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If You See Something, Say Something

Filed under: — mike @ 17 January 2014

Gavin provided a thoughtful commentary about the role of scientists as advocates in his RealClimate piece a few weeks ago.

I have weighed in with my own views on the matter in my op-ed today in this Sunday’s New York Times. And, as with Gavin, my own views have been greatly influenced and shaped by our sadly departed friend and colleague, Stephen Schneider. Those who were familiar with Steve will recognize his spirit and legacy in my commentary. A few excerpts are provided below:

THE overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening. Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-established science. This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist.


My colleague Stephen Schneider of Stanford University, who died in 2010, used to say that being a scientist-advocate is not an oxymoron. Just because we are scientists does not mean that we should check our citizenship at the door of a public meeting, he would explain. The New Republic once called him a “scientific pugilist” for advocating a forceful approach to global warming. But fighting for scientific truth and an informed debate is nothing to apologize for.


Our Department of Homeland Security has urged citizens to report anything dangerous they witness: “If you see something, say something.” We scientists are citizens, too, and, in climate change, we see a clear and present danger. The public is beginning to see the danger, too — Midwestern farmers struggling with drought, more damaging wildfires out West, and withering, record, summer heat across the country, while wondering about possible linkages between rapid Arctic warming and strange weather patterns, like the recent outbreak of Arctic air across much of the United States.


The piece ends on this note:

How will history judge us if we watch the threat unfold before our eyes, but fail to communicate the urgency of acting to avert potential disaster? How would I explain to the future children of my 8-year-old daughter that their grandfather saw the threat, but didn’t speak up in time?

Those are the stakes.

I would encourage interested readers to read the commentary in full at the New York Times website.

Constructive contributions are welcome in the comment section below :-)

606 Responses to “If You See Something, Say Something”

  1. 501
    Walter says:

    For more perspective now and over time into the future. I think these figures are close enough accurate to be fit for purpose.

    First some basic info on USA operating Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)
    – The nine Solar Electric Generating Station plants in California’s Mojave Desert. The combined capacity is more than 350-megawatts.
    – Abengoa Solar a 280-megawatt plant. The thermal energy storage system provides up to 6 hours of generating capacity after sunset.
    – Sierra SunTower 5-MW, Saguaro Power Plant 1-MW, Kimberlina 5-megawatts
    – Nevada Solar One capacity of 64-megawatts
    – Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center is the second largest solar facility in the world and the largest solar plant of any kind outside of California. First hybrid in the world to connect a solar facility to an existing combined-cycle power plant, providing 75-megawatts of solar thermal capacity in an innovative way that directly displaces fossil fuel usage.
    – Ivanpah 1 has a total capacity of 126 MW and Ivanpah 2 and 3 are both 133 MW each. Upon completion, Ivanpah will be the largest solar thermal power tower system in the world. Total Capacity to become 377.0 MW

    Total potential output of all CSP projects in the USA 2013 = 1,157 MW

    2012 Net Summer Generating Capacity All Sources = 4,047,765 MW (or 4,047 GW-Gigawatts)

    Therefore CSP Solar accounts for only – 0.02% – of the national total.

    U.S. power plants used renewable energy sources — water (hydroelectric), wood, wind, organic waste, geothermal, and sun — to generate about 12% of our electricity in 2012.

    Hydro 7% – Wind 3.3% – CSP/PV Solar 0.12% of Total Electric Generation

    Totals are: Renewable 12% – Nuclear 19% – Gas 30% – Coal 37%

    The largest share of the renewable-generated electricity came from hydroelectric power (56%), followed by: wind (28%), biomass wood (8%), biomass waste (4%), geothermal (3%), and solar (1%).

    Total US Capacity Now
    Coal Fired = 1,497,673 MW
    Gas Fired = 1,214,329 MW
    Solar = 40,477 MW

    With a 100% exponential increase (doubling) of Solar Capacity every 5 years to 2040 would equal 1,295,264 MW (~30% of total).

    Any idea how much that would cost if it was physically possible to manufacture and build at this rate? Which on the surface appears impossible.

    In 2020, natural gas-fired generation in AEO2014 is 7% higher than in AEO2013, and in 2040 it is 16% higher.

    Electricity generation from nuclear power plants grows by 5% in the AEO2014 Reference case, from 769 billion kWh in 2012 to 811 billion kWh in 2040, accounting for about 16% of total generation in 2040 (compared with 19% in 2012)

    The current Solar Power annual growth rate in the USA is what?
    20% 10% 5%?

    Reported renewable capacity already under construction has increased in recent years and is represented in AEO2014. Growth in renewable generation is supported by many state requirements, as well as regulations on CO2 emissions in California. The share of U.S. electricity generation coming from renewable fuels (including conventional hydropower) grows from 12% in 2012 to 16% in 2040 in the AEO2014 Reference case.

    In 25 years the TOTAL renewable share increases by only 4% !!!

    With growing electricity demand and the retirement of 103 gigawatts of existing capacity, 340 gigawatts of new generating capacity is added in the AEO2013 Reference case from 2012 to 2040.

    Natural gas-fired plants account for 63 percent of the capacity additions from 2012 to 2040 in the Reference case, compared with 31 percent for renewables, 3 percent for coal, and 3 percent for nuclear.

    Real growth in Solar Power is negligible now to 2040. Wind is significant, but Gas Fired is MASSIVE growth of another 214,000 Megawatts

    Remembering that today, the total CSP output was only 1,157 MW or 200 times less. That is a 20,000 percent less that the expected growth in Gas powered stations alone up to 2040.

    And this is only thinking about the USA. There be ZERO decrease in GHG emissions from the USA into the foreseeable future. None. BAU+ reigns supreme. Interesting times indeed.



  2. 502
    Jim Bullis says:

    500 wili

    I have trouble with your logic and your suggested parallels.

    You must recognize that there are choices that have to be made, and sometimes priorities get a little out of balance.

  3. 503
    SecularAnimist says:

    Kevin McKinney wrote: “Honestly, Diogenes, I missed it in all the back and forth …”

    You didn’t miss anything.

  4. 504
    Walter says:

    University of California Television (UCTV)
    Recorded on Oct 5 2013
    Climate Change Politics and the Economy: Rhetoric v. Reality

    Rapidly melting arctic ice, catastrophic hurricanes, devastating wildfires, and record-breaking drought—scientists agree that the climate is changing, that it’s human caused, and that it will undeniably be one of the most serious problems facing the world’s citizens for generations to come.

    They acknowledge that technologies to combat climate change do exist. How can we come together to address this challenge which has become a partisan political issue in the United States in a way it has not elsewhere in the world?

    Join UC Berkeley Professor Dan Kammen, an internationally recognized energy policy expert and Mr.Tom Steyer, business leader and investor, for a lively and timely conversation to understand where we are now, the solutions at hand, the barriers we face, and what must happen to “overcome the partisan divide” to speed the transition to a sustainable planet.

    Moderated by Richard “Dick” Beahrs – 1h30m

  5. 505
    Walter says:

    3 videos covering topics of Cognitive Thinking, Morality, Framing, Values, Politics, Irrationality, Climate Science, Climate Change Action.

    University of California Television (UCTV) Nov 2005
    Professor George Lakoff: Moral Politics
    Framing, Metaphorical Thought, Rationality, Morality Metaphors, Thought.

    UC Berkeley professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics George Lakoff explores how successful political debates are framed by using language targeted to people’s Values instead of their support for specific government programs.

    New America Foundation 2008
    How to Make Friends and Manipulate Irrational Voters

    UC Berkeley professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics George Lakoff is a New York Times bestselling author of “The Political Mind: Why You Can’t Understand 21st Century American Politics with an 18th Century Mind”

    University of California Television (UCTV) May 3013
    The Scientific Case for Urgent Action to Limit Climate Change

    Distinguished Professor Emeritus Richard Somerville, a world-renowned climate scientist and author of “The Forgiving Air: Understanding Environmental Change,” discusses the scientific case for Urgent Action to limit climate change.

  6. 506
    Walter says:

    Biased towards ourselves and our own opinions and values

    The way we perceive ourselves and others can influence how we respond to contested issues, including climate change.

    However, these perceptions are subject to cognitive biases or distortions as we attempt to make sense of the world around us.

    Our mis-perceptions about what others think about climate change extend to mis-perceptions about what others do.

    Research shows these Biases extend far beyond our opinions, scientific knowledge, or climate change issues. Most of us tend to think we are always better than others.

    The “better than average effect” describes our predisposition to think of ourselves as exceptional, especially among our peers.

    The effect reflects our tendency to think of ourselves as more virtuous and moral, more compassionate and understanding, and ironically even less Biased than other people too!

    In a famous example, when people were asked to assess their own driving ability relative to peers, more than three-quarters of people considered themselves to be safer than the average driver.

    Every where we go, whatever we do, good science has been consistently telling us all, and for a very very long time, that we are not as ‘smart’ as we believe we are.


  7. 507
    Walter says:

    More and more often now the topic of what to do about the clear and present danger of Climate Change catastrophe is being spoken about across the world today. Here’s another classic example of rational everyday people: “Seeing something and saying something about it.”

    “A growing group of activists, ecologists, authors and scientists are saying only a serious economic crash could save us from climate doom.”

    “Kevin Anderson is saying basically exactly the same thing I concluded 4 or 5 years ago. I happen to believe that we are about to hit economic collapse…. and THAT will do the trick. We don’t need economic growth, and it’s a total myth that such growth brings prosperity. All growth does is line the pockets of the 1%. Have a listen to this…:”

    CRASH ON DEMAND – Do we need to break the system to save the climate? Permaculture co-founder David Holmgren says “YES”, in this rare radio interview.

  8. 508
    Walter says:

    Thank you very much to RC for the cyber ‘space’. Tres Bon!


  9. 509

    Walter asks “The current Solar Power annual growth rate in the USA is what? 20% 10% 5%?”

    None of the above. The year-on-year growth rates for solar PV for the last twelve years are as follow (most recent, 2012, first):

    75.6% 73.2% 55.9% 40.5% 40.7% 33.1% 30.3% 27.4% 36.6% 29.7% 26.5% 20.9%

    Perhaps you’re thinking about CSP, which is a much smaller slice of the solar pie.

