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

Bluesky Facebook LinkedIn Mastodon MeWe

Twitter YouTube 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


Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

Posted on 28 September 2017 by John Abraham

As soon as Donald Trump won the presidential election, people in the US and around the world knew it was terrible news for the environment. Not wanting to believe that he would try to follow through on our worst fears, we held out hope

Those hopes for a sane US federal government were misplaced. But they are replaced by a new hope – an emerging climate leadership at the state level and a continuation of economic forces that favor clean/renewable energy over dirty fossil fuels. In fact, it appears that some states are relishing the national and international leadership roles that they have undertaken. Support for sensible climate and energy policies is now a topic to run on in elections.

This change has manifested itself in American politics. One such plan stems from my home state, but it exemplifies work in other regions. I live in the state of Minnesota where we are gearing up for a gubernatorial election, which is where this plan comes from.

My state is well known as somewhat progressive, both socially and economically. The progressive policies resulted in a very strong 2007 renewable energy standard, which helped to reduce carbon pollution and create 15,000 jobs. 

As an aside, it is really painful for me to have to describe sane energy policies as “progressive.” The fact that conservatives in the US have largely attacked clean energy and the science of climate change is deeply disappointing, but it is a reality nonetheless. 

Consequently, it is not surprising that one of the candidates for Governor, Rebecca Otto, has outlined what may become the trend among other states. She is not yet elected, but her clean energy proposal has many people talking. 

The proposal presents a two-part focus on clean energy-based economic development and climate-change mitigation. Basically, in my state (and in many other states), the clean energy economy is a major contributor to the creation of new, high-paying jobs. Here wind and solar power are king. If you drive through the farm fields of southern Minnesota, you will see wind farms that stretch as far as the eye can see. With solar, there are some large-scale solar farms but the real excitement is the small-scale commercial and residential solar generation that is complementing the large-scale wind turbines.

From an energy production standpoint, this makes sense. A diversified renewable energy portfolio is one that that includes large wind (which provides intermittent power) along with solar that also is intermittent but often generates power when the wind isn’t blowing (and vice versa). Also, the small-scale nature of solar makes it more reliable, less subject to local weather systems.

So the proposed clean energy plan would leverage the fast-growing and high-wage industries in energy. It also brings to bear perhaps the best financing mechanism to spur clean energy growth (the so-called “fee and dividend”). The way fee and dividend works is a fee is charged to companies that produce greenhouse gas emissions. No longer would society be subsidizing the costs from carbon pollution

The revenue from the fees would be returned to citizens so that it becomes a revenue-neutral tool. There is no net increase in cost or increase in income. What the fee and dividend method does, however, is reward people and companies for good choices. If you make choices that reduce your greenhouse gas contributions, you end up with extra money at the end of the year. On the other hand, if you make poor choices, you end up with less money. I think of this as a tax that advantages the smart over the, well, less smart.

What is also exciting about the plan is that a portion of the fees would go to fund clean-energy technology and tax credits. For instance, residents would get funds to offset the costs of energy purchases. So when residents insulate their house, buy solar panels, or install high-efficiency heat pumps, part of that cost is covered.

It will be interesting to see if similar plans emerge nationally. Most importantly, it will be interesting to see whether the climate change and energy topic becomes something that political candidates actively run on. In the past, this issue has been low on voter priorities lists. But, if proposing bold new plans can get votes, that may change – and quickly.

Click here to read the rest

0 0

Printable Version  |  Link to this page


Prev  1  2  3  4  

Comments 151 to 187 out of 187:

  1. Bob Loblaw @ 143

    I have been very impressed by your arguments generally (interesting to see two Canadians go at it). But this comment really distorts what I have said and sounds like some others which look for some "underlying preconceived notions".

    A few examples:

    "Just because you want to label uncertainties in these costs as "vague", "theoretical", etc. does not mean that the best estimate of these additional costs is $0."

    I have never said that the best estimate of the additional costs is $0. What I have said is that you will not get the US, Europe or China onside to recognize this because of the costs to their particular society in imposing some carbon tax beyond pollution costs.  Of course, the future costs are much more than the pure "pollution costs".  But unless you have a very easy alternative (as to costs and viability), then you have to weigh the benefits of FF to the future costs.  I have already indicated what I think should be a two-pronged approach.

    "That you keep repeating shop-worn denier talking points about uncertainty, models, etc. suggests that at some deep level you are still believing or hoping that the science is all wrong and no significant change is needed."

