Final Proof Global Warming Purely Political

The Skeptic went that way!
The Skeptic went that way!

Regular readers will have expected the next installment in our tour of Summa Contra Gentiles. This will appear next week after my class is over. I may say that the day-after effects of copious wine and sunshine are more than sufficient proof for God’s divine instruction, and therefore it follows God exists.

Have you noticed, really noticed, that the concept of proof has all but disappeared from major media stories on global warming?

Proof-stories are those that say “The science predicted this-and-such, and here is the evidence verifying the prediction.” These were common in the early days of the panic, back in the late ’90s when temperatures cooperated with climate models, but are now as rare as conservatives in Liberal Arts departments.

The reason is simple: there is little in the way of proof that the dire predictions of global warming are true, and much evidence, plain to the senses, that they are false.

Global warming stories still appear with the same frequency as before, but they have changed character. The new stories demonstrate convincingly, if there was any doubt left, that global warming “science” is purely political.

This is because people believe global warming not because of the science but because they desire its “solution.”

Take this example from the San Francisco Chronicle, “Democrats use climate change as wedge issue on Republicans“.

When President Obama stood before students in Southern California a week ago ridiculing those who deny climate science, he wasn’t just road testing a new political strategy to a friendly audience. He was trying to drive a wedge between younger voters and the Republican Party.

Democrats are convinced that climate change is the new same-sex marriage, an issue that is moving irreversibly in their favor…

Wedge issues are those in which one side believes strongly that it has the moral high ground.

In other words, the president and his party want the only acceptable argument to be “I believe“. Anybody who offers calm, logical arguments against the theory of “catastrophic” man-made global warming, such as observing models do not make skillful predictions, must be shouted down, shunned, driven from polite society, called evil, labeled as brutes, shamed, fired, de-funded, imprisoned.

(Remember those brave academics who called for the arrest of skeptics? Here, here, and here.)

When a True Believer meets a skeptic he sticks his fingers in his ears, stamps his feet, and screeches “Denier!” (or “Bigot!”) as if this is a knock-down devastating rebuttal. In the True Believer’s favor, a rampaging mob does earn a certain respect.

It’s rather funny in its way. Who with me recalls the academic other-way-of-knowing culture war of the 1990s which griped the academy? The literature, sociology, education, and other soft professors insisted that science had no special cause for respect, that scientific knowledge was just “another way of knowing”, that truth must always be accompanied by scare quotes because “truth” belonged to whoever was in power, etc., etc.

The war culminated in physicist Alan Sokal’s famous hoax, where he managed to get a prestigious other-way-of-knowing peer-reviewed journal to publish an article of scientific gibberish. Embarrassed, relativists sounded the general retreat and thereafter were sure to make themselves seen endorsing science whenever they could; they even adopted scientific techniques for their own research, even when this was clearly nonsensical.

Right after Sokal came global warming. The timing was perfect. Here was a science that accorded perfectly with the politics of the relativists. It was embraced with gusto. “We’re all scientists now!” they said. Global warming meant global, top-down “solutions.” Man-made catastrophic global warming was not “true”, but capital-T TRUE. A clear victory for Science.

Climate scientists were feted and funded, and many understandably gave in to the temptation to be pampered publicly. Adulation is a strong drug and addicting. To keep the supply steady, these scientists regularly ratcheted up their rhetoric, soon passing well beyond the evidence and venturing into wild speculation. Audiences were enraptured. Facts were long forgotten. All that could be seen were “solutions.”

The UN, knowing a good deal when it saw one, got involved. So did those politicians which saw they could use global warming as a “wedge issue” to harm their opponents. Governments which had higher things on its minds ignored or downplayed the movement, except when they could benefit from it. For instance, Uganda “will on Saturday 12th July host the first ever International Climate Change Conference for Children.” Ugandan leaders smell money.

And now, at rock bottom, we have our president acting like an addled college student attending an “awareness raising” rally calling out “Nyah nyah nyah.”

The point is this: the relativists were right all along. They should not have capitulated. Science—I mean its practice and not the facts—is just another way of knowing. Research which gets funded is that which is aligned with the reigning politics. “Truth” is what those in power say it is. Power, even voting, determines “reality.”


  1. Back when I was able to post on WUWT, I would occasionally draw parallels between “antismoking science” and “climate science,” and your present blog entry offers a perfect example of such a parallel.

    Ten to twenty years ago the drive and justifications for smoking bans was all about the science of “the threat of secondhand smoke.” As the various scientific bases for that threat were trashed to varying degrees over the years we saw a retreat from those arguments in most places and their replacement by two arguments that would *never* have brought about the bans in the first place — but are seen as sufficient for keeping them now that they’re in place… since it’s always more difficult to change the status quo than keep it.

    (1) Wander around some of the longer online discussions on bans and you will almost inevitably find Antismokers retreating to the defense of “It needs to be banned because it STINKS and the MAJORITY doesn’t LIKE it.” Back in ye olden days of freedom and hippies and individualism such arguments would have been thrown out the window faster than you could say defenestration. A lot faster. But today the arguments simply produce widespread head-nodding as though they carried real weight.

    (2) “Smoking needs to be banned because it’s bad role modeling for children who will see adults doing it and then imitate it. ” Now this argument, although it’s a bit weak considering all the other bad role-modeling activities that we accept adults doing in front of children, actually becomes EXTRAORDINARILY weak once you consider that one of the main achievements of the antismoking movement has been to move smokers out of the adult-only bars and strip clubs so that they’ll stand around in the street in partying/drunken/smoking little groups having fun and smoking in full sight of all the children wandering by… instead of being hidden safely inside the darkened dens of sin, sex, and general iniquity.

    Heh, I also liked your note that “When a True Believer meets a skeptic he sticks his fingers in his ears, stamps his feet, and screeches ‘Denier!’ ” One of the more common put downs aimed at Free Choice (i.e. Anti-Antismoking) advocates in recent years is the comment, “You probably deny global warming too, right?” as though denying global warming will automatically show everyone just what a crazy conspiracist nut you are.

    The more things change, the more they remain the same… it’s just the targets that move around.

    – MJM

  2. “Wedge issues are those in which one side believes strongly that it has the moral high ground.”

    I had always thought that a wedge issue was a policy from the Left which seemed almost insignificant, but once that policy had been inserted it could be used as a wedge to break up the opposition. No fault divorce and most of the other sexual revolution policies have worked like this – once wedge X has been conceded this implies (to be consistent) Y and Z and also A, B and C and within a few years common sense and personal experience and the wisdom of centuries is lying in ruins.

  3. Will

    Analyzing an issue has more to do with analyzing the message rather than exploring actual outcomes. Facts are important only so long as they justify ones feelings. This is how politics works.

    What CAGW adherents really want is to control other peoples behavior. CO2 dooms-day-chanting is just a tool to justify their desires.

    Sadly, this is nothing new. It’s been happening for as long as recorded history. The important question is what can be done to stop it?

  4. When a True Believer meets a skeptic he sticks his fingers in his ears, stamps his feet, and screeches “Denier!” (or “Bigot!”) as if this is a knock-down devastating rebuttal. In the True Believer’s favor, a rampaging mob does earn a certain respect.
    Heretic is the better word here. It’s what us catholics have done for centuries. 😉

  5. Sheri

    MJM: Your example of “stinks and since the majority don’t like it”—I think that was at least murmured about the hippies.

  6. I just don’t see the downside to cleaner energy. Everything else seems irrelevant.

    The real political impetus is coming from the energy sector to maintain the status quo, and all the anti-climate change folks are just their useful idiots.


  7. DAV

    The real political impetus is coming from the energy sector to maintain the status quo, and all the anti-climate change folks are just their useful idiots.

    I guess then, Shell thinks the anti-climate change folks are doing so well it needs to fund alternate energy but not the anti-climate change folks just to keep things even?

  8. I just don’t see the downside to cleaner energy. Everything else seems irrelevant.
    Price, for expensive energy poor people have to pay dearly. Akin “Let them eat cake”.

  9. Sheri

    I just don’t see the downside to cleaner energy.

    That would fine IF there were such a thing as “cleaner energy”. The “cleanest” we have is nuclear but people are so scared of it they’d pollute the planet and build useless white pinwheels to appease Al Gore. Those tall white pinwheels are an ecological disaster, as are the bright, shiny flat panels that soak up sun. They kill wildlife, destroy open spaces, are often built in countries with lax or no environmental rules and you need fossil fuel backups for every single facility. Natural gas is cleaner than coal to some degree. Much of the fossil fuel problems have actually be fixed, except when some idiot decided CO2, you know, the stuff we exhale and plants use to grow, was a pollutant. And again, those countries building all the white towers and shiney panels use coal and they don’t have scrubbers. So while “cleaner energy” raises prices and still pollutes like crazy, the countries building it keep pouring out more and more polllutants.
    This is my favourite “poster”:

  10. That’s quite a mine. :/ I had read about the rare earth magnet mining in China for the wind turbines before. It’s amazing how something that seemed originally to be such a nice, clean, cheap, natural, practical, lovable ‘n cuddlable power source has turned out to be so nasty. Kind of like watching a Shirley Temple grow up to be a… I dunno, one of those totally dissolute drug/alcohol/sex addicts in the fanzines.

    Things are never quite as simple as they seem at first.

    – MJM

  11. Cleaner energy does not have to raise prices.

    Yes, Big Oil and Coal have hopped on the “clean energy” bandwagon, but they are not in it to put themselves out of business, rather just to appease, to look like they “care.”

    Nuclear is just not worth the cost. That why the private sector stays away from it.

    We do see a boom in natural gas, so that’s helping a little, but fossil fuels are finite resources. Eventually they will run out. It would be good if we could stay ahead of the curve on that.


  12. Scotian

    “Have you noticed, really noticed, that the concept of proof has all but disappeared from major media stories on global warming?”
    This is because the other ways of knowing are now dominant and have not disappeared as you suggest. It only seems otherwise because many scientists have become infected with these other ways and they still use scientific terminology. It is also the nature of the beast that the euphemisms have to change every few years.

    Are you stamping your feet when you type these comments?

  13. Sheri

    JMJ: How can “cleaner” energy not cost more? You have to build two power plants instead of one. If you take out the mandates for power companies to buy the expensive alternatives, the tax credits and the grants, wind and solar are extremely expensive. Ask the British—the ones that didn’t freeze last winter. Of course, there was an official statement to the effect that 24/7 electricity was thing of the past in England, so I guess they were warned…….Wait, England is now going to frack! Those alternatives are simply not viable.

    Nuclear is expensive in large part due to liability, which can only be reduced if people were actually able to comprehend risk, so yes, it’s probably out of reach until people start freezing to death and dying of heat, at which point it may look a little less threatening. Nature has a way of educating the stubborn.

