Volkskrant: The Hockey Team Strikes Back

Martin van Calmthout (who boo’ed the award to Marcel Crok) has published a long article in today’s Volkskrant in Holland. I have enclosed a somewhat tidied machine-translation from altavista.com; I don’t speak Dutch and don’t vouch for anything. (update: Hans Erren edited a prior version and his version follows). The Dutch version follows the English translation.

New greenhouse studies refute talked-about attack on historical climate reconstructions
The Hockey Team Strikes Back

“Concoctions”, concluded skeptics about the graph with which climate scientists showed that the Earth warms up abnormally. Meanwhile, all critical points have been examined. And many were found too light.
By Martijn van Calmthout
Climatologist Michael Mann sounds somewhat breathless, as he answers the phone at the agreed hour in America. But don’t worry, he explains his rapid breathing. He’ll walk, if we agree, during the conversation across the campus of Penn State University in Pennsylvania. He is, as it happens, a member of the earth sciences at one end of the campus. But also of the institute for climate studies at the other end. Mann is in a cheerful mood. At last, he says, at last the turn seems a fact. For many years, skeptics have pursued him with harsh criticism on his reconstructions of past climate. They wouldn’t have been solid, according to some even partly based on invented data.

Mann’s specialization is examining tree rings and other natural indicators of the climate in past times. But there is more. Mann was in 1997, also one of the authors of a part of the third IPCC Report, chapter 2 to be exact, which dealt with the question how exceptional the heating in the previous century was historically.

For the last one and a half century there are measurements with thermometers and other instruments. But prior to that period, scientists, such as Mann, infer indications for the climate based on “proxies”. That is, among others, the widths of tree rings, growth rings in coral, isotope proportions in polar ice-cores and in glaciers.

The craft is to recognize patterns and also to calibrate all those data in a manner that tells something about former temperatures.

No serious research worker will hide the fact that thereby considerable error margins apply. Mann published his first reconstruction in 1998, in Nature, for the period from 1400 till present. Later the period was extended to the year 1000.

Bounce
All that resulted in 2001, in what will be called the hockeystick affair. The third report of the international climate forum IPCC depicted a graph of temperature history of the past thousand years which relied on the work of Mann and colleagues. What is especially notable is a strong bounce upwards in the second half of the 20th century, after a long period of relative stability (apart from the small decline in the 17th century).

To be exact, Mann’s graph appeared twice in the report. Once somewhere deep in the scientific proof of the proposition that the Earth warms up and that this is caused probably because we eject greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide in the air. Presented in a graph with three climate reconstructions of other research teams. Mann’s study was the only one at that time that also made estimates of the uncertainties in the results.

And a second, much more styled variant stood on a much more prominent spot: the summary for policy makers of the countries which negotiated about the implementation of the climate agreement of Kyoto from 1997, that tries to limit the emission of greenhouse gases. Beginning this year sufficient countries had ratified Kyoto and it became effective. With as most important exception the United States.

The hockeystick of Mann, as the second graph is called in the course of years, became a symbol, a icon of policy makers and environmental activists who found that the Earth warms up and that something must be done before the climate gets out of hand. See for yourself, was the simple message which was fitted nicely in a sound bite, it gets warmer more rapidly than it was the case in thousand years.

Icons are vulnerable, so much is four years later, however, clear, says Rob van Dorland in De Bilt, a climatologist and one of the authors of the next IPCC report. He looks back with mixed feelings on the way climate skeptics have dealt with Mann and his results. He somewhat blames the IPCC, because the summary of the 2001 IPCC report only incorporated the result of Mann.

Skeptics and straight antagonists of climate policy saw a golden chance in 2001 in the simple graphic. If they succeeded in undermining the credibility of the IPCC symbol, room for doubt would arise on IPCC and the Kyoto protocol in general.

The study of Mann proved to be the ideal target. First because Mann was also the author of the second chapter of the 2001 IPCC report.

(Streamer: quote from Mann himself): “‹Å“ You can say what you want, Mike Mann remains for always that fellow who invented the hockeystick “‹Å“

Had he conducted, however, sufficient scientific debate with colleagues who were less convinced? And why were the three other studies not in the graph in the summary?

But there is more.

Climate reconstructions by means of proxies is a diabolically complicated craft. Nowhere can be found just like that a set of data of the complete period of thousand years.

Material for a reconstruction comes from several proxies, from innumerable places, several latitudes, of areas with continental climate and marine climate, and they are not all of equal quality. To puzzle this all together not only requires carefulness but also a truck cargo of statistical techniques to find real correlations and not only local coincidences. And then still in some periods of the reconstruction, the error margins in the results will be considerably large.

Red pencil
Beginning this year appeared in the serious American journal, Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), an article by two Canadians, economist Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph and the Fraser Institute, and Steven Mclntyre, a retired statistician who worked long in the mining industry. They went with a red pencil through Mann’s dataset and examined his statistical analyses. The results of Mann, they concluded, were suspicious. The data on which his analyses were performed, were partly filled with dummy-data to fill in holes. But especially they had problems with the way Mann stipulated which data mattered more and which less.

They themselves also did a similar principal component analysis and reached an amazing conclusion: the current temperatures are in the last thousand years not at all exceptional. In the middle ages it may have been, for example, also this warm.

The paper in the professional journal of the American Geophysical society was the provisional peak of the for years running attack on Mann. Mclntyre and McKitrick – their critics frequently call it M&M to keep it short — had published their criticism in broad terms already for many years in all kinds of less prominent journals and journalettes, none of them all really scientific.

The work of the pair was notable especially by the assistance which it harvested from skeptical angle, where all are convinced that the IPCC has started a life on its own. Mann always was depicted as the key example of an environment pope: in an authoritarian way and as only goal to affirm the greenhouse hypothesis. Publication this spring in the official GRL, a dainty peer reviewed scientific journal, was under skeptics experienced as recognition for a long ignored criticism.

But meanwhile the tide is turning. With the same GRL, two new articles now show up which point by point make short work of the criticism of Mclntyre and McKitrick.
The first article is by the geophysicist Peter Huybers of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, who has researched to what extent Mann’s statistic technique automatically leads to hockeystick graphs, irrespective of the exact data, as M&M had blamed Mann. Huybers’ article covers seven pages, but its conclusion is short: the method has indeed the inclination to rising lines, but that inclination is by McKitrick and Mclntyre grossly exaggerated caused by errors in their own analyses.

A second and much larger study is that of Eugene Wahl of Alfred University in New York and Caspar Ammann of NCAR climate center in Boulder, Colorado.

They examined how sensitive Mann’s results are for omission or inclusion of certain regional datasets. Their conclusion: Mann’s conclusion that the amount and speed of warming in the 20th century is unique for certainly six hundred and probably for a thousand years, is definite robust. More strongly still: a new reconstruction with very different statistical techniques in the same article does yield a hockeystick and no warm medieval period.

Tricky
In De Bilt, Van Dorland has already seen the studies, which he finds persuasive. Here independent research workers trace all tricky points and conclude that the criticism does not substantially hold water. "I had already doubts, especially because of their rather late warm middle ages, for which really no good indications existed." But especially Mann has with relief taken note of the efforts of his rescuers, he says still walking across the campus. “The story of McKitrick and Mclntyre is not staying up. They’re finished, it seems to me.” But whether it in practice will change much, Mann doubts it.

"A substantial problem is that criticisms on greenhouse studies, no matter how unsubstantiated, get endlessly recycled . You can say what you want, Mike Mann remains for ever that fellow who invented the hockeystick." And he can know. Already when the criticism on its graph came into fashion years ago, there exists a special Internet site (realclimate.org) on which he defends himself against the maelstrom of reproaches and accusations.

Sometimes harsh, he admits, but as exact as possible. Is his hockeystick the proof that man warms up the world? Surely not, we expect that on the basis of our climate models. Do the IPCC base themselves on one study, that of Mann? Surely not, at that time there already four studies and now there are as much as twelve independent climate reconstructions which show all that the 20th century is abnormal.

That he in the public opinion is identified with the hockeystick graph, is one of the reasons that he declined the honour to coordinate again the chapter about climate reconstructions for the fourth report of IPCC. “Something like that experience you do not want more than once”, he says.

Dutch Version
Broeikas Nieuwe studies weerleggen spraakmakende aanval op historische klimaat-reconstructies
Het hockeyteam mept terug Verzinsels, vonden sceptici over de grafiek waarmee klimaatwetenschappers aantoonden dat de aarde abnormaal opwarmt. Inmiddels zijn alle kritiekpunten onderzocht. En veel te licht bevonden.

Door Martijn van Calmthout
Klimatoloog Michael Mann klinkt wat buiten adem, als hij op het afgesproken uur in Amerika de telefoon aanneemt. Maar geen zorgen, verklaart hij zijn gehaaste ademhaling. Hij wandelt, als we het goed vinden, tijdens het gesprek dwars over het terrein van Penn State University, de universiteit van Pennsylvania. Hij is namelijk verbonden aan de faculteit aardwetenschappen, aan het ene eind van de campus. Maar, ook aan het instituut voor klimaatstudies, aan het andere eind.’ Mann is in een opperbeste bui.Eindelijk, zegt hij, eindelijk lijkt de kentering een feit. Jarenlang hebben sceptici hem achtervolgd met felle kritiek op zijn reconstructies van het vroegere klimaat op aarde. Die zouden niet solide zijn, volgens sommigen zelfs deels op verzonnen gegevens gebaseerd.

Manns specialisme is het onderzoeken van boomringen en andere natuurlijke indicatoren van het klimaat in vroeger tijden. Maar er is meer. Mann was in 1997 ook een van de auteurs van dat deel van het derde IPCC-rapport, hoofdstuk 2 om precies te zijn, dat ging over de vraag hoe uitzonderlijk de opwarming in de afgelopen eeuw precies is, historisch gezien.
Van de laatste anderhalve eeuw zijn daarvoor metingen met thermometers en andere instrumenten. Maar voor de periode daarvoor zijn wetenschappers als Mann aangewezen op zogeheten proxy’s, afgeleide aanwijzingen voor het klimaat in een bepaalde periode.

Dat zijn onder meer de diktes van boomringen, groeiringen in koraal, isotopenverhoudingen in pakijs aan de polen en in gletsjers. De kunst is in al die gegevens patronen te herkennen en die ook te ijken op een manier dat ze iets over vroegere temperaturen zeggen.

Dat daarbij behoorlijke foutenmarges gelden, verhult geen enkele serieuze onderzoeker. Mann publiceerde zijn eerste reconstructie in 1998 in Nature, voor de periode van 1400 tot nu. Later kwam daar het tijdvak tot het jaar 1000 bij.

Zwiep
Dat alles resulteerde in 2001 in wat de hockeystick-affaire is gaan heten. In het derde rapport van het internationale klimaatforum IPCC stond een grafiek van het temperatuurverloop in de afgelopen duizend jaar die terugging op het werk van Mann en collega’s. Wat daaraan vooral opvalt is een sterke zwiep omhoog in de tweede helft van de 20ste eeuw, na een lange periode van relatieve stabiliteit (afgezien van de kleine ijstijd in de 17de eeuw). Om precies te zijn stond Manns grafiek tweemaal in het rapport.

Eénmaal ergens diep in de wetenschappelijke onderbouwing van de stelling dat de aarde opwarmt en dat dit waarschijnlijk komt doordat we broeikasgassen als kooldioxide de lucht in jagen.

Verwerkt in een grafiek met nog drie klimaatreconstructies van andere teams van onderzoekers. Manns studie was de enige die op dat moment ook een schatting van de onzekerheden in de uitkomsten gaf.En een tweede, veel gestileerdere variant stond op een veel prominentere plek: de samenvatting voor beleidsmakers van de landen die onderhandelden over de uitvoering van het klimaatakkoord van Kyoto uit 1997 dat de uitstoot van broeikasgassen aan banden probeert te leggen. Begin dit jaar hadden voldoende landen Kyoto geratificeerd en trad het in werking. Met als belangrijkste uitzondering de Verenigde Staten.

