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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. 201
    Mal Adapted says:


    Dyslexia? Reading under the influence?


    Take my advice, don’t get old if you can avoid it.

  2. 202
    nigelj says:

    Victor @196

    “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.”

    I agree the Tesla is expensive, but its a high performance sports car. By contrast you can buy electric hatchbacks like the nissan leaf, that are not much more expensive than equivalent petrol hatchbacks. In my country the nissan leaf is $40,000 (no subsidies or anything) and an equivalent petrol hatch is $35,000. So there’s just not that much difference, and not enough to be a serious impediment. Its equal to the cost of getting climate air and leather seats.

    You might want to think about it. Prices are falling as well, and I assume some countries may subsidise them. Tesla are also bringing out a more basic affordable sort of car, but probably still quite flash and fast, if that’s your thing. I think if manufacturers are smart, they will ensure performance is good because people don’t like buying slow granny style hatchbacks. But models from nissan, bmw, gm and tesla all have very decent acceleration, and its delivered quietly. This is good because I like music of the more laid back sort, and like to be able to hear it.

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

    This is an expensive thing, but will drop in price, and it would be easy enough to calculate when you need to replace it, assuming you do reasonably regular miles / kms each year. Remember you also have no more engine oil changes, cam belt changes, blocked fuel injectors, worn valves, failed engine seals. I mean I hate those sorts of issues, and yearly maintainance of petrol cars can cost an arm and a leg and adds up. Oil changes alone will add up to several thousands over the life of the vehicle

    “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).”

    This is only really going to happen on long trips, and even then only occasionally. Most people will charge their cars overnight at home.

    “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.”

    The manufacturing things is a bit of a myth. Plenty of studies show they are low emissions over the life of the vehicle factoring in everything as below.

    Regarding sources of electricity, yes I agree it assumes you have clean generation. So countries need to provide this.

    I recall reading somewhere that converting the entire global fleet of vehicles to electric would not actually require that much new renewable generation. Not as much as you would think anyway. Remember electric motors are very efficient much more so than petrol, and that’s why electric cars are cheap to run (depending on where you live of course).

  3. 203
    Omega Centauri says:

    “Can anyone suggest why any rational, knowledgeable, individual would choose an ICE vehicle over EV?”
    I would echo Dan. If you own a detached house, you can probably install a 240 volt Level 2 line. Otherwise it is going to be tough sledding. There are of course public chargers, and some are even free. Some mean EVs get prime parking spots while charging. But all in all unless one has that home, or free charging at work, its just not going to work very well.

    Now I hear VW is working on chargers at up to 800KW, so maybe in a few years we will actually have charging that’s similar in speed to filling the tank. But, in the meantime EV owners will have to cope with range anxiety coupled with the worry about finding an open charger, and the knowledge that any long drives requiring recharges will take longer because of long charge stops.

  4. 204
    nigelj says:

    Omega Centauri @203,

    I don’t accept your comments.

    You say “If you own a detached house, you can probably install a 240 volt Level 2 line.

    You only need something like that for a fast charge. You can charge overnight just plugging into a normal power socket, for most electric cars I know of. Overnight charging doesn’t draw high current. And its not a big issue to install a fast charge adapter.

    People who live in apartments can use public charge stations. The speed of these will only get better. I don’t know why you think they have to be free, you don’t elaborate. I don’t think anyone expects free electricity.

    It should also be possible to install charging stations in apartment building basements, for overnight charging.

    “EV owners will have to cope with range anxiety coupled with the worry about finding an open charger”.

    I disagree. The current generation of electric vehicles have decent range for most people using them day to day for work or shopping. If you want to go on a very long trip on a holiday, it will mean stopping at recharging stations, or hiring a long range car. This is just not an issue if you just stop and think.

    “and the knowledge that any long drives requiring recharges will take longer because of long charge stops.”

    Scaremongering. If you take a very long trip, hundreds of kilometres / miles you maybe need a stop for 20 minutes or so. Have a coffee. Charging times are predicted to shorten, and this is based on solid knowledge.

    Vast numbers mostly just use their cars for shopping and work. Many get public transport. I can see electric cars working for the vast majority, and those left who find it a problem in the minority. They could use hybrid cars or hire a long range car like a tesla. People hire cars you know.

  5. 205
    Dan says:

    re: 200.
    “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.”

    Congratulations, you just proved you are unable to communicate effectively and you are unable to admit you were wrong. Very classic insecurity complete with puerile need to insult. Epic failure, sport. It is an embarrassment, indeed. Busted.

  6. 206
    zebra says:

    Omega C #203,

    “free charging at work”

    Why does it have to be “free”?

    This is more 20th-century influenced thinking, that completely disregards what current tech offers. There’s no reason charging stations anywhere (including on the street) can’t make money for whoever installs them.