    Estimates of end-times of fossil fuels are kind of like Malhtusian predictions—proven wrong over and over again.

  14. JMJ
    I will be the first in line for an electric car when:
    + a full battery gets me 600 km
    + a full recharge takes 5 minutes
    + the price of such a car is less than a petrol car
    + the price of a recharge is less than a petrol car refuel

    until then, electric cars are not “better” than petrol cars.

  15. JMJ, you haven’t addressed the basic point, that there is no scientific basis for anthropic global warming. There’s lots of reasons to develop alternative energy sources that are either renewable or don’t have a finite (say several hundred year) time scale before they’re exhausted, but economic laws will take care of that development, not government edict and diversion of financial resources.

  16. Jim S

    Many flaws in your argument, but the most glaring is that CO2 is “dirty”.

  17. Brandon Gates


    We do see a boom in natural gas, so that’s helping a little, but fossil fuels are finite resources. Eventually they will run out. It would be good if we could stay ahead of the curve on that.

    Energy companies want to be positioned to be the providers of renewables when the demand for fossil fuels exceed the supply point at which those renewable sources become market competitive. Yes, their ad campaigns are more than a bit disingenuous, but their research is likely quite real. Multi-gazillion megabux corporations are not being run by ignorant or stupid people.

  18. Brandon Gates


    JMJ, you haven’t addressed the basic point, that there is no scientific basis for anthropic global warming.

    True, he has not addressed that point. Neither will I. It’s your assertion, you get to address it.

  19. Brandon Gates


    Nature has a way of educating the stubborn.

    The ones who live, that is.

  20. Nate


    “Multi-gazillion megabux corporations are not being run by ignorant or stupid people.”

    I beg to differ. In my experience, *most* human organizations are being run by ignorant or stupid people. Overconfidence abounds, especially at the top, in business just as much as government. Large systems (businesses, governments) quickly get captured by bureaucracy.

    See also: Every Dilbert cartoon ever written.

  21. Sheri

    Brandon: Right you are. That’s why it’s preferable to use one’s brain and work things out rather than allowing the back-up plan to kick in.

  22. Brandon, been there, done that…I won’t try to deconvert you.

  23. Brandon Gates

    Nate: Dilbert does speak the truth, as I know from my own personal experience. But if company A is run by stupid people and company B is run by not-so-stupid people, all else being equal, which company would you bet on being more successful?

    Sheri: right you are. Al Gore agrees with you as well. Spooky, no?

    Bob: Too bad. It would have been interesting to watch you try to prove a negative.

  24. Mike

    Dear Dr. Briggs,
    This is very much an off-topic comment, but I am just getting acquainted with the Frequentist vs Bayesian debate and I was wondering where the rigorous formulation of probability known as measure theory fits in. Is it part of the frequentist paradigm?

    Thanks in advance for any response from anyone who can answer my question!

  25. Briggs


    From yesterday’s Times, as an example of a global warming story which is not a proof story, but merely a call to “do something before it’s too late!”


    Measure theory is essentially analysis applied to probability; thus it is essentially probability free. It’s only when the results from measure theory are applied that it becomes Bayesian or frequentist. See my Classic Posts page.

  26. Tmitsss

    When in human existence was the analog to the Little Ice Age, when global temperture was so high to cause global harm to humans?

  27. Sheri

    Brandon: How can Al Gore agree with me on using one’s brain? Or is he speaking of others and not himself?

    Note that Bob is not an easy target. Smart guy.

  28. JH

    I don’t see any “proof” in this post. Perhaps some opinions. The post itself is an anecdotal evidence that global warming is often times purely political in bloggersphere.

  29. Brandon Gates

    Sheri: Obama is using Al’s teleprompter I think. Does that answer your question?

    I’ve talked to Bob before, and have a great deal of respect for him.

  30. Sheri

    Brandon: Yes, that answers my question!

  31. Sheri

    There’s no other Bob here! 🙂

  32. Chris Barron

    Wind turbines turn a profit after ten years, in their twenty year service life. Then they’re taken down, taken to a workshop with real engineers who refurbish them and then they’re reused.
    Nuclear has never turned a profit, in the UK the estimated cost to decommission the existing plants (which needs to be done in a few years) is over 90 million UK pounds, more than the price of the electricity which was sold.
    Which is best for societies in the long term ? A real industry with a real useful product for every household, which employs a reasonably sized and enlarging semi skilled workforce which provides the means to lower the jobless total in every country and help seed financial growth of several economies, and which forms a sustainable business model (even if it’s profit were half of what it currently is)……..or is nuclear best ? When nuclear replaces fossil fuel there is a large loss of jobs, there is a small period of support for local engineering industry but once built the manning levels are very low and the raw material is not usually sourced in the country which has the reactors (money has to leave the country). The risk to nature may be considered to be greater from one nuclear reactor than all wind turbines. All we need is one reactor disaster to prove that true. Fukushima.
    Nuclear just isn’t worth it. ‘Clean nuclear’ ? Let’s wait and see before we rush to pour money into that pit.
    In the meantime, is there really something wrong with building vast numbers lower output devices which produce a profit and which support many economies , allow more people to start young families and bring the next generation up in households where a good work ethic can still exist ?
    Tribes used to hunt food in a cooperative way, well, is there any reason to reject the idea that local groups could be formed which went out to ‘hunt’ electricity for use in their own homes ? It would certainly be of more use to those people at that level than any reduced manpower, expensive nuclear based electricity source.

    And I’m not a green, by the way, but I am looking at the larger social implications which come about from the effects of any further centralisation of the energy industry, especially one which reduces the size of the labour force. It might make perfect industrial profit based sense to choose nuclear, but where will the money come from to pay your electricity bill when you have been made redundant from a fossil fuel power station or windfarm engineering support workshop , because a new nuclear station was built ?

    Decentralising your power generation is a strategic bullseye, in more ways than one. Why rush to reach the lowest labour force energy generation solution ? Can any country afford higher numbers of jobless people ? Industry generates wealth for it’s owner and for every worker….the more workers you have on the payroll the more people there are who are able to support local economies with their spending patterns.

    But I guess we have become too accustomed to seeing ‘more profit is the better solution’.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money

  33. Brandon, one of the reasons I’m skeptical about anthropic global warming, is that I don’t have faith in the integrity of those scientists who put forth the data supporting it. The first occasion for this distrust was the publication of the “Climategate emails” (see (among other sources) :
    and the latest, see:

    Even though 98% of the climate scientists don’t fake or cherry-pick their data, it means I can’t trust any of the stuff put forward to support the AGW thesis.

  34. Chris Barron

    TYPO in my last post, the decommissioning of UK’s nuclear power is estimated at over 90 BILLION, not 90 million UK pounds, it is almost beyond being affordable

  35. Brandon Gates

    Bob, blush not. I disagree with you on many things, but respect very much how you speak to me on that which we don’t agree upon.

    I’m well-versed in East Angliagate. I took it quite seriously when it broke and studied it intensively. It severely challenged my orthodoxy of the time … to the extent that I had an orthodoxy at that point. There’s no reason you should trust me when I say that I hunt down my internal dogmas and exterminate them as I find them, but I’ll say it anyway.

    My reaction to your statement “there is no scientific basis for anthropic global warming” followed by “been there, done that…I won’t try to deconvert you” is exactly contrary to how I approach large complex scientific issues, especially one in such an unholy matrimony with politics.

    “Prove the negative, I dare you” is me saying, “enough of the Gregorian chanting yourself, sir”. It’s a friendly jab, but it does have a sharp tippy point to it. You took it well.

    I’ll read the Brietbart article and do some cross-checking, thanks for the link. Cheers.

  36. Sheri

    The problem with nuclear is irrational fear, not technical abilities. I have no idea where wind turbines last 10 years, are taken down, refurbished and then reused. There are leaking and rusting turbines all over the place, none of which are ever taken down. That sounds like a fairy tale, considering the photos and videos of the rusting, broken turbines out there. (The 11 turbines I can see out my window are actually down to 10 for over a month now. And they are not turning today at all. Good thing we have a coal plant I see the steam from out my other window.)

    Wind turbines do provide a lot of employment, often overseas. Once they are installed, few employees are required to do anything but maintain the turbines and one wind site about 30 miles from my place has a couple of young girls paid to sit out there and babysit it, as far as I can tell. The six months it takes to install the mess does indeed up employment, but after that, everyone goes back to hunting for the next job. Yes, it’s construction and it pays fairly well, but as with all construction, it’s very, very seasonal and often intermittent.

    No, the only nuclear reactor that caused much damage was Chernobyl. Bad design ran by a communist country. Fukishima actually showed just how safe nuclear is. As for the radiation, those wonderful white pure wind turbines are responsible for the irradiation of an entire valley in China due to rare earth refining in a country that has no environmental rules. Of course, it can’t be done in the US, until now when someone figured out China owned the world as far as rare earths, and you can bet the first time a radioactive leak occurs, there will be outrage and China will go back to polluting with impunity. (There was a mine in California—which had multiple spills of radioactive water. So much for getting away from radiation.)

    It’s interesting that you mention hunting tribes, since I routinely refer to wind as “hunter gatherer power”. You know, people stopped hunting and gathering because they found agriculture could feed all of them all of the time. I am really surprised to see someone actually recommending returning to “hunting” electricity. I never would have thought…..

    Your argument about economy is baseless. We can pay people to make gold widgets and hand them out and get the same benefit as wind turbines, probably with much less environmental damage. (A job is a job, right?) Wind is not eco-friendly. It is expensive, a great source of tax money redistribution and would have failed in the private market. Warren Buffet said the only reason to have wind plants was to get the tax breaks. You can’t make any money off the projects. Just the tax breaks.

  37. Chris Barron

    Sheri, i have a gold widget in my hand and despite all attempts to measure a useful current being generated from within it, I still fail to power even my mobile phone from it…but don’t stop trying if you are having success, because we do need something better than nuclear.
    How you believe Fukushima has proven the safety of nuclear is worrying, the polluted Pacific must not contain fish, or the source of food for fish elsewhere, which ultimately enters our food chain through many feasible protals.
    I guess I am concerned about this more than you….
    …but that’s okay, being an engineer I am looked at as a ‘solution provider’, my concern is how do we undo all of that sea pollution. Realistically we can’t.

    I am unsure of your location and cannot comment on the windfarms in your location, but feel quite strongly that should you have a deep concern then it is your responsibility to take to task the site owners and also bring it to the attention of local political leaders (although in the latter’s case I could forgive a lack of enthusiasm, which politician would care about a problem which would only win 1 vote (but which affects many lives….))

