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Why does Anthony Watts drive an electric car?

Posted on 3 June 2010 by Rob Honeycutt

Guest post by Rob Honeycutt

In my last posting on Skeptical Science I cast myself as a spectator in a kung fu match observing the bare knuckle conflict over the famous hockey stick.  Since that time (what, two weeks) I've not managed to complete any courses in physics or climate science.  I've earned no degrees.  I still do not hold a PhD in any field of science.  None-the-less I maintain a strong interest in this issue.  This time around I cast myself as a sort of Stan Laurel to you smarter Oliver Hardy's of the science world.  Maybe, in this position I can help illuminate something new to the world of climate change.  If I get this horribly wrong please feel free to pull my derby hat down around my ears in the comments section.


Fig 1.  One of Laurel and Hardy's famous routines where Stan uses his thumb as a lighter.  Don't try this trick at home kids.

I want to take up an issue that has perplexed me for a while.  Why is it that deniers choose to deny climate change?  The overwhelming evidence is in support of anthropogenic climate change being real.  But the opposition to the science is fierce!  In fact, it seems that the more we understand about climate and it's relationship with CO2, the more fierce the opposition becomes.  Shouldn't this be the opposite?  Shouldn't the science being more and more sure produce more acceptance of the issue?  Apparently not.  I believe this counter intuitive result is embodied in one of the fiercest deniers on the planet.  Anthony Watts.  He claims to drive an electric car because it costs less.  But he also has a 10 kw photovoltaic array on his roof which, at this point, has cost him more for energy that just pulling from the grid.  I mean, Watts up with that?

To begin to try to explore this I've created a diagram of what I believe goes on in science.  Again, from my non-scientific perspective, this is what I understand about the process.  On any given science there is research performed to better understand that topic.  Scientists produce studies, review material, create conclusions.  Slowly a picture emerges.  Old ideas that don't fit are discarded (sometimes begrudgingly) but the reality of the matter slowly becomes more clear.  There are always differing opinions.  Researchers critique each others work (blue arrows).  Some put forth studies that try to reject the general consensus.  But ultimately we accept what the greater body of evidence tells us.  This, I believe, is what works well about science.  This is how we have come to understand a great deal of the world around us.


Fig 2.  The Sphere of Peer Reviewed Science

In this diagram (Fig 2) I'm trying to paint a general picture of the state of climate science as it stands.  This is not a detailed study so I'm not trying to make any definitive statements about the positions of any of the people whose names I've used.  I'm trying to paint a picture that gives a sense of where the science is.  I've spent some time reading a fair number of scientific papers on various aspects of climate change.  What I'm getting out of it is that current warming is real and it is primarily through anthropogenic CO2.  Of course, in science, it's not a black and white question so there are people producing results that show a variety of nuanced answers.  But I believe the predominant peer reviewed science is pointing to the upper right quadrant of more warming and human influence.  There are, of course, contrarians also doing good research that are producing results that suggest less warming and less influence from man-made sources.  But these are far fewer.


Fig 3.  The Realm of Modern Media

If the issue was the evolution of various species of dinosaurs or aspects of continental drift, from the outside world it would be a non-issue.  Scientists might wage a fierce battle over whether birds were once dinosaurs but the general public is largely not going to care much.  It makes for an interesting moment in a Hollywood movie.  But climate change is different.  Because it has an economic factor it also becomes a political issue.  If it's a political issue then people take sides.  The battle lines are drawn.  Now, if you believe AGW is real then you're a liberal.  If you believe it's not real then you're conservative.  It doesn't matter if you are or not.  Those are the lines that have been drawn.

In this diagram (Fig 3) the inner sphere is the world of real science.  The outer sphere is modern media interpreting science.  I use the term "modern media" in a very specific way.  The internet has dramatically changed the way people get information.  Essentially, now, you can take a position and find the news that fits your preconceived notions of what you want to believe.  Media has become less an interpreter of issues and more a bunker from which sides take aim to bombard issues.  Admittedly, from my own biased standpoint, I see one side trying to present the science of climate change, with some extremes that fall outside of the science, but I think they are trying to highlight the findings of science.  The other side, while often trying to point out the contrarian aspects of climate science seem to take a great deal more liberty with the facts.  They act to try to pull the public perception of the issue away from legitimate science.


Fig 4.  Ideological Influencers

This graphic is getting increasingly complex and I hope, as Stanley, not to bang too many of you in the back of the head with my 2 by 4 as I work my way through this logic.  Have a little patience, I think it'll make sense.

