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Unforced variations: July 2017

Filed under: — group @ 1 July 2017

So, big news this week: The latest update to the RSS lower troposphere temperatures (Zeke at Carbon Brief, J. Climate paper) and, of course, more chatter about the red team/blue team concept. Comments?

397 Responses to “Unforced variations: July 2017”

  1. 151
    Mr. Know It All says:

    148 Zebra

    The reliability of Tesla cars has been poor so far.

    I’d expect that result with a newish product made by a company with limited car manufacturing experience.

    All parts of the Tesla, like all parts of ICE cars will fail. Motor and wheel bearings, suspension, steering, drive train, cooling system for batteries, etc will all wear out. Particularly the electronics. Electronics are very unreliable in many products; and the failures can be expensive. I’ve heard of people who had the electronic control panel fail in a clothes washer or dryer and it cost $300+ to have it replaced. They don’t find and replace the 5 cent resistor that failed, they replace the entire panel. If you can avoid it, NEVER buy home appliances with electronic controls if they vibrate or get hot. Mechanical controls on such appliances are much more reliable in my experience.

    EVs are coming (if the range limitations are solved), and will get better, but maintenance will still be an issue.

  2. 152
    Scott Strough says:

    Yeah Zebra,
    The study you linked is good science, just decades out of date.

    Typical merchant of doubt strategy. We need more study … while completely ignoring that exactly the same studies they request have already been done…repeatedly.

    By focusing very narrowly on specifically 6 types of cropping, but not including any of the newer regenerative cropping systems, nor even the newer understandings of biochemical pathways like the LCP, the study is obsolete before even being published.

    This is not a criticism of the science. It raises an interesting point of how does one do a rigorous 10 or 20 year study in a field where the major fundamental advancements are faster than the time needed for long term analysis?

    So I am not going to criticize the study or you too much. It’s a legit failing. But you simply must acknowledge that none of the regenerative cropping systems we are suggesting for AGW have even made a showing either in the study you sent, nor the referenced studies it cites.

    Isn’t that precisely and exactly the same red team/blue team concept delay and obfuscate strategy currently being criticized? The only difference is that in this case it is on the mitigation side of the debate rather than the causal side of the debate.

  3. 153

    Dan, #130–

    “While battery costs have fallen 65% since 2010, expecting battery costs to plummet another 75% seems rather optimistic.”

    YMMV (and apparently it does) but I must disagree here. The Tesla gigafactory is about to come online, and numerous other large facilities are coming on as well. (Mostly in China.) That implies that there is about to be a huge bump in manufacturing scale, and if economies follow as precedent and theory predict, then large cost reductions are only to be expected.

  4. 154
    Mr. Know It All says:

    148 Zebra
    A Q&A session on pitfalls of buying a Nissan Leaf. Good info here:

    Another article on EVs:

  5. 155
    nigelj says:

    Mr. Know It All @146 says:

    “Current weather at Vostok Station: -88 F, blowing snow, feels like -140 F Give us some AGW Puhleeeease!”

    Very funny, but even with for example 5 degrees of global warming, it will make no useful difference to such low temperatures. In comparison, a 5 degree rise in temperatures will cause killer heatwaves, and widespread more severe weather, sea level rise, etc,etc. So yes nobody loves cold weather, but warming creates a large range of different problems, and that is the big difference.

    You just go on digging holes for yourself. You obviously think the whole global warming thing is a joke, but I know people like you. When things turn out to be a really intense problem, they are the first to complain why it wasn’t taken more seriously, and ask why was nothing down. Well look in the mirror guys because you will be the reason why nothing was done! Doh!

  6. 156
    nigelj says:

    Omega Centauri and Zebra,

    You are both right of course about those advantages of electric cars, but missed the big obvious thing. They are much cheaper to run than filling up with petrol!

    And the acceleration can be very good, even in relatively low cost electric cars.

    Reliability will be better than petrol as well. Electric motors have good reliability, fewer parts etc.

  7. 157
    Mal Adapted says:

    Mr. Ironically Anosognosic Typist:

    Current weather at Vostok Station: -88 F, blowing snow, feels like -140 F

    Really? And do you know that it’s winter at Vostok Station, quite near the infamously chilly South Pole? What else do you know?

    Give us some AGW Puhleeeease!

    Why, not as much as you think, apparently. Isn’t that ironic?

  8. 158
    Killian says:

    Re #65 nigelj said Killian @62 (con’t.) nigelj said Its also possible to have large scale, mechanised, organic and sustainable. Small farmers kill soils too. I think its more about management, technique, and good knowledge than scale or ownership structure.

    [Killian said] Nope and yep and yep and nope. Sadly, I have a class now…

    Large-scale, mechanized sustainable? In what fantasy world is it possible to make tractors forever on a limited planet? People have to learn to let the simplicity of resource limits sink in. Assuming even an absurd example such as an eternal mouse on an Earth-sized ball of cheese: Eventually the mouse will run out of cheese. Our reality is that many resources are *already* in short supply.

    Later –> It’s also about decent and firm environmental rules

    Which have yet to have ever existed.

    and hoping like hell government has enough courage and foresight to understand this.