    As an engineer I don’t look at nuclear as the ‘solution’ for a problem of ‘not enough electricity’ We have a lot of energy generation capacity in the UK which is underused (despite the attempts of the press to scaremonger us into fears of future power cuts) The solution which nuclear addresses, is how to make more for less. At the end of the nuclear station’s life who will pay for decommissioning – the taxpayer, who not only paid for the electricity but then has to pay to remove the generator of the electricity in order to fill the financial void which the station owners left when they ran off with what was inappropriately termed ‘profit’.
    If you or I were charged for the decommissioning on a ‘per unit’ basis before the end of a nuclear power station’s life we would be screaming for any cheaper solution in favour of nuclear….or we would have too much money to give away

  38. Brandon Gates


    I don’t see any “proof” in this post. Perhaps some opinions. The post itself is an anecdotal evidence that global warming is often times purely political in bloggersphere.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but [grabs the whetstone] not so long ago Briggs wrote this post:

    Which is about the 97% Consensus. The money quote:

    Voting does not decide truth, not in science nor in politics. Nor anywhere.

    Which I fully agree with. The answer then is to discuss science, which then forms a basis for a policy discussion if one is required. In today’s post we now read:

    Have you noticed, really noticed, that the concept of proof has all but disappeared from major media stories on global warming? … The reason is simple: there is little in the way of proof that the dire predictions of global warming are true, and much evidence, plain to the senses, that they are false.

    Evidence is good. Good evidence leads to good science. But “plain to the senses”? That’s not a dispassionate objectively empirical statement in the slightest. Especially not when the conclusion so immediately follows:

    This is because people believe global warming not because of the science but because they desire its “solution.”

    In isolation of all I’ve written above, I agree with that political observation almost absolutely. Thing is, I just as absolutely agree with the converse: people disbelieve in global warming, the anthropogenic part especially, because they loathe the “solution”.

    For good reason. The “solution” stinks on ice. Since the environmental lobby is so panicky about it, they’d do well to come up with some better solutions right quick because nobody’s buying what they’re selling. Give us nukes already ya’ treehuggers — put your money where your mouth is and maybe more of the opposition will take you seriously.

    That all said, Briggs seems to want it both ways. Physics doesn’t answer to a vote. But the AGW camp is wrong about the physics because it’s political, and the proof is they voted on it.

    It truly makes my head spin.

  39. Sheri

    Maybe I was wrong with the gold widget example–or maybe I wasn’t and you’re just being not so cute. Okay, we’ll employ people to make batteries that only work when the sun shines or the wind blows, with a cut-in value, a cut-out value, a power curve that rapidly flattens out and see if we can get folks to use these in their flashlights, iPhones, and cell phones. Actually, we’ll mandate people have to use a certain percentage of these batteries. That way there’s lots of employment and a pretty useful product that people have no choice but to use. (Maybe we can sell solar, wind and combo packs so there’s half a chance one of the cells will power your device. We can also put a shelf life on them so people have to buy more and more as the old ones expire.)

    Actually, I am very active in the politics of wind sites. I wrote a pdf explaining all the down sides to the of industry which I sent to my representatives and senators and governor. I write letters to the editor on a regular basis concerning the uselessness and damaging nature of wind turbines. Have done this for several years. It’s not about “one vote”, it’s about educating people about when they are being taken for ride. You’d be surprised how effective it can be.

    The “sheeple” website seems quite accurately named. No matter how many tons of nuclear material were allegedly lost in Fukushima, it cannot poison “the whole ocean”. Ever see what Chernobyl looks like now? Everything except the people (and a few stubborn Russians who refused to leave in the first place) has all come back. It’s amazing. (I don’t have time to figure out just how much radiation would be in the ocean from Fukushima, assuming I could get accurate numbers. and how far it would have spread and at what rate. Maybe you can, since you’re an engineer.)

    Again, the problem with nuclear is psychological, as far as I can tell. The costs are just like the billions built into new drug costs because someone is going to sue for side effects listed on the bottle. If people didn’t have a pathological fear of radiation, this would not be an issue. The huge costs are for liability, not actual plant functions. If we built the same exact plant as nuclear but the material we used was not radioactive, would the costs be so high? What if we told everyone the material was horribly corrosive and could have deadly spread, even if it didn’t? You get the idea, I hope.

    Speaking of “decommissioning”, about thirty years ago there were three wind turbines in a town around 200 miles south of here. They were mostly a novelty at that point. The owner abandoned them and they were sold to someone who had planned to fix them. He ended up actually fixing one and scrapping the other two because the cost of repairs was astronomical. Until recently, there were no requirement for what was done with abandoned turbines in Wyoming. Owners just walked off and left them standing. The cost of removing 400 foot towers made of steel with huge composite blades (can they recycle those now? I haven’t read that this has been accomplished), the fluids and parts inside the nacelle is astronomical. And that assumes we leave the tons of concrete still in the ground because that’s a forever feature of these turbines. I’m not seeing anything good here.

  40. Brandon Gates

    Chris Barron,

    As an engineer I don’t look at nuclear as the ‘solution’ for a problem of ‘not enough electricity’.

    Agree. My argument for nuclear power is as a direct baseload generation replacement for coal plants. The key there is the external costs. Leave out the presumed future cost of coal’s present CO2 emissions. Coal to nuke (nearly) immediately reduces risk of premature deaths due to particulate inhalation. Here in the Colonies, the estimates are that coal power causes 10-30K premature deaths per year. Using Chernobyl and Fukushima death estimates on a per kWh generated basis, the risk of death by meltdown would be about 100 per year in the States — two orders of magnitude less risk.

    The solution which nuclear addresses, is how to make more for less. At the end of the nuclear station’s life who will pay for decommissioning – the taxpayer, who not only paid for the electricity but then has to pay to remove the generator of the electricity in order to fill the financial void which the station owners left when they ran off with what was inappropriately termed ‘profit’.

    Good points, those. It’s tough to know with all the creative accounting our lovely pols play to snooker us into going along with their well-monied campaign financiers.

    The US DOE puts next-gen nuke plants on parity with current-gen coal in terms of total levelized system cost per kWh. That would be for plants delivered in 2018. Advanced coal plans deployed in the same year would be more expensive in the region of 10-25% (I’m going from memory here).

    But that makes a whole bunch of assumptions about the NRC cleaning up the regulatory and permitting process. It drives me bats when Democrats and the environmental lobby say, “Yeah, but it’s expensive to build nukes” when they’re the ones who created the stinking red tape to begin with.

    My question to you is, have you looked to France? It’s a heck of a track record from where I’m sitting. They make more surplus power than anyone in the EU on a per-capita basis, and have the best air quality to boot. And their domestic utility rates are quite competitive, on the low side IIRC.

  41. Sheri

    Brandon: It’s back to “it’s you, not me”. I thought by now you would understand that the argument that people do what they do because they loathe the solution applies to EVERYONE, not just the side you disagree with. You can’t just say those who do not believe are guilty because the psychology behind the statement is not just applicable to the “non-believers”.

    Where did Briggs say the physics is wrong because it’s political? I don’t recall Briggs addressing the physics, just the statistics and so forth. Disagreeing with AGW does not mean disagreeing with physics or there would not be physicists that disagree with AGW. Your claim is making my head spin–physicists who disagree with physics because of the politics?

  42. Brandon Gates


    Those tall white pinwheels are an ecological disaster, as are the bright, shiny flat panels that soak up sun.

    Ms. Quixote, still tilting at wind mills I see. Good on ya’ … you know I agree with many of your points.

    Solar PV though. I think they’re brilliant where they work. I can see some potential ecological disasters. Silicon mining isn’t terribly friendly. Building arrays in the desert over tens of square miles probably puts a dent in some of the local flora and fauna. But lizards like shade when they need it. Not sure there’s a disaster there, but maybe. Have I missed something?

    Speaking of where it works, very oddly the Germans are saying that rooftop solar PV is doing a bang up job for them. Being that they’ve got the most robust economy in the EU, despite the deadweight that is Italy and Greece, they might be on to something. Just sayin’.

  43. Chris Barron

    Sheri, Stanford university say they have proof about the harmful effects of Fukushima crossing the ocean

    Yoiu might call it fear based experimentation and ignore it. I think it is important. We have sensors on the cooling water outflow of every nuclear station here. When the radiation in the cooling outflow which exits directly to the sea reaches a level which is considered to be dangerous the plant must take action immediately. I guess yiou would be happy if the sensors were shorted and the meter just always read ‘safe’, if you think that the 400 tonnes of contaminated cooling water leaving Fukishima is not a cause for concern.

    It is your choice to say ‘this is just a one off’ if you wish. Three mile Island, Chernobyl, where next ?

    I remain interested in hearing your environmental objections to wind turbines (old ones which no longer work don’t leak radioactivity or kill animals ( some birds nest in them)) …but are you aware of the problems associated with mining uranium ore ? I don’t see the deaths of thousands of miners as being on a par with a few thousand dead birds which flew into turbine blades….in the past 5 years two birds have flown into the glass of my bedroom window and died, should we pull down our houses or perhaps ban windows for environmental reasons ?

    Of course, every dead animal is a shame, I don’t intend to make light of the situation of dead birds, although for decades to come we are probably going to see the effects of radioactivity on large numbers of fish stocks but you think it is only a fear based issue.

  44. Brandon Gates


    It’s back to “it’s you, not me”.

    This is what I said:

    In isolation of all I’ve written above, I agree with that political observation almost absolutely. Thing is, I just as absolutely agree with the converse: people disbelieve in global warming, the anthropogenic part especially, because they loathe the “solution”.

    Followed immediately by taking it to the Democraps for being nitwits for trying to sell an economic “solution” which cannot be sold because not enough people want to buy it.

    Where did Briggs say the physics is wrong because it’s political? I don’t recall Briggs addressing the physics, just the statistics and so forth.

    Here is saying the physics are wrong: ” … there is little in the way of proof that the dire predictions of global warming are true, and much evidence, plain to the senses, that they are false … ”

    I thought by now you would understand that the argument that people do what they do because they loathe the solution applies to EVERYONE, not just the side you disagree with.

    That’s exactly what I’m saying to Briggs.

    Here is the political argument against the physics: ” … people believe global warming not because of the science but because they desire its ‘solution’ … “

  45. Chris
    it’s the dose that makes the poison (Paracelsus) , tracer Cs134 is not poisonous.

  46. Chris Barron

    Brandon yes France are an example of ‘a country which has not yet had a major nuclear disaster’…. Oddly, they have previously been allowed to call nuclear ‘renewable’, so politics is a big voice there as well as everywhere else.