De hockeystick van Mann, zoals de tweede grafiek in de loop der jaren is gaan heten, werd een symbool, een icoon van beleidsmakers en milieu-activisten die vonden dat de aarde opwarmt en dat daaraan iets moet worden gedaan voor het klimaat uit de hand loopt. Kijk maar, was de eenvoudige boodschap die netjes in een soundbite paste, het wordt sneller warm dan in duizend jaar het geval was.

Iconen zijn kwetsbaar, zoveel is vier jaar later wel duidelijk, zegt in De Bilt Rob van Dorland, klimatoloog en één van de auteurs van het volgende IPCC-rapport. Hij blikt met gemengde gevoelens terug op de manier waarop klimaat-sceptici met Mann en zijn resultaat zijn omgesprongen. Het enige wat hij het IPCC zou kunnen verwijten is dat in de samenvatting van het IPCC-rapport uit 2001 alleen het resultaat van Mann is opgenomen.Sceptici en regelrechte tegenstanders van klimaatbeleid zagen in 2001 in het simpele grafiekje een gouden kans. Als ze erin zouden slagen de geloofwaardigheid van het IPCC-symbool onderuit te halen, ontstond er ook ruimte voor twijfel aan IPCC en het Kyoto-protocol in het algemeen.

De studie van Mann bleek er het ideale doelwit voor. In de eerste plaats omdat Mann auteur was van het tweede hoofdstuk van het IPCC-rapport uit 2001.

(Streamer, quote van Mann zelf): ‘Je kunt zeggen wat je wilt, Mike Mann blijft voor altijd die kerel die de hockeystick verzon’

Had hij wel voldoende wetenschappelijk debat gevoerd met collega’s die minder overtuigd waren? En waarom was in de samenvatting alleen zijn grafiek te zien, en niet de drie andere studies? Maar er is meer. Klimaatreconstructie aan de hand van proxy’s is een duivels ingewikkeld vak. Nergens is zomaar een reeks gegevens voor de hele periode van duizend jaar te vinden.Materiaal voor een reconstructie komt uit verschillende proxy’s, van talloze plaatsen, verschillende breedtegraden, van gebieden met landklimaat en zeeklimaat, en is ook lang niet allemaal van gelijke kwaliteit.

Dat allemaal aan elkaar puzzelen vereist niet alleen zorgvuldigheid maar ook een wagonlading statitische technieken om echte correlaties te vinden en niet alleen plaatselijke toevalligheden. En dan nog zullen in sommige periodes van de reconstructie de foutmarges in de resultaten behoorlijk groot zijn.

Rode potlood
Begin dit jaar verscheen in het serieuze Amerikaanse tijdschrift Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) een artikel van twee Canadezen, econoom Ross McKitrick van de Universiteit van Guelph en het Fraser Institute, en Steven Mclntyre, een gepensioneerde statisticus die lang in de mijnindustrie werkte. Zij gingen met het rode potlood door Manns dataset en bekeken zijn statistische analyses. De resultaten van Mann, concludeerden ze, waren verdacht. De gegevens waarop hij zijn analyses losliet, waren voor een deel met dummy-data ingevuld om gaten te dichten. Maar vooral hadden ze problemen met de manier waarop Mann bepaalde welke gegevens er wel toededen en welke minder.

Zelf deden ze ook een dergelijke principal component analysis en kwamen tot een verbluffende conclusie: de huidige temperaturen zijn helemaal niet uitzonderlijk in de laatste duizend jaar. In de Middeleeuwen zou het bijvoorbeeld ook zo warm zijn geweest.

Het artikel in het vakblad van de American Geophysical Society was het voorlopige hoogtepunt van de al jaren lopende aanval op Mann. Mclntyre en McKitrick hun critici hebben het kortheidshalve vaak over M&M – publiceerden hun kritiek in grote lijnen al jarenlang in allerlei minder prominente bladen en blaadjes, geen van alle echt wetenschappelijk.

Het werk van het tweetal viel vooral op door de bijval die het oogstte uit sceptische hoek, waar men ervan overtuigd is dat het IPCC een eigen leven is gaan leiden. Mann werd steevast afgeschilderd als het toonbeeld van een milieu-paus: autoritair en alleen uit op bevestiging van de broeikashypothese. Publicatie dit voorjaar in het officiàƒÆ’à‚«le GRL, een keurig peer reviewed wetenschappelijk blad, werd onder sceptici ervaren als erkenning voor een lang genegeerde kritiek. Maar inmiddels is het tij aan het keren. Bij hetzelfde GRL liggen nu twee nieuwe artikelen voor die punt voor punt korte metten maken met de kritiek van Mclntyre en McKitrick.

Het eerste artikel is van geofysicus Peter Huybers van het oceanografische instituut in Woods Hole, die heeft uitgezocht in hoeverre Manns statistische techniek’ automatisch leidt tot een hockeystickgrafiek, ongeacht de precieze gegevens, zoals M&M Mann hadden verweten. Huybers artikel beslaat zeven pagina’s, maar zijn conclusie is kort: de methode heeft inderdaad de neiging tot stijgende lijntjes, maar die neiging is door McKitrick en Mclntyre schromelijk overdreven door fouten in hun eigen analyses.

Een tweede en veel uitgebreidere studie is die van Eugene Wahl van de Alfred University in New York en Caspar Ammann van het NCAR-klimaatcentrum in Boulder, Colorado.

Zij bekeken hoe gevoelig Manns uitkomsten zijn voor het weglaten of juist meenemen van bepaalde regionale datasets. Hun slotsom: Manns conclusie dat de mate en snelheid van opwarming in de 20ste eeuw uniek zijn voor zeker zeshonderd en vermoedelijk duizend jaar, is zonder meer robuust. Sterker nog: een nieuwe reconstructie met heel andere statistische technieken in hetzelfde artikel geeft wél een hockeystick en géén warme Middeleeuwen.

Heikel
In De Bilt heeft Van Dorland de studies al ingezien, die hij overtuigend vindt. ‘Hier gaan onafhankelijke onderzoekers alle heikele punten af en concluderen dat de kritiek niet wezenlijk hout snijdt. Ik had al twijfels, vooral vanwege hun nogal late warme Middeleeuwen, waarvoor echt geen goeie aanwijzingen bestaan.

Maar vooral Mann heeft met opluchting kennis genomen van de inspanningen van zijn redders, zegt hij nog altijd wandelend over de campus. ‘Het verhaal van McKitrick en Mclntyre houdt geen stand. They’re finished, lijkt me.’ Maar of het in de praktijk veel zal uithalen, Mann betwijfelt het.
‘Een wezenlijk probleem is dat kritiek op broeikasstudies, hoe onterecht ook, eindeloos gerecycled wordt. Je kunt zeggen wat je wilt, Mike Mann blijft voor altijd die kerel die de hockeystick verzon.’

En hij kan het weten. Al sinds de kritiek op zijn grafiek jaren geleden in zwang raakte, is er een speciale website (realclimate.org) waarop hij zich punt voot punt verweert tegen de maalstroom van verwijten en verdachtmakingen.

Fel soms, dat geeft hij toe, maar wel zo precies mogelijk. Is zijn hockeystick het bewijs dat de mens de wereld opwarmt? Welnee, we vermoeden dat op grond van onze klimaatmodellen. Baseert het IPCC zich op één studie, die van Mann? Welnee, destijds waren er al vier studies en nu zijn er wel twaalf onafhankelijke klimaatreconstructies die allemaal laten zien dat de 20ste eeuw abnormaal is.

Dat hij in de publieke opinie vereenzelvigd is met de hockeystick grafiek, is een van de redenen dat hij bedankt heeft voor de eer om voor het vierde rapport van IPCC opnieuw het hoofdstuk over klimaatreconstructies te coàƒÆ’à‚⵲dineren. “‹Å“Zoiets wil je niet nog eens meemaken’, zegt hij.


131 Comments

  1. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 29, 2005 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    I edited your translation to more readable english, feel free to cut and paste

    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/mannvolkskrant_en.htm

  2. Paul
    Posted Oct 29, 2005 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    Sometimes harsh, he admits, but as exact as possible. Is his hockeystick the proof that man warms up the world? Surely not, we expect that on the basis of our climate models. Do the IPCC base themselves on one study, that of Mann? Surely not, at that time there already four studies and now there are as much as twelve independent climate reconstructions which show all that the 20th century is abnormal.

    Ross had a great line in a different post that pretty much sums this up…

  3. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 29, 2005 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

    I figured you’d have a better translation out quickly, Hans. But I do wonder if calling the GRL a ‘dainty’ journal is quite what a precise translation should say. I think the ‘serious’ in the machine xlation is better in this one case.

  4. McCall
    Posted Oct 29, 2005 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    I believe “dainty” (or syn) is what the author wanted to convey — unfortunately for him, his credibility became “dainty” to outright missing entirely in making such a claim.

  5. TCO
    Posted Oct 29, 2005 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    Mann sounds really pathetic in the quotes. I wonder if he even has any talent. Maybe he bailed from mathematical physics because he could not handle the rigor. He’s about the speed needed for pop science on NPR. He’d get ripped too bits in any physics department. Just can’t bring it…

    He doesn’t even engage on the content. Just says that he has “rescuers”. If there are flaws, how come he couldn’t recognize or cite them. Pathetic.

  6. James Lane
    Posted Oct 29, 2005 at 11:52 PM | Permalink

    “Already when the criticism on its graph came into fashion years ago, there exists a special Internet site (realclimate.org) on which he [Mann] defends himself against the maelstrom of reproaches and accusations.”

    The irony here is that Realclimate does little to defend MBH and the other paleo studies. Instead, they haughtily cite hopeless refutations of M&M like W&A, Huybers and VZ and declare “game over”, while pretending they can’t find links to Steve’s responses to the comments.

    A consequence of realclimate’s posting “policy” is that it is an very boring blog, with little scientific discussion, and consisting of cheering from what TCO aptly described as the “peanut gallery”.

    By contrast, I find Climateaudit very entertaining and enlightening due to the very robust debating of aspects of climate science. I see value in the contributions of the “warmers” (if I can use that term in a non-pejoritive way) as it forces people to defend their positions with scientific argument.

    One thing that strikes me is that when the “warmers” wander in, they seem to think that contributors here are in denial about “global warming”. I would suggest that few of the regular contributors dispute this (although there might be argument about the magnitude). The real issues are about whether current warming is unprecendented historically (the paleo stuff) and whether it is anthropogenic (the attribution stuff).

  7. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 3:49 AM | Permalink

    One thing that strikes me is that when the “warmers” wander in, they seem to think that contributors here are in denial about “global warming”. I would suggest that few of the regular contributors dispute this (although there might be argument about the magnitude). The real issues are about whether current warming is unprecendented historically (the paleo stuff) and whether it is anthropogenic (the attribution stuff).

    Actually, James, the problem, OK I, have is you just don’t know what people believe.

    Some, like you, accept the warming, but don’t think it’s AGW. Others think it’s warming but it’s the sun, others think there is AGW but it can’t be much, others think it’s ‘warming’ but it’s UHI, others don’t think it’s warming much (UHI or thermometers, or sampling, or averages), others point to their locality and say ‘it’s not warming here, therefore it’s not warming anywhere else’, others just deny the warming and say cooling is just around the corner, others blame sunspots, others think it’s all a conspiracy by Greenpeace or politicans, or the ‘lefties’ or ‘greenies’ or ‘enviros’, some even think it’s cooling (the ‘ice age now’ lot) others …etc etc etc. There is only one common factor – you know your ‘enemy’ :)

    Now, is it any wonder ‘we’ have difficulty picking out those with a scientific approach from the noise? The ‘we’ who simply say ‘it’s warming, it’s increasingly due to us and we need to act if it’s not to warm up by [add prediction - mine is 2-4C most are around that]‘. And, OK, there is some divergence on my ‘side’, a few predict catastropic climate change, a few think we’re doomed. I don’t necessarily think we are, but I do think, as of now, we’re going to see a lot of warming and precious little action about it. Indeed, since when did humans do anything about looming crises? Which civilisations averted their own environmental disasters or plain disaster? Roman? Western American? South American? Egypt? Easter Island? I just hope our first global civilisation has more wit about it – the signs aren’t good, but, at least we, unlike those in the past, will know what’s happening and there are and will be solutions available.

