into a depression in order to force the end of capitolism.

  39. One Planet Only Forever at 07:05 AM on 20 June 2022
    Skeptical Science tackles 'discourses of climate delay' and 'solutions denial'


    My comment @2 was mostly composed before seeing your comment @1. My comment @7 was written after reading the item you linked in your Comment @1, the Desmog article “Climate Deniers and the Language of Climate Obstruction”. I also read the Cambridge Core article “Discourses of climate delay” that the Desmog article provided a link to. My points of recommended focus @2 and @7 are a diverse variety of the 12 strategies in the 4 categories of delay discourse that the Cambridge Core article presents as a start on identifying and categorizing ‘discourse of climate delay’.

    A more pointed example of a ‘discourse of climate delay’ is what is being claimed by the Alberta Government, the oil sands industry and the Federal Government of Canada. They claim that the oil sands operations are going to be net-zero by 2050 (though admittedly some of the political groups are making statements that are more harmful misleading populist style claims, like saying that net-zero by a later date would be OK. For them, 2050 is ‘impractical, too soon’). But the seriously misleading part is the way they will get to ‘net-zero’. They have already reduced the processing and upgrading of the extracted product in Alberta. They are shifting to doing even less in Alberta and exporting ‘a bigger problem’. The result will be more processing and related emissions outside of Alberta (reduction in Alberta is Great eh). But, of course, the bigger scam of the fossil fuel company claims that they will be part of the solution, like being net-zero by 2050, is that there is no evidence of research into how to make the final product ‘carbon-zero’ when it is used by the end consumer (and if most end consumers, except the poorest, have to stop using fossil fuels by 2050 what is the point of producing them ‘net-zero’ by then). A related aspect of the scam would be the industry ‘buying carbon credits to offset emissions they won’t or can’t eliminate’. It is now well understood that the actions that are currently being counted as ‘carbon-credits’ to excuse continued or increase carbon harm need to be done in addition to winding down the actions that cause carbon emissions harm.

    Another ‘discourse of climate delay’ could be a ‘special diverting interest group’ like the one presented in the recent BBC Future article “Do we need a better understanding of 'progress'?”. The article is about ‘progress studies’, something started up in 2016 by a pair of technology development super-fans. As presented in the article ‘progress studies’ as initiated by this pair “...doesn’t desire a world where humans live more harmoniously with nature.” Progress studies also is not very concerned about the potential harm or unsustainability of technological developments. They also appear to believe the ‘now rather undeniable refuted claim’ that increased GDP or other artificial measures of ‘progress’ would sustainably improve things for everyone including the least fortunate (a belief that is about as far away from the evidence-based understanding of reality that beliefs can get). The 2020 Human Development Report presents that case fairly extensively. There does not appear to be anything sustainable about the interests of the ‘progress studies special interest group’.

    The ‘progress studies’ group start by making up their definition of progress. And their opinion, though of course not stated this way, appears to be that uninhibited technological development of a growing stream of unsustainable potentially harmful things is ‘Progress’ and is Glorious (Don’t peak behind the curtain in search of what is causing harm. Just be impressed by the impressions of progress). After all, technological developments are meant to be temporary. They are meant to be fads. They are expected to only be popular and profitable until they are displaced (before the harm they have done becomes too hard to ignore and excuse). Their concept of ‘Progress’ rapidly replaces things with the next ‘shiny new, likely harmful and almost certain to be unsustainable, things’. So it doesn’t matter if the growing stream of ‘shiny new stuff’ is unsustainable consumption of resources without recycling or is harmful. Each development will be gone soon anyway. ‘Progress studies’ thinking would not be concerned about the harm of the ‘solutions that are developed’. They would likely think that compact fluorescent bulbs and wind and solar power components that cannot be recycled were all ‘great progress’. They would push for more ‘progress’ like that, like pushing for newer nuclear fission systems.
    That ‘progress studies’ attitude would promote increasing energy consumption and un-recycled resource consumption and waste without concern, likely claiming it is progress. They may even try to claim that it is the best way to develop solutions to the harm of over-consumption of energy and materials that is ruining the future for humanity on this planet.
    Those visions of ‘progress studies’ would create more harmful consumption of ‘shiny new stuff’ that harmfully produces the waste of the previous ‘now older less desirable stuff’. Butt people immersed in the delusion of ‘that type of progress studies’ would struggle to see it that way.

  40. What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?

    Michael, you keep treating me as an advocate. My role here and at Citizendium is as a neutral editor. I have what I need from this forum, a list of critiques of our articles from the anti-nuclear side. Even if I wanted to argue with you on the points I have copied to CZ, I am not the expert.  Also, any such debate should be done in a neutral forum, like Renewables vs Nuclear Debate, or perhaps on  As I said before, this forum is a bit too hostile for the nuclear experts I have invited.