    However, the French are set to reduce their nuclear content from 75% to 50% by 2025…

    The cost to decommission one of their 70MW experimental reactors topped 400 million Euros. The larger 23-25 stations which will be closed in the next decade will inevitably cost more per station to decommission properly, so there’s at least a 15 billion Euro bill which the French taxpayers will need to contribute to…..I bet they loved their cheap electricity up until now…..

    I wonder if Brussels will offer rebates ?

  47. Chris Barron

    Hans, I am not intending to be brave so how about if I am indifferent instead ?

    There are reasons why the contents of nuclear reactors are so carefully protected and why we are screened from them. Those contents escape into the sea via the numerous leaks of remedial water which have gone from the site into the sea.

    Who cares ? Can anyone prove that a single person has been affected ? Why build such thick walls in the first place ? Waste of concrete if you ask me. Why fit sensors at the exit pipe from every reactor where the cooling sea water is returned to the sea…I guess it keeps sensor manufacturers going.

    I guess I’m weird for being someone who wouldn’t want to eat any fish caught within close proximity of the reactor, indeed, that is the same information which has been given to the people who live there…….but so what…..

  48. JH


    Maybe Briggs has not read Australia or Chinese media reports. If one is interested in what the media is reporting or whether there is a consensus of anything, fine! But nope, those reports are not studies of climate change and AGW. R. Lindzen, a scientist whom the deniers admire, states in a paper ( that there is a warming trend and that “the heart of the global warming issue is so-called greenhouse warming (which, of course, are followed by examinations of evidence.) Scientists from both sides agree that the climate science is not settled. The site is good because the authors there usually cite papers and studies with data!

  49. Brandon Gates


    France are an example of ‘a country which has not yet had a major nuclear disaster’….

    Which may indicate they’ve been doing something right. Off the top of my head, the big one is that they have five reactor designs, and each plant within a given type has the same control room design and virtually the same plumbing throughout. They have a sixth new design coming online soon. And they’ve got export customers for them as well. China among them.

    It would be nice to sell an expensive quality product to China instead of buying cheap plastic crap from them.

    Oddly, they have previously been allowed to call nuclear ‘renewable’, so politics is a big voice there as well as everywhere else.

    Undoubtedly. But call it what you will, it’s been good for their air quality and economy at the same time. Strange concept, I know.

    there’s at least a 15 billion Euro bill which the French taxpayers will need to contribute to…..I bet they loved their cheap electricity up until now…..

    That would be the accounting for making stupid economic decisions for no other apparent reason that the Japanese built a nuke plant on a fault line, and placed its backup generators closer to the potential tsunami instead of further away from it. But what can I say. Stampeding cattle aren’t the most rational beasts on the planet.

  50. Brandon, here’s my anti-AGW thesis abbreviated. First, my scientific bias is simpler is better (I nearly flunked out of Caltech because of a “conditional” grade in organic chemistry–when I was still a chemist). If data isn’t there to provide a choice between alternative hypotheses, you don’t multiply hypotheses (Occam’s Razor?), you choose the simplest So, my three scientific premises are
    1) We get energy from the sun; only a small fraction of that is reradiated back because of low-frequency vibrations of atmospheric components–principally H2O and secondarily CO2.
    2) Given a feedback effect (higher the temperature the more water vapor can be present), there is still much more water vapor to provide that feedback than there is CO2. Moreover, there is a cutoff to the feedback, called precipitation.
    3) There is a cutoff to CO2 from plant metabolism. I’m not sure if that’s been quantified or could be quantified.

    Further, even supposing that temperatures might rise (from one source or another), would that be so bad? There were certainly warm periods recorded historically–again I point to Greenland in early medieval times before the Little Ice Age set in.

    Moreover, if you were to do a mini-max regret Decision Analysis (see I believe (although I haven’t set this up) that one would find the best expenditure of resources would be, as the Danish statistician (Blomberg?) suggests, to eradicate disease and provide agricultural and medical resources in Third World countries.
    So, that’s my anti-AGW thesis… It isn’t worthy of an article or even a blog post… but I’m very comfortable with it.

  51. Sheri

    The article says low levels and tuna are fine. I really found nothing scary in the study. It seemed an interesting study into tuna migration and low-level radiation.

    Really, sigh. Strawman so early on? It’s ludicrous to accuse me of wanting the meter to stick on “safe” and shows a completely disingenuous tone to your “argument”.

    Where next? Don’t know. Bad things happen all the time. Buildings explode, chemicals spill, highways collapse. It’s called life.

    Yes, I am very familiar with uranium mining–my husband worked in a uranium mine. Are you talking open pit or solution mining. I am guessing you just sklpped over the inconvenient part where wind turbine manufacturing has resulted in radiation contamination. Ignore that which does not fit your idea?

    The argument about birds is again a straw man. Why is the strawman fallacy such a favorite. Unless the birds flying into your windows are raptors and you routinely explode bats from the inside out, it just a really really uneducated statement. Turbines kill large birds with low reproductive rates. Including the possibility of condors and whooping cranes. You remember condors–save the Condor?

    Where in the article you linked to did you read “fish are dying and this is a holocaust”? I can’t find any such thing in there. Did you even check what I told you about Chernobyl? The animals there are doing extremely well. The fish and animals are fine. They don’t have anyone telling them radiation at a very low level will kill them.

    You keep going on and on and on about cost, yet the cheapest fuels are coal and natural gas. So cost only counts when it’s in your favor???

    Brandon: Large solar still is very damaging to what environmentalists called “fragile environments” (remember those poor desert tortoises and gila monsters?). I object to their hypocrisy in large part. Plus, the output from solar is still pretty low. As for rooftop, if the grid can handle it, it could be feasible. I think the grid might be stressed somewhat. (Germany is also burning lignite now, so we hope they have lots of those panels to “offset” that nasty, dirty coal.)

  52. “400 tonnes of contaminated cooling water leaving Fukishima ”

    That sounds bad — but it’s meaningless.

    (1) It would depend a LOT on “how contaminated”? If it’s low enough, then it’d be fine to make baby’s powdered formula with. If it’s high enough, then maybe it could be a real problem.


    (2) Even at VERY high levels of contamination it’s likely meaningless. While debunking the “one tenth of a cigarette butt in a liter of water will kill water fleas, and 5 trillion are disposed of by smokers every year” argument, I did some math for the 2 *sextillion* liters of water in the oceans and figured out it would take all the world’s smokers about 80 million years to really start killing water fleas — and about 800 million years to start killing fish.

    There are 330 million cubic miles of water on the Earth, and one cubic mile weighs close to 5 billion tons. ( )

    About 1.5 quintillion tons total if my quick in-the-head math hasn’t misjuggled the decimals. (although that number isn’t fitting well with my memory of 2 sextillion liters… :/ But the general point in either event will be valid.)

    400 tons is likely to be not just a millionth of the total, but far less than a millionth of a millionth of the water on Earth. Does a drop of urine “contaminate” an Olympic sized swimming pool? About 20 billion drops of water per pool if my quick look ups are correct, so the equivalent contamination would be one drop of urine spread over a billion or more such pools. Is that enough contamination with ANYTHING to make one worry?

    Just like when worrying about casual secondhand smoke exposure outdoors, or thirdhand smoke on babies’ pacifiers, or dying an early and painfully gruesome death from malignant melanoma caused by reflected moonlight…

    … you have to be absolutely stark raving CRAZY to worry about such things. Even if my quick in-the-head figures are off by a thousand, a million, or a billion.

    – MJM

  53. Brandon Gates


    “Small fractions” can have large effects over large areas or volumes. Small numerical values may sound insignificant, but that can often be just Jedi mind tricks.

    The CO2/H2O relationship to understand is that the longevity of CO2 in the atmosphere is several orders of magnitude longer than H2O. Yes, water vapour is by far the largest contributor to the Earth’s average equilibrium temperature on an instantaneous basis. But as you point out with water vapour, CO2 does not precipitate out. The stuff accumulates over time. Absolute (NOT relative) humidity goes up, which is the amplifying positive feedback.

    The bugbear for the IPCC on water vapour is cloud feedbacks. They say they’re getting it locked down …. me not so certain yet. But I’m a rank amateur so I’m stuck trusting a lot more than I’m normally comfortable with on something that is such a large policy issue.

    CO2 plant metabolism cutoff? That’s a new one for me. No answer.

    Would rising or falling temperature be so bad? It may well have been hotter across the globe during the WMP, and we’re still here. Except we weren’t there when it happened. This is one of those arguments the greenies lose right off the bat when they start talking about saving the planet.

    The planet is going to be fine. With or without us. It doesn’t care. I’m channelling Carlin here. He spoke wisely on this topic shortly before he went.

    Briggs is fond of asking what the optimal temperature of the planet is. Or more apropos, what’s the optimal climate of the planet. The answer is simple: the one with the least risk to present human civilization. And that’s the one we’ve got now. We’ve already adapted to it.

    Risk management is all about uncertainty. We’re very uncertain about what will happen 3C above present temps, could be nasty, could be not so bad. When you’re very uncertain and there is a lot at stake, prudence suggests slowing down the thing which you’re pretty sure is causing the future risk.

    But don’t break the bank doing it. Which is what I’m about. I like a lot of what Bjorn Lomborg has to say … in fact, I cheered after the first time I saw one of his documentaries.

  54. Brandon Gates

    PS Bob, O-chem and Calc II broke me. I switched from Biology to Business Administration, and I am a database consultant. Science is my first and always true love, but I am naught but a hobbyist. Cheers.

  55. Brandon Gates

    Sheri, got it. Large solar is a pipe dream right now. Two times as expensive at least than “nukuler”. How wouldn’t the grid be able to handle rooftop solar PV? That sounds to me like noise from utilities … which I have heard a lot of.

    I’m tired of hypocrisy all around and all over. I wish we could burn it for electricity. It’s carbon neutral, innit? 🙂

  56. NikFromNYC

    Amazing how alarmists yammer on still, simply ignoring how ridiculous it makes them in the face of such simple proof of fraud that now exists:

    At some point zombies are about all you can call them as they now double down on their deaf, dumb and blind act, unaware of the massive backlash that is brewing against them by a whole generation of young adults who they knowingly hoodwinked.

  57. Jeff B

    Another well done article!

  58. Chris Barron

    Sheri I have no need to argue about this, you’re dropping things into your comments now which haven’t yet been discussed and then saying that I’m ignoring them. Well I know I’m not that ignorant, no matter how hard you try to make me seem.

    Would you happily eat fish caught directly from the water surrounding Fukushima ? Really ? Good on you for being bold enough to try to prove a point by using yourself as the example. I have enjoyed eating horsemeat, pig’s brains and sheep’s…..well it’s a delicate matter….but I would not eat fish from Fukushima, and nor do I know anybody who would

    If anything I am a realist. The worlds population doubles every 40 or so years and mostly in the developing world, a world where energy consumption can only increase dramatically with the increasing rate of development, and that equates to an energy demand increase higher than we have seen before.

