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How Accurate Are Climate Change Predictions, Really?

Updated on March 23, 2017

Conversation and Challenge

"What would it take,” I asked fellow writer and climate skeptic jackclee, “to convince you that we have a climate problem?”

We’d been having an extended discussion in the comments of my article, Climate Change: How Much Time Do We Have? Jack responded:

Doc, the one evidence I need is for the various climate models to agree with reality. There projections has consistently over estimated the temperature rise. I just don't trust them considering how the models have such variables which are based on assumptions and the small tweak can cause large changes in the model outputs. In a few short years, we will see if these models are for real or they are contrived. Please revisit this in a few years. Take care.

Though marked by Jack’s customary civility, it was a frustrating response for me, as the article in which the conversation was occurring had gone to considerable lengths to examine how much time remains to us to take action on climate, concluding that in certain respects it is already too late. The least misleading answer to the question “How much time do we have?” was, I wrote:

None, really. We are late, and we just need to work not to get any later.

That was true, I had said:

  • Because it’s already too late for the victims of climate change to date.
  • Because climate change is insidious--as with tobacco smoking, the damage is often done before symptoms are evident.
  • Because global carbon emissions still seem to be increasing.
  • Because we are running out of time to avoid what is generally considered ‘dangerous’ warming.

So I tried to address Jack’s concern directly, citing data and discussions that show that, in fact, the observations are consistent with IPCC projections of temperature, as linked in the sidebar below.

Original Model-Observation Comparison Graphs

Source

Updated Comparison Graph, August 2016

Updated observation-model comparison, August 2016.  Graphs courtesy of RealClimate.
Updated observation-model comparison, August 2016. Graphs courtesy of RealClimate.

BEST update, to February 2017

Updated model-observation comparison, courtesy of Dr. Zeke Hausfeather of BEST.
Updated model-observation comparison, courtesy of Dr. Zeke Hausfeather of BEST. | Source

Although temperatures had been running lower than the central estimate of IPCC projections in recent years, they were, and are, still within the projected ‘envelope,’ as shown in the figure above and discussed at length in the linked articles.

Moreover, I added, there was and is a long track record in the scientific literature of successful predictions by climate models. It was collected and documented by Barton Paul Levenson (also linked in sidebar.)

I quoted Barton as follows below:

Global Climate Models have successfully predicted:

  • That the globe would warm, and about how fast, and about how much.
  • That the troposphere would warm and the stratosphere would cool.
  • That nighttime temperatures would increase more than daytime temperatures.
  • That winter temperatures would increase more than summer temperatures.
  • Polar amplification (greater temperature increase as you move toward the poles).
  • That the Arctic would warm faster than the Antarctic.
  • The magnitude (0.3 K) and duration (two years) of the cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
  • They made a retrodiction for Last Glacial Maximum sea surface temperatures which was inconsistent with the paleo evidence, and better paleo evidence showed the models were right.
  • They predicted a trend significantly different and differently signed from UAH satellite temperatures, and then a bug was found in the satellite data.
  • The amount of water vapor feedback due to ENSO.
  • The response of southern ocean winds to the ozone hole.
  • The expansion of the Hadley cells.
  • The poleward movement of storm tracks.
  • The rising of the tropopause and the effective radiating altitude.
  • The clear sky super greenhouse effect from increased water vapor in the tropics.
  • The near constancy of relative humidity on global average.
  • That coastal upwelling of ocean water would increase.

Seventeen correct predictions? Looks like a pretty good track record to me.


Jack's response to that was indirect:

Doc, I came across this web site recently and would like you to comment -

(Jack's site is linked in a second sidebar.)

I will make a pledge to you.

You ask me what it would take to be convinced.

If the items in the forecast for 2015 and 2020 comes true as they projected, I will be convinced.

There were problems with that. The worst for me is that there is simply no point in convincing Jack (or anyone else, for that matter) sometime in 2020 or 2021. We need decisive action on climate, and we need it now.

But there are other issues, too. Some of the ‘predictions’ involve things that are really not all that relevant—global air conditioner sales, for instance. And what would the criteria for predictive success be? Surely it would be unrealistic to expect each and every point to come true precisely? For that matter, some of the projections are not couched very precisely. How could we decide whether or not they should be considered ‘successful’?

Noting all these problems—and, frankly, hoping to split up what looked like a daunting workload—I made a suggestion to Jack:

So, how about this: you and I make a project. We'll sort the predictions for this year (ie., predictions on the 2015 page of the site) that we want to assess--other than what I've done here, no looking ahead! (Full disclosure: I already looked at the case of Lagos, Nigeria, a bit.) Then we'll research them and compare what we find. We each write an article about it.

What do you say?

Jack accepted, and so the present article was born.

Sorting The "Predictions"

My first task was to read and sort the predictions on the 2015 ‘predictions’ page. Readers can find it on the site page linked above, but for convenience, here is the specific page relating to 2015-relevant predictions (sidebar, right--or above, on mobile devices.)

Cutting to the chase, a tedious process of listing, winnowing, consolidation and tabulation eventually produced a more-or-less manageable list of 28 items. Fourteen of them were then eliminated ‘for cause.’ These items (with their original list positions and ‘cause for dismissal’) are listed in Table 1:

Table 1: Rejected 'Predictions'

Item Description
Original list #
Reason for rejection
Global air conditioner sales increase
2
Silly proxy. Sales can be affected by too many things besides climate. (But the projection did apparently come true, FWIW.)
Global emissions projections
4
Not actually a prediction, and a driver of climate, not a consequence of it.
Lake Mead dry by 2014, 10% chance
9
Too low a chance to count as a ‘prediction.’
Suna’a, Yemen, to run dry by 2017
11
Water situation serious, but civil war renders clear outcome relative to prediction impossible.
Various population projections
14
Not climate predictions, though growing populations do tend to use more energy.
Climate-driven migration in Nigeria
17
Civil conflict and weak governance make this impossible to assess.
Loss of climate measurement/observation capability
18
Not a climate prediction, though it makes climate study harder (and has occurred).
Rare earths shortages by 2015
21
Not a climate prediction.
Worldwide oil supply shortage of 10M barrels/day by 2015
22
Obviously a bad miss, but still not a climate prediction.
No ‘demand challenge’ to global energy supply in 2015
23
One more time—not a climate prediction.
Global energy prices to be unstable during 2000-2015.
24
Certainly, but no, not a climate prediction.
Solar energy predicted to be the least expensive source of electricity by 2016.
25
Not a climate prediction, but will comment briefly as ‘appendix.’
China to mine 25% more coal; consumption to reach 2.3 billion tons by 2015.
26
Not a climate prediction, but will comment briefly as ‘appendix.’
US agriculture suffers due to lack of pollinators, leading China to supply up to 40% of US vegetables
28
CCD—the epidemic of bee deaths—is still quite a problem, but hasn’t undermined US ag quite that badly. And the Chinese economy has grown in ways not well anticipated in 2006.
Table 1: Rejected 'Predictions'

The Rubric

That leaves 14 predictions to assess. But how to assess them? Not all were precisely quantified, and even when they were, available data aren’t necessarily sorted in such a way that direct comparisons can be made.

I fell back on classroom teaching experience to create a rubric to enable ‘grading’ of each prediction. Here’s what it looked like:

Predictions rubric

Quantitative:

  • 4—Prediction within 10%
  • 3—Prediction within 25%
  • 2—Prediction within 50%
  • 1—Correct sign
  • 0—Wrong sign

Qualitative:

  • 4—Outcome closely resembles prediction
  • 3—Outcome reasonably resembles prediction
  • 2—Outcome somewhat resembles prediction
  • 1—Outcome points toward possibility of prediction being realized, given enough time
  • 0—No resemblance between outcome and prediction

(1 additional point may be awarded in cases where outcome exceeds prediction--that is, where climate change is worse than predicted.)

With that in hand, I attacked the list of remaining predictions. Here are the results, item by item, and with a discussion of what I see as important points relating to each.

Assessing The Predictions

In all cases, the supporting web links for the prediction and outcomes will be found in sidebar capsules (right--or above for mobiles).

1. The prediction:

Stanford computer models project a dramatic spike in extreme seasonal temperatures during the period 2010 - 2019. "The Stanford team also forecast a dramatic spike in extreme seasonal temperatures during the current decade [2010 – 2019]. Temperatures equaling the hottest season on record from 1951 to 1999 could occur four times between now [2010] and 2019 over much of the U.S., according to the researchers. The 2020s and 2030s could be even hotter, particularly in the American West."

The reality:

The US experienced significant heat waves in 2011 (“On a national basis, the heat wave was the hottest in 75 years”), 2012 (March brought “a remarkably prolonged period of record setting temperatures”), 2013 (regionally, in the Southwest “46 monthly record high temperatures were reached or broken, and 21 records for the highest overnight temperatures were reached or broken”), and 2015 (“triple-digit heat indices across a large swath of the U.S...”)

