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Comments 901 to 950:

  1. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    1584. "noone said the surface is heated"

    Stated in the Energy Balance section at the top of this page some energy is "directed back down towards the surface, increasing the surface temperature". The energy budget graphic shows over 300 watts per sq meter going back to the surface. How does more energy get radiated from greenhouse gases than comes from the sun in the first place? Do greenhouse gases create energy out of nothing?

  2. 2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38

    Nigelj @4 :-  "... and financial inequality within countries has increased to problematic levels.  So the picture is complicated."  [unquote]

    Quite so ~ most nations are "improving" in wealth, as judged by average or median GDP per head (inflation adjusted).  But how are the lowermost quintile of people experiencing life?

    What I have not seen, is a comprehensive analysis of the poorest in the poorest Third World nations.  If a subsistence peasant farmer earns $1.00 per day as cash income ~ but then he moves to a city slum and earns $3.00 per day as a laborer . . . he is then recorded as being lifted above the poverty line, and the statisticians are happy about that.  Even though his health and quality of life are likely worse than before.

  3. 2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38

    OPOF @3. I agree and well stated. There is certainly a risk with the glass half full positive view of human history that we concentrate on the positive data and forget the negative data. And such books can get manipulated by people to minimise the negative data.

    Although the numbers dying in global conflicts has decreased steadly since the two world wars (according to The Moral Arc book) , the War in the Ukraine is a sober reminder that things can rapidly change so we are far from achieving a really peaceful, stable  world.

    And although global poverty has decreased on the whole, the situation is still not satisfactory, and  financial inequality within countries has increased to problematic levels. So the picture is complicated.

    And for every environmental improvement some aspect of environmentalism seems to have gone backwards.

    In fact I generally have an inherently  slightly pessimistic and doomy view of the human condition, but positive books like The Moral Arc are a good counter to that and help me keep my understanding accurate and realistic.

    Both books are very data driven. However they should not be read in isolation from books pointing out problems with the human condition, and vice versa.

  4. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist

    Wbru49  @20 :

    What were the points you wish to make about the Happer/Lindzen letter addressed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  ~ were there any important legal or scientific aspects which are worth noting?

    Based on my quick scan of it : the letter seems to be a general outpouring of all sorts of old "denialist" talking points.  Not sure whether it's best described as a rant or as a "Drumpfized" Gish Gallop of nonsenses & half-truths.

    Either way, it is sad to see two elderly scientists showing that peculiar degeneration of intellect which too-often accompanies "Emeritus" status.  Or would be sad ~ if it weren't already Old News.

    Or perhaps I have misunderstood what these two guys are up to.  Are they laying the ground for an actual legal challenge to the EPA . . . or are they just venting?

  5. One Planet Only Forever at 08:55 AM on 27 September 2023
    2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38

    Regarding the Story of the Week and comments by Just Dean and nigelj,

    Positivity can indeed be Good. But focusing on the positives can also develop negative results, particularly if it impedes learning to be less harmful, especially if it hides or excuses undeniably unsustainable beliefs and related unjustified harmful actions.

    Positivity can produce damaging unsustainable attitudes like: ‘Pursuing the interests of <Insert any subset of humanity> First will produce so much Winning (for the sub-set of humanity)’. That ‘positivity’ would include the harmful attitude of Prioritizing the interests of the Current Generation (discounting the interests of the future generations - or being positive that the brilliance of future generations will solve everything). It can also lead to harmful popular nonsense like: ‘There are Fine People on all sides of an issue’ or ‘Every opinion is equally valid’.

    ‘Everybody must be allowed to maintain or improve their enjoyment of their life’ is a very damaging belief. That ‘very positive’ belief has developed many harmful results and many unsustainable ‘positive perceptions of improvement and superior status’, not just harmful climate change impacts.

    The recent NPR article “The U.N. plan to improve the world by 2030 is failing. Does that make it a failure?”, like the Story of the Week, is a well-reasoned evidence-based presentation. Current global Leadership (political and business) has not been improving Humanity’s reality as quickly as it could or should – even though it understands that it could and should do that.

    The presentation by Hannah Richie, a leader in Our World in Data, also correctly points out that the required changes have not been happening quickly enough. But that presentation fails to include the understanding that it is very harmful to ‘wait for less harmful and more sustainable ways of enjoying life to become cheaper and easier’. That belief can only be helpful if it is used by leadership, and supported by others, to justify more rapidly making harmful unsustainable ways of living more expensive or harder, especially more expensive and harder for higher status people to benefit from.