    Coal reserve estimates, measured in years, are usually based on current rates of use’ . I will be here (hopefully, if the Fukushima glowfish doesn’t get me first right 😉 ) to see that world and the exponential increase (like today) in consumption of fossil fuels.

    All I want to know is at what point is it wise (I don’t mean financially viable when compared to cheaper (possibly worse) alternatives), I mean real wise as in lets remember there are generations to come who will need to run machinery and power their transport, heat and light their homes, to start seeking alternatives to the current, seemingly endless supply of fossil fuels. And, i use the word ‘seemingly’ in the last statement with a bit of knowledge from my friends in the Arab world, who are seeking desperately to find other sources of income in their countries as they know that oil is becoming more difficult to find and more expensive to extract… current rates of use.

    We are not going to be able to get coal forever, or oil or gas. The sun will shine longer than those things will last, the wind will blow for longer and the currents of the oceans cannot be stopped. From oil we get fertilisers and important medicines… doesn’t it seem that it might be a little bit careless to act as if it is an endless resource and just waste it mostly by burning it ? There are so many things which could yet be discovered to be invaluable to human life as oil base compounds…..and so we just burn it ?

    Back to wisdom, why act as if a wind turbine is a terrible thing. If someone chooses to build them who are you to say no, and should an oil refinery or coal mine be built within a few miles of your home and the flame from the burning of gas is visible all night and the smell taints your laundry, well, I know I would rather a large slow turbine any day of the week.

    So many people who object to turbines because of how they ‘spoil the countryside’ are often town folk who have some romantic notion of how the countryside should look….exactly the same as the mindset of the folk who lived in the small village before it was turned into a town. If you can tolerate a concrete jungle then there really can’t be a decent argument against the appearance of a wind turbine, at the end of the day.

    ? Sorry, ? You would like a big car and huge road to drive it on, but a turbine is offensive to your view ? Get over it.

  59. Daniel

    Believing that AGW is “real” or “fake” is not what separates a skeptic from an alarmist. Alarmists are those who not only believe AGW is real, but that it poses a threat to humanity so great that a “wait-and-see” approach is not a reasonable option . To look at the ridiculousness of such a position, we need only look at the 4 “CO2 emissions scenarios” commissioned by the IPCC.

    Years: 2046-2065 (Mean and likely range)
    Years: 2081-2100 (Mean and likely range)

    1.0 (0.4 to 1.6)
    1.0 (0.3 to 1.7)

    1.4 (0.9 to 2.0)
    1.8 (1.1 to 2.6)

    1.3 (0.8 to 1.8)
    2.2 (1.4 to 3.1)

    2.0 (1.4 to 2.6)
    3.7 (2.6 to 4.8)

    Even using the arguably biased models of the IPCC, only the worst-case scenario results in dangerous warming. However, this scenario is unlikely: not only because it requires the highest imaginable CO2 sensitivity to become dangerous, but because it also assumes:

    1) Absolutely no technological advances (e.g. Fracking)
    2) Virtually 100% of world energy is supplied by coal (no nuclear energy). Impossibly, we will have burned through the entire world’s reserves two times over by this point.
    3) World population of 12 billion
    4) etc., etc.

    Seeing as innovations are happening (U.S. CO2 emissions are currently on a downward trend) , the world population is nowhere near headed to 12 billion by the year 2100, and impossibly unlimited coal is not going to wipe out nuclear power… a “wait-and-see” approach is certainly the most reasonable position to take at this point.

  60. Sheri

    Would I eat fish from Fukushima? Well, this peer-reviewed journal article ( says that it’s completely safe. So if I were to free-lance and deny science, wouldn’t that make me a science “denier”? Yes, as long as the radiation level was in the safe zone, I would. There’s radiation everywhere in everything. I’m not using myself as a guinea pig–I’m following the evidence.

    It’s always wise to look for alternatives that work. It’s possible the materials used to build wind turbines could be valuable for something else. It’s possible that the materials used to build electric cars could be valuable for something else. Possible is for everything–unicorns, aliens, etc. Is it probable? I don’t think so. I have no idea if oil is without limits. Natural gas actually is, in the sense that we can “manufacture” methane from garbage and many other sources. It’s pretty much renewable if you don’t limit NG to being underground. There was even a project to “regrow” methane using coal bed microbes, but the company went bankrupt. Later on, someone will quite likely try again and perhaps succeed.

    I act as if a wind turbine is a terrible thing because it is. It has nothing whatsoever to do with spoiling the view or decreasing property values. I would willingly put a nuclear plant into the countryside, next door to me (it would be better than my current neighbor is). Why do you think I object to the view? I never stated that. And I don’t include that in any of my objections, except when discussing the hypocrisy of environmentalists who wanted to “save the condors”, “save the national forest”, etc and then kill the condors and cut the forest when it serves their purpose. No where did I state that we cannot have views we don’t like. There are a lot of views I don’t like, but I never use that as a reason to reject something. Only to point out hypocrisy in environmentalists’ behaviours.

    Now, you ARE making things up. Find where I said I did not like the view of wind turbines and that was the reason I don’t want them. I didn’t. I said the turbines I could see from my window were not turning (as they are not turning now) and I also said I could see the steam from the coal plant. From there you built the idea that I didn’t like the view. So, you’re the one making things up. Also, I don’t want a big car and I prefer to drive-off road on gravel roads or dirt, so I guess you made that up that idea, too.

  61. Chris Barron

    Michael, I cannot object in any way to you using logic to level the field.

    Bottom line is I won’t eat anythig which grows near Fukushima, from the land or the sea.

    Nuclear reactors use huge amounts of water for cooling, 400 tons a day is realistic. Under normal circumstances , where the ractors are functioning normally, the water really only warms the surrounding seas (here in the UK at least), by a small amount.

    But we cannot ignore the fact that radiation levels are monitored continuously (but it seems that some think it’s unimportant and unnecessary) and when the contents of the reactor are washed out into the sea the levels are much higher than any safety organisation would permit you can be my guest at making baby formula, and feed it to your own children. Mine won’t be participating in that particular experiment where you attempt to show just how safe this (previously called dangerous) radiation stuff is 😉

    The other thing Michael, is that depending which particular radioactive compound we’re talking about. I think most of the experts consider alpha emitters to be pretty benign because they can be stopped with a sheet of paper. But it is such alpha particles which kill people when they’re ingested, and such cases as the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, only go to show the killing power of ‘harmless’ alpha particle emitters.

    “At Fukushima, low levels of the alpha-emitter plutonium have been discovered in soil samples near the reactor, the result of radioactive dust settling in the soil. If dust particles are inhaled, potential alpha radiation damage could occur in humans. Plutonium can disperse widely; most of the current plutonium found in the soil worldwide is the result of prior nuclear weapons testing.” [Source UPMC centre for health news

    “Oh look, I’ve discovered x-rays….now we can see inside the body , isn’t radioactivity wonderful” – Marie Curie, died as a direct result of x-ray exposure.

    There as to be a reason why the dentist’s assistant bends her body around the corner as she tries to leave the room when I get ‘harmless’ x-ray ?

    If every particle of Plutonium which lies on the soil at Fukushima emitted sound at a level of 100db, or shone with the brightness of 1000 Lumens, perhaps we would consider it to be dangerous ? But just because it emits the equivalent energy levels in bands of the EM spectrum which are not visible to us makes us seem ignorant for not thinking it doesn’t affect our health.

    Thankfully I’m almost as far away from Fukushima as it is possible to get

    Please remember that I am reading several sources of information…the people who post here provide some, the mayor of Fukushima provides some too. So I draw my opinion from all the sources which I read, and leave open the door to wisdom. Please read –

  62. Chris Barron

    Michael, have you seen some real figures from Fukushima, like these ?

    Now, apologies for going quite a way off topic, but these issues are quite intertwined .

    My persona view on global warming continues to be cemented firmly in the so called ‘denier’ camp….news has come out that receding glaciers in Switzerland have uncovered the remains of forests which were present 4000 years ago before the cold spell came. Nobody seems to wonder why it was so warm 4000 years ago… you think if they dig down they’ll uncover the rotten chassis of Chevy’s, Honda’s and maybe a British car which roamed the area 4000 years ago ! 🙂

  63. Chris Barron

    Sheri, I am sorry that a stationary wind turbine bothers you, but in truth it’s not my fault. It’s your fault that it bothers you, it wouldn’t bother me.

    Thanks for the link to the peer reviewed report which gives yoiu confidence that the food is safe to eat. I learnt a while ago that the great flaw of a peer reviewed article is not the matter of the accuracy of the content, but about the information which has been left out and can therefore not be reviewed.

    Specifically the report does not mention that an examination of plutonium levels was evaluated. Why not ? plutonium is present, in dangerous amounts (dangerous being a significant increase in the risk of cancers of various types).

    So while the accuracy of the content of the report seems to prove that if only those compounds are present then health is not affected….. it does not say why plutonium levels were not considered…..wouldn’t that normally be considered to be an oversight of the reviewers ?

    No glowfish for me, thanks 🙂

  64. Chris Barron

    Sheri, you said “I act as if a wind turbine is a terrible thing because it is.”

    But you still haven’t said why it is terrible….almost hate worthy by the way you’re so against them….have you had a bad experience with one ?

    We can all say something is terrible, or good, ‘because it is’……but that’s not enough to convince someone like me that you have a valid point! Why, is a wind turbine ‘terrible’ ?

    They make electricity when the wind blows. what’s not to like about that ? The wind isn’t ever going to stop blowing.

  65. Sheri

    Chris: You continue to PRETEND that I don’t like turbines because they don’t look nice. I must have had a bad experience. What’s not to like about a billion dollar tax shelter that drives up costs of electricity, damages the environment and messes with the grid while producing a tiny, tiny amount of electricity? Nothing, as far as you are concerned. The wind certainly does stop blowing much of the time. It’s not “renewable”, its energy from the weather. How in the world can you believe that using weather for energy is a good idea? Never mind.

    I see no point in continuing this. If you want to know what I think, try looking up “whynotwind” and see what’s there. I’m not wasting my time typing up long explanations that you just ignore.

  66. Chris Barron

    Sheri I’m sorry you have the hump;……I don’t ignore your explanations I merely say they aren’t relevant to me.

    I have looked at your website and you claim that the large circle of ground beneath turbines are ‘destroyed’
    [“Wind turbines destroy at least as much environment as coal mines–although the turbines do this by removing large circles of terrain (for the bases) and roads between turbines,”]

    How is the earth ‘removed’ ? It is still there isn’t it ? Animals walk among them ? Rabbits burrow under them here in Scotland and some birds, even grouse, nest around them. I don’t call that destruction….I call that letting the animals which want to adapt get on with the job of adapting.