Interestingly, consideration of one obscure but telling statistic—the tally of ‘cooling degree days’—the top three hottest US summers occurred during the prediction period so far. In order, they are: 2011, 2010 and 2012.

Given that the prediction period ran from 2010 through 2019, and is thus only about half over, it is tempting to rate this prediction as a ‘5’—that is, the number of observed events matches the predicted number of events, for a ‘4’ on the quantitative rubric, plus a bonus point since there are still several years to run in the prediction period.

However, considering that there are serious definitional issues about just how geographically widespread and how long-lasting a heatwave needs to be to count, and considering my own biases, I reduced that to a ‘3’—“outcome reasonably resembles prediction.”

March 2012 heatwave.  Image courtesy NASA Earth Observatory & Wikimedia Commons.
March 2012 heatwave. Image courtesy NASA Earth Observatory & Wikimedia Commons. | Source

2. The prediction:

Britain’s Met Office projects 2014 temperature likely to be 0.3 degrees Celsius warmer than 2004. “Here is the climate forecast for the next decade [2007-2014]; although global warming will be held in check for a few years, it will come roaring back to send the mercury rising before 2014."

The reality:

Once again, definitional issues cloud the picture a bit. Using the data set associated with Britain’s Meteorology Office, HADCRUT 4, one finds that 2014 temperatures were not 0.3 C warmer than 2004, but rather 0.117 C. (NASA’s data would have made that figure 0.20 C.) Clearly, less warming than forecast. On the other hand, the shape of the temperature curve does match the description given: “...global warming will be held in check for a few years [but will] come roaring back.”

Overall, I rate that as a ‘2’—“outcome somewhat matches prediction.”

It’s worth noting, though, that this is more a test of ‘the Met’s’ experimental long-term forecasting ability than of climate modeling; though the 10-year is very long for weather, it is very short for climate. According to Santer et al., the shortest period for which one might expect to see a statistically-significant warming trend is 17 years.

3. The prediction:

By 2015 10 million acres of national forests may be at high risk of uncontrollable, catastrophic wildfires... as much as $12 billion, or about $725 million a year, may be needed to treat the 39 million acres at high risk of uncontrollable wildfire by the end of fiscal year 2015.

The reality:

By September 25 of this year, over 9 million acres had in fact burned. By the end of October (the conventional end of the ‘fire season’, the number had reached 9,407,571 acres. Clearly that is well within the 10% envelope for a ‘4’. There aren’t yet comprehensive numbers on the cost of those fires, but on August 5, a Forest Service Report informed us that “For the first time in its 110-year history, the Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is spending more than 50 percent of its budget to suppress the nation's wildfires.” That was not a result of one exceptional year, but rather a consistent trend in fire-fighting costs. The Service called for a change in the funding mechanism to reflect this reality, as ever-increasing proportions of the Service budget were being absorbed by fire-fighting costs, to the detriment of other functions. (The full report link is in the sidebar.)

Rating: 4 “Prediction within 10%.”

Washington State wildfires, 2015.  Image courtesy NASA & Wikimedia Commons.
Washington State wildfires, 2015. Image courtesy NASA & Wikimedia Commons.

4. The prediction:

Water shortages projected for 36 states by 2013. Water managers in most states expect shortages of freshwater in the next decade [2003 – 2013]

The reality:

Unclear. Although the General Accounting Office publishes periodic surveys of state water manager expectations, they do not examine the actual outcomes. And among the responses of the water managers are survey responses that raise real questions about response quality. Apart from answers that were unresponsive—in 2014, the most recent such survey, Indiana and Ohio were both listed as ‘no response or uncertain’—there were instances that were simply not credible.

A notable example is provided by the states of Alabama and Georgia, which both report no concerns about freshwater availability despite the fact that they are, along with Florida, embroiled in a legal and political wrangle over the apportionment of freshwater flowing out of Lake Lanier, the sole source of most of Atlanta’s drinking water. The ‘tri-state water war’ has been before courts since 1990, and was the subject of a closed-doors meeting of all three governors as recently as June 2015.

In my view, if that is not cause for ‘concern’, then something is wrong with the definition of ‘concern’ in use. (To be completely clear, though, water problems in the Southeast are not a climate change issue—regional modeling does not project drought problems to be likely, as overall the region seems likely to become slightly wetter—but a policy and resource versus population issue.)

However, despite such concerns, the 2014 report has the number of ‘concerned’ water managers up by 4 to 40. And in the general media there were very serious water shortages reported for 7 states in 2015. (Of course, the current serious water shortages in California are too well-known to require a citation.)

Considering the information available, the outcome seemed ‘somewhat’ to resemble the prediction, for a rating of ‘2’.


5. The prediction:

Lake Mead’s water levels could drop below its water intake pipes by 2013. "Southern Nevada Water Authority chief Pat Mulroy . . . said the authority is in a race against time to complete a new [third intake] system [or third straw] to draw water from deep in Lake Mead [Hoover Dam]."

The reality:

The Water Authority won their race, but not by much. The ‘third straw’ project is now complete, at an announced cost of $817 million, with another $650 million for a new pumping station. The level didn’t quite reach crisis levels: problems start at a level of 1062 feet, and the system as it was would have been shut down at 1050. This summer saw levels of a little over 1075. That margin of less than 14 feet may not seem small to some, but for context, consider the ‘old normal’: in 1983 Lake Mead stood at 1225 feet.

The outcome reasonably resembles the prediction, for a rating of ‘3’.

Hoover Dam, 2012, with the 'bathtub ring' showing low water level.  Image by Tony Webster, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Hoover Dam, 2012, with the 'bathtub ring' showing low water level. Image by Tony Webster, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

6. A related prediction:

Hydroelectric turbines at Hoover Dam could cease generating electricity by 2013. “After 75 years of steadily cranking out electricity for California, Arizona and Nevada, the mighty turbines of the Hoover Dam could cease turning as soon as 2013, if water levels in the lake that feeds the dam don't start to recover, say water and dam experts. Under pressure from the region's growing population and years of drought, Lake Mead was down to 1,087 feet, a 54-year low, as of Wednesday [September 8, 2010]. If the lake loses 10 feet a year, as it has recently, it will soon reach 1,050 feet, the level below which the turbines can no longer run.”

The reality:

Fortunately, the loss rate since 2010 did not continue uniformly, and although there is a small net loss, the turbines still turn—albeit with a 25% power loss. It’s worth noting, though, that hydropower in California is seriously affected by the ongoing drought and water shortage, with reductions of around 60%. As a linked story puts it:

California’s drought is just four years old. But the drop in the state’s hydroelectric production has been precipitous. Hydroelectric sources are projected to contribute just 7 percent of the state’s power this year, down from 23 percent in 2011.

Overall, the outcome was judged as pointing toward a later possibility of realizing prediction, for a rating of ‘1’.



7. The prediction:

Nearly half the world’s population will live in water-stressed countries by 2015. “By 2015 nearly half the world's population — more than 3 billion people — will live in countries that are "water-stressed" — have less than 1,700 cubic meters of water per capita per year, mostly in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and northern China."

Note the wording: this does not say that half the world’s total population will be water-stressed; it says that countries accounting for half the world’s population will experience significant water stress.

The reality:

This appears to be a solid ‘hit.’ Though definitive numbers for 2015 are not available, India and China are indeed both experiencing water stress at very significant levels, as has been the case for some time, and together account for close to 50% of global population. The story in the UK's Guardian newspaper, linked, tells the wider tale.

Rating: ‘4’.

Ladakh, India, 2014.  Image by Christopher Michel, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Ladakh, India, 2014. Image by Christopher Michel, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

8. A related prediction:

By 2015 a number of developing countries will be unable to maintain their levels of irrigated agriculture. “In the developing world, 80 percent of water usage goes into agriculture, a proportion that is not sustainable; and in 2015 a number of developing countries will be unable to maintain their levels of irrigated agriculture...”

(This comes from the same 2000 report as item #7, and is not linked again.)

The reality:

The situation for irrigation is bad and getting worse in both India and China. Additionally, Africa has serious problems, though these arise from a whole network of reasons, from climate change to population growth to poor policy and migration.

Rating: ‘4’.

9. The prediction:

Mt. Kilimanjaro’s remaining ice fields likely to disappear between 2015 and 2020... if current climatological conditions persist, the remaining ice fields are likely to disappear between 2015 and 2020.

The reality:

Thankfully, ‘the snows of Kilimanjaro’ currently seem unlikely to disappear any time soon. This prediction would receive a clear zero, except for one thing: attention to the issue, prompted by the possibility that the prediction could come true, may have been crucial.

