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Forced responses: May 2019

Filed under: — group @ 2 May 2019

A bimonthly open thread on climate solutions and policies. If you want to discuss climate science, please use the Unforced Variations thread instead.

360 Responses to “Forced responses: May 2019”

  1. 201

    AB, #197–

    “…it isn’t like renewables will drop terribly quickly. Solar still has paradigm changes possible but wind seems fairly mature.”

    Uh, define “terribly quickly!” One quick search result (from 2016):

    Since 2009, solar photovoltaic (PV) module prices have fallen by 80 percent and wind turbine prices have fallen by around 30-40 percent as renewable energy capacity has grown to record levels and technologies have improved.

    Those trends have continued since 2016, more or less, including a continued quasi-linear drop in the cost of wind power. Additionally, we’ve also hit an inflection point for offshore wind, it seems, with much faster declines in that arena. With a little more time, I could find you some more up-to-date stuff on that (though I guess the already posted LCOE analysis from Lazard is relevant, too. You could compare the previous annual Lazard analyses to get a longitudinal view.)

    Kevin, I’ve offered you evidence about the imminent advance of internal combustion before. Are you saying that you’re now ready to see what I’m basing my arguments on? If so, send an email to…

    Sure, I’m willing to look, but why not share the gist here? (Or “re-share”, if you previously covered it?)

  2. 202
    Al Bundy says:

    Kevin, “not terribly quickly” is about what you said, wind dropping every decade, with each decade dropping less than the previous. So if wind is economically competitive with (I’ll use oil prices because they’re universally known and understood even though oil isn’t used much for electrical production) $60/barrel (random price) then in a decade, assuming another 25% decline in wind, wind will be competitive with $45/barrel oil. “Durn, we have to drop oil prices a bit. Now we’ll only make a bit more money than God. Sucks, eh?” The next decade drops 15%. “Now we can only charge $38/barrel. Woe are us!!” The next decade, “Oh the pain, only $35…”

    Gosh, kiddos, even after the planet is fried wind still can’t “beat” oil and CH4 without externalities being accounted for.

    Kevin, splashing intellectual property on the internet is stupid beyond belief, especially during development, when doing so evaporates one’s rights to anything developed after the last filing.

    But the gist is that my engine is neither Otto nor Diesel. It never pulls a vacuum, eliminating a huge source of inefficiency. All gas transfers are done between regions of similar pressure, also eliminating a huge source of inefficiency. It uses three stage combustion (burn the fuel super-rich, then burn it again a tad lean, and then burn it lean in the presence of catalysts) and a tremendous amount of EGRetention (not EGRecirculation), which eliminates non-CO2 emissions.

    The engine does not have a radiator. Some heat is rejected but the engine is basically adiabatic. That minimizes the largest source of inefficiency an engine has and also eliminates a radiator’s air resistance (in vehicles).

    The engine replaces the Atkinson cycle with re-expansion. Re-expansion has failed in the past because it was done traditionally, and traditionally most energy is tossed overboard so there isn’t enough left to power re-expansion productively. I fixed the heat loss problem so re-expansion works wonderfully, eliminating the Atkinson kluge.

    The oil is protected from heat and fuel molecules so it lasts for a very long time. The engine itself will probably last longer than its owner.

    There are other key advances, such as di_____ation and tri____ation, which I’m not comfortable sharing even the full name of the processes online.

  3. 203
    Al Bundy says:


    when pondering how long a new natural gas power plant will last I started with nukes. Their initial license is 40 years, they generally get a 20 year extension, and they sometimes get a second extension, for a total of 80 years (so far). Those plants die because of reactor vessel embrittlement, something that CH4 plants don’t have to worry about.

    I also considered coal plants. CH4 is a cleaner fuel so CH4 plants should last longer. As I showed, the coal plants that are being retired are 50+ years old and way too small. Larger (aka “useful”) older plants are NOT being retired yet.

    So, with better alloys and engineering I can’t see why a current CH4 plant won’t last 100 years – except that it’s an obsolete hunk of junk already. There’s nothing like owning something that’s “slightly too valuable to throw away”. Note that according to Wiki only two natural gas power plants have ever been closed, and both are in New Zealand.

  4. 204
    nigelj says:

    “I wonder if Killian predicted the slow period of temperatures after 1998”

    “The silly moppet just invoked “The Pause” a thing which never happened, and asked if something that never happened was predicted!!’

    And what do the graphs below show if not an obvious slow period of surface temperatures between 1998 – 2015? Or is the moppet Killian saying RC have it wrong?

  5. 205
    Al Bundy says:


    You have mail describing the simultaneous-combined-cycle 3-stage-combustion engine and also a couple of drawings of a hypercar. I’d appreciate feedback and welcome questions.

    Feel free to critique my work here (but without divulging any intellectual property).

  6. 206
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: The silly moppet just invoked “The Pause” a thing which never happened, and asked if something that never happened was predicted!!

    AB: Ah, so now we know why you’re “always right”. You shuffle energy between the ocean and the atmosphere until perfect prediction is achieved. The Pause in atmospheric temperatures occurred. Period. That there was no pause in AGW is another issue entirely, eh?

    You failed to predict the Pause even though at the time several scientists were warning that it might happen and if it does do not shout “end of warming”. It happened and, of course, deniers all shouted “end of warming”.

    And seriously, defensiveness prevents friendship.

  7. 207
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @197

    ” There is now a block of countries/leaders/pillagers who don’t give a rat’s A about you or yours or the future. As zebra asks, “What’s the plan?”