    I also note on your site that the images you chose seem particularly stark.
    Why don’t you have this image, of deer at Campbell Hill, Wyoming, on your site ? There doesn’t seem to be much destruction there.

  67. Chris Barron

    I think I understand why we might be seeing things so very differently here. I live in Scotland, and the Scottish Government published this recently…

    “In 2012, the equivalent of 40.3% of gross electricity consumption was from
    renewable sources, up from 36.2% in 2011. ”

    We seem to be in a world with very mixed feelings about the viability of energy production from renewable means, and I understand that. If you take the whole of the UK and don’t single out Scotland then the figure is about 9%. (includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)

    But I live in Scotland and we have an overall energy target for all equivalent sources of 30% renewable by 2020, and we’re currently at about 25%. I guess the aim is going to be to replace oil, gas and coal consumption with electricity from renewable sources.

    I guess I take it all for granted. The Scottish Government recently slapped Donald Trump in the face by refusing to cancel the plans for an off shore wind farm, adjacent to an area of coastline which he wanted to develop into an exclusive golf resort. The government asserted their plans and Trump conceded defeat and bought somewhere else, Turnberry (not immune from future turbine development, although nobody has told Trump yet 😉 )

    I’m building an electric motorcycle. I have installed 840 used laptop batteries which were destined for landfill, they still work. The bike was going to be crushed (not an energy free solution), the motor was recovered from a skip and cleaned up and all it has cost is my time. I’m planning to recharge it with wind and solar during the week and use it as my hopper transport to take me on the 40 mile round trip into Edinburgh where I indulge in my hobby of photography at the weekends. It currently costs about £15 a time, considering the cost of car fuel and parking. It will cost me nothing when the bike is complete. I can also charge batteries (recycled of course) at home, using them to power my home invertor, so less reliance on the grid. Nothing wrong with that.

    This weekend I tested the batteries in the first acceleration test, only in my garden. For ‘failed’ batteries they certainly shift the machine along nicely !

    Talking of batteries, Northern Ireland is building what must be one of the worlds largest battery banks, at 100MW. It will be used for load balancing of the wind turbines (when they aren’t turning, and before they definitely start turning again), among other things.

    Storage of surplus electricity is one of the major problems associated with wind power. There are many times when they produce too much power and has to be wasted because it isn’t used immediately, at night time in particular. Power storage systems are obviously the ideal partner project to wind and many real working examples exist and provide te vital missing link

    I despise pollution like most people, but am definitely not doing this because it saves CO2……CO2 is plantfood as far as I’m concerned, and not particularly problematic (definitely not a cause of global warming) – the proof of that is easy to see when you look at the way the rise in the level of CO2 has not responded at all to many years of supposed CO2 reduction.

  68. Sheri

    You’re fast becoming irrelevant to me.

    The large circle of ground under the turbines has multiple tons of concrete. Often, there is a 300 ft circle where no activity can occur due to the possible of blade failure and ice throw. Yes, animals walk under them and rabbits may burrow. So if your definition of “usable” means rabbits live there, then I won’t argue. It’s not my definition.

    The Duke wind plant picture is actually a camera angle meant to make the deer look closer, so far as I can tell. I don’t use those pictures for the same reason I don’t use pictures of deer in downtown Casper to show cities are great places for wildlife to live. The Duke farm had just as much wildlife as a coal mine as does the wind plant. Duke is also the company that every year pleads that its wind plants don’t make as much electricity as expected and get their taxes downgraded after selling the idea to residents as a money maker. Some sweet company……

    Are you saying that my pictures are “lying” because they aren’t taken with fancy camera angles designed to show a fantasy about wind plants? I have pictures of exactly what these installations look like.

    I think I’m finished here–you’re now accusing me of lying with photos that I personally took and you have NO idea what this place looks like. None whatsoever. I live here. I have no use for people who make up ideas in their heads and then refuse to belief anything that does not agree. There’s no point in even trying with someone who creates their own fantasy life and ignores reality.

    You are now irrelevant to me.

  69. “There as to be a reason why the dentist’s assistant bends her body around the corner as she tries to leave the room when I get ‘harmless’ x-ray ?”

    It might be because after performing several thousand procedures a year she would be exposed to a “harmful” amount, or it might just be that they’re doing the “no safe level” thing. I’m hoping it’s the latter, because 40 to 50 years ago I had dozens (?hundreds?) of hip to neck XRays performed on an increasingly severe spinal curve. My parents didn’t have much money and we went to a Catholic charity clinic which had wonderful people, but which also, at least at that time, had a staff of fairly incompetent nuns running the full body X-Ray scanners. I can’t begin to count how many times I’d sit around for ten or twenty minutes while the film was developed only to have the nun walk back in and say, “I’m sorry. We overexposed the film. We need to take another one.” Heh, it’s possible my memory from that long ago may be a bit colored, but I sure as heck got one helluva lot of X-radiation!

    – MJM

  70. An eminent meteorological scientist, Richard Lindzen (endowed chair at MIT) has termed global warming “a religion”–see:
    That being so, then it seems that one of the commentators to this post (I won’t name names) has indeed taken a position akin to religious faith (I don’t mean you Sheri) because there doesn’t seem to be a response to propositions and observations, other than “it ‘taint so”.
    Which goes to prove,
    Let’s see if the HTML tag will work this time.

  71. Brandon Gates

    Bob: anti-nuke and a climate-denier. That’s a weird religion.

  72. Sheri

    Bob: Didn’t think you meant me. Hooray on the HTML. It’s a real pain sometime.

    Brandon: Actually, that is a very strange combination.

  73. Hey Brandon, I don’t think you as one of the AGW fideists; you are approaching a very complicated subject in a rational, skeptical mode. Or were you referring to Lindzen? Not me; I’m pro-nuke.
    My problem is that when things get too complicated and baroque (as in organic chemistry), my intellect stops functioning and I have to go back to first principles and trust what my intuition tells me–except if there’s a sound mathematical route to cut away the complications. When the warmists give an equation (not computer modeling) that yields predictions that can be verified or falsified, I’ll give their assertions more credit, but that’s unlikely given the non-linear differential equations that govern heat transfer, irreversible thermo, etc.
    By the way, with respect to a cutoff for CO2–yes, plants do use CO2, and this is one way Mother Earth keeps the balance going, but I’ve only seen this quantified

    in one lab experiment.

  74. Chris Barron

    No problem Sheri, I doubted that someone who has made their own mind up that living in a cave of ‘burning fossil fuels is better’ could just allow others who wish to try something different to get on with it.

    On land use in Wyoming, I haven’t seen any reports of land being in short supply, so to complain that the comparatively small amount of land at the base of a turbine is unavailable for use seems a bit precious.

    Overall I find it is a pity that some people can only equate a wind turbine as some sort of CO2 disaster aversion device, even when they know that wind power has been effective for centuries, the first recorded use of wind power is 200BC

    [“The first electricity-generating wind turbine was a battery charging machine installed in July 1887 by Scottish academic James Blyth to light his holiday home in Marykirk, Scotland.[7] Some months later American inventor Charles F Brush built the first automatically operated wind turbine for electricity production in Cleveland, Ohio.[7] Although Blyth’s turbine was considered uneconomical in the United Kingdom[7] electricity generation by wind turbines was more cost effective in countries with widely scattered populations.[6]”] – Wikipedia

    So although we have been making electricity from wind for over 100 years, to say it is ineffective or terrible is to say that all those who have done it in the past 100 years are what ? stupid ?

    The reason I am irrelevant to you Sheri, I strongly suspect, is because you dislike the fact that I don’t share your views. The fact that you have made it personal by saying that I am irrelevant, as opposed to my views being irrelevant , doesn’t bother me, that’s your weakness……one man’s (or woman’s) ‘terrible’ is another one’s ideal solution. When you stare at the shovel with last lump of coal on it you will only then remember what ‘finite resource’ means.

    All I say is that we should allow those who can and who want to experiment with new (and some very old) technologies in the wind energy sector, to get on with it.
    Wind energy has rarely had anything to do with emmissions reduction in the past, although that was one of the later recognised benefits, but whether or not you feel that AGW is a religion, a mission or a conspiracy, it would be a weak minded and uneducated person who took a default stance that wind is only being used to offset coal emmissions. To ignore wind power’s long history of success over centuries is almost like admitting to being ignorant.

    We may be heading for an ice age, and frozen power cables will be downed frequently. Localised wind generation could be a blessing in this scenario. A nuclear station 400 miles away is no use to you when the power lines are downed every 30 miles in between you and it. And what would support those power cables ? Pylons. Not the prettiest things, and they also occupy ‘useful land’ . It’s not a bad idea to replace viable pylons with wind turbines IMHO

  75. Chris Barron

    Bob, the use of CO2 by flora and fauna is often given as one of the main reasons why we see such a huge variation in the seasonal CO2 level, see

    Or see the annual cycle visibly, here

    What I see when I look at that graph is the effect of a mechanism with massive potential to affect the overall level of CO2 in the atmosphere. All it takes is for there to exist a slight imbalance between the amount of CO2 being absorbed in one season and then released in another for the overall level to drift upwards at it’s current rate. And that imbalance could easily feed back into itself causing what seems to be an exponential rise in CO2 level.

    What we’re seeing at the moment is an increase in amplitude of the annual cycle. That seems difficult to explain using the idea of manmade CO2 as a cause. Plants and trees need favourable conditions to grow, so if the conditions become more favourable then there is more growth and I suspect that the CO2 level will trend upwards in response……as conditions for growth become less favourable I think there will be a downwards trend in the level of CO2

    Most of the dry mass of a tree comes from the carbon dioxide it absorbs through it’s leaves. It’s amazing, really.

  76. Chris Barron

    Michael, I don’t have a problem with ‘no safe dose’ limits, as long as while they exist there is ongoing research to resolve the issue one way or another.

    With regards to x-rays, we shouldn’t forget that Marie Curie, supposed discoverer of the x-ray, died as a result of x-ray exposure.

    So perhaps ‘no safe limit’ is a good way to go.

    Apparently these days mercury is deadly stuff, it used to be only harmful. When I was 2 years old I bit the end off a mercury thermometer and swallowed the contents , glass and all. HHmmmm, that might explain a few things 😉

    In Fukushima, where plutonium is being found on top of the soil, no safe limit might be the wisest approach ?

