Swindle and Mid-20th Century Cooling

It’s pretty amazing to see how enthusiastic climate scientists have been in checking the information in Swindle as compared with their virtually complete acquiescence with Inconvenient Truth. I guess it depends whose ox is being gored.

Since we’ve been looking at gridcell issues, I took a look at the temperature graphic in Swindle which has caused a lot of controversy. (I can’t analyse everything in the world, but this was pretty accessible.) Like others, I asked them for the source of their graphic and they co-operated with my request. Their data derived from a Hansen version, but the graphic artist made a plotting error in the horizontal axis which had the effect of dilating the second half of the second 20th century. They say that they corrected the graphic for the 2nd screening and sent me a copy of the new graphic, which reconciles to a Hansen version.

In the course of checking the Swindle graphic, I re-read the original Hansen articles, including Hansen and Lebedeff 1987, where the following remarkable graphic occurs in their Figure 7, showing 64-90N temperature (you know – “polar amplification” except it doesn’t occur in the Antarctic). This showed a very sharp decline in temperatures from 64-90N from 1940 through to the 1960s, with temperatures in the mid-1980s still well short of the values in the 1930s-1940s.

hansen_64.png
Figure 1. Excerpt from Hansen and Lebedeff 1987, showing 64-90N temperature. The horizontal plot is from 1880 to 1985 (as seen in the full Figure 7 of the original article shown here )

Now this is Hansen and Lebedeff 1987. While Hansen has continued to report the 64N-90N zone in his supplementary information, to my knowledge, Hansen never again illustrated the 64-90N results in graphical form. Accordingly, I downloaded the current GISS information (script in first post below) and produced the following graph. The two points marked for 1937 and 1938 are the values for 1937 and 1938 from Hansen and Lebedeff 1987. Both have been reduced by approximately 0.4 deg C in the present GISS version – rather extreme examples of a pattern. 2005 was the first year in which 64-90N values exceeded the former 1938 value – see dotted line – (indeed, 2003 was the first year that exceeded the “adjusted” 1938 value). Other zones show a steadier increase, but I would have though that this would be a type example of CO2 “fingerprint”, but this region does seem to show a pronounced mid-century cooling, with recovery to levels of the late 1930s occurring only in the last couple of years.

hansen4.gif
Figure 2. 64-90N from Hansen 64-90N zone downloaded today. Thick – 5 year running mean (often used by Hansen). Points are selected values from Hansen and Lebedeff 1987. Dotted line compares 1938 value from Hansen and Lebedeff 1987 to other values.

Code:

###LOAD VERSIONS
##GISS.ZONAL
url< -"http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/ZonAnn.Ts+dSST.txt&quot;
fred<-readLines(url)
## 24N 24S 90S 64N 44N 24N EQU 24S 44S 64S 90S
##Year Glob NHem SHem -90N -24N -24S -90N -64N -44N -24N -EQU -24S -44S -64S Year
## [10] "1880 -25 -26 -24 -31 -19 -27 -83 -37 -19 -18 -19 -20 -26 ***** 1880"

temp<-as.numeric(substr(fred,1,4))
fred<-fred[!is.na(temp)]
temp<-(substr(fred,88,92)=="*****")
substr(fred,88,92)[temp]<-" NA"
write.table(fred,"temp.txt",quote=FALSE,row.names=FALSE,col.names=FALSE)
html_handle <- file("temp.txt", "rt");
test <- read.table(html_handle)
close(html_handle); unlink("temp.txt");
#id<-scan(url,skip=8,n=16,what="")
#"Year Glob NHem SHem -90N -24N -24S -90N -64N -44N -24N -EQU -24S -44S -64S Year"
id<-c("year","GLB","NH","SH","24-90N","24S-24N","24-90S","64-90N","44-64N","24-44N","0-24N","0-24S","24-44S","44-64S","64-90S","year2")
names(test)<-id
test<-test[,1:15]; test[,2:15]<-test[,2:15]/100
giss<-test

##COMPARE NO HIGH LATS
par(mar=c(3,3,1,1))
plot(giss$year,giss[, "64-90N" ],type="l",xlab="",ylab="",col="grey60")
lines(giss$year,filter(giss[, "64-90N" ],rep(.2,5) ),col="black",lwd=2)
points(xy.coords(1937:1938,c(1.6,1.7)),pch=19,cex=.7)
#information from Hansen and Lebedeff 1987 Figure 7
abline(h=1.7,lty=3)


81 Comments

  1. John A
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

    I’m pretty suspicious of where “The Arctic” is meant to begin. Does it begin south of the Arctic circle? Does it include those strangely warming Siberian stations that Warwick Hughes has investigated?

    What happens if you plot 70-90N?

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    This information here is for 64N-90N. I am simply re-plotting reported Hansen information here. I haven’t analyzed what’s in and what’s out of them. To do it for 70-90N would require reconstructing things from the ground floor, which I’m not in a position to do, and would raise issues of whether I did it correctly.

  3. gb
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    Excuse me Steve M. but this is a nice example of the pot calling the kettle black or how do you say it in English?

  4. Jon-Anders Grannes
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 8:45 AM | Permalink

    Arctic is defined in maney ways.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic

    “There are numerous definitions of the Arctic region. The boundary is generally considered to be north of the Arctic Circle (66° 33’N), which is the limit of the midnight sun and the polar night. Other definitions are based on climate and ecology, such as the 10°C (50°F) July isotherm, which also roughly corresponds to the tree line in most of the Arctic. Socially and politically, the Arctic region includes the northern territories of the eight Arctic states, including Lapland, although by natural science definitions much of this territory is considered subarctic.”

    I think in order to make this correct we should define “Arctic”
    around the Meterological North and NOT around the Geographical
    North like they do now.

  5. Jon-Anders Grannes
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    Todays climatic changes in the Arctic 1930’s are so dramatic that in order to stop these climatic changes we all in the Americanized Western World all have to park our cars and todays American way of living?

  6. Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    A broadly related comment: there is an interview with Martin Durkin, the creator of the Swindle documentary. Bright guy. He also talks about the hockey stick troubles and nicely about M&M – so that they shouldn’t feel that Durkin doesn’t like them, e.g. Steve! ;-) See

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2007/03/interview-with-martin-durkin.html

  7. Jon-Anders Grannes
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    So much is at stake now that there is now longer a place for simple democratic prinsiples like normal scientific discussions and now the free speach principle, that the whole thing is increasingly more and more looking like a dejavu with the fate of ” Ahmed Salman Rushdie”?

  8. John Lang
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    Everytime we plot the raw data (before Hansen and Jones adjusted it beyond recognition), and display it somewhere, more people see it and wake up to the scam that has been run on them.

    It won’t be long before the temperature trend line looks identical to the CO2 line from Mauna Loa.

  9. K
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    JL: Yes, past temperatures change at an increasing pace. That can be good news; soon each graph or curve will agree with every other and only the label on the y-axis will change to denote what is measured. Analysis will be much faster when readers don’t have to investigate odd variations which defy theory.

    And students can prepare papers w/o fear of error or the drudgery of data collection. Programs and models will run much faster since a single data point and equation can produce all the past and future.

    Yippee!

  10. Lee
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    Nice trick, Steve. You managed to make a top post on TGGWS, and implicitly dismiss all comments on its many inaccuracies as just some kind of partisan bluster, without ever actually commenting yourself on its accuracy or validity.

  11. Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

    Very nice handling of historic data! There is a small typo in the 3rd line ( url

  12. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    Lee, it would be more useful if you listed some of the “many inaccuracies” so that we could discuss them, rather than just attacking Steve M. Lead, follow, or get out of the way …

    w.

  13. Lee
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    I’m just following Steve’s lead here, willis.

  14. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

    Many of the topics in Swindle are not topics that I’ve commented on. For example, I haven’t studied the CO2-temperature lag issue. While I may look at it at some point, I’ve got other things to do right now. The gridcell issue was something that I was working on and could comment on efficiently.

  15. JerryB
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    Willis,

    It may be that you have not noticed Lee’s habit of fabricating
    assertions about what Steve has written, in this instance the
    clause starting with “and implicity dismiss”, i.e. he’s trolling.

    DFTT

  16. Nicholas
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

    Francis, I think he’s placed a space between < and – in order to prevent the < from being recognized as part of an HTML tag. Notice how your comment was cut off? That’s the same problem.

    I’ve explained this before, you have to type &lt; (don’t forget the semicolon at the end!) to get a less-than sign without it stuffing up your HTML. It’s a pain, I know. I guess Steve thought it was easier to put the space, but that means we have to remember to remove it when executing the script. A link to a text version of the script would solve this problem I think.

  17. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

    JerryB, you are right. I see it’s just more of Lee’s continued attempt to make a perfect, totally content-free post.

    DFTT

    w.

  18. Richard Sharpe
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    Can’t you also use a <code> tag?

    Eg:


    for (uint i = 0; i

  19. Richard Sharpe
    Posted Mar 17, 2007 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    Arrrgh, it showed up perfectly in the preview, but screwed up when I hit submit.

  20. MarkR
    Posted Mar 18, 2007 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

    Link to The Great Global Warming Swindle (Complete) U Tube

  21. Follow the Money
    Posted Mar 18, 2007 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the link Mark:

    I’ll make some observations from an American perspective:

    In the battle of graphs with Gore, Swindle wins!

    The “cosmic ray” hypothesis did little for me. I expect variation in cloudiness to have a lot more to do with variability of cloud condensation nuclei.

    The Kenyan clinic was not my cup of tea. First thought – why not get more solar panels?

    Nevertheless the clinic was an effective juxtaposition with the GW meeting in Nairobi. Really brought through the theme the GW science and bureaucratic industry rely on AGW and even disasterism to keep their money coming. As for the theme the proponents are against third world development, that they are environmental luddites, etc., that might hold true in the UK, but in the USA not so. First, a primary criticism here is that developing countries are benefitted by the Kyoto scams -via their exclusion from carbon caps, and their ability to sell carbon credits. Second, those folks are not the movers and shakers of AGW “solutions” in the USA. In the USA it is the brokerages and various industires who hope to cash in on carbon trading, get paid to deindustrialize by carbon trading, and various subsidization schemes premised on global warming. The corporate environmental groups like Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, were only recent devotees to the carbon scams since Kyoto was effectively rejected in 1998. Why they are back on board? Follow the money!

    Swindle did briefly mention “carbon fund managers” during the telling of attendees at the Nairobi conference – a treatment way to brief to my interests. Perhaps that will get treatment in a movie akin to “Enron – The Smartest Guys in the Room.” There are remarkable similarities between Enron and the Carbon Scam. ON one side, dodgy statistics and reporting, on the other, a sham energy trading system. Heck, throw in Sandor and the movie can reflect on the Carbon Scam analogue of the 1980’s – Drexel Burnham and Junk Bonds.

