RealClimate logo


Krugman weighs in

Filed under: — david @ 11 April 2010

After weeks and months of press coverage seemingly Through the Looking Glass, Paul Krugman has sent us a breath of fresh air this morning in the New York Times Magazine, entitled “Building a Green Economy“. Krugman now joins fellow NYT columnist Tom Friedman as required reading in my Global Warming for English Majors class at the University of Chicago.

There is a lot here to comment on and discuss. The extinctions at the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum, for example, were mostly limited to foraminfera, single-celled shelly protozoa living at the sea floor, not really a “mass extinction” like the end Cretaceous when the dinosaurs got feathered. The Gulf Stream is not the only thing keeping Northern Europe warmer than Alaska. Krugman’s four reasons why it’s dubious to compare costs of climate mitigation to adaption didn’t include the unfairness, that the people paying the costs of climate change would not be the same ones as reap the benefit of CO2 emission. He also seems to have missed the recent revelation that what really matters to climate is the total ultimate slug of emitted CO2, implying that unfettered emission today dooms us to more drastic cuts in the future or a higher ultimate atmospheric CO2 concentration, which will persist not just for “possibly centuries”, but almost certainly for millennia.

But despite a few off-notes, reading this very nicely written, beautifully laid out and argued piece felt like getting a deep sympathetic body massage after a bruising boxing match. Thank you, Mr. Krugman.

510 Responses to “Krugman weighs in”

  1. 251
    Gilles says:

    “Gilles, if people were buying more efficient cars that cost more (presumably because fuel costs had risen), then there is no obvious reason that they would buy more cars than at the previous lower prices.”

    KMcKinney : are you aware that two thirds of people in the world don’t have a car AT ALL ? do you have a good reason for which they, and the 2 or 3 billions more people in the coming decades, would never buy one if they can ? especially if – as IPCC believes – their purchasing power is multiplied by 10 or so within 100 years ?

  2. 252
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “CFU :”Yet, after abandoning horse and carriage and slavery, economies have managed to reach new peaks of value.”

    Only by increasing a lot the energy consumption !!”

    Nope, the horse and cart were inefficient.

    Port Talbot Steelworks reduced their energy use to 1/5th.

    Their production increased but didn’t increase fivefold.

    Net reduction.

  3. 253
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “remember : economic growth is just due to the fact that nobody sees any objection in living like people earning just 1% more than them, one year after. ”

    Remember, capitalism results in those with the money wanting more and more of it.

    Think of the high and increasing disparity between the high earners in the US.

    This results in inefficiencies in the market.

    Same thing happened in the 1920 recession in the US: the poor became migrant and the rich cut back on what they spent, hoarding it.

  4. 254
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Gilles, you never answered my question :”Do you have ANY example where that was the case?”

    Come on, where did lack of energy cause a recession?

  5. 255
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “249
    Kevin McKinney says:
    18 April 2010 at 11:33 PM

    #241–Gilles, if people were buying more efficient cars that cost more (presumably because fuel costs had risen)”

    Also, given Gilles stance is that if you don’t spend more money on something like fossil fuels, you’re going into recession, wouldn’t this be how Gilles would get you OUT of a recession?

    He’s not listening to his own tripe.

    Why are we?

  6. 256
    Hank Roberts says:

    “Once the last tree is cut and the last river poisoned, you will find you cannot eat your money.”
    (Traditional saying, referenced by writer Joyce McLean in the Globe and Mail, 1989.)

  7. 257
    Steve P says:

    A vague, undefined concept such as “standard of living” is not a good starting point for anything more than an opinionated discussion. Is the ability to drive an overlarge car down the highway at NASCAR speeds part of one’s definition of “standard of living”? Is the ability to build, design and live in houses that take no notice of or advantage of locally available energy sources (light and wind ) part of the definition of “standard of living”. I grew up in an old farm house that relied on wood and coke for heat and hot water. Until I had to reveal this fact to my grammar school classmates, whose homes were all heated with oil or gas, I was not aware of any disadvantage in that situation. And, for a while, I had the advantage of being able to use the coke fired water heater as a retort for my early experiments in metallurgy. And when my parents found out, I discovered from them just how close I had come to obliterating myself. Lot of useful learning there… And isn’t it odd, that so many people take their few precious days of vacation each year to go back to nature to go camping, with wood fires and all the privations inherent in that past time. My point being that “standard of living” entails basically all of human activity, it is too massive a concept to honestly reduce to a three word sound bite,it is relative, and the human animal is fantastically adept at engineering solutions to problems. Getting wrapped around the axle defending a philosophy built on the squishy muck of over vague concepts is, IMHO, a waste.