Moving on, in Fig 4 I see backing up each of these sides are larger financial and ideological interests.  These are the big guns.  These are the parties that drive or fund the opposing sides on the issue of climate change.  Again, from my likely biased perspective, I see one side trying to push the predominant scientific position and one side going far outside the science.  I do believe that both sides stray from the core science but I believe the conservative side take a great deal more liberties with the scientific facts.  But I believe there is a reason behind these positions.


Fig 5.  The Resulting Dynamic

In Fig 5 I'm showing the resulting dynamics that come from this battle of ideologies.  When you step back from the picture it really doesn't matter how correct the science of climate change is.  The more conclusive the science gets, and the more the left hammers on how conclusive the science is, then the further and further the right will move to counter that position.  I'm not trying to say this is right or wrong.  It just is.

Sometimes I hear people say that it's going to require dramatic climatic events to "prove" to the general population that climate change is real.  I don't think that will even work.  It will only serve to push the side opposing the general scientific consensus further away.  Political divides will greatly widen perhaps with disastrous consequences.  What kind of awful conundrum is this?  By doing more research into climate change and by being more assured of climate change we might be pushing the world toward a worse outcome?

Again, I go back to Anthony Watts.  According to his website he loves his little electric car.  He hates everything about climate science but loves that electric car.  I've had other similar experiences where I (all too often) get into debates online with climate change deniers.  I have a favorite Youtube video that I pass along from Oregon Public Television of a guy who has converted a 1972 Datsun into an electric dragster.  He takes his little Datsun out to the drag strip and knocks the proverbial socks off the muscle cars.  Why?  Electric motors have full torque from zero through ~13,000 rpms.  Electric engines, turns out, kick frickin' butt!

Every time I get a climate change denier to watch the video this odd transformation takes place.  Suddenly, well, all the climate science is still bunk but I've made a buddy.  They start talking about how energy independence is a good idea.  They say they aren't against clean energy.  They like it, in fact.  It's the right thing to do.  They want an electric car that kicks frickin' butt.  They want US jobs.  They want to pay less for energy.  They want everything that is totally in line with all the solutions to climate change.  Ironically, I think Anthony Watts probably does too.

This is where the magic is.  At risk of comic over simplification (watch out, here comes that 2 by 4 again), I think it's basic human nature.  We are monkeys who like stuff and this is the mistake being made.  People have it in their heads that climate change means they're going to lose their stuff.  Want to start a fight?  Tell someone they have to give up their SUV.  Want to win that same fight?  Give them something better.

There is an excellent TED talk given by Bill Gates on climate change where he says, "We need miracles."  He is exactly right.  The science is clear.  Global warming is real and is a serious concern.  But if we want to leave a better world for our grandchildren we need to make the Anthony Watts of the world happy.  We need to give them solutions.  Cheaper, cleaner energy.  Butt-kicking electric cars.  Domestic jobs.  The same thing we all want.

I don't want to suggest that anyone let up on the facts of climate change.  But I would like to suggest that the solution is not only about knowing.  The solution is in the world we create in response.

As Stan would say with a nod of his head, "That's right, Oli."

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Comments 101 to 122 out of 122:

  1. Argus, I glanced briefly at that list of "35 errors" and I'm very unimpressed. If I had to summarize the problems with that list, I'd say that in the typical case Monckton skews his interpretation of Gore's statement in one direction, skews his interpretation of the science in another direction, and thus creates the appearance of an "error" where none really exists. There's also a lot of just plain confusion, like showing a time-series of Antarctic sea ice to criticize Gore's statement about the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (i.e., Monckton or whoever created that list doesn't understand the difference between sea ice and land ice). I've read the book version of AIT and seen the film version a couple of times. There are a half-dozen or so places where there are statements or graphics that I'm unhappy about. Most of it, however, seems fine to me, and better than average for the field of "science popularization".
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  2. Re: Foregoing discussion on Al Gore Al Gore is doing his best to live up to his principles. but examples of great men failing to live up to their stated principles abound in history. Thomas Jefferson keeping slaves is probebly the most notorious. If someone enunciates something new and forceful, its ok for them to be on a learning curve like the rest of us.
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  3. CBDunkerson... Actually, Tesla stopped producing the Roadster this year, making current owners extremely happy as they now own a very limited edition car. I think total produced was in the neighborhood of 1000. Haven't seen the Fisker Karma. Will check it out. The Nissan Leaf is the car I think you're looking for. I think their range in about 100 miles and it's all electric. Personally, I'm hoping to skip the hybrid thing. In my head two wrongs don't make a right. I love the simplicity of an all electric. But I want all electric with some range. The Tesla Model S has, I think, 3 battery set ups for different ranges up to 300+ miles. But I think I'd stick with the 160 mile battery and rent a gas car for those rare long distance trips. Will probably be putting my deposit down on a Model S next month. I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that charging stations (as an equivalent to a gas station now) will never come to pass in any meaningful way. In the next decade or so battery technology is going to get a lot better. So much better that every car will have enough battery to take you as far as you want to go before you need to sleep. Hotels and motels will have to have parking with charging stations.
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  4. To close out this thread I have a companion photo to the opening Laurel and Hardy image...
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  5. I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that charging stations (as an equivalent to a gas station now) will never come to pass in any meaningful way. I was delighted to see that in Israel there's an outfit attempting to launch a business centered around standardized batteries that can be quickly removed and replaced from a vehicle, something I'm sure a lot of us have envisioned. That centralizes the charging arrangement, allows battery depreciation/degradation to be handled in a way friendlier to most pocketbooks. The economics of replacement and profit are relatively easy to handle especially when batteries can be equipped with onboard history to help account for abusive discharge and the like. A further benefit of this approach is that it's highly amenable to robotic assistance. The scheme is sort of the equivalent of the standardized gas refueling receptacle and nozzles we're accustomed to. Unfortunately proprietary considerations will probably cause this approach to fail. I'm really impressed by the Leaf; for my household we could eliminate nearly all of our gasoline consumption using this vehicle, leaving our remaining archaic vehicle largely in the garage. Combined with the reduction of gasoline costs and reasonably affordable price of the car I think I can finish justifying this choice by the additional safety features now missing from our current vehicles. I had a reminder on that just the other day when an oncoming car was pushed into my path in a collision, striking my vehicle w/enough force to deploy the other car's airbags and exposing me to a hell of a bang on the head. A compelling reason to retire a 23 year old vehicle...
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  6. Doug... I actually saw a TED talk about that same battery swap program. As I remember part of the model is that you wouldn't own the battery in your car. You'd just drive in and a machine would swap out the battery on the underside of the car. The Tesla Model S is apparently built with the battery swap idea in mind. I still think it's a dubious business model with a future unknown like battery technology. Plus, current gas stations are based on a model where we all have to fill up fairly frequently. If you get 100 mile range on a battery that means that over 90% of "refueling" will take place at night in people's homes.
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  7. Rob, for sure when I remove my rose-tinted spectacles the swap idea does have some faults. However looking through neutral density I also realize we've got millions of vehicles owned by folks living in apartments, condos and "townhomes" w/parking arrangements distinctly problematic for retrofit with plug-in chargers. It'll be easy for me to charge, I've got ample 110 and 220 in my attached garage. Yet my brother lives in an apartment with his vehicle parked in a low-density arrangement that looks as though it would be extremely expensive to retrofit with charging infrastructure. Beyond the sheer amount of hardware and labor needed to equip the parking area with chargers, the parking spaces themselves do not closely correlate with the apartment location. Some form of duplicative electric metering would be needed, even if in the form of an integrator in the vehicle that could be read via wireless at the gate or whatever. Or maybe a credit card reader at the charger? What to do? Yet another head-scratcher. Hmmm.