  22. EW
    Posted Mar 19, 2007 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    #21

    As for the theme the proponents are against third world development, that they are environmental luddites, etc., that might hold true in the UK

    Indeed. I even read about a “ecologically responsible” jewellery company using only recycled gold or gold obtained in the Third World through programs that “provide a positive way for artisanal miners to manage land use and interact with the biosphere in their home communities.” According to the accompanying picture it means getting gold by hand and pan only. While interacting with biosphere…

  23. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 19, 2007 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

    #22. I’ve seen quite a few artesanal gold workings in the Third World. If it’s an alluvial operation, they are probably using mercury to amalgamate the gold – not6 my idea of being ecologically responsible.

  24. EW
    Posted Mar 19, 2007 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    GoldKarat

    in their own philosophical self. With a happily interacting artesan photo.

  25. Posted Mar 20, 2007 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    #24 Good Lord Almighty. How does working harder for less become a virtue?

    I’ve seen statements on cans of nuts saying how they purchased enough rainforest in Costa Rica to make up for the carbon impact of their US processing and distribution. I wondered why not plant trees in the US? But it’s a marketing effort and Costa Rica is sexier than Texas.

    (Just looking around after watching TGGWS and finding a link to Orson Scott Card’s article about Steve.)

  26. Jim Edwards
    Posted Mar 20, 2007 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    #22, 23

    I saw a documentary on gold panners in Brazil ~12 years ago. After forming an amalgum bolus, the miner wrapped a bandanna around his face [as if he were preparing to rob a stagecoach] then proceeded to boil the mercury into the atmosphere with a propane torch.

    It didn’t look good for the environment or the miner.

    Even the ‘evil’ mining corporations of the 19th and early 20th cent. in Nevada and Calif. used a retort, at least, to capture the mercury liberated in producing sponge gold. Mark Twain has a humorous account in ‘Roughing It.”

  27. MarkW
    Posted Mar 20, 2007 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

    On another site, I routinely debate with a hard core liberal, (he’d even go as far as to call himself a communist) who declares that
    one of the worst things that NAFTA ever did, was to eliminate subsitence farming in Mexico. He went on and on how the farmers were so
    much happier before. Of course he couldn’t imagine such a lifestyle for himself or his loved ones. But he was absolutely convinced that
    for Mexicans, it was the best thing for them.

  28. Lee
    Posted Mar 20, 2007 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

    Link to TGGWS rebuttal. It’s a zipped PPT. One error of fact in the rebuttal – solar cycle length vs sunspot number – but it doesn’t alter the argument about data presentation in that case.

    http://xweb.geos.ed.ac.uk/%7Echris/GGWSnarr.zip

    That link is found on this page:

    http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/chris

  29. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 21, 2007 at 1:56 AM | Permalink

    Lee, I downloaded the Powerpoint presentation, but it doesn’t work on my Mac. Perhaps you could summarize the main points, along with the references.

    Thanks,

    w.

  30. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 21, 2007 at 5:40 AM | Permalink

    Within ten minutes, it is disagreeing with Stott about the MWP and showing a hockey stick spaghetti graph. Bleagh.

  31. Rod
    Posted Mar 21, 2007 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    Re: 29

    This is a very rough summary of Chris Merchant’s critique of the GGWS – mainly from his slides. Note that in his talk he qualifies the slides. I may comment later. The only part I’ve commented on here is his critique of the sun intensity temp plot – which he accuses the programme makers of fiddling which he has since corrected.

    Chris Merchant, Univ. of Edinburgh

    Climate has always changed
    Inferences we are meant to draw
    Recent climate change is natural (because previous changes have been)
    Climate change is not a problem (because it is natural)
    The correct inferences:
    Recent climate change might have (a) natural origins(s)
    Little Ice Age and Mediaeval Warm Period
    Likely European only
    Possible warmer in mediaeval period but statistically more likely now
    Post war economic boom
    Warming before 1940 ‘€” when production insignificant
    Temps fell for four decades even when CO2 increased exponentially
    Facts didn’t fit theory
    Global warming theory wrong
    This interpretation wrong ‘€” more than one effect e.g. aerosols high in industrialized areas + lag in the effect of CO2.
    Climate models:
    Natural forcing
    Human forcing (CO2 + aerosols)
    Put two together ‘€” they fit the temp change pretty well
    Too much to expect temp. to follow a single variable

    Human Emissions of CO2 are tiny
    Small=Unimportant CO2Fallacy:
    Ignores the natural sink that absorb all the natural emissions (and half the extra human emissions)
    Ignores cumulative effect of small imbalance: CO2 has risen from ~280 to ~380 ppmv

    CO2 doesn’t drive climate anyway, i.e. the 800 year lag in the core record
    CO2 and T clearly linked in the ice core record
    Either CO2 is driving a change in T, or T is driving a change in CO2
    Since, at the end of glaciations, T increases first, T must drive CO2
    Further implication:
    Since CO2 didn’t drive temperature change in the past, it won’t do so now
    False dichotomy
    T drive CO2 or vice versa?
    No! Driver is variation in Earth’s orbit (Milankovitch cycles). Ice caps shrink ‘€” causes temp rise.
    T and CO2 respond to this driver, T first
    Third possibility: feedback relationship
    Does not follow CO2 has no effect on T
    ~Half T change from CO2 feedback
    No guide to future performance
    CO2 did not “drive” T in the last 600kyr
    CO2 still affected T (greenhouse effect)
    We are now changing CO2 directly, independently of T
    In this (Completely differenct) forced situation, CO2 changes can (and will) “drive” T changes
    Ice cores are not fundamental
    The T and CO2 inter-relationship in the ice cores is not the main theory underpinning global warming
    The fundamental theory is the physics of the greenhouse effect, dating back to Faraday, Tyndall and Arhennius in the 19th Century
    Climate models are useless
    Proposition
    Climate models require many uncertain parameters that can be “tweaked”
    Implication:
    Climate modellers choose parameters that give them the results they want
    This is wrong because:
    Modellers impose various limits on what parameters are valid
    Model parameters
    Parameters in models often based on fundamental physics, chemistry etc.
    Other parameters are tightly constrained by observation of the real system
    Parameters that are poorly constrained may be checked by their effects
    Valid Models
    Sets of (uncertain) parameters can interact to give reasonable models
    These are eliminated by requiring models used for prediction to be able to simulate
    A sensible stable climate like the present
    (constant forcing, realistic variability)
    The changes in response to forcing during the 20th C (within reasonable errors)

    Climate changes are caused by the Sun
    Chris has a dig at Piers Corbyn’s long range weather forecast ‘€” Jan/feb normally cold it’s called winter ‘€” but March was the coldest.
    Chris ‘€” then plotted Sunspots and temp from 1860 to 1980. Manipulates figures to reproduce plot in programme (smoothing and moving). Accuses presenters of manipulating the figures ‘€” later he confesses to mistake ‘€” as the plot was of sun intensity and not-sun spots.

    In it for the money
    Perpetuate the myth of global warming for the money
    Propositions:
    The research funding for “global warming” has increased greatly
    Scientists like getting their research funded
    Implication:
    Scientists want to perpetuate a myth to maintain their funding
    Fallacy: ad hominem attack and appeals to authority

    How the GGWS persuades
    Powerful, professional, polemical
    Half-truths
    False dichotomy
    Selective (distorted?) data
    Ad hominem attack
    Appeals to authority
    Quoting out of context

  32. John Hekman
    Posted Mar 21, 2007 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    Thanks Rod

    Really good concise summary. Is the conclusion that “the debate is over” or that both sides have a case here?

  33. Rod
    Posted Mar 21, 2007 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    Re: 31 My comments on Chris Merchant’s critique of the GGWS.

    Firstly – let me get out of the way one thing Chris got wrong:

    Piers Corbyn correctly predicted Feb 2006 as the coldest month in England in 2006 and not March as Chris says, see: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/CR_data/Daily/HadCET_act.txt

    I also think, rightly or wrongly, he misjudged the tenor of the programme. I didn’t spot any major ad hominem arguments (maybe Nigel Calder got carried away ) or appeal to authority. In fact ‘€” “pot calls kettle black” springs to mind, e.g. I suspect Monbiot would form links to someone’s anti-conventional AGW opinions to their working as a petrol pump attendant at some point in their lives if he could. Durkin mostly used climate scientists for their opinions. This was not surprising for a programme about AGW when one of his main points was that the consensus amongst climate scientists on AGW was not 100%. I suspect amongst real scientists there must be varying degrees of confidence and doubt. This is normal.

    His deduction from the programme’s point about the high level of government’s money available for climate research corrupted researchers – I think – was a misinterpretation. To me the programme was saying that it was a natural consequence of making large amounts money available.

    His other points about polemic etc. go with the territory of TV/film documentaries.

    Climate change: The climate is always changing. I get confused by this as well. I suspect when the media etc. talk about “climate change” they really mean (hopefully) anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and its effect on the climate. Their shortcut leaves them open to this gibe.

    Of the scientific points ‘€”

    It was difficult to know if the programme was intending to give the impression that CO2 played no part in global warming or if they were suggesting it wasn’t the main player. I suspect the latter. I certainly get the impression that calculating the effect of increasing CO2 is quite complex, on the positive feedback by the increase in water vapour, lapse rate etc is not known with 100% accuracy, e.g. http://www.sciencebits.com/OnClimateSensitivity goes into this. At this stage it’s certainly worth considering other possibilities in the earth’s climate ‘€” and one of these must be low level, ocean born clouds. Whether the muon component of cosmic rays have any major role in their formation I think we need to wait for some of the experiments to be carried out at CERN in 2011 onwards. Some of the correlations indicate that it’s worthy of further study. Although Chris got some of critique slightly wrong in this area I note that the references in Real climate to Nir Shaviv has responded to both “Damon and Laut”, Royer and Rhamstorf et al. etc. On another of the points on the programme, i.e. the ice-age CO2 lag again Shaviv has something to say: he hypothesises about the solar system passing through areas of the galaxy with very high and very low levels of cosmic ray ‘€” and suggests that these may be as, if not more important than the Milankovitch effect. Question ‘€” how certain are we about the contribution of the Milankovitch effect on interglacial climate change? Wikipedia says: “The Milankovitch theory of climate change is not perfectly worked out; in particular, the largest observed response is at the 100,000 year timescale, but the forcing is apparently small at this scale, in regards to the ice ages.”

    The two other points about:

    – Mid 20th century cooling. This is more of a question from me: do we know with any great accuracy the levels and distribution of sulphate aerosols during the 20th Century?

    – The medieval warm period. My feeling here is that we have enough evidence to say it existed but not enough to know the exact temperatures of that period. Unfortunately it pre-dated Mr Fahrenheit :-)

    I’m not qualified to comment on the climate models although from the small amount of modelling in another field I did many years ago I found that the simpler and more realistic you made your model ‘€” the better it’s predictive powers became. I also note that Syu-Ichi Akasofu in his paper “Is the Earth still recovering from the “Little Ice Age” notes some problems with the GCM’s. He describes how his group asked the IPCC Arctic group to “hindcast” the late 20th C arctic temperature distribution and how they failed to reproduce it.

    The programme whilst being a long way from demolishing AGW it helped the balance slightly and might help to open up the debate on AGW.

