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Advocacy vs. Science

Filed under: — gavin @ 1 April 2009

The advocate will pick up any piece of apparently useful data and without doing any analysis, decide that their pet theory perfectly explains any anomaly without consideration of any alternative explanations. Their conclusion is always that their original theory is correct.

The scientist will look at all possibilities and revise their thinking based on a thorough assessment of all issues – data quality, model quality and appropriateness of the the comparison. Their conclusion follows from the analysis whatever it points to.

Which one is which?


595 Responses to “Advocacy vs. Science”

  1. 451
    Martin Vermeer says:

    #443 Craig Allen

    I’m not a physicist, but lets have a go at a quick calculation.

    > That gives 2.7ºC / 4 = 0.675ºC
    > This is roughly the increase in global average temperature that has been observed so far.
    > Throwing in feedbacks will account for the the extra temperature rise that scientists say is still on the way as we approach equilibrium.

    Seems OK to me. Not exact as the CO2 forcing is logarithmic in concentration, but good enough.

    You realize that the agreement between your 0.675C and the realized warming thus far is sheer coincidence, don’t you? I’m pointing it out because denialists often overlook this too.

    The difference with equilibrium is due not only to feedbacks, but also to the positive effect of methane, the mixed effects of aerosols and clouds, and the thermal inertia of the oceanss, see IPCC for the gory — and still somewhat vague — details (Woohoo! Uncertainty!).

  2. 452
    Craig Allen says:

    Thanks Bartin and Martin,

    Yeah I realised that I was simplifying things greatly. I was actually stunned that the number came out so close and that the rough calculation was so easy to throw down. My RealClimate reading seems to have sunk in well!

    Thanks re the absorption vs adsorption thing. Knew that, but typed it wrong anyway. Those are the sorts of details tend to be beyond the ken of the denialist crowd anyway ;) I’d welcome having someone at WUWT actually engaging to the degree where they would query something like that.

    Martin, what do you mean by the CO2 forcing being logarithmic in concentration?

  3. 453

    I base my calculations on ramping up the DE Wind Turbine farm up to a national scale. I get a couple million bucks per turbine, each producing 2-3MW on a windy day. Go from there. Just look at what you are doing… you are building a bunch of almost skyscrapers to get power. Of course its going to be expensive.

    Keep in mind too, that most wind turbines are actually made in India and imported by GE. So basically, we’re writing another multi-trillion dollar check off to foreign countries.

    Capacity arguments are valid. Nuclear power plants typically run at full capacity. They are machines and you turn them on or off. This is verifiable from any number of sources.

    Conversely, solar panels cannot run at nameplate capacity continuously because of night and clouds, and windmills cannot run continuously at full capacity because the wind speed is variable.

    My vote is to go nuclear fission first, then onto fusion. Fission wastes can be reprocessed and can be buried. Solar and wind are catastrophic mistakes. They cost more money, don’t work as well, and export even more American money.

    People importing windmills need to be lined up against the same wall as the people that buy foreign cars. Build American nuclear power plants, and kick all the foreign goods out of the USA.

  4. 454
    Lawrence Brown says:

    Re:#309″I’m freezing my butt off waiting on the weather to finally warm up. It’s April in Central Texas — why is it 45F outside and I’m sleeping under an electric blanket?!?”

    Why is it so difficult for some people to understand the difference between weather and climate?Short term noise happens and has nothing to do with the long term trends of climate. We’ve had cold days,even weeks here in NYC this winter. It’s been so cold at times that the politicians had their hands in their own pockets. This is known as weather,not climate.

  5. 455
    Hank Roberts says:

    Er, Todd, wipe the foam from your jaws with your Egyptian cotton American-flag t-shirt and put down your AK47 — if you’d bothered to read the link, you’d know where GE has to go to get its castings made for its fission reactor. Want to crank them out in a hurry? You’re going to be writing a lot of those checks.

    You’re projecting lining the entire nuclear industry up against that wall, and you’re threatening them with — what, exactly? Spit it out.

    Why not leave off the act for when you have your own website set up? it won’t fool too many people here into flaming — almost any of the regulars will instead urge you to come upwith citations to reliable fact sources, and to get a library card.

    Seriously, the ranting stuff will work on your own website for the audience you want. But don’t feel you have to always act that way.

    Work on your research. That link will get you started researching facts that people will recognize and be able to check and confirm. If you want customers who actually have money to spend, that helps.

  6. 456
    Jim Bouldin says:

    The Todd Bandrowsky school of building inefficiency, automotive sensuality, nuclear reactor proliferation, rapid-fire unsubstantiated factoids, strange statements (nuclear reactors are “machines” with on-off switches!), and general flag-waving, anti-American homerism (complete with firing squad imagery!!) is NOW IN SESSION!!!!!!!

    BONUS: Thought processes, as astutely described by Captcha are “not required” for this school!!!!! Yippee!

  7. 457
    RichardC says:

    452 Craig, the effect of CO2 lessens as concentration goes up. If doubling CO2 raises temperatures, say 3 degrees, then to raise temperatures 6 degrees would take a quadrupling of CO2.