    I am not following this forum (and there does not appear to be a notififation feature) so if you expect a response from me, please notify me via gmail, username macquigg.

    I have collected one more critique from your last comment, a challenge to the WNA statement that nuclear fuel is essentially unlimited. If you have any good sources on this, please notify me.

    As for your argument about what was really meant about on-site chemical processing, I repeat: the statement from the UCS report Executive Summary is accurate, complete, and not taken out of context. Your interpretation that they meant to include the collection of gases bubbling out of the molten salt as a "chemical treatment" and a proliferation risk (that is the context of their statement) seems to me like a crazy stretch. The company's response, that they do no chemical processing online, addresses the critique as stated. 

    As for your critiques on Cs-137 and beryllium, they remain open points on our discussion page. ThorCon has not responded, but they probably will when I submit the article for final review. They have stated that the Cs is chemically bound to the salt, but we could use some data on how much ends up in the gas, and whether they use some kind of getter to remove it, as they do with tritium.

    It's been a while since I took chemistry, but as I recall cesium is in column one, like sodium. If a few disgruntled cesium atoms take their electrons and leave the party, they will probably be followed by some hungry chlorine atoms, and end up as salt on the reactor walls. There are some chemists at who could take up this debate. 

    Sodium and Chlorine

  41. The History of Climate Science

    An article about the History of Climate Science was recently published in the French Wikipedia, featuring translated versions of jg's neat graphics:

    Histoire de la recherche sur le changement climatique

  42. Doug Bostrom at 17:54 PM on 19 June 2022
    Skeptical Science tackles 'discourses of climate delay' and 'solutions denial'

    Thanks for your thoughts so far. 

    As they're statistically quite reliable (like fissioning atoms*), can be processed to identify consensus and over time have proven supremely helpful in leading to where we to go— consilience, collective decisions and action thereby--  we'll be sticking with peer reviewed research as foundational primary sources. 

    We won't be able to effectively answer value questions. How many more or less permanent radioactive blotches vs. heaps of dead bats & birds on the ground are acceptable as trades for climate mitigation isn't the type of question we can satisfactorily answer.  We can look at research on attitudes and beliefs about thse things, but we can't conclude or suggest  "right" decisions between such choices. They fall in the bucket of "it depends."

    Scientific research can and does identify dependencies and help to improve our collective thinking about how "it depends" unpacks, provide a basis of facts underpinning agreements that will be thrashed out elsewhere in the marketplace of ideas and ideologies. Helping to maintain attachment of discussion and deliberation to useful basic facts is our chosen means of productive activity, the less-duplicative contribution we can make as a practical matter. 

    Thinking of nuclear power since it's a dominant theme in discussion on this thread, research helps to tell us about the plausibility of borehole disposal of high level waste, in a way that is responsive to differences in toleration of of hazard and risk. We can connect readers to that. Research doesn't help much in telling us whether centralized nuclear power generation is a exploitative tool of rent-seeking capitalists or a opportunity for an efficiently run public utility to plug a difficult gap, because the answer to that is "maybe" for both, a matter wandering into ineffability. We can't contribute to resolving this difference here.

    *No U-235 atom is perfectly reliable, yet we can with statistical certainty fission U-235 to liberate power and do work.  That's quite adequate. 

  43. Skeptical Science tackles 'discourses of climate delay' and 'solutions denial'

    nigelj @6, I proposed the material from WNA as a "good start", not the final resolution. How do we find the truth. I propose we start with a clear statement from one side, like we have from WNA. Then we can get a clear statement from the other side and compare. Academic papers are one source, but should not be given automatic priorty over statements from nuclear engineers who know the details of a process or design. Sometimes a peer-reviewed paper is simply wrong, and a good scientist will seek the truth, regardless of the prestige of the source.

  44. One Planet Only Forever at 11:22 AM on 19 June 2022
    Skeptical Science tackles 'discourses of climate delay' and 'solutions denial'

    Another priority for “discourse of climate delay” would be the diversity of unsustainable harmful actions that were quick fixes claimed to be helpful but really weren’t helpful. What is needed is the development of sustainable improvements. Anything other than that is harmful or a harmful distraction.

    The BBC Ideas video “The 12-year-old who tried to save the world” is related. It expressed concern (in 1992) that adult leaders may not responsibly act to limit harm done and would try to claim that they were acting helpfully.

