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Forced Responses: Jul 2018

Filed under: — group @ 1 July 2018

Open thread for climate policy and responses.

406 Responses to “Forced Responses: Jul 2018”

  1. 1
    Killian says:

    May the long-term regulars here learn some civility and manners so this forum can be what it could be. I’ve looked back at old posts and they didn’t used to be so… difficult. I used to have quite civil discussions with them all.

    Let’s leave our egos at the door.

  2. 2
    Martin Smith says:

    My idea is to create a series for the Discovery Channel called “Mole Whackers.” It will be like the old “Myth Busters,” but it will feature segments that each prove some current AGW denial meme is wrong and that the opposite AGW aspect is correct. Each segment will have interviews with climate scientists and videos like Peter Sinclair’s over at Climate Denial Crock of the Week.

    There will also be a website for the show that will collect all the segments from the show in a searchable index like the one over at Skeptical Science. Each segment will have a subpage that provides a link to the video segment and links to all e research on the subject.

    Each week, at the end of the show, there will be a short discussion about which anti-AGW moles have popped up again and refer viewers to the Mole Whackers subpages for the repeating moles.

    The series would also whack anti-vaxxer and other medical science moles and health issue moles. Possibly social issue moles.

  3. 3

    #1, Killian–An excellent suggestion.

    It is possible, however, that there are actual drivers for the ‘change in weather’ and that it is not just ‘variation’, in which case change will not be easy.

  4. 4
    Brad DeLong says:

    “Civility and manners”. Do tell, please. What do wish were different than it is?

  5. 5
    Russell says:

    There he goes again,

    and again,

    and again

  6. 6
    Killian says:

    #3 Kevin McKinney said #1, Killian–An excellent suggestion.

    It is possible, however, that there are actual drivers for the ‘change in weather’ and that it is not just ‘variation’, in which case change will not be easy.

    Speaking directly, perhaps, would help. More so, if people tied their words to the urgency of the situation and understood how intimately all our actions impact possible futures… Effective problem solvers focus on the problem, not each other.

    I am not sure it is so very difficult so much as people enjoy the chaos? Regardless, “just say no” is often quite effective.

  7. 7
    nigelj says:

    Global electric vehicle outlook 2018. Some interesting and positive data.

    Norway are making huge progess with ev’s. If they can, then why not everyone else?

    Of course the batteries will put pressure on metal resources, however self drive electric automobiles for hire could replace ownership of cars, and thus reduce overall numbers of automobiles required. A lot of people like myself get the bus, but have a petrol powered vehicle for the shopping. If I could order an electric self drive car at lower cost than a taxi, it would be a workable alternative to car ownership.

  8. 8
    Omega Centauri says:

    And then there are increasingly reports such as this one:
    Which projects fossil fuels will be abandoned soon even without climate goals.

  9. 9
    Mr. Know It All says:

    7 – nigelj

    In Norway, over 5% of cars are EVs – probably due to cheap hydro power, high EV subsidies, and high taxes on FF cars. In other words, the government isn’t giving them much of a choice.

    Here’s a nice EV, but problems prevented commercial production:

    Fairly efficient FF car for $7K:

  10. 10
    Martin Smith says:

    #7 nigelj asked: “Norway are making huge progess with ev’s. If they can, then why not everyone else?”

    When buying a new car in Norway, you pay a tax that is 100% of the cost of the new car. You also pay taxes based on the weight and engine size, etc. This made buying a new car very expensive, which Norway ca do because Norway doesn’t make cars. But these taxes were removed for EVs to get people to buy them. This made buying an EV a really good deal.

    I think to achieve a similar result in car-making countries will require implementing the revenue-neutral carbon tax idea:

  11. 11
    zebra says:

    re Norway:

    Norway can promote EV because it still has substantial FF reserves, production, and strong per capita wealth and sovereign wealth.

    As with some of the ME countries that are building nuclear plants, the point is to export FF, rather than burn it domestically. See also Russia.

    So, we still have the issue of potential markets (demand) for FF, with the associated production of CO2. The FF producers are hardly going to go quietly into the night, even Noble Norway.

  12. 12
    alan2102 says:

    Two years ago, I posted here about China’s ambitious global UHV grid:

    Here’s an update:
    China eyes role as world’s power supplier
    Beijing promotes global electricity network to absorb huge power surpluses
    James Kynge in London and Lucy Hornby in Beijing — JUNE 6, 2018

    plus, here’s one comment from the article that I found interesting:

    Albert Pinto Jun 8, 2018 — Thanks for brilliant reporting Lucy & James! China is indeed turbocharging a worldwide green industrial revolution. In the 2010s it replaced Germany & Denmark as the major producers of solar panels & wind turbines ; & built Rail; coal-to-gas; Hi-V transmission. In the 2020s it has set aim on batteries, EVs, energy-efficiency & solar heaters. The economic & envtl case is simple: every country on the planet will have to buy their kit to fully decarbonize their infrastructures. Triple Win: Win for China, Win for other countries & a big Win for the planet. Another fantastic report is available here


    also, one more:
    Harvard-China Project on Energy, Econ, & Envt — The Harvard-China Project is an interdisciplinary research program at Harvard focused on China’s atmospheric environment, energy system, and economy.
    May 31, 2018
    Does the path to a low-carbon future run through a global grid?
    By Jon Mingle
    “one physical scientist… [finds] the GEI vision both persuasive and galvanizing. “He laid out a brilliant strategy that engages not only the reality that climate and fossil fuel dependence is the dominant crisis we are facing, but also the reality that the world has reasonable technological solutions to get out of it,” said James G. Anderson, the Philip S. Weld Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “This kind of system is absolutely necessary,” he said. “You can transport electrons far more easily than anything else. And the technical developments required to execute this UHV grid are already in place.””

