Thursday, September 07, 2017

Amusing:  Warmists outdo 20th century dictators

When 20th century dictators -- Communist or otherwise -- wanted to boost their legitimacy, they would hold an election and announce that somewhere between 97 and 99% of the population had voted for them. Such a consensus was routinely denounced as phony in real democracies.

But Warmists can out-phony that. Naomi Oreskes in her unreplicable study announced that 100% of climate scientists supported global warming.  Her study was however very slapdash and open to critisism so the Hayhoe and others have recently got together to repeat the exercize in a more opaque way.  We find an article titled: "Those 3% of scientific papers that deny climate change? A review found them all flawed".  Isn't that fabulous?  Informed dissent is completely eradicated.

I have of course no intention of reading the claims.  With lightweight old stagers like Dana Nuccitelli, John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky involved, I know that I can expect mere propaganda in lieu of real scholarship. I have no doubt that the debunking will readily be debunked.  Knowing how Warmists treat modelling results as gospel, if something a skeptic said diverged from some model results, I am sure that that alone would invalidate a claim to a Warmist.

But the whole enterprise is wrong-headed.  The origin of the 97% claim lies in John Cook's famous paper.  Cook merely collected up all the papers he could find  that bore on global warming and classified them (very arbitrarily) as for or against global warming. What he found was that only one third of the papers took any stance at all on global warming. Only one-third expressed an opinion on global warming.  And it was 97% of that one third who became the great comforter for Warmists.  In typical Green/Left slipperiness, the result of the survey is routinely quoted as "97% of climate scientists agree" -- when the actual finding was that only one third of climate scientists agreed.

So the present study seems to be of 3% of one third, which surely tells us little.  Even more to the point, most of the papers were not specifically designed to prove or disprove global warming.  They just expressed an opinion on it.  So showing that they did not disprove global warming is no surprise and is completely trivial  -- JR

The DOE report

"Secretary Rick Perry directed his staff to develop a report including an assessment of the reliability and resilience of the electric grid and an overview of the evolution of electricity markets. The study contains a comprehensive analysis and series of recommendations from the Department of Energy staff meant to inform and guide policy makers, regulators, and the general public."

Physicist John Droz comments on the final product below.  He finds the report to be intellectually and scientifically incompetent:

I initially had the understanding that the Staff Report to the DOE Secretary was a first draft. My impression was that public comments were being solicited so that this draft Report could be refined and improved before becoming official. To assist in that sensible process I was going to carefully read through the entire Report, and write out comments to specific items in it.

However, I was told by one of the authors, that there are no plans to make changes to this Report! Public comments would simply be collected and noted. Considering the enormity of this Report’s significance, I find that plan-of-action hard to understand.

In any case, there is now little point in enumerating the details of every error and oversight of the Report. Instead, I’ve perused the Report, and submit the following ten Big Picture observations:

1) A Grid not thoroughly rooted in Science will be inherently unreliable. Science exists to give us answers to our technical questions and problems. Energy matters are technical problems. As such it’s puzzling how a 150+ page technical Report on energy sources does not mention the word “Science” a single time. For a more thorough explanation of this profoundly important issue, see my Preliminary Comments to the authors of this Report. [Note that a true “Scientific” assessment would include technical, economic and environmental considerations… Note also that just because a source is “renewable” does not mean that it gets a free pass from Scientific scrutiny.]

2) Even though this Report is about Reliability, the term “Reliability” doesn’t seem to be defined in the Report. It’s an error to simply assume that we all have the same understanding of what this fundamental term is. In the industry the NERC definition of Reliability is commonly accepted. However this defines reliability from a systemic (Grid) — not source — perspective.

3) There are two significantly different reliability issues involved: systemic reliability and source reliability. It does not appear that this Report clearly segregated these.

4) A critically important question (not apparently directly addressed by this Report) is: “Will we have a more reliable Grid if — a) it only uses reliable energy sources, or b) we allow unreliable energy sources to be added?”

Re “b”: of course we have the engineering skill to compensate for this permeating unreliability — but does it make sense (economically and reliability-wise) to do so?