    Government’s existenece depends on them never getting this.

    Couple of books I have read you might find relevant: Post capitalism, by Paul Mason, (and hes not promoting communism or anything, this book is quite intriguing)

    Also how will capitalism end, by Wolfgang Streeck, and no is not enough by Naomi Klein.

    Frankly, they all need to be reading me, people like me. They all come from Capitalism and Big Gov reality and frame only in terms of correcting the system in some way: How can we keep our toys, but pretend its sustainable to do so? We start from First Principles: What is a sustainable system? Design to that.


  9. 159
    Killian says:

    #117 Scott Strough said @102 nigelj, …Stop the subsidies and revoke the regulatory burden and it will change like opening the floodgates!

    The current unsustainable business models contributing to AGW would collapse in year one.

    Government is going to undo government? In what fantasyland? Who are you going to get to end these subsidies? Amazes me using market forces to end market economies never occurs to anyone. Forget about changing regulations or laws; instead grow gardens. If we, like Russia, grew up to 60% of our own food, what do you think would happen to Big Ag? The simplest, fastest way to end industrial ag is to simply opt out. It would no longer be economically viable.

    It would take a bit longer to fully train and implement the new regenerative models, mostly due to training. But it would start fast. Nothing motivates like an empty stomach.

    Let’s use that internets, eh?

    Now if you want to make a more controlled change… Slowly reduce the billions subsidizing corn and soy overproduction… use the savings from that to build the infrastructure required. Once the infrastructure including training of new farmers eager to go is done……..then drop the subsidies preventing change to sustainable agriculture.

    Or we could just start growing our own and let Big Ag die off…

    If you want to put a special emphasis on carbon sequestration as a priority, it is easy enough.

    Regenerative is carbon-sequestering. After all, if it isn’t addressing climate and building soils, is it really regenerative? Nope. So just do regenerative/permacultural/carbon farming…. whatever one wishes to call it.

    However, with or without the carbon price there is an economic incentive to sequester carbon as it is the carbon that is the key to making the new regenerative models work and be profitable.

    Economic incentive? There’s a bleeping survival incentive!

    Re #134 Scott Strough said I am a bit obtuse, and insulting, but I’m sincere!

    Get over yourself. Your l;ack of knowledge regarding what is and is not sustainable is affecting the discuourse here, not Luddite belief systems. In fact, your reference to Luddites further shows your ignorance: They were not anti-tech, and neither am I. Luddites were acting out of socio-economic stress, not a hatred of machines.

    You are merely regurgitating propaganda.

    I feel strongly that all we really need to do is stop purposely preventing the change to regenerative ag with billions of dollars of corporate welfare… purposely attempting to exclude cottage industry.

    I will point out again, no government nor economic system has ever intentionally dismantled itself, with the possible exception of ancient Southwest American Native peoples.

    if some barefoot hippy dippy tribal commune wants to follow Killian’s plan, they should if it is appropriate for them.

    What a generous insult. Idiotic comment.

    Again, who am I to tell Killian to use a tractor when Killian doesn’t want to do that?

    I have never said this. Why lie?

    And if Killian wants to live without money

    Nor this…

    The common factor is that all humans eat food and agricultural methods can be designed in a way that sequesters enough carbon in the soil to offset your fossil fuel use.

    Then people should continue a FF-based society?

    Whether it is a planned economy or a free market economy…

    Both require growth. The planet is limited. Try to understand this.

    …there is a way to get the carbon in the soil.

    This is the only accurate thing you’ve said.

    Killian has one way and many people are attracted to it, others like me are not willing to go full on Luddite.

    There is a reason I do not frame any of my comments in terms of what I **want** to happen, and if you knew what you were talking about, it would be obvious. First, regenerative design is baded on meeting needs, not wants. You should know this. Second, resource limits, both in terms of absolute and rate of use limits, are a real, physical, mathematical reality. I love my fancy phone and computer. I like on-demand hot water, A/C, eating food from all over the world, travel, sports, etc. But design has nothing to do with wants and everything to do with needs, resource assessments… reality.

    Economics is not reality. It is closer to religion than reality, which makes your insulting misrepresentations rather hypocritical: You’re the one depending an esoteric, made-up belief systems rather than following Nature’s principles to their full conclusion.

    All that matters is if the ecosystem function of carbon sequestration in the soil is restored, and on how many acres.

    No. Wrong. What matters is creating regenerative communities. Doing so solves all other problems.

    I can see how you might be confused because killian keeps jumping in and obfuscating the issue with the anti capitalism, anti technology, anti pretty much everything excpt going back to living in tee-pees and/or mud huts.

    Because that’s what beautiful, functional, comfortable natural homes are. Idiotic. I repeat since you are so very clueless about what regenerative design is, **want** has nothing to do with anything, thus there is no anti- involved, either. There is only, is it sustainable? If not, it must be reduced and eliminated over time until either gone or we find ways to access resources currently unavailable in sustainable ways.

    or we can go full scale commercial as evidenced here:

    Profit = growth. Short-term? Sure. Long-term? No.