  13. 13
    alan2102 says:

    This presentation by Tony Seba, April 2018, is IMO well worthwhile. Don’t miss the latter portion, starting around 55:00: collapse of demand for new vehicles, and collapse of oil industry, starting ~2020; large decline of CO2 emissions and energy requirements due to runaway electric autonomous vehicle adoption, starting ~2020. Wow! Let us pray that he is right.
    Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation – CWA – Boulder, April 9, 2018
    Tony Seba
    Published on Apr 25, 2018

    Also, don’t miss the passage after 1:03:00 on solar power: an onrushing locomotive.

    There’s lots to be depressed about. But also, some things look promising. Tony Seba does a great job of outlining developments of the latter.

  14. 14
    Hank Roberts says:

    … EPA must produce the opposing body of science [former] Administrator Scott Pruitt has relied upon to claim that humans are not the primary drivers of global warming, a federal judge has ruled. From a report:
    The EPA [former] boss has so far resisted attempts to show the science backing up his claims….

    In related news

    Scott Pruitt Resigns as EPA Administrator
    2018-Jul-5 16:05
    Scott Pruitt’s polarizing tenure as head of the Environmental Protection Agency has come to an end. From a report:
    President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that he has accepted Pruitt’s resignation. Trump said that the agency’s deputy administrator, Andrew Wheeler, will become the acting head of EPA….

  15. 15
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @11, yes Norway can afford EV’s more easily than other countries, and is exporting its emissions problem, rather like America does in locating its manufacturing base to Asia. However notice how China is refusing to take the worlds waste products any longer, so there is a limit to all these processes.

    It could be accelerated by governments putting limits on their own exporters, however this is a huge imposition on free markets. Would that be justified or even likely to happen?

    I do know we have to reduce our individual carbon footprints, but almost nobody wants to move significantly “unless everyone moves”. The only practical way to accelerate this is to push for a carbon tax and dividend scheme, which forces everyone to change their behaviour more or less in unison. Such a scheme would hugely benefit uptake of electric cars. A small subsidy would also help uptake.

  16. 16
    Carrie says:

    13 alan2102 imo the guy is full of it, a P. T. Barnum lookalike, selling dreams and unrealistic fantasies using “pretty slides of stats” that are essentially meaningless and unsupportable.

    I looked at the two points you mentioned and do not believe a word of it. He states at 1:03 “a doubling of solar every two years.” The last time his own “stats” say that happened was in 2011-2013. iow it’s spin!

    He’s also talking about Installed Solar PV in MW … fails to mention that to replace a 300MW ff generator requires something like a 900MW of solar pv equivalent to match the output of consumed electricity. Then there are issues of additional “storage capacity” to ensure supply and other grid reliability constraints.

    So earlier suggest ICEV production goes from +90 million per year in 2020 down to zero in 2024 is insanity talking. Be careful who you believe is my advice. Be skeptical, very skeptical about such wild broad brushed universal claims that are based upon fictional made-up assumptions and not reality.

  17. 17
    Omega Centauri says:

    9 Know it All.

    Yes the Aptera was really a cool looking vehicle. I doubt it would be very safe in a collision with the average car on the road, which is two or more times heavier. That’s probably one reason it never made it to market. Batteries have advanced a great deal since then. I imagine if redone today the range would be much higher.

  18. 18
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA @9 is ever the sceptic and downplaying things. Norway has considerably more than “5% or more” uptake of ev’s, more like 40%.

    I think electric cars have been at a similar point to early smartphones, in that they haven’t quite been a fully attractive proposition. But the models this year are much better in every respect especially the things customers care about like range, reliability, nice body styling etc. Exponential growth could be just around the corner like Tony Selba says.

    The nissan leaf just won most reliable car of the year in NZ.

    Solid state batteries will change the game.

  19. 19
    Carrie says:

    PS Not that it matters in the least.

  20. 20
    Hank Roberts says:

    Ask Gina McCarthy about the environment, and she’s as likely to mention public health as she is climate change.

    The former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who served through President Barack Obama’s second term, oversaw the development and implementation of the nation’s first regulations limiting heat-trapping carbon pollution from existing coal-fired power plants – easily the largest source of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector.

    She also oversaw the development of stricter emissions on cars and trucks, updates to air toxics and chemicals standards and – with the Justice Department – a sprawling investigation into wide-scale cheating by Volkswagen and other automakers on emissions tests….

  21. 21
    alan2102 says:

    Carrie, #16:

    “He states at 1:03 “a doubling of solar every two years.” The last time his own “stats” say that happened was in 2011-2013. iow it’s spin!”

    True that doubling seems to fit the curve in more like 3 years than 2. Big deal. Same destination, not far off. And it could easily accelerate back to 2 years, or even a shorter time, as the economic case becomes so compelling that it makes literally no sense at all to develop any other kind of power.

    “He’s also talking about Installed Solar PV in MW … fails to mention that to replace a 300MW ff generator requires something like a 900MW of solar pv equivalent to match the output of consumed electricity.”