  34. curious
    Posted Mar 21, 2007 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    I have been reading about the global warming debate for some time now. Global climate and global climate change are subjects I am interested in because they are such interesting modeling problems. That is what I do for a living, model interesting problem spaces to determine if feasible solutions to the problems exist. Mostly I focus on business processes and helping companies figure out how to be better at doing whatever it is they think they do. So, I don’t claim to be an expert of any kind in global climate ‘science’ (or any of the myriad of sciences you would need to be an expert in in order to claim to be an expert in this field). I do, however, know how to model complex problems.

    I think the first question you have to ask if you are relying on models to ‘prove’ whether a premise is a fact or conjecture is ‘how effective is the model?’. By effective I mean accurate with mathematical certitude and correct. By correct I mean that the model correctly depicts the problem you are trying to study.

    Accuracy is dependent on two interdependent characteristics. First, how many inputs are there into the model that will affect the model’s output (more than the confidence interval you are trying to achieve). Second, how many of these inputs are FACTS and how many of them are conjecture? What I mean by this is that the value you assign to the input can be determined factually, and does not have to be guessed at. I guess there is a followup question to the second, of the inputs whose values must be conjecture how certain are we that we are somewhere in the ballpark of what reality is?

    If you tell me that you have a model which can predict global climate change, I will be very interested to see how you were able to overcome two very large problems. First, the complete list of inputs needed for a global climate change model are at this point in time unknown. We can’t even say how many there are, let alone what they are, but my guess is that there are hundreds of them. Certainly dozens, but I would state that no one can say for sure. If you think I am wrong about this can you honestly say that leaving out water vapor will not affect the model more than a reasonable confidence interval? If you think you KNOW what all the inputs are, please give us the list, I would be interested in seeing it. Global climate change is too complex and not well enough understood for anyone to say with certainty precisely what all the inputs are. Even if you were able to accurately list all the inputs the computing power that you would need to accurately model a sampling of the earth large enough to have any statistical meaning does not currently exist, so I would be very interested to know where you obtained such computing power.

    Since you can’t know what all the inputs need to be, and you don’t have enough computing power to model them all in a large enough sample size to have any real meaning, then you will have to make some compromise as to which inputs you will consider in your model. Okay, let’s say I give you that one, for the sake of argument.

    Second, you now have an even bigger problem. None of the values that you use for your inputs are facts, they are all conjecture. Does anyone KNOW that CO2 drives T? If this person does know, what value for CO2 will you use to have what impact on T over what timeframe? Anyone who claims to have a definitive answer for this question will be laughed off the stage. Does anyone KNOW that water vapor drives T? If so, what value for water vapor has what impact on T over what timeframe? I don’t think that there is a single input into the model for which the question What value for X will have what impact on Y, which could actually be proven. So, I will stick to my assertion that all of the inputs into the model have to be assumptions. Assumptions which cannot be proven.

    One of the things that I do for my clients is make recommendations for changes to their processes, systems, and/or organizational structures. Some of these changes can be quite painful. In every case I have to back up my recommendations with facts. Since I use a model oriented methogology for arriving at my recommmendations the facts are always presented using the models. If I gave as evidence for a list of painful changes a model which had a) a subset of the actual inputs needed, the subset having been picked more or less according to my whim since the model was so complex I didn’t really KNOW what the important inputs might be, and b) all of the values used for the inputs were total conjecture, if I did that, not only would I be fired, I would probably be sued.

    How anyone can say “without a doubt, catastrophic events will occur in the next XXX years due to global warming” as if this is a fact and not conjecture is beyond me.

    So statements like “the debate is over”, “the science is settled” are total nonsense.

    So, that is my slam against the global warming nutjobs.

    I also have a slam against the global isn’t warming nutjobs. And it is this:

    If you make a detailed list of the actual steps you could take if you assume that human beings putting large amounts of pollutants in the atmosphere is bad, and I guess at this point we would have to argue whether or not CO2 is a pollutant, but for the sake of argument let’s just assume that it is, the steps actually make both environmental sense and economic sense. So why not stop this ridiculous argument and just take the steps that will reduce the pollutants?

    If we look at a short list of these they include things like:
    Switch from burning oil and coal to generate electricity to using things like hydropower, wind power, solar thermal power, wave power (a working facility has been built for the US Navy), geothermal power, and anything else that works that doesn’t pollute. (Notice I left out PV arrays, anyone who thinks PV arrays are the answer to coal fired electricity generation plants is smoking something very potent).
    Converting landfills into methane gas farms and recycling centers.
    Converting facilities that generate heat by burning fossil fuels into cogeneration facilities that use the above technologies for the power generation portion.

    Of course the environmental nutjobs would have to agree that wind power is okay (they don’t like it because it might ‘hurt’ some birds), wave power is okay (they don’t like it because it might ‘hurt’ some dolphins), hydropower is okay (they don’t like it because it might ‘hurt’ a snail darter), but that is a rant for a different forum.

    Since the things that need to be done to reduce pollutants spewing into the atmosphere make both economic sense and environmental sense, why not just do them? Oh, I forgot there is that Kyoto agreement that doesn’t recommend actually doing anything but instead recommends punishing the industrial world with taxes and fines. Oops.

    Never mind.

  35. Follow the Money
    Posted Mar 21, 2007 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    #31

    How the GGWS persuades
    Powerful, professional, polemical
    Half-truths
    False dichotomy
    Selective (distorted?) data
    Ad hominem attack
    Appeals to authority
    Quoting out of context

    Sounds like Gore’s advertising pitch, except neither had ad hominem attacks, and Swindle failed to incorporate a cute animated polar bear.

    In it for the money
    Perpetuate the myth of global warming for the money
    Propositions:
    The research funding for “global warming” has increased greatly
    Scientists like getting their research funded
    Implication:
    Scientists want to perpetuate a myth to maintain their funding
    Fallacy: ad hominem attack and appeals to authority

    Fallacy: those aren’t ad hominem or appeals to authority. That’s almost a neurotic projection: the AAGW crowd’s rhetoric is replete with the two. And money doesn’t play an issue? Spaaaare me.

    Climate changes are caused by the Sun

    No attempt to argue otherwise, just ad hominem attack.

    Climate models are useless
    Proposition
    Climate models require many uncertain parameters that can be “tweaked”
    Implication:
    Climate modellers choose parameters that give them the results they want
    This is wrong because:
    Modellers impose various limits on what parameters are valid

    Oh brother.

  36. John Baltutis
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 1:39 AM | Permalink

    Re # 34:

    Wilst I agree with your model assessment, I note on your list to do:

    If we look at a short list of these they include things like:
    Switch from burning oil and coal to generate electricity to using things like hydropower, wind power, solar thermal power, wave power (a working facility has been built for the US Navy), geothermal power, and anything else that works that doesn’t pollute. (Notice I left out PV arrays, anyone who thinks PV arrays are the answer to coal fired electricity generation plants is smoking something very potent).

    the conspicuous absence of nuclear power, a well-used and established system that works and doesn’t pollute, used by the US Navy for over 40 years, and IMHO, is the only way to generate electrical power cheaply and efficiently. Aside from the poppycock put out by Gollywoodites in The China Syndrome and other no-nukes advocates, what might be your objections to it?

  37. MarkW
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

    curious,

    Not a bad summation. However you are way to quick to jump on the CO2 is a pollutant bandwagon.
    There is no evidence to support such a conclusion.
    CO2 is an essential trace gas. Without it, plant life would cease. The rest of us would cease shortly there after.

    The problem with switching to other sources of power all have to do with cost and reliability. Most of the renewables that you mention
    are more expensive than fossil fuels. (If they weren’t, those “greedy” businessmen would have switched over years ago.)
    A second point is reliability. You never know when the wind will blow. But electricity has to be available NOW.

    You can’t just throw a switch and turn on a power plant. From a cold start, it takes something like an hour to bring a natural gas
    generator up to full power. It takes a couple of days to bring a oil fired generator up to full power, and coal takes more than a week.
    I don’t know the numbers for nuclear.

    Likewise, you can’t change the power levels of any of these plants on a dime either. That is, they can’t go from producing at 80%
    capacity to producing at 90% capacity instantaneously.

    The reason for this is thermal mass and thermal stress. You have to bring up the temperature in the boiler slowly, so that you don’t
    crack it.

    Gas turbines and hydro are about the only ones that can switch power levels fairly quickly.
    (Though with hydro, you may have to give time for anyone downstream to get out of the way before you open up those floodgates. I don’t
    remember the name of the dam, it was just northeast of Atlanta, but it had a series of sirens that it sounded, starting an hour before
    hand, to warn bathers and fishermen to get out of the way, before they increased power settings. Even with the warning, there were
    always news clips of someone having to be rescued from a rock midstream, because they didn’t move fast enough.)

    Anyway, back to my story.
    Since you can’t change power settings on fossil fuel plants quickly, you need to keep a fossil fuel plant idling, somewhere in your
    system to pick up the slack for when the wind stops blowing unexpectedly. Or to help in case a cloud passes over the solar farm.
    This increases the cost of alternative energy, and it dramatically reduces the amount of carbon based fuel savings that alternatives provide.

  38. Tom Vonk
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

    If we look at a short list of these they include things like:
    Switch from burning oil and coal to generate electricity to using things like hydropower, wind power, solar thermal power, wave power (a working facility has been built for the US Navy), geothermal power, and anything else that works that doesn’t pollute.
    Converting landfills into methane gas farms and recycling centers.
    Converting facilities that generate heat by burning fossil fuels into cogeneration facilities that use the above technologies for the power generation portion.

    There may be a short list but the above is definitely a very wrong one .
    – Hydropower ? Saturated .
    – Windpower ? Unreliable , high cost , not available everywhere .
    – Solar power ? Expensive , unreliable , extremely low yields , not available everywhere .
    – Wave power ? Let’s forget it . Perhaps in centuries but even that is doubtful .
    – Geothermal ? Economical only for heating and on very limited places . Extreme corrosion .
    – Cogeneration ? It works the other way round . Idea is to use the heat produced anyway by power generation . Problem : heat is not always needed on a place where a nuclear (coal , gaz) power plants stands . And it doesn’t transport well .
    Energy being a true issue while AGW is not , people should never ever forget that our civilisation , our lives and our development over the last century , the explosion of the earth’s population and of the life expectancy , the increase of average wealth (true everywhere despite increasing unbalances , the latter not preventing the former) are due to only one factor : existence of cheap , largely available and easily transportable energy .

    Anybody going in this field must not forget that we are dealing with HUGE and increasing quantities here .
    The world’s population is supposed to get to 9 billions people in 2050 (50% increase) .
    Most of this increase will happen in places where neither food , nor water or energy ressources are adequate .

    The mankind needs today about 15 TW (Terrawatt) power out of which 85 % are oil , gaz & coal .
    No need to look farther for the explosion of human wealth and population when one sees that only 100 years ago , the energy consumption was around 1 TW .
    Now if one assumes (very conservative assumption) that the world’s energy consumption will only follow the population increase , we’ll need ADDITIONAL 8 TW in the next 40 years .
    If we assume that there is no reason that countries like China , India , Brazil & Co forget about improving their average standard of living (that is correlated to energy consumption) then we’ll need 5 – 7 TW more to add to the 8 above in the next 40 – 60 years .