    All I am really stressing is we should not be subsidizing models of production that are causing AGW. IT IS LITERALLY INSANITY.

    Even a broken clock…

    But the conversation that needs to be made about the myriad ways and options that could fit with a agriculture mimicking natural ecosystem function is for each community/nation to decide.

    No, it is for each community and bio-region to **design.** There is a difference.

    all you need to do is use Cuba as a test case.

    When the Soviet Union collapsed, they could no longer afford to subsidize Cuban ag.

    It wasn’t the lack of subsidies, but, “…basically no fertilizers or pesticides simply because Cuba was under embargo from US and had almost no internal manufacturing capability. They had no choice…”

    It was a resource problem much more so than an economic problem.

    Personally my own research is in scaling up methods.

    Regenerative <– You keep using that word. I do not think you know what it means. To coin a phrase. Regenerative systems are small in scale, chunked into networks. They do not do massive. Perhaps I can expand on this later, and perhaps you can find a more civil, and more accurate, tongue.

  10. 160
    nigelj says:

    Know it all @151,

    All cars have electronics these days, not just electric cars, so its not much reason to reject electric cars. In fact there would be precious little difference between electric and petrol. The most susceptible and expensive part is the cpu, and you won’t find many petrol cars without these. It all may be frustrating as you say, but everything is going electronic in cars, houses,etc.

    Electric cars and petrol cars also have similar brake components etc.

    I have a late model honda civic, with tons of electronics. Never has a problem with various japanese cars. It’s American manufacturers who need to get their acts together, Ford, GM as well as Tesla.

    The point is the big components in electric cars are the motor, and that is the one electric thing with very strong reliability. Electric motors are fundamentally more reliable than petrol motors, so it means electric cars are potentially more reliable overall.

    Tesla will get there. As you say its growing pains with a new company of smaller scale. The difficulties have also often been with components related to suspension etc rather than the electronics.

  11. 161
    Killian says:

    Re #139 nigelj said Killian @133

    Thanks. I just think the main goal should be sustainability, good soils practices etc, regardless of whether its a small or large farmer etc.

    agreed. There is a misunderstanding here. There is no bias against large farms, merely an awareness of how sustainability works. It is always small scale. Can I imagine a large sustainable farm? Yes and no. Imagination knows no limits, so anything is possible, but not all things are probable. Perhaps a couple simple examples will help.

    Large farm implies ownership, ownership implies hoarding to one’s self, ownership implies lack for others, lack for others equals instability, instability equals imbalance and waste in the system. Something has to go.

    There are no extant large sustainable mechanized farms.

    I think you also need good environmental laws to push people along, and possible state help for smaller farmers

    If you can get them, but at preset the system is against small farmers. Again, this is asking a snake to eat itself then become a dove. Try for gov’t support, just don’t depend on it.

  12. 162
    Killian says:

    Re #140 nigelj said Regarding this idea of soil sequestration of carbon. I understand a lot of things need to be done differently, so its a big deal sort of issue.

    It might work in theory, probably does because the chemistry looks quite convincing. The trouble is whether it actually works in the real world, and how do you test this? Have any trials been done?

    Trials? Only 30 years. See Rodale Institute.

    However I cant see any harm encouraging it, education, research etc. But you would need a good case before lots of private corporate and/or state money was thrown at it.

    I don’t know enough about no till farming to comment. Might look it up.

    Regarding organic, I’m sitting on the fence a bit. I’m a sceptic of over use of pesticides, and all this sort of thing, but whether going to the other extreme makes sense I’m not so sure.

    Please explan why you are publicly doubting something you know nothing about, yet has existed for eons, but you haven’t educated yourself about. Do you not understand this is how doubt is manufactured? You repeat the internationally misleading comments, doubt grows where none should exist.

    We have some farmers who are profitable and say organic works. But it’s partly a demand thing, such that if wealthy people want it of course it would be profitable. But is it a fashionable fad?

    Eons is a fad? More recently, 60 – 70 years is a fad? Heck, permaculture was promulgated in the 1970s.

    Can you seriously not understand the anti-sustainability agenda from Zeanut?

    I’m not convinced organic food is better or tastes better but I am worried about pesticide issues.

    This is getting absurd. Regenerative organic DOES NOT use non-organic pesticides. If you can’t tell when you are being led by a propagandist and lies, responding to you is a waste of my time.

    OMG… do pesticides create disease…? I know this pattern. This is the “honestly confused skeptic” schtick.

  13. 163
    Thomas says:

    156 nigelj says “They are much cheaper to run than filling up with petrol!”

    found a site that details how much:

    “… the average price for electricity per kilo Watt hour in Australia is about $0.25 and it takes approximately 18 kWh to travel 100kms, so it will cost approximately $4.50 in electricity charges to travel 100kms.

    “In comparison, the average petrol car in Australia uses 11.1 litres of fuel to travel 100kms (Aus. Bureau of Statistics). That’s a cost of $16.65 to travel 100kms at $1.50 per litre. Even a very efficient diesel vehicle (5 litres per 100kms) will cost $7.50.”,/i>

    My small car costs about $10/100klms in fuel. so electric is much cheaper than a small 4 cylinder. the figures suggest an EV could easily save the average motorist over $1000 a year in fuel.