    The article doesn’t give growth rates for actual generation, but if my manipulations of Excel can be trusted, generation (including distributed) growth rates were:

    2001: 2.24%
    2002: 4.26%
    2003: 8.40%
    2004: 9.80%
    2005: 12.25%
    2006: 14.59%
    2007: 30.95%
    2008: 28.52%
    2009: 32.34%
    2010: 54.18%
    2011: 65.46%
    2012: 71.38%

    “There’s something happening here…”

    In any case, I wouldn’t be guided by the EIA projections on renewables. They have been wrong in just about every forecast they’ve done, since I started paying attention at least. And oddly enough, it’s always an undershoot…

  10. 510
    concerned citizen says:

    Walter, #501, etc.

    Wind share in total energy is at about 0,51-1,00% at present. Solar PV is at about 0,07-0,08 at present. Those two sectors together are at about 0,58-1,08% at present. The current projected doubling time is about 7 years. If that doubling pace continued, it would take about 50 years to reach 100% share, given that total global energy use would slightly decrease.

    Wind probably couldn’t grow at 100% annual rate, wind sector might even run out of useable economic resources. Solar PV could well grow at 100% annual rate after it has reached grid-parity in most of the world, but that would require continuous improvement similar to Moore’s Law (over comparable time period).

    I don’t believe in the bright future of nuclear. The existing designs do not have insurance. And neither do the new designs. And Fukushima and Chernobyl and Hanford (we should try to keep that sad list as short of possible) keeps on highlighting the costs.

  11. 511
    DIOGENES says:

    Kevin McKinney #488,

    “Before you go, can you restate it [THE PLAN] briefly–say, under 250 words? (Maybe point form, even?) Or provide a specific pointer to where you already did so?”

    No credible plan can be presented without requirements and targets. #291 addresses the targets required. #371 addresses the remainder of the plan, as does the last paragraph of #453. I will summarize briefly, to have it all in one place.


    The objective is to maximize chances of staying near, and preferably below, Hansen’s suggested interim temperature increase maximum of ~1.2 C. The approach/strategy/plan consists of two major components: species survival and lifestyle maintenance. Species survival addresses the critical short-term barriers that must be overcome to insure survival into the long-term, and addresses long-term as well. Lifestyle maintenance allows a low-carbon energy-assisted lifestyle, and focuses mainly on the long-term.

    Species survival has two main sub-components: sharp demand reduction and high carbon capture. It does not include geo-engineering at this point, since no effective geo-engineering has been proposed/demonstrated that would be safe on a global scale nor ready for deployment in the short-term time scales required. Sharp demand reduction provides the earliest benefits in the critical near-term, and is the cornerstone of the strategy/plan. It divides present fossil energy use into two subjective categories: optional and essential. The first step is to eliminate the optional uses, and the second step is to eliminate the wasteful elements of the essential category. Optional uses would include most vacation-related expenditures and others not absolutely essential to daily living. Wasteful element reductions of essential uses would include radical reductions of thermostat settings in Winter and increases in Summer, smaller vehicles with greater occupancy per vehicle, etc. Hundreds of each type of reduction or elimination can be easily identified.

    High carbon capture would include the massive reforestation suggested by Hansen and others that have been proposed (biochar, artificial trees, etc). Ideally, it would be conducted in a low carbon emissions mode.

    Lifestyle maintenance includes rapid implementation of existing renewables, nuclear, and other low carbon technologies, as well as implementation of existing enhanced energy efficiency technologies. R&D would continue on renewables, nuclear, and other low carbon technologies, and they would be implemented rapidly once efficient and reliable operation has been demonstrated. All of these technologies would need to be implemented using the most low carbon approaches; to do otherwise would defeat the purpose.

    One final word. If your doctor says that high-dose chemo is the only way to save your life, then ‘take two asspirin and call me in the morning’ won’t do. In our case, the patient is extremely ill. What I have presented above is the high-dose chemo, and we have most of it available today. Like any chemo treatment, there are no guarantees; there is only maximization of chances of survival. All other proposals I have seen presented are ‘take two asspirin and call me in the morning’. They won’t do the job.

  12. 512
    DIOGENES says:

    Wili #490,

    “Diogenes, do you have a blog? Is there another forum where you might want to continue to develop your ideas? Do let those of us interested in your ideas (and your passion) know, please.”

    I do not have a blog. I’m not sure what more I could do in another forum. I have laid out a plan that maximizes (not insures) chances of survival of our species, and summarized the full plan in a recent response to Kevin McKinney. Until there is buy-in of the major components, there seems to be little merit into adding more details. Getting buy-in of the majority of seven billion fellow citizens, or at least the vast majority of their leaders, requires people skilled in these processes. That’s not what I do; my focus is identifying requirements and targets, and an approach to meeting or exceeding these. I believe I have done that, and am now moving on.

  13. 513
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote: “Species survival has two main sub-components: sharp demand reduction and high carbon capture … Sharp demand reduction provides the earliest benefits in the critical near-term, and is the cornerstone of the strategy/plan … Lifestyle maintenance includes rapid implementation of existing renewables, nuclear, and other low carbon technologies, as well as implementation of existing enhanced energy efficiency technologies.”

    Fallacy of false dichotomy.

    “Rapid implementation of existing renewables” and “enhanced energy efficiency technologies” ARE “demand reduction”, since they reduce the demand for fossil fuels, and thereby reduce emissions.

    There is, in fact, no actual dichotomy between rapid deployment of renewable energy and efficiency technologies on the one hand, and rapid reduction of demand for fossil fuels on the other. In fact, rapid deployment of renewable energy and efficiency technologies is a proven, powerful means of reducing demand for fossil fuels.

    The problem is that you fail to distinguish between demand for goods and services, demand for energy to provide those goods and services, and demand for fossil fuels as one of many sources of energy. These are three distinct things.

    Reducing demand for fossil fuels does NOT require reducing demand for energy, thanks to the availability of abundant renewable energy.

    And reducing demand for energy does NOT require reducing demand for goods and services, thanks to the availability of improved efficiency.

    Ronald Reagan once said “conservation means we’ll be hot in the summer and cold in the winter”, which neatly expresses the “radical reductions of thermostat settings in Winter and increases in Summer” approach to reducing demand for fossil fuels. Reagan was mistaken then, and that notion is just as mistaken now.

    With solutions as simple as weather-stripping and attic insulation, or as high-tech as rooftop solar panels, smart thermostats and high-efficiency electric heat pumps, the fossil fuel demands of most existing buildings in the USA can be quickly and drastically reduced without requiring anyone to shiver through winter and sweat through summer. And new buildings can be designed and built from the start for “net zero energy” consumption, generating as much or more power than they consume over the course of a year.
    Diogenes wrote: “No credible plan can be presented without requirements and targets.”

    No credible plan lacks specific, detailed, quantitative measures to achieve its stated targets, and no credible plan fails to identify who will implement those measures, and how.

    Vague notions like “eliminating vacation-related expenditures” are not specific, or quantitative, nor do they identify WHO will be responsible for “eliminating” those expenditures, or how this will be done.

    Will this be left up to the discretion of the general public on a voluntary basis? Will governments enact and enforce laws defining and prohibiting “non-essential” uses of fossil fuels? Will ALL the governments in the world do this? Including governments which are now actively promoting and expanding the extraction and/or use of coal, gas and oil? How much would such prohibitions reduce fossil fuel use, and how quickly? Where is the “plan” that spells this out?

  14. 514
    SecularAnimist says:

    When people talk of “lifestyle maintenance” and reducing emissions by eliminating “optional” energy use by cutting “vacation-related expenditures” and adjusting thermostats, I think it needs to be pointed out that any “credible plan” for reducing GLOBAL greenhouse gas emissions must also address this aspect of the problem:

    Roughly 300 million Indians living in 80 million households — about a quarter of the country’s population of 1.2 billion — do not have access to electricity. According to the World Bank, per capita electricity consumption in India, centered mainly in cities and towns, is 684 kilowatt hours — just 1/20th of the United States’ per-capita consumption of 13,246 kilowatt hours.

    What “deprivation and hardship” will such “plans” demand of millions of people in India and elsewhere who currently consume 1/20th of the per capita energy use of Americans?

    And what about the hundreds of millions of people across the world who currently have no access to electricity at all, and who will never — who MUST never — get electricity from centralized fossil-fueled power plants?

  15. 515
    Walter says:

    #510 concerned citizen, the wind solar info sounds credible, but don;t rely on wiki alone, take another step and go to the original sources, and find more up-to-date data.

    CC says: “I don’t believe in the bright future of nuclear. The existing designs do not have insurance. And neither do the new designs.”

    GenIV HTPB reactors can not meltdown, can not blow up. Repeat: Can not! This is scientifically proven technology already, built upon 40+ years of research and development. China is building ~50+ in the coming ~15 years. First full scale ~350MW plant comes online this year and is built by the sea, just like Fukushima was.

    GenIV HTPB are also much cheaper to build versus the ‘existing’ larger type being built in Iran and the replacement versions coming in the USA etc. China has designed them for mass-production units, no different than the Model-T Ford system and a box of Lego. Deliverable anywhere in the world within ~5 years from now. Assembled and operating within a year of breaking the ground for the foundations. That’s what China has been doing. No theory. Not hypothetical, but reality. Now.

    GenIV HTPB are proven safe to use over their entire life including decommissioning and waste. Other GenIV nuclear are nearly as safe, but have added benefits of destroying plutonium waste from nuclear weapons and old power plants. I am not making this up. The Scientific evidence and operational testing over a decade now says it is so. Not me.

    However, how bright the future of nuclear outside of China will be, depends solely on reason and logic being able to break through the emotional fear barriers erected in the social consciousness. On that score I don;t see much ‘hope’. If it was so easy, then the world would have been taking effective action on climate change ~25 years ago, and there wouldn’t be a problem today. Unfortunately, us humans are dumber than yeast. We are our own worse enemy.