    453, Todd, that’s quite the anti-capitalist diatribe. A capitalist would require nuclear power plants to carry insurance for the total loss potential and also for waste storage. Oops, those two requirements make nuclear prohibitively expensive. A capitalist would welcome foreign competition. A Real American would never advocate taking freedom of choice away at the point of a gun. Besides, foreign competition is just about the only reason US automobile manufacturers improve their product.

  8. 458
    Hank Roberts says:

    RichardC — citation please? Where do you get that relationship?
    I searched and found only a lot of blog claims asserting it but didn’t find a citation anywhere. What’s your source? And what are the limits within which you believe it to be correct?

  9. 459
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Craig, I spoke too soon. Logarithmic means that the relationship between forcing, and for small changes the temperature increase T, is given by

    T = C ln(p)

    where C is a constant and p concentration. A Taylor expansion of the log is

    ln(x) = ln(x0) + (x – x0)/x0 – (x – x0)^2/(2×0^2) + …

    or

    T = T0 + C (x – x0)/x0 + …

    Here, (x – x0)/x0 is percentage change, i.e., 0.3.
    You see that the sensitivity constant C comes along in the result :-(

    I beieve that instead of the low value, 9%, you should use 26%, the value for CO2 alone. That means some 8K total; for a CO2-only doubling sensitivity of 1.2 degrees, this would mean that we are some seven doublings or 128x away from low concentrations where this logaritmic behaviour breaks down. All very back-of-the-envelope.

    Perhaps I should’t have told you this… it was a good story while it lasted and it’s not as if the folks at WUWT actually care about what’s true :-(

    .

  10. 460
    Hank Roberts says:

    Reality check please? In the past, it looks linear.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/310/5752/1313

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol310/issue5752/images/medium/310_1313_F3.gif

    Correlation between {delta}D, a proxy for Antarctic temperature, and CO2 for three data sets. The new data from Dome C ….

    Cited by 220 later papers: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&cites=8706298395854570973&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=ic3gSd-YCqX2tAP_m7m3CQ&sa=X&oi=science_links&resnum=1&ct=sl-citedby

  11. 461
    Hank Roberts says:

    Perhaps more urgent, the relationship between ocean pH and fossil fuel burning is changing faster than expected:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/48/18848.abstract

    “… Our results indicate that pH decline is proceeding at a more rapid rate than previously predicted in some areas, and that this decline has ecological consequences for near shore benthic ecosystems.”

    This is because the ocean doesn’t mix as fast as the atmosphere; surface shallow water is where much of the dissolved CO2 from surface water runoff ends up. It’s also where much of the food chain lives.

  12. 462
    Chris Winter says:

    Todd Bandrowsky: “Some posters equated a reduction in CO2 footprint with a lifestyle improvement. The cost of CO2 improvements is essentially to accept a pre-industrial use of energy per capita and the effect of that is catastrophic. Wind and solar cannot compete in availability, we can’t store electricity at large scales (still), and the only CO2 friendly answer is nuclear, which is off the table.”

    I have to echo James (#445) — Off whose table? There are 17 applications for new licenses on file with the NRC.

    “And, the thing is, just about every energy efficiency increase is already at their economic limit. Requires increase of expense to go more, and therefor, a lowered lifestyle elsewhere. Just like how putting airbags and pollution control devices jacked up the price of cars about 5k. You have less.. that is why we have to have carbon taxes and even those aren’t actually being used to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere.”

    I believe Amory Lovins at the Rocky Mountain Institute would disagree.

    http://www.rmi.org/

    (ReCAPTCHA: “Mister Briggs”. But reducing CO2 is not an impossible mission… ;) )

  13. 463
    James says:

    Barton Paul Levenson Says (11 April 2009 at 5:32 AM):

    “Nuclear involves huge amounts of cement, which gives off CO2 when it sets. And it’s incredibly expensive even in countries where state power prevents protests and lawsuits.”

    “Huge” isn’t really a precise figure, you know. How about some ballpark numbers? How about comparing the amount of cement used in a nuclear plant with the amount used in the footings for 1 GWatt of wind turbines? The CO2 produced by the cement is equivalent to how many days output from a coal-fired plant of the same capacity?

    (I’d really like some accurate numbers, but couldn’t find them in a quick search. But do this: eyeball the size of a nuclear power plant, then visit a coal-fired plant and eyeball the size of the coal pile. Then try to believe that the amount of CO2 from the nuclear plant’s cement is significant.)

    As for “incredibly expensive”, $1/watt is frequently given as the price point at which solar PV becomes competitive. 1 GWatt continuous solar generation thus costs $2 billion for the cells alone (because you have to generate twice as much during the day, to make up for night) plus mounting structures, cost of overnight storage, and so on. Seems roughly in the same ballpark as nuclear, but why argue? Let’s just tax the heck out of fossil fuel generation, remove restrictions on both solar & nuclear, and let investors put their money where they think it’ll give best return?

    RichardC Says (11 April 2009 at 9:42 AM):

    “453, Todd, that’s quite the anti-capitalist diatribe. A capitalist would require nuclear power plants to carry insurance for the total loss potential and also for waste storage. Oops, those two requirements make nuclear prohibitively expensive.”