    Volvos announcement was an unexpected but welcome surprise too.

  14. 164
    zebra says:

    Scott #152,

    “The study you linked is good science, just decades out of date.”

    (Published March 28, 2014)

    Scott, the true futurist– or is he perhaps from the future???

    Scott: “It raises an interesting point of how does one do a rigorous 10 or 20 year study in a field where the major fundamental advancements are faster than the time needed for long term analysis?”

    Yep, from the future, because he knows that something is a “major fundamental advancement” before us poor time-bound mortals who actually have to do the research.

    For those interested but lazy, the article reviews the science and concludes that, at best, it is probably where (in my perception) climate science was a few decades ago, trying to standardize methodology and characterize and eliminate confounding factors.

  15. 165
    Mal Adapted says:

    Dan H.:

    No, the Bloomburg article does not seem reaonable.

    Why thank you, Dan H. I’ll invest my life savings in battery R&D before today’s closing bell!

  16. 166
    MA Rodger says:

    GISS have posted for June with an anomaly of +0.69ºC, the lowest anomaly of the year-to-date (which had previously been May’s anomaly at +0.88ºC). This is the 4th warmest June on record (some 0.1ºC below 1st warmest June 2016, 2nd 2015 & 3rd 1998, which are all roughly equal) and the =87th warmest of all months on the full record.
    The first half of 2017 still sits in 2nd spot. With predictions of ENSO showing it less probable for an El Nino forming in coming months, a ‘hottest-year-on-record’ for 2017 is also looking less probable.

    ……….Ave Jan-June … … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 ….. +1.10ºC … … … +0.99ºC … … … … 1st
    2017 ….. +0.94ºC
    2015 ….. +0.82ºC … … … +0.86ºC … … … … 2nd
    2010 ….. +0.78ºC … … … +0.71ºC … … … … 4th
    2007 ….. +0.73ºC … … … +0.66ºC … … … … 6th
    2014 ….. +0.73ºC … … … +0.75ºC … … … … 3rd
    1998 ….. +0.71ºC … … … +0.63ºC … … … … 10th
    2002 ….. +0.70ºC … … … +0.63ºC … … … … 11th

  17. 167
    Mal Adapted says:

    Kevin McKinney:

    Dan, #130–

    “While battery costs have fallen 65% since 2010, expecting battery costs to plummet another 75% seems rather optimistic.”

    YMMV (and apparently it does) but I must disagree here.

    You’d be a fool not to. Fool me once… I’ve afraid I’ve used up my annual allotment of superlatives, I need to invent new ones.

    Hell, I’m gonna invest all my savings in battery R&D before closing bell!

  18. 168
    Dan H. says:

    The fuel costs for a pure EV compared to an ICE depend largely on location, as local gasoline and electric costs vary greatly. Assuming that the driver of an EV (ebergy efficiency of 3 mi/kWh) would otherwise purchase a fuel efficient vehicle, then fuel costs for the EV would be cheaper in most, but not all states (in the U.S.) In the northeast, where electicity costs are high, fuel costs are similar. In most states, the ICE fuel costs run between 25-50% higher. In some states, like Idaho, fuel costs for ICE vehicles can be more than double on a mileage basis. Even California, which has both high electric and gasoline prices, the EV fuel costs are 40% lower. Hawaii is the major exception. Its electric costs are so high that the EV costs 50% more to operate on a mileage basis. With recent low fuel costs, it is less of a factor in car ownership today.

  19. 169
    alan2102 says:

    Dear Scott Strough:
    I am still interested in what you meant when you said that “industrial ag simply isn’t sustainable”. What does that mean?
    And again: what is “industrial agriculture”? You used the phrase, so I assume that you have a definition in mind. What is it? And while you’re at it: what does “sustainable” mean?
    Thank you.

  20. 170
    Al Bundy says:

    Scott S:You said, “What?! No one has to give up their tractors? i.e. no one has to give up industrial agriculture?

    Al: Huh? What do tractors have to do with industrial agriculture?? They were used during the era of semi-industrial agriculture, but they’re incredibly inefficient and destructive. True industrial agriculture will NOT use them.

    If you guys want some thoughts from a Buffett (Howie), read “Forty Chances Finding Hope in a Hungry World”. (And no, Howard has no clue that industrial agriculture will soon exist. I’m planning on contacting his dad next week [since he lives down the road from me.])

  21. 171
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: More reliance on perennials

    Al: Yes, but not exactly like you’re thinking. After all, gene-splicing can turn annual grains into perennials. Lots and lots of paths are available. You’ll need many and varied solutions, not one magic bullet. That’s why the non-brilliant who gush about a world with EVs and only EVs are completely wrong. After all, EVs are already hitting the limit for their efficiency, while current obsolete internal combustion engines are only about 55% as efficient as a reasonable design. There’s LOTS of headroom available with biofuels and essentially none with EVs. (At least as far as the engine is concerned. Cutting rolling and air resistance by 60% works with both fuels.)

    (and remember, Al Bundy invented shoe-lights, so obviously he’s always right….)