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  8. Doug, You're right. I hadn't thought about that. It's been a while since I lived in an apartment. A quick google search turns this up though... I wish I had the patent on that thing.
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  9. Ha! Maybe, in time, the whole car is going to fold up like George Jetson's car and we'll carry it into our homes like a briefcase and charge it there. :-)
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  10. actually thoughtfull, "www.capanddividend.org - a web site devoted to the idea. Senators Cantwell and Collins have introduced a bill to create this tax as law." I have to say that this seems to be a pretty good idea based on my limited reading of it. doug:"Regarding your second remark, what I fail to see is how considerations of the "free market" are useful or appropriate when discussing an almost exact analogue to other pollutants, of the sort we've discovered are technical problems amenable to solution, with a scientifically demonstrated compelling requirement to be corrected, and which the free market has historically always proven incapable of addressing on its own." Perhaps, the market has been unable to address these issues on its own, but it has always been part of the solution. To pretend OTW is to pretty much ensure that whatever position you advocate will either a.never be adopted or b. Effective long-term action is always economical in nature IMO. "Finally, there has never been a functioning example of a pure "free market" any more than there ever has been one of communism. Fortunate, because each would be intolerably obnoxious in its own unique way, more so than we've experienced with the corrupted implementations with which we've so far experimented." Well, clearly communism never worked, but I think that the vast majority of markets function pretty darn well. If your point is that no markets are 100% free, then OK I will accept that arguendo (kijiji may not be completely free but its close). This doesn't mean that we should ignore the market, though. "Your assertion in #96 is rather difficult to believe, by the way. Have you actually explicitly asked these folks you speak of whether they'd reject a quick and reasonably clean path to solving both our energy requirements and our present C02 pollution problem?" Well, I never said that they would *reject* it, I said that they would be disappointed by it because it would make their other goals more difficult to achieve. I don't personally think that this is all that unusual a position. You will often find members of "green" parties who oppose research into fusion, even though it is comparatively inexpensive. See the Wiki page on the ITER reactor for a couple examples: "Jan Vande Putte of Greenpeace International said that "Governments should not waste our money on a dangerous toy which will never deliver any useful energy". "Instead, they should invest in renewable energy which is abundantly available, not in 2080 but today."[15]" "Rebecca Harms, Green/EFA member of the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, said: "In the next 50 years nuclear fusion will neither tackle climate change nor guarantee the security of our energy supply." Arguing that the EU's energy research should be focused elsewhere, she said: "The Green/EFA group demands that these funds be spent instead on energy research that is relevant to the future. A major focus should now be put on renewable sources of energy." French Green party lawmaker Noël Mamère claims that more concrete efforts to fight present-day global warming will be neglected as a result of ITER: "This is not good news for the fight against the greenhouse effect because we're going to put ten billion euros towards a project that has a term of 30-50 years when we're not even sure it will be effective."[20]" Cheers, :)
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  11. Shawn, try as I can I do not see sufficient grounds for violent disagreement with your last reply. I maintain that the market has been ineffective in tackling some problems, notably (and sorry to be so boringly repetitious on this) municipal sewage system. The market provides vital bits and pieces to be plugged into sewage treatment systems but there just does not seem to be sufficient profit in the actual collection and treatment process per se. Yet there's not doubt that creating a market for trading pollution credits can be a boon by the simple act of imposing a price on those pollutants. Personally I like the concept of a fusion reactor but at the same time I can't help but notice the really large one we are orbiting and that is a dominant feature of our daytime sky. Many people find themselves frustrated that we are attempting to build a little puny one down here before harnessing the article already having the virtue of existence. Fortunately it's not a matter of mutual exclusivity; we can do both.
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  12. Further to fusion, here's an interesting little comparison of the costs of fusion R&D versus other things we're buying: The Cost & importance of Fusion Research in Perspective Written by an interested physicist, I suspect but the numbers are the same regardless.
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  13. Shawn, I consider myself "left-of-center", & if someone said that they had a viable means of generating 24/7 electricity with a lifetime CO2 footprint of less than 10g/kw-h, then I'd say BUILD IT! One reason I'm a huge fan of bio-sequestration is because its a *proven* method of reducing CO2 emissions at the source of generation. On the demand side of things, I'd love nothing more than if my local energy suppliers sold the concepts of energy efficiency & green energy with the same vigor as they flog kw-h from more conventional sources. The problem with all of these, though, is that vested interests often seem to get in the way-which is where the government usually has to step in.