    Wrong.  It has nothing to do with hoping the science is all wrong.  I also do not thing the science is all wrong.  But my concern with the models, especially after having read a very honest Chapter 9 of the IPCC 2013 Assessment during my recent holiday, is that I do not think that we have the ability to model, by computers, the complexities of the climate to a level that we can fully trust them.  I am not saying that the models are useless, but when I read in the IPCC assessment that the models have been "tuned" to match reality in "hindcasts" (in ways not disclosed to the IPCC) then it raises serious questions as to the ability of models to predict the future 50 years from now and suggest that sea levels really will increase at rates much higher than present levels.  I understand that any model would have to be adjusted in hindsight to input things like actual volcanic activity and actual El Ninos and other actual ocean oscillations but my sense is that with these "adjustments" we are not much better off than taking a ruler and projecting sea level and temperature rises based upon the last 25-50 years.

    That is why I have found myself reverting to what is actually happening both as to average temperature increases and average sea level rises over X period of years.  I think it is eminently reasonable to assume, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that things will continue at the same rates as we have seen.   We had a "hiatus" for a period of 12-15 years in average temperature rise but I am more than prepared to accept that this was a "blip" and that temperatures will continue to rise because the CO2 emissions continue

    At 71 years of age, I am not concerned about myself or my economic position. I am concerned about the world but I am, more than anything, a realist.  I have two adult children who will have to live in this world (I actually worry that there are other things that are more dangerous to their future welfare than climate change).  So when I advocate things, I take into account political realities together with a general skepticism that we as humans are apocalyptic.  Just remember that climate scientists in the 1970's, or at least a fair number, were suggesting we were on our way to another mini ice age.  I just do not think that we are about to go over Niagara Falls. We have some time to see if this really is a problem.  For at least 25 years, we have been told we were going "over the cliff" (or over the waterfall) and it has not happened.     

    I am happy to deal with linear increases.  If we find that "linear' is in fact wrong, then we deal with it.  That is why I have been trying to sort out what the actual sea level rise has been for the last 25 years

    The other thing I have not mentioned is my question as to whether the CO2 emissions will be the same over the next 30 years with BAU as it has been for the last 30 years.  China has taken massive steps using cheap coal to fuel its industrialization.  Hopefully this will not go on for the next 30 years.  Surely they will not again "double" their existing steel production.  Clearly China will be using wind and solar (in conjunction with their existing coal plants) to mitigate their pollution costs.  As I type this, it has occurred to me that China is not focussing on nuclear power.  I have never heard this from any of the commentators but that is probably one of the best arguments that nuclear power does not make economic sense.  If a planned economy like China has not moved to nuclear power (and the Chinese are no dummies) then there are reasons that argue for wind and solar in favour of nuclear (I still find this disappointing for our world - I saw some of the wind farms in Spain).  For some they are pretty, but to me it is a sad commentary on what humans are doing to the world.

    My point is that you misrepresent my concerns.  They are not based upon some "head in the sand" approach.  But at least I think you would agree that I am entitled to express my opinions and that I should not be shuffled off to jail or fined for expressing them.

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Off-topic and sloganeering snipped.

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

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

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

  2. MA Rodger @ 150

    Defn of Troll:  "A person who posts inflammatory or inappropriate messages or comments online for the purpose of upsetting other users and provoking a response."

    Very disappointed in your comment.  If I do not agree with your view you get upset. I guess you would prefer to hear from others who agree with you.  Much more comfortable staying in your echo chamber.  So much for freedom of speech. 

    Moderator:  If you snip some of this comment then I trust you will snip the term "troll" from the above comment.  All I did was quote a speaker who was appearing in England who I read from another source was the Director of the German Wildlife Foundation.  Given my personal views on wind and solar versus nuclear, it was nice to hear of someone who shared my views.  Is it so bad to think that wind turbines are a blotch on our landscape?  Subsequent to that I acknowledged that it was pointed out that he had a history of questioning climate change and was only Director of Communications for the German Wildlife Foundation.   At the time I posted this I did not know his general views on climate change.  This I assume has brought on the label of being a "troll"

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Off-topic, moderation complaints and sloganeering snipped.

  3. Thank you, MA Rodger @150 , for the further details on the sad case of mendacious journalist Miersch.

    Who says the Germans have no sense of humor?! . . . I love the Galileo-like title reference: "Und Sie Erwaermt Sich Doch".   How appropriate!

    This thread is certainly quite a broad umbrella of topics.