    “I hate know-it-alls. They make it ever so hard on those of us who do.”

  22. 172
    Al Bundy says:

    Zebra: You forgot to mention far lower maintenance costs and the fact that if the body doesn’t rust away, the car will last “forever”, compared to ICE.

    Al: ::eyeroll:: uh, the Immortal Carnot engine will last essentially forever. All ya gotta do is design an ICE correctly, as in essentially eliminating friction, and wear-and-tear go away. The Simultaneous-Combined-Cycle Staged-Combustion engine does just that. Your great-grandchildren will be using the engine you buy….

  23. 173
    zebra says:

    About electric cars…here’s one of those baseline questions:

    Let’s assume there is absolutely no difference between EV and ICE on the usual cost factors like fuel and maintenance, and initial cost. Let’s say range is the same, and acceleration. Let’s say their long-term resale value is exactly the same. (These are areas where each may have some advantages.) And let’s even say that CO2 and other local pollution is not an issue!

    Can anyone suggest why any rational, knowledgeable, individual would choose an ICE vehicle over EV?

    I know, this is a question that speaks, in the final analysis, to aesthetics, and the concept of elegance in design.

    But there it is. You don’t have to be a scientist or engineer to “get” the difference between the two paradigms. I would argue that if you take away the tribal/political biases, Right and Left, coastal and flyover, this is a real no-brainer.

    That, of course, is why there is so much aggressive desperation from the buggy-whip people.

  24. 174
    nigelj says:

    Killian @158,

    That is a long screed. Just briefly:

    “Large-scale, mechanized sustainable? In what fantasy world is it possible to make tractors forever on a limited planet?”

    Well clearly the planet is finite and all resources are limited, and so on, that’s the start point in any understanding. My view in general terms is we need to look after the planet, as we wont find leaving it easy.

    However most metals can be recycled forever. I can’t see a pressing problem with tractors provided they are low emissions. I would be in the “practical environmentalist” category. I like contemplating long term problems and challenges but you don’t want to catastrophise and be simplistic about it. Im also not wanting to become a sack cloth wearing luddite working in the garden with wooden implements if I can avoid it.

    We may of course be getting near a point where we need to plan and conserve metals better, but are you seriously saying we should immediately stop building tractors? now this just doesn’t make sense to me.

    The challenges are more challenging with impacts on pollution and altering of water, soil and air, as this is much harder to deal with if it gets out of control. We need sustainable management principles here and appropriate laws.

    “Later –> It’s also about decent and firm environmental rules”.

    “Which have yet to have ever existed.”

    So what? That doesn’t make them an unworthy goal, so you are just posting empty cynical rhetoric. In fact you are also incorrect, as many western countries have many good environmental laws and its really a question of just improving things and filling the gaps in a well considered evidence based way. The people in the way of this are clearly Donald Trump and the hard right.

    “and hoping like hell government has enough courage and foresight to understand this.”

    “Government’s existenece depends on them never getting this.”

    Well maybe today’s Republican Party in America. Clearly many other governments in many countries do get it.

    In fact I would say its more a case of parties dependent on certain campaign donors, who don’t want to “get” the need for environmental laws. Politicians have become captive to lobby groups and government regulators have also become captive. But Many countries have woken up to this problem and have some limits on campaign donation, but not apparently America. Things can change.

    “Couple of books I have read you might find relevant: Post capitalism, by Paul Mason, …..”

    “Frankly, they all need to be reading me, people like me. ”

    How insufferably arrogant of you.

    “They all come from Capitalism and Big Gov reality and frame only in terms of correcting the system in some way: How can we keep our toys, but pretend its sustainable to do so? We start from First Principles: What is a sustainable system? Design to that.”

    Well I have thought this at times myself in the past, but lately I have come to believe we do need to modify capitalism rather than throw it completely out, like the baby with the bath water. There is benefit in markets and decentralised ownership. You have also not painted a picture of an alternative and explained why its better.

    We can’t really use some state or collective ownership model can we? Collective ownership of business has been discredited by the Soviet Union experience etc (although I have no problem with government ownership of education or some health services, as this works quite well and there are logical reasons for it).

    I don’t think we need to go back to some form of luddite dark ages, working with wooden tools. I mean why would we, unless forced to do so?

    You also need to define what you mean by sustainable, and you still haven’t.

    I would suggest sustainablity in its pure form is unattainable, and would have to mean humanity had no impact on the environment at all. In other words our very existence alters the environment in some way.

    We are probably going to have to settle with some practical definition of sustainablity. Maybe this would be based on not significantly degrading air or water quality,conserving fisheries etc, etc. I’m very supportive of this sort of approach. But it would be hard to have no impact at all. It seems to me humanity can do a better job of thinking long term, and desperately needs to do this, yet we don’t want to become obsessive either or we will tie ourselves up in knots. I think we should plan for the “medium long term”.

  25. 175
    nigelj says:

    Killian @162

    Maybe I just wasn’t clear on organic farming and pesticides. I’m suspicious of and concerned about inorganic pesticides, such as roundup (glyphosate) etc. We also have this problem of bee colony collapse, possibly due to pesticides like the neonicotinoids. Maybe pesticides could be implicated in human diseases as well.