5) Electrical reliability is inextricably connected with economics. This Report could have done a better job at making that connection clearer.

a) For example: electric power system reliability not only directly affects US economic success, but also the health, success and security of its citizens.

b) For example: is a reliable energy source costing 5¢/KWH equally desirable as a reliable energy source costing 20¢/KWH?

6) More is not necessarily better. Having choices is good — but that assumes that there are net benefits for each option. That is unproven regarding “alternative energy” Grid sources. Diversity for the sake of diversity is counter-productive. For example, would a husband and wife be better off owning and operating two vehicles, or 5 vehicles, or 10 vehicles? Which situation would be more reliable?

This Report should have directly attacked the “All of the Above” energy policy being promoted by special interests, as it is devoid of Science and common sense (and is contrary to reliability).

The Report should have endorsed an “All of the Sensible” energy policy (and then have defined what “sensible” means). See this for a brief explanation of this exceptionally important matter.

7) Simply renaming unreliable energy sources as VRE (Variable Renewable Energy) misses the entire point. The issue is not the name, but the treatment. It’s good that wind and solar are identified as “intermittent.” However to simply rename them as VRE does not do justice to the situation. The key point is that no VRE can be directly compared to a conventional energy source!

A simple solution is to define VRES (Variable Renewable Energy System) which includes one variable source (e.g. wind) paired with gas. In other words VRES1 would be wind+gas (NGCT). VRES2 would be solar+gas (NGCT), etc. Each VRES could then be meaningfully compared, one-to-one, to conventional energy sources (NGCC, nuclear, hydro, coal, etc.).

8) The Grid Safety Reserve has been substantially abused by intermittent energy sources, and this is a major (undocumented) reliability threat to the Grid. Wind and solar have been accommodated by the Grid, as they have freely availed themselves of the Grid Safety Reserve. What’s worse is that wind and solar have not been penalized for this purposeful reduction of the Grid Safety Reserve — which (in effect) is a reduction of Grid reliability.

This uncompensated pilfering can be tolerated when wind and solar are very low amounts, but if their percentages increase this situation will become seriously problematic. One solution is to charge for this absconding, and to assign an auxiliary gas source to every wind and solar project.

9) In some regions the bidding rules are rigged to favor unreliables. The net effect of allowing unreliables to game the system, is that Grid reliability is undermined. In some regions wholesale electricity pricing is determined by what some call a “Dutch Auction.” There are several questionable aspects of this methodology, and all of them undermine reliability. For example:

a) All selected sources are paid the price of the highest accepted bid — not what the source actually bid. This is claimed to result in “lower costs” to ratepayers, but the contrived justification is highly suspect.

b) Compared to the other sources, unreliables receive substantial compensation otherwise (e.g. wind energy gets the PTC). This skews the bidding process.

c) Unreliables pay no penalty for not fulfilling their bid — while conventional sources get steep fines (to rightly compensate ratepayers for the cost of having to pay premium spot prices to fulfill the unmet commitment).

d) When unreliables do not fulfill their contractual bids, the Grid still has to pay a premium spot prices to meet demand. However, these costs are never directly attributed to the unreliables that are responsible for them — but they should be.

10) The Policy Recommendations seem to have merit. However, in addition to addressing the nine points made above, the following should be added:

a) EIA should stop the process of showing unreliable energy sources on the same charts and graphs as conventional energy sources. Having fine print that explains the disparity is not acceptable.

b) All DOE affiliated organizations (Berkeley Labs, NREL, etc) should be directed to be focused on Science, not promoting political-science agendas. If that is too high a bar for them to achieve, those rogue facilities should be defunded.

c) A comprehensive and objective economic analysis of all energy sources should be undertaken. The comprehensive part would include social costs and benefits. When that is matched with a comparable study about the “Social Cost of CO2” we’d have a science-based foundation for making energy decisions.

d) Although the Report uses the term “Capacity” a lot, there appears to be no discussion of the most important version: “Capacity Value.” This is a serious omission. See this and this for sample discussions.

e) Alternative energy sources should be encouraged. However, no alternative energy source should be allowed on the Grid without a genuine scientific assessment concluding that it is a NET Societal Benefit.

f) Consistent with “d,” the Policy Recommendation of “improving VRE integration” is premature. This Report does not make that clear. Hundreds of studies done by independent experts have alerted us to numerous serious downsides of some VREs — including undermining our national security. Once these studies are understood, why is “improving VRE integration” a good thing?