    Presumably you mean the big oil and coal exporters. There are about 12 of them and so fortunately their internal carbon emissions don’t dominate the world although America is very significant.

    Regarding their exports, we cant really invade these countries, and they are self governing countries who dont take orders from anyone. We can shame them, because this comes cheap, but the only real answer is for countries to transition to renewable energy, so they don’t need exports from these countries, which comes back to what I said in the first place: We need our governments to embrace a carbon tax and dividend, or subsidies to encourage renewable energy. There are alternative ways as long as something robust is done.

    The other possibility is putting some tax or tariff on imports of fossil fuels but I would think this is something that would be difficult politically for obvious reasons.

  8. 208
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @202

    “So if wind is economically competitive with (I’ll use oil prices because they’re universally known and understood even though oil isn’t used much for electrical production) $60/barrel (random price) then in a decade, assuming another 25% decline in wind, wind will be competitive with $45/barrel oil. “Durn, we have to drop oil prices a bit.”

    This is right in principle, but a bad comparison. Wind power does not compete with oil, it competes with coal and the prices of coal are not as volatile, and you can’t drop these prices much without big financial problems, closing huge mines etc. Wind power is economic and this is unlikely to change.

    And yeah sure oil can be used to generate power but this seems like its unlikely to enter the equation in reality.

    A comparison between oil and biofuess and electric cars is more sensible, and I suppose the oil companies will eventually try to undercut biofuels and electric cars, but electric car technology is racing ahead and becoming attractive for so many different reasons that it’s not going to be reliant purely on running costs. Oil companies can only lower prices so far. And its possible for governments to subsidise biofuels and electric cars to counteract a drop in oil prices, or simply increase a carbon tax to do the same.

  9. 209
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: I’m an INTP, you’re an ass.

    AB: My problem with you is that you bring out the ass in me. Demylenization and remylenization takes work, lots and lots of work, and every time one travels the old pathways the grass that’s burying said paths is trampled and some progress is lost.

    Conditions can be used either as a way to understand oneself so as be able to figure out how to grow as a human or labels can be used as a badge, an entitlement to be offensive.

    INTPs are often quite nice.

  10. 210
    nigelj says:

    “Grazed and confused? Ruminating on cattle, grazing systems, methane, nitrous oxide, the soil carbon sequestration question – and what it all means for greenhouse gas emissions”

    Big study in user friendly language. Suggests some good carbon sequestration potential, but a lot of limitations as well ( as I have always suspected).

  11. 211
    patrick027 says:

    re 203 Al Bundy – NatGas power plants can be part of the renewable future as biofuel/waste and solar/wind electricity may be used to produce CH4 – see “Radical transformation pathway towards sustainable electricity via evolutionary steps” (which I saw in a comment … I think in this thread)

  12. 212
    Al Bundy says:

    Ignoring hydrogen (because I’m talking engines, not fuel cells), there are three main syn/biofuels:

    Ethanol is very high octane which means it’s somewhat difficult to ignite (about 690F). It has (a third?) less energy than petrol. It’s great at cleaning fuel systems (which means it’s corrosive). It has a flash point of 63F, so it vaporizes relatively well. Ethanol has an oxygen atom so it produces more power per mass of air ingested than petrol. Unfortunately, ethanol is made via fermentation, which is a slow and inefficient process. Grain-based ethanol is just pouring $Everclear$ into an engine.

    Methanol also has an oxygen, and since it is a simpler molecule it gets even more of a power boost per mass of air. Methanol can be created catalytically, so it is cheap and efficient to create. It’s also rather toxic, which is a good thing. It flashes at 52F, which is better than ethanol. It ignites at about 850F, which is so high that traditional engines’ burns can be excessively quenched by their cylinders’ relatively cold inner surfaces.

    Diesel is somewhat more energy dense than petrol. It flashes at a high 125F and ignites at a low 410F. Diesel lubricates the fuel system. Note that biodiesel flashes at a very high 300F.

    Flash Ignition
    Petrol -45F +-500F
    Methanol 52F 850F
    Ethanol 63F 690F
    Biodiesel 300F ?
    Diesel 125F 410F

    So, Biodiesel is great at igniting and lubricating. Methanol cleans and is cheap and easy (and can be made out of all that undergrowth that’s endangering our forests). Thus, as long as one solves methanol’s quenching problem and biodiesel’s flash-reluctance the winning biofuel is probably a mixture of biodiesel and methanol that varies widely depending on the available feedstock.

    Ethanol + biodiesel works, too, but wouldn’t you rather drink the ethanol?

  13. 213
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel: The other possibility is putting some tax or tariff on imports of fossil fuels

    AB: Yeah, but e = mc2. Energy can be converted to aluminum, for example. And one could expand sanctions but single-layer silicon has just about run its course. Unless chips go 3D or something else changes computer hardware is going asymptotic.

    Saud can move their family to Crimea (the country won’t be habitable much longer but it will be a grand oil platform). Russia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, belt-and-roaded to a willing trading partner in China.

    Nigel: Wind power does not compete with oil, it competes with coal

    AB: Yes to the first (and I predicated my comment by noting that fact and that I chose to use oil instead of CH4 because we’re all familiar with oil’s pricing). No to the second. Wind USED to compete with coal. Tomorrow wind will compete with CH4. Folks can quibble whether “today” is part of “yesterday” or “tomorrow”, but when I talk my focus is on “tomorrow”.

    Patrick, yeah, CH4 is CH4, regardless of where it comes from. Liquid-fueled ICEs need to be designed with their potential fuels in mind and unfortunately we’re still building ICEs that aren’t biofuel-friendly. It’s as if the world has forgotten that advances can occur outside of EV land. “No need to build ’em flex-fueled because biofuel isn’t ‘the’ answer. And I watched ‘The Highlander’ so I know there can be only one”.