    Such orders of magnitude are clearly beyond any tinkering with waves , wind or photovoltaic .
    Note that 1 TW is equivalent to about 300 nuclear power plants (considering both heat&electricity output)
    Industrial , large scale solutions are needed and FAST .
    The only energy that is , barely , able to take up the challenge of comparable growths in the limited time is the nuclear .
    Classical first , fusion second .

    Looking at those challenges , at those huge orders of magnitude and this urgence (solutions are to be found before 2050 else ….) , it appears ridiculous that large amounts of fundings and grey matter are spent on pathetic issues concerning the average weather we’ll have somewhere around 2100 .
    Those billions of money wasted on climate modelling should go to fusion and agricultural research as fast as possible .
    That’s why I would like to ask 90 % of the “climate scientists” – please do us a favour , learn
    some nuclear physics or molecular biology and go searching for things that we urgently need .
    The 10 % that stay are more than enough to entretain us with average temperatures and fundamental “climatology” .

  39. curious
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

    the conspicuous absence of nuclear power, a well-used and established system that works and doesn’t pollute, used by the US Navy for over 40 years, and IMHO, is the only way to generate electrical power cheaply and efficiently. Aside from the poppycock put out by Gollywoodites in The China Syndrome and other no-nukes advocates, what might be your objections to it?

    I don’t have any objections to nuclear power. I live in the USA and the environmental nutjobs have made it impossible to build a new nuclear power plant here. So, I left it off the list. Also, I was thinking more about converting existing plants than building new ones and some of the plants I have in mind are not large enough to justify building a nuclear plant.

  40. curious
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    Not a bad summation. However you are way to quick to jump on the CO2 is a pollutant bandwagon.
    There is no evidence to support such a conclusion.
    CO2 is an essential trace gas. Without it, plant life would cease. The rest of us would cease shortly there after.

    I said that I don’t necessarily agree that CO2 is a pollutant, but for sake of argument I would assume it is. All the global warming nutjobs assume that it is a pollutant, so I was willing to grant that concession in order not to keep arguing about it.

    The problem with switching to other sources of power all have to do with cost and reliability. Most of the renewables that you mention
    are more expensive than fossil fuels. (If they weren’t, those “greedy” businessmen would have switched over years ago.)

    Well, you are making a blanket statement to cover a wide range of technologies, so I will address them one by one. Also, it depends on whether you are talking about coal fired or oil fired electricity generation plants in the comparison.
    1. Wind power – slightly more expensive. Depends of course on the cost of oil. If you are comparing to coal then the cost difference is more than slight. One thing that drives up the cost of the wind power is the unbeleivably high costs in getting the permits. The environmental nutjobs have made the costs of permitting extremely high. The government needs to establish a streamline process so that wind farms can get permitted more easily (and cheaply).
    2. Solar thermal power. – Less expensive whether you are talking about coal or oil. I think you thought I meant PV. As I stated, PV is not an option. There are three commercial grade solar thermal plants in the US and several in Israel. They all produce electricity cheaper than coal and oil.
    3. Hydro power – if you are talking about micro hydro the costs aren’t even close, micro hydro wins. Equipping existing dams with hydro power also wins hands down. Starting a new extremely large hydro project in the USA is not really an option, the environmental nutjobs have seen to that. I was thinking more about adding hydro power to all the existing dams that do not have it and also using micro hydro at the thousands of sites where that makes sense.
    4. Wave power – currently the cost is slightly higher, the US Navy has built a few small plants, other countries have more advanced technology. There is a project being built off the US West coast that willl provide the power needs of a small city. The cost of the wave generated power is cheaper than oil, more expensive than coal, slightly more expensive. The US Navy thinks that done on a large scale this is the most promising alternative to fossil fuels. The reason that the Navy is interested in this technology is that the US military finally figured out that energy independence is a tremendous military advantage for their bases and even their fleets.

    A second point is reliability. You never know when the wind will blow. But electricity has to be available NOW.

    Yes, I understand this. There are two ways to deal with this. Have a number of wind farms over a wide enough geographic area that the wind is always blowing somewhere. And, have a secondary power generation system that is not dependent on wind. The secondary system would need to be natural gas, coal, or oil fired. Of course the enironmental nut jobs won’t like this but who cares.

    You can’t just throw a switch and turn on a power plant. From a cold start, it takes something like an hour to bring a natural gas
    generator up to full power. It takes a couple of days to bring a oil fired generator up to full power, and coal takes more than a week.
    I don’t know the numbers for nuclear.

    Of course. Not sure what your point is.

    Likewise, you can’t change the power levels of any of these plants on a dime either. That is, they can’t go from producing at 80%
    capacity to producing at 90% capacity instantaneously.

    The reason for this is thermal mass and thermal stress. You have to bring up the temperature in the boiler slowly, so that you don’t
    crack it.

    Gas turbines and hydro are about the only ones that can switch power levels fairly quickly.
    (Though with hydro, you may have to give time for anyone downstream to get out of the way before you open up those floodgates. I don’t
    remember the name of the dam, it was just northeast of Atlanta, but it had a series of sirens that it sounded, starting an hour before
    hand, to warn bathers and fishermen to get out of the way, before they increased power settings. Even with the warning, there were
    always news clips of someone having to be rescued from a rock midstream, because they didn’t move fast enough.)

    Yes, I understand all this. Still not sure what your point is.

    Anyway, back to my story.
    Since you can’t change power settings on fossil fuel plants quickly, you need to keep a fossil fuel plant idling, somewhere in your
    system to pick up the slack for when the wind stops blowing unexpectedly. Or to help in case a cloud passes over the solar farm.
    This increases the cost of alternative energy, and it dramatically reduces the amount of carbon based fuel savings that alternatives provide.

    Yes, replacing a single coal or oil fired power plant with wind power will mean that you have to leave the existing plant on line idling and that will be an added cost. I agree with this, however, in doing cost calculations for alternative energy systems you always have to factor in the secondary system.

    I think what your point really is, is that alternatives cost too much. That is a blanket statement that doesn’t hold up for all alternatives. While it is true that currently wind power is more expensive than coal fired electricity, I think that economies of scale might change this. What would the impact be on the pricing of wind turbines if the federal government got serious about it and provided the funds so that the utilities could place an order for a few dozen wind farms of several GW of power each?

    Solar thermal is currently cost competetive with coal and oil. The drawback with solar thermal is, of course, that you need to be in the US southwest or a comparable climate to use it.

    Micro hydro and adding hydro power to existing dams is far cheaper than oil and cheaper than coal. Again, you have to be in an area that has sources suitable for either micro hydro or has dams that can be retrofitted.

    Wave power looks very promising. At least the US Navy thinks so. They put one plant in operation and plan on buying more.

    None of these technologies is “the answer”.

  41. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    RE: #33 – RE: low level, ocean born clouds

    Where I live, we have experienced notably cool summers, on the whole, since the late 80s. A significant factor in this has been the tendancy of the marine layer, and its attendent “high fog” (aka stratus formed as part of the Great Fog Bank in the Eastern half of the Pacific High) to pentrate further inland than it did during the period 1977 – 1987. It also persists later in the day prior to burning off. Ergo, cooler summer high temps. Also, as a result of this, the thermal gradient between the reliably very hot areas such as the southern San Joaquin Valley, the northern Sacramento Valley, Basin and Range, Mojave, Sonoran and Colorado Deserts is increased by this effect. This results in a stiffer sea breeze reaching further inland. It’s amazing what a few additional condensing droplets might be capable of doing.

  42. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    RE: #34 – Oil is probably something to reduce usage of in the West. For both geopolitical and cost reasons, the latter, assuming ongoing artificial scarcity, this makes sense. Using more not less coal would be attractive. Photovoltaics – two developments would make them more compelling – commoditization (coming soon, thanks to T.J. Rodgers) and a more effective means of inverting the DC into AC. Solve those two to make them appealing to those with limited capital, and you’re in business. Nuclear is a no brainer, totally underutilized and hamstrung in the US by us being such Boy Scouts about the fuel cycle, while meanwhile every two bit country is going for fast breeder reactors and overtly proliferatible fuel cycles – there is no point in “taking the high road” with this any longer. Japan has a really interesting fuel cycle, one to emulate. Small damless hydro is low hanging fruit. Diesel engines need much wider adoption in the Americas. Renewable wood energy is a complete no brainer – solve the health issues via modern combustion systems and you’re in business. Algal scrubbing, which can feed both direct pellet biomass and biodiesel, electronic power controls, appropriate expansion of use of flourescent lighting, etc. There is no need for caps and trades, let the market solve for energy and all the rest will follow.

  43. curious
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

    There may be a short list but the above is definitely a very wrong one .
    – Hydropower ? Saturated .

    Not true. Micro hydro can be used anyplace you have enough flow and enough depth. There are thousands of viable micro hydro sites in the US, tens of thousands worldwide.

    There are hundreds of existing dams that can be retrofitted with hydro power. The state of connecticut just completed such a project near where I live.

    - Windpower ? Unreliable , high cost , not available everywhere .

    Unreliable – not true. If you mean intermittent, you are correct, but that doesnt’ mean it isn’t a viable technology. Both wind and solar systems have to be designed with a secondary system to provide power when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.
    High cost – cost is slightly higher than coal, less than oil. I think the cost is not so exorbiant that wind should be rejected out of hand.
    not available everywhere – so use it where it is available.

    - Solar power ? Expensive , unreliable , extremely low yields , not available everywhere .

    Expensive – if you are referring to PV you are correct, but I stated that PV is not an option. If you are talking about solar thermal you are incorrect. There are a half dozen solar thermal power plants in operation at costs below both coal and oil.
    Unreliable – the solar thermal plants in operation world wide are extremely reliable.
    Extremely low yields – again, you are talking about PV, I am talking about solar thermal.

    - Wave power ? Let’s forget it . Perhaps in centuries but even that is doubtful .

    Tell that to the US Navy which has two working plants, a 3rd plant large enough to power a city of 50,000 is currently being built off the US west coast. This technology is viable today, not in centuries.

    - Geothermal ? Economical only for heating and on very limited places . Extreme corrosion .

    Economical only for heating – Not true. Geothermal power plants exist.
    I agree that the places you can have a geothermal power plant are limited. Doesn’t mean you can’t use them where they are practical.
    Extreme corrosion – not sure what this means.

    - Cogeneration ? It works the other way round . Idea is to use the heat produced anyway by power generation . Problem : heat is not always needed on a place where a nuclear (coal , gaz) power plants stands

    I’m not sure what any of this means. Cogeneration is used in industrial facilities where the facility needs both electricity and heat. Producing both from the same source reduces the need for electricity purchased from the utility grid. There are numerous industrial facilities which would benefit from cogeneration, but current laws and regulations make it very difficult for a company to use cogeneration. These laws and regulations need to be changed.

    . And it doesn’t transport well .

    Not sure what this means. The generated heat and electricity are used in the same industrial facility where they are produced. Transport is not a concern.