    I recently had a discussion elsewhere about the numbers associated with this issue, and it is a much better situation even now than people perceive. Those who live in cities are less likely to have cars, are more likely to take public transportation, and are likely to have relatively short commutes if they do drive. So, if you start with a full battery, you don’t need a charge every day.

    Any car in the city is a hassle, unless you can afford to pay for off-street parking. Alternate side street cleaning, anyone? Snow? So, people adapt. These days, there’s certainly an app to help you do that with EV.

  7. 207
    Dan H. says:

    You are using data that is two years old. Currently, the average price for gasoline in Hawaii is $3/gal., while the average price for electricity is $0.37/kWh. Comparing an EV to a gas-gussling sedan is not a fair comparsion, but even at today’s rates, the fuel costs for the sedan is slightly lower. A better comparison is with a fuel efficient coupe, which gets 40 mpg or better. After all, these are the consumers opting for the EVs. It not that there are disagreeing. Rather, they are just pushing their own product. It is called advertising.

  8. 208
    alan2102 says:

    Scott Strough #178: thanks for your reply.

    I get from the lead-off quotes (Salatin and Seis) that industrial agriculture is an ATTITUDE, or an ethos, not something with a technical definition. Correct?

    From the other paragraphs I get that industrial agriculture is identified by how it differs from regenerative or organic agriculture, and how the latter are preferable. I buy that.

    I still do not get how industrial ag is not sustainable (as you said), nor did I get a definition of “sustainable”. But that’s OK. I’m thinking now that it is just as well to use “sustainable” without definition. Otherwise, we risk ending up with: “Tractors contain iron. Iron is finite. Ergo tractors are unsustainable. Ergo tractors are bad.” Or similar idiocies.

  9. 209
    alan2102 says:

    Killian #158: “In what fantasy world is it possible to make tractors forever on a limited planet?”

    In what fantasy world is it possible to think that the production of TRACTORS, in the numbers required for agriculture, has ANY practical limit — even out to hundreds of millennia?

    It is statements like this one that damage your credibility, Killian. Seriously. You make a mockery of the (otherwise-respectable and useful) concept of sustainability.

    Killian #159: “Let’s use that internet”

    Oh? This from the man who thinks that tractors are unsustainable?! The internet, as presently built-out and operated, uses at least as much, and probably more, resources of all kinds — including materials and energy — than all of industrial agriculture, including (as a small fraction) tractors. And you’ve got a bug up your ass about TRACTORS?! Internet OK, but tractors NOT OK?!


  10. 210
    Victor says:

    #202 Thanks, Nigel, for your very sensible responses. Personally I’d love a car that ran as quietly and smoothly as a good EV, and was as (relatively) easy to maintain. So I’ll concede on most of my points.

    However, the big one that will prevent most people from purchasing an EV is the long distance issue. While it’s true that most of the time you could recharge at home in your garage, few people want a car that can’t be taken on long trips occasionally. And as more of these cars get on the road, the lines at recharge stations will be getting longer, as will the delays. The only solution I can see is a system where batteries can be quickly exchanged, spent ones for fully charged ones. Does that seem feasible?

  11. 211
    Adam Lea says:

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

    Anyone doing regular long journeys. I cannot drive 240 miles in an EV to visit my family without having to recharge somewhere. As for recharging, replenishing a battery is an awful lot slower than filling a petrol tank. I can fill the tank in my current car in five minutes. An EV battery takes a lot longer to recharge.

    Cost. EV vehicles are more expensive that their fossil fuel powered equivalents. If you are not wealthy enough to afford a new car you are not going to be looking at an EV, you will be looking at a cheap second hand car, which will be an ICE.

    Utility. What is the storage space, passenger capacity in an EV you can buy for less than £20k, how does it compare to a conventional vehicle?

    How much difference to carbon footprint would it really make? If I own a car but only use it a couple of times a month, say, driving 2-3000 miles per year, and use a bicycle and train for all feasible/local journeys, how much carbon am I saving? Would it not be better to look at lowering consumption, cutting meat intake right down, lowering home energy use by turning the thermostat right down and wearing more clothes in the winter, growing my own vegetables, avoid flying?

    The ICE car didn’t cost me anything. My father had been wanting to buy me one for a while since I gave up driving. After nearly being killed by a careless driver whilst cycling to work, this desire was somewhat strengthened, and partly because of that and partly for other utility reasons, I (reluctantly) decided to start driving again.