Initially, the observed loss of ice mass on Kilimanjaro’s summit was ascribed more or less directly to global warming. But further analysis showed that the loss was probably due to less precipitation falling at the summit, and that in turn this was not so much due to global changes, but to more local ones: deforestation on Kilimanjaro’s massive slopes had altered the local water cycle. Replanting those slopes seems to have helped increase precipitation, slowing (though not halting) ice loss:

...the massive tree planting around the mount Kilimanjaro could have been mitigated the ripple effects of the global warming.

Alarmed by the...Thompson study, way back in 2006, Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete imposed a total ban on tree harvesting in Kilimanjaro region in a move aimed to halt catastrophic environmental degradation, including melting of ice on Mount Kilimanjaro.

As a result of the measures, the forest cover on the mount Kilimanjaro is slowly, but surely becoming thick.

Experts say the forests on Kilimanjaro's lower slopes absorb moisture from the cloud hovering near the peak, and in turn nourish flora and fauna below...

Given that ice loss has not been completely arrested and that warming continues, the outcome points toward a possibility that the prediction may become true in time, which rates a ‘1’.


Aerial view of Kilimanjaro, showing ice fields on Kibo peak.  Image by clem23, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Aerial view of Kilimanjaro, showing ice fields on Kibo peak. Image by clem23, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

10. The prediction:

Computer model forecasts taking into account sea ice thinning and albedo effects project an ice-free summer Arctic Ocean between 2010-2015. “The Arctic Ocean could be free of ice in the summer as soon as 2010 or 2015 -- something that hasn't happened for more than a million years, according to a leading polar researcher. Louis Fortier, scientific director of ArcticNet, a Canadian research network, said the sea ice is melting faster than predicted by models created by international teams of scientists, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They had forecast the Arctic Ocean could be free of summer ice as early as 2050.”

But this 'prediction' needs more context. Note what is said in this story—(so-called) ‘IPCC models’ at that point (November, 2007) had been estimating that the Arctic sea ice would likely be gone at the annual minimum in September ‘as early as 2050’, but a new regional model by Dr. Maslowski, of the US Naval Observatory, had projected that a much earlier outcome was possible.

Note, too, that the 2007 minimum thoroughly shocked experts; they had been concerned by the record low of 5.6 million square kilometers (mean value for the month of September). Prior to 1990, only once had that value dropped below 7 million square kilometers, and never had it broken through 6 million square kilometers. But in 2007, the disturbing record clocked in 2005 was obliterated by a stunning 4.3 million square kilometer mean September extent--a full 1.3 million kilometers less than the 2005 record (roughly 23% lower). Dr. Fortier’s comment that ‘...it's probably going to happen even faster than that” should be read in the context of the shock the 2007 minimum provided.

Graph courtesy Dr. Larry Hamilton.
Graph courtesy Dr. Larry Hamilton.

It should also be noted that the newspaper story is almost certainly wrong in one respect. Though the identity of the ‘computer models’ referred to is never given in the story, it is undoubtedly the regional modeling of Dr. Wieslaw Maslowski, of the US Naval Observatory, as reported in the BBC story linked above.

Dr. Maslowski is directly quoted in another story from the same time:

Given the estimated trend and the volume estimate for October–November of 2007 at less than 9,000 km3, one can project that at this rate it would take only 9 more years or until 2016 ± 3 years to reach a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in summer. Regardless of high uncertainty associated with such an estimate, it does provide a lower bound of the time range for projections of seasonal sea ice cover.

So the projection, according to the scientist who made it, should be regarded as a “lower bound”, and the time frame is not 2010-2015, as the story had it, but 2013-2019.

The reality:

Dr. Fortier was wrong.

But consider the continuing decline of the sea ice—after 2007, the September mean has never again risen above 2005 levels. And in 2012 the September mean extent crashed to just 3.6 million square kilometers. (September of this month saw the fourth-lowest value in the record, with a mean of just 4.6 million.)

In that context, it is not so clear that Dr. Maslowski was wrong. The window for his ‘lower bound’ estimate runs until 2019.

The IPCC was wrong, too, or so it appears at this juncture. In 2007, they thought that we had until 2050 or so before the first ice-free Arctic summer. The sea ice crash we have seen since then makes that scenario highly unlikely; currently observers such as the National Snow and Ice Center’s Dr. Walt Serreze now think the likely year is sometime around 2030.

Dr. Fortier gets a ‘1’, even though the mainstream science would do better.

Eko-Atlantic City under construction, Lagos, Nigeria, 2011.  Image by omar 180, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Eko-Atlantic City under construction, Lagos, Nigeria, 2011. Image by omar 180, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

11. The prediction:

Lagos, Nigeria projected to be at risk from sea level rise. "Nigeria will suffer from climate-induced drought, desertification, and sea level rise... Lagos, the capital, is one of the West African coastal megacities [along with Alexandria, Egypt] that the IPCC identifies as at risk from sea level rise by 2015.”

The reality:

Again, solid, comparable information is hard to come by, and the prediction itself is not very specific. But it is clear that Lagos is facing increased flooding, forming a serious threat to its infrastructure:

An increasingly important threat to the high population and large concentration of residential, industrial, commercial and urban infrastructure systems in Africa’s coastal megacity of Lagos is flooding. Over the past decade, flooding in Lagos has increased significantly, drawing increasing attention to the need for flood risk management.

It’s not as clear what proportion of this risk proceeds from sea level rise, as identified in the prediction, and what proportion from extreme precipitation and increasing storm surge (both expected consequences of climate change, in general) or from other causes, such as land subsidence (which can be either natural or man-made, and which results in localized ‘relative sea level rise.’)

However, it is noteworthy that the there’s a mega-project, underway since 2003 and now said to be nearing completion, intended to protect the city from sea-level rise—an 8-kilometer barrier dubbed the ‘Great Wall of Lagos.’ Not only that, an artificial island will be the site of a glittering new city center, financed entirely by private investment, and intended to become the “Hong Kong of Africa”. As usual, that is linked right, together with a less enthusiastic take. Not yet reality, but perhaps worth noting in passing, is that serious, widespread issues with both desertification and sea level rise continue to be projected for Africa.

Overall rating: ‘3’.

Adelie penguins.  Image by Jerzy Strzelecki, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Adelie penguins. Image by Jerzy Strzelecki, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

12. The prediction:

Projected extinction of Adélie penguin population around Palmer Station, Antarctica. “A small residual population [Adélie penguins] on Humble Island [near Palmer Station, Antarctica] may survive the climatic shift down the peninsula, [seabird ecologist Bill Fraser of the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research (PAL LTER) project] guessed, but the overall prognosis is that in the next decade the Adélies around Palmer will be gone. ‘Their numbers are in catastrophic decline,’ Fraser said.”

(Unfortunately, the original link appears to be dead, and so is not linked.)

The reality:

The Adelies are not gone yet, though the decline in population continues. Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins, which tolerate warmer temperature better, have been moving in in large numbers.

...it’s been a shock to see how drastically Adelie penguins have declined while gentoos have increased in the last 20 years.

I have linked some of the baseline research, from 1998, and including as one author Dr. Bill Fraser, who was mentioned in the prediction.

It would be great to see some hard numbers on the Adelie population of Palmer Station, to get a better feeling for how the trends are playing out. But it appears that the prediction is somewhere in the midrange: 2018 is probably too aggressive, but all sources discussing the population agree that the species is in trouble in the Palmer Station area.

Rating: ‘3’, “Outcome reasonably resembles prediction.”


Update on Adelie penguins, 7/2/16

A recent article on the prognosis for Adelie penguins, not just around Palmer Station, but around the whole Antarctic continent, stated that, as of 2013, the Palmer Station population had been reduced by about 80%.

The outlook for the species generally is not great:

by 2099, our projections suggest 78% to 51% (mean 58%) of colonies could experience declines, containing 64% to 39% (mean 46%) of the current abundance.

Luckily, while Adelies look to be vulnerable to decline, there are areas projected to serve as 'refugia', so complete extinction doesn't appear to be a risk--over the course of this century, at least. Of course, under any 'business as usual' scenario, warming will not stop magically when the 22nd century arrives.



13. The prediction:

Antarctic ozone hole will continue to expand through 2015. “Some existing agreements, even when implemented, will not be able by 2015 to reverse the targeted environmental damage they were designed to address. The Montreal Protocol is on track to restore the stratospheric ozone layer over the next 50 years. Nevertheless, the seasonal Antarctic ozone hole will expand for the next two decades [2000-2020] — increasing the risk of skin cancer in countries like Australia, Argentina, and Chile—because of the long lag time between emission reductions and atmospheric effects.”

(The source for this prediction is the same as #11, above, and is not re-linked.)