    I’m just not convinced entirely organic pesticides are the magic answer either. Ok I will do some more reading on it, but its hard getting a succinct convincing overview.

    I do think inorganic pesticides at least need much better truly independent testing and analysis and rules etc. Obviously I would not promote this if I was some sort of cynical troll apologising for big business. Even if you support organic farming you would have to see the need for this. It’s also probably unrealistic to expect inorganic pesticides etc to be banned.

    And nobody is stopping organic farmers doing their thing so get on with it if you want.

  26. 176
    Scott Strough says:

    Glomalin wasn’t even discovered prior to 1996. It turns out to be the missing link in a biochemical pathway that changes what was sporadic outliers into a consistent and repeatable carbon pump into the soil.

    Not you can get sarcastic all you want, but once again the closest analogy would be like throwing a snowball in congress to prove AGW is not real. Nothing but denialism of what is already shown by the preponderance of evidence. You may think you have the preponderance of evidence on your side, and certainly more published studies. But these were done prior to the new understandings of soil carbon dynamics.

    I don’t even need you and the rest with the previous simplistic paradigm to believe it actually. Just get out of the way so people can fix this. As I said before, in my opinion we don’t even need any subsidies to make the change. Just stop preventing the change due to antiquated neo-Luddite-like concepts about soils. head to head it is no contest, regenerative ag is far superior in every possible way. But not enough superior to get around multi billions in subsidies yearly and an odious regulatory burden backed by swat teams.

  27. 177
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @163, thanks for that. I should have tracked down some numbers, but had to cook dinner.

    Here’s some stuff for NZ.

    Costs of electricity for electric cars in New Zealand are equivalent to 30 cents a litre. Petrol is around $2.oo litre.

    An overnight charge in New Zealand is about $3.00 per 100 kms. (compared to Australia is $4.50)

    So basically not a huge difference, and the difference probably due to exchange rate differences, and I think NZ has slightly cheaper electricity.

    “The figures suggest an EV could easily save the average motorist over $1000 a year in fuel.”

    Currently electric cars like the Nissan leaf cost about $40,000 in NZ at least last time I checked a couple of years ago. The overall size of this car is similar to a typical, decent quality $35,000 petrol hatchback so the price premium is only about $5,000 at most, and so would be paid off in no time.

    Whats not to like about electric? Nothing. Less than a quarter the price in fuel, lower maintainance costs, low emissions, quieter, faster, simpler, and the latest models have pretty decent range now, and certainly enough for my needs. The japanese ones will be very reliable.

    I will buy one in the near future, maybe two years time.

  28. 178
    Scott Strough says:

    “In our culture we view the pigs as just so much inanimate protoplasmic structure to be manipulated however cleverly hubris can imagine to manipulate it. And I would suggest that a culture that views its plants and animals in that type of disrespectful, arrogant, manipulative standpoint will view its citizens the same way…and other cultures” Joel Salatin

    “We try to grow things that want to die, and kill things that want to live. That is pretty much how (industrial) agriculture functions.” Colin Seis

    That’s industrial, now here is regenerative:

    “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.”-USDA

    Maybe if I said green revolution Ag with biocides, CAFOs and haber process nitrogen? It really is pervasive at every level. Nitrogen fertilizer alone represents about 40 percent of all energy used in corn planting, cultivation and harvesting. And as pointed out before, the game is rigged where big ag multinationals can vertically integrate , while for the farmer it’s most of the time illegal to vertically stack with value added products. The excuse meme is safety and quality, but in both cases they are reduced rather than improved.

    It causes all sorts of systemic inefficiencies. Animal husbandry primarily. Next ethanol. Both are far more efficient other ways of production besides corn. But their purpose is NOT to produce the highest yields of food or the most efficient use of resources. Thinks about the massive market manipulation required to make a feedlot even make sense? Switchgrass ethanol is 5 times more efficient than corn ethanol, but yet we go with the less efficient production model because while less efficient in making ethanol, it is more efficient at using up corn surpluses. Corn that 40% of it’s fossil fuel carbon footprint is nitrogen fertilizers. Where a properly managed grassland requires no fertilizer or biocide at all.

    Meanwhile a plant cant use photosynthesis if it is dead, killed by a herbicide. A plant can’t pump the excess products of photosynthesis into the soil if other biocides destroyed the biology balance in the soil. All that technology is science based, but the sciences are mechanistic and chemistry, not biology and appropriate technology.

    So with that industrial model of ag there are severe limitations on how much carbon it can sequester in the soil. Basically regenerative ag lowest numbers exceed industrial ags biggest numbers.

    That does not mean that regenerative ag ignores all modern tech like tractors and combines etc… but usually appropriately used with polycultures, not monocultures.

    For us here in US it is simple. We convert the cornbelt back into the tallgrass prairie. Then we take all the animals out of their sheds and feedlots and put them back on the land where at MINIMUM they are at least 20% more efficient than the current models, we work up from there, all the while adapting to the AGW already present and mitigating CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

  29. 179
    Omega Centauri says:

    “Electric and petrol cars have similar brakes”.
    Actually there is a big difference. For all but hard panic braking, the electric var uses “regenerative” braking: the motor runs in reverse, and generates electricity, which goes back into the battery. So rather than converting the cars kinetic energy into heat in the brake pads, it goes back to the battery. So brake pad wear is minimal.