    Alas, NorrisM @ 149 , even this broad thread is not broad enough for us to engage in a discussion of your tendency to moral nihilism.   The admirable and witty Voltaire nevertheless was acutely aware of the difference between good and evil (and the gradations inbetween) -— and I rather doubt he would approve of your hijacking & extremist usage of his aphorism on "rights of speech".

    As for who judges -— who better than a German court, it seems!  ;-)

    To a large extent, the Germans have learnt their lesson (after some "difficulties" in the 1930's and 1940's).    And they have realized that a supine & laissez-faire approach to dealing with harmful lies & propaganda, is not a wise policy for society.

    That the matter of "judgment" in these affairs is not easy, is no excuse to abandon the attempt entirely.   Surely a lawyer should appreciate that the legal system exists to deal with the difficult cases as well as the easy cases.    Fiat iustitia ...

    ~And no, there I wasn't spruiking for a new Red/Blue assessment.  ;-)

    The basic climate facts have have already been determined 20+ years ago : by the competent authorities.   Nowadays it is merely required to summon up the moral fortitude to take the necessary remediations of the AGW situation.

    More bluntly : it is high time we got off our butts.

    (Which brings us back on topic for this semi-political thread ! )

    0 0
  4. NorrisM @152,

    Perhaps I should explain why I brand you a troll. In rough terms, it is evident that you come to SkS with a contrary view but fail at every turn when asked to justify that view. You appear more interested in piling on the startling contrary views than in attempting to reconcile the views you express with the views others expressed here, those which are in the main science-based.
    Strangely, I don't appear to have branded you a troll before, strange as I don't usually hold back for so long. But let us consider the detail of your use of Miersch down this thread.
    @122 you introduced Michael Miersch into this thread as an aside, suggesting his message comprises news from Germany of "a major backlash" against renewable energy. By the sounds of it, he is an enemy of on-shore wind power and is being invited to speak in the seat of UK government (the Palace of Westminster) by a UK educational charity, the GWPF. Of course, the GWPF is no normal charity but a cynical bunch of climate change deniers. (The last time I heard of a GWPF talk at Westminster it was veteran climate denier Richard Lindzen.) I can't believe you would not have known about the GWPF given you tell us @112 that your understanding of Miersch is based on GWPF information. If you did not, its dodgy nature was set out @114. ( Interestingly, your acknowledgement of this situation @127 is riven with the sort of gramatical nonsense you would expect from an non-English speaker, suggesting you found writing it very difficult. Perhaps the message you wrote there was foreign to you!)
    It is true that you were goaded into continuing further with this, but you did so by citing in the most general terms an 80 minute pod-cast to support the case of Miersch having the right of freedom of speech to say what he does (even though we still don't know what it is he does say). I listened to what I assume is the passage of that pod-cast which you were citing. (It's at about 1hr to 1hr 6 here) What Cass Sunstein is saying is that you cannot slander or libel a person (which the German government were accused of by Miersch, but which the courts said otherwise. The courts say there is no libel as Miersch is a Klimawandelskeptiker). Cass Sunstein also says that a person has the right to describe the Sandy Hook massacre as being a real or imaginary event that was orchestrated by the US government to enable tighter gun laws. As long as you are sincere and not lying, you are allowed to say such outrageous things. This can be said as this is not slander/libel - no individual is being defamed. And apparently some seriously sick people do brand Sandy Hook a hoax/conspiracy. As it is difficult to establish legally that they are sincere in their belief (an so not lying) they are imune to legal challenges. Sunstein was also asked about malicious 'doxing' replying that newspapers do have the right to publish the names and addresses of rape victims even if the intention was to unleash violence against them. Sunstein says this is poor law, saying on this of Madison (a US founding father, apparently) "(it is) not clear if Madison would roll over in his grave if we said you can't disclose where someone lives if the purpose and effect of that is to increase the risk of voilence."
    So that is pretty startling stuff you cite to defend Miersch's right to say... well... frankly, I get the distinct impression you do not know what Miersch says on "wind and solar versus nuclear" and so who can say if he is "someone who shared my views." So this continues to be a troll-like discourse here, or have you a source of Miersch-ism you have, golly, forgotten to share with us.

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Everyone:  Let's please return to the topic of this thread.

  5. NorrisM: "I have never said that the best estimate of the additional costs is $0."

    Yes, I agree that you never said that explicitly, and it was not my intention to imply that you had said it explicitly, but rather that your position to not include it is equivalent to placing a value of $0 on it. Thus, it is implicit in your position. Ignoring those extra costs in the risk management plan is the same as including them with a value of $0.