  16. 516
    Walter says:

    #509 Kevin McKinney says he found on ‘line’ to focus upon and claim it was wrong. The problem being it was but a question, and not a statement.

    about this “Perhaps you’re thinking about CSP”. It should be clear from the text where I was using CSP data, and when I extrapolated figures showing CSP & PV Solar. I used both.

    Kevin what about the rest of the ‘facts’ contained in my informational comment about energy use?

    I do not accept your figures from Wiki are necessarily comparable to mine, nor accurate. I have no faith in your excel, I much prefer known sources which are valid credible authoritative scientific rigor/papers data to start with. I am not going to argue about the figures either. I made my point, I said what I wanted to say.

    This next comment to me shows the level of your own entrenched bias and prejudgments, and resistance to having an open mind and actually looking at what other people have to say and what the facts reflect. So easy it is for people to simply dismiss things out of hand as being (as al gore said) Inconvenient. It is exactly what the skeptics and denier s do online very single day.

    Look here: “I wouldn’t be guided by the EIA projections on renewables. They have been wrong in just about every forecast they’ve done, since I started paying attention at least. And oddly enough, it’s always an undershoot…”

    A truly aware person would be able to say the same thing about the IPCC and the majority of IPCC scientists since the 1980s. DO you now reject their data evidence and advice too?

    One can look at the EIA data, one can see where it may be in error and make adjustments in their own judgments and thinking. Long term, the error bars reduce of effects/changes based on science physics maths etc, just like IPCC projections where short term variables are never credible, but long term the science is far more valid.

    Your personal challenge (and many others) is being able to apply your credible rational willing acceptance of the known variables of climate science and see that it equally applies as a standard to use on energy projections and economics as a whole. It would help not making a mountain out of a molehill.

    By all means take the time to prove the actual point i was making in my energy use in the USA was wrong. It is in fact correct to >95% confidence. The minor variables in the ‘data’ do not matter. The US as a nation is driving itself and the globe over a cliff of no return. That’s the point. The myth that renewables are going to save you without first a massive paradigm shift in your values, politics, economy and financial system is the Big Lie here.

    Another science paper I presented here recently showed that 0.56C of the 0.78C avg temp increase since 1910 (?) can be laid at the doorstep of the USA and it’s people alone. Instead of actually reducing GHGs right now across the board already and making deep cuts in future FF use the US is in fact doing the complete opposite right now. That is insane.

    Extracting Tar Sands is insane. Helping to ship it overseas is equally insane. You do not need a science degree nor be a psychiatrist to know this.

    My comments on this thread here are not the problem. I can only recommend that readers spend less time complaining, and more time viewing some of the source material (science papers, authors, websites, video lectures) I have presented. Do yourself a favor. I am doing quite OK.


  17. 517
    Walter says:

    #513 SecularAnimist, I finished this

    I am glad I read it, but it was quite tedious. The part I liked most was Eric Martinot’s ePilOGUe: pages 63/64.

    He also has ‘theoretical what IF ideas’ too in his plan. He says similar things to Diogenes in his plan. But it is only a ‘plan’. It isn’t real. It is a ‘motherhood statement’, a desire and hope that what he says can be enacted and become real. But it does NOT contain hard and fast actions nor genuine targets, nor time frame yardsticks to judge the implementations of his theoretical plan either.

    The report is mainly about expert people’s opinions and hopes for the future. Martinot agrees with some but disagrees with many as being still ‘pie in the sky’ if nothing real happens on a political and economic level.

    I recommend you read that part, and maybe pretend it is Diogenes talking – would you be as critical of Martinot’s words and framing and lack of DETAIL ACTION STEPS as you are of Diogenes’ here? Just a thought. There are thousands of Diogenes out there and there are thousands upon thousands of
    SecularAnimists out in the world too. Frankly you are both actually on the same side.

    It seems clear that Diogenes refers repeatedly to Fossil Fuel use (GHGs) when he says “Sharp demand reduction”.

    Demand reduction in all cases means that end users (govt, business, citizens) reduce their own USE of, ie demand upon the FF energy – system – sources that exist.

    If you have a listen to Tom Steyer he basically says the same thing as Diogenes has been saying. Tom also gets very clear about this important aspect:
    First step is to be very clear about what the Goal is, what the purpose is when a group of people get together on a topic requiring change. be absolutely sure everyone agrees with what the Mission Statement, the TASK actually is. Do not make assumptions everyone else believes the same as you. Watch the video I provided here. Similar to Anderson last spring, it’s another ‘Rhetoric to Reality’ lecture people need to face up to, and soon.

    Diogenes has been nailing this rhetoric to the cross for weeks now. Will you believe Tom Steyer of NextGenClimate at least? How about Professor Emeritus Richard Somerville? Or Professor Dan Kammen? Can you stop criticizing and splitting hairs long enough to listen to what David Holmgren has to say? Or Bill McGibbon?

    All of these people are basically saying the exact same things that Diogenes has been presenting in his own way, with his own focus and purpose. SecularAnimist I have worked as an executive for a multinational OIl Company as well a several other US based huge multinational corporations. In Senior Management, Personnel & Training, and Marketing. I totally understand what Tom Steyer says and what he means and the context in which he places it. He’s a business man. He has his way of saying things. Scientists say things differently. very few people can cross that language, cognitive thinking and attitude divide. There is a huge gulf between the two. Listen to him.

    Listen to Holgrem when he speaks about the Financial system and how totally embedded it is now in every aspect of our daily life now or what we call “normal”. Nobody can create a workable plan for anything now if it does not first have the financiers on board and on side. Right now that is impossible because the machine is actively working against genuine rational action for mitigation of GHGs across the world.

    Despite some success, like 1GW of CSP power in the USA after ~20 years of development and billions of $ spent and huge subsidies provided, the more ‘rational’ regulation and laws and goals in California, Europe and in China. The fact is renewable energy will not make it self available as if by magic while fracking for shale gas is going off the scale, and while emotional fears blocks people and governments from supporting proven safe Nuclear options that could be rolled out decades faster than wind farms, solar mirrors, while at the same time new coal & gas fired power plants are being built simultaneously.

    Until the everyday voter clearly comprehends that by 2040-50 on BAU which includes all the good stuff being done to date and planned you me the world are heading for a major disaster of catastrophic proportions. Just the effects of resource, water, food, ala regional ‘climate wars’ is enough to bring such a catastrophic world wide calamity to a head faster than any can yet ‘project’. These can be many times worse than WW2 ever was. Think Iraq, Syria and Libya over have the world at the same time, the USA included.

    No time left for Pollyanna theories and fantasy forecasts all will be ok. Dreams that we have the technology to replace FF already, IF as reality shows already it is not being acted upon nationally and globally right now. No time left for arguing about arguing, nor for splitting hairs about words or theoretical plans and minor examples of how a plan might work.


  18. 518
    Walter says:

    #509 Kevin McKinney on the EIA

    “I wouldn’t be guided by the EIA projections on renewables.”

    Kevin to sure this request doesn’t get lost: If you have better hard facts, better data, more credible sources, then please provide them.

    I am realistic, no one’s perfect. Also different organisational bodies use different measures and time-frames. It’s complex. Just like Climate science data and published papers and IPCC data are complex. The devil is in the details. So are the dragons and the angels. First one has to SEE it to believe it.

    Hit me with your known credible sources on energy use in the USA, past present and future. I will look at that material. And anything else you have to hand. I will save it for later use too.

    There is the IEA, the WEF, the IMF, the WB, and various national statistics held, the EU bodies, the IPCC, the UNFCCC … The US EIA is but ONE of my sources. I like to keep it simple here though, and also use the most up-to-date. The EIA draft release came out in late Dec 2013. Got any better, then please show me. I don’t cherry-pick. But I will judge credibility and reliability. If I include such data then I also (usually) include a reader disclaimer to beware.

    It will help me finish my compilation article (based on science, facts & experts) on global energy use to 2040 and why “We’re Really F**ked!” travelling down the present BAU fantasy road. Maybe my children will read it.


  19. 519
    Hank Roberts says:

    from Alterslash today:

    … he wasn’t paranoid: documents released after a lawsuit from Midwestern towns against Syngenta, the manufacturer of atrazine, showed a coordinated smear campaign. Syngenta’s public relations team had a list of ways to defend its product, topped by ‘discredit Hayes.’ Its internal list of methods: ‘have his work audited by 3rd party,’ ‘ask journals to retract,’ ‘set trap to entice him to sue,’ ‘investigate funding,’ ‘investigate wife,’ etc. A recent New Yorker article chronicles this war against Hayes, but also his decision to go on the offensive and strike back. He took on the role of activist against atrazine, giving over 50 public talks on the subject each year, and even taunting Syngenta with profanity-laced emails, often delivered in a rapping ‘gangsta’ style. The story brings up important questions for science and its public persona: How do scientists fight a PR war against corporations with unlimited pockets? How far should they go?”

    More links in the original. And just for yucks, the mandatory Slashdot response follows. Irony isn’t quite dead, though obviously, as we all know, Slashdot Beta doesn’t understand that ….

    Oh, come on.
    By Daniel Dvorkin • 2014-Feb-9 17:48 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
    This is just the free market fighting back against heavy-handed soc ialist regulation. We should all cheer a scrappy little company like Syngenta for their struggle for liberty against Hayes, who like all government “scientists” is just a shill for the multibillion-dollar environmental lobby.

  20. 520
    Hank Roberts says:

    and, coincidentally, apropos that, David Brin: Sunday, February 09, 2014
    Fight Back Tuesday Against One-Way Surveillance!

    It’s important that we all participate on Tuesday, when the Powers of state and oligarchy will measure the strength of our determination!….

    Still, occasionally something practical comes along to help individuals assert a little power over their own lives… here’s an Android App that warns when you’re being watched.
    Just remember that each pragmatic measure of concealment will be temporary! ….
    … your best hope will not be to hide… but to detect and know who is staring at you.

  21. 521
    SecularAnimist says:

    Walter wrote: “No time left for Pollyanna theories and fantasy forecasts all will be ok.”

    There is no time left for pretending that ANYBODY commenting on this thread has EVER offered a “forecast” that “all will be ok”.

    Diogenes spent hundreds of words, over dozens of comments, beating that “Pollyanna” strawman to death. It’s long past time to give it up.