  8. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 4:19 AM | Permalink

    re 7
    Below is a link to a museum exihibition in Mesa Verde USA, the famous cliff dwelling ancestral puebloans.
    Read the caption very carefully and then study the narrow treerings….

    And then tell me if tree rings are temperature proxies.

  9. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 5:16 AM | Permalink

    Re #8 Hans, you expect me to make a conclusion based on one piece of data?

  10. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 5:51 AM | Permalink

    no but it’s pretty convincing data, backed up with archeological evidence.

    As for ‘dainty”:
    My dictionary (Prisma Nederlands-Engels Woordenboek 1968)lists the following translations for “keurig”:
    “Charming”, “dainty”, “trim”, “spruce” and “smart”. (predominantly for clothes)
    I can ad “respectable”, “impeccable”, and “tip-top”

    Take your pick.

  11. TCO
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    I don’t know what I beleive either. So I guess it’s frustrating for someone who wants to debate me. Is that wrong? I have hunches more than strong beleifs or even strong suppositions.

    I just like that Steve will engage and doesn’t talk down. And that I can post. Even when people thought I was an evil warmer (and I don’t see how they thought that, I’ve been pretty damn supportive of Steve aside from asking an occasional question) or that I was spamming the board with too many comments, I still did not get shut down.

  12. Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 7:12 AM | Permalink

    On one hand, this Dutch guy admits that the hockey stick-like graphs are crucial in “proving” that the human activity has an unprecedented effect on the climate. On the other hand, he says that “of course, it is more important what the climate models tell us”. I can’t believe it. The climate models are a particular conjecture, and they remain a conjecture until there is a proved agreement with the observations.

    It’s also great to learn that there are not just skeptics, but skeptics and straight antagonists (of ecoterrorist policies and religion). Next time I will insist they don’t just call me a skeptic. ;-)

  13. Cris Streetzel
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    I wonder if they could put a poll system on this site – then we’d know what everyone believes! Of course, judging arguments based on what side someone is supposed to be on is exactly the opposite of how science is supposed to work. But science rarely works the way it’s supposed to. It has always been rife with politics and bias.

    It has always been interesting to me to watch documentaries about the latest greatest theory in a field. Invariably, the pioneers talk about how hard it was to advance a revolutionary theory because letting people know about it was a death sentence for their career. They wouldn’t get grants or jobs or tenure and would have trouble getting things published because the gatekeepers of such things are the ones who are vested in defending the dominant theories – they made careers on them. Scientist often have to wait for the old guard to die off before their work has a fighting chance to be accepted.

    I’m a physics buff, so I’ve seen this play out a number of times in that field (M-theory, expanding universe, etc). If politics are this common in a science that’s relatively black-and-white, a murky field like climate science is bound to be drowning in it. It’s not a conspiracy or an intentional lie. It’s just human nature biasing the scientific process. Eventually, the better theory wins out, but it is usually a generational struggle.

  14. JerryB
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    Did GRL publish W&A already? van Calmthout’s article implies so. Perhaps it got found in translation.

  15. Gil Pearson
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    Peter, comment 7

    I think it is a big mistake to progress directly from the belief that global warming is happening to press for urgent action. I suspect that many GW researchers and also interested civilians have an unconscious bias towards exaggeration, so as to generate SOME action. I would like to suggest and alternative way to look at things. Suppose we sketch out a comfortable schedule to de-carbonize the energy sector and then figure out what the consequences for climate would be. It may seem like a backwards way to think about it, but I suggest that it can provide a rational context for discussion.

    Perhaps it is obvious, but I contend that if you targeted 60% emission reduction from business as usual, in say 100 years, the costs would be dramatically less than if you attempted the same in 50 years. I think that if you look at technologies that are imminent, coal gasification with sequestration, new nuclear, hybrid cars, hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen for industrial heat and heat pumps for residential heat, you can be confident that with the right incentives these can be deployed over time for a moderate (10 to 20%) cost penalty. If this is done over enough time there would be minimal early retirement of existing hard assets, no energy rationing and a conventional transformation for existing businesses. For those who argue against doing anything, I would point out that, at present we need only make progressive commitments to any program we adopt. If in say 20 years we find that CO2 is really harmless we can abandon it. A 100 year response does not require that we change our life much at all. The task really falls on science, engineering and big capital. No need to transform society.

    Now, alternatively, think about the 50 year response. You cannot transform our industrial base in this time without widespread destruction of existing assets, very large energy price increases and a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt which translates into risk premiums on all capital. Perhaps you could find the international political will to do it, but I doubt it. In any case this leads us back to climate science.

    The only useful context for researchers is to report on the benefits and dis-benefits of the 50 versus 100 year response. We only care about differences that result from our rational choices. In our wildest dreams we can’t de-carbonize faster than 50 years and on a precautionary principal we should at least commit to the early stages of a 100 year program. Hopefully researchers would avoid the temptation to exaggerate so as to generate action. We would already be acting. As we learned more we could always change our response, up or down.

  16. Ian Castles
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    Gil Pearson, comment 15: The course that you are proposing, which seems to me to be eminently sensible, is in fact quite close to the IPCC’s B1 emissions scenario. Under this scenario, which like all the IPCC scenarios makes no allowance for the effects of any new policies explicitly to combat climate change (e.g., Kyoto), global emissions of fossil CO2 are projected to almost double between 1990 and 2050. They are then projected to decrease by 55 per cent, to below the 1990 levels, by 2100. On these assumptions, the projected increase in global mean temperature between 1990 and 2100 under the IPCC’s ISAM and CC-Bern “reference” models (see “Appendix II, SRES Tables” of the main scientific report) is 1.4 degrees C. The International Energy Agency has produced an “Alternative Scenario” to 2030, which “considers those policies and measures that countries are currently considering or might reasonably be expected to consider.” Under this scenario, projections of fuel-related CO2 emissions in 2030 are nearly 20 per cent lower than under the IPCC’s B1 scenario, and the projected increase in temperature would presumably also be somewhat lower. The specific measures that the IEA assumes will be adopted to achieve this result in the various regions are listed in the IEA’s “World Energy Outlook 2004″ (Chapter 11).

  17. John A
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    I think that whoever invented the concept of “The Precautionary Principle” should be taken out and shot. It should be called the “The Luddite Principle” or “The Paralyzed by Unknown Risks Principle”

    It isn’t based on science. It isn’t based on an rational argument. It’s a statement made to shut people up and shut out alternatives to the impoverishment of the world by putting all of human activity under state control.

  18. JerryB
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    John A,

    Don’t hold back now; tell us how you really feel. :-)

  19. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

    Re #14, no. W&A was submitted to GRL, then Steve and I submitted a response explaining that there was so little accurate content and so much academic check-kiting (ie referring to other unpublished papers which themselves evaded the content) that we couldn’t even begin preparing a response. GRL then notified us that they had rejected the W&A submission so we needn’t bother completing our response. This was back in June, but UCAR kept up its press release into the fall claiming their scientists had a paper under review at GRL. Late in September we were told by GRL that another submission from W&A was imminent but we still haven’t seen it.

  20. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

    Re: #17, the problem is that people misunderstand the precautionary principle. Let me start with an early and very clear statement of the “Precautionary Principle” (I’ll call it PP for short), which comes from the UN Rio Declaration on the Environment (1992). Here’s their original formulation:

    In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capability. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.

    This is an excellent statement of the PP, as it distinguishes it from such things as wearing condoms, denying bank loans, approving the Kyoto Protocol, invading Afghanistan, or using seat belts.

    The three key parts of the PP are: (emphasis mine)

    1) A threat of serious or irreversible damage.

    2) A lack of full scientific certainty (in other words, the existence of partial but not conclusive scientific evidence).

    3) The availability of cost-effective measures.

    Here are some examples of how these key parts of the PP work out in practice.

    We have full scientific certainty that condoms and seat belts save lives. Thus, using them is not an example of the PP, it is simply acting reasonably on principles about which we are scientifically certain.

    There are no scientific principles or evidence that we can apply to the question of invading Afghanistan, so we cannot apply the PP there either.

    Bank loans are neither serious nor irreversible, nor is there partial scientific understanding of them, so they don’t qualify for the PP.

    Finally, the Kyoto Protocol is so far from being cost-effective as to be laughable. The PP can be thought of as a kind of insurance policy. No one would pay $200,000 for an insurance policy if the payoff in case of an accident were only $20, yet this is the kind of ratio of cost to payoff that the Kyoto Protocol involves.

    On the other side of the equation, a good example of when we might use the PP involves local extinction. We have fairly good scientific understanding that removing a top predator from a local ecosystem badly screws things up. Kill the mountain lions, and the deer go wild, then the plants are overgrazed, then the ground erodes, insect populations are unbalanced, and so on down the line.

    Now, if we are looking at a novel ecosystem that has not been scientifically studied, we do not have full scientific certainty that removing the top predator will actually cause serious or irreversible damage to the ecosystem. However, if there is a cost-effective method to avoid removing the top predator, the PP says that we should do so. It fulfils the three requirements of the PP — there is a threat of serious damage, we have partial scientific certainty, and a cost-effective solution exists, so we should act.

    Regarding the proposal that we pump CO2 into the ocean (or take any action regarding CO2), while there is at least a theoretical threat of serious or irreversible damage, there is no partial scientific certainty, nor are there any cost-effective solutions in hand, including pumping the oceans full of CO2. At the moment, therefore, no action regarding CO2 is justified by the Precautionary Principle.

    w.

  21. JerryB
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

    Ross,

    Thank you. Perhps van Calmthout is of the “tomorrow’s (next month’s, next year’s) news today” school of journalism.

  22. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

    re 14
    Dutch text:

    Bij hetzelfde GRL liggen nu twee nieuwe artikelen voor die punt voor punt korte metten maken met de kritiek van McIntyre en McKitrick.

    The term “voorleggen” means “submit for review”, which I freely translated as “shown up” because Huybers has been published, however, Wahl and Ammann is still under review. I am a bit puzzled how Rob van Dorland can claim he has read the W&A paper when even Ross hasn’t seen it yet, perhaps he is confused with Von Storch&Zorita?
    Apparently Mann knows the contents of the resubmitted W&A.

  23. Paul
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    RE #20:

    The three key parts of the PP are: (emphasis mine)

    1) A threat of serious or irreversible damage.

    2) A lack of full scientific certainty (in other words, the existence of partial but not conclusive scientific evidence).

    3) The availability of cost-effective measures.

    Hypothetical: Guy goes into a bank. Sticks his finger in his coat pocket and says “give me the money.” Under the precautionaly principle, we have the appearance of a threat. Of course, we also have a lack of full scientific certainty that there is really a gun (we have partial but not conclusive evidence). But no actual threat, only the perception of a threat.

    Of course, this isn’t a perfect analogy, but I think it serves its purpose. Those who presently claim that AGW is significant enough to cause substantial changes to the world’s infrastructure and ecosystems are behaving much like the guy who goes and sticks his finger in his coat and tries to hold up the bank. His wife and kids may be starving and need the money, but his actions are such that he may end up getting shot, leaving his wife & kids still hungry.

    1) We don’t have a threat of serious or irreversible damage to the environment. We have speculation of serious or irreversible damage, but no real evidence. Where do we draw the line?

    2) We do have a significant lack of full scientific certainty (in other words, the existence of partial but not conclusive scientific evidence) regarding GW and even less certaintly regarding AGW.

    3) And since 1 and 2 have serious issues, what, exactly, are we be precautionary about? Speculation? We’ve got better odds winning the lottery.

    We have a perception that GW (with or without the A) is going to be bad (and this is where the bank robber analogy falls apart). But do we have evidence that a warmer earth is catastrophic? Problematic? Or more pleasant? What if a warmer earth is actually a good thing? Shouldn’t we be encourging it along? If there were some evidence that warmer is better, wouldn’t PP imply that we do something in that direction?

  24. Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    Paul – will it be more pleasant? We had snow here in Boston yesterday. Today, the temperatures jumped 25 Fahrenheit and we had another beautiful summer day. Both of them have been fun – but still, I would probable choose the Sun Day. ;-)

    Concerning the hockey sticks, maybe the journalists should pay more attention to the world champions in icehockey. As far as the data show, recently they’re either Czechs or Canadians. ;-)

  25. TCO
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

    how iz miz randle?