    To further clarfiy my positon: going to the lowest common denominator (US federal position) is not acceptable to me. The evidence in this blog post is that individual US states and political postions are moving away from this scorched earth federal position. This is to be encouraged. The world's politicians (mostly) have indicated acceptance  to the Paris Agreement. It is non-binding, but hopefully countries will live up to their promises, and will commit to the further actions needed down the line.

    0 0
  6. NorrisM:

    I see that the moderators have snipped some of your comment, relating to reliability of models. There is a Skeptical Science post on that issue. FEel free to raise those questions on that topic here:

    0 0
  7. NorrisM:

    The phrase "Business As Usual" has different meaning to different people. When the IPCC assigned that term to one of their scenarios back in the 1990s, they assumed (IIRC) continued growth as seen in the past. It was a label assigned to a particular CO2 concentration growth under certain assumptions. It was not an indicator of a particular sociological or economic system.

    Your examples of China reflect that things have changed since the IPCC first started using that term. None of the IPCC RCP scenarios exactly fit what has happened - but they were not predictions, they were projections to cover a reasonable range of possibiliities to see what difference it woudl make. Look back at my description earlier regarding "sensitivity analysis".

    With respect to nuclear power, my personal position is that safety of long-term disposal of nuclear waste has not been solved, and that total captial and operating costs have continually been much, much larger than originally claimed. Nuclear has historically enjoyed much government support, and it seems unlikely that it can stand on its own without it. I am not against it as a solution to reducing fossil fuels, but I am not in favour of it if it costs more than other alternatives. {But we try to avoid discussions of nuclear energy here, because it will rapidly wander into non-climate-related arguments between fiercely devoted proponents of the extreme positions.)

    As for my feeling about what you call a "head in the sand approach" - it is not that you are part of that group, but that you appear to readily accept information from those sources with less skepticism than you seem to apply to well-founded science. This is called "confirmation bias", and it is something that every person has in varying degrees (and varying topics for one individual). With a legal background, surely you can appreciate the question of the credibility of the witness"?

    0 0
  8. Final comment for the moment:

    I commend you in that you have shown a willingness to obtain and read a variety of sources of information on the subjects that have been raised in discussion here.

    I think that you give credibility to some sources that I consider to be highly unreliable.

    If you have not been pointed to it before, I suggest that you take the time to read Spencer Weart's  The Discovery of Global Warming. It is written by an historian - someone with expertise in the history of science.

    0 0
  9. Bob Lobaw

    I have read Dessler's book but I will take a look at Weart's on amazon.  I have found that a lot of these books cost more than $100.

    I agree with the moderator that we should move on.

    0 0
  10. Bob Loblaw @ 156

    Notwithstanding my comment in one of your replies on the models, I really do not want to engage this any further.  I did gain a further understanding of the complexities of these models by reading the Chapter 9 of the IPCC 2013 assessment but I would prefer to deal with solutions.  This moves more into an area where it is less technical and more political and economic which is easier for me to digest. 

    My sense is that we will be watching the fireworks on the ability of the models to assist in predicting future temperature increases if the EPA does proceed with the Red Team Blue Team.  The July news item I cited suggests they are proceeding. 

    0 0
  11. Norrism:

    Spencer Weart's book is a free web copy at the link that Bob Loblow provided at 158.  No need to waste $100.

    0 0
  12. NorrisM:

    Spencer Weart's book is available electroncially for free at the link I provided. I think the on-line version is more up-to-date than any paper version you can buy. The on-line version certainly has lots of information to digest.

    0 0
  13. Evidently it took me more than a minute to type my response @ 162....

    0 0
  14. MA Rodger @ 154

    I am very impressed with your summary of that portion of the Harris podcast with Cass Sunstein.  I should have qualified my comment to Eclectic that not the whole podcast is on freedom of speech.  But it is very interesting on the other things discussed so it would not have been a waste of time. 

    We all agree that freedom of speech is very important in our society.  Sunstein's point is that we have to tolerate wackos like Jones denying the Sandy Hook massacre to protect our freedoms because to do otherwise puts us on the slippery slope of quelling any dissent with the "popular view" which would be very dangerous.   I think his summary of where the US Supreme Court has drawn the line is a good one and one with which I generally agree. 