    To be fair, your capitalist would want a level playing field, and so would apply similar insurance & waste storage to all forms of generation. So, do coal-fired plants have to have liability insurance, or pay to store their waste? Do hydroelectric power dams (which have historically caused the greatest loss of life) have to have insurance? Indeed, don’t most hydroelectric projects in fact get built by governments, using taxpayer money?

  14. 464
    David B. Benson says:

    Barton Paul Levenson (448) — The manufacture of Portland cement from limestone gives off substantial CO2. When concrete sets via the addition of water, all that happens is that the water chemically reacts with the Portland cement; I think that no additional CO2 is produced; the problem for big pours is that significant heat is, cooling pipes are ued in major dams and so on…

  15. 465
    SecularAnimist says:

    Todd Bandrowsky wrote: “Windmills and solar panels will cost 5 times that of nuclear power plants.”

    That is simply, blatantly false. You simply made up that number. It has no basis in fact.

    Wind and solar are already less expensive than nuclear. More importantly, they can be built much, much faster.

    Todd Bandrowsky wrote: “… just about every energy efficiency increase is already at their economic limit.”

    Absolute rubbish. Another fantasy factoid that you made up. There is vast opportunity in the USA for efficiency improvements that will boost productivity and profits while reducing energy costs. Every major corporation in the USA is now aggressively pursuing efficiency improvements because it benefits their bottom line.

    Todd Bandrowsky wrote: “Keep in mind too, that most wind turbines are actually made in India …”

    Another blatantly false statement that you just made up. In reality, of the top ten manufacturers of wind turbines in the world, only one is an Indian company, accounting for less than 10 percent of global installed capacity as of 2007. Denmark accounted for more than 26 percent, Germany and Spain for about 20 percent each, and the US-based General Electric for about 16 percent. China accounted for only around 7.5 percent, but its wind turbine industry has been growing rapidly, and China is expected to become the world’s leading manufacturer of wind turbines this year.

    Todd Bandrowsky wrote: “… and imported by GE.”

    False again. GE imports some parts for its wind turbines, which are built in the USA, but purchases others from US companies. US wind turbine manufacturing is growing rapidly. The American Wind Energy Association estimates that the share of US-made parts in wind turbines increased from 30 percent in 2005 to nearly 50 percent at the end of 2008. According to the US International Trade Commission, at least 11 blade manufacturers and 16 tower manufacturers have plants or plan to open plants in the United States, and the new plants announced in the first three quarters of 2008 could add 4,000 jobs, at wages generally between $13 and $20 per hour. The Danish company Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, is building 4 new factories in Colorado, and plans to make all of its turbines for the US market in the USA by 2010. And the skyrocketing world market for wind turbines is a huge export opportunity for US companies — according to the AWEA, exports account for about half the business of US-based small wind turbine manufacturers and wind energy developers.

    Todd Bandrowsky wrote: “So basically, we’re writing another multi-trillion dollar check off to foreign countries.”

    AWEA estimates that that wind installations worldwide will total more than 100,000 megawatts over the next decade, or more than $100 billion worth of business. If the US follows the wrong-headed policies you recommend, and cedes that business opportunity to China, Spain, Denmark, Germany and India, then yes, we will surely be buying our wind turbines from them, rather than cashing in on the global boom in wind power development.

    Todd Bandrowsky wrote: “My vote is to go nuclear fission first …”

    Why do you prefer a technology that has always and everywhere been a state-run, taxpayer-subsidized economic failure, which the free market has utterly rejected, and which is demanding hundreds of billions of dollars from taxpayers to fund its “revival” — with all the costs and all the risks to be borne by ratepayers and taxpayers — and reject the technologies that the free market is avidly embracing with billions of dollars in private investment?

    What do you have against free markets?

    If you are looking to somehow make money from a website full of ignorant lies and inane cartoonish pseudo-conservative bluster, well, have at it. But it’s a crowded market. There are a lot of people already doing that.

  16. 466
    HF says:

    Situated roughly in the center of the North-South wind corridor that extends from North Dakota to Texas, Iowa enjoys a substantial wind resource.

    For the most recent year of available numbers, the Iowa Utilities Board reports the state’s electric energy consumption at some 46000 Mwh. Current state wide nameplate capacity is over two times consumption and some 75-80% of that production is coal generated. The utility owned wind farms in the state produce power at about 27-28% of nameplate.

    What would 100% wind production look like? For simplicity, assume a flat demand curve, 33% nameplate/production ratio, 2.5MW turbines, optimum (max. production) geographic placement, and no excess or reserve capacity. Considering Iowa only, demand could be met by installing some 55,200 (demand nameplate X 3) 2.5MW turbines, and since the wind resource is biased toward Iowa’s NW quadrant and its periphery, three turbines would dot each square mile of that zone. The state would also require a storage capacity equal to twice the states demand to compensate for the 33% production ratio and a grid capable of handling the energy production of 3 X demand.

    It sounds intimidating but:

    Much of the state’s existing production and delivery resource is thirty to fifty years old. Some older.

    If Iowa was connected to wider grid whose customers could consume Iowa’s intermittent excess production, its need for energy storage could be eliminated.

    Intermittent production could be mitigated via a connection to distant out of state production facilities influenced by other weather and wind patterns.