  30. 180
    jgnfld says:

    @168 Dan H.

    Hawaiian Electric disagrees wih you saying in their FAQ on the subject: “In September 2015, on Oahu, regular gasoline cost approximately $2.78 per gallon and electricity cost approximately $0.27/kWh. With these energy costs, a mid-sized internal combustion sedan with an average fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon had a fuel cost of approximately 11 cents per mile while an EV with a range of 85 miles on a 24-kWh battery had a charging cost of approximately 8 cents per mile.

    Taking advantage of Hawaiian Electric’s EV rates and charging during off-peak hours, the EV charging cost could drop to about 6 cents per mile.”

  31. 181
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    Re 166. GISS

    2017 looks to be coming in as the third warmest year on record (82 GISS average)

  32. 182
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    I have just been reading the preface to Mike Hulme’s book “Why we disagree about climate change”. He writes:

    When I first entered the field of climate change policy research, a little over two decades ago, I was warned by a former deputy administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency that I was wasting my time because: “climate change will never be a major public policy issue.” He advanced three reasons for this: “the science is too uncertain, in the packs are of too far in the future, and there is no readily identifiable villain.”

    Hooray for President Trump. Now we have a villain!

  33. 183
    Thomas says:

    the tax-deductible taxpayer funded free speech neoliberal anti-regulation political parties and activist groups double down on double speak pushing more regulation controls upon environmental/conservation groups in order to minimise their ‘speech’ calling for anti-fracking protests and action on AGW/CC etc. They may be required to plant more trees and stop erosion instead or loose their tax-deductible (charitable/educational/community service) status. (sigh)

  34. 184
    Thomas says:

    The long campaign …



    2015 “Environment NGOs said funding had already been cut for environmental campaigns and lawyers, and the latest move was part of a campaign against the sector.”
    “Other (neoliberal/libertarian – anti-agw/cc action) groups like the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), which campaigns on behalf of big business to remove environmental protections, also have tax deductibility status.”

    oh well.

  35. 185
  36. 186
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @173

    “Can anyone suggest why any rational, knowledgeable, individual would choose an ICE vehicle over EV?”

    Not many good reasons. As you say it probably comes down more to aesthetics, and political anti green bias etc.

    Although I think fear of change and new technology is probably a reason. Buying a new car is a big issue for many people, so they tend to possibly be a little conservative, even if all the evidence really does show the new technology is better.

    For example I recently changed from the old copper telephone network as it was becoming unreliable and old, to the new wireless 4g home phone system. I studied it and it looked better. I already had 4g on the cellphone, and knew that worked well, and that modems are much quicker to replace than fixing old copper wires.

    However it took me a while to make up my mind, probably as I’m so used to the copper cables. Now that I have changed over, it works well and my reluctance seemed absurd.

    One you get a certain critical mass of people buying electric, everyone will follow as humans do.

  37. 187


    The real villains are people like Charles and David Koch, Rex Tillerson, Rupert Murdoch, etc. The only thing that distinguishes them from comic book supervillains is that they don’t wear silly costumes or have special powers.

  38. 188
    Mal Adapted says:


    Can anyone suggest why any rational, knowledgeable, individual would choose an ICE vehicle over EV?

    I know, Professor! Because they don’t wish to make anyone else pay for their private benefit? Especially their own descendants?

  39. 189
    Mal Adapted says:


    And let’s even say that CO2 and other local pollution is not an issue!

    Sorry, can’t say that.

  40. 190
    Thomas says:

    saw an interesting quote/truism fwiw

    “Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.” Robert A. Heinlein

  41. 191
    Adam Lea says:

    159: “Forget about changing regulations or laws; instead grow gardens. If we, like Russia, grew up to 60% of our own food, what do you think would happen to Big Ag?”

    I am assuming you mean growing food on an individual or highly localised scale.

    I can’t see how that could happen in a country like the UK. To grow your own food requires a significant amount of time and effort, which a lot of people have precious little of these days. If you are going to advocate changes to our way of life, they have to be acceptable to the majority otherwise they are not going to happen. Unless someone has an interest in gardening how likely are they going to choose spending several hours a week tending to an allotment garden rather than just pop to the supermarket and get a weeks food in 10 minutes? Secondly, where is the land for all the people to grow their own food in sufficient quantities to make a difference? There aren’t nearly enough allotment sites to satisfy a town, even assuming only half the towns populatioin wanted to rent one. There never can be enough land, there are 70 million people in the UK, the majority live in the big cities. Where are those living in the urban sprawl of Greater London going to grow their food? Where would the UK population grow their food, once you eliminate the land that is privately owned, used for buildings and infrastructure, unsuitable for arable production (e.g. mountain/high moorland regions). Look at how much land is required for an individual to become self sufficient, multiply by the number of families in the UK, then compare that to the available suitable land for cultivation. I bet the numbers won’t match. Looking at Russia is silly, that is a huge country with a low population, it has vast amounts of empty space. Places like the UK and other European countries don’t. It is good to have dreams and ambitions but reality is the ultimate dictator.