  22. 522
    Walter says:

    Ruth R. Wisse, Professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard said: “My point is broader (than anti-Semitism): Stoking class envy is a step in a familiar dangerous and highly incendiary process. Any ideology or movement, right or left, that is organized negatively – against rather than for – enjoys an inherent advantage in politics, mobilizing unappeasable energies that never have to default on their announced goal of cleansing the body politic of its alleged poisons.” The Dark Side of the War on the One Percent, Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2014.

    The idea of class envy, warfare, income inequality, or social injustice, or whatever you want to call it, is related to maturity and self-responsibility. Where the principles of justice, fairness, balance, and equality reach their zenith as a socio-political issue, symbolized by the scales of justice and representative accountability.

    It may be most pronounced now in a combination of factors that have been simmering under the surface. The never-ending duality of capital v labor. The haves and the have nots. The let them eat cake hubris versus the mass rallies for equal pay and equal rights in the 1960s.

    Suffice it to say that this time in particular is giving rise to these issues just mentioned: social justice, fairness, and equality. The problem is when these issues are used to “divide” people and lead society into class warfare and envy, for as Ruth Wisse states, “…Any ideology or movement, right or left, that is organized negatively – against rather than for – enjoys an inherent advantage in politics…”

    Today this manifests in accusations of the IPCC climate scientists are part of a global cabal seeking to create a world government run by welfare loving liberals. On the flip side comes counter claims of the conspiracy theorists having lost touch with reality and being paid shills for fat fossil fuel Barons determined to destroy the Earth and all upon it. These are the rallying cries. This is divisive, it is dangerous, and bound to end badly.

    Thus we experience yet another manifestation of this powerful human struggle for self actualization, personal freedom, security, and a semblance of independence and control over one’s own destiny. Rich or poor is irrelevant here. Always the way of the world it highlights these same social principles under duress.

    There is no argument that the past 30 years have witnessed an almost obscene widening of the income gap between the top 1% and lower 50%. That difference has widened even more during the past five years. Why is that, and what can be done to reverse that trend? Is it the role of the government to intervene and correct it?

    And if so, is the means to do this best achieved by encouraging the populace negatively against the top 1%? Is the means to do this best achieved by encouraging the vocal minority negatively against the role of rational Government involvement in society?

    The positive issue in this debate – and understanding – might be with principals inclusive of the human urge for freedom and independence. But to have the awareness of being free and independent, it is first of all necessary to have the opportunity to move upward in one’s community, if that is the choice one wishes to make.

    Ultimately, as President Obama himself explains, it is really *income opportunity* that is necessary to stress, not income inequality backed by provocations that arouse divisions and lead to a class warfare. Look to Syria today to see what a class war looks like when push really comes to shove.

    As always, there is a higher expression possible with keeping these higher principles front of mind. Sure, arguably no matter what this is challenging. Note the unrest in Thailand, Ukraine, South Sudan, and elsewhere today. Of the reactions in European nations over recent years. Even street riots in the UK. The Occupy movement. There has been a pattern of escalating conflict and tension and even explosions (as in “class warfare”).

    They can also peak in the expression of harmonious integration too. Of practical win-win resolutions and agreement. Iran is in negotiations. The Taliban are sitting down with the Afghan government again. Marriage equality laws are changing and medical marijuana legalized. Resolutions are rare. But they do happen.

    In the first case, the result is polarizing and divisive. Sides are drawn and intensive battles (for power, in this present case) commence. In the latter case, the result is unifying and liberating. There is a leap of mass consciousness because “we overcame this together,” with the inclusion (not exclusion) of many diverse people and ideas involved. The people and ideas were not branded as hostile to society just because they were not “the norm.”

    Today, politics in America have the image of being divided between the Democrats (or liberals) and Republicans (or conservatives). Both parties have so far successfully diminished the fact that more Americans now belong to neither party. They belong to a group called “Independents.” Isn’t that what has been happening over the last decade little by little?

    The majority of voters in the United States now consider themselves genuine “Independents.” The unexpected is indeed alive and well. And as long as this positive expression is winning, there is hope for America, for it means the “norm” is changing. As long as this trend continues towards independence of political affiliation, there is hope for a positive “unity in diversity” and away from “power via separation and division”, the negative expressions of society.

    The conventional political party system may not like this trend that is happening under the radar and on their watch, but I think it bodes well for the period to come. This represents the pain of birth, not death. It is more akin to the Sun rising at dawn, rather than setting at dusk.

    No birth is painless. There may be some screaming and a moment of crisis. Yet it does typically denote a joyful new beginning. One worthy of being nurtured as it takes it’s first wobbly steps. The world is pregnant with possibility. How will it go from here is up to everyone.


  23. 523

    My, my, seems I struck a nerve with you, Walter. So many words, so few really worth a response. However, you said:

    Extracting Tar Sands is insane. Helping to ship it overseas is equally insane. You do not need a science degree nor be a psychiatrist to know this.

    Bottom line: I was on a street corner for last Monday’s Keystone XL vigil, and I expect to be back again many times on like occasions. Where were you?

    You said:

    Got any better, then please show me… It will help me finish my compilation article…

    I don’t have enough time for my own research, so I’m not going to do yours for you. But I will point out that if you consult EIA table 16 as it has appeared over the years in their annual energy outlook, you will find the following:

    AEO reference case projections for solar PV generation:

    2006 outlook: .27 GW
    2009 outlook: .23 GW
    2012 outlook: 1.90 GW
    2013 outlook: 3.29 GW

    So, off by an order of magnitude over 7 years, and off by nearly a factor of 2 over just 1 year. See what I mean?

    The EIA are ‘conventional energy’ folks–not cheerleaders for it, I don’t think, but thoroughly imbued with the energy paradigm as it had been for decades. Given that, it’s perhaps not surprising that they are slow to recognize a paradigm shift in process. (My take on it, anyway.)

    I see that as a systemic bias, and I don’t see any comparable error in the IPCC reports–pace those obsessed with “Himalayagate.” (A much more random error, embarrassing as it must have been for WG 2.)

    As to the WIki source, you’re quite right; it isn’t comparable to the EIA, and wasn’t offered as such. It’s based on NREL data as well, which is thought to capture distributed solar generation better than the EIA figures (probably the gold standard for industrial generation.) IOW, it wasn’t intended to be ‘comparable’ or to contradict, but to *complement,* thereby providing a better picture overall. If you are a ‘Wiki snob’, fine–just look up the underlying source. It’s given in the notes.

    And there’s no need for trust in my Excel numbers when verification is so simple. All I did was calculate YOY growth rates from the tabulated data. If Excel is too complicated, doing it by hand would still probably only take you 10 minutes at the very most. ;-)

    And hey, maybe you could include it in your article, since you are looking for data.

  24. 524

    Feh. Somehow “2013” got omitted from the label “AEO reference case projections.”

    So, in reading my comment above, realize that the AEO projections given were all for 2013–so in 2006, the EIA thought we’d see .27 GW of solar PV in 2013; in 2009 (with the economy in free fall) they lowered that to .23 GW, and so on until 2013, when their projection for the year in progress reached 3.29 GW.

    Oh, and I shouldn’t have stopped looking when I got to the 2013 AEO; the early release of the 2014 outlook (cited by Walter) gives solar PV as 5.08 GW! Presumably that was actual capacity, which brings in 2013 actuals 60% above the 2013 (beginning of the year) forecast. That’s the best result I found in my (rather cursory) examination of EIA projections on solar PV.

    And actually, since the revised outlook for 2013 came out in April of 2013, and the early release of the 2014 outlook came out in December of 2013, that ‘best result’ would seem to be effective over a period of just seven months!

    To be fair to the good people at EIA, that is just their reference case; they do consider alternate scenarios, some of which (I’m pretty sure, OTOMH) come a bit closer. But we started this sub-thread with quotes of the reference cases, and my suggestion that they are not historically a very good guide to the future growth trajectory of renewable energy. (Certainly not solar, specifically.)

  25. 525
    concerned citizen says:

    #515 Walter

    /GenIV HTPB reactors can not meltdown, can not blow up. Repeat: Can not! This is scientifically proven technology already, built upon 40+ years of research and development. China is building ~50+ in the coming ~15 years. First full scale ~350MW plant comes online this year and is built by the sea, just like Fukushima was./

    If it is safe enough, it is also insurable. None of the current nuclear designs are fully insured. Insurance is a necessary, but not sufficient requirement. May I note that those newer nuclear designs also have to withstand the nuclear meltdown of a nearby older reactor. There is nothing else to argue about at this point before the new designs have insurance.

    #517 report has referenced and aggregated many reports. Many of those reports project above 50% renewable by 2050. Greenpeace projection is around 80% and WWF wishful projection is around 95%. Of course, year 2050 is not 2040. An important ingredient to reach above 50% renewable is to curb overall energy demand.

  26. 526
    Walter says:

    #521 SecularAnimist, I wasn’t specifically referring to anyone’s comments on this thread, nor this thread as a whole. What I said wasn’t a criticism of anybody.

    That last sentence of mine “No time left for Pollyanna theories and fantasy forecasts all will be ok.” was a global statement about the imminent danger of looming irreversible climate change catastrophe where BAU means relying upon dubious data and analysis of exactly what the facts are for Energy Use now and how accurate are these ‘assumptions’ being made in the forecasts.

    All will not be OK if inaccurate, out of date, and conservative forecasts of the IPCC AR5 and those by Greenpeace & GEA (from your GRF ref) and everyone else are taken as ‘possible, ‘probable’ or ‘real’ or ‘valid’ future scenarios.

    Decisions made today will have a climate effect going forward for the life of ‘investments’ ~50 years and for the climate system hundreds of years hence. This is no longer something anyone can afford to get wrong now. Close enough isn’t good enough anymore, given the consistent advice of the climate scientists across the board today. Is it clear what I meant by what I said now?