This is not really a climate prediction, either, but I consider it nevertheless because it bears in several ways on the current topic, aside from the fact that it was included on the website. Essentially, it’s an important environmental issue involving science, global policy, and numerical modeling of atmospheric processes, and one in which we can observe the outcome of an international treaty intended to mitigate human-induced damage to the atmosphere.

The reality:

Essentially, ozone loss has gradually stabilized since implementation of the Montreal Protocol. The lowest 30-day extent occurred in 2006, but this year saw the single largest one-day ozone hole on the record. Despite that, some thickening of the ozone layer has been observed, and scientific observers believe that recovery of the layer may have begun.

Rating: ‘4’.

Israeli corals near Eilat, at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba.  Image by Ludwig14, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Israeli corals near Eilat, at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Image by Ludwig14, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

14. The prediction:

By 2015 the cost in lost income of degraded coral reefs is projected to reach several hundred million dollars annually.

The reality:

Again, one might wish for better numbers. But the worldwide decline of coral reefs is so serious as to merit an entire chapter in Elizabeth Kolbert’s Pulitzer-winning book, The Sixth Extinction, and NOAA officials warned last month of a third-ever global-scale coral-bleaching event:

This bleaching event, which began in the north Pacific in summer 2014 and expanded to the south Pacific and Indian oceans in 2015, is hitting U.S. coral reefs disproportionately hard. NOAA estimates that by the end of 2015, almost 95 percent of U.S. coral reefs will have been exposed to ocean conditions that can cause corals to bleach.

The biggest risk right now is to the Hawaiian Islands, where bleaching is intensifying and is expected to continue for at least another month. Areas at risk in the Caribbean in coming weeks include Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and from the U.S. Virgin Islands south into the Leeward and Windward islands.

The next concern is the further impact of the strong El Niño, which climate models indicates will cause bleaching in the Indian and southeastern Pacific Oceans after the new year. This may cause bleaching to spread globally again in 2016.

Earlier, reported estimates put the annual value at risk at about $30 billion, and stated that the Caribbean might have lost 80% of its coral. This estimate dates from 2002, however, and so does not ‘confirm’ the scale of contemporary losses.

Considering the available information, while the value at risk remains uncertain, the estimates of total value imply that the prediction’s losses would amount to a few per cent of the total value. Given that loss rates are very high, it would seem to follow that the outcomes we see are ‘closely resembling the prediction,’ which would merit a rating of ‘4’.

Update, 3/19/17

The "third coral bleaching event" mentioned did indeed continue in 2016, and indeed intensified as the world saw a record-warm year on the strength of the ongoing anthropogenic warming trend in combination with an El Nino nearly as strong as that of 1997-98. Unfortunately, it appears to be continuing in 2017, as global temperatures have remained quite warm even after the El Nino ended.

The world has lost roughly half its coral reefs in the last 30 years. Scientists are now scrambling to ensure that at least a fraction of these unique ecosystems survives beyond the next three decades. The health of the planet depends on it: Coral reefs support a quarter of all marine species, as well as half a billion people around the world.

"This isn't something that's going to happen 100 years from now. We're losing them right now," said marine biologist Julia Baum of Canada's University of Victoria. "We're losing them really quickly, much more quickly than I think any of us ever could have imagined."

Even if the world could halt global warming now, scientists still expect that more than 90 per cent of corals will die by 2050. Without drastic intervention, we risk losing them all.


Item Description
Points
Comments
US heat weaves, 2010-2019
3
Rating reduced due to definitional questions.
UK 2014 temperature
2
Underpredicted; technically weather, not climate
US Wildfire
4
 
US water shortages
2
Poor information on outcomes
Lake Mead water levels
3
$1.4 billion spent on remediation
Hoover Dam hydro generation
1
 
Global water stress
4
Definitive numbers not yet available
Agricultural irrigation at risk
4
 
Snows of Kilimanjaro
1
Human response to trend altered outcome
Louis Fortier over predicts ice-free Arctic
1
Mainstream climate science would do much better than Fortier
Lagos at risk for sea level rise
3
Large expenditures on mitigation of risk
Palmer Station Adelies extinct
3
 
Antarctic ozone hole extent
4
Model predictions appear to be accurate
Coral bleaching costs
4
Economic costs hard to document, but extent of coral loss is clear
Total points
39/56
 

How do you interpret those numbers? In school, that would likely be a D, or perhaps a C-; a pass, to be sure, but nothing to brag about.

But those numbers aren't grades. Consider that:

  • The most frequent rating was 4, the highest possible;
  • The least frequent rating was 0, which was never awarded;
  • The highest rating was given the same number of times (5) as the two lowest ratings combined.

Jack picked his predictions on this basis:

Doc, you missed my point about the far reaching projections of this site. The point is they are meant to scare and not based on anything real.

I think this exercise shows that however they may have been meant, they are indeed based on reality.

Rating
Times awarded
Points resulting
4
5
20
3
4
12
2
2
4
1
3
3
0
0
0
Totals
14
39

Jack's "Big Three" Predictions

I'm going to take the privilege of the tardy--for Jack published his Hub roughly six weeks before I wrote these words--and comment briefly on the three predictions that he addresses there.

1. Temperature increase. In part, I've already addressed this issue above when I cited the various model-observation comparisons that have been made. But let's get to the nitty-gritty.

Jack quotes Jim Hansen (not Michael Mann and Jim Hansen; in 1988, the former was still a humble physics undergrad at Yale):

If the current pace of the buildup of these gases continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit from the year 2025 to 2050, according to these projections. This rise in temperature is not expected to be uniform around the globe but to be greater in the higher latitudes, reaching as much as 20 degrees, and lower at the Equator.

How does this stack up against reality? Jack doesn't really examine that, citing only a Daily Caller report on a single study which concluded that observed warming so far did not exceed natural variability over the last 8,000 years. But that says nothing about the prediction that was made.

But it's not a difficult question to answer: since 1988, the GISTEMP temperature record shows a total warming of 0.45 degrees Celsius, according to a standard 'least-squares' regression, or about 0.16 degrees C per decade. If we presume that warming continues at that same rate until 2025, then we would see 0.56 C; for 2050, that would be 0.96 C. What's that in Fahrenheit? Well, rounding up to 1 C for simplicity, that would be 1.67 degrees F, or a little more than half the 1988 estimate.

But before we conclude that climate science and global warming are nothing but bunk, perhaps we should look at what more recent science has to say? After all, 1988 was a long time ago in terms of scientific progress. And what more recent work has to say, too, is not difficult to answer, for the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put forward estimates of future warming in each of its Assessment Reports to date.

The first came in 1990, and in line with the 1988 quote estimated a warming rate of 0.25 C per decade. Multiplying by the six decades to 2050, one reaches 1.5 C total warming, or 2.7 F, reasonably close to Hansen's lower bound. But by the Second AR, in 1995, new work had reduced that number to just 0.14 degrees per decade. Since that is 2.7 decades, we'd expect to see roughly 0.38 C--quite close to the 0.45 we've actually observed. By the time of TAR (2000) the warming rate had crept up to 0.16 C, and by AR4 in 2007, the best estimate had become 0.18 C. Clearly, work that is no more than 2 decades old is pretty close to reality in estimating global mean surface temperature.

GISTEMP record with trend.  Graph by author, using Woodfortrees.org online tool.
GISTEMP record with trend. Graph by author, using Woodfortrees.org online tool.

Update

2015, powered by a strong El Nino, continues to set temperature records. With October data now in for several of the major datasets, the year is almost certain to set new records for warmest on record. As the Washington Post reports:

Earlier this month, Britain’s weather service, the Met Office, and NASA both stated that the Earth’s average temperature is likely to rise 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels for the first time by the end of this year. This milestone is significant since it marks the halfway point to two degrees Celsius, the internationally accepted limit for avoiding the worst consequences of climate change.

More specifically, GISTEMP reported an October anomaly value of 1.04 C, the warmest monthly anomaly in their record, and the first to exceed a degree Celsius. (HADCRUT4 has not yet released their October value; September clocked in at 1.03 C, though their baseline is slightly different from GISTEMP and thus the numbers are not directly comparable.) The Japanese Met Office also reported a record-warm October. Even the UAH satellite record reported their warmest October ever, as reported by the 'skeptic' website Watt's Up With That.

Though there was never any statistical evidence that a true 'pause' in warming was taking place, the slowdown in warming rate seen through much of the 00s has definitively come to an end.

2. Sea Level Rise (SLR). Jack quotes a 1988 report from the World Conservation Union, which states:

With the B-a-U [Business as Usual] Scenario, the best-estimate is that MSL [Mean Sea Level] will be 18 cm higher than today by the year 2030, with an uncertainty of 8-29 cm.