    Energy being a true issue while AGW is not , people should never ever forget that our civilisation , our lives and our development over the last century , the explosion of the earth’s population and of the life expectancy , the increase of average wealth (true everywhere despite increasing unbalances , the latter not preventing the former) are due to only one factor : existence of cheap , largely available and easily transportable energy .

    Agree

    Anybody going in this field must not forget that we are dealing with HUGE and increasing quantities here .
    The world’s population is supposed to get to 9 billions people in 2050 (50% increase) .
    Most of this increase will happen in places where neither food , nor water or energy ressources are adequate

    I am assuming that you are talking here about fossil energy resources. Since you say that these energy resources are not adequate, then arguing about the cost of alternative energy sources like wind, solar thermal, hydro, and wave power seems like a false argument. Becasue then the cost difference is between whatever the alternative costs and infinity which is the cost of something that cannot be obtained. You say that hydro is ‘saturated’ (whatever that means), but I have in mind a very urgent case in Uganda. The people of Uganda desperately need cheap electrical power. They have numerous sites that are very suitable for hydro power. The power generated would be cheap and non polluting. Unfortunately, the environmental nutjobs in the U.N. have threatened Uganda with cut off of all U.N. aid if they “hurt the fish” by using hydro power.

    The mankind needs today about 15 TW (Terrawatt) power out of which 85 % are oil , gaz & coal .
    No need to look farther for the explosion of human wealth and population when one sees that only 100 years ago , the energy consumption was around 1 TW .
    Now if one assumes (very conservative assumption) that the world’s energy consumption will only follow the population increase , we’ll need ADDITIONAL 8 TW in the next 40 years .
    If we assume that there is no reason that countries like China , India , Brazil & Co forget about improving their average standard of living (that is correlated to energy consumption) then we’ll need 5 – 7 TW more to add to the 8 above in the next 40 – 60 years .

    Such orders of magnitude are clearly beyond any tinkering with waves , wind or photovoltaic .

    I clearly stated that PV was not an option. Solar thermal is an option, however. I would hardly call the output from a large wind farm ‘tinkering’.

    Note that 1 TW is equivalent to about 300 nuclear power plants (considering both heat&electricity output)
    Industrial , large scale solutions are needed and FAST .
    The only energy that is , barely , able to take up the challenge of comparable growths in the limited time is the nuclear .
    Classical first , fusion second .

    Looking at those challenges , at those huge orders of magnitude and this urgence (solutions are to be found before 2050 else ….) , it appears ridiculous that large amounts of fundings and grey matter are spent on pathetic issues concerning the average weather we’ll have somewhere around 2100 .
    Those billions of money wasted on climate modelling should go to fusion and agricultural research as fast as possible .
    That’s why I would like to ask 90 % of the “climate scientists” – please do us a favour , learn
    some nuclear physics or molecular biology and go searching for things that we urgently need .
    The 10 % that stay are more than enough to entretain us with average temperatures and fundamental “climatology” .

    I see your point. The urgent issues facing humanity need our full attention and this nonsense over global climate change is removing scarce resources from dealing with these issues and applying them to a bogus issue. I agree with that.

    I do agree with your estimates on the energy required to help the undeveloped world achieve the goal that everyone in the undeveloped world has, which is development. I think I put more stock in the feasability of non-fossil fuel technologies meeting those needs.

    There is also the argument as to whether or not fossil fuels are “bad”. The environmental nutjobs assume this to be the case. I’m not so sure. In my post I agreed not to debate this point but just to assume that CO2 emissions are “bad”. I don’t necessarily believe that.

    Since you didn’t like my list of alternative energy technologies (alternative to oil and coal), what would your list be?

  44. Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    Further information about concentrating solar power (CSP) may be found at:

    http://www.trec-uk.org.uk/index.htm

    and

    http://www.trecers.net/index.html

    and

    http://www.trec.net.au/

  45. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    re: #42

    Diesel engines need much wider adoption in the Americas.

    Did you read the paper Hans Erren linked to this morning on another thread concerning CO2 lifetime in the atmosphere? It indicates that Diesel isn’t such a good deal.

  46. Reid
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    Re: Alternative Energy

    Whenever I hear discussions about alternative energy rarely does anyone mention actual electrical grid operations. Fact is the higher the percentage of alternative energy the less reliable the grid. Even a move up to 10% alternative energy would cause a large reliability loss. If you boost it to 30% the grid will be 3rd world in performance. On and off erratically especially during peak use periods.

    As for wind power, Germany has the largest installed base and they are only generating 50% of expected power. That means the cost is actually double what was forecast per kilowatt.

    Geothermal is now all the rage in residential heating. I know, I am in the heating and alternative energy business. There is a dirty secret about geothermal home heating. Sometimes it works great and sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Rarely is the claimed COP (Coefficient of performance) realized in the real world. Despite all the engineering that goes into designing a geothermal system the actual real world performance can vary to the extreme. This is especially true of vertical well system as opposed to horizontal “slinky” installations. I have seen geothermal installations installed by experts that flat out don’t work and the experts can’t determine why. Everything should work but it doesn’t. I have seen other systems in the same region installed by the same people that works great.

  47. curious
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    Re #46

    Whenever I hear discussions about alternative energy rarely does anyone mention actual electrical grid operations. Fact is the higher the percentage of alternative energy the less reliable the grid. Even a move up to 10% alternative energy would cause a large reliability loss. If you boost it to 30% the grid will be 3rd world in performance. On and off erratically especially during peak use periods.

    This is not a factual statement. In a solar thermal system, what the poster in #44 referred to as concentrating solar power, a more accurate term actually, the power generation is highest when peak usage is highest. Of course, power generation goes to zero at sundown so there has to be some way of storing the electricity generated during the day. Putting this electricity into the grid is a good way to store it. Concentrating solar power is only feasible in areas where you have lots of non-interrupted sunshine, like the southwestern portion of the United States. Since cooling is the highest energy load in the southwest US, the peak power generation and the peak power usage times coincide.

    If you are talking about a national grid (I wasn’t) your premise breaks down because there would be a variety of electricity generating technologies, and numerous sites, each of which would be generating power at different times. A single wind farm does not put out uninterrupted electricity, but several hundred wind farms located all across the continental US would.

    As for wind power, Germany has the largest installed base and they are only generating 50% of expected power. That means the cost is actually double what was forecast per kilowatt.

    I’m not sure what the point of this is. Germany’s wind power was installed over many years using a wide variety of turbine technologies from different manufacturers. The learning curve in wind turbine technology has proven to be quite high, but it has been mounted. The current generation of wind turbines are more efficient than their predecessors. The cost of this power being twice expectations doesn’t prove that it is vastly more expensive than coal fired or oil fired electricity. Germany has very little coal and oil to burn to make electricity, so using alternatives to coal and oil is viewed as a matter of national security.

    Geothermal is now all the rage in residential heating. I know, I am in the heating and alternative energy business. There is a dirty secret about geothermal home heating. Sometimes it works great and sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Rarely is the claimed COP (Coefficient of performance) realized in the real world. Despite all the engineering that goes into designing a geothermal system the actual real world performance can vary to the extreme. This is especially true of vertical well system as opposed to horizontal “slinky” installations. I have seen geothermal installations installed by experts that flat out don’t work and the experts can’t determine why. Everything should work but it doesn’t. I have seen other systems in the same region installed by the same people that works great.

    You must be using the term geothermal differently than I am. So, I apologize for my failure to be clear. I was in the HVAC business in the 80s and have designed and installed geothermal home heating/cooling systems. But, I am not using the term geothermal here in that context. I am referring to the building of geothermal power plants which “convert hydrothermal fluids to electricity”. This type of power generation is explained at this DOE website: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/geothermal/powerplants.html. There are several of these plants in operation worldwide. DOE is working with manufacturers to get the cost of geothermal power generation below 5 cents a KWH. They estimate that this will become a reality by the end of this decade.

  48. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    Curious, thank you for your post. A couple of points:

    1) Because of approaching grid instability such as Reid warned of, Germany is not building any more wind power plants, so it is not a non-problem as you claim. And “several hundred wind farms across the United States” will not put out “uninterrupted electricity”, the power needs to be generated near to where it is used or transmission losses become prohibitive.

    2) You say:

    In a solar thermal system, what the poster in #44 referred to as concentrating solar power, a more accurate term actually, the power generation is highest when peak usage is highest. Of course, power generation goes to zero at sundown so there has to be some way of storing the electricity generated during the day. Putting this electricity into the grid is a good way to store it.

    While it would be nice if generation was highest when demand was highest, demand typically has a couple of peaks during the day, while solar does not. And the truth is, power generation is highest when the sun is brightest, period. If clouds come over the sun, power generation drops radically, and this can happen during times of peak demand.

    Next, since solar and wind cannot be counted on, it is necessary to build enough conventional plants to meet the baseload. This capital cost must be added on to the capital cost of the renewable plants. The economics are very negative, which is why wind farms only exist where there are government subsidies to support them.

    Finally, the grid cannot store any electricity at all. None. Zero.

    w.

  49. jae
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

    50: I guess ideally conventional production would be lowered during those times that “green power” entered the grid (during clear days, e.g.). But I don’t know how feasible that is. Regardless, you have to have a base conventional production system capable of generating 100 percent of peak power demands to prepare for those rainy/windless days. SO, you really can’t cut down on conventional generation capacity by using solar or wind power. Of course, we can burn biomass, and that is becoming “good” again.

  50. MarkW
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

    curious,

    It’s easy to cliam that alternative energy sources are affordable. If you are so convinced of this, why not start investing some of your own money. If you are right you’ll make a fortune.

    The easiest way to judge the truth in such matters is to see where those who know the most are investing their money. Or are they looking to get other people (or taxpayers) to do all the investing.

    The only places where they are building wind turbines, are those places where the govt is picking up most of the costs. The same for all forms of solar.

    As to their being thousands of places to build micro-hydro, that will produce, what 10 to 15 MW total?

  51. MarkW
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    Puting electricity into the grid is a good way to store it?????

    Are you pulling our legs or something?

    When you put electricity onto the grid, it is consumed. Which means it is gone. That microsecond.

  52. Jim Edwards
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    #48, 50, 53

    Re: “storing” Energy “on the grid”

    Clearly, energy isn’t stored by putting it into wires, but there are methods of “storing” energy during periods of overcapacity for use at peak periods w/o resorting to, say, coal.

    They tend to be expensive and inefficient.

    PG&E had facilities in the Sierra Nevada which consisted of two man-made reservoirs w/ a ~500m elevation drop between them, a tunnel with hydroelectric turbines between them to use during peak periods, and a pumping station at the bottom to refill the top reservoir during the evening. [Kind of a rechargeable water battery]

    This sort of setup probably wouldn’t work with solar, but it’s possible one could use nighttime wind energy [if any] to refill the reservoir, occasionally. As Willis noted, expensive and unreliable.

    Curious was mentioning micro-dams. Great to generate power close to user, but don’t forget that environmentalists are stopping new dam construction and driving removal of existing dams because of effects on fish population.