  26. Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

    If your slightly misspelled question is addressed to me, TCO, then let me answer that she is doing well, and still feeling a bit excited about the developments with Warped Passages. Have you bought “them” yet? Concerning the spelling, I would, on the contrary, prefer to change all “z” at the end to “s” – also in pronouncation – according to our standard rules.

  27. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

    I saw the CNN documentary on the intelligence failure on WMD in Iraq. When you think about it, the aluminum tubes were "proxy" evidence for WMD. The "proxy" evidence could be interpreted in different ways – obviously some people thought that they were evidence of uranium re-processing ambitions, but there were other explanations which turned out to be correct.

  28. TCO
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

    I went out with her sister.

  29. Paul
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    TCO… taking 28 after 27 might leave some puzzled (and had 27 been written slightly differently, potentially entertaining for us).

  30. TCO
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

    Hey Paulie.

  31. Paul
    Posted Oct 30, 2005 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    I’m probably a different “Paulie” (those that know me use the Finnish “Pauli”).

    OT (but related to this particular sub-thread): I occasionaly get very odd emails set to my through an Hotmail IM account. Apparently, someone with a similar name as mine is a globe trotting pilot who’s got several ladies all over the world. Needless to say, they are interesting emails and those sending them are quite embarassed to find out that I’m not the guy they thought I was.

  32. JerryB
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 7:47 AM | Permalink

    Re #22

    Hans,

    Thank you for the clarification.

  33. Murray Duffin
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    Re 20 Willis, could you give some evidence to back up your claim about the costliness of the Kyoto Protocol? That is another model based myth. Murray

  34. John A
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 2:14 PM | Permalink

    OT (but related to this particular sub-thread): I occasionaly get very odd emails set to my through an Hotmail IM account. Apparently, someone with a similar name as mine is a globe trotting pilot who’s got several ladies all over the world. Needless to say, they are interesting emails and those sending them are quite embarassed to find out that I’m not the guy they thought I was.

    Can you forward them to me as I have a hypothesis that e-mail traffic from widely separated sexually active women can be used as a proxy for global temperature….?

  35. TCO
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    Just forward me the wimmen. I need to “audit” them.

  36. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    re: # 33 Murray,

    Since Willis hasn’t gotten back to you yet, could you give an estimate of what you think Kyoto would/will cost? Bear in mind that there is a need to consider 1. Direct costs of running the program. 2. Indirect costs such as opportunities lost and 3. Costs to society of less availability of energy or energy at higher cost. Then, of course, we need to consider the time span we’re talking about. The out-of-pocket costs of Kyoto may decline over time, but the lost opportunity and societal costs will rise as an attempt to keep more people with more disposable income living on the same amount of fossil energy cuts deeper and deeper.

    Yes, over time various work-around and new technology will arise, but the same will happen even without any Kyoto-style world energy program. After all, we’re not still using whale oil lamps or even kerosene lamps. Energy usage has become more efficient over time and shows no sign of slacking off. I suggest that if a fraction of the direct costs of Kyoto were invested in bringing technical advances to market earlier which were known to reduce CO2 emissions, this would result in a higher pay-back than Kyoto itself.

  37. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 4, 2005 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    Re: 36 Dave it’s hard for me to judge where you are coming from.
    1. Direct costs of running the program. 2. Indirect costs such as opportunities lost and 3. Costs to society of less availability of energy or energy at higher cost.
    There may be some small costs of “running the program”, but the other points will be economic benefits, not costs. I posted the following on Prometheus last July, (sorry for the length):
    Contrary to popular belief, the best reason for enacting Kyoto is the economic benefits, especially given the growing world, and more importantly, American shortages of energy relative to demand. Personally, in terms of AGW threat, I don’t see much need for Kyoto, but I would sure like to see us sign on for the other benefits.
    It is very interesting to me that Climate people, both AGW supporters and skeptics alike, seem to accept the results of Economic Models without question. This may be understandable for the supporters, because they have great faith in Climate Models. However I find it surprising for the skeptics.
    Nordhaus is the father of the high cost of Kyoto myth. I think his first modeling was done about 1993. Then WEFA came out with their results in 1998, and heavily influenced Congress through testimony at committee hearings. I think most of the other models you provided links for were later than these two. Back in 1998 I exchanged some e-mails with one of the principle WEFA modelers and also encountered a Harvard grad. who claimed to have worked under Nordhaus. From their inputs, at least these 2 models left out many key factors, some consciously, some unconsciously. The ones I recall include: any possibility of energy efficiencies reducing CO2 (economists assume that possible efficiencies are already effected, which is far from true); further reductions in energy per unit of GDP; scarcity of fossil fuels driving up prices and driving down consumption; changes in the supply mix between domestic and imports, with the resulting economic impact on the balance of payments; non-internalized environmental costs of burning fossil fuels; legislation that would favor efficiency or renewables and result in job creation; the possibility of economic sequestration, eg CO2 reinjection for tertiary recovery of oil. I suspect that later models suffer most of the same failings, and are therefore meaningless.
    Lynn’s observation from the same thread (below) is apt. By the way, I have considerable knowledge and experience in economically realizing energy efficiencies in both industry and household opportunities. Amory Lovins is right. Another factor that is usually overlooked is the benefit of renewables. Using primary energy in fossil fuels to generate electricity is about 30% efficient on average. Generating primary energy directly as electricity by wind or solar is 3 times as efficient. Combining economically attractive efficiencies, non burdensome conservation, and renewables, the US economy could run on something near 1/4th the energy now used, with only economic benefits in the forms of job creation and reduced negative payments balance, to say nothing of the security and environmental benefits
    snip #35, the best economic argument can be found in the work of Amory Lovins, who figures the U.S. could reduce its fossil fuel consumption by at least 3/4 cost-effectively & without lowering productivity, given current technology. He has examples of some businesses reducing even 90%, without lowering productivity, by “tunneling through.” Even if he’s overly optimistic, a 50% reduction still sounds very good! See http://www.natcap.org and http://www.rmi.org
    Now why do we need Kyoto, if we can reduce so drastically in a money-saving manner without lowering productivity. The answer comes from some research I did preparing a “business & environment” course. For instance, 3M started 3P (Pollution Prevention Pays) after they told their all their workers, from assembly line to engineers, to start finding ways to reduce pollution to meet future regs in ways that wouldn’t cost them too much. Their workers found plenty of ways to reduce in ways that save money – I think over $1 billion to date. When they asked the engineers why they hadn’t come up with those money-savers before, they replied that it wasn’t put to them that way. Dow has its similar WRAP (Waste Reduction Always Pays), and I read that Dow would have continued to reduce pollution/waste cost-effectively, if the head & impetus of that program had not retired. Another example was a plating company in Mass. that was polluting the river & knew it had to reduce to meet tougher future regs. They tried reducing their water, but still couldn’t meet regs, until they developed a “closed-loop” system – separating out the pollutants (which were valuable resources) & recycling the water, reducing their pollution to almost nothing. They figured the system would pay for itself in a couple of years, except that the water main for the city broke for three days a few months later & they were able to keep up production, saving them $150,000, nearly paying for the system right then.
    The fact is that regs & Kyoto are ultimately great for business – it gets them to think outside the box, & more often than not come up with solutions that are even better than their earlier business-as-usual. I have some archaeological examples, as well. The principle is that some barrier, natural or artificial, leads to great break-throughs. Refusing Kyoto, as the U.S. has done, is tantamount to stifling economic progress, even if GW is totally false & later disproved. It is tantamount to destroying the economy, if GW is real, because (I’ll state it again) the environment is fundamental, the economy contingent. It surprises me (and angers me as a tax-payer funding public education) that it takes so much smarts to figure that one out.
    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan “¢’‚¬? 20 Jul 2005 @ 10:32 pm

  38. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 4, 2005 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    It is very interesting to me that Climate people, both AGW supporters and skeptics alike, seem to accept the results of Economic Models without question

    I am convinced that the SRES scenarios are built on wishful thinking, eg not one scenario considers a worldwide recession.

  39. fFreddy
    Posted Nov 4, 2005 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    Re #37

    Using primary energy in fossil fuels to generate electricity is about 30% efficient on average. Generating primary energy directly as electricity by wind or solar is 3 times as efficient.

    How are defining efficiency on your planet ?

  40. Greg F
    Posted Nov 4, 2005 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

    Re:37

    Using primary energy in fossil fuels to generate electricity is about 30% efficient on average.

    The 30% efficiency is simply wrong. for coal:

    Modern large steam turbine plants (over 500 MW) have efficiencies approaching 40-45%.

    And for natural gas:

    In Canada, there are 28 natural gas-fired combined cycle and cogeneration plants with an average efficiency of 48 %.

    Electric generation with oil in the US is less then 1% if I recall correctly.

    Generating primary energy directly as electricity by wind or solar is 3 times as efficient.

    What do you mean by efficient? The theoretical highest efficiency of a windmill is 59%. A short list of problems with windmills is the required spin reserve as backup (fossil fuel plants running but not supplying power to the grid). The intermittent nature of wind that creates grid stability problems. And the fact that the highest demand for electricity is when it is real hot or real cold out. Which just so happens to coincide with low to no wind conditions. Solar cells are a complete waste of money.
    Rather then allowing topic drift from distracting from the main focus of this blog, I would suggest you bring this discussion over to Debunkers.

  41. cytochrome sea
    Posted Nov 4, 2005 at 10:31 PM | Permalink

    I’m with fab five Freddy on this one, I’m thinking it might be a joke though?
    E production is usually pretty cut and dry; plenty of decent white papers, a figure of 30% offers me nothing. Perhaps it relies on some seriously unconventional definitions.
    I can’t really tell if the post comes from Lynn or Murray.

  42. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 4, 2005 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

    Sorry, I bin’ away, didn’t answer the thread. Murray re your question on the cost of Kyoto, you say:

    1. Direct costs of running the program. 2. Indirect costs such as opportunities lost and 3. Costs to society of less availability of energy or energy at higher cost.
    There may be some small costs of “running the program”, but the other points will be economic benefits, not costs. I posted the following on Prometheus last July, (sorry for the length):

    1) Direct Costs. The costs of “running the program” are anything but trivial as you state. Here’s some figures just to date for a few countries. Remember, these are just the costs in category 1, and only to date:

    Canada has just allocated about $6 billion, on top of about $3.5 billion which was used just to educate the good folks of Canada about the “need” for Kyoto.

    Italy has recently been screaming about getting out of Kyoto because it has already cost them about $11 billion

    And the Brits are at about $4 billion, and allocating more.

    2. Indirect costs. How much human time and energy has gone into Kyoto already, up to and including us discussing it today? How many international conferences, how many miles of jet travel and reams of paper have gone up in smoke for this dream? I have no idea.

    3. Increased costs. For example, the EU is scheduled to pay Russia an estimated 5.5 billion per year for the right to release CO2. This, of course, will be paid by EU businesses, which means of course the EU consumer will foot the bill. Indeed, some countries (such as Britain) have already backed off from certain targets of Kyoto, because they raise costs too much for the consumer.

    But forget all of that. Here’s the real question.

    Kyoto supporters and opponents alike estimate that Kyoto (if complied with) would cause about 0.06°C cooling in fifty years. How much is that six hundredths of a degree worth?

    To me? If you could guarantee it would occur, I’d pay $10.00 for that 0.06°C cooling. Not more. It’s not worth it. Why? Because it is too small a cooling to detect. That, to me, is the astounding part, that people seem to be willing to pay big bucks for something too small to measure.

    So whether the global cost is $150 billion per year, the generally accepted estimimate, or more than that as some would have it, or only say $15 billion, is immaterial — anything over ten bucks, you’re paying too much for the gain.

    Finally, avoided gains. Unlike CO2, there are problems in the world that are all too real. Every dollar spent on Kyoto is a dollar not spent saving an African kid from dying of impure water. You really sure you want to make that tradeoff?