Jack doesn't examine that prediction, instead offering a graph showing SLR to date, together with the IPCC prediction with 3 unattributed 'expert' opinions. The IPCC prediction is for 12 inches of SLR, while the extrapolated present-day trend gives an estimate of 10.5 inches at that time. That's actually a pretty good fit; there is some suggestion of an acceleration in the record, though it is not statistically conclusive, and it wouldn't take much acceleration of SLR to reach the IPCC estimate. The other opinions are much higher--suspiciously located at 2 feet, 3 feet, and 4 feet, respectively.

One could look at the record to try and decipher who predicted what, and what the assumptions and margins of error associated with those projections might have been. However, I promised to be brief, so I'll simply compare the prediction quoted above with the record since 1988. And, as is turns out, SLR during the satellite period (1993-present) amounts to about 8 centimeters. Allowing for the 5 years previous to 1993 and the 15 years until 2030, that trend, extrapolated, would give approximately 16 cm of SLR--in good agreement with the 18 cm in the Conservation Union estimate.

U. of Colorado Sea Level Rise satellite data time series.
U. of Colorado Sea Level Rise satellite data time series. | Source

3. Hurricane frequency & intensity. Jack doesn't cite a specific source here, simply asserting that:

Another projection is that global warming will lead to drastic increases in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes.

Against this, he poses a reality in which:

1) "In the last 10 years, there has not been a category 3 or greater hurricane making land fall in the US", and

2) 'Category 5 storms happened in 1938 and 1960, before any global warming awareness.' (The latter is paraphrased, not an exact quote. Compare Jack's Hub.)

As it turns out, he is half right--cyclone intensity is expected to increase. The IPCC says almost nothing substantive about hurricanes until AR4 in 2007. Prior to that, the Third Assessment Report just says that one study:

…suggested that only small changes in the tropical cyclone frequencies would occur...

It goes on to offer estimates of a 10% increase for the Northern Hemisphere, and a 5% decrease in the Southern Hemisphere.

AR4, however, had much more to say, due to the improvement of numerical modeling capabilities:

...for a future warmer climate, coarse-resolution models show few consistent changes in tropical cyclones, with results dependent on the model, although those models do show a consistent increase in precipitation intensity in future storms. Higher-resolution models that more credibly simulate tropical cyclones project some consistent increase in peak wind intensities, but a more consistent projected increase in mean and peak precipitation intensities in future tropical cyclones. There is also a less certain possibility of a decrease in the number of relatively weak tropical cyclones, increased numbers of intense tropical cyclones and a global decrease in total numbers of tropical cyclones. [Emphasis mine.]

Yes, you read that right. Insofar as Jack's reality tests mean anything at all, they agree with the AR4 projection of fewer cyclones overall. Cyclone intensity will increase, according to climate projections, but frequency will probably decrease.

It's pretty doubtful that Jack's tests do mean much, though; why compare the category of 'global hurricanes/typhoons/cyclones' to 'Category 3 storms making US landfall?' Most cyclones do not make landfall, even in the Atlantic basin, where storm tracks make landfall more likely than in the Pacific or Indian basins. Obviously, there will be far, far fewer Cat 3 storms making US landfalls, rendering statistical comparisons meaningless. And the projections are mostly referenced to 2100, meaning that changes up to 2015 are unlikely to be noticeable, anyway. We wouldn't expect to see much, if any, difference just yet.

So, let's sum up.

1) Regarding Jack's 'big three':

  • Observed temperature rises are in good agreement with models, and there is no evidence for the supposed 'pause' because its timespan is such that one would not expect to see statistically significant warming anyway.
  • Sea level rise is quite in line with the prediction Jack offered.
  • Jack was mistaken about what the IPCC actually predicted about tropical cyclones, leading his only evidence 'disproving' the IPCC claim actually to support it!

2) Regarding the more granular predictions Jack linked from the climate predictions site, they proved a more mixed bag. But as my detailed examination above shows, they are much more right than wrong overall.

3) Regarding Barton Paul Levenson's successful model predictions, the seventeen instances he cites and documents on his site stand unchallenged.

But the biggest picture 'prediction' remains that implicitly made by Roger Revelle and Hans Suess in 1957:

Where do you stand on the evidence about successful climate change predictions?

See results

Appendix

Solar power: In 2008 Rhone Resch, of the Solar Energy Industries Association, predicted that "... by 2016, we expect solar energy to be the least expensive source of electricity for consumers." It hasn't, quite, but has come much closer than most people realize. Solar energy is now about 70% cheaper than at the time of the prediction, and is roughly 1% of what it was in the 1970s. Around the world, solar energy projects are being bid in at prices comparable to fossil fuel generation such as coal and gas. For instance, in the summer of 2015, Nevada Power sought approval for two new solar parks. If approved,

The utility will be paying USD 46.00 per MWh for the output of SunPower’s Boulder Solar park and just USD 38.70/MWh for power from First Solar Inc’s Playa Solar 2 farm.

That's compared with average US residential electricity prices of 121/MWh.

Wind is already cheaper on average than new coal generation capacity, and like solar does not impose external costs associated with air pollution. These costs come in the form of increased incidences of respiratory diseases, including asthma, bringing economic losses for medical treatment and lost productivity.

Concerns expressed by Jack and others about 'expensive' renewable energy are quite simply outdated.

Chinese coal: In 1995, China's coal consumption was projected to reach 2.3 billion tons by 2015. By 2010, that projection had increased to 3.6 billion tons. The reality?

The 1995 projection missed badly, and even the 2010 projection was on the low side: actual consumption in 2014 was given as 3.87 billion tons--and at that, the number was down 2.5% from 2013. And more recently, it has been shown that those numbers were too low; as reported by the New York Times, the actual number for 2013 was 4.2 billion tons.

The good news, however, is that China has committed to ending the growth of carbon emissions, and has already taken dramatic steps to do so, from building the world's foremost solar manufacturing capability, and the world's largest renewable energy capacity, to creating a national carbon market to appropriately price the true costs of carbon emissions.

One is reminded of the meme--correct or not, I do not know--that the Chinese character for 'crisis' combines the characters 'danger' and 'opportunity.'

Comments

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    • Doc Snow profile image
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      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Thanks for checking out this very lengthy Hub! I hope it offered some enlightenment regarding the evidence for ongoing climate change.

      But please, feel free to share your thoughts on the matter.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc Snow, I will link your hub on my page. It will take me a while to respond, I truly want this to be a serious discussion. I think it will also be beneficial to promote our hubs in the Q/A or Discussion forums. The Paris meeting on climate change is coming up soon. I think our timing is great and will surely get some attention.

    • Doc Snow profile image
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      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Thanks, Jack, and thanks for your patience and continued interest.

      Yes, by all means lets continue the conversation. I certainly want to focus attention on COP 21--many regard it as the last, best chance for climate action that is timely enough to make a real difference.

      (Though it is also true that there remains a considerable 'ambition gap'--the action pledges received so far are only sufficient to limit warming to an estimated 3.5 C, whereas the 'sort of safe' level is by political consensus 2 C--and increasingly, scientists say that 1.5 C would be much safer. So the pending "Paris Accord" won't be an end, but rather a new beginning.)

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, just a quick note regarding Chinese coal usage, recent news exposed how they are fudging the data - see article here -

      http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/110415-77...

    • Doc Snow profile image
      Author

      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      No, they're not 'fudging' the data: it was the Chinese themselves who released the correction to previous estimates. See a more balanced treatment of the matter here:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/world/asia/china...

      That's what I was talking about in the paragraph just above that reads:

      "The 1995 projection missed badly, and even the 2010 projection was on the low side: actual consumption in 2014 was given as 3.87 billion tons--and at that, the number was down 2.5% from 2013. **And more recently, it has been shown that those numbers were too low; as reported by the New York Times, the actual number for 2013 was 4.2 billion tons.**"

      The same link is actually in the sidebar, though it keeps reading "NY Times Log in" for some reason.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I think you are giving the Chinese too much credit. They don't buy into the climate change dire predictions. They only pay lip service to reducing carbon emissions but continue full speed in their industrial production. By the way, I don't think they are serious about environment protection either. The air in Beijing is the worst.

    • Doc Snow profile image
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      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I think they do care about environmental protection, precisely because the pollution problem is so acute. They Party knows it's a significant source of discontent with their undemocratic rule.

      And The Economist has been reporting that they are trying to transition to a more consumer-driven economy, with lower growth rates (though still higher than OECD-style numbers.) So emissions won't drop for a while yet, but there is good reason to think they are serious about the issue--not least, the enormous expenditures already undertaken.

    • profile image

      Aaron Lewis 16 months ago

      The heat waves in California and Texas drove droughts that caused some of the most expensive natural disasters in US history. The cost of water overdraft for ag irrigation and infrastructure subsidence has sill not been fully accounted. I fear subsidence has weakened levees in Ca that will fail under El Nino conditions.