    As nigelj correctly points out, the current developed situation regarding poverty is not measured by ‘today vs. 300 years ago’. It should be measured by recent rates of progress. The failure to succeed in achieving the SDGs indicates that there is a systemic developed problem. A very good recent presentation of this understanding was made by Matthew Stewart in "The 9.9 Percent" (about how the most powerful 0.1% win with support of the 9.9% - excused by a portion of the remaining 90% due to their divisive fighting to become 'higher-status' like the top 10%). “The 9.9 Percent” provides a detailed evidence-based rational understanding of the systemic problem and required changes. In a nut-shell what needs to be done is compromising the ability of the undeserving among the top 0.1 Percent (in wealth and power) to be supported and excused by the rest of the top 10% or any of the 90%. Note: 0.1% of the current global population is 8 million. And 10% is 800 million. Every nation has some undeserving trouble-makers.

     Bit about GDP.

    GDP could be increased by increasing the amount of sustainable development. But a lot of the current developed GDP is unsustainable and harmful. So maintaining current perceptions of GDP. And prolonging the harmful unsustainable activities in an effort to maintain developed perceptions of superior status can be understood to be an exercise in ‘positivity’, a very damaging exercise.

    Harmful activity that directly, and exclusively, improves the life circumstances of people living less than a decent life is understandably ‘harmful unsustainable activity worthy of being prolonged’. But it is understandable that harm done by ‘reduction of poverty’ needs to be limited for the reduction of poverty to be sustainable. Increased or prolonged ‘evaluated value’ of GDP due to harmful activity that people living better than basic decent lives benefit from needs to be understood to be a ‘negative’.

    One of the insidious currently developed results is the popularity of the claim that people only need to change to be less harmful if being less harmful is cheaper and easier. That excuses continued and increasing harmful behaviour because of the unjustified belief that ‘the marketplace will produce cheaper and easier alternatives that are less harmful’.

    The ‘positive optimistic belief’ that things will be developed that are less harmful is unsustainable because ‘less harmful is still harmful’. And if people develop desires for ‘more enjoyable or personally beneficial actions’ the result can be more harm done even if ‘alternatives that are less harmful per unit of consumption or action replace more harmful ways’. More units of less harmful actions per unit can easily be ‘even more harmful’. And expecting people to aspire to be like people who are perceived to be lower status is nonsense. The highest status people need to be setting the least harmful and most helpful example for all others to aspire to. Anyone pursuing other interests should be moved down to the status deserved by their harmful lack of helpfulness.

  6. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    By their fruits ye shall know them. Finland recently switched on its long-delayed Olkiluoto reactor, and promptly joined the select group of countries and regions with power emissions below 100 grams CO2 equivalent/kWh.

    Average for August -

    Finland 67g (47% nuclear)

    France 43g (78% nuclear)

    Germany 370g (37% wind and solar)

    California 282g (25% wind and solar, 9% nuclear)

    Ontario 98g (58% nuclear)

    South Australia 245g (58% wind and solar)

    California's only remaining nuclear plant was saved at the last minute - Governor Newsom realised his state was heading for blackouts. Ontario has recently announced plans to build four small modular reactors - plus four large reactors.

  7. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist

    Are there thoughts about this July 19, 2023 letter from William Happer
    Professor of Physics, Emeritus Princeton University and Richard Lindzen
    Professor of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Emeritus
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology?

  8. At a glance - How do human CO2 emissions compare to natural CO2 emissions?

    For a person making $50,000/yr, and for whom expenses balance with income, a windfall of receiving an additional $2000/yr is a big deal, even though $2000 compared to $50,000 is a small amount. The same is true when comparing human emissions to the otherwise balanced natural carbon sources and sinks.

  9. Climate's changed before

    Recommended Supplemental Reading:

    Yes, there was global warming in prehistoric times. But nothing in millions of years compares with what we see today, Opinion by Michael E Mann, Los Angeles Times, Sep 24, 2023

  10. 2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38

    Just Dean

    Regarding Hannah Ritchies video. I read the main points that she made in her video. Her points were basically that infant mortality is much lower than 300 years ago, poverty has come down, we have made some progess with wind and solar power, coal fired power is declining, and levels of deforestation have generally stopped and environmental pollution in America has fallen (despite economic growth). All worthy points to make and a good counter to the doom and gloom.

    Other writers have put a positive spin on human progress such as Seven Pinker in Enlightenment Now and Michael Shermer in The Moral Arc and IMO both books make good points.