  14. 214
    Scott E Strough says:

    @210 nigelj,
    At least you admit in your own post your confirmation bias. However, that’s just about the only thing in your post that’s useful. Certainly that Merchants of Doubt crap you linked to is beyond useless. It’s not even internally consistent! No wonder they are confused. They couldn’t even get their own story straight. They simultaneously proclaim that cropping removes up to 1/2 the stored soil carbon the first time virgin soils are plowed, then advocate intensive feedlot animal husbandry as the only thing yielding enough so we are forced to go with it, then proclaiming that it actually isn’t enough and consumption must reduce, and finally then proclaiming that the soil that has already lost 1/2 its carbon would saturate in a matter of decades, while admitting that amount of carbon is easily more than all the biomass on the planet combined!

    Sorry folks, not only are all those things false individually (even the last part is understated), all those things together are mathematically impossible! There isn’t enough carbon in the atmosphere and the all the biomass of the planet combined to saturate the soil sink. And if we were capable of saturating the worlds soil sink in only a few decades, (not possible but suppose we had a huge influx of atmospheric carbon from somewhere) then that rate would very easily be enough to mitigate AGW. And clearly they have no idea that increasing soil carbon is the single strongest indicators of yield increases, otherwise how could they proclaim increasing yields actually decreases food for people?

    Now the big question for you and everyone else. Can you guess why they were forced to jump through those internally inconsistent hoops?

    I hope some of you have been listening over the last several years and guessed it. They are Merchants of Doubt desperately attempting to save their biofuel from corn system. It’s the main reason we have all those insanely inefficient and environmentally damaging agricultural practices to begin with. They will twist anything to fit that model, no matter how ridiculously inappropriate.

  15. 215
    Killian says:

    Re #209 Al Bundy said , in his best Renfeld voice, “Master! Command me! I do your bidding. Poop in public? On the sidewalk?! Of course, master!”

    “Killian: I’m an INTP, you’re an ass.

    AB: My problem with you is that you bring out the ass in me.”

    Son, Psych 101: The ass in you was always there; it is your choice to leave the barn door open.

  16. 216
    Killian says:

    Holy shit! Explains a lot. “The pause happened. If you told me anyone other a denier said it, I’d have sworn nobody on this site, not even the most rock-headed, would fall into that trap. I’d have defended any one of you, confidently.


  17. 217

    #203, Al–

    Sure, the oldest and least efficient coal and gas plants will be retired first. Utility operators aren’t total idiots. (One hopes and presumes.) Doesn’t mean that retirements are going to be limited to that class, particularly as operating costs exceed the cost of new wind or solar, which is something that is increasingly occurring.

    And while I love me some Wikipedia, it may not always be complete and up to date:

    Nearly all of the utility-scale power plants in the United States that were retired from 2008 through 2017 were fueled by fossil fuels. Of the total retired capacity, coal power plants and natural gas steam turbines accounted for the highest percentages, 47% and 26%, respectively. Most of the planned retirements through 2020 will also be coal plants and natural gas steam turbines, based on information reported to EIA.

    So I’d have to demur about gas plant retirements being exclusive to NZ, or vanishingly rare, for that matter.

    I’ve linked to this one before, but heck, why not?

    The Manatee Energy Storage Center will have the ability to distribute 900 megawatt-hours of electricity, enough to power 329,000 homes for 2 hours. The facility will be charged by an existing FPL solar plant in Manatee County in southwest Florida, and will help the utility accelerate the retirement of two 1970s-era natural-gas-fired plants.

    Increasingly, they’re building combined facilities, though–solar-plus-storage, or wind-plus-storage–as that lets them share inverters and such, thereby “creating value.”

  18. 218
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @213, so you point out the oil exporters could sneakily become manufacturing exporters. Yeah that’s a possibility. I think there are endless problems like this, and countering it becomes complicated and bureaucratic like complicated tariffs on more products than just oil. Still I’m not sure what alternative there is.

    You point out wind will compete with gas like methane. Yeah fair comments but not every country has natural gas and it can’t be that economic to export. Governments might be forced to help wind power. It’s a complicated tug of war for hearts and minds and its not just about economics. I predict shareholders are going to start to become more environmentally aware and demanding and it wont take much of this to force a change in corporate behaviour so decisions on wind power versus gas fired generation wont be entirely on financial costs.

  19. 219
    nigelj says:

    Scott E Strough @214

    “At least you admit in your own post your confirmation bias. ”

    No. I think I’m one of the few people on this mitigation page who DOESN’T suffer from confirmation bias. You should probably look at the definition: people who seek out research that confirms their prevailing preferences and views. I always look at all sides of debates, and a wide range of research. It looks to me like YOU are suffering from confirmation bias!

    “However, that’s just about the only thing in your post that’s useful. Certainly that Merchants of Doubt crap you linked to is beyond useless.”

    You are not providing proper science based arguments why you think this. The contradictions you think are contradictions are not contradictions.

    “There isn’t enough carbon in the atmosphere and the all the biomass of the planet combined to saturate the soil sink. ”

    Have a closer look at what they say and mean about saturation. Also soils are expected to become net carbon emitters eventually, plenty of science on this and I have not seen a decent science based rebuttal. But I keep an open mind, unlike some.

    “They are Merchants of Doubt desperately attempting to save their biofuel from corn system.”

    I don’t support this corn biofuel, but you haven’t provided any evidence the study and research quoted in it is funded by the biofuel people. Maybe it is, but I don’t know that.