      Speaking of El Nino, California gets a sea level rise event with each super El Nino. Given the strength of the 2015 event, I would not be surprised if the resulting Ca SLR event was 18 cm higher than that of the 1982 and/or 1997 El Nino SLR events. see http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends... . NOAA averages the events out of their sea level rise estimates but the SLR events are important for planning and public policy. My lawyer notes that Jack does not specify area or duration of the sea level rise : )

      Academic reticence is good, but telling the bloody truth is better. The truth is that we can plan for climate change, but weather that we have never seen before is going to be a problem into the foreseeable future. Nobody believes that as bad as AGW is, it can get worse. Truth is we are dealing with weather that is driven by higher levels of greenhouse gases, and it can get worse, fast.

      Greenhouse gases are not going to stop increasing until all the carbon feedbacks come into full equilibrium.

    • Doc Snow profile image
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      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Thanks for commenting, Aaron.

      Your points are good ones, and not least because, though the IPCC has (wrongly) been pilloried for a supposed exaggeration, we don't much hear about some of the possibilities.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I've been reading your hub and before I offer my comments, I would like you to state, based on all your studies, what percent do you think the climate change problem is due to human activity? After all, we are trying to debate current predictions. It help me to know where you are basing your opinion on. The answer can be from 0-100.

    • Doc Snow profile image
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      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "The answer can be from 0-100."

      Actually, it can be greater than 100%, because it's possible that natural forcings would have us in a *cooling* trend, in which case we would not be seeing all the effects of increased GHGs. (Essentially, that's probably what was happening in the so-called 'pause' years.)

      The best estimate comes from AR5, which is essentially a literature review on a grand scale. Here's what it has to say:

      "It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period."

      ("Extremely likely" means 95% chance or better.)

      Dr. Gavin Schmidt of NASA thinks the best estimate is actually 110%. There's a good explanation of that, and a nice graph of the 'probability density function (PDF)' here:

      http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/05/28/366201...

      Though you'll need to deal with a slightly tendentious rhetorical tone!

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, Interesting. I went to the link and read -

      "A key IPCC conclusion was that scientists are 95 to 100 percent certain humans are responsible for most of the added warming since 1950. They further explain that “the best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.”

      95%-100% certain... is not the same as my original question of what percent do you think we are causing it. It is a subtle point but I hope you see what I'm driving at. For example, you can say we humans are responsible for 50% of the added heat and you can at the same time say we are 95 percent sure of that assumption. What I'm interested is the "most of the added warming..." What do you consider most? In my dictionary, most usually implies 80-90%. I just want you to put a number down. I think you will agree that even if we are not here on planet earth, at any given moment in time, the earth goes through a natural cycle of warming and cooling... The AGW theory is that we are the main contributing factor in global warming regardeless of what is happening naturally. (which they consider a small factor)

    • Doc Snow profile image
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      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I'll go with the AR5 'similar', which for present purposes I'll guesstimate to be, say, 90-115%.

      I wouldn't say that:

      "[the] AGW theory is that we are the main contributing factor in global warming regardless of what is happening naturally…"

      That 'regardless' is ambiguous and can easily be misinterpreted, I think. The science today says that the natural forcings are, as you say, a 'small factor'. But they are not assumed to be so, they are the subject of strenuous efforts to quantify them.

      Figure SPM.5 shows the results. In it, the only natural factor making the cut is solar irradiance change, which they put at 0.05 W/m2.

      Yes, climate changes naturally--most often, more slowly than what we are seeing today. But there are some exceptions to that generalization.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Very well, I'll accept that and I assume you are going with the 95% confidence that we are causing 90-115% of the added heat at present.

    • Doc Snow profile image
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      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Right, the 90-115% is the estimate, the 95% is the IPCC confidence level.

      Of course, either of those can change with new information, but that is the current state of affairs, as I see it.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc Snow -

      First, I took my time and read over your hub. I must commend you on the detail and the extensive coverage you undertook. I thought we were going to just pick three items but I appreciate your detailed approach and I see the commitment you hold to this cause and the extra effort you’ve put into this hub. It blew me away and I commend you.

      I asked for your opinion regarding the percent you believe human activity is the cause of “global warming” and your response is 90-115% with 95% confidence factor.

      I am going to take your word for it and I am also going to accept your assessment of the overall predictions on face value though some of them are subjective. You are fair in your assessment and not “biased” which I respect a lot. That is one of the reason I undertook this challenge. From past experience, it is almost impossible to argue or reason with ideologs.

      Your overall rating of 39/56 = 70% or a grade of “C” on the accuracy of predictions.

      Here is my comment and I hope you will think about it and not react too quickly or rashly.

      I am going to defend my position using your own conclusions.

      Just to be clear, my position is that “AGW global warming “ science is not settled and that more work and time is needed before we commit large resources to combat it.

      My comments are in three parts.

      (1) I will appeal to you and others on the ground of logic. Imagine a person like Spock from Star Trek, who arrives here on Earth from Vulcan in 2015 and were presented with your data. You tell him we have these climate models that can predict our future climate over the next 50 years or so. These same model have made predictions in the past and was only 70% accurate. What do you think will be his reaction? Will he go along with the predictions going forward? Or will he recommend going back to the drawing board and improve the model? Before taking drastic measures.

      (2) If you are a judge in a court of law, and you need to rule on the life and death of a defendant who has taken a polygraph test and failed. You are told that polygraph tests are only 95% right or in another word the tester is only 95% confident of their results. What would you do? Will you rule the death sentence?

      (3) I don’t fault many of the good scientists doing good work on “climate science”. They are examining a small piece of the pie. Many of their results are valid with the caveat that they show a connection between global warming and whatever they are studying. However, they then take the position as a given that global warming is caused by “mostly human activity” and increased CO2 emissions. This is what I have a problem with. Here is the kicker. All their science and technical analysis could be perfectly sound and yet the cause of global warming may be due to another phenomenon (for example an over active Sun). That connection is not figured in current climate models as cited by one of the workshop quotes at the end of my hub.

      In summary, I am a skeptic of “AGW global warming theory” ONLY. I am not claiming there is no global warming just that we or CO2 may not be the primary driver. My recommendation for climate scientists is to improve their climate models so that they will include other drivers such as to improve their prediction value. If and when they can predict with a 90% accuracy and with 100% confidence, then and only then I will be convinced.

    • Doc Snow profile image
      Author

      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Let me take a point from the last couple of paragraphs first. You say:

      "All their science and technical analysis could be perfectly sound and yet the cause of global warming may be due to another phenomenon (for example an over active Sun)… My recommendation for climate scientists is to improve their climate models so that they will include other drivers such as to improve their prediction value."

      But other causes *have* been explored, often in considerable depth. In particular, the role of the sun has been looked at a lot--mostly the role of general insolation changes, but also shifts in the frequency spectrum of that insolation over the solar cycle and the much-hyped possibility of solar and/or cosmic-ray changes affecting cloud condensation nucleation (CCN) rates. So far, there's no strong evidence that anything except gross insolation is significant in driving climate, and that effect has been well-quantified. (As I mentioned in an earlier comment which referred to the AR5 SPM figure showing that.) Here's a decent (if now a bit dated) discussion of some of the other things known to affect temps:

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/CO2-is-not-the-onl...

      FWIW, I'm also going to note that I think we should both be clear that the '70% prediction items' that were our point of departure were mostly *not* the product of climate modeling. Most of them, as far as I can tell, were mostly the product of extrapolations of existing observed trends, and were made with varying degrees of sophistication. The IPCC projections are both larger and more rigorously made--though the problem that they are addressing is perhaps harder because it's referring to a longer time scale than the short-term projections I addressed.

      Moving on to the first two points--or maybe I should say 'scenarios'--you pose, I'd say that you are making a hidden assumption, which is that there is no consequence for the person making the decision (other than a moral hazard in the 'judgment' scenario.)

      That is, in your first example I think the very first thing Spock would do would be to examine the dangers and opportunities following from the choices you present. If we take 'drastic action', what would it actually cost us, and would there be benefits to doing so which would offset (partially or entirely) those costs? On the other hand, if we wait would our inaction impose costs, as well as the benefits you assume inaction would bring?

      In the second example, I think that I'd propose changing the scenario slightly: rather than a powerful judge, above the action, I'd suggest that we imagine a law enforcement official who has to decide whether or not to shoot the person, based on that 95% confidence--and that the person is in control of a powerful bomb.

      I think that would better suggest the situation we are in: there's good reason to think that the possibility of very serious harms exist, and that delay could be very, very costly. It happens quite frequently in life that we need to act on the basis of incomplete or imperfect information; rarely, in fact, do we know in advance if the new job we are contemplating will really be an improvement over the old, whether the person we are thinking of marrying will really be our true life partner, or whether the move we are looking at would be a good fit for us. Yet we go ahead a choose, based on the best information we can get.