    Connection and collection of the energy production from these disparate multi-state facilities could result in the sale and delivery of an energy product at a much higher reliability than would be attainable from an in state geographic. Dedicated high capacity DC lines could provide efficient transport.

    According to a representative of Clipper Wind, a local turbine manufacturer/assembler, current production costs are “just over” 1 million dollars per MW nameplate. This figure includes transportation of the components to the site, but I do not recall that it includes installation cost, and I’m confident that it did not include projected maintenance cost, site leasing cost, (about $4000 annually per unit in these parts), site development, finance cost, etc. The companies 2.5MW units are designed for a twenty-five plus year life.

    Assuming “just over” means 1.1 million dollars/MW nameplate in turbine cost, and property leasing costs of $100,000 over the twenty-five year turbine life, the cost per kwh is about .55 cents. Since we need three 1MW units to actually produce 1MW, the turbine and site leasing cost are 1.65 cents per kwh. Add site development, turbine installation, a maintenance schedule, sub stations, finance costs, profit, delivery, and it is easy to see how, as the Clipper rep. indicated in his presentation, that the wholesale price of wind energy varies from 4 to 10 cents/kwh. I doubt that his wholesale price range included our requirement for a production capacity of three times nameplate.

    During his presentation, the Clipper rep. indicated that the .04 to.10/kwh range was a function of site wind. If he was speaking of his local market of Iowa, Southern Minnesota, etc., I prefer to think of the upper portion of his cost range as a siting failure. If he was speaking in broader market terms, his wide price range indicates the importance of building wind production where…. the wind energy is conducive to capture. As important, is the vision and the technical integration of a singular wind production unit that spans the country from N. Dakota to Texas.

    I know many of you have read the following and more of Archer and Jacobson’s work.

    http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/winds/aj07_jamc.pdf

  17. 467
    James says:

    SecularAnimist Says (11 April 2009 at 3:23 PM):

    “That is simply, blatantly false. You simply made up that number. It has no basis in fact.

    Wind and solar are already less expensive than nuclear. More importantly, they can be built much, much faster.”

    Looks like we might have a case of pot calling kettle black here :-)

    Instead of wasting energy & bandwidth with name-calling, why don’t you both try coming up with some numbers, even ballpark ones, to support your claims? I’ll even pose a test problem: how long will it take, and how much will it cost, to build 1 GWatt of generation, dispatchable 24/7, with 90% or better uptime, using solar, wind, or nuclear? Justify your answer.

  18. 468
    David B. Benson says:

    James (467) — Here are California numbers.

    Busbar (generation) cost in cents per kilowatt-hour in 2008 dollars:

    Biogas: 8.552
    Wind: 8.910
    Gas Combined Cycle: 9.382
    Geothermal: 10.182
    Hydroelectric: 10.527
    Solar thermal: 12.653
    Nuclear: 15.316

    from
    http://www.ethree.com/cpuc_ghg_model.html

  19. 469
  20. 470

    The claim is made that wind and solar are economical. If so, on the other hand, why do we need to have a CO2 tax to support them? I mean, if they are so much better, as you say, why do we need a Kyoto treaty? If all of this efficiency is self supporting, why do we need to have an artificial tax to incent it. The fact is, they aren’t self supporting… that’s why you have renewables mandates in every state and now at the federal level. Even in Delware, the way the windmill project happened was that the state basically rammed the purchase agreement down the utility’s throat.

    If windmills were so great, you wouldn’t need force people to buy it. Similarly, most hybrids, even was gasoline was $4 a gallon, could not recoup the additional investment in have two motors instead of one.

    To get back to wind, the storage is the problem that sinks Iowa for wind. The only thing really good at storing water at a grid scale is a pumped water facility, which is basically a lake that gets filled up with water pumped up from downhill. To give you an idea of the scale required, you were looking at the need to store 40gw in Iowa. That’s roughly 40 Muddy Runs, each of which requires a Conowingo River and a mile long storage resevoir. You could probably skate by with 20 Hoover dams.

    I leave it as a challenge for readers to calculate the amount of lead and acid or lithium, you’d need to store 40 MW in batteries.

    But really, though, all of this begs the question and does the wrong damn thing with the energy. For, all of this talk of not having sufficient capacity is completely inaccurate. We have at least triple, and maybe even quadruple the national capacity for energy that we need – IF WE COULD STORE ENERGY.

    You don’t need to build a single windmill or a single solar panel to theoretically cut American electrical production carbon emissions by 70%. You don’t need to build 55,000 windmills in Iowa, or, 2 and half million windmills in the USA, or, put solar panels on top of every building. All you need to do is invent a cheap way to store electrical power. Retire all the coal plants, use the nukes for baseload by day and night, maybe build 25 more, and you are off to the races.

    It’s the storage of electricity that is the problem, not its production, [edit - enough baiting]

  21. 471
    Hank Roberts says:

    Got a grip on how long CO2 lasts yet? That’ll help you figure in the currently externalized costs, if you plan past your own lifespan.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/science/earth/27carbon.html
    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/6/1704

    If you don’t want to think past your own lifetime, or address people who do, there’s probably no point in trying to learn the science.