    Background about ‘forecasting’ and business planning: (optional extra)

    In business for example it is critical to produce future budgets using the art of business marketing analysis (the’s real marketing not advertising). The standard is a 5 year plan for the future. Such plans are done yearly on a rolling basis. Predicting the future is very difficult even one only makes widgets, which is why it is an ‘art’. It is requires a particular mindset to be able to look into the future and make credible assumptions upon which to make such a 5 year plan. It also requires an unusual high degree of the people doing it removing false biases, recognizing shifting assumptions, and the self-discipline to focus on hard data then extrapolate out into the future.

    Business that gets this wrong will suffer the consequences, get it really wrong and it’s likely to go out of business. Furthermore, business is really bad at doing this. Because it is a hard problem to get right as so many future changes are missed anyway.

    China runs standard longer 15 year plans which are boiled down to 5 year plans, and she has been doing that since the 1940s. Governments, City Planners and Business are the three most common entities that do this process. Climate scientists only started doing this in trying to predict future climate trends and responses in the 1990s ala GCMs and RCPs.

    Only since then has the energy entities and global economic bodies needed to start plugging in new complex variables and assumptions such as wind, solar, biomass, wave, and the multitude of variables as simple as uptake of low energy use light bulbs. This is new, iow mostly unknown inputs, where data did not exist and still doesn’t not exist accurately in all nations, nor is it combined accurately. More than this far too many influences exist such as new Government decisions about these new technologies that then change when the Government changes next time keep being made. Therefore such ‘forecasts’ are intrinsically flawed as they are based on far too many ‘guesswork personal judgments’ for future assumptions. As such they are far more unreliable.

    People like to hear what they want to hear. In this cacophony of the latest new ‘report’ of future trends most people (pro and con CC issues) pick the eyes out it and remember what they want from it, but never really understand the basis of these forecasts and how flaky they truly are. Nothing stops them (journalists and politicians included) from then repeating by rote XYZ said this, and that begins to be expressed in public AS IF it is a realistic probability that supports their particular point of view and opinions on the broader subject.

    If such a person promoting a idea based on these ‘forecasts’ has pre-existing credibility then thousands will hear it, tweet it, add it to their facebook, a hundred other journalists will write a story about it, and before too long the whole world starts to begin to believe it as fact. X is going to happen. Pro-cc will say see this is going to save us from CC. The anti-cc will say it’s useless and not enough for peak energy needs. Same ‘data’ future prediction, two alternative interpretations and that becomes the argument everyone engages in. This is a waste of time arguing about. That’s what happens here, and everywhere else online too and it extends into Congress and the White House and the UN as well.

    My argument, or rather my simple point is that the basis of these ‘good news stories’ and energy reports is fundamentally flawed to begin with. The separate projections are invalid and in accurate or simply now out of date.

    Such things really need a very healthy dose of common sense and reason applied to them. That’s hard to do if one has no experience or understanding about how long term ‘forecasts and 5 years plans’ are developed or how to judge the reliability of what they see presented.

    There needs to be a body of reliable core data being kept and proper best practice applied to that data. Unfortunately no one has a unlimited budget to do this, then nations and different bodies have their own inbuilt Bias and ‘political’ messaging they wish to promote to everyone else.

    Among all the existing forecasts for energy use today, one needs to look into the source data and make a judgement how credible that is first, then try and work out how they made their future assumptions, and finally then do some detailed analysis across all Reports.

    Only then can one make a reasonable ‘judgment’ about where the middle of the bell curve sits. What is a sanguine unbiased representation about the most likely future scenario of energy use … all things considered?

    That this is not yet happening and not being done by any credible global ‘oversight’ body [like the IPCC system] with the resources to do it properly is a serious problem which blocks fact based decision making at all levels, including Voters.

    Geopolitics, national politics, the paid spin masters, and the self-interest funding of private research (Greenpeace or Koch it’s the same problem) keeps getting in the way and muddying the waters as what the reality actually is.

    [further research refs on request]

  27. 527
    Walter says:

    #523 Kevin McKinney.

    “My, my, seems I struck a nerve with you” No. Simply saying what I wanted to say.

    Bottom line on Tar sands. I wasn’t speaking to ‘you’ personally. Stating your agreement with my point would have been more constructive. I was at an anti- Coal Seam Gas mining rally. Does this matter and is it relevant? I don’t think it is.

    “I don’t have enough time for my own research, so I’m not going to do yours for you.” I wasn’t asking you to do any research at all. I asked if you have knowledge of other data sources than I had already listed, then please point me to it. I do not consider sharing a URL link as too onerous nor is it research.

    “See what I mean?” No. I have no idea to what ‘info’ I am supposed to have stated which your figures are referring to there. I am short of time also.

    “I see that as a systemic bias, and I don’t see any comparable error in the IPCC reports”. OK, I will provide you with a little research you don’t wish to do yourself and look at Kevin. The following are only two examples of many. I will keep it as short as I can.

    Start looking here:

    Please view all the way to 17:15 mins. Stop there, and perhaps save the video to your favorites for when you have 90 minutes to watch the whole thing. Produced in December 2013 barely 2 months ago now.

    Next please look here:

    I assume you already read that article as you made a comment yourself here:

    IPCC AR5 Projections:
    Experts Survey projections:

    Quoting Stefan of RC: “Complex problems often cannot simply be answered with computer models. Experts form their views on a topic from the totality of their expertise – which includes knowledge of observational findings and model results, as well as their understanding of the methodological strengths and weaknesses of the various studies. Such expertise results from years of study of a topic, through ones own research, through following the scientific literature and through the ongoing critical discussion process with colleagues at conferences.”

    Feel free to draw your own conclusions what this means for you Kevin. I will do the same. When I see something I say something. As per Michael Mann’s article. Maybe he only meant it applies to climate scientists and PhDs. I don’t know. Looks to me that Diogenes took what he said at face value and ran with it.

    I am not a ‘Wiki snob’. I often reference it myself. I agree with you and also suggest to others they “just look up the underlying source” and dig deeper. The usefulness of Wiki depends specifically on the page and the quality of the editors who produce it. As a rule of thumb the greatest weakness with ‘data sets’ on Wiki is how up-to-date they are. In this case the underlying sources are not as useful when there are others that supercede those. They will not be listed on the wiki page.

    one example is ‘your wiki source’ says: “A report finds that solar power’s contribution could grow to 10% of the nation’s power needs by 2025.”

    Excellent? That is based on a June 2008 report. Yes it is critical that people “just look up the underlying source” before accepting the image being portrayed on Wiki, as well as the EIA and all the rest too.

    If you had a moment to check on SecularAnimists reference (whihc I responded to in 3 comments) about ‘energy use and rewnewables’ you will find that there is actually no data references given at all. Well none worth looking at at. It’s a ‘report’ totally based ‘expert opinion’ and motherhood statements. Not credible factual data that arrives at valid conclusions.

    I said before “There is the IEA, the WEF, the IMF, the WB, and various national statistics held, the EU bodies, the IPCC, the UNFCCC … The US EIA is but ONE of my sources.”

    Did you take a moment to check the summer arctic ice extent diagram provided by the IPCC AR4 and compare that to their AR5 one I gave the url too?

    Kevin, I don’t have enough time for my own research, so I’m not going to do yours for you. I do not need convincing. If you seek to argue about the details maybe you could swing a few general public skeptics on Curry’s blog who have been egregiously misled?

    Quick anecdote: I never went to see Gore’s Inconvenient Truth movie in 2007. I didn’t need any convincing then either. The AR4 report which I read in full (like the AR5 WG1 last year) was merely icing on the cake of what I already knew was true and valid. Shifting sands in the data, the scenarios and confidence levels are mere unimportant details that keep changing.

    Energy Use data ‘reports’ keep changing too but underneath those headlines is a truer more accurate ‘reality’ that doesn’t change much at all. And hasn’t. This important fact is being hidden underneath all the ‘noise’ going on.

    It’s time to stop arguing about details and believing that name of the game is debating the ‘science’ with naysayers and get down to tin tacks and call it it as it really is. BAU, including all the current activities and growth renewables at present levels, is a disaster not waiting to happen but one that is happening right here and right now.

    Time is critical or the fat lady Gaia is going to be singing a very different tune very soon. She’s only warming up her voice box at present.

    Thanks for your reply Kevin,


  28. 528
    Walter says:

    Kevin says: “and my suggestion that they are not historically a very good guide to the future growth trajectory of renewable energy. (Certainly not solar, specifically.)”

    Kevin, I totally agree. Still the EIA and all the others do produce future growth trajectories to 2040 and 2050.

    My open ended hypothetical question was therefore in the white space of my comments which is this:

    Where does one find a historically accurate, credible very good guide to the future growth trajectory of renewable energy to 2040?

    Got any references? Apparently not.

    So, in the mean time …. what exactly would you suggest that Business, Governments, Ecologists, Climate scientists and climate economists and climate activists, and the IPCC system and we ‘Voters’ rely upon to inform themselves better?

    What is more critical now than knowing what our current trajectory for GHG emissions actually is under BAU?

    What else can someone like Diogenes say except just like Hansen and Anderson et al that seriously deep and immediate cuts to fossil fuel demand is critical across all advanced economies right now?

    Yet we are actually doing the complete opposite of this. Such reductions on demand should be spoken about as ‘radical’ like Anderson says but RATIONAL and self-evident.

    There is in fact absolutely no valid evidence which shows that renewables will have any discernible effect of avoiding a climate catastrophe.

    It is Michael Mann who is using words like clear and present danger and catastrophe. There is a hair’s breath of difference to the word apocalypse. I showed in a prior comment using the dictionary countered the short sighted sophistry argument (emotional spin) that Diogenes’ word choices were ludicrous. They were not. Anyway he has as much right as Mann to select what words he wishes to use to make his point.


  29. 529
    Walter says:

    Sorry I missed ‘not’.

    “Such reductions on demand should NOT be spoken about as ‘radical’ like Anderson says but as ‘rational’ and self-evident.”

  30. 530
    Walter says:

    Sorry Kevin, I was in a rush and forgot to add in this item completely.

    Start looking here:

    Please view all the way to 17:15 mins. Stop there, and perhaps save the video to your favorites for when you have (a spare) 90 minutes to watch the whole thing. Produced in December 2013 barely 2 months ago now.

    It was provided in a previous ref comment I gave.