  8. 258
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “do you have a good reason for which they, and the 2 or 3 billions more people in the coming decades, would never buy one if they can ?”

    Because they don’t need one?

  9. 259

    Gilles, #251–

    >are you aware that two thirds of people in the world don’t have a car AT ALL ?

    I assume that’s a rhetorical question?

    We were talking about cars, don’t blame me that they were the topic.

    >do you have a good reason for which they, and the 2 or 3 billions more people in the coming decades, would never buy one if they can ?

    Yes, I think I do: they are inefficient, expensive (particularly if your predictions come to pass) and unnecessary in principle for many of the purposes for which they are currently used. As energy becomes more and more a limiting factor (raising its relative price) we may be expected to find less wasteful, less expensive ways to accomplish the necessary tasks of life.

    I’ve been fortunate enough in the last several months to be able to cut my driving drastically. The impact on my life has been highly positive, in terms of safety, time and budget. Talk about a win/win/win! I’d like to see urban and transportation design develop to let many more people experience such a transition–and to allow the non-motorized 2/3s to avoid blind alleys down which we “more fortunate” ones have foolishly allowed ourselves to be stampeded.

  10. 260
    Septic Matthew says:

    An interesting coincidence, violating the Bell inequality in the generation of random numbers:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414134542.htm

    I thought that it was too good not to pass on. I make no claim about its ultimate provenance or relevance to anything. Just a coincidence.

  11. 261
    Gilles says:

    “>do you have a good reason for which they, and the 2 or 3 billions more people in the coming decades, would never buy one if they can ?

    Yes, I think I do: they are inefficient, expensive (particularly if your predictions come to pass)”

    If my predictions come to pass, obviously the number of cars will be limited by the availability of FF. Not by altruism and to save the mankind, but more prosaically by the usual selection criterion, unfortunately : rich people can afford them, poor people can’t. So I agree with “expensive” , but not with “inefficient” (if it were due to their “inefficiency”, it would be the rich people who would take other, more “efficient”, means of transportation !). But in that case, there is nothing particular to do to limit the amount of fossil fuels : the problem will be more one of social justice, to share as fairly as possible (if this means something in the current world) , the limited amount that the nature leave us to consume. Which I advocate of course.

  12. 262
    Ric Merritt says:

    CFU, 18 April 2010 at 2:46 PM, plus other reiterations says:

    [using offensive language that IMHO should cause the filter to automatically reject the comment without further ado (MODERATOR PLEASE TAKE NOTE) ]

    “Using less energy doesn’t lead to an economic collapse.
    Do you have ANY example where that was the case?”

    Easily granted that using a bit less energy will not lead to an economic collapse, since efficiency gains are there for the taking. But your question obviously fails to get at the points that matter.

    No one has an example (yet) of what will happen after we use up the heritage of millions of years of fossil solar energy in a few centuries, perforce reach peak production, and face a steady decline to effectively zero use of fossil energy. The current world technological civilization is unique in this respect. We (some of us) are trying to increase each year the use of truly renewable energy. By definition, after a time all that we use will be renewable.

    We do have examples of previous civilizations that lived on renewable energy, with enough energy left over after basic needs to create wonderful cultures. None of them supported many billions of people, much less many billions of people as rich as the top billion is today. We don’t know how to do that with renewable energy. Anything high-tech, including current windmills, various solar technologies, not to mention the internet, depends utterly on not falling below a threshold level of specialization and interdependence. Where is the threshold? I don’t know, and you don’t either.

    It might turn out, for example, that it is possible to stay above that threshold indefinitely with a population of one billion. You still have to contemplate how to get there, and there are no good ways to get to one billion fast. Even if you hope to stay above the threshold with ~7 billion, you still have to make windmills and solar power collectors WITHOUT using fossils, except a bit at the beginning. We are hardly even trying that part yet.

  13. 263
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Easily granted that using a bit less energy will not lead to an economic collapse, since efficiency gains are there for the taking. ”

    Didn’t answer the question.

    Epic. Fail.

    Please try again.

  14. 264
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “If my predictions come to pass”

    But basing the fate of humanity’s survival assuming eternally you’re right.

    Well dozens have tried to show where you’re wrong.

    But you’re mind is closed.

    Keep dreaming, kid.