  77. The problem with “no safe limit” thinking occurs when it changes people’s lives and behaviors in unreasonable and possibly harmful ways. E.G. people afraid to go out in the sun, even with sunscreen, or even on cloudy days, because SOME level of carcinogenic solar radiation is going to get through and increase their chance of dying from malignant melanoma. Taken to *real* extremes, you’d have people afraid of moonlight and hyperventilating about the quadrillions of carcinogenic radiation emitters most normal folks call “stars.” :>

    I run into it in my battles with Antismokers when I see people afraid to take their children to the grandparents’ for Christmas or let grandma hug baby because of “thirdhand smoke.” I’ve seen warnings about pacifiers being contaminated with Polonium 210 from smokers and how just five milligrams of Po 210 was used to murder a Russian KGB agent. Heh, what the Antismokers never mention however is that you’d have to roll your baby’s pacifier around on the floor and give it to them to suck clean, every single day for several SEXTILLION years (Yes, that’s a real number, and yes, that’s from actually computing it all out using the Antismokers’ own figures and statistics.) I also ran across a sad tale of a victim of thirdhand smoke fear who talked herself and her doctor into giving her a breast biopsy because she’d become convinced that she’d CAUGHT BREAST CANCER from using a telephone in her work environment that was also used by a smoker! (And yes, this was a serious example: it popped up on a medical board far away from any smoking-oriented discussion, and the woman posting didn’t use any of the buzz-words that would have crept through in something being written to make a political point. That’s something I’ve learned to be wary of from both sides in the fight.) (Heh, there was also a similar sad story about a girl having asthma attacks because of a GHOST that would appear and smoke in her bedroom. Again, seriously, and off on a board purely dealing with psychic phenomena, not smoking stuff.)

    When “no safe level” is knowingly and unreasonably used as a terror agent for behavior modification, it’s clearly a bad thing — unless one wants to focus myopically on an “End Justifies The Means” argument. As a longtime bicycle activist in the 1980s, I used some amount of that sort of thinking in building people’s feelings against “Detroit Death Machines,” — and I even succumbed to it myself without realizing it as I developed a fairly strong phobia about riding in cars. Fear is a nasty thing, and a nasty manipulative tool. And the “no safe level” sort of thinking opens the door wide for abuse. Basically, once you identify statistically that contact with any substance or behavior or minority group “increases your chances” of some sort of negative impact, you’re vulnerable to falling into the “no safe level” trap.

    Ever met anyone afraid of touching doorknobs? Or of inhaling untold millions of carcinogenic asbestos fibers when an uncaring spouse insists on taking a shower and spraying microdroplets into your shared air? Heh, give me a few hundred million dollars a year for 20 years and I’ll have ya afraid to set a toe outside your bed covers! LOL!

    – MJM

  78. Chris, you wrote, “Apparently these days mercury is deadly stuff, it used to be only harmful. When I was 2 years old I bit the end off a mercury thermometer and swallowed the contents , glass and all. HHmmmm, that might explain a few things”

    One of the bribes the dentist used to get me to behave as a 5 to 8 year old type phobic kid was the promise of the treat afterward: giving me a little blob of mercury to play with in my hands and take home in a little bottle!

    My younger brother and I also liked to play ping pong in our old Brooklyn basement. The big old gas furnace had massively insulated hot water pipes running along the ceiling, and, as we got better and better at ping pong we would sometimes take a “special shot” by jumping up and swinging on one of the pipes with one hand while returning the serve with the other. During those “swingings” the insulation would move around and shed fluffy white powder down on us.

    Nowadays of course, that nice white fluff is known as “asbestos.”

    – MJM

  79. couple of quotes to settle this issue (an appeal to authority?):
    “I’m saying, Come on, the global warming thing? How did the ice melt during the ice ages? Was the dinosaurs driving SUVs around back then?”–Larry the Cable Guy

    “The idea that global warming is the most important problem facing the world is total nonsense and is doing a lot of harm.” –Freeman Dyson, famed theoretical physicist.

  80. Sheri

    Chris: You are irrelevent to me now.

  81. Sheri

    Bob: There are several answers to Larry’s question
    1. We don’t know how snowball earth happened and we don’t know why it melted.
    2. We don’t know how snowball earth happened but CO2 made it melt (natural CO2 can apparently run amok also).
    3. We don’t know why snowball earth melted, CO2 doesn’t explain it, so we don’t think it really happened at all.

    These are from various papers from academics. My online class went with CO2 but was not extremely confident with that answer. So Larry still will have no answer to his question it seems. Sad when an “advanced science” can’t answer the question of a comic.

  82. Sheri

    From the “do as we say, not do as we do” reports

  83. Chris Barron

    Sheri, great to see you’re still reading me, despite trying to keep up appearances to the contrary 😉
    It’s a shame though, because I fear that when you say I am irrelevant, what you really truly mean is that you cannot use me or manipulate what I say to support your agenda.
    Bet you’re a nice person in the flesh !

    Keep smiling 🙂

  84. Chris Barron

    Michael, it’s not just fear. Miscommunication, delayed communication and even just non-communication lead people astray.

    The press releases coming from Japan, for example, the ones which are vetted and produced by mostly state run news organisations all deliberately play down the issues in Fukushima.
    Yet the people who have left the area, the people who have been involved in the post disaster cleanup and remedial actions, from doctors through to contractors, can all tell a much darker story than the official one.

    We see the same thing with global warming. We have a definite lack of proof that CO2 causes global warming, yet there is enough talk and suggestion to allow people to join the their own dots, and a lack of advice to the contrary.

    Remember WMD’s in Iraq ? It was shameful and lots of Brits, myself included were almost shouting at the TV because we had read the UN inspectors reports about a lack of WMD’s……but we were told there is an almost invisible enemy.

    Perhaps Goering was absolutely correct when he said at the Nuermeberg trials…
    [“Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY.”]

    In terms of the global warming war, the peacemakers are being attacked as ‘deniers’ and the invisible enemy , CO2, is, we are told, attacking us.

    The old ones are the best, as they say.

  85. Chris Barron

    Michael, I forgot to say that although i agree that the problem with ‘no safe limit’ is that it causes fear, in and of itself that is not necessarily a bad thing, because quite often no safe limit means just that.

    I don’t know where you are in the world, but we need to remember here in the UK at least that it took a law to get people to wear seatbelts in cars, despite them being fitted to cars for at least a decade, and despite people knowing that they can significantly increase your chance of survival.
    By law manufacturers had to fit them to cars from 1968 onwards, but the law making it compulsory to wear them didn’t happen until 1983.
    And drink driving is a similar thing….the point here is that people are not instinctively, or properly aware of their own safety risk…..they kindof know it can happen, but believe it won’t happen to them.

    Sometimes throwing caution to the wind is a way of expressing freedom, or courage. Sometimes you don’t know how foolish that action is until it is too late !

  86. Sheri

    Chris: You are irrelevent to me now. I am not reading you. I just get an email that says you are commenting and using my name and I remind you how irrelevent you are. Don’t mistake that for reading anything you write.

  87. Chris Barron

    Well Sheri how come you said ‘I am not reading you now’ in response to my assertion that you are reading me.

    I guess you’re either psychic, or you’re reading me 🙂 (aren’t you….. 🙂 )

    Look, I’m not trying to do anything other than point out that other people don’t share you’re views, and that some of those people don’t necessarily share the view that nuclear is great or that AGW is real either

    I think someone said that’s a strange religion, but I firmly remain a godless man, it allows me to stay free from belief bias. There is no heaven to come to save the future inhabitants of the earth. We are the only hope that they have. When the next ice age comes (which it surely will) it might be nice for my children’s children’s children to find they still have some fossil fuels they can call upon in an emergency, because we chose to save it for an emergency, rather than burn it like there’s no tomorrow

    The problem with some of the anti AGW camp, sometimes, is that they will readily assert that a cooling period has possibly arrived and that we’re heading into a very cold period…..but they don’t equate their own belief with reality….they will say it to others, but they will reject the reality of what might be to come, in reality. In terms of electricity usage it will require societal acceptance that small scale electricity generation is the main viable solution, because overland power cables aren’t particularly reliable, and when they break it takes huge efforts to repair them until they inevitably fail again.

    When the power lines are downed, and the rivers have frozen, and solar panels have become buried under 3 metres of snow, the wind will still be a viable source of energy.

    500,000 without power and 24 dead
    A wind turbine, unbelievably, can still function in those conditions, and coupled with a battery backup a constant supply can be secured for days for large numbers of people.

    If someone wants a ‘power when I need it, at all times’ lifestyle, they need to be a bit more imaginative than believing that large centralised generators coupled to a fragile distribution network is going to ever meet their needs.

    All I’m saying is that it often pays to be ready for any eventuality, because if there is one thing that the AGW debate seems to have shown us it is that nobody is actually able to predict climate change responses with real reliability. Piers Corbyn doesn’t do a bad job though, to be honest

  88. Sheri

    Chris: You are irrelevent to me now.

  89. Chris Barron

    I’m providing the context for your rebuttal Sheri, which implies my comments are very relevant 🙂

    I see that in Wyoming you are the least populated state, produce 40% of your nation’s coal and produce more CO2 per capita than any other state. The reasons why you are so conflicted are obvious now.

    “Why have wind turbines when we have all this coal ?” That approach only works when you do have a lot of coal…..

    There are approx 130 years of coal left *at current rates of consumption
    There are approx 230 years of uranium left *at current rates of consumption

    As we approach the bottom of those barrels we can expect the prices to rise. With the world population doubling every 40 years or so we can expect the number of years reserve to fall dramatically.

    Worst case scenario is that in 80 years we will have less than 40 years coal reserves and won’t make it to the next doubling, and enough uranium reserves for one generation.

    I personally don’t want to see all our hopes pinned on nuclear fusion (for after uranium has been used up) and I especially think that electricity prices will from here on increase continuously due to rumours of ‘energy scarcity’

    Laugh at your neighbour for putting up a wind turbine if you want, but he won’t necessarily be paying quite so much as you to power his home. Wind turbine generation with battery/flywheel/hydro storage is not pie in the sky or a futile experiment.

    Uranium is running out, coal is running out, yet the sun, the wind and the tides will be able to provide energy for more time in the future than they have already existed in the past.

    Are we really so stupid as to think that a developmental period of a few hundred years where we think the best thing to do is to take things from the ground and make them hot enough to boil water to produce steam can go on forever, not only is it inefficient but there is only a limited amount of ground where you can find those resources.

    My opinion is that it is only the act of profiteering which has got us here. and we’re going to have to be wiser if we want more than a few hundred years of electricity to come. Those who have profited surely only had to worry about their own lifetime, about getting rich and keeping it until they die. Us less fortunate ‘ordinary’ people tend to think more long term.