    While other things go in the opposite direction. For example, energy requirement to move a vehicle drops off precipitously with electrification. For another example, EROI RISES for solar as the years go by; the opposite for fossil fuels. There are many other examples. The days when the anti-renewable FUD-mongers (see below) could forestall the renewables buildout are drawing rapidly to a close. Thank heaven.

    “Then there are issues of additional “storage capacity” to ensure supply and other grid reliability constraints.”

    Yes, “issues” that are being resolved as we speak. Look into it. Most of the “issues” come, if you don’t mind my saying, from recycled anti-renewable propaganda pumped-out relentlessly by right-wing think tanks, many of them funded directly by fossil people like the Koch brothers. These folks are well-paid to lie, distort, besmirch, introduce FUD, etc… and for many years it worked! But no longer.

    “So earlier suggest ICEV production goes from +90 million per year in 2020 down to zero in 2024 is insanity talking.”

    It would be, if that is what he said. Go to the vid at 54:45 and study the chart. There’s a steep dropoff that BEGINS ~2023, according to him. Perhaps you paid too much attention to me when I wrote “~2020” as the BEGINNING of the big changes (my intention was to indicate that decade). Pardon me if I gave the wrong impression.

  22. 22
    alan2102 says:

    PS: Carrie, here’s another one that you’ll love to hate:
    Exponential Energy | Ramez Naam
    Singularity University Summits
    Published on Oct 20, 2017

    at 16:40: China cancels building of 104 coal plants, 40 of which were already under construction! China is smart. Why throw good money after bad? Renewables are cheaper and better in every way.


    PSS: one more thing:

    “THE DEBATE IS OVER. Renewables won”.
    The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017 (HTML)
    Tuesday 12 September 2017
    Foreword by S. David Freeman
    “[T]his 2017 World Nuclear Industry Status Report is perhaps the most decisive document in the history of nuclear power. The report makes clear, in telling detail, that the debate is over. Nuclear power has been eclipsed by the sun and the wind. These renewable, free-fuel sources are no longer a dream or a projection — they are a reality that are replacing nuclear as the preferred choice for new power plants worldwide.
    The value of this report is that this conclusion no longer relies on hope or opinion but is what is actually happening. In country after country the facts are the same. Nuclear power is far from dead but it is in decline and renewable energy is growing by leaps and bounds…. nowhere in the world, where there is a competitive market for electricity, has even one single nuclear power plant been initiated. Only where the government or the consumer takes the risks of cost overruns and delays is nuclear power even being considered…. since 1997, worldwide, renewable energy has produced four times as many new kilowatt-hours of electricity than nuclear power.
    Maybe the Revolution has not been televised, but it is well underway. Renewable energy is a lower cost and cleaner, safer alternative to fossil fuels and nuclear power.
    The world no longer needs to build nuclear power plants to avoid climate change and certainly not to save money. If you have any doubt about that fact please read the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017.”


    Pity the poor souls who wasted their lives shilling for Big Nuke. Though they would rationalize that at least they got good paychecks and a fair pension plan. –Alan

  23. 23
    nigelj says:

    Hank Roberts said somewhere that Scott Pruitt has resigned from the EPA. Yay!, but I wonder if some sock puppet will take his place.

    Donald Trump may inadvertently do a lot to help reduce emissions anyway. His ridiculous economic policies and trade war are taking America and the whole world towards the mother of all economic depressions.

    Carrie: Yeah Seba does hype things, however there’s a decent sized grain of truth. Everything points towards an acceleration in the uptake of electric cars pretty soon, with reducing prices of batteries, better batteries, etc. Things reach tipping points.

  24. 24

    nigel, #23–

    Yes, Pruitt is out. But apart from “it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy” schadenfreude, there’s no joy to be had; his deputy, Andrew Wheeler, steps in as interim director. And he’s a former coal lobbyist. Details:

  25. 25
    Mr. Know It All says:

    18- nigelj
    “Mr KIA @9 is ever the sceptic and downplaying things. Norway has considerably more than “5% or more” uptake of ev’s, more like 40%.”

    I wish you were right, then gasoline would be cheaper, but you are not right. The number as of the end of 2016 was 5%. I’m sure it’s more now by a small amount. I did not use the word “uptake” by which I think you mean “sales”, and yes, their current EV car sales are over 40% of total car sales, maybe over 50%.

    “December 2016 Global plug-in sales passed 2 million units[1]
    5% of passenger cars on Norwegian roads are plug-ins[10]”

    Source: scroll down to “History”, and see the Date/Milestone table:

    EVs are growing rapidly, but as of the end of 2016, were just 0.15% of the world automobile fleet. Source: the last sentence of the first paragraph in Wikipedia link above.

    17 – Omega C
    Here’s a Wikipedia page – it will give some info on what happened to the Aptera.

    I think they were planning on having a gasoline powered one also for longer range. I was very interested to see what the mpg would be on that. As for safety, yes, they’re light, but I think the cockpit was strong – an accident might be like being inside a golf ball – the ball looks fine but you’d be a pink paste on the inside. :)

  26. 26
    Carrie says:

    22 alan2102; do stop with the “hate” BS.

    Thanks. If you cannot understand what was said in simple english that’s a pity but it’s not my fault; it’s all yours. So own it rather than make things up about other people because you can and the mods allow it.

    I think make BS my word for the month of July and will use it liberally when it fits.

  27. 27
    Carrie says:

    21 alan2102; I made some straight non-offensive comments about what I think with a recommendation for caution to all comers. I was not looking for an argument. I am not interested in wasting my time like that. If you believe nirvana is about to break out I’m really happy for you. Enjoy it.