  15. 265
    Kevin says:

    #183 (Rod B) … seems long ago by now … in any case, re your surprise/doubt that cap and trade was applied to phase out lead from gasoline and ozone depleting chems. This was true in the U.S., not globally. See: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/analysis/stavins/?tag=leaded-gasoline
    and for more detailed discussion re how the mechanism works: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/rstavins/Papers/Handbook_Chapter_on_MBI.pdf

  16. 266
    Hank Roberts says:

    SM, if you would take the time to read the links that you post, you’d realize you’re posting stuff unrelated to climate science. You must be copying from a wacko who’s disproving climatology using his own personal physics and mathematics, if it claims it’s relevant to climate science. That ain’t. It says:

    “Bell tests performed in recent decades on entangled systems have shown such inequality violation, and thus confirmed the nonlocality of quantum mechanics.”

  17. 267
    Gilles says:

    CFU :”Well dozens have tried to show where you’re wrong.

    But you’re mind is closed.”

    I’d like to know which kind of obviously “wrong” prediction I am supposed to do. Would you bet on anything that you think I’m predicting and won’t happen ?

  18. 268

    On automotive efficiency: to clarify, I’m talking about economic and energy efficiency for a given transportation system–not “efficiency” (taken to = convenience?) for a given individual.

    For the latter, cars may be efficient–for the former, not so much, though they offer a lot of opportunities for profit.

  19. 269
    Septic Matthew says:

    266, Hank Roberts: SM, if you would take the time to read the links that you post, you’d realize you’re posting stuff unrelated to climate science.

    I did realize that we’d gone far afield, from “empirical random variation” to nuclear decay to Bell’s Theorem, but I did not introduce Bell’s theorem. I was amused to read today the apparent experimental demonstration of a violation of Bell’s theorem just the day after saying that I thought it had hidden assumptions, and so shortly after I said I was going to stop posting here.

    By now you all know my schtick:

    there’s more random variability than warmers want to admit, hence less reliability in their predictions than they want to admit;

    there is lots of energy to be harvested in the upcoming decades, so we can wean ourselves off fossil fuels;

    there are lots of opportunities for reforestation and biofuels with salt-tolerant species and other species;

    there are important gaps/unknowns in climate science;

    there is plenty of technology for desalination of water, and plenty of power to do it with;

    there is reason to hope that CC&S might work;

    AND,

    there is lots of evidence that AGW might be occuring just as warmers believe, hence reason to invest in mitigation and research.

  20. 270
    Hank Roberts says:

    SM, Bell’s inequality is violated in, and demonstrates, quantum entanglement.
    Know the biggest thing yet shown to exhibit that effect?
    Hint, smaller than a planet. Relation to climatology?
    get out the butterfly net. (Papilio tempestae)

  21. 271
    Ray Ladbury says:

    SM, the so-called “violation” of Bell’s inequality is in fact saying that the process is completely random–the exact opposite of what you were claiming. It says there are NO hidden variables. That is what makes the code unbreakable. If there were hidden variables, you could break it.

  22. 272
    Gilles says:

    An interesting paper developing the right (for me of course) ideas about rebound effects, quoted by TheOilDrum

    http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/documents/sewp185 (pdf, 238 Ko)

  23. 273
    Comletely Fed Up says:

    “I’d like to know which kind of obviously “wrong” prediction I am supposed to do.”

    Yup, you aren’t even listening to your own crap.

    “Reducing fossil fuels will result in recession”.

    It’s wrong.

    You don’t even admit you’re saying it, THAT is how blind you are.

  24. 274
    Rod B says:

    Kevin (265), that’s a bit misleading. Cap and trade (or similar) was used to mitigate the changeover required by the legislation which outlawed the use of lead in gasoline and the manufacture, use, or even storing R12. The law gets credit for the demise. Stretching C&T’s worth (and it was helpful) in these cases to try to show how great it will be ala AGW is not credible.

  25. 275
    Gilles says:

    CFU#273 : please quote me correctly, I never stated that as a quantitative prediction at a 1% accuracy. I said first that the amount of improvement is limited and can be only made at a slow rate, and second that any improvement will be soon used to increase the wealth with a given amount of fossil fuels. So they will not result in a decrease of FF use worldwide, but rather to an increase of the amount of goods they produce, and even of their global production rate (since all improvements in the technique tend to make them more accessible, and cheaper).
    It’s not enough to say “it’s wrong”. If you don’t see the correlation between receding FF consumption and economic recessions, I suggest you to wear new glasses.