    However economic growth has a good and bad side. The good side is obvious, but the article did point out the bad side. I don't agree with all the points it made, but economic growth has been a prime contributer of deforestation and its a bit naive to think it can continue indefinitely without causing more deforestation. There is also depletion of the worlds fisheries. Economic growth is also generally accepted to be one of the prime causes of mineral resource depletion (along with population growth) that is on track to leave future generations short of basic materials. Economic growth has been one prime cause of pollution in the development phase of many societies. While its possible to have economic growth and keep pollution at moderate levels as America shows, a necessary condition is a strong rule of law absent in many countries and America ( and other developed countries) is not exactly free of all pollution.

    It therefore looks like it would be very difficult and perhaps impossible to have indefinite economic growth based around resource extraction and processing and also have a sustainable environment, and also maintain ever expanding wealth. It is also hard to see how such economic growth would be maintained indefinitely if we are using up finite resources. So it looks like economic growth may fall naturally over time all other things being equal. Economic growth rates have been falling in developed countries since the 1970s anyway.

    Japan has had relatively minimal economic growth over the last 30 years but has maintained a good standard of living. So once countries reach a certain level of wealth it looks like we could have zero or near zero economic growth and maintain a good standard of living.

    However the commentary seemed to call for a more rapid and deliberately planned end to economic growth. This might face difficulties because our entire financial system is based on debt finance reliant on at least some economic growth to pay off the debt. If economic growth was abruptly switched off for good banks would not be able to make loans.

    Any governmnet brave enough to have a policy of zero economic growth (easily achieved through monetary policy) might find the entire business sector waging war against them along with a large part of the population. A zero growth world would probably require large modifications to how capitalism operates and this should be possible but doesn't look like it would be rapidly achieved. It seems more likely to me that economic growth will slow and stop of its own accord due to emerging resource scarcity, demographic changes, etc,etc.

    Its very hard and slow turning large ships around.

  11. 2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38

    I'm surprised that Hannah Ritchie's blogpost, My TED talk is now live ,  on Sep 22 wasn't highlighted. Hannah's message is somewhat in contrast to that offered by Nikayla Jefferson.  Her subtitle reads, "We can live well and tackle our environmental problems at the same time.  Let's do it."  I found her TED Talk quite uplifting and hopeful yet realistic about the work required to create even a better future.

  12. Climate Town: The Brainwashing Of America's Children

    It's another case of "Davz not here, man."

  13. Climate Town: The Brainwashing Of America's Children

    Davz... "Brainwashing" would be an act of convincing someone of things that are untrue. Scientists and those advocating for climate science are acting to inform people of the scientific realities and significant challenges of climate change.

    But, as Bob said. I'm sure this is another drive-by comment you're unwilling to defend.

  14. Climate Town: The Brainwashing Of America's Children


    And who, exactly, are the "climate change evangelists"??? Is there any overlap at all with "climate change scientists"? Can you provide even a single name? Do you have a definition for "climate change evangelist" that doesn't resemble "climate scientists with viewpoints I don't like"?

    Or is this just a drive-by ad hominem?

  15. Climate Town: The Brainwashing Of America's Children

    And the climate change evangelists aren't attempting to brainwash the kids then? 

  16. Climate scientists are in it for the money

    Please note: a new basic version of this rebuttal was published on September 23 and 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 @

  17. Skeptical Science New Research for Week #38 2023

    I must say, the research presented in Week #38 of Skeptical Science has once again left me both astonished and hopeful. As I delved into the details provided by the scientists, my passion for understanding our planet's changing climate grew significantly.

    In this week's research, the team at Skeptical Science dived into a previously unexplored aspect of climate change – the impact of reforestation on global temperatures. The study revealed that widespread reforestation efforts have the potential to mitigate the effects of rising <a href="">KDramas</a> temperatures significantly. The presence of more trees not only helps sequester carbon dioxide but also promotes localized cooling by providing shade and reducing heat absorption by the ground.

    One particular finding caught my attention: the relationship between reforestation and the frequency of heatwaves. The study showed that areas where reforestation efforts had been implemented saw a marked decrease in the intensity and duration of heatwaves. This correlation suggests that trees may act as natural air conditioners, helping to regulate local temperature extremes and protect communities from the adverse effects of heat stress.

    Furthermore, the research team emphasized the importance of utilizing native tree species in reforestation projects. Native trees are better adapted to local climates, enhancing their resilience to changing conditions and ensuring their long-term survival. This key insight offers a valuable lesson for policymakers and environmental organizations collaborating on reforestation initiatives worldwide.

    As I read through the research, it became apparent that the pursuit of reforestation is not only an environmental imperative but also a social responsibility. The study illustrates that by investing in reforestation projects, we can foster healthier ecosystems, safeguard biodiversity, mitigate climate change, and improve human well-being. It provides evidence that tackling climate change need not be a daunting task; rather, it presents a beacon of hope in the form of a practical and effective solution.