  53. Jim O'Toole
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    Follow the Money & IanP (or anyone else):

    This is off topic and I don’t want to cloud Steve’s bandwith more than necessary, but I would like to read more about the benefits/drawbacks of trading credits that both of you have informed opinions on. As I am very interested in the motivations and consequences of where money goes, can you recommend any articles or books vetting this topic? And to anyone who thinks that I am looking to uncover conspiracies under everything, I’m not, I just want to be more informed; so you can send me any counter-references that you think might add to my knowledge. I’m looking to read everything, then decide for myself.
    Thanks in advance

  54. Lee
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

    re 49:

    “Re #47
    Oh, I agree that the “environmentalists” are nothing but zero growth, population control, centralized control of production communists wrapped in what they think is the moral highground of “concern” for the environment. Personally, I think they are a bunch of scumbags.”

    oh, good god. I routinely get called a troll, but this crap doesnt even get a comment?

  55. John Baltutis
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    Re: #56

    Why would it? See http://www.greenspirit.com/key_issues.cfm?msid=34&page=1 for starters. A salient item is:

    Since its founding in the late 60’s the modern environmental movement had created a vision that was international in scope and had room for people of all political persuasions.…

    Now this broad-based vision is challenged by a new philosophy of radical environmentalism. In the name of “deep ecology” many environmentalists have taken a sharp turn to the ultra-left, ushering in a mood of extremism and intolerance. As a clear signal of this new agenda, in 1990 Greenpeace called for a “grassroots revolution against pragmatism and compromise”.

  56. curious
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    Re #54

    Curious was mentioning micro-dams. Great to generate power close to user, but don’t forget that environmentalists are stopping new dam construction and driving removal of existing dams because of effects on fish population.

    Micro hydro doesn’t require the use of a dam. And, micro hydro electricity once generated is just like any other generated electricity. If you don’t need it, put it into the grid, like any other electricity producer does. I’m not sure why you think that the electricity generated by micro hydro has to be used at the source.

    If by “micro dam” you mean retrofitting small dams so that they generate hydro power, you are correct, the environmental nutjobs are stopping this anyway they can.

    The county I live in just completed a project like this, adding hydro power to a small dam, they also rebuilt the dam and added river channels that bypassed the dam, and special gates in the dam for fish to pass through, so that the health of the fish populations would improve. The environmental nutjobs of course filed a lawsuit which delayed the project unnecessarily and added to its cost. We tried to get the county to file a counter suit to reclaim the legal expenses and the expenses due to the delay of the project, but this was unsuccessful. This was a very important project for our county because of the bad economic condition of a lot of the county’s citizens. There was almost zero public support for the environmental nutjobs for tearing down the dam and abandoning the idea of refitting it to generate electricity, which is what the environmental nutjobs wanted.

  57. curious
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

    Re #56
    If the environmental/leftist political movement is not zero growth then how do you explain this behavior, which happened in my state (CT) which has some of the worst poverty in the country:

    A company put forth a proposal to build a wind farm offshore of the CT southeast coast. Similar windfarms have been built pretty much worldwide with no environmental damage. The environmentalists have tied this project up in court because it might “hurt the fish”. Not because it can definitely be proven that it will “hurt the fish”, but because it might “hurt the fish”.

    The county that I live in has a dam which was built in the early 1800s. The water behind this dam is the drinking water for a city of 40,000 which has severe poverty. The dam was in severe disrepair and needed to be rebuilt. The county could not really afford to rebuild the dam and a company submitted a proposal where the dam would be rebuilt and part of the rebuilding would be to retrofit the dam with hydro electric generating equipment. A bond was issued and the revenue from the electricity generation is used to pay for the rebuilding of the dam, the electricity is sold to the poorest residents of the city at a discount and the water rates were not raised. “Environmentalists” tied this project up in court for over a year and tried to have the dam torn down. Tearing down the dam would have meant building a very expensive water treatment plant or buying water from a neighboring district at high prices. The “environmentalists” could care less about this. The company which did the retrofit of the dam put in special gates for fish to pass through and added new water courses to bypass the dam, so not only was there no environmental damage, but the environment was improved. All of this was explained to the “environmentalists”, especially the dire economic impact on our poorest citizens and they could have cared less.

    Since both of these projects are green projects what possible motive could the “environmentalists” have for blocking them if their agenda is not zero growth?

    I could provide a very long list of this kind of stupidity where alternavite energy projects are either blocked or else tied up in court for years due to this “concern” for the environment. I am a firm believer that if you want to figure out the true motivation of an organization look at the results of its policies. The environmental movement in this country has:
    1. Placed what amounts to a ban on new nuclear power plants being built.
    2. Placed what amounts to a ban on new hydro projects being built, including micro and pico hydro.
    3. Opposed wind farm projects. They haven’t succeeded in banning these projects, but have added significantly to the cost of them by their lawsuits and demands for endless “environmental” studies and public debate.
    4. Tried to stop a wave power electricity generation project that is currently being built off the west coast. Their complaint was that the project might “hurt the fish”. The small company that is building this project incurred millions of dollars in legal fees and “environmental” studies that were not needed as there was a large amount of proof entered into evidence that this technology not only does not harm the environment, but similar plants they built for the navy have vibrant coral colonies living on their mooring equipment.

    So, if the environmentalists aren’t going to let us generate electricity with coal, oil, hydro, nuclear, wave power, or wind power, then what are we going to do? If the environmentalists get their way all new electricity generating plant development in this country will stop and new economic development will stop. Zero growth.

    If this policy of opposing ANY means of generating electricity is not a zero growth policy, please enlighten me.

  58. Jim Edwards
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

    #58

    I didn’t say I thought any type of energy “has to be used at the source.” I said it is “Great to generate power close to user.” This is for the reasons listed by others above [negligible transmission losses]. It is quite clear that a given electron doesn’t care whether it turns left or right down a wire, so it can be used close or far away. Generating power closer to its consumption is generally a good thing, however.

    You have my sympathy on the litigation in your county. A bigger example of this is the east span retrofit of the SF Bay Bridge. It could have been built years ago, but local gov’ts and activists stalled the process to try to make it more aesthetically pleasing and add a ~$300 million bike lane that went half way across the bridge. It was stalled long enough for China’s growth to cause steel to skyrocket the project cost several $Billion. Schwarzenegger wants local gov’t to pay the increase for their pickiness and locals want the state to pick up the tab. Even though I don’t feel I should have to subsidize the crass insanity of SF Bay residents, I think there is justice in forcing the State to pay – since the State routinely forces individuals and businesses to put up with court delays and even pay the court costs of those who sue them. Sauce for the goose…

  59. Jim Edwards
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

    #56, Lee

    I think you should see the higher standard you’re held to as a compliment that regular contributors see you as a contributor who is making points about the science on a regular basis. They would like you to make points on the science and lay off the sarcasm.

    The many no-names like myself are nuisances or make infrequently helpful comments. Regulars ignore our inflammatory comments that don’t seem to move the thread forward and make statements like “Don’t feed the trolls” “DFTT”

    If you have to make inflammatory comments to sooth your ego, consider yourself a troll.

    If you can contain your sarcasm before submitting and stick to points on the science, I expect that you’ll find greater success. Many readers, I’m sure, come to this site with semi-open minds, and are likely turned off by a few of your comments in the same way Gavin’s comments apparently didn’t carry the recent debate. If John A, to pick on somebody unfairly, makes unwarranted comments readers will tune him out but follow the many regulars [Willis, JeanS, et al] who are carrying the discussion forward. You, on the other hand, frequently seem to be carrying the weight of your “side’s” argument alone. If you piss readers off, your “side” is unrepresented. Lay off the anger when you write, please.

  60. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 11:32 PM | Permalink

    Please no more hyper-ventilating about environmentalism. I’ve not been riding herd on this lately; its hard not to move from science into politics, but please try to stick to science. There are many forums to discuss politics.

  61. Follow the Money
    Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 12:09 AM | Permalink

    Jim # 55 re: swindle

    Fair enough, but this thread is entitled “swindle”

    Unfortunately I cannot point you to one source. In America, after a bubble and similar dodgy trading swindle, a books and movies will come out explaining. To my surprise there is nothing from Europe, even after the first collapse of the European exchange. The recent EU introduction of stricter limits intended to create a new supply of credits to reinflate that market. I know this because I read it in articles. One would think there would be analyses/exposes in Euro Biz journals addressing the whole enterprise but no, none.

    There were some interesting articles in the Los Angeles Times, but they are difficult to recover. They had brokerage economists openly talking about monetizing forests’ CO2 sink capacities and such.

    A start for you may be to merely enter “carbon credits” in Yahoo News (Google News is poor). You might couple these words with “brokerage” “Goldman” and “New Zealand”, experiment. Why New Zealand? Because there’s been a very public discussion by its citizens about how their government is effectively seizing carbon credits from their possession.

    First comes suspicions, who invented the idea of carbon trades? Solar advocates, fuel efficiency advocates? No, traders.

    Who are these traders? Oddly enough, look up “Sandor” etc., alumni of the Junk Bond tinged-firms. Why not add the word “Milken” to your carbon credits searches. Look up the godfather of Kyoto, Maurice Strong, with Kyoto. After Kyoto I (II?) was enacted he ran to China to buy coal plants. Now he’s apparently esconsed in China fearing subpena in American investigations of the Oil for Food Program, another dodgy enterprise.

    History and experience is a guide. Study the other marketing schemes that collapsed, Junk Bonds, California Electricity Exchange (just one of Enron’s shenanigans), the American S&L crisis. Each required government action or non-action.

    There’s imagination, think of all the ways one can profit within the system outside its advertised benefits. BTW, the traders saw opportuinty in the AGW debate, they didn’t create its beginnings.

    Think why we need it. Why not just impose taxes, or fund cleaner car technologies? It is accepted that the carbon markets won’t reduce carbon…the counter, you surely have heard, is the “we must do something” argument. No brokerage fees, no way to ship money overseas, no way to profit on the side by ownerships in carbon credit, esp. overseas, issuers. Accountability, and traceability, are “weak” coming from an enforcement perspective, but from a profit perspective are strengths.

    About “conspriacies,” I find it ironic some will complain about “radical environmentalists” behind this, but not look at the big money. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s modern marketing. Familiarity with modern public relations and firms would help, also it’s campaigns. Did you know the largest firms have “NGO divisions” that create what used to be called in the Cold War “front groups?” If you had experience with the late 90’s “anti-globalization movements” you would noticed the better dressed/better spoken advocates of “debt relief” among the often unwashed crowds of voices. These were fronts for banks, especially European, who wanted Western governments to give them more money on bad loans on the basis of charity than what they could renegotiate with the actual debtors. A broker move was the recent USA “privatization” push on Social Security. BTW, it “collapsed” because some brokerages backed out from Bush when they finally realized after their 6 year publicity campaign that raiding the public pension would bring more government scrutiny of their activities despite the verbiage of “freedom.” You may call this “conspiracy,” but it is modern mass marketing wherein government action or inaction is required.