    Climate Change Politics and the Economy: Rhetoric v. Reality
    University of California Television (UCTV)

    UC Berkeley Professor Dan Kammen, an internationally recognized energy policy expert and Mr.Tom Steyer, business leader and investor, for a lively and timely conversation to understand where we are now, the solutions at hand, the barriers we face, and what must happen to “overcome the partisan divide” to speed the transition to a sustainable planet.


  31. 531
    Walter says:

    #523 Kevin McKinney, a quick fyi.

    By 1985 I was using an IBM35 mainframe located interstate via direct cable to do a small part my business management work. This was being in charge of six X $1+ million profit centers geographically dispersed. Included more than just spreadsheets but full P&L’s, budgeting, and accounting/payroll systems.

    Excel and calculators are not an issue for me. This is not about having tickets on myself either. Please, it is best not to make default assumptions on the lower end of the scale. It directly influences your attitude and then how you speak to others and how you read what they are actually saying.

    I was shifted to a lower turnover, less staff, group of profit centers in 1986. Applying first principles within weeks a did a new ‘marketing business plan’. Some in the existing management team didn’t like me, others saw it as a breath of fresh air. The first group either adapted or they were soon gone. What I wasn’t told by my boss was that 3 of those centers were already up for sale, as they had not made a profit in ~15 years and the Board had given up. Before 9 months was up the board reversed their decision. It was clear by then they were in fact profitable and would continue to be so into the future even more. I know from multiple experiences like this that ‘assumptions’ can and do change. What matters is where the rubber meets the road, and what actually happens not wrong behaviors and not unrealistic ambitious projections either.

    Next I was in charge of a state wide roll out of a new cutting edge national computerized POS system connected back to the mainframe via onsite 286 PCs ($5K each then) and fax speed modems though the old style telephone system then. I had to manage a program for training of non-computer literate staff and the site management as well co-ordinate how the executive teams were to use all this massive realize of data and apply it to improving our profitability and daily controls.

    In 1988 I was running another business with 26 profit centers which entailed a 24/7 operation, 900 staff, on today’s value equivalent to a turnover of ~$100 million per year. Years of planning and forecasting had gone into this before I arrived. This project exceeded sales budgets by 350%, and our net profit was 600% above expectations. All the planning was for nought, we invented the wheel every day for the first 3 months until we could actually get it right and meet the required standards.

    The ancient city of Nanjing was the most important of China’s past capitals. Only a small population there vs other places China’s Government decided to modernize this city, still underway now, whilst protecting the ancient parts. I saw a recent report about the main ‘city architect’ company hired to create all the plans from scratch and get them approved. This company could not keep up the pace of the speed that China’s construction companies could work. 30 story buildings would erected and fitted landscaping included in a week! No kidding. The boss on a field visit presented the Plans he had of which really only the roadways defined in a quarter of the city area. he came a back a couple weeks later and they had all been constructed and ready for traffic. The poor architect boss still hadn’t finished the rest of his plans for the area, and builders were waiting to fill in the gaps of parks, open space and city tower blocks among the roads already finished.

    This is incomprehensible and for most people impossible to believe such action can be done. Compare this kind of speed with the various comments being made by Dan Kammen and Tom Steyer in that video ref about ‘future change needed’ and the time frames they talk about and more importantly the barriers to achieving those possibilities and goals decades from now. The real difference here is about the existing MINDSETS between what’s possible in China and what is possible in the USA. It is an incomprehensible gap between the two. While China is acting, the USA is still barley talking about what is needed.

    When I hear Tom Steyer talking I can tell how credible he is simply by what he says and how he says it. I understand his ‘language’ and recognize it because I speak the same language and understand the fundamentals of it. I don’t need to read a “paper” by him, nor analyse his Resume, nor crunch his ‘numbers’ up which he bases his conclusions, nor have someone else tell me this guy really knows his bacon and ‘gets it’.

    I suggest you listen to him, and more just like him. Don’t need to believe me, and I do not ask you to. There’s no reason to. I am not Al Gore nor James Hansen. I do not care either. I simply say what it is I think is worth saying, and where possible give some reasons why with the odd ref for anyone interested to dig deeper.

    Each has to work this out for themselves at the end of the day. And then act accordingly. I won’t tell others what they should think, nor what they should do.


  32. 532
    Dwight Mac Kerron says:

    Saw this in an email I received, so I’m saying something:

    Buy shares of GFOX now while you can still get
    them at around $1.00 and you could…

    Fellow Energy Investor:

    Newsflash: Thanks to fracking, big-oil is now prowling previously under-developed areas of America searching for ripe-for-picking shale oil leases.

    Practically overnight, parts of Nevada have become the red-hot squabbling grounds where land-hungry, profit-conscious, big-oil companies are practically in hand-to-hand combat over the purchase of the most promising oil and gas leases.

    While big-oil and opportunistic energy investors have been preoccupied with the vast oil reserves of the Bakken and the Monterey shales, the smaller, but still-significant and I think, potentially more-profitable resources of Nevada are now capturing the attention of major oil companies.

    I believe that the under-developed areas of Nevada are in the early stages of another Bakken-type of land rush.

    And if you followed what happened to some of those early Bakken energy stocks, you already know that getting in early was the key to profits of…etc.

  33. 533

    #527-531–Geez, Walter, how you multiply words. And, no offense, I could care less about your accomplishments in management–much less five paragraphs of summary thereof.

    “Where does one find a historically accurate, credible very good guide to the future growth trajectory of renewable energy to 2040?

    Got any references?”

    No, I don’t. That is because, as far as I can tell, this is terra incognita for just about everybody, and also because disinformation, prejudice and habitual thinking are rife, creating a great deal of ‘noise’ in the subject space. I’ve been looking quite hard, actually, which is why I knew that the EIA reference case numbers have been such drastic underestimates. But I haven’t found sources that are comprehensive and that I trust entirely (which is not to say that some of them aren’t right–perhaps I should be trusting some!)

    I wrote about the frustrations I experienced–and presented some of the information I did find–here:

    And, less focally, here (final section, following discussions of Arctic sea ice, wild weather, AR5, and COP 19):

    The one thing that I do observe is that the growth rates for renewables are phenomenal, and have been accelerating. Obviously, there are limits to this; we all know that exponential growth can’t continue indefinitely. Unfortunately, I’ve not seen anything really definitive on what those limits might turn out to be. And that’s pretty crucial to know, because current rates are still too low to really make a dent in the emissions problem: off the top of my head, 4 decades or more to reach just one or two stabilization wedges, of the eight to twelve needed. So renewables need to be built something like four times faster than today.

    That may be possible. China is pushing hard on renewables targets, as is India. In fact, renewables seem really to be taking off in the developing world generally.

    I don’t know if you are aware of IRENA. They are a UN agency dedicated to–well, here’s what they say:

    IRENA seeks to make an impact in the world of renewable energy by maintaining a clear and independent position, providing a range of reliable and well-understood services that complement those already offered by the renewable energy community and gather existing, but scattered, activities around a central hub.

    They do a lot of analysis, which I have barely begun to examine. But a recent report, REmap2030, presents a ‘roadmap’ (including country-by-country bottom-up analysis) to a doubling of renewable energy’s share of generation and an emissions scenario potentially stabilizing below 450 ppm. (See their figure 10. No, I don’t quite see how that jibes with my BOTE estimate above, either.) But if we are looking for data, then their contributions are worth considering.

  34. 534
    Hank Roberts says:

    Oh, please.
    Passing on hot stock tips you found in your email?
    Those don’t belong here.

  35. 535
    Walter says:

    Concerned Citizen, I made a couple of mistakes, the new China HTR-PM is only 250 MWe and wont be online for another 4 years. Insurers are highly skilled people. They will work through it. One would think that the 1960/70s models like fukushima’s would be uninsurable everywhere by now.

    China is also building new GenIII LW models too. I see geniv as a potential long term option (if it all goes well) to fill gaps where rewewables can’t. Your point about demand reduction especially short term still applies.

    re “Many of those reports project (50% to 80% to 95%) renewable by 2050” Yes that’s right, some ‘predictions’ are very high. I think of it as there are reports and then there are reports with substantial real data and analysis behind them. Good to remain mindful of the old saying about statistics too, no matter whose report and use discrimination. Everyone is time poor though. I too have my own limitations, biases and point of view about broader issues to deal with like everyone else. At some point we all get to a point where we just have to trust others and make our best judgement on the day.

  36. 536

    Correction: IRENA is not a UN agency; it’s a free-standing international agency created in 2009 by its own cooperative Statute; I believe over 160 nations are members, with more in the accession process.

  37. 537
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Walter
    > I saw a recent report about the main ‘city architect’ company

    Got a reference? A week is barely enough time for concrete to set; did buildings built that fast end up structurally sound?

  38. 538
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Dwight Mac Kerron@532,
    Are you going to tell us about your friend the Nigerian prince as well?

  39. 539
    wili says:

    “Where does one find a historically accurate, credible very good guide to the future growth trajectory of renewable energy to 2040?’

    The standard go to for international energy projections is the International Energy Agency. While they have made some pretty bone-headed projections wrt oil prices and production in the past (as have many others in various directions), their more recent work has seemed a bit better. But I would still take anything they say with many grains of salt. Anyway, here’s their most recent report:

    Here’s the first paragraph of the executive summary:

    “The role of renewable sources in theglobalpower mix continues to increase. On a percentage basis,renewables continue to be the fastest-growing power source.

    As global renewable electricity generation expands in absolute terms, it is expected to surpass that from natural gas and double that from nuclear power by 2016, becoming the second most important global electricity source, after coal.

    Globally, renewable generation is estimated to rise to 25% of gross power generation in 2018, up from 20% in
    2011 and 19% in 2006.

    Driven by fast-growing generation from wind and solar photovoltaics (PV), the share of non-hydro renewable power is seen doubling,to 8% of gross generation in 2018, up from 4% in2011 and 2% in 2006.

    In the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), non-hydro renewable power rises to 11% of OECD gross generation in 2018, up from 7% in 2012 and 3% in 2006.”