    As to Miersch, I have since noted that at the time of my post I did not realize that he had strong views on climate change.  Of course I am familiar with GWPF because it and Judith Curry's blog are the other two that I look at only occasionally.  I have now searched on Wikipedia for the German Wildlife Foundation and it is not listed as a conservation society in Germany.  I am somewhat disappointed in GWPF for not making it clear who Miersch is and is not.  If the German Wildlife Society was in fact a true conservation society, leaving Miersch in the position as Director of Communications would say something as to their views but that does not seem to be the case. 

    0 0
  15. michael sweet and Bob Loblaw

    Thanks, I will definitely take a look at it.  This whole climate change issue started from me reading two books on the subject, one for and against after my two sisters got into an argument.  The "for" book was that of Dessler (if I have not said that above).

    0 0
  16. NorrisM;

    You referred to a book by Dessler upthread. Would that be this one?

    Book cover, Dessler Climate Change


    Note that Dessler is a climate scientist, not a journalist.

    Out of curiosity, what was the other book?

    0 0
  17. Bob Loblaw @166,

    The book NorrisM has mentioned as his intro to AGW was actually co-authored with Ted Parson.

    Dessler & Parson

    The other was some nonsense edited by an Alan Moran. I say nonsense without more that spotting who is on the list of the contributing authors.

    Alan Moran book

    0 0
  18. NorrisM

    I try to take people at face value and give them the benefit of the doubt. You seem just sincerely interested at times, but  you make it hard when you persist with quoting cranks like Miersch who has no science degree, and has made no attempt to make a proper evidence based argument. His rhetoric is mostly inflammatory and sloganistic and thats no basis for anything. Some sceptics (not necessarily you) criticise Al Gore as being too emotive and histrionic, and hypocritically then support people like Miersh and Moncton who are demonstrably far more inflammatory than Gore. The denialists double standard and weak intellectual standard amuses me.

    But I take you at face value that you hate the look of wind farms. I dont mind them and obviously beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

    However its all so utterly academic, because offshore wind farms are now very competitive in price. The UK has just tendered a big wind farm project, and the offshore proposal came in very cost competitive with other options. So the wind farm aesthetic problem is at least likely to become a non problem, so its hard to see why you go on bringing the subject up.

    You talk a lot about what is politically "realistic" and fair enough to a point. We also need aspirations as well, however on the politically realistic theme, how likely do you think it is that government would push nuclear because its more "aesthetically attractive" (perhaps) than wind power? I dont like the chances.

    I'm neutral about nuclear, neither in favour or firmly against. It has its benefits and costs like anything and Im not going to get into that discussion. I grew up with various nuclear scares that made me sceptical, but have accepted you can't judge the issue entirely on that. I dont think Nuclear is the magic bullet we all thought back  in the 1970s, but neither is it so flawed that it should be banned. IMO it's for individual countries to decide, but they better have a sober look at the full range of related issues. Storing the waste is a big problem, if you do some reading.

    We have various possible mechanisms for deciding the make up of a renewable energy system, from top down  government control of the exact make up, to a more market based approach where generators pick and choose the systems they prefer, provided they are low emissions (so wind, solar, hydro, nuclear etc) and this is not a bad approach to my mind, as it combines the power of market forces and innovation with the foundation environmental rules and boundaries coming from government. But in such a system nuclear is failing to compete on costs, and it's that simple. The clear  example of all this is America.

    Theres nothing to be done about costs of nuclear, because compromising safety regulation for nuclear would be insanity if you pardon my emotive term, but actually it just would be insanity.

    Theres not much that can be done unless you feel the government should force nuclear power on society, which would be very big government indeed. Aesthetic appearance is unlikely to be a compelling case. Tell me if you think I'm wrong.

    0 0
  19. MA Rodger:

    Thanks. I agree that the second book is a terrible thing to waste time on, just from the list of authors.

    0 0
  20. Bob Loblaw and MA Rodger

    First rule of statutory interpretation is "turn the page".  The modern one is "scroll down".  I just spent 5 minutes trying to find both books which I guess I have left at my office.    I then scrolled down and find that MA Rodger had the two books pictured.   In my first reference to these books, when I found that Mark Steyn was one of the authors of the second book, I just about did not open it up.  But as it turned out I found all of the others interesting.  The other "starter" book was Michael Mann's book entitled "Climate Wars". 

    When I first started studying the early origins of Christianity and the arguments for and against the Christian god, I read books on both sides because I found that was the only way to "test ideas".

    Unfortunately in the area of climate science the area is too complex for the average layman.  Furthermore, the climate scientists themselves cannot even agree on the facts let alone what those facts tell us about the future.

    I definitely plan to look at the book recommended.