  28. 28
    Omega Centauri says:

    Alan @21.
    Unfortunately it looks like the solar buildout is “stalling” out at around 100GW new build per year. Hopefully this is a temporary consequence of bad federal policy in the US, and China’s recent pull back (which is estimated to
    cut about 20GW of new solar this year). The renewables bright spot is currently India which keeps upping its already superaggressive targets.

    So we need to get solar back to strong growth, as 100GW/year is not nearly enough. And we need floating wind to be successful and takeoff. As well as continuing advances in storage.

    And then electrification of all those applications that use fossil fuels directly instead of in the form of electricity. This include air land and sea transport. And industrial process heat, and commercial and residential heating. Then we have to tackle cement and steel. Proposed solutions exist for much of this, but we have to make it economical at scale.

  29. 29
    nigelj says:

    MR KIA @25, ah yes apologies, I misinterpreted the figures. But as you say numbers of EV’s are growing fast.

    I think it will be like smartphones with a sudden acceleration. This will create demand for more electricity generation, and with cheap solar and wind power this is likely to be the preferred option.

    One problem with these discussions is location. I appreciate that in America petrol is rather cheap, but in my country its higher cost and buying an electric car can dramatically reduce running costs. Sorry I don’t have time right now for tables of numbers.

    The only constraint or limiting factor will be how fast additional renewable electricity generation can be built, but it can be built pretty fast. I’m picking this won’t be much of a practical restraint. Anyway everything is going in the right direction, and it will reach some form of natural rate of increase that is sustainable within the market before it hits capacity restraints.

    So you guys debating historical growth of renewable electricity aren’t looking at the problem in quite the right way – Carrie. That past pattern is all based on past trends and levels of demand, and with an acceleration in demand for electric cars it will all change provision of renewable electricity, up to some ultimate limit obviously. The question is really what would that limit be?

    I think Tony Seba is somewhat over optimistic on the timing, on the basis of his analysis, capacity restraints on how fast renewable electricity can be buit, or is “likely” to be built, and my instincts, but is right in principle. It may just take a few years longer, not that many.

  30. 30
    Carrie says:

    For Killian … you are not alone :)

    You cannot greenify the supply side, while doing nothing on the demand side, in other words, without making systemic changes to the way western society is set up.

    It is set up the way it is because concentrated wealth needs to grow at an exponential rate. And this is for a large part achieved through a consumerist culture that makes sure we do not “quit smoking, quit over drinking, lose weight, get more exercise, watch less junk TV and do something educational, invest for our retirement, get our oil changed on schedule”, and so on.

    As long as there’s no cap on concentrated wealth in ever fewer hands, human beings and the environment will be sucked dry for all they’re worth, with all this ‘value’ forcefully created out of thin air to be siphoned off to those mountains of concentrated wealth. This is what drives the system.

    And you can’t make that sustainable. Period.

    I have a problem with the argument that there is no alternative and so I must shut up. Especially if I’m being told in a condescending way.

    (by a man called Neven)

  31. 31
    Carrie says:

    Survival of the Richest

    The wealthy are plotting to leave us behind
    prof. douglas rushkoff

    a few extracts you shouldn’t read to children

    That’s when it hit me: At least as far as these gentlemen were concerned, this was a talk about the future of technology. Taking their cue from Elon Musk colonizing Mars, Peter Thiel reversing the aging process, or Sam Altman and Ray Kurzweil uploading their minds into supercomputers, they were preparing for a digital future that had a whole lot less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from a very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is really about just one thing: escape.

    So nearly every speech, article, study, documentary, or white paper was seen as relevant only insofar as it pointed to a ticker symbol. The future became less a thing we create through our present-day choices or hopes for humankind than a predestined scenario we bet on with our venture capital but arrive at passively.

    This freed everyone from the moral implications of their activities. Technology development became less a story of collective flourishing than personal survival. Worse, as I learned, to call attention to any of this was to unintentionally cast oneself as an enemy of the market or an anti-technology curmudgeon.

    Asking these sorts of questions, while philosophically entertaining, is a poor substitute for wrestling with the real moral quandaries associated with unbridled technological development in the name of corporate capitalism. Digital platforms have turned an already exploitative and extractive marketplace (think Walmart) into an even more dehumanizing successor (think Amazon). Most of us became aware of these downsides in the form of automated jobs, the gig economy, and the demise of local retail.

    The more committed we are to this view of the world, the more we come to see human beings as the problem and technology as the solution. The very essence of what it means to be human is treated less as a feature than bug. No matter their embedded biases, technologies are declared neutral. Any bad behaviors they induce in us are just a reflection of our own corrupted core. It’s as if some innate human savagery is to blame for our troubles. Just as the inefficiency of a local taxi market can be “solved” with an app that bankrupts human drivers, the vexing inconsistencies of the human psyche can be corrected with a digital or genetic upgrade.

    When the hedge funders asked me the best way to maintain authority over their security forces after “the event,” I suggested that their best bet would be to treat those people really well, right now. They should be engaging with their security staffs as if they were members of their own family. And the more they can expand this ethos of inclusivity to the rest of their business practices, supply chain management, sustainability efforts, and wealth distribution, the less chance there will be of an “event” in the first place. All this technological wizardry could be applied toward less romantic but entirely more collective interests right now.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    zebra says:

    #16 Carrie,

    “900MW solar pv to replace 300MW FF”

    I really have trouble trying to follow this argument, which we hear a lot in one form or the other.