    Examples of this problem since then are:

    • Claims that changing the date of start and stop of Daylight-saving (a silly term to begin with) time change would significantly reduce energy demand. US President Bush did that. And he also declared that Americans did not have to change how they lived.
    • Claims that compact fluorescent bulbs were a part of the solution. They were a harmful wasteful product. It would have been better to get people to replace use lower wattage incandescent bulbs and turn off bulbs when not needing the light while the development of LED light fixtures was prioritizes and expedited. A policy step for that would have been imposing a significant tax on higher wattage bulbs.
    • Claims that wind turbines with blades that could not be recycled or that solar panels made in ways that are hard to recycle were part of the solution. It would have been better to get people who used more electricity than they needed to while the development of recyclable renewable systems was prioritized. A policy step for that would have been imposing a graduated pricing model for home electrical use, with the price rising for steps of higher use ($0.10/kWh for the first amount, $0.15/kWh for the next increment .....)
    • Claims that nuclear fission is part of the solution. Nuclear fission consumes resources without recycling ... it is unsustainable. And nuclear fission produces accumulating harmful waste ... it is doubly unsustainable just like fossil fuel use. But, unlike solar and wind which can be part of a distributed integrated sharing power generation system, nuclear will be centralized power generation that investors and executives are more likely to be able to benefit from, as long as they are ‘privatized’ rather than being ‘Public owned utilities’.

    The status quo of developing a series of harmful unsustainable things and claiming they are improvements that are ‘part of the solution’ is a delay tactic. The actions often do little to encourage the required reduction of energy consumption.

    Reducing energy demand would be far more beneficial to future generations than higher demand for less harmful energy. Totally recyclable renewable energy generation and use may never be developed. It hasn't yet been developed. The most advanced systems still are not fully recyclable and accumulate harmful waste. It is possible that fully recyclable renewable energy systems will never be developed. Seriously restricting energy use is required until fully recyclable renewable energy generation is developed. Those restrictions would seriously motivate the development of the required recyclable renewable energy systems.

    There is ‘only this one planet that is habitable for humans almost forever as long as humans don't ruin it with their technological creativity and related harmful misunderstandings about how great the new things are’. Humans have to learn to adapt to live with that reality.

  45. Antarctica is gaining ice

    Philippe & MAR, thank you for the detailed info.

    Shalom Wulich , your initial assertions are completely wrong. Demonstrably.  Nevertheless, you are an intelligent guy and presumably are aware of your own motivations in questioning the climate science.  It would be helpful to readers (and to yourself) if you would clarify your underlying thoughts in this whole area.

    (For it seems unlikely that you simply awakened one morning and found yourself racked with doubts about the peculiar nature of Antarctic sea-ice extent. )

  46. Skeptical Science tackles 'discourses of climate delay' and 'solutions denial'

    Macquigg, material from the world nuclear association on nuclear waste is not an adequate assessment of the issues around nuclear waste because they have huge vested interests in minimising the problem. It's pretty much going to be one sided spin. 

    If this website documents myths around nuclear waste disposal, I'm confident they would take a balanced approach and read both sides of the debate, but rely heavily on published independent academic research on the issues.

    That said, I'm not an opponent of nuclear power and the problems of nuclear power do sometimes get exaggerated.

  47. michael sweet at 05:02 AM on 19 June 2022
    What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?


    Rereading you post at 27 it appears to me that you are using the terms "chemically treat" and "reprocessing" as equivalent.  They are not equivalent.  Chemically treating the fuel can be a number of different actions, many small, that change the chemical composition of the fuel.  Reprocessing is extensively repurifying the fissile compounds in the fuel to put back into the reactor.  According to you Lyman says: 

    "All MSRs chemically treat the fuel to varying extents while the reactor operates to remove radio-active isotopes that affect reactor performance. Therefore, unlike other reactors, MSRs generally require on-site chemical plants to process their fuel."

    That means that all plants chemically treat their fuel but only some reprocess the fuel.  For example, Thor Con chemically treat the fuel to remove the noble gasses from the fuel.  Thor Con does not reprocess the fuel on site.

    At 27 you say:

    "The point of this statement about on-site processing is to emphasize the risk of diversion of fissile materials from operating reactors. Reprocessing at a secure central location does not have this risk."

    You are saying that chemically treating the fuel is the same as reprocessing the fuel.  This is incorrect.  Lyman says all MSR's chemically treat the fuel since they remove the noble gasses from the fuel.  Some plans call for on site reprocessing but others, like Thor Con, call for off site reprocessing.

    It is not my job to teach you the vocabulary of nuclear plants.  Your claim that Lyman was wrong is incorrect. 