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/images/fig-2.jpg

    and I’m still waiting for any measured correlation between increase of average temperature on the globe and any economic recession !!! strange “scientific” attitude : what is obviously measured is wrong, and what is not measured is true !

  26. 276
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “CFU#273 : please quote me correctly, I never stated that as a quantitative prediction at a 1% accuracy.”

    Strawman.

    Never said you gave any accuracy.

    I said you gave nothing showing it was true AT ALL.

  27. 277
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “If you don’t see the correlation between receding FF consumption and economic recessions, I suggest you to wear new glasses.

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/images/fig-2.jpg

    Correlation != Causation.

    What is the causal link? If it’s “energy”, then that doesn’t have to be fossil fuel.

    That there is no causal link can be found by considering how Port Talbot Steelworks reduced energy use AND made more money.

  28. 278
    Ric Merritt says:

    I am no longer engaging with the conveniently anonymous CFU, whose postings are increasingly offensive, recalcitrant, deliberately evasive, and eye-rollingly numerous. These issues are so hard that lack of humility and thoughtfulness tends to make contributions worse than useless.

    A troll’s a troll, no matter what policy or opinion direction they approach from. If I were the moderator, I would lower the boom.

  29. 279
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Gilles
    > If you don’t see the correlation between receding FF consumption
    > and economic recessions, I suggest you to wear new glasses.

    You pick fossil fuel use and recession, but you ignore a war or two, the destruction of oil fields, the collapse of the USSR, the collapse of the codfish stocks, and much else.

    You can always find correlations between any two things.
    Eyeballing pictures of charts is ….

    Oh, why bother.

  30. 280
    Completely Fed Up says:

    You never did, Riccy.

    PS would it be OK then if I stated that Gilles needed investigation into fraudulent work on behalf of paid fossil fuel lobbyists?

    This doesn’t seem to get your hackles up when such accusations are made to, for example, 17 IPCC scientists, by Inholfe.

    So you should be fine with that, hmm?

  31. 281
    Completely Fed Up says:

    PS One post only, which was “HE’S OFFENSIVE TO ME!!! SHUT HIM UP!!!” isn’t really “conversing. So how you can “continue” is hard to fathom.

  32. 282
    Hank Roberts says:

    From the paper Gilles points to:

    > d) sustainability is incompatible with continued economic growth
    > in rich countries; and
    > e) a zero-growth economy is incompatible with a debt-based monetary
    > system.

    No problem with these. Ecologists have been pointing out for a very long time that economics without biological constraints is imaginary, and that contractual debts that require stripmining ecologies are stupid.

  33. 283
    Hank Roberts says:

    Good news, if Peter Ward is proved right; multicellular life is waiting to spread as new niches are opened up:
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/8/31/abstract

  34. 284
    Anonymous Coward says:

    Hank,

    “a) zero-growth economy is incompatible with a debt-based monetary system.”

    This is typical crank stuff. Macroeconomics is somewhat counter-intuitive but people seem to feel they don’t need to get aquainted with the discipline before regaling us with their populist theories.

  35. 285
    Hank Roberts says:

    AC, say rather that you can’t get growth of an economic system faster than you can replenish the natural stocks on which it’s based without stripmining the resource.

    I recall the suggestion a few decades back that the whaling industry would do better by liquidating all remaining whales, selling their fleet for scrap, and putting the money into financial instruments that promised a much higher rate of return.

    There are people who make contracts based on paying rates of interest far beyond what they can support, and expect to make the money by taking unsustainable resources and turning them into cash.

    Perhaps you could publish something over here, with pointers to how it will be done sustainably?

    http://realclimateeconomics.org/ (not connected to RC, but relevant)

  36. 286
    Hank Roberts says:

    Worth a look:
    http://realclimateeconomics.org/briefs/Howarth_Discounting.pdf

    —-excerpt follows (first page; click link for the rest) —-

    Discounting, Uncertainty, and Climate Change
    Richard B. Howarth Dartmouth College
    April 2009

    • Climate change policy is often evaluated by discounting the future benefits of emissions abatement at a high (6%) discount rate. This suggests that greenhouse gas emissions should continue to grow and that the welfare of future generations should receive comparatively little weight.
    • Economic theory supports the use of low (≤ 1%) discount rates in the evaluation of precautionary policies based on decision-makers’ aversion to risk and uncertainty.
    • The use of a low discount rate supports aggressive steps to stabilize global climate and also upholds the principles of intergenerational fairness.
    Some Fundamentals

    In the theory of cost-benefit analysis, the discount rate represents the return on investment required to justify the expenditure of scarce social resources. This in turn reflects decision-makers’ impatience or time preference – the degree to which they prefer to receive benefits in the present rather than the future.