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  14. Speaking of vested interests, I'll highlight some key reasons why I think electric cars still haven't made it big (forgive my use of Australian costs & units of measure-but that's all I have to go on ;) ). As I stated earlier, the average electric car consumes around 12kw-h of electricity for every 100km traveled. In Australia, the average cost of grid electricity is about 25c/kw-h, or around 15c during off-peak. This means that your car will cost about $1.80 to $3.00 for every 100km traveled. By contrast, an IC engine vehicle uses an average of 10L of petrol per 100km (closer to 12L if you factor in peak-time idling). At a current cost of around $1.30 per liter, this means that you'll pay $130 for every $13 for every 100km you travel. See why there's so much opposition? Add to that the fact that electric cars tend to break down less often, require less maintenance & require far less replacement parts (as they have far fewer parts subject to general wear & tear) & you start to see why EV's are a God-Send to the average consumer, but are so hated by the oil & automobile industries ;)!
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  15. shawnhet writes: Well, maybe it's simply the folks that I talk to, but I know a fair number of people who if you had a cost-free fix to AGW(say viable fusion) would be disappointed, because it would make it more difficult to make the sorts of changes they are in favor of. and then elaborates: Well, I never said that they would *reject* it, I said that they would be disappointed by it because it would make their other goals more difficult to achieve. I don't personally think that this is all that unusual a position. You will often find members of "green" parties who oppose research into fusion, even though it is comparatively inexpensive. I would be very surprised if there was any substantial number of people who would not be thrilled to have an inexpensive and effective way to "fix" AGW. Furthermore, inventing a hypothetical case and then making negative assumptions about how people would respond just doesn't seem like a useful way of promoting cooperation or understanding. In particular, your comment about "it would make their other goals more difficult to achieve" is a bit disconcerting to me. Perhaps this isn't what you meant, but I do read a lot on "contrarian" sites about how concern for AGW is really just a fig-leaf for people who want to impose a big-government agenda on the world. Strangely enough, despite some familiarity with climate change activists, I really don't see any evidence of that. I really think this is a case where people are ascribing dark motives to their opponents because if you find yourself opposed to someone it's more psychologically comforting to believe that they're trying to impose some nefarious agenda on the world than that they really do just think there's a global environmental crisis that needs to be solved. (My apologies if this is not what you mean, shawnhet, and I realize that this paragraph may be venturing into issues that are properly considered offtopic and inappropriate on this site). With regard specifically to fusion, there are a number of reasons why people you've talked to might be less than enthusiastic. First, we don't yet have economically viable fusion, despite its being allegedly "just around the corner" for half a century or so. So people might be concerned that you're suggesting doing nothing about carbon emissions today based on the promise of a solution that might or might not arise at some point in the future. Second, the (fission-based) nuclear industry has historically required large government subsidies, and in the US there is certainly a perception that other forms of government support are necessary as well (e.g., limits to legal liability in the case of an accident). Given that history, one can understand why people might be skeptical of the nuclear industry as an "inexpensive" solution to our energy problems. I personally think that it has to be part of the solution, but let's be realistic about the costs involved. My preference really would be for a market-based solution. Ideally we'd have a high price for carbon, no government subsidies for any particular alternative solution (solar, wind, hydro, nuclear....), no other artificial supports (like legal immunity) and then the market can work out what the most effective mix of energy sources is. If cheap and safe fusion becomes viable, great. If it doesn't, there are other options.
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  16. Doug, "I maintain that the market has been ineffective in tackling some problems, notably (and sorry to be so boringly repetitious on this) municipal sewage system. The market provides vital bits and pieces to be plugged into sewage treatment systems but there just does not seem to be sufficient profit in the actual collection and treatment process per se. Yet there's not doubt that creating a market for trading pollution credits can be a boon by the simple act of imposing a price on those pollutants." I agree that the market alone can't tackle every problem, however, I think that once we can get the market *to work on a problem* it is very good at finding efficient solutions to it. Further, to your municipal sewage example, I think it is worth pointing out that not all sewage treatment is based on the municipal system(septic tanks for one). It so happens that the municipal treatment system is, generally, a pretty economical/efficient one for most folks. This model will not work for CO2 though(CO2 goes up into the air, not down into the earth or water, for one. Ned, "I would be very surprised if there was any substantial number of people who would not be thrilled to have an inexpensive and effective way to "fix" AGW. Furthermore, inventing a hypothetical case and then making negative assumptions about how people would respond just doesn't seem like a useful way of promoting cooperation or understanding. In particular, your comment about "it would make their other goals more difficult to achieve" is a bit disconcerting to me. Perhaps this isn't what you meant, but I do read a lot on "contrarian" sites about how concern for AGW is really just a fig-leaf for people who want to impose a big-government agenda on the world. Strangely enough, despite some familiarity with climate change activists, I really don't see any evidence of that. I really think this is a case where people are ascribing dark motives to their opponents because if you find yourself opposed to someone it's more psychologically comforting to believe that they're trying to impose some nefarious agenda on the world than that they really do just think there's a global environmental crisis that needs to be solved. (My apologies if this is not what you