    It is not clear to me what post from Thor Con you refer to.  Most of what I have seen from Thor Con is deliberately deceptive.

    The peer reviewed literature says that uranium is extremely limited.  Nuclear engineers would not be looking at breeder reactors, thorium and obtaining uranium from sea water if they were not resource limited.  From your post at citizendum "As for the cost of fuel, the World Nuclear Association says it is essentially unlimited" my emphasis.   It is not economic to have a fuel with unlimited cost.  Wind and sun are free.

    Nuclear plants are not economic and the materials needed to build them do not exist.

  48. Antarctica is gaining ice

    Shalom Wulich @518,
    You ask "Where is the other trend?" given the passage you quote makes no mention of Antarctic SIE.
    You are actually quoting the header of Section B.3 from the SPM of AR5 WG1 2013. The section you quote is repeated word-for-word within the AR5 Synthesis Report 2014 Secrtion 1.1.3 but the WG1 SPM you actually quote does head a series of eight bullet points, one of which is specifically describing Antarctic SIE and references Section 4.2 of the main AR5 WG1 report which in Chapter 4 Section 4.2.3 Antarctic Sea Ice provides coverage of your missing "other trend." If you would but look this is all fully referenced.

  49. Philippe Chantreau at 03:32 AM on 19 June 2022
    Antarctica is gaining ice

    You see what you want to see even it if it's not there and do not see what you don't want to see, even if it is there. 

    Your did not link AR5, so I went directly to the source.

    From AR5 synthesis report, Topic 1: Observed changes and their causes, section 1.1.3, page 42 (58 in the pdf counter), Cryosphere: "There is high confidence that there are strong regional differences in the trend in Antarctic sea ice extent, with a very likely increase in total extent.

    Further down, it reads " It is very likely that the annual mean Antarctic sea ice extent increased in the range of 1.2 to 1.8% per decade (range of 0.13 to 0.20 million km2 per decade) between 1979 and 2012."

    Is that obvious enough? How else could it be written? How did you miss it?

    Synthesis Report here.

    Earlier you mentioned the Summary for Policymakers. So I went to that part and looked at what it said about the cryosphere. Unsurprisingly, it said almost verbatim the same words as in the synthesis report. Quote from AR5 Summary for Policymakers: " It is very likely that the annual mean Antarctic sea-ice extent increased in the range of 1.2 to 1.8% per decade between 1979 and 2012. However, there is high confidence that there are strong regional differences in Antarctica, with extent increasing in some regions and decreasing in others."

    Those familiar with IPCC know that specific ranges of probability correspond to "likely" or "very likely." As usual, that can be found in the the report.

    Not only AR5 mentions the increase of Antarctic sea ice in the body of the report and in the summary for policymakers, but it even quantifies the size of the increase and the level of confidence in the finding. It also lists scientific references. If that is your idea of sweeping under the rug, you can't be helped.

    You asked the question "Where is the other trend?" 

    The answer is: in the synthesis report and in the summary for policymakers. Read them. For all your talk about what's in the reports, you seem surprisingly ignorant of their actual content.

    The accusation that the IPCC was trying to hide the small increase in Antarctic sea ice that existed at the time of AR5 is baseless, as can be easily verified from examining the report you cited. This suggests that you did not read the material you used for your own argument.

    This: "Ice is decreasing dramatically all over. Measured data is aligend with models, we go to do something, IPCC is totally right !" would certainly qualify as a strawman argument but it is so grotesque that a better name would be a straw clown.

    In the actual IPCC material, what policymakers find is language like this: " In the Synthesis Report, the certainty in key assessment findings is communicated as in the Working Group Reports and Special Reports. It is based on the author teams’ evaluations of underlying scientific understanding and is expressed as a qualitative level of confidence (from very low to very high) and, when possible, probabilistically with a quantified likelihood (from exceptionally unlikely to virtually certain). Where appropriate, findings are also formulated as statements of fact without using uncertainty qualifiers."

    You also do not seem to understand how models are made, validated and used, what ensemble means are and a number of other elements. I have never seen before the expression "approval model." From what you have produced so far, I doubt that there is much point getting into a discussion of these issues. 


  50. Skeptical Science tackles 'discourses of climate delay' and 'solutions denial'

    nigelj, here is a good start: radioactive-wastes-myths-and-realities 

    Safety and Cost are two other areas where the mythology needs some debunking. I share your frustration with the repetition of these myths. Fighting them on social media is an endless game of whack-a-mole. We need a repository of good information we can link to and avoid the repetiion. 

Prev  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  Next

The Consensus Project Website


(free to republish)

© Copyright 2022 John Cook
Home | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us