    In the economics of climate change, one key argument is that the future benefits provided by greenhouse gas emissions abatement should be discounted at a rate equal to the average return on a typical private-sector investment (Manne, 1999). The rationale is that resources should be allocated to uses that provide the greatest benefits to society. Historical data suggest that typical private-sector investments yield real (inflation-corrected) returns of 6% per year (Nordhaus 1994). Yet the use of a 6% discount rate has strong consequences in the evaluation of climate change policy regimes. It implies that:

    1. No more than $0.003X should be spent today to avoid environmental impacts that would impose $X of damages one century in the future.
    2. Greenhouse gas emission should be allowed to grow at a robust rate.

    In one example of this approach, Nordhaus and Boyer (2000) find that carbon dioxide emissions would rise by 64% between 2005 and 2105 given optimal climate change policies. Under business-as-usual, emissions would rise by 85%. The inference is that it is better for society to bear the long-term costs of climate change than the short-run costs of climate stabilization. This conclusion contradicts the primary goal of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change ….

    —-end excerpt—–

  37. 287
    Anonymous Coward says:

    Hank,
    Like I said, macroeconomics is somewhat counterintuitive. A monetary system isn’t like a household or a corporation. It doesn’t have revenues or expenses. It has no bearing on people’s net indebtedness or on discount rates. And it’s utterly irrelevant to sustainability.

  38. 288
    Hank Roberts says:

    Hm, who should I listen to, an anonymous guy on a blog, or the economists at realclimateeconomics?

    I’ll think it over and get back to you.

  39. 289
    Hank Roberts says:

    Maybe here:
    http://ase.tufts.edu/gdae/Pubs/wp/08-02EcologMacroEconJuly08.pdf
    GDAE Working Paper No. 08-02 Ecological Macroeconomics
    Abstract
    … Current macroeconomic theory is heavily oriented towards an assumption of continuous, exponential growth in GDP. The historical record shows GDP growth is strongly correlated with a parallel record of increasing fossil energy use and CO2 emissions. A path of reduced carbon emissions would require major modifications in economic growth patterns. ….
    A reclassification of macroeconomic aggregates is proposed to distinguish between those categories of goods and services that can expand over time, and those that must be limited to reduce carbon emissions. This reformulation makes it clear that there are many possibilities for environmentally beneficial economic expansion. New forms of Keynesian policy oriented towards ecological sustainability, provision of basic social needs such as education and health care, and distributional equity can provide a basis for a rapid reduction in carbon emissions while promoting investment in human and natural capital.

  40. 290
    Hank Roberts says:

    Also interesting:

    [BOOK] The Economics of the Yasuni Initiative: Climate Change as If Thermodynamics Mattered

    JH Vogel – 2010 – books.google.com
    … thermodynamics brings into focus the legitimacy of a ‘carbon debt’ that starts to tick with the first report of the IPCC in 1990 … Graciela Chichilnisky has worked extensively in the Kyoto Protocol
    process, creating and designing the carbon market that became international law in 2005 …

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=fviQUtyNJQIC&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=macroeconomics+%22climate+change%22&ots=RT3ugatXSS#v=onepage&q&f=false

  41. 291
    Gilles says:

    CFU:”That there is no causal link can be found by considering how Port Talbot Steelworks reduced energy use AND made more money.”
    You persistently miss the point, but I’m getting tired to repeat it. Of course the energy intensity has constantly improved, just because it would be silly to give up a way of producing goods with less energy and adopt another one that needs more energy. So on average things can only improve. But what you miss is that this improvement results on average of an INCREASED consumption just because it would also be silly not to seize the possibility of producing still more goods with the same energy, and in fact with MORE energy, because all processes have improved, including energy production. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand the story of the industrial civilization and the origin of growth. And if you don’t understand the origin of growth, you can’t understand why it comes to its end : the exhaustion of cheap energy and the eventual decrease of its efficiency; overwhelming the progress we can make in its use.

    Sorry, I’m tired to say it again and again. Wait only for a few years and you’ll understand.

  42. 292
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “You persistently miss the point, but I’m getting tired to repeat it.”

    It would require you to make one to be able to repeat it.

    “Of course the energy intensity has constantly improved, just because it would be silly to give up a way of producing goods with less energy and adopt another one that needs more energy.”

    You’ve never said that before. Again, not repeating. You’ve always said that non-fossil fuels couldn’t be used and that reducing use meant we’d produce more and undo any reduction.