    Not quite out to 2040, but a quarter of all power generation by 2018 is pretty eye opening. Think what that would mean if we crashed energy use by 75% over the same period! About half of that could probably be through increased efficiency and decreased waste. The rest would involve curtailment–yes, some sacrifice. But if people can be asked to cut back on their water use in the face of drought, why not ask people to cut back on energy use in the face of GW calamities? Of course, a slight increase in the rate of renewables growth would bring the time of eliminating the need for fossil-death-fuels even closer.

    But the big problem is that, even if these resources were available, the ff industry isn’t going to just quietly go away. As McKibben pointed out recently, the major ff companies have been making more than any other company in the history of money. And money buys influence. They seem to be pretty much dictating what the current US administration says and does recently.

    We will know governments and global institutions are serious about avoiding catastrophic global warming when the UN (or other such organization) sponsors an invasion of a country to stop them from drilling oil or mining coal. Till then, all added renewables will just be part of “all of the above,” and we will continue to pump more planet-killing CO2 into the already overburdened atmosphere.

  40. 540
    Dwight Mac Kerron says:

    To #534 Hank, The “hot stock tips” from me had nothing to do with any of us investing, but were only to demonstrate the EXPANSION of ff exploration as we speak.

  41. 541
    SecularAnimist says:

    Walter wrote: “Where does one find a historically accurate, credible very good guide to the future growth trajectory of renewable energy to 2040?”

    Well, if you want a “historically accurate” trajectory, it will probably be published in the first quarter of 2041.

    Whereas the future growth of renewable energy over the next 25 years or so is entirely dependent on the choices that we make, so the various projections have to make assumptions about what those choices will be, and those assumptions may prove to be correct, or not.

    The ongoing extremely rapid growth of renewable energy is precisely what the fossil fuel interests are doing everything possible to prevent, obstruct, undermine and delay, since they fully understand that it makes their entire business model obsolete.

  42. 542
    Walter says:

    #540 SecularAnimist that’s really clever and humorous.

    I will be more clear about this.

    “historically accurate” means that any future forecast report is first based upon historically accurate reality for both Fossil fuels and renewable use, in a particular nation or globally. Does that make more rational sense now?

    “Whereas the future growth of renewable energy over the next 25 years or so is entirely dependent on the choices that we make”

    You are moving the goal posts, and that is a logical fallacy. I am talking about ‘reports’ for future projections. When scientists, businesses, governments and economists and others make future projections they extrapolate the current reality into the future based on various ‘assumptions’. Those assumptions are based on various sources, existing known plans, reasonable expectations, and the report authors/committees best judgement.

    Now SecularAnimist this is the exact same thing that the IPCC/scientists (including Gavin Schimdt – ask him) does in their GCMs and in their RCPs. I know you know this already. This is exactly what the IEA and the EIA and all the others do too. Please explain to me why you are complaining about me asking Kevin to suggest WHOSE PROJECTIONS are we supposed to accept? For at this point he and now you are basically saying no body is good enough, and/or it is impossible. After it happens, then we will know.

    Using this exactly same cognitive thinking you are now applying to my queries about finding credible projections for future energy use you should automatically cut all IPCC and climate science funding because it is impossible to know. So we may as well sit back and wait and see what to do about global warming if/when it happens? But this is not your position. So why totally reverse your ‘thinking’ on the topic of future energy use forecasts now? This isn’t a sound reasoning at all. It’s emotional bias at work I think.

    The basis of your argument here is unsustainable and basically recalcitrant in nature. It contains so many ‘logical fallacies’ and errors I don’t rate it as an argument. I am not interested in debating such things. But it was a clever quip and I smiled.

    Regarding this: “The ongoing extremely rapid growth of renewable energy is precisely what the fossil fuel interests are doing everything possible to prevent, obstruct, undermine and delay, since they fully understand that it makes their entire business model obsolete.”

    I have no disagreement with that view, the accumulated evidence appears so. The point is it is totally irrelevant to my interest which is this: “Where does one find an accurate historically (based) and credible very good guide to the future growth trajectory of renewable energy to 2040?”

    I have found several but there are model nuances and variations and comparative differences that makes them difficult for the average person to understand where we are actually at. Some are in the AR5 report. The EIA report is more up-to-date but comparing the tow is very difficult. Same goes for all the rest. Analysis and digging deeper into the source data ‘assumptions’ etc is needed. That’s what I am doing for my own self-interest.

    If anyone knows of another credible source (not like the Greenpeace one ok) please let me know. I will look at it. Thanks


  43. 543
    Walter says:

    Business Budgeting:101 a Metaphor for Future Renewable Energy Use Projections

    Business first notes their past records for sales and costs and profits.
    This is BAU or Business as Usual. They wish to know the best ‘realistic’ ‘expectation’ of a forecast budget over the next 5 years.

    On top of the ‘historical results’ they can add in ‘new business’ by opening another shop, and then they extrapolate a ‘reasonable expectation’ what that shop sales will be based solely on their historical past BAU scenario. Average shop sales is X. Each new shop can be reasonably expected to add another X in gross sales. But overhead costs remain the same therefore each new shop may add an extra X + 5% to the bottom line profit of the whole business enterprise. This is called increased profitability/productivity through ‘economies of scale’.

    Initial research suggest the firm ‘may’ be able to secure additional capital investment and Loans to build another 2 stores per year for the next 5 years. So they plug into the future budget 2 x X each year.

    They also consider any need for extra office staff, warehousing costs, and management capacity needed to operate those extra 10 stores. But each new store is expected to operate at current best practice in sales and profit results. “all things being equal” is the rational thing to do.

    Sound management practices of ‘testing’ have shown that introducing a new computer POS system will increase sales and productivity by 5%. They plug that in.

    Marketing analysis shows a TV advertising plan will bring in a 10% sales growth on average. They plug that in.

    Planned menu pricing of 3% every year they plug that in for all existing stores, then as each new store is most likely >80% confidence to be opened.

    Best advice by economists and suppliers suggests labor, raw materials, and electricity ‘may’ increase costs by an average 7.5%. They plug all that in.

    Any manager worth his salt will not make an assumption that sales will grow 20% or he can cut costs by 10% just because it sounds nice. He must have supporting evidence that such shifts are possible and sustainable over the long term using reason and logic and some degree of evidence.

    Sounds great and over confidence is no basis to input financial numbers into a BAU future projected Budget. It is irrational.

    Then they run the Budget Projection P&L spreadsheet five years out. And it spits out the Result of BAU + reasonable assumptions.

    The Business Owner/ Board then says the Profit (ROI) is not high enough. They need it to increase by 10% on this current Forecast. The Budget is not reality, but it is based upon reality, ie BAU + good rational assumptions.

    The outcome is not good enough.

    Now the Management team has a GAP to close. Between their Budget Forecasts and the desired Goal 5 years hence. There exists here a “credibility gap”.

    Renewable energy use into the future is calculated in the exactly same way. The better quality the past historical data, and the assumptions into the future that include existing known plans and ambitions will spit out an end result.

    If that end result shows a GAP between future BAU and the GOAL eg 2 degrees C, or under 400 ppm CO2, then there is a major problem to be faced now, not after that result comes in above expectations in 2040.

    The ‘credibility gap’ needs to be closed. Either lower the Goal, or increase the unfolding future better than BAU.

    As Diogenes repeatedly pointed out here, as yet there is not even an agreement exactly what the CARBON BUDGET is, nor what it looks like into the future under BAU + Renewable take up + additional FF use, to any degree of credibility or consensus.

    Yes the IPCC does present possible scenarios in their RCPs, but at present these again appear way too conservative based on the additional science available post their 2010 figures those RCPs are based upon.

    It is also unclear to me if the energy use plugged into all the RCP scenarios were based on credible historical data, or more on ‘best estimate’ judgments by the IPCC system.

    In the video with Tom Seyer he specifically mentions the importance of having a very clear Mission Statement or Goal. One that everyone involved in a project not only agrees with but actually understands in detail what it means and how it will be achieved. When people believe different things about the Goal, then co-operation and success will not be had.

    This is where it appears the world is at now, especially among the climate science community, and not just the policy makers. There is some agreement in braod terms but not in specific terms. There is no agreement in the science community or business economists exactly what the BAU of energy use is now, nor from now to 2040.

    All of these represent quite serious ‘credibility gaps’. These need to be closed as fast as possible. Heads need to get together and at least first come to an agreement of exactly what is BAU now and going forward.

    Guesses and ambitious unrealistic goals are a huge part of this problem. Science of itself cannot answr all these quetstion sue to unknowns. Business can’t answer all these questions either as far too much is unknown into the future. Governmetn can’t do it either. The IPCC can’t do it either. It requires a very sincere co-operative approach by all.

    A defined credible expectation of what the ‘real world’ will be like regaridng Energy Use in 2040, and then understadning what that most likely will mean regarding “climate impacts’ should be defniend asap. ONly then can more credible responses be made about what needs to be done to close the Gap between BAU into the future. From that more hard and fast Goals should be set, and once they are made clear and defined only then can business, economists, finance, governemtns take rational steps to try to achieve them.

    Much like climate science itself. Without credible hard evidence nothing can be known and therefore no rational choices in actions can ever be taken accordingly. More than no rational Goal can even be made to start the ball rolling. This is where I see we are at right now.

    meanwhile a huge % of politicians and the public don;t even believe climate change or AGW is real yet. This makes it more than a merely complex problem to solve.


  44. 544
    Walter says:

    #537 Hank Roberts:
    > Walter
    > I saw a recent report about the main ‘city architect’ company
    Hank says “Got a reference? A week is barely enough time for concrete to set; did buildings built that fast end up structurally sound?”

    No I don’t have a ref to hand. It was a tv report. Plug in enough keywords it will show up in a search. I didn’t consider it critical to the points I was making, but as a anecdotal example. A very common one. The internet is full of such stories and reports about china’s building capacity and how they do it. Think Lego blocks Hank.

    If they were not structurally sound do you imagine anyone would risk building them when the likely outcome for failure is a bullet in the head and the bill sent to your next of kin?

    Well maybe some might. Anything is possible of course. China is more or less the longest surviving singular civilization on earth. They are a pretty clever race of people Hank. Very much survivors too. Practical wisdom seems to be in their DNA.