mean, shawnhet, and I realize that this paragraph may be venturing into issues that are properly considered offtopic and inappropriate on this site)." http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/releases/ITERprojectFrance/ http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/22/fusion_greenpeace_no/ Well, I don't think I'm imputing "dark" motives to environmentalists I'm talking about(and I don't know how large a segment of the population generally they might make up). My reading of their philosophy is essentially that they want to reduce the human "footprint" generally(where a climate activist wants to reduce the carbon footprint). In this context, it is not hard to see why an environmentalist would view commercial fusion as a bad thing. Fusion would allow humans to increase the size of their "footprint" at almost no cost. If you think that footprint, generally, is a bad thing, you would not want fusion. On its own, I don't this implies dark motives to environmentalists, they may well be right about wanting to limit all human manipulation of the environment(I don't share this view). In the interest of accuracy, though, I will say that I have met a few environmentalists that are pretty comfortable with the idea of forcing people to do what they think is right. I, personally, view *this* as a somewhat "dark" trait. "First, we don't yet have economically viable fusion, despite its being allegedly "just around the corner" for half a century or so. So people might be concerned that you're suggesting doing nothing about carbon emissions today based on the promise of a solution that might or might not arise at some point in the future." Yes, it is true that we don't have viable fusion now, and that the scientific consensus of fifty years ago(that we would have fusion by now) was wrong. That doesn't mean that put some money down to *research* it. As to your second point, what we should do now - my position is that currently we don't have the ability to solve the problem, but that there is every reason to believe that a solution is possible in the future. Most of the stuff we do right now is essentially wasted effort IMO. We spend a huge amount of effort trying(and failing) to use today's technology to fix tomorrow's problems. It would be much more efficient to try and develop new technology first and then implement it. Even assuming fusion turns out to be a no go, barely a week goes by without some progress on the solar front. Cheers, :)
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  17. shawnhet, there are many of us on this site who consider ourselves "environmentalists" and who would be delighted rather than disappointed at the prospect of some hypothetical "cost-free" solution to AGW. I would suggest that you'd be better off engaging the positions of people who are actually on this site and who can respond to your comments, rather than attacking some viewpoint that it's not clear anyone here actually holds.
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  18. Ok, Ned. You did ask about what I was talking about though. I was simply responding to your query. Cheers, :)
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  19. @ Marcus #91 regarding discussion with "theendisfar". In the youtubian sphere, I occasionaly find myself arguing with people like the "theendisfar" and I have found many of your posts in this dicussion a bit clarifying. To characterize their position, I would suggest a Lindzen-type professor, sitting in a comfy chair, laughing at the idiocy of connecting CC/GW with any one cause (CO2) as laughable since it is such a complex system. They appear, to me, to hide under the complexity blanket - pointing out errors made by others (sometimes rightly so) but never really dealing with the issues of what the models are saying etc.(as an example). They claim CC is a "soft" science, citing what is unknown, -the lack of a simple/testable model- but do not contribute any new knowledge. And they certainly don't publish meaningful alternatives with any explanatory power. I like how your harped on the greenhouse gas basics in your posts in this discussion - something it, appeared to me, that theendisfar failed to answer. They seem to focus on all the reasons for doubting AGW, while the evidence for it is dismissed out of hand - almost as if by principle - on scientific grounds. Am I wrong in this?: If their claims were correct, wouldn't they have a lot more to publish about in the journals? Their arguments seem primarily focused on discussions in the blogsphere and media worlds rather than where the real scientific showdowns occur - in the periodicals.
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  20. I'm a bit of a skeptic, but that didn't stop me from installing a 5.6 kw solar panel array. Mainly it seemed like a pretty bullet proof investment given the great likelihood of ongoing increases in electricity rates, and I hate bills. But thanks to the great AGW scare it suddenly became an even better investment when the guvmint decided to subsidize its installation and allow me to roughly double the rate of return by selling renewable energy credits. Thanks y'all for turning a marginal, but attractive(I hate bills) investment into one that is delivering around 6.5% and rising for the next 20 years.
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  21. Philc, if you've not done it already, be sure to check on solar domestic hot water. Great bang for the buck. Works for me here in Seattle, worst-case scenario second only to Anchorage for U.S. cities and appears set to pay for itself before my 13 year old graduates from college even though I did not bother with any taxation juju. For some reason, here in the U.S. this is a big surprise...
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  22. philc wrote : "Thanks y'all for turning a marginal, but attractive(I hate bills) investment into one that is delivering around 6.5% and rising for the next 20 years." And yet the so-called skeptics reckon we are going to have to go back to the Stone Age and wear sack-cloths if we want to do anything to restrict the use of Carbon ? What you called the 'great AGW scare' seems more like the great AGW benefit (a benefit to alleviate a problem) to me. A great advertisement for doing the right thing : well done.
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