  12. 212
    Nemesis says:

    Let me express the facts drastically:

    The calculated optimists of the denier fraction and the calculated optimists of the climate science fraction are sitting in the same economic-ideological boat, because both fractions believe, that profitoptimized capitalism will solve any egological/climatical problems. This is wishful thinking, disproven a million times. When we will finally have reached the dictatorship of the Laws of Nature, then everyone will realize, what has always been the case, in the darwinian striggle for survival as well, as in capitalism- eating and being eaten:

    Calculated optimism is the current status quo, before you will be finally eaten.

  13. 213
    MA Rodger says:

    And NOAA have posted for June with an anomaly of +0.82ºC, the lowest anomaly of the year-to-date (as per GISS) but not greatly so as the May anomaly had been only a little warmer at +0.83ºC. This is the 3rd warmest June on the NOAA record, below June 2016 (+0.92ºC) & June 2015 (+0.89ºC). (In GISS June 2017 also sits below June 1998). June 2017 sits at =30th warmest month on the full record (while in GISS it sat =87th).
    “Scorchio-wise”, the first half of 2017 still sits in 2nd spot (as per GISS) but closer to 2015 than to 2016.

    ……….Ave Jan-June … … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 ….. +1.07ºC … … … +0.95ºC … … … … 1st
    2017 ….. +0.91ºC
    2015 ….. +0.86ºC … … … +0.91ºC … … … … 2nd
    2010 ….. +0.77ºC … … … +0.70ºC … … … … 4th
    2014 ….. +0.73ºC … … … +0.75ºC … … … … 3rd
    1998 ….. +0.70ºC … … … +0.64ºC … … … … 8th
    2007 ….. +0.69ºC … … … +0.62ºC … … … … 12th
    2002 ….. +0.67ºC … … … +0.62ºC … … … … 13th

  14. 214
    Nemesis says:

    @Omega Centaquri, #203

    “Now I hear VW is working on chargers at up to 800KW, so maybe in a few years… ”

    Ah, well, VW, isn’t that the car corporation (among many others) that has been in the media recently for some rather nasty frauds and who ALWAYS (resp decades ago already) wanted to be “the leader” in the electric vehicle market, while promoting conventionally fueled cars behind closed doors all day long? Well, we should always trust in auto corporations, technology and capitalism, as we can see, so far… yes?

  15. 215
    Thomas says:

    Young People’s Burden: Requirement of Negative CO2 Emissions
    James Hansen, Makiko Sato, et al 18 July 2017
    Above paper is published today in Earth System Dynamics.

  16. 216
    nigelj says:

    Victor @210, thanks, but I don’t see the range issue as a huge problem. As you say overnight charging will do for many things. I would only need a couple of overnight charges a week at most to do work, shopping, etc.

    The issue is of course very long trips in the hundreds of kilometres / miles. Smaller electric vehicles with a range of about 150 – 200 kms would need a stop. I’m not put off by this provided I’m confident there’s a decent charging network in place. I don’t mind waiting in line because its only going to be a couple of times a year if that. I suspect charging times will shorten down to about 10 minutes anyway.

    It’s fair to say everyone has different lifestyles, and sales people or big outdoors people may see it differently. Perhaps they should just buy a hybrid car, or hire a long range electric car.

    I think its more of a mindset thing. Independence is a factor to be sure, but its not the only factor people will consider and people still routinely stop for petrol on really long trips.

    I don’t know if batteries could be exchanged. In theory it would obviously be possible, but there would be challenges about all batteries being in different states of condition / age. I would think it would be more feasible to hire an extra battery before leaving, and put it on a roof rack or in the back of the SUV somewhere. I don’t really know, but these things will sort themselves out in a market economy.

  17. 217
    Thomas says:

    ps new Hansen paper

    New conclusions we now stress, which were only implicit in the Discussion version, include:

    a) Even the aspirational goal of the Paris Agreement, to keep global warming below 1.5°C, is not adequate.

    b) A current narrative, that humanity has turned the corner and is moving toward solving the global warming problem, is wrong.

    Atmospheric greenhouse gases are not only continuing to increase rapidly, their growth rate has actually accelerated rapidly in the past several years

    Hansen et al 2017 substantiate Mike’s, mine, others assertions on CO2e growth rates.

  18. 218
    Omega Centauri says:


    I think what matters is perception (at least as to the decision as to what
    sort of vehicle to buy/rent). Even wrong perceptions can swing the deal.

    Level one charging is slow and inefficient. Also the EVSE cord is a
    $300 item, that I’d be worried about having stolen if I didn’t live
    in a safe neighborhood. Also I note, I have experience charging a
    Prius plugin, a Leaf, and an Energi (most nights all three). The level
    two charger isn’t just faster, it requires 25-30% less energy to charge
    any of these these batteries. The AC charge systems on common EVs and
    plugins are inefficient with 120volt charging. Of course for most apartments
    there is no good system for accounting for whois using the juice, so
    cost concious management is likely to just say no. And rentiers frequently
    move, so lack of knowledge of next years situation works against the pro
    EV situation.