    And if so, perhaps you might let us know how you might explain that choice to the kid’s mom? I mean, you’re trading the kids life for a temperature change too small to measure, surely you could justify that to her? …

    w.

    PS – you say:

    Using primary energy in fossil fuels to generate electricity is about 30% efficient on average. Generating primary energy directly as electricity by wind or solar is 3 times as efficient.

    This means that wind and solar are 90% efficient, which is nonsense (in practice they are about 10% efficient), so I’m sure you meant something other than what you wrote.

    PPS – I was curious why you included all of the information about pollution and ways to reduce it, since I thought we were discussing CO2. Yes, there are ways to make money by lowering pollution, especially since a number of pollutants (e.g. heavy metals) are valuable in themselves.

    CO2, on the other hand, is neither valuable nor a pollutant, so it’s hard to imagine how most businesses could save money by reducing CO2 emissions. Perhaps you could provide an example.

  43. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 4, 2005 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

    “a figure of 30% offers me nothing.”

    Typically these numbers come from Carnot efficiency. If you want a 100% of thermal energy the internal combustion engine is much less than 30% efficiency, but rather that number is how much possible work potential you can get out of it. There will always be a thermal loss, even in a 100% efficient Carnot engine. The problem is of course that a 100% efficient engine will not give you any real useful work. A car that can not go faster than a person walks is not useful.

    But applying the 30% efficiency of an IC engine to all forms of fossil fuel burring is also wrong. The large Diesels engines used in ships get up to 50% efficiency, the same would hold true if you used then for electrical generation. The reason why people don’t use them for electrical generation is that they are not as efficient from a fuel usage/economic standpoint as slower burning fuels like coal and NG. Again even Greg’s # don’t mean much because we don’t know what efficiency they are. Is it thermal efficiency? is it Carnot efficiency? When you talk about solar panels it’s a pure energy efficiency (power required to build, to power output) issue. People continue to mix and match efficiency numbers without ever explaining which efficiency it is.

  44. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 4, 2005 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

    “CO2, on the other hand, is neither valuable”

    A tree would argue the point.

  45. cytochrome sea
    Posted Nov 4, 2005 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

    Greg F, after I posted I saw your post. IIrc some of these figures look a little low. I suppose it depends on how the energy for mining/transportation is figured in?

    As far as windmills, IMO capacity factor contraints completely dominate any efficiency problems, and are relatively unpredictable. (although averages for certain sites can be worked out pretty well) I agree with you that solar PV is a waste a money. I think solar thermal might have reasonable possibilities in the near (30-40? year) future however. Consider a small (1-2′ diameter?), thin glass sphere w/ sputtered reflective bottom half, a centered absorber with a small thermoelectric type coupling seperated by a vacuum and about 8-10 um, and a well insulated heat sink going a few feet underground. I think you know what I’m getting at but I’ll probably think about the idea later and realize why it won’t work. :)

    I apologize for being OT and will take it to debunkers.org if there is interest.

  46. cytochrome sea
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 1:14 AM | Permalink

    ET Sid: #43, check out diesel rocket turbopumps.

  47. Greg F
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 1:22 AM | Permalink

    Re:43

    Again even Greg’s # don’t mean much because we don’t know what efficiency they are. Is it thermal efficiency? is it Carnot efficiency?

    Sid they do mean something. Go back and read the link.

    Steam turbine power plants operate on a Rankine cycle.

    Combustion turbine plants operate on the Brayton cycle.

    The efficiencies stated are the thermal efficiencies. FYI, the Carnot cycle is different.

  48. Greg F
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    cytochrome sea,

    Consider a small (1-2″‚Ⱐdiameter?), thin glass sphere w/ sputtered reflective bottom half, a centered absorber with a small thermoelectric type coupling seperated by a vacuum and about 8-10 um, and a well insulated heat sink going a few feet underground. I think you know what I’m getting at but I’ll probably think about the idea later and realize why it won’t work.

    I think your talking about Thermoelectric devices. They work all right, not terribly efficient though.

  49. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    Greg you completely missed my point. I understand that, but you can’t compare the thermal efficiencies of steam turbines to the 30% efficiency that Murray mentioned, who is also applying a different number to two different things.

    I understand what the carnot cycle is, the 25%-30% efficiency number for IC engines is typicall based upon the percentage of carnot efficiency http://www.engineersedge.com/thermodynamics/carnot_cycle.htm

  50. Greg F
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Sid,

    Murray claimed in comment #37

    Using primary energy in fossil fuels to generate electricity is about 30% efficient on average.

    The fossil fuels used for generating electricity are coal and natural gas. Oil, and to an even lesser extent gasoline, make an insignificant contribution. To express efficiency in percentage, for a real system, we only need to know the energy in and the energy out.

    Efficiency = (energy_out / energy_in) * 100

    The link I provided was for the real life efficiencies of real life generators. There is no ambiguity here. To state “Greg’s # don’t mean much” simply makes no sense and shows a lack of understanding on your part. The point I was making, that you appear to have missed, is that Murray’s number for real life electric generators was wrong.

  51. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    And I understand that Greg, my point was only about mixing and matching different numbers. Murray was using IC Fossil Fuel Efficiencies and applying them to electrical generation, You can’t do that they are not equal. My point on yours was only minor in that you did not specify the type of efficiency. I don’t argue your numbers, they are correct for what they are applied to.

    My only point, which seems to be lost on you, is oftentimes things are lost when people apply numbers that don’t apply for all situations. Yes large Marine diesels get 50% efficiency, when people then argue why we can’t get the same 50% efficiency in cars. Well that’s mainly because a car is not a ship. What works well for one, does not work well for others. Same with coal fired Steam turbines. Great for electrical generation, poor application for aircraft. Again my point was to Murray’s not yours. In fact I was reinforcing your position, with only the minor correction that the efficeincy numbers applied do not always cross correlate.

    And your Efficiency equation leaves out one important factor, work done. That’s why you can’t apply the efficiency of a car to electrical generation, which Murray not you did. In an electrical generation plant you can leave out work, because you only care about power output. In a car, where Murray seems to be getting his numbers, there are many more loss factors, hence why the numbers don’t correlate. Your equation does not work for a car, it does work for the engine alone, but an engine is not a car.

  52. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    To clarify a point I almost made.

    Large Marine Diesels get 50% Efficiency. The ships they are in do not. The ship being a larger system.

    Murray is applying the efficiency for one system, and then broadly applying it to all fossil Fuel systems, resulting in stating much poorer efficiencies for the particular sstem he is discusing.

  53. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    First please note that I said I was not much interested in Kyoto for CO2 or AGW. However it would force energy efficiency, which we dearly need, and Canada is even a little less efficient in terms of energy per unit of GDP than the USA. The efficiency I’m referring to is electrical efficiency out vs primary energy in the fuel in. Yes some coal plants and some CCGT NG plants are very efficient. About 90% of coal plants in the USA are more than 25 years old, and had a typical efficiency of 30 to 35% when they were new. About 80% of NG plants in the USA are simple cycle peaking plants and are typically 25% efficient. There are very few modern high efficiency plants of either type. Wind and solar produce electricity as primary energy, so no loss in getting to electricity. Wind and solar are constantly renewed from the outside so are not burning “capital” at low efficiency as for fossil fuels. Yes they are typically less than 30% efficient in converting the incoming energy to electricity, but a lot better than 10%, but that is not comparing apples to apples. As for spinning reserve, that is a simple anti-wind canard. In a large scale system there are economic ways to overcome that problem. All kinds of numbers are bandied around for the cost of Kyoto, but most of the cost so far has been incurred in resisting, not in doing something about it. I should have clarified that my comments were for the USA, not Europe. The USA could meet and exceed Kyoto requirements by getting energy efficient, which would create jobs, reduce the current account deficit, reduce dependence on off-shore energy sources, reduce societal costs of dirty energy production, etc., etc. Nothing but economic benefits. Don’t worry about whether it would be beneficial for CO2 or AGW reduction or not. It would be good for energy efficiency and for the economy, so I support it, and the idea that it would be ruinously costly is nonsense. Murray

  54. Greg F
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

    Murray was using IC Fossil Fuel Efficiencies …

    Murry never made that claim, your assuming facts not in evidence.

    My point on yours was only minor in that you did not specify the type of efficiency.

    I think it was self evident that the link was taking about real life efficiency.

  55. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

    Re:#53
    Murray, here’s a naive question. If electricity produced by wind or solar costs more than current coal/gas/whatever, how does it help the economy to switch to wind/solar? Seems to me that that has the economic impact of raising the price of electricity, which doesn’t seem obviously beneficial to the economy.
    Also, could you post a link or two on how we can substantially improve energy efficiency (say, 25%) over the short term (say, 5-10 years) without spending more on the efficiency than the savings are worth?

  56. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 6:15 PM | Permalink

    PS I agree that this is not the forum for this discussion. I just get ticked by intelligent people unthinkingly parroting the nonsense about the cost of Kyoto. Please go to http://www.energypulse.net/centers/author.cfm?at_id=575 for a series of articles that may forestall unproductive argument like the above, and to http://newenergyfuture.com/reports/redirectingamericasenergy.pdf for some estimates of economic benefits. Murray

  57. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

    Armand, wind energy in good sites already has a unsubsidized cost of 4 cents/kWh, comparable to coal and better than NG at present fuel prices. But coal does not internalize any of the costs to society of unclean air and waste disposal, neither of which are a problem for wind. More importantly, efficiencies typically cost .6 to 2 cents/kWh. Negawatts cost much less than megawatts. I don’t see any need to save 25% in 5-10 years but 40% in 25 to 30 years is certainly doable if we really wanted to do it, eg with an Apollo program for energy. Please see the above references for the rest of the arguments. The paper on scenarios deals with your question re savings. Murray

  58. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    I say keep posting until Steve comes along and says, “Move on, boys!”

    My opinion is that prices should be the guide to usage. If it’s cheaper to switch to a new technology, it’s also more energy efficient in the long run. A new technology isn’t going to disappear between now and when it’s cost comes down, and I’m more than happy to let people try it out even if it’s more expensive either because they think it’s morally superior or because they want to show off, but for the great mass of people let us decide when to switch using our own criteria.

  59. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

    For other references on energy savings potentials and approaches see http://www.rmi.org and the ACEEE web site. Murray

  60. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 6:38 PM | Permalink

    “Murry never made that claim, your assuming facts not in evidence.”

    Yes I am assuming that, because we are all agreed his numbers are wrong for electricity generation, Correct? Now we do know that 30% efficiency is a number currently used for IC engines. So yes I assumed that this is what he was talking about.

    “I think it was self evident that the link was taking about real life efficiency. ”

    Okay fine, since you seem to want an argument with someone who agrees with you. Let’s discuss your “real life”

    In post 47 you state your numbers are “The efficiencies stated are the thermal efficiencies.”

    Murray in post 37 claims

    “Using primary energy in fossil fuels to generate electricity is about 30% efficient on average. Generating primary energy directly as electricity by wind or solar is 3 times as efficient.”

    Well if it’s thermal efficiency we are discussing, as your “real world” what is important, Murray is wrong in that windmills and solar panels are many many times more thermally efficient than 3 times coal or natural gas. Wind mills in particular are extremely thermally efficient, the exhaust air temperature is very very close to the input temperature of air, and when expressed as a ratio to power output, all of a sudden we get huge “thermal efficiencies” for wind power.

    But that is pretty irrelevant isn’t.

    So since you later clarified that the “thermal efficiencies” for various types of fossil fuels are actually better than Murray claimed, I wonder why that is important, because if Thermal efficiency of is the only guideline we care about, then windmills are much much more thermally efficient. But we should really look at Hydro Power. Since the output temperature is actually slightly warmer on the output than on the input Hydro Electric dams are massively thermal efficient, even better than wind.

    Now do you see where mixing and matching efficiency discussions is a difficult thing to do?

  61. Greg F
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

    As for spinning reserve, that is a simple anti-wind canard.

    The largest wind power producer in Germany E.ON Netz GmbH (PDF file) says your wrong

    Only limited forecasting is possible for wind power infeed. If the wind power forecast differs from the actual infeed, the transmission system operator must cover the difference by utilising reserve capacity. This requires reserve capacities amounting to 50 — 60 % of the installed wind power capacity.