    It seems both incorrect and, even if correct in some convoluted way, meaningless.

    Can you elaborate on what you mean by “output of consumed electricity”?

  34. 34
    alan2102 says:

    28 Omega Centauri:
    “unfortunately it looks like the solar buildout is “stalling” out at around 100GW new build per year.”

    “05 April 2018 – By the end of 2017, global renewable generation capacity increased by 167 GW and reached 2,179 GW worldwide. This represents a yearly growth of around 8.3%, the average for seven straight years in a row, according to new data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). [Note that the 8.3% figure includes hydro, which is only growing slowly; growth in other sectors is much faster — alan2102]
    Solar photovoltaics (PV) grew by a whopping 32% in 2017, followed by wind energy, which grew by 10%. Underlying this growth are substantial cost reductions, with the levelised cost of electricity from solar PV decreasing by 73%, and onshore wind by nearly one-quarter, between 2010 and 2017. Both technologies are now well within the cost range of power generated by fossil fuels.
    China continued to lead global capacity additions, installing nearly half of all new capacity in 2017. 10% of all new capacity additions came from India, mostly in solar and wind. Asia accounted for 64% of new capacity additions in 2017, up from 58% last year. Europe added 24 GW of new capacity in 2017, followed by North America with 16 GW. Brazil set itself on a path of accelerated renewables deployment, installing 1 GW of solar generation, a ten-fold increase from the previous year.” END QUOTE


    32% growth would be doubling in… what?… 2.2 years? Did I get that right?

    Not too shabby. And places like India and Brazil are just getting warmed up. (Pun not intended.)

    2018 might be a hiccup for solar in China: — “newly-added PV installed capacity in China will not exceed 45 GW in 2018 due to policy changes, market capacity expansion as well as several variables in the international and domestic markets, down from 53.5 GW in 2017”

    No big deal.

    I agree that things could be better, e.g. if the U.S. did not have an insane clown President. And especially if renewables had not been neglected unnecessarily for 30-odd years, starting with Reagan’s famous symbolic removal of solar panels from the WH roof (installed by Carter). The anti-renewables activism and obstructionism of the fossil fuel lobby will be seen, historically, as the thing which held up the energy transition by at least two decades — and in so doing, set us up for much worse climate change, with all that that implies. Perhaps the biggest crime ever perpetrated.

    The aggressive renewables buildout should have started ~1990 rather than ~2010. If it had, we would be living in a much different world with a much better prognosis.

    It would be nice if the criminals were brought to justice. But then nothing can un-do the damage that they’ve done.

  35. 35
    alan2102 says:

    26 Carrie: “do stop with the hate”

    No. I won’t. I hate what deserves to be hated. I hate the fact that my country and my planet are being ruined by greedy scumbags. I hate the fact that their power and influence will inevitably result in vast suffering, many hundreds of millions of displaced people (refugees), many scores of millions (or more) of excess deaths, and so on. Collectively, perhaps the biggest crime of all time.
    There are contributory factors other than greedy scumbags, but the greedy scumbags have been the main and indispensable driver.

    27 Carrie: “I made some straight non-offensive comments… I was not looking for an argument.”

    You wrote: “the guy is full of it”, “P. T. Barnum lookalike”, “selling dreams and unrealistic fantasies”, “meaningless and unsupportable”.

    Those are the fighting words of someone looking for an argument. And so you got one. And I note that you folded-up immediately when faced with a few facts in reply.

    No, I do not “believe nirvana is about to break out”. The rapid growth of renewables is certainly promising and encouraging, (how else could it be described?), but it could well be too little, too late. We are already locked-in to seriously bad outcomes, with likely disastrous outcomes, and perhaps even catastrophic outcomes. We don’t know what is going to happen, except to say that nirvana is most certainly NOT going to break out.

    The renewables buildout should have started a third of a century ago. But it did not, and the main reason is the aforementioned greedy scumbag/1%-ers, along with their army of service intellectuals and flacks and shills — courtiers to the 1%/scumbags — who repeat scumbag propaganda, fostering FUD and hesitation. They have now been proven wrong, but the damage that they’ve done is horrific and likely irreversible. The lost decades can’t be recovered, and might at worst result in (or contribute materially to) the eventual collapse of civilization.

    Jeering at Seba’s optimistic presentation (“selling dreams and unrealistic fantasies”, etc.) is right in line with the 1%/scumbag agenda, albeit futile at this point because the renewables freight-train cannot now be stopped — at least not by anything less than, paradoxically, the climate-related collapse of civilization, which could be in the offing.

    Interesting times, huh?

  36. 36
    Hank Roberts says:

    Joint Groundwater and Energy Study: Characterization of the Hydrogeologic and Geothermal Conditions of the Northwest Volcanic Aquifers

  37. 37
    alan2102 says:
    Is China losing interest in nuclear power?
    Slowing demand for electricity and competition from renewables
    have halted new reactor approvals, writes Feng Hao
    “As China’s economic growth has eased, so too has the growth
    in electricity demand. In 2015, electricity consumption rose
    just 0.5%, the lowest in 40 years…. This leaves little room
    for expansion of electricity generation, meaning fierce
    competition between nuclear, solar, wind and hydropower.
    Globally, solar and wind are replacing nuclear power as the
    first choice for new power generation. This is true in China,
    too. Cost is a key factor: the earlier nuclear power plants
    are now in the mid-to-late stages of their lifecycle, with
    operational and maintenance costs rising, according to Kang
    Junjie. Meanwhile, renewables are in the ascendant, with costs
    continuing to fall.”