    As to cost. Thats actually where EVs shine. Christophe at work got a
    used Sparc (roughly the equivalent of a Leaf) for under $9000. And
    the lease deals offered on new Leaf’s are so attrctive, that for those
    who have a good charging solution -and can live with the range limitation
    it ought to be the slam dunk choice.

    BPL claims that marginal power cost for those with PV is zero. I assure
    him that is not the case. With net metering your net marginal cost
    for a KWhour is the same as everyone else. And if you have to upgrade your
    system to cover vehicle charging, you pay for your energy upfront. There
    really is no free lunch (as long as PV isn’t free).

    Nemesis: Yes thats the VW of Dieselgate infamy. Part of the settlement
    for that crime is a lot of money for charger networks. And, they plan
    to fix their reputation by becoming a real power in EVs. Companies can
    change their character as easily as they can replace their CEOs.

  19. 219
    Killian says:

    #171 What magic bullet? Who said anything like *only* perennials?

    If you were trying to make a cogent point, you fell short. You meant to say…?

    #174: No metals can be recycled forever. Some can be recycled many times. At the very least, recycling includes loss with each repetition. As for the rest, after three straight arguments that were either nonsense or so far from showing any real grasp of even basic concepts, I am bored. You are far too young in these issues to be trying to engage on this forum. You literally miss the point or show a coplete lack of insight and awareness with almos evety point in every post.

    Luddite? Dumb. Want? Who cares what you want? Problems are not solved based on what you want. Stop building tractors? Yes. They are unnecessary in regenerative ag and help drive pollutiin and climate change. Governments get it? Not one does. And you are missing the point, unsurprisingly, which is that governments cannot do regenerative without dismantling themselves.

    And on and on…

    You need to read more, type not at all. You ae not ready for these issues.

  20. 220
    Killian says:

    #190 Thomas says: saw an interesting quote/truism fwiw

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

    I am ever and constantly socially unacceptable. Poor jnigel had a coniption fit when I suggested his revered writers are getting it wrong. Apparently, knowing things equals arrogance. Who knew?

  21. 221
    Killian says:

    #209 alan said, “I cannot extrapolate, but must assume, anyway! Just cuz!”

    1. I was not aware this global 7.5 billion only made tractors. I must be living in a Tractor Matrix! And how did you not understand tractors in that post were also a proxy for stuff in general?

    2. If you’re using tractors, your farm is not regenerative. You do not need tractors for regenerative. If not doing regenerative, you are the problem.

    You appear to have zero concept of sustainability. An SDG adherent, maybe? Unable to face simplicity? Just not clear on all these concepts? Inquiring minds want to know…

  22. 222
    nigelj says:

    Omega Centauri @218,

    Yes I agree clearly perceptions are important. People do worry about new technology, and all things have some negatives (eg charging a smartphone).

    However clearly annoyances of charging smartphones haven’t stopped people! It will likely be the same with electric cars. People will work out the positives outweigh the negatives. I gotcha there I think.

    I don’t know anything about American charging systems, voltages, marginal power cost technicalities, and apartment rules / practices. In my country just a slow overnight charge using the normal power point is less than one quarter the cost of petrol, so fine by me, even if its not ideally efficient. But thank’s for the information on charging systems / options, its interesting.

    I admit I own a stand alone house, so I don’t have apartment issues. But I tend to think answers would be found to those problems. It should be possible to install metred connections surely. This is also the sort of thing where the government could offer landlords a subsidy to get the system “across the line”.

  23. 223
    MA Rodger says:

    Thomas @217.
    The full paper Hansen et al (2017) is available, so somebodies eager messaging about it is not nesessary. Do note that the eager message you link to @217 provides (in its fig 3) the paper’s fig 14 which is in anybodies money an obvious cherry-pick. Sadly I see no compensating presentation within the rest of the paper.
    The message of Hansen et al (2017) is that the 1.5ºC limit set out at Paris is inadequate. Such a message will be a difficult one to sell. Not least, Paris was just a year-and-a-half ago, it was very successful in converting a 2.0ºC limit into a 1.5ºC limit, and where was the 1.0ºC limit in the discussions at Paris?
    And those seeking words of reassurance from Hansen et al (2017) can easily find them.

    However, useful statements can be made.
    First, the inertia and slow response of the climate system also allow the possibility of actions to limit the climate response by reducing human-caused climate forcing in coming years and decades. Second, the response time itself depends on how strongly the system is being forced; specifically, the response might be much delayed with a weaker forcing.

    I would therefore suggest that a hard-sell is necessary for the Hansen et al (2017) message and a hard-sell is not something that is obtained by the publication of a single paper, however well presented scientifically.