    Read the whole thing Murry.

  62. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

    Re 58 “My opinion is that prices should be the guide to usage.” Do you drive a large SUV? If yes was the decision mad on the basis of price? Not likely. And that is one of the key problems. We have too many distortions in our “free market” system for prices to be a good guide.
    “but for the great mass of people let us decide when to switch using our own criteria.” Sure, but I would like to steer the criteria for the benefit of society where it is an individual choice. For instance – How about having to pay more at the pump for the privelege of wasting a scarce and important resource, if you want to drive a gas guzzler? And then there are all the areas where you really don’t have a choice, like how your electricity is generated.

  63. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    Re 61 See my paper on wind. What is done now, and what would be needed in a well designed system are 2 different things. Present wind installers have not yet had the possibility of taking a whole system view. Murray

  64. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

    ” Do you drive a large SUV?”

    How many poeple can you carry in your Prius (yet another assumption), how mny pieces of 4’X8′ sheetrock can you carry in your Mazda Miata.

    Proper tool for the proper job and all that.

  65. Greg F
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

    Yes I am assuming that, because we are all agreed his numbers are wrong for electricity generation, Correct?

    Actually … no.

    Typically, U.S. steam-electric generating plants operate at efficiencies of about 33 percent, meaning that two-thirds of the thermal energy produced is lost.

    Keep in mind this is for 1999 and efficiency is probably a bit higher now.

  66. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    Sid, I don’t respond to trolling so run along and play with someone else. Murray

  67. Greg F
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

    See my paper on wind.

    Point me to it Murry.

  68. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

    See # 56. Read both papers on wind. Murray

  69. cytochrome sea
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

    #48 Greg F, It wasn’t very wise of me to include “thermoelectric type coupling” in my suggestion. What I was trying to get at was merely quantum tunneling phenoms, hence the very small distance between the electrodes separated by a decent vacuum. Heat “diodes” if you will. Methods can be realized today to produce this effect, but I’m thinking 10? or 30-40 years into the future the effect might be more economically realized, even if in small segments. (ie, relatively small, by surface area stantards, modules manufactured cheaply enough. Likely made in China. ) Of course, I already see problems with specular reflections due to the nature of a cheap glass, ie, fused silica might allow upwards of an 8% or so UV additive, but fused silica as a substrate might overprice the globe costs, making the cost of the actual generation less than beneficial.

    An aside: I like to date filipina girls

  70. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

    Re: #57
    Thanks for the info, but I’m still looking for answer to my first question. You admit that wind power is more expensive than other current technologies (e.g. coal, nuclear, hydro). How does it not hurt the economy to increase electricity costs by switching from one of these cheaper technologies to more expensive wind? (I’m ignoring for now the issues about wind plants being less useful because the timing of the supply is not under human control, etc). Contrary to what you say, coal *does* internalize the costs of pollution and waste disposal, since the plants have to pay for waste disposal, pollution control equipment and/or pollution permits.

    As for the time frame of energy efficiency savings, thanks for clarifying that you also don’t see it as a 5-10 year issue, but rather as a longer-term issue. Given that electrical generating plants have useful lives of 40 or more years, it seems much more sensible to me to stick to building new plants with the most cost-effective technology, rather than throwing away the enormous capital investment in existing plants.

    I’m interested in your mention of an Apollo-like program for energy efficiency. What would be the specific goal(s) of this program? I personally don’t see any *direct* benefit from increased energy efficiency; it seems that the net benefits, if any, would be secondary such as reduced costs of electricity and so forth.

  71. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    Re #62
    I’m not clear on your argument. You seem to say that car buying decisions are not made on the basis of price. Certainly, design & quality are important, but if price were not a (probably the) major factor, BMW would be selling more cars than Chevrolet.

    You also suggest having to pay more at the pump if you drive a less-fuel-efficient car, but that’s exactly what happens today — less fuel efficiency = buying more gas = paying more at the pump. As gas has become more scarce after the recent hurricanes, the price has gone up, and people have purchased less of it. I’m not clear what changes you are proposing.

  72. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

    re#62 No I don’t have an SUV or anything similar. Actually our cars are a bit larger than they strictly need to be, but it’s not worth trading them in for a smaller size just to save a bit on gas. When we do get a new car it will probably be smaller, however. Although my wife does have a fetish for roof racks and I might have to get something big enough to have one.

    And gasoline isn’t a scarce commody, despite what the warmers claim. Having a cartel in charge of the largest amounts of low-priced supply doesn’t help, of course, but if we can’t get agreement on kicking out villans like Saddam Hussain, what are the chances we’d get agreement to invade Saudi-Arabia?

  73. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 8:12 PM | Permalink

    Okay Greg so now you agree with Murray based on one particular vague reference that counters your previous references. I still don’t see how that supports comparing thermal efficiency between wind turbines and Fossil Fuel power plants.

    From a pure energy efficiency standpoint wind is great, it’s application to placing a kilowatt at your house when you need it however are very poor. But in either case thermal efficiency in wind power is completely irrelevant. Wind Power has been around for about 1000 years, what 800 years longer than fossil fuels have been used. If wind power was better at putting power in your house, it would have long ago been adopted.

    And Murray, your definition of trolling, as with many here, is someone who doesn’t agree with you. SUV’s aren’t evil, they have a specific value, which can be energy efficient if applied correctly. The problem we have is that people tend to purchase cars based on A; Maximum needs (amount of people, lumber, whatever), B: comfort and personal desires. Not everyone can afford to purchase multiple vehicles to meet specific needs at specific moments.

    Have a buddy who used to drive an Expedition 3+ hours a day commuting. I told him he was an idiot. He also has 3 kids and a wife, he’d be just as much an idiot if his only car was a Smart Car or a Miata. A nice mid sized SUV would probably do perfectly fine for him, or a mini-van which from an energy efficiency standpoint is no better or worse than an SUV. I notice that people don’t denounce the use of Mini Vans though, or full sized cars for that matter.

    Proper tool for the proper job.

    If you can get more than one vehicle to do many dissimilar jobs you should, and I do. But don’t paint me as an energy waster driving to Home depot in my SUV, most of the time I’m driving my 4 cylinder 2 seater car (when it’s not being fixed), but even if I drove a semi I’d be willing to bet my annual fuel consumption would still be less than yours (assuming you drive a vehicle at all).

  74. Greg F
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

    See my paper on wind. What is done now, and what would be needed in a well designed system are 2 different things.

    “Well designed” is grid redesigned. IOW, the cost for wind power just got a whole lot more expensive. Again, read the link I supplied to the largest wind power company in Germany. They addresses most, if not all, of the problems you say are “manageable requirements”. Theory is always simpler then implementation. Spin reserve is a reality and no amount of hand waving will make it go away.

  75. Greg F
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    Wind and solar are constantly renewed from the outside so are not burning “capital” at low efficiency as for fossil fuels.

    Unlike wind, data for real world solar panels is available. Present technology is not cost effective. It is even questionable that you will ever recover the energy used to manufacturer them. That is throwing “capitol” down a rat hole.

    Yes they are typically less than 30% efficient in converting the incoming energy to electricity, but a lot better than 10%, but that is not comparing apples to apples.

    I have looked at the data for a number of installed solar panels. Conversion efficiency runs around 10%. Payback times are typically over 40 years, which most likely means never. Output degrades between 1% and 5% per year. Wind mills are a bad investment, solar panels are worse

  76. Greg F
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    cytochrome sea,

    An aside: I like to date filipina girls

    LOL … at my age I can’t be that picky. I am happy if I can find a half sane woman!

  77. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    “solar panels are worse”

    I’ve always said if Solar Panels are so great, why don’t solar power manufacturers (Who conceivably can get solar panels at a discount) use them to create the power for their manufacturing facilities.

    Having said that, I do sell solar panels for particular instances for which they are excellent. But they are special cases.
    instances for which they are excellent. But they are special cases.

    “but a lot better than 10%

    Actually most panels are close to 12%, not exactly a lot better than 10%

  78. Greg F
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

    Okay Greg … I still don’t see how that supports comparing thermal efficiency between wind turbines and Fossil Fuel power plants.

    Care to quote me on where I even addressed that issue?

  79. cytochrome sea
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    Murray: The simplistic solution seems so obvious, difficult for me to see things that cost more as being better solutions. Economic folly, as I see it, but please elaborate, so as to justify this position.

  80. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    When I said you cannot, and you disagreed with me. If I say comparing thermal efficiencies between the two is irrelevant, and you argue the point with me, I assume you believe in the counter which is that it is valid.

    What I really can’t understand is when you argued Murray’s 30% (as did others) and then choose to further back him up to somehow show I was wrong. Why you are countering your own posts I have no idea.

    Using Murray’s numbers of 30% for Fossil Fuels and Wind power being 3 times better is like comparing the GDP of Poland and an orangutan

  81. Greg F
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

    When I said you cannot, and you disagreed with me.

    IOW, no quote. You built a strawman.

    What I really can’t understand is when you argued Murray’s 30% (as did others) and then choose to further back him up to somehow show I was wrong.

    I didn’t choose “to further back him up” to show you were wrong. I backed him up because he made a valid point about older plants. That led me to new facts, from a reliable source, that supported his 30%. Its called being intellectually honest.

  82. TCO
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 9:25 PM | Permalink

    Sid, you’re tedious.

  83. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

    No straw man. I made a point, you’ve been disagreeing with me all evening on it. If you want to claim to be so intellectually honest you would see that as well. My only point has always been to compare equivalent efficiency numbers. In fact you have been making straw man arguments against me all evening. And have spent a lot of time and words addressing issues that are besides the point.

    (vis a vis 30%) The efficiency numbers can be bent how they are needed Measuring output at the plant is not taking the system in as a whole. You also need to factor in transmission, and production of un-used energy that is lost. One reason why electric companies are looking at power line Internet because it gives them of monitoring electricity use in real time and adjust output to more closely match use, thereby increasing efficiency.

    As an analogy there are different means for determining HO in cars. One mounts the engine on a dynamometer and measures it directly. Others mount the driven wheels and measure applied HP. The numbers are drastically different. Efficiency has the same problems. You can force numbers in different direction depending on how they are measured. Suffice to say the efficiencies of modern power generation plants are much better than 30%-33% at Plant output. Transmission and over generation are a separate issue.

  84. cytochrome sea
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    Greg, good luck! I’m usually wrong, but, something funny that I’ve noticed is… sometimes the worse you behave, and it’s ridiculous, but… it seems to get the girl’s attention.

    end.

  85. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

    Er Sid, you are aware, aren’t you, that Greg works (or at least did) work for a major Electric Power Company? I think he knows this area pretty well.

  86. TCO
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

    It doesn’t matter to Sid. He will wiggle like a worm to try to avoid admitting an error. He’s not worth anyone’s bother.

  87. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

    I’m sure he does, I’ve not disagreed with much if any of what he has said, I’d disagree with his latest 33% efficiency post, but again that’s irrelevant to my point. What I can’t understand is why he continues to argue with me, particularly since he doesn’t want to address my point. My only point against him was a minor semantic one for which he seems to want to go after me tooth and nail. With his figures (33% aside) I agree completely with, and have said so.

    Your probably not aware that I work, partially, within the Hydro-electric industry. So I’m not a complete idiot on the issue as well.

    On a sub issue, I noticed you ignored my post about your figures for converting liquid water to vapor.

  88. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

    Hey Steve/John A.

    Notice I don’t see you around, So I’ll restrain myself against TCO for the moment.

  89. TCO
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

    1. Well, go calculate the energy required to vaporize a pound of water and that required to raise it’s temp 150F. You’ll see that the heat involved in raising temp (while not miniscule) is still substantially less than that to vaporize the water. Also read the third para in the wiki. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_heat_of_vaporization

    2. Also note that the water vapor is in air at atmospheric temp. So your heat for going to 212 is a bit beside the point. Write the whole equation (starting materials and end materials) and calculate deltaH. Please don’t embarress yourself further with some tendentious blathering about transition states or the like which further displays your ignorance.

  90. TCO
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

    You crying for Daddy, Sid? We don’t want you here. Go join RC.