    Not to get back into the issue of freedom of speech but I just opened my email to find that Judith Curry's website today has a discussion of the very topic we were addressing.  First time I saw this was about 15 minutes ago.  From the blog, it would seem "both sides" seem to agree with her take on what is happening on university campuses.

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Blatant lie snipped.

  21. nigel @ 168

    I think you will understand that until I posted what I did I had never heard of Michael Miersch.  It is not normal to expect that the Director of an organization called the German Wildlife Foundation would be what you refer to as a "climate denier". 

    In any event, I have indicated that I would like to focus on the costs of wind and solar power as it impacts the US.  As much as I would like to consider nuclear power I get the message that this is not the place and I hear what you all have said about costs.

    But I still find it puzzling that two very forward looking countries in France and Sweden actually converted to nuclear power for up to 80% of their power generation many years ago.  Whether it was, at the time, prohibitively expensive, I do not know.  I do know that they have not had any "incidents" which have come to world attention.

    But I do know that France is an absolutely beautiful country and I wonder what it will look like if it in fact does convert from nuclear power to wind and solar.  The wind farms in Spain are in very desolate unpopulated areas that remind you of movies like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (no pun intended).  I say that having seen the windmills both near Cadiz on the Atlantic west coast and near Granada in Andalucia.

    We have been to France a number of times.  Two times we have stayed in the Loire Valley at the Hotel St. Michelle just beside one of the grandest of the chateaus called Chambord.  Just on the other side of the hill is one of France's nuclear power stations tucked away in the hills.  All we could hear from our hotel window in the evening was a low hum which was not at all offensive.   I think my experiences at Chambord and my love of the French country are reasons why I ask why can we not go this direction.  But, even though the arguments for nuclear power were first pointed out to me by James Hansen (thanks to a referency by one of my sisters) I will not pursue this on this website.

    0 0
  22. NorrisM

    France was already largely nuclear for electricity generation in the 1980s. My guess would be that they went heavily nuclear in the 1960s and 1970s in conjunction with early nculear development (bombs et al). Canada, the US, Britain, etc. all had nuclear power programs in that era, and I think France was just the one that bought in completely. I don't know what that means in terms of end-of-useful-life on their reactors and replacment plans. Canada's reactors from the '60s and '70s had a lot of early and costly maintenance that wasn't expected.

    I do remember a big stink in 1983 about France's nuclear waste disposal program though - it consisted of encasing it in concrete or other materials, putting it on a ship, and dumping it the Marianas Trench area in the western Pacific. Deep ocean, geologic subduction zone - out of site, out of mind.

    0 0
  23. Norris M @171, just echoing other comments France went nuclear ages ago. I was wondering why myself,and I suspect part of the reason is it has limited coal and hydro potential, and given the devastation of two wars Franc eprobably didn't want to be reliant on Germany for coal. I'm guessing, but politics and self reliance splays a big part sometimes, and Trump is a good example of all that.

    I wouldn't suggest for a minute France go back to wind power. They might as well stay with nuclear at least for the reasonable future.

    I do think aesthetics are important, and I used to be an amateur oil painter, and work in a design / technical related profession, etc. However normally there are solutions that balance aesthetics and functionality, and its always a challenge like this with anything. Wind farms dont have to be everywhere, and I have already given you engineering studies to show only about 2% of land is needed in Germany and its hard to see why France would be that much different if it did want wind farms. And for many countries a huge part of their wind farms can be offshore, and practically invisible and the UK is doing this.

    Obviously it would not be acceptable to put wind farms in scenic areas. Likewise you dont want huge solar arrays planted just anywhere, but they tend to suit desert climates anyway, or dry arid areas,  which are usually away from human habitation or tourist areas, so it works out quite well. A huge solar programme called Desertec has been planned in preliminary form and is capable of powering all electricity in Europe. Its planned to be located in northern africa and  spain in high sunlight desert areas away from human habited areas in the main, and uses direct current transmission grid into europe. 

    0 0
  24. Just my two cents on this freedom of speech issue. We do have some restrictions imposed on university campuses in America. I read an article recently cant recall where, may be the, but it made some excellent observations.

    1) Its not the students. Polls show quite clearly university students are far more tolerant of letting people express extreme views even hate speech, than the general  population

    2) Its universities imposing rules to keep the angry minority of anti free speech aggrieved lobby groups happy. Its easists and expedient

    For myself I think closing down free speech would be unfortunate. People should have a right to opinions even crazy ones, provided they dont incite violence or descend to swearing and blatant threats.