  24. 224

    Omega Cen 218: BPL claims that marginal power cost for those with PV is zero.

    BPL: I don’t remember making any such claim. Are you sure you have the right poster?

  25. 225
    zebra says:


    I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I and some others believe that free markets, in the classical sense– competitive and internalized markets– will work just fine as a mechanism to achieve ecological goals.

    You have succumbed to the propaganda of the Right Wing, by conflating that with Laissez-Faire Capitalism.

    I really don’t mind if Tesla earns a profit selling EV and batteries and installing rooftop PV. (I do mind that I didn’t buy the stock at the beginning.) But anyway, why do you care, if that results in reduced emissions?

    It sounds like you are the one stuck in some ideological trap that only allows magical-thinking types of solutions. If you do have a better approach, what is it?

  26. 226
    zebra says:

    Omega C 218,

    Good point about the marginal costs.

    With respect to accounting for the use of electricity: Again, the technology is already there; swipe your credit card on the charger. Or, your vehicle identifies itself and a bill gets sent to your house.

    The thing is, issues like charging for apartment dwellers (who park on the street) are part of the transition, they are not permanent. If ICE were to be banned from a city, all the gas stations would convert to charging stations. And all the parking garages would install chargers. And apps would tell you where you can get a charge and at what price and how far from your home; this already exists.

    At this point, penetration of the market by EV will be driven by suburban commuters. That’s more than enough to create economies of scale and the development of infrastructure. A virtuous cycle.

  27. 227
    Nemesis says:

    @Omega Centaur, #218

    “Yes thats the VW of Dieselgate infamy. Part of the settlement
    for that crime is a lot of money for charger networks. And, they plan
    to fix their reputation by becoming a real power in EVs. Companies can
    change their character as easily as they can replace their CEOs.”

    Hahaha, sure, sure, Like I said, never give up your faith in capitalism and multinational corporations, until the end. I love that, because nothing will kill capitalism more effectively, than capitalism itself. So, go on, please, just go on, I can’t wait to see it happen. It will happen soon, so I just have to relax and wait :-)

  28. 228
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    Re #217 where Thomas wrote about the Hansen paper.

    What Hansen is saying has been obvious for years, ever since the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) showed a negative balance. Once the upper surface of the GIS began to melt, the altitude of the surface decreased and was warmed further at a rate determined by the environmental lapse rate of 6.5K per km. So when 1000 m has melted the surface will be at an average temperature of 6.5 C / 45 F. How much longer will the rest of the ice sheet last after that?

    Instead of worrying about which type of electric car to drive, you should be planning for a sailing boat!

  29. 229
    Mal Adapted says:

    Bookmark under ‘positive impacts of AGW’:
    Bodies Found in Swiss Glacier Could Solve a Mystery From 1942

  30. 230

    On EVs–“The only solution I can see is a system where batteries can be quickly exchanged, spent ones for fully charged ones.”

    A solution that may well get more play is the ‘transportation as a service’ paradigm. We’ve several times rented vehicles for long trips, for one reason or another, and that despite the fact that we are already a 2-car family. When I lived in Toronto, I knew quite a few folks who chose not to own vehicles; they saved a lot by using transit for most daily needs, and supplementing with rentals. (That’s pretty much the Zipcar business model in a nutshell.)

    So it seems quite reasonable to me that there may be a transitional time where long-distance rentals tick up.

    But how sustainable (in the fiscal sense) is private car ownership? Auto ownership costs are extremely high, and not getting lower. If the Lyft/Uber model continues to make headway, and if autonomous EVs become street-legal–an ‘if’ widely expected and with a ton of money behind it–then the private ownership model itself could be seriously compromised. Private cars could end up being something like private airplanes are today.

    Some say it will happen; some say it should happen. i say it’s worth at least considering as a possibility, because I haven’t seen, yet, at least, any analysis providing good reasons to think it won’t or can’t. And if it does, emissions will be cut very considerably.

  31. 231
    Nemesis says:

    To all capitalist, calculated optimism aficionados:

    Trump & Co are with you, they just distill the message to it’s full beauty:

    “our emissions will arguably decline faster because of Trump’s withdrawal— because our free market economy will be stronger and more innovative without it.”

    Hail “our free market economy”!

  32. 232
    Scott Strough says:

    Alan 208,
    It is much more than a mindset, but it takes a mindset or POV to understand it.

    In truth the biggest difference is the science supporting the systems. I explained before one is mostly chemistry and the other biology. But the systems themselves are also fundamentally different too, being simple vs complex.

    So you have simple linear mechanistic systems that use primarily chemistry, vs complex holistic living biological systems that mimic natural systems evolved over millions of years. It’s no wonder the industrial systems can’t hope to compete. They typically don’t even bother to monitor or account for very critical properties required to make them regenerative.