    In conclusion, the research presented in Week #38 of Skeptical Science not only sheds light on the critical role reforestation plays in combatting climate change but also ignites a flame of inspiration within individuals like myself. It reaffirms the notion that by working together and taking sustainable action, we have the power to carve a better, greener future. Let us use this knowledge to strive for a world where forests thrive, temperatures stabilize, and harmony between humans and nature is restored.

    With renewed optimism and determination,


    As CuriousNature79 clicked the "Submit" button, they couldn't help but feel a sense of satisfaction. Their comment served as a testament to the impact that thoughtful research, such as the one presented by Skeptical Science, had on individuals around the world. Together, through knowledge and action, they believed that humanity could indeed navigate the complex challenges of climate change and create a brighter future.

  18. At a glance - Do volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans?

    BaerbelW@3 Yes, I like the addition of the screenshot of fact and myth boxes. It gives the "At a glance" segment better context.

  19. It's cosmic rays

    sailingfree @120/121,
    The H. Svensmark input into AGW science has been in general seen as entirely overblown unless you are in denial about AGW when the idea that the sun plays a much bigger role than the climatology shows is usually seen as supportive of their denialism.

    Svensmark first published a cosmic ray climate effect back in 1997 demonstrating a remarkable fit between cosmic rays and global cloud cover. The fit proved to be spurious while experiment has demonstrated the causal link between cosmic rays and cloud formation to be very very weak. Undeterred by these setbacks, Svensmark has since been examining the detail of the cosmic ray/cloudiness relationship in an attempt to show there was a climatic effect after all.

    Part of this analysis by Svensmark homed-in on Forbush Decreases, a phenomenon identified back in the mid-1900s and today catalogued at an average rate of over 100 events per year. A relationship bewteen these Forbush Decreases and changes in cloud had been observed back in the 1990s.

    Svenmark first published on this phenomenon back in 2009. They used the most energetic Forbush Decreases (just 26 over 21 years) to produce a correlation between peak cloudiness and the Forbush Decrease strength (Fig 2- not entirely convincingly) and plotting the averages of cosmic ray evolution and average cloudiness evolution for the five most energetic Forbush Decrease events (Fig 1) although the reason for showing the averaging of these five alone is not evident to me in this paper.

    Svensmark et al (2021) which you ask about is simply Svensmark et al (2009) but using a correlation with the CERES radiation data. The CERES data restricts analysis to post-2000 events and now only the 13 most energetic events are analysed for the correlation (fig 2) with event evolutions averaged from (again) the five strongest events (fig 1), this apparently because there is too much "dominant meteorological noise" if more events are included, although I'm not sure that squares up with the effect being climactically significant.

    Of course, with the sun less active since SunSpotCycle 23, and thus presumably the cosmic rays increasing cloudiness which cools the climate, this would suggest that Svensmark's work would be implying amplification of the role of AGW rather than a diminution which denialists hope for. But such understanding may be a bit too involved for denialists to grasp.

  20. It's cosmic rays

    I interpret his 2021 paper to augment and solidify the fact that man made greenhouse gases are responsible for all of the increase in global temperature over the last half century. As I understand his argument, Increases in coronal mass injections cause more warming of the Earth. But the Sun has become less active over the last half century while the global temperatures increased and CO2 concentration increased . The  the graph in an earlier comment above is also in
    Svensmark's work would predict lower temperatures, but global temperatures are in fact higher.

    Moderator Response:

    [RH] Link shortened

  21. At a glance - Do volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans?

    Note: I just added a screenshot of the fact and myth boxes at the top of the blog post to provide more context for the at-a-glance section. Do you think this is a useful addition to this weekly highlight of the most recently updated rebuttal? Please let us know either here in the comments or via the feedback form. Thanks!

  22. It's cosmic rays

    Can someone here can comment on a more recent Svensmark paper that seems to butress his agrgument? 11 Oct 2021

    On the other hand here is a newer paper with a 40 year data base:

    Thanks in advance to someone more knowledgeable than I am.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Links activated. Please learn how to do this yourself in the comment editor.

  23. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Likeitwarm: "The green plate does not transfer any thermal energy to the source because the source is equal to or warmer than the second plate. Heat only flows in one direction, hot to cold, and is irreversible."

    Indeed. And in the green plate example, the energy flow from blue plate to green plate is 266.7, and the energy flow from the green plate to the blue plate is 133.35. The heat flow is the difference: 133.35 from the hotter (261.9K) blue plate to the cooler (220.2K) green plate. So heat flows from hot to cold as it should.