      It's not that we are reckless--it's that time moves on, and choice is thrust upon it. Remember the words of the rock band Rush (a philosophically-inclined outfit) in their song "Free Will"*:

      "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

      And it may have far-reaching consequences.

      *For the curious, the complete lyrics are here:

      http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/rush/freewill.html

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, Have you noticed the realclimate.org links are not working? Apparently it's been down for about 1 week.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc,

      Here is the message when you click on the links -

      "The domain name realclimate.org has expired - Click here to renew it"

      Very strange?

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I just updated my hub with a new section at the end. I didn't intend to make any more changes since the publishing of your hub for the sake of fairness. However, this incident happen on last Friday and I had to include it on my hub because it is so relevant to our debate. I hope you will go check it out. I have reached out to Dr. Pederson and have yet to receive a reply. It is so rare to get a raw glimpse of the inner workings of climate scientists, that when it happens, it is revealing and gives new insight to the rest of us.

      I've noticed my hub is getting some traffic but very few people voted. Just wondering how your's is going...

      Take care.

    • Doc Snow profile image
      Author

      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Yes, a lot of people are wondering about realclimate.org. Supposedly there's an issue with the domain name, and it is being fixed.

      I'll have a look at the new section. Already tried to respond to your last comment there, but apparently the response didn't go through, so I'll have to redo that.

      I don't mind you adding bits; I hadn't assumed that that was off-limits anyway, and had contemplated new updates as things occur. There will be developments around COP, for sure.

      As to the traffic on my side of things, I'd say it's about the same: decent traffic, but only 3 or 4 votes last time I checked. I know the length of my Hub has been off-putting for some, and understandably so.

    • Doc Snow profile image
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      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Update: realclimate is back up!

      There's a piece on the 'troubles' here:

      http://realclimate-backup.org/index.php/archives/2...

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I agree, as much as we have invested in this issue, most people don't have the time or inclination to walk through the details. Keep it short and concise has its advantage. Have a great Thanksgiving holiday. Take your time in response to my comments. Our tentative schedule is not cast in stone. If we need to, postponing the deadline is fine by me.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, Also, just to let you know, I have my comments set to approval before publishing just so that I can reject any spam or comments that are irrelevant or contain offensive language. Since I don't always check in everyday, you may not see a posting right away. It is not a problem with HubPages. Thanks for the link on realclimate. I'm glad it is back up.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, you might want to change the links to the backup real climate site until they get the domain name straighten out. Currently, your links still does not work.

    • Doc Snow profile image
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      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Thanks, Jack. I'd wondered if you were now pre-moderating. Feel free to pick whichever comment you feel covers the ground better.

      I think I'll let the RC issue play out and live with the bad links. Otherwise, I'll probably have just as much hassle on the back end, needing to change them back and not knowing it in a timely fashion.

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      Jack Lee 16 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, it's your decision of course but some realclimate links is being redirected to spam. I don't think you want to put your readers through that...

      I generally don't stop comments unless it is spam, or contain language not approved by HubPages, and totally off topic. It just a safer way to proceed. I do welcome debate and opposing opinion. Thanks for being understanding.

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      Doc Snow 16 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Appreciate that… I haven't experienced that since the back.org site went up. You are right, I don't want to spam readers, but I'm pretty jammed at the moment and will be for the next few days, between work and the holidays. Better take another look...

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      Jack Lee 15 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, Just wondering your opinion on the COP21 meeting where some politicians have claimed that Climate Change is responsible for the rise of ISIS and some like Bernie Sanders have said Climate Change is the biggest threat over ISIS terrorists in the last debate.

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      Doc Snow 15 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Tried multiple times to respond to that from my phone at the time, but for some reason, the net just didn't want that to go through--then, with the Paris Accord, it fell off my radar. Jack & I did discuss this on the Forum page related to this Hub challenge of ours; just to summarize, I said that I thought that Mr. Sanders was correct, overall. While IS is clearly heinous, and needs to be destroyed, over the long term they will do far less damage to human health, wealth, and well-being than will climate change. I was surprised how close Jack's and my ideas were in the discussion, actually.

      But I wanted to update a new development, which we also discussed in the Forum: Congress may be on the verge of passing a renewal of tax credits for wind and solar:

      http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/congre...

      That would be a trade-off for lifting the 40-year oil export ban.

      Opinions are divided on the merits of this. My gut feeling is that more good will result from encouraging continued growth of wind and solar in the US than harm will result from possible changes in the dynamics of the global oil market. But quantitative modeling would probably be needed to really check that idea out.

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      Jack Lee 14 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Have you seen this response to President Obama's State of the Union address -

      http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/01/13...

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      Doc Snow 14 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      No, I hadn't, til you linked it. But I don't regret that, as it's bunkum.

      I won't go point by point, but basically everything breitbart claims is untrue. Painting the US military command structure as puppets is absurd. He claims that the Paris Treaty, in which over 170 national emissions mitigation plans were submitted, amounted to 'nobody doing a damn thing.' His claims that fossil fuels are not subsidized are blatantly untrue. And so, of course, is his claim that the satellite data doesn't show warming. Here, for instance, is what Carl Mears, chief scientist has to say about the slowdown his data show:

      "Does this slow-down in the warming mean that the idea of anthropogenic global warming is no longer valid? The short answer is ‘no’. The denialists like to assume that the cause for the model/observation discrepancy is some kind of problem with the fundamental model physics, and they pooh-pooh any other sort of explanation. This leads them to conclude, very likely erroneously, that the long-term sensitivity of the climate is much less than is currently thought."

      http://www.remss.com/blog/recent-slowing-rise-glob...

      I could go on, but in short the breitbart piece is purely political rhetoric.

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      Jack Lee 14 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Wow, I didn't see that response coming from you. The article was published on Breitbart but it was written by James Delingpole, a climate skeptic. His points are well made and why there are skeptics like me. As I'm writing this post, oil has dropped to below $28 per barrel. The economics of renewable energy is just tanking. Our government can do many things but it can't pick winners or losers in the market place. That's the first law of economics.

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      Doc Snow 14 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Delingpole is a serial disinformer, and I don't agree that his points are well-made at all. He has a nasty history of extremely scurrilous behavior, as you can read here:

      http://www.desmogblog.com/james-delingpole

      As examples you may wish to note his celebration of the death of Maurice Strong, his denigration of certain 'ineffable toe rags', and his likening of wind power industry personnel to 'pedophiles'--though he did 'soften' the last by apologizing if he had offended any pedophiles. He's a nasty fellow, and has no scientific expertise whatever, as he himself admits.

      I concede that that scurrility doesn't necessarily mean he's wrong, but it does mean that he's not the kind of guy that I wish to read, or to take seriously. (And I'm surprised you would, either--it's not your style. But maybe you didn't know his history.)

      On the other hand, lots of his claims, past and present, are just demonstrably false, for instance that bit on the non-subsidy of fossil fuels, or his statements about the UK Met Office.

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      Doc Snow 14 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "As I'm writing this post, oil has dropped to below $28 per barrel. The economics of renewable energy is just tanking."

      No. The low price of oil is depressing energy stocks generally, including renewable energy stocks--I should know, the news from my little portfolio isn't pretty today at all--but that's not reflective of the wider economics of renewables. Oil is not their primary competitor on a global scale, as they are mostly in the electric generation space, whereas oil is mostly in that space in the remote generation niche, where off-grid users have tended to use petroleum (mostly diesel) generators. And that's precisely where renewable solutions have the biggest cost advantage, on average.

      I'm not saying that there's zero impact. But if you think that either cheap oil is a permanent feature, or that that will kill off renewable energy, then I think you are gravely mistaken. (That said, I don't think we're going to see oil rise much this year, barring unforeseen geopolitical developments--which happen, obviously; this whole low oil price thing was essentially an unforeseen geopolitical development!)

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      Doc Snow 14 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      For instance, on coal versus wind:

      “Now, we have wind projects cheaper than coal. The $30/MWh bid compares to coal which is 80/MWh.” (As one observer noted following the tender result, even if the coal were free, a coal fired plant could not match those costs.)"

      That's a new record-cheap bid from a highly favorable site in Morocco, but still makes a valid point, even if the differential won't always be that big.

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/18/new-low-for-wi...