    “When farmers view soil health not as an abstract virtue, but as a real asset, it revolutionizes the way they farm and radically reduces their dependence on inputs to produce food and fiber.” -USDA

    Since when can a farmer go to a banker and say hey Mr. Bankerman, I have healthy soil that functions in a way that provides for all the biological processes of the land, please loan me seed money so I can plant. The banker looks at you like you are crazy! He can’t even think that way. It is beyond his capabilities to even understand, much less calculate the value. This is changing somewhat, but it is tough. Very tough. One limitation of regenerative agriculture is that industrial agriculture can easily quantify and argue their needs. It is harder to define the economic value of ecosystem services and, therefore, the ecosystems and people most dependent on them for their subsistence become voiceless and often neglected users. But we all breathe air, drink water, eat food. These are not trivial, even though hard to quantify. So one farmer says I have a tank of NPK which will give me x yields of y product and a crop insurance policy to guarantee I at least break even. The regenerative farmer says I have dancing earthworms who will insure my crop does well. :O Now those earthworms are one hell of a lot more effective at insuring a good crop, One hell of a lot cheaper than expensive inputs, help sequester vast quantities of nutrients, carbon and moisture, but the banker just chuckles and declines the loan. That’s what we are up against.

    “Ecosystem function is vastly more valuable than the production and consumption of goods and services.” -John D. Liu

  33. 233
    Thomas says:

    212 Nemesis says: “This is wishful thinking, disproven a million times.”
    So very true.

    216 nigelj says: “…but these things will sort themselves out in a market economy.”
    Well the facts are that the ‘invisible hand of the market’ couldn’t sort out a rational approach to cell/mobile phone chargers and wiring connections for two decades …. until the matter was sorted by global govt led regulation. Another example of millions.

    Meanwhile ‘the market economy’ has been and still is unable to sort out bringing down fuel consumption and reducing ghgs in MVs without being forced by Govt Regulations to apply existing technology on their products and ban them from selling some existing ones.

    Nothing’s really changed in this regard since Ralph Nader wrote his first book in the 1960s. Unfortunately some memes and cultural beliefs persist beyond all reason and evidence.

  34. 234
    Thomas says:

    232 Scott – 10 out of 10!

  35. 235
    Omega Centauri says:

    I think much of Europe uses 208volt line voltage. Standard US “house current” is 100-120Volts. For fixed resistance power goes as Voltage squared, so a 208Volt EVSE will be a bit more than three times the capacity of the standard in the US. So I think standard Voltage might do a much better job there.

    The problem with measuring who uses how much, is that the equipment needed to do that adds to the cost, and in order for the owner of the charger to break even, he needs a significant number of paying customers. So the owner/operator of the apartment complex may not consider adding charging to be a good investment. You might even need enforcement of rules about non-EVs, or even EVs that are done charging not hogging EV parking spots. So the whole enterprise could end up being seen as a headache for the operator, rather than as an important social good. And many people rent houses, and the owner probably does want to pay $800 or more for a charging station.

  36. 236
    nigelj says:

    Killian @219,

    So you say I lack understanding, too young, nonsense, etc. It’s the most astonishing stream of personal ad hominem attacks, and misguided superiority.

    The irony is I have said several times I have a lot of sympathy for your basic beliefs in organic and small etc. I’m only playing devils advocate, made this plain, and asking you to prove your case and explain how you get form a to b. If anyone lacks any insight you do, for not seeing this.

    I don’t take any idea for granted. All ideas need critical evaluation, even if we have strong instincts they are right.

    The truth is you can’t take criticism, and valid criticism, so you get very defensive. I’m pretty much right on every point I have raised, at least in that they are worthy points to raise, and you can’t deal with it.

    And the fact is its everybody saying you lack any understanding or insight. Not me.

    Your views are also full of multiple contradictions, but you aren’t willing to see it. You are acting exactly like a classic climate denialist.

    You still don’t get what we are saying about tractors. Sure we will eventually run out of metal for these, in many thousands of years. The world will eventually end as the sun burns out. We can only think so far ahead. Its absurd to stop using metals right now.

    I don’t know what your mumbo jumbo about government is. We are not locked into anything by governments in the absolutist sense you claim. Ultimately the majority of citizens tend to get their way in a democracy, so you basically have to convince the majority.

    And unless you specifically say what you think should happen and how, in respect of reforming government, you are just carrying on like a teenage rebel moaning about the “system”.

    I’m very sceptical of capitalism, neoliberalism, Trump, multi nationals etc, but I’m not stupid about it. It takes a lot of care how to figure out where to go. If anyone seems naive its you. I’m tired of simplistic thinkers who seem to think every issue is a black and white war zone. Ultimately its poor quality thinking.