  38. 38
  39. 39
    nigelj says:

    Carrie @30 I agree with your comments here generally.

    “As long as there’s no cap on concentrated wealth in ever fewer hands,”

    The only practical way would appear to be a wealth tax. I have no opposition provided its sensible, but good luck getting it past the “GOP”!

    Do you have a position on wealth taxes, or are you afraid of commiting to a specific position? :)

    Carrie @31, this sort of article gets on my nerves. Perhaps Musk is thinking of himself, I dont know, but plenty of rich people dedicate themsleves to helping others in various ways.

    Certainly a lot of technology is superfluous and gimmicky, and a status symbol, but what about technology that saves peoples lives and cures diseases?

    Its “nuanced” whether you like it or not.

  40. 40
    Carrie says:

    35 alan2102 says: some really stupid things.

    You wrote: “the guy is full of it”, “P. T. Barnum lookalike”, “selling dreams and unrealistic fantasies”, “meaningless and unsupportable”.

    It’s called unasked for wise accurate intelligent feedback and advice. Now, go deal with your hate, anger and cognitive dissonance issues (if at all possible.)

    “Interesting times, huh?” yes but more accurate to call them extremely screwed up times. I’m all for the collapse of civilization asap before “we” have the time to screw it up even worse than it already is.

    37 alan2102, heard it all before. Hao’s as wrong as the rest are and have been. The Chinese know what they’re doing working a plan that’s designed to be adjusted as needed. It’s sane and rational what they’re doing. I doubt it will make much of a difference to the long term trajectory. But they are looking after their own better than most governments will ever be capable of doing.

  41. 41
    Carrie says:

    33 zebra says: “output of consumed electricity” … great question.

    real basics, take a refrigerator it need X KwH of electricity per day to maintain it’s temperature. It cycles on and off through the day, and the more it is used and the more stored in it the more it “consumes” each day. But it only ever draws Y KW of power at one time … that’s it’s maximum demand level based on it’s mechanics. Now think about that in reverse.

    That’s either a power station or a roof pv solar system – these are rated as having a Maximum Capacity to provide “Y” GWs = Maximum Supply to meet “Y” demand at one moment in time. But they can never provide 100% maximum GWs … what they get paid for is GwHs .. their supply over time = being used by a refrigerator cycling on and off through the day drawing X KwHs from the grid supply in one 24 hour period.

    A solar pv can run one or a few refrigerators no problem with a battery system for leveling out input/supply – but connect 500 refrigerators to that one roof top PV solar and it will overload it and “crash” – on a grid level it’s called a black out (or brown out).

    I don’t have refs to hand, so will leave you for your own background research of the details you want. You’re looking at the difference between GWs (maximum supply/demand) instantaneously and GwHs (production/consumption) over time first.

    e.g. A nuclear reactor can operate at 90% of maximum GW supply into a grid (they do not run at Max capacity) – then that grid balances itself out – when user demand is low the excess electricity generated is dispersed to nothingness – they switch off a switch (think steam engine vessel venting excess steam analogy )- or they slow it down to 80% or 70% or 50% of maximum output … but that takes time to adjust. Nukes and Hydro are great at supplying “base load power” at a steady GW rate into a grid. By the time shutdowns for maintenance checks etc are down the maximum nuclear plant of 500GWs can only supply say 80% of that over time = it’s max “average” supply is only 400 GwH per hour, not 500 GwH.

    A coal fired generator can operate at maybe 70% of it’s maximum GW into a grid over an extended period of time — fuel must continue uninterrupted and water levels maintained for steam generation / cooling etc. For short high demand peaks they can run at 90% but not for long. Coal fired generators also require much higher levels of maintenance therefore over time sometimes they cannot run at full capacity – they have down times. More things can go wrong, the maintenance takes longer, the mechanical breakdowns are more often,

    Therefore the maximum output over the day and over the year reduces from it’s benchmark GW rating …. meaning a 500GW coal fired power station cannot produce 500GW of electricity 24/7 – typically they can only provide under 300 GwH per hour on average into the grid …. vs 400 GwH for a Nuke/Hydro plant.

    Wind is better than PV solar, and Solar thermal is better than PV at a “farm level” into the grid system …. but on average (iirc) these might have a maximum rating of 500 GW but they can only ever supply 150-200 GwH on average to the consumers.

    Achieving a maximum GW output requires that every PV panel is at 100% efficiency, getting maximum sunlight, the rest of the system “battery storage whatever” is functioning at 100%, and it’s day time, no clouds, and the solar panels are “as new” clean. So in a perfect world the maximum a PV solar farm can produce for use by consumers at one time is likely under 80% in the real world — so when maintenance downtime, cleaning, clouds, rain, the 12 hours of night time and so on is taken into account the Average output of a solar/wind farm can only ever be about 30-40% of it’s maximum GW nameplate rating ie 500GW solar can only deliver (on average) 150 GwH into the grid per hour … the output and available electricity to be consumed by users over 24 hours per day average from Solar is much less than Nuclear despite both being rated at a 500GW capacity.

    Even if you provide Battery/Storage it doesn’t change much. Because if a battery is being charged up during the day for use at night, that means by default the solar farm cannot provide Maximum GW to the grid users during the day either. See?