    “… We estimate that the last and the current generation contributed approximately two thirds of the present-day CO2-induced warming. Because of the long time scale required for removal of CO2 from the atmosphere as well as the time delays characteristic of physical responses of the climate system, global mean temperatures are expected to increase by several tenths of a degree for at least the next 20 years even if CO2 emissions were immediately cut to zero; that is, there is a commitment to additional CO2-induced warming even in the absence of emissions. If the rate of increase of CO2 emissions were to continue up to 2025 and then were cut to zero, a temperature increase of ≈1.3°C compared to preindustrial conditions would still occur in 2100, whereas a constant-CO2-emissions scenario after 2025 would more than double the 2100 warming. These calculations illustrate the manner in which each generation inherits substantial climate change caused by CO2 emissions that occurred previously, particularly those of their parents, and shows that current CO2 emissions will contribute significantly to the climate change of future generations.”
    http://www.pnas.org/content/102/31/10832.abstract

    But if you do want to learn, don’t just read snippets some stranger posts on some blog; read the paper, then read the papers that cite it:

    http://cel.isiknowledge.com/InboundService.do?product=CEL&action=search&SrcApp=Highwire&UT=000231102400019&SID=2E5EDII7iFa%40n7gLefb&Init=Yes&SrcAuth=Highwire&mode=CitingArticles&customersID=Highwire&viewType=summary

  22. 472
    dhogaza says:

    If windmills were so great, you wouldn’t need force people to buy it

    Same argument applies to nuclear, but you’re going to have to do your own research.

    Rather than depend on rosy future forecasts, look back in time to actual track records (most nuke plants have horrible uptime statistics).

    And, dude, before you get all medieval on me, I’m not particularly anti-nuclear. I just am old enough to remember what was promised 45 years ago, and what the real result was.

  23. 473
    dhogaza says:

    All you need to do is invent a cheap way to store electrical power. Retire all the coal plants, use the nukes for baseload by day and night, maybe build 25 more, and you are off to the races.

    It’s the storage of electricity that is the problem, not its production, and that, my friends, is why the environmental movement’s approach to energy is so retarded.

    So we’re retarded because physicists and chemists haven’t been able to solve this problem over the last 200+ years?

    All YOU need to do to prove that I’M retarded and YOU’RE brilliant is for you to solve the problem that so far has proven to be unsolvable.

    Meanwhile, why is it retarded for me to point out that despite all the monetary incentives to solve the problem over the last century (at least), no one has done so, therefore expecting a solution to magically arise is naive?

  24. 474
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Hank #460, it is linear… for small variations. Even 30% is a small variation.

    What does not apply is that it would be linear over the full range of CO2 concentrations from zero to present value. And consequently, that the coefficient of sensitivity would be the same for total amounts as for marginal amounts. It just isn’t.

    My bad for missing that at first read.

  25. 475

    Todd Bandrowsky, whose grasp of economics is apparently just as good as his grasp of climatology, writes:

    Keep in mind too, that most wind turbines are actually made in India and imported by GE. So basically, we’re writing another multi-trillion dollar check off to foreign countries.

    Oh, my GOD! You mean we’re buying stuff from another country! Oh, no! International trade is AWFUL!

    Capacity arguments are valid. Nuclear power plants typically run at full capacity. They are machines and you turn them on or off. This is verifiable from any number of sources.

    Except that nuclear plants typically have “outages” every so often. Even “unexplained outages.” They do not, in fact, operate 24/7. Especially when something goes wrong and they have to close down, as happened with TMI-2.

    Conversely, solar panels cannot run at nameplate capacity continuously because of night and clouds, and windmills cannot run continuously at full capacity because the wind speed is variable.

    Smart grids. Geothermal. Biomass. Molten salts. Have you been reading anything else anyone here is posting?

    My vote is to go nuclear fission first, then onto fusion.

    Why not just have Superman turn a turbine for us at incredible speeds? That’s about as likely as commercial fusion power coming along any time soon.

    Fission wastes can be reprocessed and can be buried. Solar and wind are catastrophic mistakes. They cost more money, don’t work as well, and export even more American money.

    Wind farms costs LESS than nuclear plants, Todd. LESS. That means the quantity of money you spend on them is not as great in magnitude as the quantity you spend on the nuclear plants. Your “cost more” is simply wrong.

    People importing windmills need to be lined up against the same wall as the people that buy foreign cars.

    Oh, good solution. How dare people choose to buy something from an overseas company? Don’t let them buy a Kia with a ten-year, 100,000-mile, bumper-to-bumper warranty. Let them buy a Pontiac that breaks down every two months, and if they try to do anything else, shoot them.

    Google “Smoot-Hawley tariff” to find out why massive trade restrictions are stupid and counterproductive.

  26. 476

    odd Bandrowsky, whose grasp of economics is apparently just as good as his grasp of climatology, writes…Oh, my GOD! You mean we’re buying stuff from another country! Oh, no! International trade is AWFUL!

    Free trade has completely failed the USA. The trade deficit is through the roof and has been for fifty years despite training the federal reserve of gold under LBJ and Tricky Dick, the devaluations of Reagan and Bush the Elder, and so on. Our present economy is the unsurprising result of this 50 year policy mistake.