  91. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

    Sid, I didn’t ignore your post per se. Rather I thought about responding directly to state that the site I had gottten the figure from (after coming up blank in trying to find it in my stupid old Chem-Physics handbook) said something about steam or water vapor and I’d assumed this meant that it wasn’t particularly sensitive to the temperature at which the vaporization took place. But then I decided I should look it up, but I was in the middle of another message and didn’t feel like starting another window and re-entering the Google search so I figured I’d do it after I finished the message I was in the middle of and then I forgot it and haven’t gotten back to it. IOW, it looks like I ignored it, but I didn’t. I just didn’t answer it. Anyway, here I am again in the middle of a message, so if you’ll hang on a minute I’ll go find it again and see if the heat of vaporization is temperature dependent or not….

  92. TCO
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

    Just look at deltaH for raising the water temp from RT to 212. Then heat of vap at 212. then deltaH for raising (cooling) the vapor to room temp. The heat capacity changes a bit with temp (but not that much). If you really want to get into it, just take a Mollier chart which will allow you to get the delta H immediately instead of doing an integration accross a bunch of little segments. But intuitively, by argument above, the difference in vaporization temp is purely a function of the different heats of changing the water’s temp. And that is much more an effect for the water than the gas. And by the wiki above (and just you should know this intuitively from operating a steam plant and all the training) that is quite a bit less than the heat of vaporization. So sure it changes. But less than 20%.

  93. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 10:36 PM | Permalink

    Sid and TCO,

    Here’s an interesting site: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/phase.html#hvap

    “An interesting feature of the process of cooling the human body by evaporation is that the heat extracted by the evaporation of a gram of perspiration from the human skin at body temperature (37°C) is quoted in physiology books as 580 calories/gm rather than the nominal 540 calories/gm at the normal boiling point. The question is, why is it larger at body temperature?”

    As you can see, Sid, there is a difference in the heat of vaporization with temperature, but it’s relatively small in the temperatures we’re interested in (

  94. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

    BTW the stupid HTML parser here once again messed up my message. It was supposed to end “less than 10%” but it just won’t let you use greater than or less than signs even if there’s only one of them.

  95. TCO
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 10:41 PM | Permalink

    For the reason which I explained. Just write it out and do the three step deltaH calc at constant pressure and you see what I mean. It’s really all a function of the Cp(liquid)-Cp(vapor)(T1-T2).*

    *pedant protector: Cp also has a slight temperature dependance itself (implicitly taken care of when using a Mollier chart).

  96. cytochrome sea
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

    eT SID: I think this might be getting weird. Transmission losses shouldn’t be above 3%.

  97. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    Dave the point is that the 540 Calories/gram you mentioned is specifically the latent heat of water to change it from liquid to vapor. It is something of a constant (though it is effected by things like pressure). As is the 80 calories/gram to go from Ice to Liquid. Any energy is the transition temperature that need to happen, plus the energy to get it to the proper temperature for the transition.

    Less than 10% from approx. 14/15C I understand, my point was only that you were limiting yourself to latent heat only.

    I’ve been caught by the less than symbol as well.

  98. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 11:17 PM | Permalink

    cyto

    Not that I’m crazy about the source

    http://climatetechnology.gov/library/2003/tech-options/tech-options-1-3-2.pdf

    Estimated in 1995 as 7.2%, but again, not my point.

  99. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 11:28 PM | Permalink

    Hey Dave. Another minor point. It’s roughly 18% not less than 10%

  100. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 11:43 PM | Permalink

    Are we talking the same thing Sid? I’m talking the change from 540 calories/gram at 100 deg C to 580 calories/gram at 37 deg C. Depending on which direction you’re going that’s a +7.4% or a -6.9% change. It doesn’t change my argument in any case.

  101. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Nov 5, 2005 at 11:54 PM | Permalink

    Dave the difference between 540 and 580 is a specific difference for body temperature. I was using to numbers from your original discussion, though I did screw that up. I used 100Calories which is from 0C to 100C, I should have used 85 to approximate going from 15C to 100C, that difference is approx 16%

    But that was my whole point Dave, the difference is based on temperature. Hence the comment.

    that from your link,

    “the heat extracted by the evaporation of a gram of perspiration from the human skin at body temperature (37°C) is quoted in physiology books as 580 calories/gm rather than the nominal 540 calories/gm at the normal boiling point.”

    “Using the result for water at 37°C it is evident that 52.4 calories of additional energy must be supplied at 37°C to vaporize the water.”

    But in your other post you were not talking about from body temperature (37C) But rather from approx surface water temperature, which I have approximated at 14C/15C

  102. fFreddy
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

    Re #87, Sid

    Your probably not aware that I work, partially, within the Hydro-electric industry.

    Sid, do you happen to know anything about pumped storage facilities ? Specifically, how efficient are they at storing energy ? And how much can they store ? A full day’s production, or a full week’s or what ?
    What I’m after here is that the killer problem with wind power (and most renewables) is that, although the energy is “free”, you can’t store it, leading to problems with spinning reserve, etc. Until this is solved, it seems unlikely that the wind plants will ever be genuinely economic.
    If you had a magic battery that could store the energy from the wind plant whenever it produced it, then release it to the distribution grid when it was needed, then I could imagine the economics might begin to make sense.
    Can you imagine a wind plant feeding into an adjacent pumped storage hydro facility ? Or is this impractical ?

  103. TCO
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 7:14 AM | Permalink

    Agreed that it does not change the argument. and further shows that Sid is a moron who will wiggle like a worm on a f***ing pointed hook impaling his guts before admitting wrongness.

  104. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

    Re:#101 While I finally see what you’re actually saying, I can’t believe you said it. Yes, 85/540 is 16% but that’s not the proper calculation to make, as the discussion at the linked site indicates. If changing 63 deg C (100-37) results in a 40 calorie difference in heat of vaporization (580-540) then going from 15 deg C or an 85 deg C difference should result in about 85 x 40 /63 or a 54 calorie difference or exactly 10% difference from the 540 it takes at 100 degrees. And it still doesn’t matter a hill of beans to my initial argument anyway.

    BTW for anyone who might be thinking that a hill of beans might be quite a lot and the idiom doesn’t make any sense, the term comes from gardening where you oftentimes make little hills of dirt and plant two or three seeds in the hill, meaning that compared to the bushel of beans you might be planting it’s a trivial amount.

  105. beng
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 8:51 AM | Permalink

    Wind & solar are bums AFA base-level large-scale electric generation, Sid. That doesn’t mean they’re useless. But even aside from their unreliability/unpredictability, they’re collecting very diffuse energy compared to fossil fuels, let alone nuclear. At favorable sitings (like Livermore, CA), wind can be economical, but these sites are relatively sparse.

    Nobody says there aren’t important issues w/these, but from my engineer’s viewpoint, breeder-reactor-fueled fission (& already, state-of-the-art fossil-fuel) generators are the proven large-scale energy sources for the foreseeable future.

  106. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    Boy are you guys an obtuse bunch. Now I’m sorry I started this.
    Re 70 – “You admit that wind power is more expensive than other current technologies (e.g. coal, nuclear, hydro)”. Armand you misrepresent me. I said no such thing. Kind of like RealClimate misquoting Steve. See how easy it is. Wind is as cheap as or cheaper than coal, nuclear, wind, before internalizing externalities.
    “Contrary to what you say, coal *does* internalize the costs of pollution and waste disposal, since the plants have to pay for waste disposal, pollution control equipment and/or pollution permits.” If you think coal plants scrub their pollution and carry the costs, you are living on a different planet. what do you think the whole “clean Skies” imitiative has been about?
    Re 74 “Spin reserve is a reality and no amount of hand waving will make it go away.” Denmark doesn’t maintain anywhere near 60% spin reserve, because they are tied into the scandinavian grid and can benefit fro hydro pumped storage. Ie they hev part of a whole system design. Of course wind requires grid updates. the grid requires grid updates and it is important to plan them to include wind on a whole system basis.
    Re #75 “I have looked at the data for a number of installed solar panels. Conversion efficiency runs around 10%. Payback times are typically over 40 years, which most likely means never. Output degrades between 1% and 5% per year.” sure some panels are as low as 12%. State of the art cells are above 18% with panels above 15%. concentrator systems get to above 20%. Dish stirling is near 30%. Power towers can provide electricity near 24 hrs per day, at average efficiencies above 20%. And modern PV panels degrade between near 5% over a lifetime of 30 to 40 years. The 1% to 5%/yr is just plain false. PV payback times are near 40 years in conventional home applications. Off grid they are much better. If they avoid running in a line they are much better. If they are used by the utility for peak power they are much better. As Sid would say, the right tool for the right job.
    “Wind mills are a bad investment, solar panels are worse>” Right, wind is growing about 35% per year because they are a bad investment. Southwestern utilities have just placed a couple of huge orders for dish stirling systems because they are a bad investment. Sorry Greg, but you are practising disinformation. I don’t have time to argue with obtuse ignorance. Murray

  107. beng
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    My apologies to Sid, my above post should have been directed to Murray.

    Murray, the “costs” of pollution in respect to health is another glaring example of politically-influenced science/industry/media — a whole ‘nother can-of-worms.

  108. fFreddy
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    Re #106, Murray

    Right, wind is growing about 35% per year because they are a bad investment.

    How much subsidy, direct or indirect, is required to make this happen ?

  109. fFreddy
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    Re #106, Murray

    Denmark doesn’t maintain anywhere near 60% spin reserve, because they are tied into the scandinavian grid and can benefit fro hydro pumped storage.

    IIRC, Scandinavia has a particularly high proportion of hydro. If they don’t need 60% spin reserve, do you happen to know what the correct figure is ?
    Also, can you answer my post #102 above ?

  110. ET SidViscous
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

    Freddy.

    “Sid, do you happen to know anything about pumped storage facilities ? Specifically, how efficient are they at storing energy ? And how much can they store ? A full day’s production, or a full week’s or what ?”

    Know about only in that it is feasible, but not very efficient. There is a lot of loss pumping water uphill, fortunately you don’t have any losses over time. But what is the point really. Wouldn’t it just be easier to build a hydro dam and let mother nature pump the water uphill? Anytime you have multiple additions into a system you experience loss. Yes wind could pump water into a reservoir. But that same reservoir, if large enough, would probably get more water from rainfall. You could get rid of the windmill and still generate electricity.

    There are practical uses for wind. If I owned a large farm on the TX/OK border I would be an idiot not to put up a windmill. But wind power is never going to realistically account for more than 2%-5% of our energy needs.

  111. ET SidViscous
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

    Freddy

    I should also point out that in the U.S. the government (Not present, in general) is against allowing anymore large dams in the U.S. after some failures (mostly tailngs dams) in the 70s

    Bu if you can call it a Pumped storage facility and toss a couple of windmills on the side and get it through, I’m all for it. such a situation would be good for my business. But I don’t think that will happen.

  112. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    Re #106:
    Murray, sorry for my phrasing. When you said wind was “comparable” in price, I took that to mean “more expensive, but not by a lot”. Now that you’ve clarified that it is “as cheap, or cheaper than,” I’m a bit skeptical, as I assume your $0.04/kWh wind number is levelized and already includes the federal tax credit (a source would be great – the lowest levelized number I could find was around $0.045).
    From what I can find (http://www.anl.gov/Special_Reports/NuclEconSumAug04.pdf), the levelized numbers for coal and gas are $0.033-0.041/kWh and $0.035-0.045/kWh, respectively. Looks to me like my interpretation of “more expensive, but not by a lot” fits pretty well, at least wrt coal.

    Given that, and the difficulties with wind power production levels not being under human control (thus adding additional costs), I’ve got to ask (for the 3rd time, and probably the last) what is the economic advantage to increasing electricity costs by using wind power instead of cheaper sources?

    As for coal internalizing costs, I’m pretty happy with how clean the air is now and don’t see any reason to spend more on reducing coal plant pollution further (just like you are presumably willing to live with the current environmental impacts of wind plants without assigning any additional costs to them); thus, no external costs remaining in practice.