    However free speech is never unlimited and is also somewhat dependent on location and even the America Constitutions recognises "time and place restrictions". although this would not extend to government control of what is said on campus. Free speech concepts were really designed to strictly limit ability of governments to censor etc, not give a free pass to anything. Website do moderate comments to reduce endless personal fueds etc cluttering things up.

    So free speech is not a simple thing but I feel opinions should be a strong right as a general rule.

    Coming to the books, I read Ian Plimmers sceptical book heaven and hell, a load of old nonsense. Yes its hard for most people to know who to believe and the devil is in the detail. But good detective work and sharp legal minds like Norris should spot some clues. Plimmers book depended on about 10 key graphs that looked mighty suspicious to me and different to the IPCC, and nowhere did his book give sources for these graphs. It listed sources for quotes, but not the graphs.

    Detail  matters, and you dont need any science to spot that sort of thing. I'm sorry, but the sceptical climate books I have read are riddled with cherrypicking, out of context material, missquoting people, and a dozen logical fallacy outrages, as well as bad science.

    0 0
  25. michael sweet @ 113

    Just got around to reading the Derek Abbott paper today on the problems with nuclear power supplying the world's needs.  Very sobering.  I think one of the contributors to the Clack paper criticizing Jacobson made reference to some comment by Keynes regarding changing your views with new informatiion.  I am not saying that I am turning 100% just reading one article but the sheer number of nuclear plants required even to deal with half of the world's needs (he works on a theoretical 100% just to point out the order of magnitude) is quite staggering.  He is effectively suggesting 2,000 nuclear plants in the USA alone (for 50%).  The same goes for the access to sufficient uranium without resorting to sea water.  This article certainly is food for thought.  

    If I cannot find Abbott's 2010 paper on solar thermal technology I will ask for help.  First want to try Google Scholar on my own.  I was able to access this paper for free from the url. 

    0 0
  26. NorrisM @175

    The best answers are sometimes a bit complex. A world with thousands of nuclear reactors would probably stretch supplies of uranium, and be high cost, but above all it lifts the chances of a serious accident very high. And nuclear accidents have little respect for borders.

    But if a country has no other useful energy resources, nuclear would probably be appropriate. If its confined to just a few countries.

    0 0
  27. NorrisM:

    Abbotts 2009 article about solar thermal is available here.  Look for the button to download the PDF (it took me a little while to find it).  It seemed to me that the article is out of date.  Jacobson has done a more recent, in depth resource analysis and likes wind and pv solar better.  I think in the end we will build whatever technologies are the most economic.  The economics of many renewable energy technologies are shifting so rapidly that the favoured technologies in 10 years are likely to be different from the mix of technologies favoured now. 


    Read Abbotts article about nuclear before you comment on its contents.  

    0 0
  28. Michael Sweet, thank's for the article its interesting. I have read similar views in the past, and they are very convincing.

    Basically everything I said is completely consistent with the article, so Im not sure of your point. 

    Like you say it comes down to economics in the end, so the nuclear debate is a bit of an arm chair debate. I don't think nuclear has something so special that governments in market economies like America should force it onto countries, so it comes down to costs and what generators want to do. 

    I was reading that it will take 20 years to fully decomission some old reactor in The UK. Just astonishing and sobering.

    Ultimately nuclear is low emissions, but it is not truly renewable, so is out of step philosophically with the way things are slowly starting to go.

    0 0
  29. Maybe the new government in NZ could provide some pointers for state governments. Looks to be more serious about climate change.

    Details of the coalition between center-left Labour, populist center NZ First, and the leftie Greens (their first time in government) were in newspaper this morning. Includes attempt to move government fleet to emissions-free vehicles by 2025-26; 100% renewables for electricity by 2035; a Zero Carbon Act (not sure what that will mean); 100 million trees per annum to be planted; Green Investment fund of $100m to stimulate investment in low carbon industries; subsidized public transport for low income people; emphasis on rail infrastructure, cycling, walking and cancelling a major motorway project. NZ population less than that in half the US states (about same as Louisiana or South Caralina).

    0 0
  30. Scaddenp @179, as it happens I live in NZ. You are correct in that summary, and the policies look good to me. However details are still sketchy, and time will tell.

    This is what a zero carbon act may look like:

    The intention is to de-politicise it as much as possible similar to Britain by 1)having a long term act that puts things in writing with goals,  and 2) having a commission outside of politics to advise on policy. This is not going as far as the UK, but its a similar concept.