    Except that nuclear plants typically have “outages” every so often. Even “unexplained outages.” They do not, in fact, operate 24/7.

    Nuclear Power plants today run almost two years without an outage. Their capacity factor is very high.

    TMI

    More people have been killed from wind power accidents than from nuclear accidents in the first world.

    http://www.taproot.com/wordpress/2008/02/25/windmill-accident/

    Wind farms costs LESS than nuclear plants, Todd. LESS. That means the quantity of money you spend on them is not as great in magnitude as the quantity you spend on the nuclear plants. Your “cost more” is simply wrong.

    But they DON’T. That’s the thing. A nuclear power plant usually costs about one to two billion dollars assuming a build schedule not held up in court by environmentalists. A wind farm is about a billion dollars per nameplate Gigawatt, and that actually means about three gigawatts.

    [edit - gold standard discussions etc. are OT]

  27. 477
    Hank Roberts says:

    Todd, maybe you should go ahead and rough out this website you’re planning to set up, get your advertisers committed, and see how it works for you with the ideas you already have.

    It seems like you’ve made up your mind about what you believe, and reading people’s suggestions about doing the research on all these matters isn’t going to change your mind.

  28. 478

    Rather than depend on rosy future forecasts, look back in time to actual track records (most nuke plants have horrible uptime statistics).

    Track records for nuclear uptime are excellent in the USA. Power plant operators now routinely run them for up to two years at a pop. In fact, the newest cloud of superstition provoked by the likes of the Sierra Club is that running them too much is bad. Of course, its all just part of a strategy to ruin them.

    And that’s the point. As a result of the green movement, the government essentially does not want nuclear power. Quite frankly, environmentalists killed it, and I have strong feelings about them for doing so. [edit - get a grip]

    The only reason I came here was really an answer to a baseline question, which, was never really answered. I’m therefor going with a -1C baseline from the RSS temperature anomaly as the goal any environmental regime. On my web site, I’m going to lay out several alternatives to greenhouse gas management, all of which are better than those advocated by the green movement, [edit - ok that's enough. This 'conversation' is over]

  29. 479
    Hank Roberts says:

    John, you’re probably looking for something like the California Water Atlas, now a historical document, much has changed, but it did an excellent job of presenting this kind of information, won some awards, and nothing since that I know of has come up to its standards in print. It may be the Spruce Goose of print graphic media, the last one.

    http://designarchives.aiga.org/index.html?s1=2|s2=1|eid=7224
    (very slow-loading site)

    Something like it could be done online nowadays, if support were found for it.

    ___________________
    “National Healey.” ReCaptcha’s stretching a bit, but point taken.

  30. 480
    Mark says:

    Todd, as I remember it, the entire PLANT is operational two years at a time.

    But a plant can have up to 16 generator units within it.

    The units themselves go offline more frequently.

  31. 481
    Mark says:

    Todd, is TapRoot selling something?

    Well, we have to know what they’re selling, don’t we.

  32. 482
    Mark says:

    James says:

    ““That is simply, blatantly false. You simply made up that number. It has no basis in fact.

    Wind and solar are already less expensive than nuclear. More importantly, they can be built much, much faster.”

    Looks like we might have a case of pot calling kettle black here :-) ”

    Which doesn’t prove anything other than neither have a case.

    So why point it out on that one case, and not on Walt or Todd’s positions???

    Selectively biased…

  33. 483
    Hank Roberts says:

    If Todd bothers to look his idea up, he’ll find his criterion for success is a change well within the range of uncertainties. He will find himself declaring success one year, and failure the next, and success the year after that–all within the error bars for the measure.

  34. 484
    Hank Roberts says:

    PS for John, here’s one result from a search limited to “extra-large” for the California Water Atlas
    http://wwwcimis.water.ca.gov/cimis/images/etomap.jpg
    — it still doesn’t give anything like the feel of the actual book. If I hadn’t donated mine to the library I’d send it to you; you can find one near you I’m sure. I wholeheartedly agree, a presentation like this for the ecological changes would be a great teaching tool.

  35. 485
    James says:

    Maybe I’m repeating myself, but instead of tossing the same old factoids back & forth, how about using some actual data?

    For example, any real power generation technology is going to have outages, or be off-line for maintenance some of the time. Solar, wind, &c are also going to be off-line, or generating less than nameplate rating, when it’s cloudy or the wind’s not blowing. So according to this
    http://www.nei.org/newsandevents/newsreleases/us-nuclear-power-plants-achieved-near-record-level-of-electricity-production-in-2008 nuclear power had a 91.1% capacity factor last year, which hardly qualifies as “horrible”.

    Now on construction costs, it’s pretty easy to look up current price per watt of solar PV panels, and multiply. For wind power, here’s a link to an industry site estimating costs: http://www.windustry.com/how-much-do-wind-turbines-cost which says “The costs for a commercial scale wind turbine in 2007 ranged from $1.2 million to $2.6 million, per MW of nameplate capacity installed.”

    Now I think actual generation from wind runs about 1/3 of nameplate (if anyone has a better figure, feel free to correct me), so to meet the same capacity factor as nuclear (and ignoring issues such as dispatchability) 1 GWatt of wind would cost somewhere between $3.28 billion and $7.11 billion. That’s not remarkably different from projected costs of nuclear plants, especially if current regulatory obstacles are removed.