Via email

New York's climate goal — staggering costs, no benefits

Jonathan A. Lesser


In 2016, the New York Public Service Commission enacted the Clean Energy Standard (CES), under which 50% of all electricity sold by the state’s utilities must come from renewable generating resources by 2030, and emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) must be reduced by 40%. The CES also incorporates New York’s previous emissions reduction mandate, which requires that the state’s GHG emissions be reduced 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 (the “80 by 50” mandate).


Given existing technology, the CES’s 80 by 50 mandate is unrealistic, unobtainable, and unaffordable. Attempting to meet the mandate could easily cost New York consumers and businesses more than $1 trillion by 2050.

The CES mandate will require electrifying most of New York’s transportation, commercial, and industrial sectors. (In 2014, for example, fossil-fuel energy used for transportation was twice as large as all end-use electricity consumption combined.) Even with enormous gains in energy efficiency, the mandate would require installing at least 100,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind generation, or 150,000 MW of onshore wind generation, or 300,000 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity by 2050. By comparison, in 2015, about 11,300 MW of new solar PV capacity was installed in the entire U.S. Moreover, meeting the CES mandate likely would require installing at least 200,000 MW of battery storage to compensate for wind and solar’s inherent intermittency.

Meeting the CES interim goals—building 2,400 MW of offshore wind capacity and 7,300 MW of solar PV capacity by 2030—could result in New Yorkers paying more than $18 billion in above-market costs for their electricity between now and then. By 2050, the above-market costs associated with meeting those interim goals could increase to $93 billion. It will also require building at least 1,000 miles of new high-voltage transmission facilities to move electricity from upstate wind and solar projects to downstate consumers. No state agency has estimated the environmental and economic costs of this new infrastructure.

The New York Department of Public Service and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority claim that renewable energy and the CES will provide billions of dollars of benefits associated with CO2 reductions. Not so. Regardless of one’s views on the accuracy of climate models and social-cost-of-carbon estimates, the CES will have no measurable impact on world climate. Therefore, the value of the proposed CO2 reductions will be effectively zero.


The Inconvenient Truth About Al Gore And The Climate 'Experts'

Former Vice President Al Gore stars in his second documentary, "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power."  "Sooner or later," Gore tweeted, "climate deniers in the GOP will have to confront their willful blindness to the climate crisis." But skeptics of climate alarmism have their eyes wide open and don't like what they see.

Donald Trump won the popular vote among people 45 years and older. Many in these ranks have followed grass roots environmentalism since it began, following publication of Rachel Carson's book, "Silent Spring," in 1962. Over time they've learned that celebrated environmental experts make false and wildly exaggerated predictions. A prime example is Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich, a longtime environmental icon and author of the 1968 book "The Population Bomb."

"Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make," Ehrlich confidently predicted in a 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. "The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next 10 years."

He assured readers of The Progressive in 1970 that between 1980 and 1989, 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the "Great Die-Off." In a 1969 essay titled "Eco-Catastrophe!" Ehrlich said "most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born."

Undeterred, the celebrity doomsayer and his cohorts now offer a new theory, claiming in a July 2017 issue of "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" that human civilization stands in peril from an ongoing mass extinction on Earth: "Dwindling population sizes and range shrinkages (of vertebrates) amount to a massive anthropogenic erosion of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services essential to civilization. This 'biological annihilation' underlines the seriousness for humanity of Earth's ongoing sixth mass extinction event." And so on.

Ehrlich has cried "The sky is falling!" so many times that anyone with common sense and a memory rightfully dismisses his apocalyptic rhetoric.

If the environmental movement's so-called experts had been correct, nearly all animal species would be extinct today, as S. Dillon Ripley, longtime head of the Smithsonian Institution, predicted. As Nigel Calder and Kenneth Watt had it, the Earth would likely be in another ice age today. According to geochemist Harrison Brown, copper, lead, zinc, tin, gold and silver would now be gone. Likewise, Watt and U.S. government analysts predicted that U.S. oil and natural gas reserves would be depleted by now. Instead, we're drowning in the stuff.