    Excuse my poor description, as I am trying to give a “layman’s generic” answer not a technical one, as there are many online sources if you want to get technical specific. The % above are examples and averages not considered accurate. The variations are great by type of generator, location, market etc.

    The bottom line is a Nuclear/hydro (well fed full dam) can typically provide to the consumer 80% of it’s nameplate rating in GW in GwH over a day, week, year and so on. 500GW = 400 GwH on average.

    If you close down a Nuclear plant, and you need to provide the same level of electricity to keep everyone’s refrigerators running 24/7 when required, with no brown outs/black outs, then a Coal fired plant will need to be a 800 GW plant, and a wind farm a 900 GW farm, and a solar pv farm a 1,500 GW farm … all other things being equal.

    Or you need to know that a 500 GW Pv Solar farm will not be capable of replacing the electricity demand (usage) of the 500 GW coal fired plant you want to close next week. See?

    Regarding Cost/price points, the most important number then is the Total Cost per GwH (over the year) and not the cost per GW to build the new supply generation. So people get confused by comparisons. e.g. saying a 3GW solar farm only costs $3 billion to build versus 3GW of nuclear plants cost $10 billion is not comparable because the 3GW of nukes can produce three times the electricity output than a 3GW solar farm can over the year.

    Plus the Nuke will operate for 60 years, and the solar panels will need to be replaced in 20 to 30 years and so on. So there is more going on regarding “price” and nameplate GW size than meets the eye. While both are important in their own right.

    So when you read a media/data report which says 100GW (Capacity) of new renewables came online last year – while you also shut down 100GW of nuclear and coal fired generation you will run out of electricity somewhere/sometimes.

    Globally electricity demand is increasing 2-3% per year say. That’s actually Consumption in Gigawatt Hours consumed. It is not Gigawatt capacity per se! There is usually an excess of GW capacity in every market – to ensure supply is maintained during the absolute Peak Demand periods. Nuclear, Coal, Gas and Hydro electricity supply can generally be increased (dialed up) to meet high demand periods for several hours at a time.

    There is no Dial to increase Solar and Wind supply to meet increases in demand. You cannot turn the sun on, disperse the clouds and rain clouds, or change the angle of the Sun in Winter or make the wind blow more when you need it to. Storage was always going to be the Hard problem to address once Coal fired generators and old nuclear plants began to be shut down. That time has come.

    Which is why energy in the 21st century is such an insidious problem and much more complex in ways never before.

    That’s my “short answer” :)

  42. 42
    Carrie says:

    39 nigelj, I didn’t write the content in either post, they are “quotes”. I’m sharing others’ comments/thoughts/ideas for general consumption. Make of it what you wish. Explore it further or forget it. Doesn’t matter.

  43. 43
    Carrie says:

    ps 39 nigelj,

    If Prof. Rushkoff get’s on your nerves have you tried Kissinger of late?

    I never expected to agree with anything coming out of Kissinger’s mouth – but never say never. :)

    Maybe this 1992 lecture be more agreeable? It’s about “economics” – There’s an audio link at the top, which is more easy going than reading the whole text.

    by Thomas Berry
    (concludes with)
    So too we might put Webster on the shelf until we revise the language of all our professions, especially law, medicine, and education. In ethics we need new words such as biocide and geocide, words that have not yet been adopted into the language. In law we need to define society in terms that include the larger community of living beings of the bioregion, of the Earth, and even of the universe. Certainly human society separated from such contexts is an abstraction. Life, liberty, habitat, and the pursuit of happiness are rights that should be granted to every living creature, each in accord with its own mode of being.

    I might conclude with a reference to the Exodus symbol, which has exercised such great power over our Western civilization. Many peoples came to this country believing they were leaving a land of oppression and going to a land of liberation. We have always had a sense of transition. Progress supposedly is taking us from an undesirable situation to a kind of beatitude. So we might think of the transition from the terminal Cenozoic to the emerging Ecozoic as a kind of Exodus out of a period when humans are devastating the planet to a period when humans will begin to live on the Earth in a mutually enhancing manner.

    There is a vast difference, however, in the case of this present transition, which is one not simply of the human but of the entire planet—its land, its air, its water, its biosystems, its human communities. This Exodus is a journey of the Earth entire. It is my hope that we will make the transition successfully. Whatever the future holds for us, however, it will be an experience shared by humans and every other earthly being. There is only one community, one destiny.

  44. 44
    nigelj says:


    “900MW solar pv to replace 300MW FF”, and your other detailed explanations of this.

    I think this is roughly correct “all other things being equal” so because of solar intermittency you do need a surplus of solar power.

    However storage options have improved a lot and most systems will combine solar power with wind power which can pick up some of the slack on cloudy days etc. So in reality you dont need quite such a large surplus of solar power.

    Coal plants are already being replaced with specific system packages combining solar, wind and storage. The economics are really good, they are cheaper than coal even with a surplus of solar panels and storage.

  45. 45
    zebra says:

    #41 Carrie,

    I’m not going to go through your entire (long and pretty confused) comment. Most people here probably understand the concept of capacity factor, and we know that PV will have lower CF than coal or nuclear. I think that’s what you are trying to get at.

    However, CF doesn’t tell us the utility of one type of generation relative to another in the context of achieving a new energy paradigm that reduces CO2 production.

    First, it may be that in some cases the nameplate value cited in the media could be misleading, but so what? If I get my (say) 30 kWh to “consume” every day, why would I care?