    "Heat flow is the difference in temperature between two objects": No, heat flow is the net energy flow, which should always go from hot to cold, and does in the green plate example.

    "Energy (radiation) can flow in any direction but will be essentially rejected by a warmer object": This is an imaginary principle. Black bodies absorb *all* photons, even from cooler objects. This does not break the 2nd law, because the energy flow from the warmer object back to the cooler one will always be greater.

    I'm curious: what do you think the solution to the green plate example is? (temperature of both plates) I don't think you can come up with an answer that doesn't break the laws of physics.

  24. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    For convenience, here is the link to the SkS post "The Dynamics of the Green Plate Effect". It was linked in comment 1579, and in the Further Reading green box at the bottom of the OP, but those are not easily visible if you are reading this in the Recent Comments thread.

    Likeitwarm is showing obvious confusion.

    • Infinite feedback loops do not imply increased warming forever. The Dynamics of the Green Plate Effect post represents an infinite feedback system, but it is stable. (Comment 1580)
    • Radiation and thermal energy are not the same thing. (Comment 1581). The Green Plate example does the math for the radiation from the blue plate to the green plate, and from the green plate to the blue plate. Radiation energy is being transferred in both directions.
    • Radiation being "rejected by a warmer object due to not being the high enough frequency according to Planck" is nonsense. (Comment 1584) The Stefan-Boltzman law used in the Green Plate example is a direct derivation from Planck's law. Nothing in that example has any contradiction with Planck's law. Planck's law deals with emissions, not absorption - and "rejection" is a word that has nothing to do with energy transfer.

    If Likeitwarm does not agree with some part of the Green Plate example, then go to that thread to discuss it.

    ...and instead of hand waving, Likeitwarm should really do the math.

  25. At a glance - Do volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans?

    Good point, Evan. Takes a full-on Large Igneous Province episode to make any serious change - and fortunately those are tens of millions of years apart!

  26. At a glance - Do volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans?

    Another way to think about volcanoes is to look back at the record of the really big eruptions: the VEI7 and VEI8 eruptions. The ice-core data does not show any notable change in atmospheric CO2 concentrations associated with these large, infrequent eruptions. Rather, the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations is timed with the start of the industrial revolution, suggesting the cause of the recent rise is not volcanoes, but something associated with the industrial revolution.

    Plot of occurrence of VEI7 volcanoes overlayed on ice-core data of atmospheric CO2 concentration.

  27. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Likeitwarm @1581/1582,

    I assume the reference you make is to D. V. Schroeder (2000) 'An Introduction to Thermal Physics.' If read correctly, Schroeder is saying that it is entropy which is irreversable as it cannot decrease thermodynamically, pointing out in Section 2.6:- 

    If a physical process increases the total entropy of the universe, that process cannot happen in reverse since this would violate the second law of thermodynamics. Processes that create new entropy are therefore said to be irreversible. ... Perhaps the most important type of thermodynamic process is the flow of heat from a hot object to a cold one. We saw in Section 2.3 that this process occurs because the total multiplicity of the combined system thereby increases; hence the total entropy increases also, and heat flow is always irreversible.

    Note that such "heat flow" includes both the flow from a hot object to a cold object as well as the lesser flow from a cold object to a hot one, the two flows being quite evident in a radiative system (as they are also in Schroeder Section 2.3.)

  28. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Likeitwarm... "...but will be essentially rejected..."

    And how does this happen? Where does the energy go? Are you saying it disappears? Does it make a U-turn? 

    Consider the idea that "flow" could mean "net flow." Energy going both ways, but more flowing from the hotter object to the cooler object until the point they are in equilibrium.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Maybe another adherent of the "sentient photon" theory from a decade or so ago. Likeitwarm and others might like go back to "The Imaginary second law of thermodynamics" paying close attention to the Real Second Law of Thermodynamics section.

  29. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Energy (radiation) can flow in any direction but will be essentially rejected by a warmer object due to not being the high enough frequency according to Planck.  So backradiation from the atmosphere will not warm the warmer surface.  Heat flow is the difference in temperature between two objects.  If the surface is warmer, heat will not flow to the surface from the atmosphere.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] You do understand that noone has ever suggested that the atmosphere is warming the surface? This is not conductive heat flow like Schroeder deals with. A photon is going to heat the surface and transfer energy, even if it is the sun. You simply are not understanding the green plate effect at all. Try again, read a text book on Radiative heat transfer (or some of the zillion comments in this thread by others trying this nonsense).