  42. 192
    zebra says:

    Mal Adapted 188, 189,

    Dyslexia? Reading under the influence?

    The Professor is not certain of Mal’s diagnosis…

  43. 193
  44. 194
    Omega Centauri says:

    And note that Hawaii has the most expensive electricity in the country. It is because most of it come from oil. So the economics will look better almost anywhere else.
    But, of course it is not just the cost of fuel, maintenence is much lower for the EV anyway. I like not having to do oil changes.

    And acceleration of the new EVs is actually astounding -not least because it is almost noise free.

  45. 195
    Dan says:

    re: 173.
    “Can anyone suggest why any rational, knowledgeable, individual would choose an ICE vehicle over EV? ”

    Sure. Some of us live in homes without garages or any reasonable way to plug in a vehicle. I’d get a hybrid in a heartbeat but there is no practical way for me to have a pure EV plug-in. Running a long extension cord out the street is not reasonable and is a dangerous safety issue (tripping people up). Most of my neighborhood do not have garages as is true in many urban areas.

  46. 196
    victor says:

    Zebra @173

    “Can anyone suggest why any rational, knowledgeable, individual would choose an ICE vehicle over EV?”

    Oh oh oh pick me pick me!

    Reason one: initial cost.

    Reason two: need for expensive battery replacement at undetermined date.

    Reason three: I don’t look forward to waiting in line for hours as all the other electric vehicles line up at a recharging station somewhere in Death Valley (or anywhere else for that matter).

    Reason four: I fail to see any environmental value in running an electric vehicle, considering the carbon footprint of manufacturing the vehicle itself and its batteries, plus the required electricity, which in most cases will be generated by fossil fuel consumption.

  47. 197

    According to the EIA, the highest electricity rates in the lower 48 in April 2017 were in New England, at a few ticks under 20 c per kilowatt-hour.

    A Tesla S has either a 75 kWh or 100 kWh battery:

    So, to a first approximation, a New Englander pays less than 20 bucks to charge his or her 100k ‘S’. The ‘official’ range for that vehicle is 335 miles, giving about 6 cents per mile in fuel cost.

    The other bounding condition is the cost of gasoline. There are not too many places cheaper than South Carolina, where I live, and this morning I paid $1.89 a gallon. Assuming 30 mpg (combined), you can round that to 11 gallons, for a comparable cost of $20.90. (Of course, my last electric bill came in at about 11 c/kWh, so I’d have paid only about $9 to charge the ‘S’ I don’t have.)

    All of which, I suppose, begs good information on Li-ion charging effeciency. (Googles…) Wiki has 80-90%. If you take the lower number, that would presumably bump the charging cost up by 25%, so I’d have to pay $11.25, while my hypothetical New Englander would fork out $25. New Yorkers are paying about $2.40 a gallon today; it’s probably higher in New England. So, $26 bucks plus for the ICE.

    So if you are talking retail electric rates, Dan isn’t off by much (except maybe about Hawaii.) But there are significant areas with Time Of Use (‘TOU’) adjustments, which can bring down the cost considerably. And of course, this is all assuming that you yourself have no domestic solar PV, because if you do, a lot of your EV miles will have a marginal fuel cost of exactly 0.

  48. 198

    Update on Tesla ‘S’ reliability:

    Spoiler: It’s now rated “average.”

    Yes, maintenance will always be a issue for any auto, but an EV’s drastically lower parts count is still a real advantage in this respect.

  49. 199

    V 196: I fail to see any environmental value in running an electric vehicle, considering the carbon footprint of manufacturing the vehicle itself and its batteries,

    BPL: Figures? Sources?

    V: plus the required electricity, which in most cases will be generated by fossil fuel consumption.

    BPL: Right, which is why we should replace fossil fuels as quickly as possible. The more renewables in the mix, the less carbon used by EVs.

  50. 200
    zebra says:

    Dan #195,

    Congratulations, you found something I left out in describing the thought experiment. I thought most people would be smart enough to understand what is intended in the initial condition.

    Fine, so we simply stipulate that charging is available by plugging in to a parking meter, and there are parking meters everywhere, or you can charge the car at work, if you have a job, which you would likely have if you can afford to buy either an ICE or EV.

    So, blah blah blah, all the stuff I said, and add “filling the battery is at least as easy as filling the the gas tank”. And anything else you can think of:

    Tell us why a rational, knowledgeable person, all else being equal, would choose ICE over EV? Because,

    -hundreds of moving parts is better than two?

    -Because it makes sense to use a lot of little explosions of a flammable fuel to create linear motion that must be converted to rotary motion?

    -Because turning kinetic energy into heat with conventional brakes is better than recovering half of it for the next time you need to accelerate?

    -And so on…

    ICE was the best we could do at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. But, if there were an “Intergalactic Engineering Federation”, Terrans would be blacklisted for carrying on with this ICE kluge beyond the next 20 years.

    It’s an embarrassment.