    The point I’m trying to make here is that there’s a real world out there. It’s not all that hard to find data & do math that will give at least ballpark numbers. And if those real world numbers conflict with your beliefs, then maybe that’s a sign that you should re-examine those beliefs.

  36. 486
    David B. Benson says:

    Well, in an earlier post, I did provide cost figures and a link to the study commissioned by the State of California.

  37. 487
    FredB says:

    Hank Roberts 458,460: the logarithmic dependence on CO2 concentration is absolutely basic stuff. Of course it looks linear for small changes: logs do that.

  38. 488
    Nick Gotts says:

    “Now I think actual generation from wind runs about 1/3 of nameplate (if anyone has a better figure, feel free to correct me), so to meet the same capacity factor as nuclear (and ignoring issues such as dispatchability) 1 GWatt of wind would cost somewhere between $3.28 billion and $7.11 billion. That’s not remarkably different from projected costs of nuclear plants, especially if current regulatory obstacles are removed.” – James

    Hmm – and how about if nuclear is made responsible for providing its own insurance up to the amount of any liabilities? But then, AFAIK, there’s no insurance company anywhere willing to provide this at any price.

  39. 489
    Hank Roberts says:

    FredB, are you confirming RichardC’s numbers above, in his post at
    11 April 2009 at 9:42 AM? It’s a very specific claim, that if doubling CO2 gives us 3 degrees, quadrupling CO2 gives us 6 degrees. That suggests there’s little to worry about. But when I paste his words into Google, the first hit is a denial site. So I’d like to see your source.

    Perhaps you and RichardC talking about “instantaneous” change — double CO2 with no other change whatsoever? Or are you talking about climate sensitivity?

    [Response: Not following the point of argument here. A climate sensitivity of 3ºC to doubling CO2 (which is very much the 'best estimate' from IPCC et al), does indeed imply that 4xCO2 would give 6ºC (baring large non-linearities). Why is this "little to worry about"? (for reference the LGM was only about 5 to 6ºC cooler than today, and the last time the planet was maybe 2ºC warmer, sea levels were 4 to 6 meters higher (the Eemian)). - gavin]

  40. 490
    David B. Benson says:

    +6 K globally will be seriously bad, if it comes to pass.
    “Six Degrees” review:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1480669.ece

  41. 491
    Hank Roberts says:

    Thanks Gavin, I was looking for a reference to show people who think we won’t or can’t “emit” enough CO2 to get into trouble at those levels.

    This may do: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10787&page=7

    (uncertainties, non-linear changes, and the difference between shorter and longer term numbers for sensitivity)

  42. 492
    Hank Roberts says:

    PS, here’s a take on the same concern from a blogger I hadn’t come across before, who’s looking at both climate and economics, working at
    Cambridge.

    Sunday, 11 January 2009
    How Sensitive Is The Climate — Why ‘Fast Feedbacks’ are quite slow and ‘Slow Feedbacks’ might be rather fast.
    http://climatephilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-sensitive-is-climate.html

  43. 493
    Chris Colose says:

    For Update:

    Richard Lindzen has responded here to my original comments. He did not address his not acknowledging of the Edition3 data, but rather claimed he was skeptical of it, still supported negative feedback arguments, and that such adjustments are always made to favor alarmism. I believe the response was weak, but others may feel differently.

    My update on my site is as follows:

    ………

    “Update 3– Lindzen has responded to Anthony Watts at his blog post. I wish that more was to address, but to me he didn’t really say anything meaningful, but that is for readers to make judgments on. Essentially Lindzen has set up the usual attacks that adjustments are always made to favor “alarmism” (which is incorrect, if he bothers to read the standard literature from HadCRUT, GISS, etc on their methods; perhaps if his claim was more specific, he knows it would be that much easier to invalidate). A reduction in the LW flux at the TOA can be interpreted in other ways as well, some might argue for less overall warming in the 20th century for instance.

    Lindzen once again claims that the changes still imply negative feedbacks, which is a rather dubious claim, given the discussion and comparisons with models in Wong et al. I also do not believe the full range of sensitivity can be evaluated from these results, but even so, the justification for strong negative feedbacks has vanished.”

  44. 494
    Mark says:

    “Hmm – and how about if nuclear is made responsible for providing its own insurance up to the amount of any liabilities?”

    Heck, when the US administration put forward the idea that maybe they’d be able to take tax breaks and incentives off the table for nuclear power (because it was now commercially viable), the nuke industry said that without these payments, there would be nobody willing to put money up for new nuclear power stations.

    Todd can’t be requesting we break the free market, can he?

  45. 495

    Todd Bandrowsky, making up another cool-sounding fact, writes:

    More people have been killed from wind power accidents than from nuclear accidents in the first world.

    By my count, there have been several dozen fatalities in the US from nuclear accidents and one from wind power, which involved a guy falling off a tower. The nuclear industry’s oft-repeated lie that “no civilian deaths have ever occurred due to nuclear power” depends on defining plant workers as not being civilians. And the fact that Chernobyl wasn’t in the First World doesn’t exactly make me feel confident of nuclear safety here, not after half the core of TMI-2 melted in 1979.