    I guess the unspoken part of this is that most people are satisfying themselves with “If we run out in the meantime then at least we can fall back onto solar or wind or hydro” …..We just have to make sure that when we do adopt those solutions that we do it ahead of time, because I bet for sure the cost of turbines would go through the roof, and yoiu can’t melt steel or copper easily unless you already have large amounts of electricity to do it with. At least turbines are still affordable now because they make profit in their lifetimes, unlike nuclear.

  90. Sheri

    Chris: You are irrelevent to me now.

    (It’s adorable how your sense of fantasy still has you believing that I read the responses and don’t just hit the delete button on the email. I love watching you waste your time like this.)

  91. Chris Barron

    Chris: You are irrelevent to me now.

    (It’s adorable how your sense of fantasy still has you believing that I read the responses and don’t just hit the delete button on the email. I love watching you waste your time like this.)

    And that’s all you’ve got to say about why wind turbines are so terrible ?

    I guess there isn’t a case against them after all 🙂

    PS Make sure you don’t reply to this one, it doesn’t have your name in it (you said the email is automated because your name is included) It must be hard when you think your proof of intellect is to have the final say….and then you can’t actually have the final say 😉

  92. Sheri

    Chris: You are irrelevant to me now.

  93. Christ, there’s an old Yiddish saying:
    “Az men hot nit tsu entfern, muz men farshveign.”
    which roughly translated says, “don’t do business with a fool”. If you think we who despise wind turbines are foolish, and you can’t convince us, then shut up!
    I agree with Sheri that wind turbines are a blight on the landscape, kill endangered avian species, are uneconomical and so have to be heavily subsidized by the government and are the least practical of all possible renewable and low-polluting energy sources, and will continue to be so.
    However your faith in wind turbines is that of a religion, so I couldn’t possibly hope to convince you of the above by any rational arguments. I’m happy to let you go in your fantasy world. Please let us continue in ours and stop bothering us!

  94. sorry…Freudian slip…that should be Chris, not Christ…
    what will my analyst and priest say to that typo?

  95. Sheri

    Bob: Thanks for the backup.

    (If your analyst and priest are familiar with computers, I imagine they’ll let that one go. It’s really no longer Freudian—just spellcheck and inattentive typing. 🙂 )

  96. For the general public, as a riposte when you’re losing an argument:
    “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” Prov. 26:4 (KJV)

  97. Chris Barron

    Bob, when the UK government subsidised new startup wind it was hailed as proof of the uneconomical nature of wind turbines. In reality it was proven that it reduced the breakeven time for a 1MW turbine from 10 years to 4 years. With a conservative estimate of 20 years lifetime that meant it became profitable at 20% life, instead of at 50% life…..but either way it is definitely economical, even without subsidies, or else all the wind turbine companies are losing money, yet their shares increase in value.

    Without subsidies windfarms just take longer to become profitable and the subsidies are used to help companies enter the new market, just as small businesses get benefits in kind when they start up. Not just small businesses, in effect most businesses doing something new get a hand in most cases, so lets not be too fussy about who’s eye we poke the sticks into ?

    Religion doesn’t tend to do science. Some facts about power generation

    Coal efficiency 20%-42% (depends if it’s an old station or a new one)
    Gas efficiency 28%-38% (same as coal)
    Wind efficiency 30%-45% (depends on turbine type, 53% is maximum possible)
    Solar efficiency 15%-20% (depends on which generation of silicon is used)
    Geothermal 35% (a tried and tested method with little variation)
    Nuclear 0.27% (so poor because the energy release is too fast to allow best use to be made of it)

    Burning petrol in a car, 22% , burning petrol in an ideal cycle generator, upto 35%
    Burning diesel in a car, 27%, burning diesel in an ideal cycle generator, 35%-42%

    Without subsidies wind remains profitable across it’s life, but nuclear never does, and coal struggles in a volatile fossil fuel market. Gas is a tricky one, especially in the UK where we are net importers, the cost of our gas powered electricity is connected directly with the price of LNG shipped to us over thousands of miles by the Arab states and offloaded at the Isle of Grain terminal, among others, directly into our gas grid.

    A flexible energy mix is the sensible solution , solar is OK but not as powerful as wind. Hydro occupies sometimes more space than an equivalent sized wind farm, and often means people are forced to leave their homes and animals are denied their natural habitats.

    I think the bottom line is that there is no single ideal solution, we all have our favourite, but, like it or not, we need as much as we can get, from as many different sources as possible…….Sorry, but I don’t know any religious quotes to reconvert the theme of this message back into a theological form.

  98. Chris Barron

    …Oh wait, I just thought of a saying, (although not of a religious nature)

    “You shouldn’t spoil a good story with facts.”

    Oh well, sorry about that !

  99. One more comment for those inclined to rational argument rather than faith-supported propositions (to paraphrase a quote from Mark Twain or Lord Beaconsfield–Disraeli?):
    “There are lies, damn lies, and global-warming statistics.”

  100. Chris Barron

    [“(to paraphrase a quote from Mark Twain or Lord Beaconsfield–Disraeli?):
    “There are lies, damn lies, and global-warming statistics.””}

    Hmmm, so one of them was lying !

    I’m in agreement with you Bob regarding the lack of evidence for AGW and the requirement for deterministic experiments in order that the theory can for once and for all be put to the test. Until we have that there is only waffle and hypothesis. When i did my degree I remember a class where we were advised how to write a hypothesis – it was stressed to us that in order for a hypothesis to be considered a good it merely has to be able to stand alone and not be proved to be false….it does not in itself have to be true in order to achieve that because after all it is merely a hypothesis and not a fact.

    I gave up expecting much change when, despite Al Gore’s film inconvenient Truth getting a battering in the London High Court, (where it was also established that CO2 lags temperature on the graph, by about 800 years), very little has changed and the hype machine and actors which we call politicians just follow the script. Al Gore’s film gets it’s deserved ruling
    Unfortunately it wasn’t banned from schools, but teachers are now required to advise pupils when it is shown, that it is a work of fiction, it is not at all a well presented scientific production

  101. Hey Chris (no “t”) …that is a reasonable reply. I agree with you that efforts should be made to find renewable or semi-renewable energy sources, on general grounds and grounds of real-politik. Where I disagree (as does Sheri) is on the utility and desirability of wind-power as one of those sources. I too live in a region (north-east Pennsylvania) where the wind towers are prevalent (sp?) and they are 1) a blight on the landscape; 2) not contributing to the general energy usage (particularly compared to natural gas and nuclear plants, which we have here in abundance); 3) not economically viable without large subsidies. The free market does eventually find the efficient way to do things–witness the demise of buggy whips and carriages (although the Plain Folk in our area still use them).
    And that brings up another point were it come to a choice of lots of energy supplied by wind towers, and doing as the Plain Folk–using horses and other non-electrical energy sources, I’d choose the latter. Back to the 19th Century!!!
    By the way the exact quote (doing a Wikipedia search) is
    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics” (and probably Mark Twain’s).

  102. Chris Barron

    No problem Bob, but I don’t see any numbers from you which prove that wind turbines are not economically viable without subsidies. Just because they get subsidies doesn’t mean they can’t be built and run at profit without them.

    The following are real numbers….get a calculator and check if you don’t believe it !
    in 20 years there are about 105,000 hours

    Say a wind turbine is sited to generate for 24% of that time (last year’s figure here in Scotland) or about 25,000 hours

    Lets say it is a 5MW turbine, then it generates a total of 125,000 MW hours. A spot price of £40 per MWh is reasonable (the price floats between £30 – £50 typically) so assuming absolutely no change the market price of electricity, this turbine produces 125,000 x £40 = £5 million

    The installation cost of a turbine, here in the UK, for turbines above 1MW, is around £700,000 per MW, so this turbine costs 700,000 x 5 = £3.5 million.

    These figures assume absolutely NO SUBSIDIES, installation costs include everything from environmental mitigation measures, connection to the grid and the cost of the turbine, to the fractional amount of wages which will be paid to maintenance staff.

    This gives £1.5million profit, and that assumes that the selling price in 20 years is the same as it is today.

    All I can say is these figures are accurate enough for me to pin my engineers cap to here in Scotland, and because our turbines receive a (ever reducing ) subsidy it is wrongly assumed to mean that there is no profit in wind turbines. in fact, wind turbines are so profitable here that the fight for building rights on potential future sights shows no sign of letting up

    If you are so convinced that your turbines make a loss, you can do yourself a big favour by doing some factfinding in the first instance, and if you do I would be very interested in seeing the maths and the formulae which you prefer to use.

    In terms of US fuel subsidies, I managed to find the following which shows that subsidies to renewables is far below that of conventional sources…..which surprisingly, the lady of great impudence didn’t seem to make much noise about…. I wonder why not ?

    Coal subsidies = $369billion, solar and wind subsidies = $74 billion.

    [“A 2011 study by the consulting firm Management Information Services, Inc. (MISI)[19] estimated the total historical federal subsidies for various energy sources over the years 1950–2010. The study found that oil, natural gas, and coal received $369 billion, $121 billion, and $104 billion (2010 dollars), respectively, or 70% of total energy subsidies over that period. Oil, natural gas, and coal benefited most from percentage depletion allowances and other tax-based subsidies, but oil also benefited heavily from regulatory subsidies such as exemptions from price controls and higher-than-average rates of return allowed on oil pipelines. The MISI report found that non-hydro renewable energy (primarily wind and solar) benefited from $74 billion in federal subsidies, or 9% of the total, largely in the form of tax policy and direct federal expenditures on research and development (R&D). Nuclear power benefited from $73 billion in federal subsidies, 9% of the total, largely in the form of R&D, while hydro power received $90 billion in federal subsidies, 12% of the total.”]

    US energy policy seems to be based around a normality of subsidising energy production from any source….which seems to be in keeping with most other countries in the developed world.

    I am not saying that I don’t believe anybody else’s point of view, I am being very open minded, I look at the figures from various sources, don’t believe any one more than another, and then I calculate the averages and work from there. It’s about all we can do without seeing copies of contracts.

  103. Chris Barron

    …oops, I pressed send before finishing off by pointing out that we have to remember that when a wind turbine reaches it’s end of life then the cost to replace it is not the same as the cost to install it.

    The grid connection is already in place, the tower is still in place, landowners have been compensated and so on, so the cost to replace the nacelle and rotor is the only cost of the whole refit. I don’t have exact figures, but I don’t think the cost would be far off being half of the original install cost, when it is time to refit the tower. The old nacelle/generator is not simply scrapped though, they are full of precious copper which is simple to reprocess and reuse, meaning that the cost of replacement nacelles could also cheaper than new ones. At the very least, a substantial amount could be raised by scrapping the nacelle and it’s contents.

    Although, the generator rotor could simply be refitted with new bearings and commutators(where used) , just like we do here with steam turbine generators, some of which have been in service for over 60 years, following periodic refits.

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