    Finally, understand the activities are complex. I asked a Green party notable a few days ago why, if the large USA enviro groups have lobbied, quietly, in the past, why now are they saying the trading could be “part of the solution.” She suspects they’ve given up, and they are “tagging along” with the campaign hoping to get something out of it. Certain businesses are too, for reasons too long to go into here. Also its not the brokerages, but governments. For example, Britain announced its own plans to set up an independent exchange. Blair flew out to California, met with Arnie, and there was all sorts of talk about an international carbon exchange! No talk about better vehicles, etc.

    Well, I hope that’s enough to get you started. Conspiratorial thinking isn’t required, but cynicism is, plus experience. Maybe you’ll write the book putting it altogether for the public. Or web site.

    P.S. Here’s a non-critical piece on the European system (beware: see author line at bottom)

    http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/242892/carbon_trading/index.html

  62. MarkW
    Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 4:53 AM | Permalink

    I only wish that many environmentalists only wanted zero growth. Many are after severe negative growth.
    I can’t remember which member of the British royal family said this, but when asked what he would like to come back as if he could
    be reincarnated said that he would like to come back as a virus, so that the earth’s population could be reduced to it’s carrying
    capacity.

    I agree with Simon on the issue of carrying capacity. The earth is nowhere close to it’s carrying capacity for humans.

  63. bernie
    Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

    MarkW:
    The entire world’s population could be gathered in Rhode Island to watch a football game. It would be a little crowded and getting a drink would be a problem at half-time. The sight-lines would be a problem too.

  64. aslan
    Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    A question I have – aerosol sulphates

    The proponents of GW claim that the cooling between 1940 and 1975 was caused by aerosols and sulphates which dimed the sun.
    The GW proponents claim that incedents of both Suphates and aerosols lessened after pollution controls were introduced in the west in the 1980’s
    and the former Soviet block had an economic collapse in the early 1990’s

    Does anybody have any data on sulphates and particulates? their distribution through time? – I could not find any online
    And India and China began industrilising in the 1990’s and having worked in Bombay the particulate polution there is terrible

    Thanks for your help in advance

  65. bernie
    Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    I made a mistake. Rhode Island would be too crowded and too many would drown. Please replace Rhode Island with Delaware, that is to say everybody could be squeezed into the 49th largest of our States. For our friends in the UK, that is about the size of Lincolnshire.

  66. Tom Vonk
    Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    Since you didn’t like my list of alternative energy technologies (alternative to oil and coal), what would your list be?

    I didn’t say that I didn’t like it . I said that it was wrong .
    More specifically the word “alternative” is wrong because it is not an alternative .
    If I have a problem of around 10 TW then I need solutions whose size is also around 10 TW .
    While your list might be a list of expensive more or less available technologies it has nowhere near the necessary 10 TW size .
    The short list having the right size is indeed very short .
    1) Coal
    2) Nuclear
    3) Energy conservation

    The first 2 are obvious . Large , geographically well distributed (at least for coal) , cheap reserves .High energetical density , easy to store and to transport . Mature technologies , little need for space and infrastructure , well suited for power generation .

    A specific remark for Germany – you probably don’t know much about this country . If Germany has indeed little oil , it has major coal reserves and the biggest part of its power generation comes from coal . Always had – Germany became the second world’s power in the first half of 20th century precisely because of its coal and steel industry what enabled it among others to lead a 6 year WWII against about everybody without imploding economically in 2 months but that is another question . If they build windmills now it is not that they need it , it is for purely political reasons (the Green party having governed 8 years with the socialists) and it is heavily subsidised .

    The third is less obvious and here the USA are the most challenged .
    Everytime I come to the US , the first thing I do is to cut off the hotel’s air conditioning and cannot stop wondering where is the problem to live in a room at 25 or 30° . Another point of wonder is why there are ice machines everywhere . I don’t know if somebody calculated how much power is consumed to only produce thousands of tons of small ice cubes but it is sure that if all those machines were scrapped , nothing special would happen beside saving power .

    Now to avoid misunderstandings .
    I do not oppose tinkering with some of the more exotic and expensive technologies provided that people are aware that :
    a) If the most degraded energy form (heat) can be substituted easily and in some cases even economically , that is not the case for transportation fuels and for electricity . On top only a very small part of mankind needs heat while everybody needs power and transport .

    b) The contribution of those energy production forms has neither the size of the problem nor the right timing .

    c) The money that goes in subsidising those production forms doesn’t go elsewhere . It is not completely useless because it enables the progress of the energy technologies . However it must NOT be blown out of proportion because of the obvious necessity for a sound economical balance .
    d) There is only 1 long term (talking centuries here) solution and that is nuclear fusion . Actually there might be a second – having the world’s population constant at around 3 billions but nobody knows how to achieve that . While I am at it , I will even add a third – terraforming Mars by exporting there a nice AGW because the science on that is now settled :)

  67. Tom Vonk
    Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    This is off topic and I don’t want to cloud Steve’s bandwith more than necessary, but I would like to read more about the benefits/drawbacks of trading credits that both of you have informed opinions on.

    We have an ETS (Emission Trading Scheme) running in Europe since 2004 .
    The idea is to have a stock exchange where a ton of emitted CO2 gets a value because people transparently buy and sell it .
    Of important notice is that it makes only sense if you have government endorsed CO2 emission targets with associated penalties .
    The most important problem is that it is circular . If you have no targets and no penalties then obviously the value of a ton of CO2 is 0 . Symetrically if you have targets and penalties it is not because the CO2 has a value but because you believe in AGW . So everything boils down to the question if you believe in AGW or not .
    If not , then the question is irrelevant .
    If yes then I can develop a bit farther .

    Principal advantage is that you channel money to the most efficient CO2 saving investment (remember – you believe in AGW so what stands before makes politically sense) .
    For instance if a t CO2 is worth 50€ and you find an opportunity in Uganda to invest 100 € and save 1 t of CO2 , you get a 2 year return what is exceptionnaly good . If you can do it in Pakistan for 80 € , it is even better .
    So basically people who have money to invest will go to places where they get best returns and the byproduct will be a maximum CO2 saving for a minimum of money invested what is obviously politically desired .
    And that’s it – there are no other advantages .

    As for the drawbacks .
    To make a long story short , you will destroy industry in developped countries .
    For instance in Europe the penalty for not meeting the emission target during the second
    Kyoto period (2008 – 2012) is 100 € / t CO2 .
    That puts a cap on the CO2 price because if it was more , it would be better to pay the penalty than to buy CO2 . So we can assume that the CO2 price on the stock exchange will be below but not too far from 100 €/t .

    Now assume that you produce something and emit C02 – so your alternative is to produce less of this something , save the CO2 and sell the saved CO2 . If the money you make with your industry is less than the price of the CO2 emitted then you will produce less an sell the saved CO2 . Now the authorities will see it and set your target lower and you will again lower your production next year . Eventually you’ll come to 0 and close . That’s what will happen to industries with small margins .

    Another alternative . You have a cheap ressource emitting much CO2 and an expensive ressource emitting less CO2 . If the difference in CO2 equivalent is less than those ominous 100 €/t you will buy the expensive ressource and produce your stuff . Now your friendly chinese competitor has no targets and no penalties . So he will buy the cheap ressource and produce the same stuff . Obviously your stuff will be (much) more expensive and you will loose against the chinese competitor . Then you close like above .

    Last alternative . This time you are a pension fund and have money to invest . You won’t hesitate long between a 2 year (CO2) return in Mali and a 5 year (industrial) return in US . Capital would be indeed efficiently channeled to CO2 savings but as the potential to spending to save CO2 is almost infinite , the cost of capital for other purposes in developped countries will increase . Then you close like above or go to China or whatever .

    I do not mention the case where you do NOT meet the reduction targets because some bureaucrat has decided that your industry sector has to divide emissions by 4 or whatever street number . Then your costs would simply increase by 100 € / t CO2 over target every year and you’d close imemdiately .

    Last remark . One could say that many of the above problems would be lessened
    if the “price” of CO2 was (much) less than this huge amount of 100 €/t (btw today it is 1 €/t but only because we are at the end of the first Kyoto period (2005-2007) and everybody already made sure to meet the targets .
    Well it doesn’t work – remember , you do believe in AGW so low CO2 cost would lead to little or no CO2 savings and that is precisely what you must politically avoid at all costs (no pun intended) .

    As fo the documentation , google “ETS” or “Emission Trading Scheme” – you’ll have to read for years .

  68. esceptico
    Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

    Partial Response to the London Channel 4 Film “The Great Global Warming Swindle”
    Carl Wunsch 11 March 2007

    “There is nothing in the communication we had (much of it on the telephone or with the film crew on the day
    they were in Boston) that uggested they were making a film that was one-sided

    “I am often asked about Al Gore and his film.[...]Some of the details in the film make me cringe, but I think
    the overall thrust is appropriate

  69. curious
    Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    Re: #64

    A question I have – aerosol sulphates

    The proponents of GW claim that the cooling between 1940 and 1975 was caused by aerosols and sulphates which dimed the sun.

    This is probably a factual statement, I say probably because it is based on the best data available but it is not a ‘fact’.

    The GW proponents claim that incedents of both Suphates and aerosols lessened after pollution controls were introduced in the west in the 1980’s
    and the former Soviet block had an economic collapse in the early 1990’s

    This statement is meant to mislead. While the timeframes are correct, the cause and effect are misleading. By far the largest source of aerosols and sulphates is volcanic activity. There was a very large dropoff in volcanic activity that unfortunately coincided with the introduction of air pollution controls and the collapse of the Soviet block. I say unfortunately, because the GW nutjobs use the air pollution controls as evidence that manmade pollution was the culprit when volcanic activity was the culprit and the percentages of aerosols from volcanic activity is so much greater than from manmade activity that the rise in temperature would have occurred regardless of the pollution controls.

    There are many websites which discuss this issue in detail. Here is a link to one I could understand.

    http://crga.atmos.uiuc.edu/publications/horizons/forcing.html

  70. Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

    Getting back to the 45/75 cooling period. You must have noticed that Sami Solanki’s graph of solar irradiance correlates much better than any vague notion of aerosols for that period. I guess this would have been mentioned on RC if it didn’t involve thinking about the sun actually having an effect on climate. Anyway, Solanki uses the surface temperature record for correlation which works well up to the 1980’s then deviates, thus destroying a good correlation and forcing the conclusion that from 1980 it is clear that AGW has more effect on temps. However, as Pielke Sr. has said many times now , the sea surface temperature would be a better metric, owing to his postulated uncertainty of the heat island effect on the land records. I’ve been looking for a sea surface record but can’t find any. Has anyone thought of overlaying Solanki’s graph with the sea temperatures? I note on another post someone mentioned that the average sea temperature has been cooling of late. Curious because that’s exactly what Solanki’s graph predicts.

  71. Paul Linsay
    Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

    #70 JameG

    Solanki uses the surface temperature record for correlation which works well up to the 1980’s then deviates, thus destroying a good correlation and forcing the conclusion that from 1980 it is clear that AGW has more effect on temps.

    Depends on which temperature record you use. If you use the satellite data, which only exists after 1980, I think the correlation is still good. The ground based temperature such as GISS, HADCru, not so good. Which is right? I’d bet on the satellites. Take a look at some of the “corrections” to the ground based temperatures on this site to get an idea of what’s going on with that data set. Look at the comparison of the ground and satellite temperatures.