    “But what you miss is that this improvement results on average of an INCREASED consumption ”

    See.

    This is bollocks.

    “just because it would also be silly not to seize the possibility of producing still more goods”

    The McDonalds “super size me” attitude. No wonder there’s a landfill problem.

    And it would be FAR MORE SILLY to reduce energy use and then throw it all away by producing more stuff “just because we can”.

    “If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand the story of the industrial civilization and the origin of growth.”

    Absolultely not true. You’re wrong in what you want others to understand. Therefore not understanding that falsity is no hindrance to understanding industrial civilisation.

    “And if you don’t understand the origin of growth, you can’t understand why it comes to its end :”

    So if we have two scenarios:

    A) AGW mitigation, “recession” as you (falsely) assert
    B) No AGW mitigation “recession” as you assert

    why not go with scenario A, since we’ve never tried widespread solar/wind power in an industrial scenario.

    Nah, you’re blinkered.

  43. 293
    Gilles says:

    CFU :”And it would be FAR MORE SILLY to reduce energy use and then throw it all away by producing more stuff “just because we can”.

    Oh, then the mankind has been silly for centuries ! what else did we do ?
    you just seem to think that most people in the world live like american, wasting a lot of energy and eating too much. You just forget that “producing more stuff”, for the vast majority of the world, is only insuring the basic needs , and for many of them, not starving to death. China growth has allowed hundreds of millions of people to escape absolute poverty. Do you think there aren’t many people left in this state now?

    “why not go with scenario A, since we’ve never tried widespread solar/wind power in an industrial scenario.”

    wrong. Denmark, Germany, Spain have settled many windmills. Now they reach between 10 and 20 % of their electricity produced by wind, it is becoming difficult to increase further this ratio because of intermittence. On the total, much less than 10 % of their energy is produced by wind, their carbon footprint is still among the highest in Europe, thermal plants are still unavoidable to fill the gaps, nothing has changed of course for metallurgy, carbochemistry, agriculture, transportations, their (big) cars are still gas-powered, and of course they were hit like the others (and rather worse) by the spike of oil prices and the economic recession. And naturally they couldn’t do the slightest thing to prevent asian countries to use the coal and the oil they could have spared (how and why would they ?). Open your eyes and look at the real world…

  44. 294

    Gilles, #293–“it is becoming difficult to increase further this ratio because of intermittence.”

    And yet all these misguided nations–Denmark, Germany and Spain–continue to add wind capacity.

    Odd, that.

  45. 295
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Oh, then the mankind has been silly for centuries ! ”

    No, they weren’t trying to reduce energy use.

  46. 296
    Gilles says:

    CFU :”Oh, then the mankind has been silly for centuries ! ”

    No, they weren’t trying to reduce energy use.”

    Of course they were, and they have !

    you’re confusing “energy intensity” and “energy consumption”; what I say you is that the only thing you’re doing when you conserve energy is to improve energy intensity (the amount of energy you use for a given service), i.e. an intensive quantity, but there is nothing that controls the extensive quantity of the amount of services , and so the total amount of energy – just to begin with the number of people on the Earth ! what the mankind has ALWAYS done, is to increase the efficiency of energy use (for a given service) and use it to increase the amount of services – and it has had even the effect of increasing the amount of accessible resources.
    The “trick” of economists is to assume a given level of growth, independant of energy efficiency, and so to multiply the energy intensity by a FIXED amount of services, to conclude that diminishing the energy intensity will diminish the total amount of used energy : this is fully wrong, and has never occured at the global scale.

  47. 297
    Gilles says:

    “And yet all these misguided nations–Denmark, Germany and Spain–continue to add wind capacity.”
    Less and less : Denmark’s wind capacity has increased only by 10 % in 6 years. They are clearly close to their asymptote . The others have some margin for progression, but will likely be limited around the same amount (20 % of produced electricity, less than 10 % of total power) for the same intermittence reasons;

  48. 298
    Jacob Mack says:

    In the UK mister is often used instead of professor of doctor:)

  49. 299
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Less and less : Denmark’s wind capacity has increased only by 10 % in 6 years.”

    And you forget your own message:

    #293–”it is becoming difficult to increase further this ratio because of intermittence.”

    Oopsie-doopsie.

  50. 300
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Of course they were, and they have !”

    Can you make up your mind.

    First it’s “they’re using more energy” then it’s “they’re using less energy”.

    When you’re telling a lie, it’s usually a good idea to keep to the same story.