  37. 237
    nigelj says:

    Omega centauri @235, yes look I totally accept metering systems and charging stations cost money, and landlords may be reluctant. It may of course also depend to some extent on how much demand there is.

    As I said its one of those things that governments should subsidise. There are some cases where government subsidies do make genuine economic sense, and this would be one. New infrastructure can sometimes need a push. Our government leans centre right but has contributed to a new fibre broadband network, as the country is too small for private players to want to get involved. If people would just put their politics and biases aside, and use some thought or even just commonsense on policy.

  38. 238
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @233, yeah I actually totally agree with that about markets and their limitations. I really just meant the market is at least responsive enough and inventive enough to provide some of the answers, but probably not all. Governments may need to provide some help for recharging networks etc.

    Alternatively we can worry ourselves into paralysis of analysis, and do nothing because there might be a problem.

    The basic idea of electric cars seems valid, so I’m inclined to think answers will be found to various problems. In fact some of the very first cars ever made were electric, and they were initially the preferred choice due to the simplicity of design, but petrol won the battle because of better range at that time. This was in a recent television documentary on the history of the automobile, much to my surprise.

  39. 239
    nigelj says:

    Killian, just one other point. You were lecturing me on your expertise on sustainability, while admitting you weren’t sure how to define it. You went on to claim it was necessary to define sustainability and then rebuild the economic system around this.

    My country New Zealand already has major environmental legislation on resource management with sustainability as the leading, core objective. This is the Resource Management Act. Its not perfect legislation, but its a step. Sustainability tends to be worked out through a process of environmental hearings on major projects, and various legislation that sets rules for routine projects.

    Sustainability tends to come down to specific things about protecting the air and water, conserving fisheries and soils etc. I don’t see how any of this is incompatible with capitalism or free markets in the classical sense. It simply means such markets cannot be completely free of all boundaries or rules. The new president of France, Macron gets this, but I suppose you would say hes dumb, young and ignorant?

  40. 240
    Mr. Know It All says:

    202, 206, Nigel
    Problem with EVs in the US is high cost and low range. If the batteries are allowed to get cold in winter, range plummets. They will work for city commuters – more are coming online all the time thanks to taxpayers paying a significant chunk of the cost of the car; but don’t have the range for long trips; and the facilities to charge them on the road don’t exist for the most part.

    225 – Zebra
    Tesla makes a profit? If it takes subsidies then it does not make a profit. ;)

  41. 241
    zebra says:

    Omega C 235,

    -Your explanation to nigelj about line voltage may be a bit misleading:

    The difference is significant but nothing like “3 times”. (I think you are confusing the “capacity” of a wire, which is a function of pure resistance, with the effects of heating on the charging circuitry components.

    -With respect to the “business model” of charging stations– it’s just another amenity, whether in a single home or apartment building. Why is this different from nice appliances or marble countertops or any other feature?

  42. 242
    zebra says:

    Scott Strough #232,

    I have always wondered about this– I’m serious– Why do farmers always have to borrow money from capitalists for seeds and stuff?

    I understand a start-up business needing funds; I’ve been in that situation. I understand in some cases that cash flow can fluctuate on a monthly basis. But farmers harvest their crops and (I assume) sell it all at once, and I assume to large entities that pay on time, that is, before you have to plant again.

    So, why would your regenerative farmer with good soil not be able to be self-sufficient, or even produce the needed seeds himself? Isn’t buying seeds from giant seed companies a feature of the “industrial” paradigm?

  43. 243
    zebra says:


    Just a clarification about government regulation and markets: The role of the government is to ensure free market operation by ensuring

    1. competition
    2. internalization of costs.

    Environmental regulations of various kinds are intended to make the buyers and sellers in a specific exchange accept all the costs, rather than transferring those costs to the society.

    So, if there’s pollution, you don’t have a functioning free market; the externalized costs distort the transaction.

  44. 244
    zebra says:

    KIA 240,

    That makes no sense at all. Government spends money all the time to achieve societal goals, directly and indirectly, and businesses profit from those expenditures.

    You have some wacky definition of profit I assume, but not the one from basic economics.

  45. 245
    Killian says:

    Yeah, sorry, but as I have repeatedly said, Archer and Schmidt are just wrong on CH4, clathrates and permafrost. Time will tell the full tale, but don’t hold your breath.

  46. 246
    Nemesis says:

    @zebra, #225

    “I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I and some others believe that free markets, in the classical sense– competitive and internalized markets– will work just fine as a mechanism to achieve ecological goals.”

    Yeah, so you are with Trump & Co:

    ““our emissions will arguably decline faster because of Trump’s withdrawal— because our free market economy will be stronger and more innovative without it.”