    But hey you miss the point anyway. The article does support soil carbon sequestration, and the very first thing I said is soil sequestration has potential. I just wanted to see what people thought of that article. You are generating more noise than solid argument.

  20. 220
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy, you are free thinking a lot and cleverly enough. But always best to also check the data on renewables before you put pen to paper.

  21. 221
    Al Bundy says:

    AB: My problem with you is that you bring out the ass in me.”

    Killian: Son, Psych 101: The ass in you was always there; it is your choice to leave the barn door open.

    AB: Psych 101 is often a place where incomplete and therefore erroneous axioms are shared with novices. if you ever desire to advance in your understanding beyond “first semester freshman”, give me a shout.

    Nobody is perfect and to say that only perfect people deserve respect (or whatever) is dorky. According to you, it seems, recovering alcoholics should no longer be told to avoid spending their time in bars.

    Psych 524 says that psych 101 isn’t a map to a workable system. for example, the mind’s barn doors are always open. Otherwise trolling wouldn’t work. The mind’s previous habits are always there and conscious decisions are generally made after the subconscious has already initiated action. As if such a complicated system could be handled in “psych 101”.

    By the way, mylenization is only the first, and easiest issue. There’s a second layer of insulation, where significant pathways are “concreted” into place so other neurons can’t send dendrites in to hook up with the “dedicated circuit”. Once somebody becomes, say, a Killian, it is very difficult and takes a long time to shed one’s Killianesqueness. Tis much easier to blame a label.

    Killian: Holy shit! Explains a lot. “The pause happened.

    AB: Uh, most everyone here knows that the radiation imbalance is the only significant variable when it comes to AGW. The question at hand (for non-deniers) was “We know the planet as a whole MUST have warmed by THIS much so what part of the planet absorbed the energy?”

    So, basically, you’re crowing about knowing something that everybody here always knew because it lets you off the hook (in your own mind) for not predicting the surface temperature pause.

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just note that the surface temperature Pause couldn’t be “predicted” because such things are chaotic?

    It’s interesting how you readily assume the Deniers’ twisted definitions (Scientists’ definition: “the Pause is a pause in surface temperature increase and says little to nothing about global warming as a whole”; Deniers’ definition: “Planetary temperature exactly equals surface temperature because we aren’t dolphins and you should be ashamed of yourself for changing the goalposts in the middle of the game”) when it helps you pretend perfection.

    Kevin, yeah, I forgot to include the page’s caveat, that the list of CH4 power plants was incomplete. Oops!

    Your link’s retirements were interesting. CH4 is split in three categories;

    Old steam turbines are quite inefficient because they don’t heat their steam very much. Ultra-supercritical plants run with their hot side at about 1150F (894K). So, if an old plant runs at 400F (478K) and assuming a cold side of 215F (375K) the old plant has an efficiency of 1 – 375/478 = 22% before other losses are considered. The new plant has an efficiency of 1 – 375/894 = 58% before losses. (Don’t quote these figures. They are illustrations.) The third type of CH4 power plants are peaker plants. These are inefficient and require a lot of maintenance per MWH produced. Note that peaker plants are significant financially but when it comes to CO2 emissions, a plant that runs perhaps 50 hours a year (random number) isn’t terribly relevant. Peakers generally compete with batteries, load abatement, and hydro.

    So logic follows your stance. Old CH4 power plants aren’t competitive. New ones are since fracked CH4 is available and not adequately taxed. I’m a bit curious about the combined cycle plants that have retired. That their retirements peaked in 2014 and the retirement rate has quickly dropped to zero suggests that it was first generation imperfections.

    Note that coal plants are being converted to CH4 plants. I wonder if CH4 retirements exceed coal to CH4 conversions. Note also that if my engine performs like I believe it will all those brand new ultra-supercritical CH4 plants will be durn near worthless. Less efficient and many times the capital cost doesn’t make for a good competitor.

  22. 222
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @221 “Wouldn’t it be easier to just note that the surface temperature Pause couldn’t be “predicted” because such things are chaotic?”

    The surface temperature pause would be chaotic maybe as to the exact timing, but I still bet he never predicted such a thing as a slowdown in surface temperatures could ever even happen! It was just a throwaway example anyway. His predictions look mostly like safe guesses to me: Look at the current data and trends, take a slightly more pessimistic attitude than the IPCC and bingo you will be right a lot of the time, and will conveniently forget the bad guesses, or have plenty of excuses and rationalisations!

  23. 223
  24. 224
    zebra says:

    Al Bundy #121 on Unforced Variations,

    Al, there’s no such thing as “laborism” in the current system.

    If you want to get stuff done, in a reasonable amount of time, you have to work with the current real world.

    We’re not going to make the energy transition without money being invested. As I’ve pointed out in the past, without capital (labor value accumulated to operate in the time domain), you can’t do science or engineering design/invention or building infrastructure or….

    If we are indeed dealing with an existential crisis, letting someone get rich by fixing it should not be a problem.

  25. 225
    Al Bundy says:

    CNN says Saudi, Kuwait, and UAE produce oil at $2 to $6 a barrel. Saudi is also getting into the USA’s liquified CH4 export business. Oh yeah, fossils will just lay down and die instead of raking in over fifty dollars in profit on a four dollar product.

  26. 226

    @219 Nigelj,
    Probably need to stop before you make an utter fool of yourself Nigel. You are just like the Vegans who actually use meat industry propaganda to reject sustainable animal husbandry, only in your case using King corn propaganda out of context to support your own confirmation bias, even though as you say you don’t support the corn system.