    It all reflects similar policy approaches in NZ where we passed a fiscal responsibility act in the early 1990s that requires governments to keep government debt low. Its worked well, and parties on both left and right have followed the act quite well. I dont think anyone would dare change the act, its quite broadly accepted now and fundamentally makes sense.

    0 0
  31. nigelj - likewise in NZ but you are obviously more on top of the news than me. Still prefer to digest in morning paper rather than trying to follow it all online. 

    To me, it seems like a lot of similar things like this and the UK could happen at state level in US. Not all states would be interested but the many of the most populous could.

    0 0
  32. Scaddenp @181

    To be honest, I  got most of my knowledge of the proposed  zero carbon tax just from some superficial article in the Herald. I read the Herald on line each morning, and sometimes I buy the paper version.

    When you mentioned zero carbon, I confess actually did a google to get more detail for myself, and decided to post a link for you, and in case others reading this thread are interested (probably just a couple of us now though). But I think the principle of legislation of that sort is really important, and worth promoting.

    I totally agree it could be a great thing at state level in the USA and could possibly happen there. If california can have an ETS, you would think they could have carbon legislation and bipartisan bodies to deal with things, or bodies a little separate from government. But then I dont know how much law the states are permitted to have. Its so different to our system in NZ. Trump would probably try to sabotage it as well.

    California is large and seems interested in such things, but you never know, smaller states might pick up on these ideas as well,  given smaller population sometimes means decisions are easier to make.

    0 0
  33. Scaddenp, I meant zero carbon legislation. I'm getting confused with the tax and dividend article. 

    0 0
  34. I saw a note from Dr. Nerem at CIRES regarding sea level rise.  He showed this graph:

    Sea level rise

    source .  He states: "While we are still completing this research, it appears that long-term sea level rise has accelerated from roughly 2 mm/year in the mid-1990s to 4 mm/year today (2017)."

    I calculate that if sea level rise continues at 4 mm/yr until 2100 the total rise would be 58 cm (83 X 0.4 + 25 cm = 58 cm).  If acceleration continued at the current rate (0.1 mm/yr),  total rise would be about 95 cm. Of course, if temperature continues to increase the acceleration can also increase.

    The IPCC is well known to be extremely conservative in it's estimation of sea level rise.  The 5th reports estimation was much higher than the 4th reports estimate.

    0 0
  35. michael sweet @ 184

    I appreciate that the IPCC 2013 assessment is based upon the information at that time.  Here is what the summary says:

    "It is very likely that the global mean rate was 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm yr–1 between 1901 and 2010 for a total sea level rise of 0.19 [0.17 to 0.21] m. Between 1993 and 2010, the rate was very likely higher at 3.2 [2.8 to 3.6] mm yr–1; similarly high rates likely occurred between 1920 and 1950. {3.7.2, 3.7.4, 5.6.3, 13.2.1, 13.2.2, Figure 13.3}"

    Until the IPCC reexamines all of the papers at its next assessment, it seems reasonable to assume that we are around 3.2 mm/yr but knowing that things logically could accelerate assuming that the temperature does increase as projected.  Attempting to use averages over a 5 year period seems to be problematic in the same way that arguments were made relating to the well-known 10-13 year "hiatus".  On this very graph above, the rate of increase seems to have levelled off after the El Nino was finished.

    It is interesting that in the above IPCC quote we had similar "high rates" during the period 1920-1950.  Curious as to whether there is any explanation of that anomaly.   

    0 0
  36. michael sweet @ 113 and Moderator

    I think I have previously acknowledged having read the Abbott paper highlighted in your  post which points out some of the practical problems with nuclear power even leaving aside costs. 

    I have now read his other January 2010 paper which analyzes the various competing alternatives to FF including further information on why neither nuclear fission nor nuclear fusion will work based upon some pretty interesting data.   His "order of magnitude" approach of asking whether any particular source could alone meet the world's 15 TW energy consumption per second is fascinating for exposing problems with a lot of the sources.

    Maybe I am easily convinced but he makes a good argument for the "low tech" solution of solar thermal collectors (even if it would cover about 5 times the area required by PV Solar).

    Moderator, I appreciate this is not the thread to carry on such a discussion of the Abbott second paper.

    Could you suggest a better thread?

    0 0
  37. Norrism at 185:

    I have posted a response here on a more appropriate thread for sea level rise discussion.

    0 0

Prev  1  2  3  4  

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

The Consensus Project Website


(free to republish)

© Copyright 2024 John Cook
Home | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us