  45. 545
    Hank Roberts says:

    > do you imagine

    No, I search.

    Very clever people.

    This has become exquisitely boring.

  46. 546
    Hank Roberts says:

    Perhaps, Walter, checking what you think you know would help.
    It’s a useful habit to develop — take your opinion, and paste it into a search and put “?” after it before posting it to the world.

    You might change your mind about what you think you know.

    “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards” as the White Queen remarked to Alice. Nowadays, we have Google.

    Which finds, e.g.:

    At a forum on green building in 2010, Deputy Minister of Construction Qiu Baoxing said, “Every year, new buildings in China total up to 2 billion square meters and use up to 40 percent of the world’s cement and steel, but our buildings can only stand 25 to 30 years on average.” U.S. commercial buildings are expected to stand for 70 to 75 years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

    For residential and commercial developments, architectural design and construction phases are typically allotted half the time as in the U.S., says Beijing-based landscape architect Paul Maksy. “With such a rapid pace of construction, there’s often relatively little monitoring of standards,” says Stephen Hammer, a lecturer in energy planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has worked in China.

    Poor materials can cause problems: The collapse of school buildings in the wake of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake was due in part to the use of low-quality cement, resulting in so-called tofu buildings. “When cement is mixed inadequately or when other materials are mixed in, it’s not very strong, so any major storm or stress on a building could make it fall down,” says Francis Cheung, author of brokerage firm CLSA’s 2012 report, China’s Infrastructure Bubble.

  47. 547
    Walter says:

    Thanks to wili and kevin. Good additions.

    wili: “Driven by fast-growing generation from wind and solar photovoltaics (PV), the share of non-hydro renewable power is seen doubling,to 8% of gross generation in 2018, up from 4% in 2011 and 2% in 2006.”

    That is a good example of the difficulty involved here. What do they mean by “non-hydro renewable”? Probably everything, and maybe biomass and bio fuels as well. Don’t know. These are the things needing to be checked.

    Hans Rosling puts solar/wind at barely 1% in 2013. EIA (via IER figures) has “non-hydro renewable” at 2% in 2013 vs the figures above @ 4% in 2011.

    A 100% difference is pretty large globally when bringing it back to GW capacity in plants. Also there is PV solar incremental growth via roof tops every where, and actual major PV Solar “power plants” being connected to the grid. I think they should be separated as the ‘technology’ used, the economic realities to supply and build what is required is very different. Including the Financing and recognizing specific Government levels of support & action for each type for example.

    In 2040 EIA has “non-hydro renewable” at 3% of the total, but that total has increased significantly, mainly a 50% assumed growth in total fossil fuels. Mainly due to GDP growth.

    It’s as hard to comprehend as the ipcc figures and graphs are for a newbie. I shall continuing diving into these figures nevertheless and try to line them up and see which may be more credible/reliable. If you don’t hear back from me with some manner of results, could be because I have gone mad trying to work it out. (that would please many I suspect – do you feel lucky?)


  48. 548
    Walter says:

    545 Hank Roberts I am not going to play your cherry picking game here. I know what I said and why. I know what I know. I never said China didn’t use concrete. I never said whatever it is you think I said. I am not interested. I have more important things to deal with. Thank you.

  49. 549
    Walter says:

    Comparing Apples with Porcupines – that is the question!

    Using the ref given by wili as an example only, Market Trends and Projections to 2018 IEA. And I am only referring here to the Executive Summary and not more detailed underlying source reports.

    Predominately it uses GWh which is generation used. The EIA mainly uses GW as in generating capacity. Two different things albeit connected. Capital investments will have to use GW (or MW TW capacity) for new plants. But they might not generate electricity at full capacity nor be able to ‘sell’ that onto the grid at a profitable price regularly. That little ‘h’ makes as big difference between reports produced by different organizations.

    I can see now the IEA includes “bioenergy” (biomass) for electric generation, as well as “biofuels” used in petroleum. This is very different than how others do it. eg in the EIA biofuels go straight into Oil use.

    Then at times the IEA switches from using GWh to GW, as in here: “Renewable power capacity in the OECD Americas rises by over 100 GW over 2012-18.”

    Not only that but the chart about this combines activity in the USA, with Mexico, Chile and Canada. Yet speaks about their use and growth as if it is ‘single kind of entity’. They also speak of the OECD nations quite diverse. But that also excludes Brazil and Russia and the other BRICS nations. But if you hear someone speaking about the G20, well they are in that along with China and India.

    Then the IEA makes odd statements like this:
    “Despite remaining high, global new investment in renewable energy fell in 2012. Policy uncertainties continued to cloud the investment outlook for some key markets. In some countries, investment moderated in the face of macroeconomic uncertainties and incentive reductions, particularly in countries with strong deployment of solar PV.”

    I think that is vague and non-specific as to be meaningless. I wonder why they choose to say it like that. Unless it is on purpose for some particular reason besides being a summary. They can’t be that bad at ‘communication’ at this level of expertise? eg ‘key markets’, ‘some countries’, ‘macroeconomic uncertainties’ etc. ends up as gobbledygook.

    Then they say:” Meanwhile, renewables faced strong competition from other energy sources in some markets (e.g. natural gas in the United States).” That was specific. I wonder if they actually quantify that in ‘real terms’ elsewhere in the reports?

    Next comes on page 4, Figure 2: Number of countries with non-hydro renewable capacity above 100 megawatts (MW) .. the next heading suggests “Total renewable electricity generation grew strongly in 2012, increasing by 8.2% from 2011.”

    The rising bars ‘appear impressive’, generation grew ‘strongly’. Sounds wonderful. What do the numbers really say though? – It’s only about ‘countries’ the number of countries above 100 MW –

    Perspective? I randomly chose two from MO.
    University of Illinois Abbott Power Plt – Coal/Gas Capacity: 85 MW
    Pioneer Trail Wind Farm, LLC – Wind Turbine Capacity 150.4 MW

    And place this into it’s proper perspective (or context) in a ‘meaningful way shows – Missouri’s total Electricity generation? 7,170 MWh – 16th highest in the USA.

    Again the best word that comes to my mind about this ‘100MW+ country’ info being included in this report is that it is ‘meaningless’. Though ‘useless’ has a >99% likelihood of also being appropriate.

    Meanwhile ‘journalists’ copy and paste such ‘cherry picked’ material and present it to the world as is.

    It is no surprise then that Hans Rosling would be saying things like this last September: (only 38 seconds)

    Another example is this recent study that was published and

    They mix and match all kinds of data from the original source data they had collected and then analysed. The authors had a purpose and that flows through as biases as they ‘assemble’ their data and choose how they want to present it. Their highlights in their Abstract and the Paper are then mirrored in all the news reports, even more selectively.

    In the process the full meaning of the data is lost. I am not accusing them of manipulation here. Choices have to be made on how best to present the ‘meaningfulness of data’ records. Still there is some inbuilt ‘bias’ that arises from that choice. These guys presented two key streams of analysis which then generated lists of nations and their basic conclusions about their study. They chose only to show the top 20 *nations* of CO2 emitters.

    Then they focused on each nations temperature increase contribution since 1850. A bit of a problem is that today’s nations states do not truly reflect the historical status and geographical extent of all these nation states which changed over time.

    I came to the view that that it would be also useful to have a third stream of how the data was presented and compared. I wrote to the main author to ask about this, but no reply. Why would he bother anyway? This kind of ‘data’ is very tightly controlled because it worth it’s weight in gold. They won’t just give it to anyone.

    Just another reason why it is very rare one will ever get to see the physical core data that underpins these studies or the “energy reports” that get published. Just about everything these days goes though a process similar to (not equivalent) the final IPCC Reports. What to put in and what to leave out. What ‘key words’ to use. How to RE-Present that core data to tell the story the originators wish to tell. And appear credible, ‘authoritative’ and basing their conclusions of ‘hard evidence’ at the same time.

    I mean nothing ‘conspiratorial’ about that. It’s really normal human nature, and good communication skills at work. It can be called ‘manipulation’ of the data to tell a ‘story’. It isn’t necessarily ‘manipulation’ of the ‘reader’. But it can be. It depends. No matter what an “Image” of reality is being presented for others to see.

    How accurate, meaningful and useful that Image really is, is the question.

    Imagine you are concerned about climate change future impacts but you’re only a regular citizen who doesn’t really understand the details. Too complex, not enough time.

    Yet you keep seeing reports and good news stories of the ongoing growth in renewable energy use today and into the future. Then how would that make you feel?

    Would such a person feel more concerned or less concerned about climate change issues, what ever nation they lived in?

    As usual this is much longer than I anticipated. Sorry about that.


  50. 550
    Walter says:

    The more I look into this the more inclined I am now to forget it. It’s like trying to pull teeth from a chicken. I doubt it is worth a few days to dig into these things.

    Like this IEA Report.

    Page 9 World vehicle oil demand in the ‘New Policies Scenario’
    Oil use by cars expands by only 15% between 2010 and 2035.

    Starting point Oil use is 20 Billion barrels per day.
    The car fleet doubles in size theoretically 40 billion barrels.
    Yet between now and 2035 they assume that “fuel economy” will improve so much usage will drop by >22.5% (equiv to 9 billion barrels of oil a day) across the board.

    Perspective? Avg US 26 mpg for new cars rises to >32 mpg? 2008 “midsize” ranged from 11 mpg to 46 mpg. EU has mandated minimum >50 mpg for new cars in 2012. How does combined old/new vehicle average a MPG increase of 22.5% across the entire 25 year period to 2035? (used some wiki numbers)

    Page 13: World energy-related CO2 emissions in 2035 by scenario
    “OECD countries alone cannot put the world on a “450 ppm” trajectory – the stabilisation in carbon levels needed to keep global warming to a 2 C increase – even if they were to reduce their CO emissions to zero”

    “Energy efficiency measures” account for 50% of the cumulative CO2 abatement over the Outlook period – in order to achieve the 450ppm scenario by 2035.

    That is markedly better than the “new policies scenario” – is that even achievable?

    A BAU scenario is … best not think about it