    And every time you meet with something new that explain why your confirmation bias is wrong, you claim and I quote, “Maybe it is, but I don’t know that.”

    Again like your last post admitting your confirmation bias, this time you admit your ignorance regarding why the pushback in regards to converting crop fields back into pasture and forest.

    You linked to an example of that pushback. You admit your ignorance. Yet you stubbornly refuse to put 2 +2 together because you really are incapable of seeing past your confirmation bias. I am not sure what is left to say except that the study has nothing to do with regenerative agriculture and even states in the study it should not be used in this way. It is studying extensive organic ag (closer to old subsistence ag really) with intensive industrialized agriculture. It is NOT even addressing regenerative ag at all and can be safely dismissed as irrelevant to any discussion on carbon farming.

  27. 227
    Al Bundy says:

    Zebra: If you want to get stuff done, in a reasonable amount of time, you have to work with the current real world.

    AB: I doubt that capitalism is capable of accomplishing what needs to be done. Instead, I’m seeing wars and whatnot trampling all over the biosphere.

    Yes, my economic vision might be a Hail Mary that fails, but that’s independent of inventing. So in the real world I’m doing all I can do. In the virtual world called economics I can play all I want without hurting anybody.

  28. 228
    Nemesis says:

    @Scott E Strough, #126

    “… just like the Vegans who actually use meat industry propaganda to reject sustainable animal husbandry…”

    Wow, that sounds funny, hahaha. I’m vegan, but I never use “MEAT industry propaganda” for staying away from MEAT. Never.

    Anyway, funny to read such goofy statements here at I had to read that statement several times to confirm my eyes haven’t gone mad.

  29. 229
    nigelj says:

    Scott Strough @220, so basically you are saying any research study which contradicts what you like, even slightly, is funded by or heavily influenced by the corn industry biofuels people. No evidence needed, it must just be so because it just must be so.

    I’m afraid you have left the real world for the world of paranoia, irrationality and conspiracy theories :) Your argument is as stupid as climate denialists saying the climate research is all funded by renewable energy promoting socialist world control greenies!

    Not saying all your criticisms of the study are invalid. And I’m not a vegan. I think the answer is some level of cattle farming using better rotational grazing, no problem with that.

  30. 230
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @225, “CNN says Saudi, Kuwait, and UAE produce oil at $2 to $6 a barrel. Saudi is also getting into the USA’s liquified CH4 export business. Oh yeah, fossils will just lay down and die instead of raking in over fifty dollars in profit on a four dollar product.”

    Fair enough, but please appreciate most other oil exporters have much higher production costs so lower profits, so Saudi Arabia doesn’t dictate the total picture- even with its extensive oil fields.

    And Saudi state owned oil has to pay very high taxes. So I’m nit picking but quite a large nit!

  31. 231
    nigelj says:

    I agree about the general idea that if someone gets rich producing for example solar panels good for them, but only up to a point. There is rich and then there is obscenely rich and undeservedly rich. Of course its hard to quantify the difference, but we have an instinct about these things which counts for something.

    High levels of inequality start to have well known negative consequences. We are also broadly talking about sustainability. At some point levels of inequality might become unsustainable. Something will just crash.

    It’s also about incentives. How many incentives does sommeone really need to perform well? You can’t tell me that being payed 10 million rather than 2 million is going to make any difference at all.

  32. 232
    Scott E Strough says:

    @228 Nemesis,
    Yes. I actually agree. And if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes repeatedly over and over, and often in debates about AGW, I wouldn’t have believed it either! Cowspiracy is one of the more well known examples of the technique.

    The internet can be strange sometimes, especially when people try to become Google warriors and don’t really understand what they are reading in context.

    What made me even mention it is the industrialized meat industry has in fact hired the same merchants of doubt that the tobacco industry hired, and the climate denialists hired, etc…. Most of their strategies and methods to obfuscate run parallel. Some of their content is borrowed too!

    So while I expect most Vegans found here at RealScience can spot their tricks and logic fallacies, there are many more people that will simply Google up any dirt they can find on animal husbandry and then use it! Ironically even when that dirt was actually propaganda from the industrialized CAFO system attempting to prevent the conversion of cornfields back into pastures to raise the animals ethically and environmentally sound.

    Nigel is kinda like that sort of Google warrior, not understanding the sources of the information he finds and with no base of education to be capable of verifying it.

    In fact the link Nigelj gave is much like that actually.

    Now to be fair, the Oxford study had their work misrepresented so much they even published several written and video disclaimers regarding what the study really says and doesn’t say, since so many people like Nigel were getting it wrong…. But that’s a separate issue.

  33. 233
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel, profit and royalties are the same thing for the purposes of this discussion. Royalties exist so as to divvy up the profit. If oil and CH4 have the profit reduced to a reasonable amount and the high-priced providers go under, eventually you end up with a hard core of cheap providers who I assume have enough production capacity and reserves to fry the planet. Who cares about high priced providers? Wind and solar will kill them off. But $20 will be profitable in the Mideast and really, what other sort of economy is likely there?

    And Russia has the lion’s share of the Arctic Ocean’s fossils, perhaps 220 out of 360 billion barrels equivalent.

    It will be interesting to see how India swings. The GOPpers have destroyed the US’s credibility in the world.

    Nigel: Not saying all your criticisms of the study are invalid.