Hearing these spectacularly wrong predictions for decades, a large segment of the population has lost confidence in environmental research, regardless of its potential merits. Climate and natural resource scientists have only themselves to blame.

The failure to enforce rigorous scientific standards and publicly denounce alarmists and charlatans has left many Americans feeling hoodwinked, disregarding all environmental research, which is a shame.

But truth and accuracy don't seem to matter to many environmentalists.

The late Stanford University climatologist Stephen Schneider told Discover magazine in 1989, "we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. ... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."

Rather than pursuing scientific truth, the goal is to win political battles. In 1988, then-Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., said, "We've got to ... try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong ... we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy." And ride the issue they have.

Environmental "grievance hustlers" have used deception, lies, hype and hysteria, often covered with the gauze of taxpayer-funded research, to score political victories that expand Big Government.

Here's the real inconvenient truth. If Al Gore wants the people he denounces as "climate deniers" to take him seriously, his next documentary should target the intellectual dishonesty of many of his pals in the environmental movement. Don't hold your breath.


The Scottish Government has unveiled a green focused legislative programme for 2017/18

Their health service is in virtual meltdown from staff shortages yet they have money for all these Green follies

The Scottish government has today unveiled its legislative plans for the next year, featuring a major low carbon economy focus on electric vehicles, renewable energy, recycling schemes and green investment.

Among 16 proposed new pieces of legislation outlined today are plans to phase-out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032 - eight years earlier than the 2040 ban announced by the UK government earlier this year - and to fast-track the development of a Scotland-wide electric car charging network.

The Programme for Scotland 2017/18 sets out further proposals to tackle air pollution by creating one new Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in an unnamed Scottish city by the end of the parliamentary year, increasing to a total of four LEZs across Scotland's biggest cities by 2020.

Next year will also see Scottish outline new greenhouse gas reduction targets in its long-awaited Climate Change Bill, which will include the creation of a Just Transition Commission to advise Scottish ministers on adjusting its economy away from oil and gas to renewable technologies.

Further legislation will establish an Innovation Fund to invest £60m in battery storage, sustainable heating systems and other green technologies, as well as a commitment to provide 'early stage support' for a new carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in St Fergus.

The devolved administration also confirmed plans to introduce a deposit scheme to recycle cans and bottles, extend broadband coverage to all homes and businesses by 2021, invest in skills and manufacturing and to double annual investment in walking and cycling.

Meanwhile a new National Investment Bank will provide financial support for innovative industries, news that comes just weeks after the UK government sold the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank to Australian bank Macquarie.

Announcing the legislative programme today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was vital for Scotland to build a modern and dynamic low carbon economy in the face of "unprecedented global challenge and change".

"We face rapid advances in technology; a moral obligation to tackle climate change; an ageing population; the impact of continued austerity and deep seated challenges of poverty and inequality; and an apparent rise in the forces of intolerance and protectionism," she said in a statement. "These challenges are considerable, but in each of them we will find opportunity. It is our job to seize it."

"To succeed, Scotland must lead change, not trail in its wake," she continued. "We must aspire to be the inventor and the manufacturer of the digital, high tech and low carbon innovations that will shape the future, not just a consumer of them. To encourage others to see Scotland as the place to research, design and manufacture their innovations - for us to become a laboratory for the rest of the world in the digital and low carbon technologies we want to champion - we must also become early adopters of them. We must be bold in our ambitions."

Campaigners hailed the programme as a "victory" for the green economy.

"The First Minister has set out an ambitious, progressive and green Programme for government, which puts Scotland's low carbon economy in the driving seat," Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland said in a statement. "The benefits of today's announcement will continue to be felt across Scotland for generations to come, as we build on the huge successes of renewable electricity, to create new jobs in clean transport and deliver a thriving economy."

Others seized the opportunity to urge Westminster to up the ante. "The Scottish government has set a significantly more ambitious target to phase out petrol and diesel cars and vans than the one recently set by the UK government in Westminster," Greenpeace clean air campaigner Anna Jones said. "This is what real leadership looks like [...] Today's announcement shows Nicola Sturgeon's vision for global environmental leadership. The ball is now in Theresa May's court."




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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