  30. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Likeitwarm :

    you sound confused about what is energy and what is heat.

  31. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    That reference should have been (Schroeder - Thermal Physics)

  32. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    The green plate does not transfer any thermal energy to the source because the source is equal to or warmer than the second plate.  Heat only flows in one direction, hot to cold, and is irreversible. (Schoeder - Thermal Dynamics)

  33. Patrick Brown's recycled hallucination of climate science

    Moderator. I couldn't remember the name of the thread on nuclear power, and I can't find it being mentioned in the list of climate myths or elswehere on the home page. It might be worth considering having a short list of selected climate  artilces below the list of climate myths, obviously including the nuclear page.

  34. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    In reference to my original question,1529, I did some reading during which I had the following thought:

    If radiation from a cool object can make a warmer object warmer and the warmer object makes the cooler object warmer than it was and so on, we have an infinite feedback loop wherein all objects get so hot that they eventually disintegrate as all objects above absolute zero emit radiation.
    That be the effect if the GHE was correct.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] " I did some reading during which I had the following thought:" Perhaps you could consider reading an actual textbook on radiative transfer instead of misreadings of how 2nd Law of thermodynamics works. Bob's link to the green plate effect explains it quite well.

  35. Climate change is destroying reefs, but the effects are more than ecological


    "With all types of relationships, symbiotic but parasitic too. Most animals interact with the others."

    So true. For example we  have politicians dependent on campaign donations from fossil fuel interests and the corporates, and the fossil fuel interests and corporates tell polticians what they can do. "He who pays the piper calls the tune" (traditional proverb. The  phrase comes from the fable of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.) All slowing down progress with the climate mitigation. Glad you raised it.

  36. Climate's changed before

    i have question/comment about the Intermediate Conclusion to Myth #1,

    "To summarize, none of the mechanisms which facilitated previous climate change can explain the rapid rise in both CO2 and temperature observed over the past 150 years. However, human-released CO2 explains both!"

    Wouldn't it be clearer and more definitive to say, "... can explain neither the rapid rise in CO2 or temperature over the past 150 years."?

    The rise in temperature is 10 - 20 times faster than anyting observed before, e.g. warming after the last glacial age. LINK 

    The rise in CO2 is 10x faster than during the PETM and 100x faster than the last glacial age. 



    Moderator Response:

    [RH] Links shortened and activated

  37. Climate change is destroying reefs, but the effects are more than ecological

    A large piece of coral is a interacting society like ours. With all types of relationships, symbiotic but parasitic too. Most animals interact with the others.

  38. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    Per Michael's remarks, it's certainly a curious thing that we continue vigorously debating nuclear power's role as a central player in energy supplies even as it's been outpaced by events. 

    Along the lines of trying to identify a signficant role for Newcomen steam engines— in the year 1900, when triple expansion steam engines were fully evolved. 

  39. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    I am responding to Cork here.

    At post 9 in the linked thread you said:

    "Converting Uranium only plants to thorium /uranium plants would reduce many of the issues"

    When I pointed out that it is impossible to substitute thorium into existing reactors you backpedeled and said at 11 

    "Maybe not today, maybe tomorrow"

    Maybe you should read more of the background on nuclear so that you don't propose more impossible solutions.  Why should I consider anything you say when you start off proposing impossible solutions and then change the goal posts when I call you out?  We don't need thorium reactors, we have wind and solar.

    Thorium does not accumulate in large economically recoverable reserves.  You would be better off trying to recover uranium from the ocean, another impossible task.

    I remember reading about cheap nuclear power designs in Scientific American when I was 15.  They sounded good.  All failed spectacularly.  I am now 65 and nuclear engineers can no longer fool me with their fantasies.

    In France their reactors are falling apart and they have to shut down during the hottest parts of the day when demand is highest.  "Always failing" describes it best.  They have not paid off the loans they took out to build their reactors 40 years ago.  If they were a private business they would have been bankrupt decades ago.

    Bill Gates claimed in 2006 that they would have running reactors in 2020.  17 years later they do not even have a design ready to submit to the regulators.  They gave up on their original design as hopeless and have a new design they hope will be complete someday in the distant future.

    Solar is the cheapest energy in the world with wind as its only compeditor.  Public money spent on nuclear is simply wasted.  That money should be spent installing solar and wind or buiding transmission lines to make the grid stronger. 

    China installed about 100 GW of solar capacity last year alone.  World nuclear capacity has been flat since 2000.  There is not enough nucear under construction to replace existing old plants as they retire.