    “I really don’t mind if Tesla earns a profit selling EV and batteries and installing rooftop PV. (I do mind that I didn’t buy the stock at the beginning.) But anyway, why do you care, if that results in reduced emissions?”

    I don’t mind either, any capitalist may earn as much profit as he can, I give a shit about profit and I always did, therefore, I am just a poor boy, no money, no power and I really love that :-) You know, I don’t drive e-cars, I drive bycicles, the best vehicle to save co2 by far, but, sorry, it does not earn me any profit so far ;-) About the resulting co2 reduction because of Tesla? Well, then I vote for a Tesla for 7.5 Billion people. Konsumption is good for capitalism, so let’s consume as much as possible. Btw: Have you ever heared about the fact, that the US military is the largest global oil-consumer by far? Will they ride Tesla tanks, Tesla aircraft carriers, Tesla warplanes too?

    “It sounds like you are the one stuck in some ideological trap that only allows magical-thinking types of solutions. If you do have a better approach, what is it?”

    My solution would be to distribute goods horizontally, not vertically. Vertical distribution means, everyone tries as hard as he can to earn as much money as he can, while consuming as much, as he can. This way is the way capitalism loves, it is the capitalist way. But: If 7.5 Billion people (and counting) follow that road, we are done within a few decades, with or without climate change. So we’d have to distribute goods in a horizontal way, that means, everyone reduces individual, egoistic consumption for the common good. But don’t worry, that will never happen, as it would undermine endless, capitalist profit. While we are currently debating climate change, the “brokers” at the Wall Street are making Billions of real profit, no matter, who where how gouverns, no matter, if climate change or not. Well, THESE guys know, what it’s all about:

    Hail money, hail profit!

    … until we are finally done. But you know what? I am fine with that, as I didn’t procreate and I don’t have much to lose, as I am just a poor boy.

  47. 247
    alan2102 says:

    killian #219:
    “Stop building tractors? Yes. They are unnecessary in regenerative ag and help drive pollutiin and climate change.”

    OK. Well, that means that what you say is and will remain irrelevant to what is happening on the greater world stage, forever, and will be of interest, at most, to only a tiny band of malcontents. That’s cool. Extreme minority dissenting views are good. Diversity is good.

    killian #221:
    “I was not aware this global 7.5 billion only made tractors. I must be living in a Tractor Matrix! And how did you not understand tractors in that post were also a proxy for stuff in general?”

    Oh, so now we’re talking about stuff in general and not tractors? In #219 you were talking about tractors, but then, suddenly, two messages later, you’re saying that that is a “proxy for stuff in general”? So, if you’re saying “stop building tractors”, and tractors are a proxy for everything, are you saying “stop building everything”?


    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. … “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

  48. 248
    alan2102 says:

    killian #221:
    “You appear to have zero concept of sustainability. An SDG adherent, maybe?”

    Because only an adherent of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, with zero concept of sustainability, could possibly support those goals: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and so on. Er… right?

  49. 249
    Nemesis says:

    @zebra, #242

    “So, why would your regenerative farmer with good soil not be able to be self-sufficient, or even produce the needed seeds himself? Isn’t buying seeds from giant seed companies a feature of the “industrial” paradigm?”

    Exactly, it’s a feature of the capitalist paradigm. Self sufficiency is no good for profit of big, capitalist seed corporations (like loving Monsanto). One goal of the capitalist paradigm is, to KILL self-sufficient farmers all over the globe. And they’ve almost finished that nice job. We must shop, shop, shop, to support capitalism and infinite growth and don’t think too much. Btw, did you know:

    From the food alone, that is thrown to the garbage by the rich industrialized countries, we could feed the world, nobody would have to starve, like almost 1 billion people do every single day currently. But, uhm sorry, it’s much better to throw millions of tons to the garbage, capitalism loves that, makes more profit, you know^^

  50. 250
    Scott Strough says:

    #242 zebra
    Only 7% of farmers in the US make enough positive income from solely farming to pay the bills. In fact only only 46.1% of farmers have net positive income from farming.

    Yes there are a few that managed to push through against all the odds and make a decent living, but ALL of the new regenerative methods available that sequester all this carbon? They were all developed by farmers making little to no money and/or nearing or already in bankruptcy without exception. Necessity bred innovation. Then once they figured it out they managed to free themselves from the bankers chains in most cases. Remember, this was the official government policy to destabilize financially the small family farm in an ill thought out attempt to industrialize ag. Since small farms are more flexible and fluid and harder to bankrupt, what they came up with was a way to make all farmers bankrupt essentially, large and small, then design billions of subsidies to “rescue” the more favored systems like feedlots and CAFOs, while passing burdensome regulations to finish off the small farms struggling along.

    I have mentioned it many times, read the book:
    Everything I want to do is illegal by Joel Salatin