    AB: I’d like to see the evidence. Scott, please enlighten us about said study’s conflicts of interest and its resulting flaws. (including any stuff you’ve already noted)

  34. 234
    alan2102 says:

    #173 Mr. Know It All 8 Jun 2019 at 3:25 AM:
    “EIA projected estimates on global renewable energy:
    2050 percentage of marketed energy from renewables: 18
    2050 percentage of electricity generation from renewables: 29.8”

    The EIA has been spectacularly, laughably wrong with their projections for decades, forever. The EIA’s wrongness is legendary, and it is always on the grossly-conservative side when it comes to renewables. They have been SO wrong that it suggests they are part of some systematic attempt to disparage renewables. If they wanted to be believable, they could have been just moderately wrong, thereby being able to credibly claim that they are doing decent analysis, even if not perfectly accurate. But they’ve been so wildly wrong that it suggests something more fundamental (like being owned by Big Fossil).

    Start here:

    a couple of comments from that link:

    You can call me Captain Obvious but I am compelled to spell this out. Given the way that exponential growth curves work, if the EIA had ever produced an accurate prediction in the last 20 years, it would have forecast the death of the fossil fuel industry by 2030. As stock markets are foreward-looking, any such prediction would have been a self-fulfilling prophecy. The EIA has had the power of life and death over the FF industry for a long time and their preference has now become so painfully obvious that it just can’t be hidden any more. But their efforts extended the profitability of those companies by many years, so mission accomplished, I guess. I’m not sure that calling this “regulatory capture” really does the situation justice.

    That strongly suggests the EIA may be under political pressure to mis-forecast the future in order to keep the fossil fuel industry from destroying their budget.

  35. 235

    nigel, thanks for the ‘ampaire’ link. More on that plane:

    A 6-seater, so still pretty small-scale, but interesting to see this happening commercially all the same.

  36. 236

    On Saudi oil cost, I accept that Saudi oil is cheap to produce, however, it would appear that the Saudi economy is not exactly chugging along at current price levels:

    Old but directly on point:

    Up to date but slightly more oblique:

    I mention this because such considerations make me feel that Al’s #225 is not addressing the whole story by any means. That feeling garners support here, where I note that the “operation cost”–which is apparently the number the CNN non-reference connects to–is just a fraction of what this source calls the “break-even price,” which they describe as the “price at which is worthwhile to extract”:

    So, it would appear that there is a lot more than operating cost that goes into the price–and that that is not merely something discretionary in nature.

  37. 237

    Al, thanks for sharing the information on your engine and car concepts. I’m not qualified to critique them, but found them quite interesting nonetheless. Good luck with your project.

  38. 238
    Nemesis says:

    @Scott E Strough, #232

    Oh, no problem at all^^ You know, I believe in the meat and diary industry propaganda, because I want to support the meat and diary industry to sell no more meat and no more diary :))

    Thanks a lot for the beautiful, enlightening conversation.

    I’m sure, the meat and diary industry will praise my dicision as I follow their propaganda to eat no more meat and no more diary. Yes, you caught me right in the act, I strongly support the meat and diary industry by eating no meat and no diary.

  39. 239
    Al Bundy says:


    Thanks for looking. Yeah, it took me three years to figure out internal combustion and how to tame it.


    My peer reviewer has gone dark (I met him through the head of the engine department at UMich). Hmm, maybe he’s building engines! :-) So I’m looking for leads. Who here is qualified or knows someone who might know someone who’s qualified to peer review a biofuel engine? The world needs cheap emissions-free 65% efficiency. Please help me bring it to the game.

  40. 240
    Al Bundy says:

    Kevin, yes, that $2-6/barrel was a basement and didn’t include much. That’s why I said $50 profit (and royalties, hat tip to Nigel). With oil around $65 that pencils in at $15 cost for Mideast producers supplying Belt-and-road customers. Russian oil is more expensive but when they burn or sell a barrel of oil they improve their climate. Good incentive, da?

  41. 241
    nigelj says:

    Scott Strough @232says

    “Nigel is kinda like that sort of Google warrior, not understanding the sources of the information he finds and with no base of education to be capable of verifying it.”

    As to ‘education’ I don’t claim to have any formal qualifications in soil science, but I was top of my school in science for a couple of years, ( a decent school too I might add) and I have a university degree in design, and did some physical geography and year one science at university. So I have enough to read a study and at least grasp most of it.

    What exactly are YOUR formal qualifications relevant to soil science Scott, since YOU started a conversation about this?

    “Now to be fair, the Oxford study had their work misrepresented so much they even published several written and video disclaimers regarding what the study really says and doesn’t say, since so many people like Nigel were getting it wrong…. But that’s a separate issue.”

    I think they did this for the benefit of people like you :)

  42. 242
    Al Bundy says:

    Sorry to flood the comments, but..

    “Russian oil is more expensive but when they burn or sell a barrel of oil they improve their climate”

    NEEDS to be followed by:

    “and destroy the USA’s climate.”

    This is a National Security issue for Russia.

  43. 243
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @233

    ” profit and royalties are the same thing for the purposes of this discussion. ”

    No I referred to taxes not royalties (you are right about royalties). Saudi Arabias state owned oil company have to pay huge taxes to the government and this comes out of their profits. Its to fund Saudi Arabia’s considerable public services, and it won’t be easy for them to reduce those services so it wont be easy for them to lower the price of oil too far. I cant find an exact number for the tax, but an article discussed them as being huge. Much of Saudi Arabia’s economy is funded by oil revenues alone, and much of it is publicly owned, so quite socialist.

    “If oil and CH4 have the profit reduced to a reasonable amount and the high-priced providers go under, eventually you end up with a hard core of cheap providers who I assume have enough production capacity and reserves to fry the planet. ”

    Assumption is the road to hell. I very much doubt Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates have enough reserves to power the whole planet by a long way.