    I do want to thank you for pointing out (and getting me to do some research) how close wind power is to being a widespread energy source, and what factors are affecting the relative costs of wind, coal, gas, etc. Who knows? In 5-10 years wind might actually be cheaper.

  113. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

    Re 102 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity. In the case of Norway they pump water back up into existing hydro reservoirs, which is very effective. However in the case of wind you are storing energy that is “excess” to be used in times of low wind, so effeiciency is not as important as sizing the system appropriately. I don’t remember the figure for Denmarks coal fired reserve, but if memory serves it is in the order of 20%. See my article on wind for another way to address the problem in America’s great plains.
    Re 108/112 Lake Benton is quoted as 4 cents/kWh without subsidy. Armand your costs for coal and gas are pre 2004. NG has tripled and all coal except Powder River has doubled since then. Your question is meaningless.
    If your fish and forests were dying from acidification, or your pregnant wife was exposed to excessive levels of mercury from living downwind of an old coal fired plant you might not be so happy. Now that you are educating yourself look into the societal cost estimates for breathing maladies from coal fired electricity. Look at the valleys damned, streams polluted and communities damaged from mountain top strip mining in West Virginia. There are real and very significant externalities. Murray

  114. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    Re #113:
    Thanks for pointing out how large fluctuations in fuel costs can be on even a yearly basis. Of course, wind power is extremely dependent on capital costs, and those seem to be rising. I’m happy to agree that wind power can be an economic option in certain locations today, and will likely increase in the near future. Personally, I’m still not willing to pay extra for it, but everyone has to decide that for themselves.

    Fortunately, I’m not aware of acidification-based killing of fish and forests being an imminent or increasing threat, and the new pollution rules are requiring 50-70% cuts in SO2 and mercury emmissions, so exposure to excessive amounts of mercury from domestic air pollution doesn’t seem like a big threat (as always, I’m happy to have any ignorance or wrong info corrected). As for the strip mining in WV, I’d let the communities decide what tradeoff they wanted on preserving the local topography vs. mining jobs. From what I’ve read, it seems like the Western coal producers are more efficient and produce cleaner coal, anyway.

    As I was surfing, I came across a document that reports real-world USA experience on the additional costs (eg spinning reserve) to utilities with small- to moderate- percentages of wind power in their supply mix. Bottom line seems to be that the costs scale with the % wind power (not surprisingly) and remain modest even at utilities with on the order of 20% wind power in their mix.

    http://www.uwig.org/UWIGOpImpFinal11-03.pdf

  115. Greg F
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Denmark doesn’t maintain anywhere near 60% spin reserve, because they are tied into the scandinavian grid and can benefit fro hydro pumped storage.

    They are connected to the Swedish, Norwegian and German grid. At least your now admitting that spin reserve is needed. That spin reserve is an externality that adds to the cost of wind. The idea that hydro would be used for spin reserve is silly on its face for economic reasons. Since hydro is low cost relative to fossil fuel generation it is always used first and at full capacity. IOW, there is no reserve capacity from hydro to use for backup.

    sure some panels are as low as 12%. State of the art cells are above 18% with panels above 15%…

    Those are the published efficiencies which are determined under standard test conditions. The standard test conditions are useful to make comparisons of different panels. The test conditions are not representative of real world conditions.

    Fact:
    1) Standard tests are done with cell temperature at 25C.
    2) The output of the cells decreases with increasing temperature.
    3) In real world installations the cell temperature is going to be significantly higher then 25C.

    The reality is, while I linked to a source for real life systems (debunkers), you proof is just a lot of hand waving and claims I am “practising disinformation”.

    The 1% to 5%/yr is just plain false.

    I have linked to evidence that it is in fact true (in the debunkers link) and all you can do is hand wave the claim is false.

    Sorry Greg, but you are practising disinformation.

    Good Murry, when you can’t back up your claims just throw in a ad hominem.

  116. ET SidViscous
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    oooofffff they do drop off after 25C don’t they.

    http://www.kyocerasolar.com/pdf/specsheets/kc190gt.pdf

    http://www.kyocerasolar.com/pdf/specsheets/kc187g.pdf

    http://www.kyocerasolar.com/pdf/specsheets/kc120_1.pdf

  117. Greg F
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    oooofffff they do drop off after 25C don’t they.

    Good find Sid!

    Armand,

    The government subsidies are document hereBig Money” Discovers the Huge Tax Breaks and Subsidies for “Wind Energy”, While Taxpayers and Electric Customers Pick up the Tab.” has a good list of the taxpayer give away that includes Federal Production Tax Credit of 1.9 cents/ kWhr.

  118. TCO
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

    If wind is so great economically, why do you have to argue for it? Why isn’t it just built??? you commie, non-free-market understander.

  119. Paul
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

    RE#117: As a skeptic (in all things), I wonder about the accuracy of the numbers used to tell the “renewable energy” story (click on the link & read the PDF). But it occurs to me that even if many of the numbers are wrong by half (I find the numbers regarding the physical requirements to be most interesting…That is how much land or how much work would be required to use those particular sources) , the case still can’t be made for most of the currently popular renewable energy sources. This also makes for a very interesting thought:

    If our current world dependence on fossil fuels is causing AGW and the “renewable” sources aren’t physically viable (we’re not talking about the efficiency of such resources, only the amount of land and other resources required to replace fossil fuels with renewables) then how on earth can we actually do anything effectively? It would seem to me the best solution would be global war which wipes out 2/3 of the population. Otherwise, renewables are a physical impossiblity (without highly distruptive new discoveries and inventions).

    The numbers don’t appear to support renewables, either. But I’d be happy to be educated.

    Quick Aside, but pertinant example: A local talk radio host regularly reviews “environmental statistics.” When they spot some sort of statistic like “the use of 2-cycle leaf blowers creates x tons of pollution in a typical fall” they go do a little research. What they often discover is very shoddy math. More pollutants are emitted than physically possible (in one case, the contacted a trade organization to find out how many of a particular powered yard care tool had been sold. Using those estimates and very liberal calculcations, they discovered the number used by the “environmentalists” in the story was closer to the total amount of pollution emitted by gas powered engines over the last 50 years, not that emited by 2-cycle leaf blowers this last fall).

    As they say, there are lies, damn lies and statistics. I’m glad Steve’s around turning the statistics into truth as much as possible.

  120. Greg F
    Posted Nov 6, 2005 at 9:50 PM | Permalink

    The experience in West Denmark (PDF file) is instructive. The “Hourly Wind Output Change” is a non trivial problem. The chart “Wind as % of Demand, first 6 months” (in Appendix I) illustrates the need to have traditional generating capacity capable of supplying almost 100% of demand. This means you have to build traditional plants that are only used when wind is not available.

  121. fFreddy
    Posted Nov 7, 2005 at 2:01 AM | Permalink

    Re #119, Paul

    As they say, there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

    In defence of maths and statistics, I’ve always felt there are liars, damn liars, and politicians.

  122. Patrick
    Posted Nov 7, 2005 at 6:55 AM | Permalink

    With reference to #102

    Pumped storage systems have an efficiency of about 70%, that is, roughly one third of energy input is consumed in the pumping and generation losses. They have generally been built to use low cost power to pump overnight and then generate during the day to offset higher cost power so their capacity would usually be about 8-12 hours at full output.

    Patrick

  123. Paul
    Posted Nov 7, 2005 at 8:16 AM | Permalink

    RE#121:

    Methinks to agree… Yes, it’s not lies, damn lies & statistics, it is, as you posted: liars, damn liars and politicians (and other power/fame hungry people).

  124. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 7, 2005 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    Back on topic re 19:
    Rob van Dorland wrote me it was the june version of Wahl and Ammann he had read.

  125. beng
    Posted Nov 7, 2005 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    *******Armand says:
    From what I’ve read, it seems like the Western coal producers are more efficient and produce cleaner coal, anyway.
    *******

    That’s the reason the WV coal is being mined — it’s relatively low-sulfur (& a high heat-value) — guessing

  126. Greg F
    Posted Nov 7, 2005 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    RE:122

    In the early 80’s I did some contract work for a power company that had a number of small hydro plants. They used the late night excess power to heat a huge reservoir of water that was in the basement of the office building. The water was primarily used to heat the building. They also had a series of pipes that ran under all the walkways and parking areas around the building. They would pump the heated water through the pipes to remove snow and ice.

  127. ET SidViscous
    Posted Nov 7, 2005 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    BTW Gregg I don’t doubt your earlier comment about using 100% of Hydro first. Look at Canada, Hydro everywhere, and real low electricity rates. It’s actually cost efficient to heat Canadian homes in the winter with electric heat (speaking mainly of Quebec).

    But as an aside. I also know that Alcoa has/had stopped using their hydro as the primary source for smelter operations. It’s cheaper to buy the juice off the grid, and lease back their hydro as reserve. Don’t think that is system wide, and my info is about 5 years out of date. But I thought it pretty amazing that a Dam that was presumably paid off (operational in 1927) was more expensive than buying grid power.

    In one of the most ironic moments I’ve ever seen. This situation lead to a hydroelectric dam being left without power for two days.

  128. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Nov 7, 2005 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

    Re: #125
    According to http://capita.wustl.edu/CAPITA/CapitaReports/EmisTrends/soxnemb.html , WV coal seems to have more than double the sulfur of Western coal, but half that of Midwestern coal.

  129. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 7, 2005 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    Re 115 “The 1% to 5%/yr is just plain false.
    I have linked to evidence that it is in fact true (in the debunkers link) and all you can do is hand wave the claim is false. Sorry Greg, but you are practising disinformation. Good Murry, when you can’t back up your claims just throw in a ad hominem. Comment by Greg F ”

    Greg, you make your arguments like such a “know-it-all” that I mistakenly assumed that you had done some homework. Debunkers is not exactly the best authority, and evidently you couldn’t find a better one. If you knew 1/2 as much as you pretend to you would know that the “conventional wisdom” rule of thumb for PV degradation has long been 0.7%/yr or 7% in 10 years. In fact measurements made on 15 to 20 year old panels gives an average number more like 0.4%/yr. Recent panels, less than 10 years old give results more like 0.25%/yr. About 1998 it was determined that the primary degradation mechanism was oxygen/boron recombination centers and since then technology has been focused on solving that problem. Current pilot line state of the art units show no degradation. You want references – google on “pv,degradation”, or if you are too lazy try:

    http://sunbird.jrc.it/publications/osaka_lifetime.pdf

    http://www.autobahn.mb.ca/~het/energy/pv_fqa.html

    http://www.telepower.com.au/Solar96.PDF 7% in 10 years

    http://www.sandia.gov/pv/docs/PDF/quinking.pdf 0.5%/yr on 20 year old modules

    http://www.csgsolar.com/papers/PVSC29.pdf recent thin film modules — no degradation

    http://etd.gatech.edu/theses/available/etd-04162004-132233/unrestricted/damiani_ben_m_200405_phd.pdf Long thesis on LID

    http://www.sunpowercorp.com/html/Resources/TPpdf/bmpaper.pdf 21% eff cells, 18.5% eff modules No LID

    There is no “ad hominem” when I am telling the truth. You have been practising disinformation. As I said, your figures are wrong. Since you don’t accept standard test conditions as representative of the real world, what temperature were your 10-12% figures determined at? If you don’t know, then how do you know that was the efficiency? When knowledgable PV people talk efficiency, they talk in terms of standard conditions, as I did. If you don’t want to talk standard conditions, then specify your conditions. If you can’t do that, then you are peddling more disinformation.

    You did me one favor. I did a little looking around to update my knowledge and found that the present pilot line production state of the art is 21% efficient cells, 18+% efficient panels, and no degradation. PV progress continues nicely, but guys like you are likely to stay stuck in the time warp of 15 to 20 year old typical performance, and more disinformation.

    The next time you attack me, please do so from a position of current knowledge. Murray

  130. Jeff Norman
    Posted Nov 8, 2005 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    When calculating the net benefits of various energy sources, nobody seems to include the hidden benefits of fossil generation. What happens to all the employees in the supply and delivery chain if you were to suddenly shut down all the coal stations and replace the generation with some other source?

  131. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 16, 2006 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    For completeness here:
    Wahl and Amman was again rejected by GRL

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=589

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