    But more important, your basic idea is wrong because we don’t actually have to “replace” the FF plant in the sense that you describe.

    For example, say Walmart installs solar panels to supply air conditioning with thermal storage for hot summer days and evenings. What we are doing is creating a better match of the source characteristics to the load; it makes no sense to keep the FF plant hot all night to achieve the particular end result.

    You need to escape the old way of thinking about these questions.

  46. 46
    Al Bundy says:

    A wealth tax can’t work unless it is applied by a world government because billionaires will simply park their cash and/or their citizenship wherever said tax doesn’t apply.

    I’ve been reading up on the far right. Their playbook was written by the late James Buchanan and their funding, which goes to universities, think tanks, AstroTurf organizations, lobbying, attacks on moderate Republicans, etc, substantially comes from one man, Charles Koch (with assistance from his close friends).

    Buchanan’s plan was/is devious. Since the goal is “economic freedom”, which is defined as zero regulation, no minimum wage, no collective action, no government beyond policing the non-wealthy (both people and countries), no healthcare for the poor, no public schools and no vouchers (though vouchers are a useful stepping stone towards the goal of eliminating education for children whose parents are minorities and/or poor)…
    Well, they know they are outnumbered so their stated plan is to hide their plan and lie about each part so as to fool people into letting them pass each stepping stone, ” We must reform social security because it will otherwise go broke” (a lie. The only possible need would be to expand the scope of the system to include all income from all sources)

    They also advocate the limiting of voting rights to the wealthy and the limiting of taxes and spending to that which has unanimity (yes, if a single person disagrees with a tax or its spending it is no different than armed robbery).

    Note that Koch is Mr Fossil Fuel -AND- the far right’s golden goose. They can’t not support “drill, baby, drill” without slitting their throat, and neither can any Republican politician because Koch will slaughter anyone with the gall to oppose him, via a primary challenge from the right.

    So yeah, a wealth tax would be nice. Heck, taxing billionaires’ income and inheritances would be nice. Returning to Eisenhower era tax rates would be grand.

    While I’m in FantasyWorld, I’d like a pony, please.

  47. 47
    Killian says:

    Re 30, 31, 35, 39 Carrie, nigelj, alan2102 said stuff about sustainability, money, renewables… and stuff.

    First, Carrie, I am aware I am not alone, yet I am ahead of the curve, so even among the cognocenti on climate, I am an outlier – in my opinion, as stated, riding the bow wave. Have you seen Regenerative Governance?

    Second, yes, in 2011 it occurred to me all that was occurring *only* made sense if the “elites” were cray enough to think crashing population while they hid away was a survivable scenario. I brushed it off as an over-active imagination, but didn’t completely dismiss it. Since then, it only looks more and more plausible.

    More to the point:

    Is it individuals or is it a class thing? Planned or coincidental? My basic logical flow is this: The wealthy, if anything, have greater access to info. For a wealthy person to deny climate is ludicrous… yet… denial is driven by wealthy old White men. Same with everything else. So, is it a global coup, or a bunch of selfish so-and-so’s coincidentally seeing the same way out?

    Truly do not know. But, still, the only scenario that fits all facts is a class-based, combination passive and intentional extinction of all but the richest and their minions.

    Live or Memorex?

    albeit futile at this point because the renewables freight-train cannot now be stopped — at least not by anything less than, paradoxically, the climate-related collapse of civilization, which could be in the offing.

    Now, that’s a conundrum: The unsustainable brought down by the more unsustainable. Hmmmm….

    Let me say this with absolute clarity: If the “renewables” build-out reaches its greatest logical conclusion, it will have played a large part in guaranteeing the worst case in the 6th Great Extinction.

    Renewables are not made from renewable materials, thus are not renewable. They are unsustainable. We must recognize our only hope is to reduce consumption dramatically via simplification.

  48. 48
    Dan H. says:


    I think a luxury consumption tax is better than a wealth tax. Wealth can be hidden. It can be easily added to energy after a specified consumption point and other excessive expenses only affordable by the wealthy.

    I think Neven just needs his ego stroked more often, and has difficulty with those who disagree.

  49. 49
    Al Bundy says:


    I remember my introduction to AI. Twas in the 1960s via a game. The game was simple and the AI consisted of a few matchboxes that performed binary choices. You played against the AI and the AI played randomly by selecting a choice (via your hands) from a matchbox. When you won you removed the match that represented the last choice the AI made. After a relatively small number of games the AI became unbeatable.

    AIs will soon reduce MOST humans to a productivity that is less than the cost of healthcare. Yes, even at $0/hour the average human will soon be unemployable at anything that doesn’t entail entertainment value. Yo Republicans! What say you? That most people must die? Then, pray tell, who will buy your AI-built products?

    And yes, that is one philosophy that is gaining ground: that anybody who isn’t exceptional must die. And given that climate change will soon threaten the exceptional – but only because the unexceptional exist – well, stay tuned.

  50. 50
    Al Bundy says:

    On the current heatwave and blackouts:

    “the Catch-22 is that if cities increase electricity capacity to adapt to a changing climate using fossil-fuel-based energy sources, greenhouse-gas emissions increase, which warm the climate even more.

    Demand for cooling is expected to explode in the developing world, where air conditioning is scarce [snip] the number of air conditioners worldwide is projected to increase more than threefold by 2050.”

    Well, peaking power by definition comes from fossil fuel and during blackouts grid-powered air conditioning is worthless so people will die. We’re entering the end game. Going mad yet, Max?