    But yes the middle east will presumably accept lower profits to some extent. I do accept ICE vehicles will be around for a while yet.

  44. 244
    Al Bundy says:

    To sum it all up:

    The GOPpers realized that by focusing on relative advantage they could scarf up incredible amounts of treasure even though their IQ and productivity were sub-par. By changing the definition of productivity from “value added” to “value scarfed” the GOPpers “proved” that they deserved 99.9999% of all of the benefits brought by intelligent liberals. “We risked our GOPper status (aka cash)!!! What could possibly be more important than that??? As if Leonardo or Gauss or Newton or Einstein or Feynman or Poe or anybody with an IQ above 130 deserves anything. Not risking wealth by investing in a broad fund (which is what 100% OF GOPpers are told) is the ONLY thing that’s important when it comes to advancement.

    “OH LOOK! I played the spread so as to NOT risk my money so I deserve everything regardless of what happens (DUH! I played the spread, so ANY result MUST gimme gimme gimme or it’s all rigged and fake.) And if everybody loses I deserve to be made whole because I’m a Job Creator because I pretended to risk my grandfather’s stolen wealth and didn’t do anything!”

  45. 245
    Al Bundy says:

    Seriously, you think the GOPpers are better than Russian oligarths? You think GOPpers are better than Chinese Technocrats?

    I need an electron microscope cuz the three main players seem identical at human-levels of resolution. All three are racist, nationalist, and stupid. You really wanna raise any of their flags?

    Patriotism is a mental deficiency. We’re all in this together.

  46. 246
    Al Bundy says:

    The Magic Button:

    If you had a button that wouldn’t kill anybody, wouldn’t harm anybody, but would swap our future to one where the USA disappeared today, would you press that button?

    I’m betting that most folks on this site would press that button. Now, given that this site is USA-centric, what does that say?

    And I just have to roll my eyes at folks who don’t flinch when they sway the USA’s “checks and balances” guaranteed gridlock system is the very best possible paradigm for a “leader”. Geez, the USA is designed to prevent any sort of leadership imaginable!

  47. 247

    @238 Nemesis,
    There is a big difference between using dirt found in the mudslinging back and forth between Industrialized Ag and Regenerative Ag and actually supporting either side of the industry.

    Personally, I am a vegetable researcher. I haven’t raised any food animals for over 30 years. So I don’t have any horse in the race at all except mitigating AGW by sequestering carbon in the soil.

    Turns out that Industrialized ag is a source for CO2 CH4 and NO2 emissions, while regenerative ag that includes animal husbandry using biomimicry is a net sink for H2O, CO2, CH4 and NO2.

    That’s all that matters regarding the topic of this thread. What way mitigates AGW. Yours and my personal eating habits are inconsequential.

    I actually support anyone who boycotts factory farming of plants and animals. You are at least 1/2 way there, so I support your choices.

    However, there is a faction out there that is perfectly willing to spread lies and deceptions regarding agriculture based on a dogmatic view that all animals are bad, period, without accepting that there is a huge difference depending how the animals are raised. Savory is one of those who has brought attention to this:

    “The number one public enemy is the cow. But the number one tool that can save mankind is the cow. We need every cow we can get back out on the range. It is almost criminal to have them in feedlots which are inhumane, antisocial, and environmentally and economically unsound.” Allan Savory

    But he is no where near the first to recognize this issue regarding animal husbandry. The father of organic agriculture figured this out over 50 years ago, just by observing the rapid degradation of soils once the integrated farm was replaced with the industrialized commodity system with all its agrochemicals used to replace animal impact:

    “As the small trickle of results grows into an avalanche — as is now happening overseas — it will soon be realized that the animal is our farming partner and no practice and no knowledge which ignores this fact will contribute anything to human welfare or indeed will have any chance either of usefulness or of survival.” Sir Albert Howard

    See long before we realized the excess carbon in the air was going to be such a huge problem, we already were realizing the carbon missing in the soil was a bigger problem! That disruption in the natural carbon cycle started at least 7000 years ago, but with the advent of agrochemicals and the removal of animals it got much much much worse.

    Why? Because animals are not just walking meat milk and fiber. They have functions and interconnections with the environment that are highly complex, nuanced and evolved. One function being the critical nature regarding the hydrological cycle and another the carbon cycle. It’s not limited to that, but certainly as it applies to AGW mitigation these properties of the animals’ impact are huge.

    Just as an example:
    Effect of grazing on soil-water content in semiarid rangelands of southeast Idaho
    K.T. Weber*, B.S. Gokhale

    As you investigate this you can see the differences between animal husbandry for the industrialized system which uses set stocking rates and annual rotations called rest rotation and Savory’s version of holistic planned grazing. Critically though there is also a control with no grazing at all called TREST (total rest).

    And guess which was the least effective at removing water and holding it in the soil? Total rest. Second best was rest rotation. And much better hydrological function in the Holistic planned grazing.

    So we can sum it up as no animals bad. small number of animals raised extensively is better. And large numbers of animals but carefully and intensively managed by far the best. This is not some minor deal either, water is the primary feedback in global warming. Holding a greater % of that water in the soil rather than evaporating back into the atmosphere is the natural cooling effect of the grassland biome.