    I tried to list a comprehensive collection of nuclear accident reports involving fatalities here, but it got flagged as spam. Maybe I’ll put it up as a web page. People ought to know. The nuclear industry has been getting away with the Big Lie technique for too long.

  46. 496

    James, you are comparing capital costs and ignoring fuel, labor, and operating costs. That’s how wind power ends up COSTING LESS than power from nuclear plants. You don’t have to pay for the wind, you don’t need plant operators for a windmill, and your costs involve mainly cleaning and repairing on an as-needed basis.

  47. 497
    Hank Roberts says:

    Tangentially, apropos of someone’s posting earlier, QWERTY was an improvement on the original arrangement, done to speed up typing:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~dcrehr/whyqwert.html

  48. 498
  49. 499

    Todd can’t be requesting we break the free market, can he?

    The supposed deregulation of electric markets was a mistake.

    There, I said it!

    You can’t rationally invent markets where none naturally exist any more than you can suppress markets where they do exist. To have a market, you need to people to actually shop for the sorts of tangible goods that match their needs, and, be able to make decisions based on price, and unbundling was not done in such a way as to allow real competition.

    If you really wanted to have a genuine electric market, then you can have generation in every house and all the inefficiencies that go along with it. But once we started wiring everyone to a relative small number of vast power plants, it becomes essentially a government enterprise, regardless of whether that government foolishly delegates its power to shareholders or not.

    I’m not one of these typical wingers that is automatically opposed to a federally run enterprise. We have to remember that the real purpose of free enterprise, from the government’s perspective, is to perpetuate its nation. I use the word Sovereign because this note is even more basic than the choice of one’s political system and its so basic we’ve forgotten it and on both sides of the aisle.

    It is always better for the Sovereign to let someone else risk their money, than it is for the Sovereign to risk his. If all of the Sovereign’s subjects risk their money, and only some succeed in a given enterprise, then the Sovereign benefits. On the other hand, if the Sovereign is engaged in all matters of speculation with his own purse, then his government will ultimately collapse.

    The line of having the government do commerce versus having the private sector do commerce, is really and properly not about some absolutely morality because absolute morality is foolish. IT’s risk management with the goal of providing the best to the people. It’s about, having the land be the most prosperous for the people and the dividing line is how much risk the Sovereign must absorb to do that. If you have a public utility, the actual risk is low, and its reasonable to think he should have some public service, the profits of which are used to fulfill the Sovereigns ends and invariably means a redistribution of wealth. Basically, it’s OK for the government to have some state run or quasi state run enterprises if the risk of their failure is low, and they can engage in some form of rent seeking for the purposes of redistributing wealth for the overall management of the state.

    I choose the word redistribution of wealth exactly, because, my conservative friends seem to have forgotten that anyone who acquires any sort of wealth seems to redistribute it. But, the main thing is, that, mushy headed capitaly or commy ideas are not how to think about what works in government or the private sector, but, rather, what minimizes the risk exposure of the government while at the same time maximizing the return to it through taxes. There’s no moral difference between the government building a bridge and charging tolls for it to build the chief overseer’s brother a deck, versus the private sector building a toy pony, and making profits on it, to build the chief overseer’s brother a deck.

  50. 500
    James says:

    Nick Gotts Says (12 April 2009 at 3:59 PM):

    “Hmm – and how about if nuclear is made responsible for providing its own insurance up to the amount of any liabilities? But then, AFAIK, there’s no insurance company anywhere willing to provide this at any price.”

    Don’t they? It’s a fund set up by the government, as are for instance Social Security & Medicare, which the power plant operators have been paying into for decades. Which, of course, leads off into wondering where all the money has gone. Same place as the Social Security Trust Fund, maybe?

    It seems fair enough to me, thoug, as long as other forms of generation are held to the same standard. How much do you think an insurance company would charge to insure fossil fuel plant operators against potential liability for climate change? How much would it cost to insure hydroelectric dams?

    That’s really one of the points I’m trying to get at here: you’re all going on with the “mote in your brother’s eye” thing, claiming this other technology you detest is only viable because of subsidies, but ignoring the subsidies that the technology you like is getting. You need to take your idologies, all of them, and put them where PV technology would be no use at all.

    Barton Paul Levenson Says (12 April 2009 at 7:24 PM):

    “By my count, there have been several dozen fatalities in the US from nuclear accidents and one from wind power, which involved a guy falling off a tower.”

    How about giving us fatality rates per MWatt-hr generated? That seems the only fair way to make a comparison.

    Barton Paul Levenson Says (12 April 2009 at 7:29 PM):

    “…you don’t need plant operators for a windmill, and your costs involve mainly cleaning and repairing on an as-needed basis.”

    You really think that? You just stick them up, and they work? No maintenance needed, no system operators to meld the variable wind turbine output into the grid? Somehow I doubt that. See for instance http://www.windpower.org/en/tour/econ/oandm.htm and http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/09/60-percent-united-states-wind-turbines-behind-on-maintenance.php

    But you do seem to have missed my point, because you’re still throwing out vague asservations, rather than providing even ballpark numbers for operating costs.


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