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

  40. Patrick Brown's recycled hallucination of climate science

    Nuclear is off topic here.  I have responded on topic here.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Thank you Michael. Was getting ready to intervene. Any discussions on nuclear energy belong on the thread that Michael has directed you to. That thread was created specifically to keep the nuclear "Godwin's law" out of other threads.

  41. Patrick Brown's recycled hallucination of climate science

    Heh. Is a variation of "Godwin's Law" that all discussions about climate mitigation converge on nuclear power?

    I like Philippe's circumspect synopsis. Maybe that's because my own perspective is shaped by being a Washington, USA resident. Washington's experience is a case study of the factors Philippe mentions, which I think hinge on our enduring optimism as a species. The more challenging a problem, the more our instinct to optimism is called into play.

    Here in Washington, long ago, the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPS) pursued an ambitious multi-plant nuclear generator construction program. It failed spectacularly, for all the reason Phillippe mentions. It came to be known as "WHOOPS," a mocking reference to the agency in charge. 

    Now, decades later, WPPS is renamed Energy Northwest and is once again pursuing nuclear power, full of optimism. Once again, our rose-tinted vision is being blasted by the harsh glare of implementation problems. See this item for "history doesn't repeat itself but it rhymes:" Small reactors at Hanford: Déjà vu all over again.

    For my part I feel as though fission power is uniquely unforgiving of human nature, starting with "here's the construction budget," continuing through "we grow bored and lazy with routine operation, and we're not good with long term institutional memory" while passing by greed and conflicted objectives in connection with "I want more for myself." Add to that a tendency to political instability at various levels over the span of time needing continuous perfection for safely handling nuclear generation assets. The results of ineluctable human nature in the case of this technology are in turn also uniquely unforgiving; we're not permitted or able to forget or ignore or ameliorate our mistakes in the same way as with our other artifacts.

    France's experience is the very best we can do, the result of a very particular relationship between the generation system and its harboring state, and rare stability. Chernobyl, Fukushima Daiichi and Zaporizhzhia have to be included in the spectrum of known outcomes and undeniable facts on the ground, as well as Washington's first failure and what appears to be evolving into its second.

    We consistently confuse good luck with skill. If we're OK in consensus with certain statistical rates of fiscal or physical or political disasters— good luck exhausted— then by all means let's use nuclear fission for power generation. But let's stop lying to ourselves about its characteristics when collided with human nature.  

    "This time will be different!" No. Our renewable energy of optimism fails to encompass that our species and our behaviors are constants even as we fiddle with the edges of nuclear physics to make it more friendly to our defects. The main engineering problem lies between our ears, and it's not likely we'll reach a state of perfection inside that confused space. 

  42. Philippe Chantreau at 04:34 AM on 18 September 2023
    Patrick Brown's recycled hallucination of climate science

    I come fron a country that has relied heavily on nuclear for 60 years, initially chosen to reduce dependence on foreign fossil fuels. Undeniable success has been reached in that pursuit and it has now the consequence of maintaining a lower per capita carbon footprint that many other industrialized nations. However, it was not without costs and difficulties.

    More recently, the building of nuclear plants has shown to inevitably happen over multiple times the time initially planned, and for a multiple of the cost (see Olkiluoto, adn Flamanville). That is a real problem.

    In the US, the other problem is the commercial structure of energy production. Nobody has the enormous amount of money to build these plants, certainly not without public based participation or guarantees. What I see amounts to private actors asking for public money to build rather pharaonic facilities, that they later expect to operate as if they were private properties. Not OK.

    There are other problems with nuclear relying on fission. Material availability and the very large delays to come online are 2 major ones. We'll see what happens to the plant being built by Gates in Wyoming.

    I believe that an all-out effort toward fusion is a much better way to look at the longer term future. In the meantime, all low hanging fruits should be picked, and I'm not sure nuclear costs, engineering challenges and delays place it in that category. Existing plants certainly should be exploited for everything they can give. 

  43. Patrick Brown's recycled hallucination of climate science

    International Atomic Energy Agency › newscenter › news › thoriums-lon...

    Maybe not today, maybe tomorrow. 

    Moderator Response:

    [RH] Added link for readers' benefit (you can actually do this yourself, CORK)

  44. Skeptical Science New Research for Week #37 2023


    For those who are not watching the hurricane season in the Atlantic ocean, Tropical Storm Nigel formed today.  It is epxected to become a hurricane tomorrow.  It is not expected to threaten any land areas.

  45. Patrick Brown's recycled hallucination of climate science


    It is impossible to convert existing uranium plants to thorium.  Thorium plants have to be specifically designed to be breeder plants.  No comercial plants are breeder plants. Breeder plants are much more expensive and difficult to design and run than once through plants.  A thorium supporter here at SkS referred me to a design that used 5000 Kg of bomb grade uranium to start up.  What could possibly go wrong with that???