    And CO2e? Well the biophysical reason the above is seen is primarily due to the sponge effect carbon in the soil has. And the evidence for that can be found here:

    Grazing management impacts on vegetation, soil biota and soil chemical,
    physical and hydrological properties in tall grass prairie

    So think about it. The natural carbon emissions amounts to approximately 750 gigatons CO2 annually. Man currently causes about 29 gigatons of CO2 of carbon to be injected into the atmosphere, about 4% of the natural annual flux. Yet we don’t count the whole 750 gigatons as causing global warming because that is just a merchants of doubt argument! Although our output of 29 gigatons of CO2 is tiny compared to the 750 gigatons moving through the carbon cycle each year, it adds up because the land and ocean cannot absorb all of the extra CO2. It’s the net that matters!

    But this study that first Nigel and now you seem to be defending is based on a lie first developed for the industrialized meat industry to protect themselves against losing market share to grassfed beef. That being the whole idea that cows emit methane and methane causes AGW. This is similar to CO2. As part of a natural ecosystem, pastured cows actually reduce net atmospheric methane. It’s only when they are removed from the land to be fattened in feedlots that their emissions change from a net sink to a net source.

    Soil Microorganisms as Controllers of Atmospheric Trace Gases
    (H2, CO, CH4, OCS, N2O, and NO)

    But did that Oxford study count this other side of the methane cycle in their calculations? NO. And it is the exact same propaganda that is repeated over and over in many other literature attacking cows for their emissions. It is wrong. It is the exact same error as saying we humans can’t possibly be causing AGW because our emissions are tiny compared to natural emissions.

    And BTW that’s just one of many many more systemic errors in the study. They are falling right in the trap caused by optimizing each line item held in isolation, while the system itself remains hugely inefficient and wasteful. There is no waste in a natural system. If there was all life would have ended long ago. Further, ruminants don’t cause global warming, or we would have been in runaway global warming millions of years ago once the vast ruminant herds evolved in the newly co-evolved grassland biomes. But instead of warming, in fact this biome including its vast herds of ruminants has cooled the planet!

    Cenozoic Expansion of Grasslands and Climatic Cooling

    So clearly its not the grasslands ecosystems with cows causing global warming. Instead it is the human devised systems at fault!

    It’s Time to Rethink America’s Corn System

    In this case though since properly managed cows on a well managed grassland ecosystem actually force global cooling instead of global warming, this dogmatic attack on cows misses the true target by blaming cows rather than the humans currently abusing them in the factory farming system.

    You and Nigel both should know better than to place your hopes in Merchants of Doubt arguments designed for laymen that are ignorant of the science.

  48. 248
    Nemesis says:

    @Scott E Strough, #247

    I studied the climate- and ecological impact of the lifestock industry sufficiently :) Sure, the agricultural industry is a crime and so is the lifestock industry that FEEDS from the agricultural industry EN MASSE. The climate- and ecological impact of the lifestock industry is much higher than the agricultural industry’s impact and it is extremely insufficient. Guess what trillions of cows, pigs, chickens ect eat? Right, they eat agricultural products EN MASSE and the US meat industry is killing the rainforest to raise that f* meat for funny McDumb and shit. AND the lifestock industry is torturing animals 24/7. AND the consumption of meat, fish, eggs, diary ect causes countless deseases as countless scientific studies undoubtedly prove. I, as a superfit vegan, never get ill, even my last cold was ~10 years ago, hehe.

    I don’t eat that bad Karma of animal products. End of story for my part.

  49. 249
    Nemesis says:

    This is the real shit, ladies and gentlemen:

    ” 17.6.2019 – Group of 88 investors target over 700 companies for not reporting environmental information

    – Exxon Mobil, Amazon and Volvo among the 707 companies targeted by investors for not disclosing environmental information
    – 88 global investors taking part in the campaign, including HSBC Global Asset Management, Candriam and Investec Asset Management

    June 17, 2019, London: 88 investors with nearly US$10 trillion assets are targeting companies that are not transparent enough about their environmental impact, and pushing them to disclose this information through CDP, the non-profit global environmental disclosure platform.

    The investors are targeting 707 companies with US$15.3 trillion market capitalisation across 46 counties for not reporting their climate change, water security and deforestation data.

    This includes Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron, Amazon, Volvo, Alibaba, Qantas Airways as well as palm oil company Genting Plantations Bhd.

    These companies have been selected because of their high environmental impact and lack of transparency on these issues to date.
    546 companies are being targeted to disclose on climate change, 166 on water security and 115 on deforestation.

    The most targeted industry for climate change disclosure this year is the Services industry (27% of all companies), followed by Manufacturing (18%) and Fossil Fuels (12%). For water security, the most targeted industries are Manufacturing (26%), Retail (23%) and Fossil Fuels (11%), while for deforestation, it is Retail (30%), Food, Beverage & Agriculture (26%) and Manufacturing (16%).

    Overall, the US is home to the most companies being targeted in the campaign (20%) closely followed by Australia at 16%…”

    Hehe, Exxon and HSBC Global Asset Management are my personal favorite clowns in the show.
    See, nigelj, these are capitalist news I like the most, the funniest part of the show is when capitalists fight against capitalists, eating eachother, let alone the Big Bang when the carbon bubble will burst (cheers to Lord Stern et al), it will be the ultimate enlightenment for all fossil fools.

    We should grab some popcorn, the final show of capitalism will be like no other, ultimate capitalist cannibalism, yum yum, the zombie apocalypse for real.

    Let the gamez begin!

  50. 250
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @244, regarding your rant about where investment money goes. Totally agree, its a crying shame. Finance companies are basically raping the world. A relevant book is “Other Peoples Money” by John Kay.

    People need to stop voting for political parties that constantly defend the finance sector and claim that black is white like the GOP. However demonising the GOP can be counter productive. The democrats need an alternative plan – not a confused muddle of policies nobody can untangle and remember. Do you even know what a plan is guys?