  72. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

    RE: #66 – “Everytime I come to the US , the first thing I do is to cut off the hotel’s air conditioning and cannot stop wondering where is the problem to live in a room at 25 or 30° . Another point of wonder is why there are ice machines everywhere . I don’t know if somebody calculated how much power is consumed to only produce thousands of tons of small ice cubes but it is sure that if all those machines were scrapped , nothing special would happen beside saving power .”

    Overweight people get hot easily. We here in the US eat supersized food and tend to get a bit that way ourselves. In all seriousness, you have a good point. Even as a child here (60s and 70s) there was no where near the amount of fixation with keeping cool / cold that we have to day. I honestly do credit the fat factor for the change since then.

  73. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2007 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    ““Everytime I come to the US , the first thing I do is to cut off the hotel’s air conditioning and cannot stop wondering where is the problem to live in a room at 25 or 30° ”

    Everytime I go to Canada I turn down the heat and wonder how people can live in a room at 30C-35C

  74. Nicholas
    Posted Mar 24, 2007 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

    Off-topic anecdote: my friend who was raised in Montana, where it can get pretty cold, came to visit me here in Sydney, Australia. We never get snow or freezing weather, so I don’t usually bother to heat at all, I just put on a flannel shirt or something and am quite happy. He continually told me that he was very cold and acted like he could barely stand it. I eventually had to turn on the reverse-cycle air conditioner to heat mode to keep him happy. Bottom line: what I have noticed is, if you come from a hot climate, you welcome cold, and if you come from a cold climate you welcome heat. Possibly related to how in Norse mythology hell is very icy – they probably would have enjoyed a sulphur-and-brimstone type afterlife ;)

  75. Demesure
    Posted Mar 25, 2007 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

    OT again
    25-30°C for a room ??? It’s hell!
    Here in France, the norm would be 20°C. I live in Bordeaux and most time, the heating system is in standby mode in cold seasons and I let the temperature float between 17°C et 20°C.
    Most old people where I live only hope the warm autumns (like last year) would last as long as possible to reduce their heating bill. If oil or gaz were not so overtaxed, they’d heat more their homes. They WANT global warming .

  76. paul m
    Posted Mar 25, 2007 at 5:02 AM | Permalink

    Different energy

    A few more thoughts (sorry not very scientific) on wind and carbon trading.

    The UK government is obsessed with wind power and is trying to build a giant farm in the Thames Estuary.Wind farms are heaviliy subsidised. Indeed ‘Dave’ Cameron, leader of the conservative opposition and a devout AGWer has a pointless wind turbine on his house. In the UK, the greens tends to support windfarms and the main opposition is from locals who don’t want their areas of outstanding natural beauty despoiled by the farms. The greens don’t see it in that way of course.

    Yet a relatively independent report published here a few months ago said that average power generation was less than 30% of capacity. Despite comments from Curious above, it cannot make sense to base power supply on such waste. The problem in the UK is that where the wind blows with some consistency, for example the North of Scotland, tends to be miles from population. Thus expensive and wasteful inter-connectors are needed. Wind might work in some places but not in the UK.

    Carbon Trading

    Apart from the fact that it may be based entirely on a false premise – that CO2 causes AGW there are many obvious flaws.

    In the EU regime, various emitters are given a ‘free’ allocation of CCs. Has this allocation been ‘fair’? Of course not. It has been done by the EU which means that it is a politicised process subject to all the usual ‘pork barrel’ practices.

    Secondly, the system is ultimately designed to penalise the heaviest emitters, e.g. power generation and heavy industry such as cement manufacture whilst ignoring their utility. In the end, it is people who are the ultimate consumers and therefore emitters but the cost is hidden as a business tax, a favourite of our Chancellor rather than the polictically unpalletable direct tax on carbon generating behaviour, for example getting up from bed, having a wash and going to work.

    Third any trading system that does not include India and China, some hope, is pointless.

    Fourth, the idea is for people that don’t need their credits – poor Africans- to sell them to those that do -evil Western business. Thus another get rish quick opportunity for African despots at the expesne of their people.

    In theory a market based system should reward ‘good’ activity and punish bad. But such a system is never likley to survive horse-trading between the main emitters.

    Solar panels

    A postscript. Panels are expensive. Western aid goes mainly, in Africa, to agents of the state and thus most of the Aid is stolen, making the panels even more expensive. And if they break down , they can’t afford the maintenance. And at night, there is no alternative power source unless of course they use ‘cheap’ car batteries.

    Regards

    Paul

  77. KevinUK
    Posted Mar 25, 2007 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    #76 paul m

    I wasn’t sure about your statement that ‘Stuntman Dave’ had finally got round to fitting his ‘stealth’ wind turbine to his house was true or not so I went and checked. The following link confirms you statement.

    Stuntman Dave’s stealth wind turbine

    I’m sure the neighbours are now delighted with the immediate reduction in the value of their properties noted here

    I’m also sure that he’s very much looking forward to his 9p per week return on his investment. Details at the following link

    ‘Bane of the nuclear industry’, John Large’s wind turbine folly

    I’m sure though that he (JL) will be more than able to offset the poor return from his wind turbine by the income he receives from Greenpeace to ensure that we don’t build anymore of those nasty nuclear power stations in the UK. Just as well as otherwise there wouldn’t be any room left for the rest of us to get our slice of the 9p per week ROI that domestic wind turbine generation opportunity presents to us all in the UK.

    Now how does that saying go? ‘A fool and his money are easily parted…’

    KevinUK

  78. John Lang
    Posted Mar 25, 2007 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    Just wanted to comment on Carbon Credits and people planting trees to make up the offset.

    This is really a scam. There is no evidence that trees actually store up Carbon on a long-term basis.

    I know there are lots of studies which show this, but there is so much uncertainty regarding how individual trees and individual forests actually perform in the carbon cycle and, that under the Kyoto Protocol, forests, trees and vegetation are not counted in the numbers.

    Perhaps that is because the forest mass of most countries is rising and the Kyoto advocates didn’t want anyone to have an easy out – claiming forest balance is increasing and they are meeting their Kyoto commitments that way.

    For now, trees and vegetation are counted in the “Natural Sources” category. I’d sell Carbon Credits for the ocean if natural sources would count.

  79. John Lang
    Posted Mar 25, 2007 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

    Sorry, my information was out-of-date. I was involved in this issue awhile back and my memory was that tree planting would not count.

    I guess you can plant trees on land which is not normally forested and if you can keep track and measure the CO2 absorbed, you can count these as credits. This is only allowed for trees planted after 1990.

  80. tom
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

    Scientific Response to “The Great Global Warming Swindle”
    Compiled by University of Cambridge Programme for Industry
    Editor: Claire Parker, Environmental Policy Consultant

    You may have watched, or heard about, the television programme The Great Global Warming Swindle’, shown on Channel 4 on Thursday 8 March. The programme put into question the prevailing consensus that carbon dioxide (CO2) released by human activity is the cause of rising global temperatures.

    The issues raised in the programme should not be left unanswered. Cambridge Programme for Industry have therefore compiled, with the help of distinguished scientists from world renowned UK institutions, a short summary of what constitutes the present scientific consensus on the most important of these issues.

    Internationally, this consensus is embodied in the assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s most authoritative voice on climate change. These assessments are prepared by thousands of scientists world-wide, on the basis of peer-reviewed science and by an open and transparent review process. The latest such assessment is being published this year. It confirms that human activities are responsible for current global warming and that dangerous climate change can only be avoided if urgent action is taken at global level.

    More: http://www.medialens.org/downloads/GWS_Scientific_Responses.pdf

  81. TDUK
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    I applaud any poster who puts in FIGURES and STATS to back up his argument to this important debate. Especially RODS summary on #31 (CO2 has risen from ~280 to ~380 ppmv). In order to get these quantities in perspective for the layman and non-technical who may be reading this post, here is an attempt to show some analogies:

    The concentration and amount of carbon dioxide: Carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is naturally present in the atmosphere at levels of about 0.035 percent (this is roughly equivalent to 350 ppm in outdoor air). This can range from 300 to 500 ppm, depending on location, and proximity to other large-body sources, such as volcanoes, the sea, or large industrial areas such as coal-fired power-stations. Even at 500 ppm, this is STILL only 0.049 percent. In other words, one TWO-THOUSANDS of its volume. This means that even at the higher concentrations seen, in ONE CUBIC METER OF AIR (made up of a matrix of 100 x 100 x 100 cubic centimetres, that is 1,000,000, then just 500 of these would contain CO2.”

    So, what the AGW lobby is trying to ask us to beleive, (via a very crude analogy) that by putting ONE CUPFULL of hot water into a cold bath will somehow end up with a hot bath!!

    FROM #67: “We have an ETS (Emission Trading Scheme) running in Europe since 2004.” – yes but it is a mess: it has been hoodwinked by commercial pressure from the energy companies, and the WORST POLLUTERS have actually been given (FREE!!) carbon credit certificates, that in some cases are MORE than they need, and are selling these to other companies who DO need them (at a nice profit, courtesy of the EEC), who have admitted they overestimated and got it wrong.

    By the way – this lunacy of planting a tree for “reducing the carbon footprint” – it is purely a commecial thing at ⡵0 a time – and many organisations are planting conifer trees (because they grow quick and produce a nice looking result), and NOT broad leaf trees that will properly absorb CO2 more efficiently (but are much slower to grow and mature).
    In any event – my understanding is that the OCEANS can absorb much more than land-based masses like forests (See below)
    ANOTHER MYTH:
    The solar cycles (Solar energy increases and sunspot energy increases to the so-called “solar-constant” )can be ignored because it does not fit with “one” of the other measurements taken, that is the sea-temperature rises. What is ignored, is the fact that the specific heat of water is high compared with many other liquids, and even some metals. It is 4.186 Joules per CC of water. This means that the vast volume of the oceans acts as a great “heat-sink”, and will take several hundred years to react to the extra heat being sent to the earth from the sun. The out-of-phase graphs presented in a lot of material (including the over-hyped Al Gore piece, “An Inconvenient Truth”) are very persuasive, but do not bear out proper scientific scrutiny. Many scientists involved with climate studies (who are not dependent on government funding carrots to fudge the climate models) distance themselves from both the IPCC documents, and others promoting CO2 (man-made or otherwise) as the cause of “climate change”. It is known that many of the scientists who are trying to stay “true” to their science, have taken legal action to have their names removed from the “list” of scientists placed on key IPCC papers and reports. TDUK

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] arose about one of their temperature graphics in early 2007, I examined the graphic (reported on at CA here on March 17), identifying the exact error (as opposed to more fanciful explanations). I contacted [...]

  2. By “Lights Out Upstairs” « Climate Audit on Jan 17, 2011 at 7:36 AM

    [...] relationship of temperatures in the 1930s to recent temperatures, a point previously discussed at CA here . Hansen and Lebedeff 1987 showed very warm 1930s in the Arctic, as shown in the excerpted figure [...]

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