    There is not as much economically recoverable thorium in the Earth as you think.

    Nuclear supporters with fantasies of replacing uranium straight up with throium are completely uninformed about how nuclear plants work.  Why do you believe the propaganda you hear from individuals who are completely uninformed?

  46. Patrick Brown's recycled hallucination of climate science

    Converting Uranium only plants to thorium /uranium plants would reduce many of the issues. Thorium is widespread in vast volumes all over the planet and it cannot be used to make nuclear weapons.

    Anyhow, thanks for your comprehensive answer.  

  47. Human CO2 is a tiny % of CO2 emissions

    Please note: the basic version of this rebuttal has been updated on September 17, 2023 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 @

  48. Patrick Brown's recycled hallucination of climate science


    "Nevertheless, I opened the link to the Breakthrough Institute and all I found were articles promoting the reduction of greenhouses gasses emissions by expanding the use of Throrium/Uranium in pre-existing nuclear plants and other plants to be built in the emergent countries where no other option may be available."

    When I opened the link I found articles on multiple different power sources, food and agriculture, and more issues. Listed right on the opening pages and menu bar.

    The articles promoted nuclear power and mostly cricised wind and solar power judging by the titles. The articles leaned strongly towards free market solutions rather than governmnet lead solutions so there is a clear ideological leaning.

    Out of curiosity I googled The Breakthrough Institute:

    "Tucked away in the heart of liberal Berkeley is one of the most controversial organizations in the environmental movement: the Breakthrough Institute, known for advocating for nuclear energy and a pugilistic approach to disagreement."

    "The think tank’s critics, who include prominent advocates and researchers, decry the group as advancing right-wing ideas and say its policy proposals would delay action on climate change. But if the Breakthrough Institute’s leaders are to be believed, they are reformers with a 21st century strategy for solving the planet’s problems......"

    SF Chronical article

    "While sometimes functioning as shadow universities, think tanks have been exposed as quasi lobbying organizations, with little funding transparency. Recent research has also pointed out that think tanks suffer from a lack of intellectual rigor. A case in point is the Breakthrough Institute run by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, which describes itself as a "progressive think tank."

    "The Breakthrough Institute has a clear history as a contrarian outlet for information on climate change and regularly criticizes environmental groups. One writer describes them as a “program for hippie-punching your way to fame and fortune.” So it was not shocking to see their column last Wednesday in the New York Times criticizing a new documentary on climate change that was put together by award-winning journalists. In their article, Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger state that the documentary will raise public skepticism about climate change because it uses scare tactics......"

    "Anyhow when I wrote "All hands on board! Each point of view should be heard. Teaming up will be the only answer." I meant that thorium/uranium are tools in the box and it may not be possible to do without them."

    Possibly. I have no objection to the use of nuclear power in principle. I'm somewhat energy agnostic as long as its clean, zero carbon energy (or close to it). Nuclear power is essentially clean zero carbon energy.

    That said, nuclear power is not looking like a big part of the climate solution.  Its too slow to build, its very expensive to build, its more expensive generation than wind and solar power (refer to an energy analysis like Lazard), and there are problems with waste disposal.

    Uranium is a finite resource and one of the less common minerals in the earths crust, and it cant be recycled like materials used in wind power turbines. Nuclear power is not liked by the general public in western countries due to the perceived danger (this may be overblown but perceptions are perceptions.)

    Its therefore unlikely generating companies or governmnets in western democracies would choose nuclear power right now. And its totally understandable. Its up to the nuclear industry to solve these problems. Nobody else can solve them.

    Personally I think we should push ahead with things like wind and solar power and perhaps nuclear power might eventually become part of the mix. Many countries have traditionally had a mixture of electricity generation. I suspect looking for the one perfect generating source is a delusion.

    Moderator Response:

    [RH] Shortened link

  49. We're coming out of the Little Ice Age

    Recommended supplemental article:

    What climate change deniers get totally wrong about the Little Ice Age

    What does a regional period of mid-millennial cooling have to do with today's climate disasters? Absolutely nothing

    by Matthew Rozsa, Science & Health, Salon, Aug 7, 2023

  50. Akasofu Proved Global Warming is Just a Recovery from the Little Ice Age

    Recommended supplemental article:

    What climate  change deniers get totally wrong about the Little Ice Age

    What does a regional period of mid-millennial cooling have to do with today's climate disasters? Absolutely nothing

    by Matthew Rozsa, Science & Health, Salon, Aug 7, 2023

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