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      Jack Lee 14 months ago from Yorktown NY

      As much as you may wish to be, the fact is oil and coal natural gas are the most "efficient" form of energy storage. Which is its main advantage over all re-newable energy sources such as solar and wind and geo... including nuclear. The day when one can just pull up to a pump and buy gas to fill my tank in less than 5 minutes and be on my way to drive 400 miles... (equivalent of) is when a replacement energy source becomes viable. What you and other environmentalist is missing is the big picture. The energy density of fossil fuel is greater than alternative sources and because of that, no other source today can replace it. Hydrogen fuel cell was one such competitor but it is still too costly and not safe enough for consumer use. The comparison between oil and solar is not just the final cost of production per watt. It includes the resources to get the technology to market. In the case of solar, just the battery technology required to keep solar viable is costing more in environmental and other resources. Many EU countries are beginning to see the light...

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      Doc Snow 14 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      What price 'efficiency' that undermines agricultural security, wrecks billions of dollars worth of infrastructure, and displaces millions?

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      Jack Lee 14 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, it's not only price efficiency that I'm talking about. It is energy density. The world moves on oil and gas and it will do so for a very long time. Some of us just don't buy the story that fossil fuel is the cause of the destruction you see coming. It might even be the cure.

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      Doc Snow 14 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I know about energy density, and it's relevant. However, it is not the whole story. For autos, battery tech is pretty clearly going to yield very practical range within a few years. And while charging time remains an annoyance, don't forget that for most use (commuting to work, running errands, attending social events), you actually *save* time because the trip ends at home, where all you do is plug in. That saves you a trip to the gas station, standing around in the cold, rain or heat, waiting for your tank to fill.

      Moreover, while we are talking efficiency, let's not forget that the overall system efficiency of electrics is by most if not all analyses higher than gasmobiles. (The ICE engines isn't hugely efficient, and there are inefficiencies associating with pumping, refining, and transporting the fuel.)

      "Some of us just don't buy the story..."

      Well, all I can say there is, pay attention to the evidence, not the rhetoric you hear from the likes of Delingpole and Monckton. Heaven knows I've already pointed you toward large amounts of it. The planet will warm from GHGs no matter what you believe (or don't).

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      Jack Lee 14 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, you haven't been paying attention to what I'm pointing out. I never claim the planet is not warming or from use of fossil fuel. I just disagree with the dire predictions and the proposed cure... You try to paint a broad brush about climate skeptics. Doesn't everyone gets an equal chance to present their case? Why are government agencies and some scientists trying to shut down debate? and shut down alternative proposals to combat climate change. They don't have all the answers.

      The future of electric cars is not bright. It may have a niche market but overall, we still need gasoline.

      I am making the same prediction for solar power. As good as it is now, it will still be only a niche market.

      I know this because I know that we all need reliable electric power - uninterrupted (as in hospital emergency rooms...)

      Solar and wind power can only do so much. They cannot replace coal and oil power plants. In real emergencies, we still need power from traditional sources. That's the crux of this debate. If we still need traditional power plants as backup, then what good is renewable power?

      Some European nations are finding that out the hard way.

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      Doc Snow 14 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "Doc, you haven't been paying attention to what I'm pointing out."

      Well, I feel like I am. I may not be agreeing, but I am responding.

      "Doesn't everyone gets an equal chance to present their case?"

      Yes.

      "Why are government agencies and some scientists trying to shut down debate?"

      They aren't. But they are telling us, loud and clear, that we also need to begin action in earnest--which is also what I have been telling you, all the while 'debating' in good faith.

      "...shut down alternative proposals to combat climate change."

      Such as? Can you point me to some, because I can't recall seeing any that actually addressed the issue. (And no, 'wait and see' does not, IMO, address the issue.)

      [Predictions for EVs and solar power]

      I think you're wrong, and I think that adoption rates, observable now, support that assessment. But we'll see soon enough.

      [Wind and solar reliability question]

      Jacobson and Delucchi have demonstrated in a series of papers that an all-renewable grid is indeed a technical possibility, so I think there is very good reason to disagree with your statement that "Solar and wind power can only do so much."

      See this Google Scholar search, if you want to read some of their papers and the critiques thereof:

      https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=jac...

      There is still good question about what is the best strategy, and what is the least-cost strategy. And given that the existing power mix has a whole lot of built infrastructure that has long remaining lifetimes, it's pretty clear that we're not going to be all-renewable soon, if ever. I think the end has begun for coal generation, but there's still going to be a long 'decay time' for the technology. I think that that is going to afford lots of time for improvements to battery (and other) electrical storage which will ameliorate or solve your concerns about RE. It also allows some time for the deployment of existing nuclear generation where that is politically and economically feasible (mostly China and Russia, from what I've seen) and the introduction of the much hyped Gen IV nuclear tech. (I'm not holding my breathe on that, given the history of over-promising by the nuclear industry and its advocates, but hey, it could happen.)

      "If we still need traditional power plants as backup, then what good is renewable power?"

      If we end up with an all RE plus a smallish fleet of (say) gas peakers that we run a few days a year, that would cut emissions drastically and go a long way toward mitigating the worst risk of climate change. (And I'd be happy to see some nuclear baseload in there, too, though opinions differ across society, of course.)

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      Doc Snow 13 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Quite a news day for RE on Cleantechnica, so I thought I'd share a few developments.

      Vietnam, whose climate pledge at Paris struck me as pretty darn weak, is apparently upping its mitigation game:

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/28/vietnam-plans-...

      It'll take them a good effort to catch up with the Phillipines, though:

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/28/philippines-no...

      India has been turning dramatically toward solar power over the last couple of years, and is now adding a large facility in Gujarat, the home state of Gandhi and the currrent Prime Minister, Mr. Modi:

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/28/indian-state-g...

      Solar action is going on in Rwanda, too, where the government is trying to use distributed generation to get power to people without the major effort and expense of a massive power grid expansion:

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/28/ignite-power-e...

      A very different country, Dubai, is going with the utility solar model:

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/28/jinkosolar-par...

      It's a new phase of the park that had produced a previous world record low power bid for solar of 5.84 cents/kw.

      Turning back to wind, Egypt is building a 2 GW wind farm--well, OK, Siemens is doing that actual building, but you know what I mean:

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/28/egypt-raise-e1...

      They are also looking to get into the manufacturing game, with investments from GE and Siemens:

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/28/egypt-raise-e1...

      Back in the good old USA, though, there's some action, too, as NC added 300 MW of solar capacity, and the US wind industry reported the second-best quarter ever in 2015:

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/28/300-mw-solar-p...

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/28/us-wind-indust...

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      Jack Lee 13 months ago from Yorktown NY

      These are the kind of thing I warn about. You see, going green is not harmless. Real people are going to be affected by these initiatives for very long time. What if they don't deliver what they promise? Are you willing to pay more taxes to help mitigate these potential failures?

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      Doc Snow 13 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I *don't* see that "going green is not harmless." I see that it has costs, of course. If you are going to replace an existing asset, there is always a cost, and if that involves an asset that still has useful life left, then that cost is exacerbated.

      Your question seems to presuppose that all these 'initiatives' are being undertaken in some kind of enthusiastic hysteria, without any rational analysis of consequences. While I acknowledge that politics can and does lead to irrational or distorted decisions, it is nevertheless true that the 'takeoff' of renewable energy which we are witnessing is the product of several decades of research, development, and operational experience. Wind power has been in commercial use since the 1980s. Solar power has, technically, too, but serious deployment pretty much began in the first decade of this millennium.

      (And yes, it was enabled by governmental subsidies which permitted the financing of enough production volume to create economies of scale. Those economies led in turn to the massive price decreases we've experienced since then.)

      When deployment of wind and solar really started to kick in, there were many--perhaps the majority--who said that renewables would never amount to more than 5% of the grid's production, because integrating variable power sources would not be feasible. Experience has shown that that limit is much too conservative.

      The most instructive example is Texas, because it is close to being an electricity island--its grid, ERCOT, has comparatively little interconnectivity with other US transmission areas. It has also gone big on wind power, with a nameplate capacity of nearly 18 GW, and a 2013 actual generation of over 35,000 GW/h--about 9% of the state total.

      There haven't been any grid stability issues, as far as I have read. There are issues arising from the intermittency, however. One is that transmission limitations have led at times to 'curtailment'--shutting down turbines because the power would have created grid problems. (That has led Texas to increase the connectivity of ERCOT, so that the power can be exported.) Another is that the prices become variable, too, and there have been times when the price has gone negative. "In areas where Smart Metering is commonly installed, some utilities offer free electricity at night."

      As used to be claimed for nuclear power, wind power is sometimes too cheap to meter... It can be a problem for producers, but obviously a boon for consumers, especially for uses which can be at least partially 'elective,' such as charging devices (from phones to lawnmowers to EVs) or heating water.

      The experience has shown that building out renewable capacity is relatively easy. As in China, which drastically increased its wind fleet in a few short years, Texas was able to meet its capacity goals early--its renewable portfolio goal, set in 2005, called for 10 GW capacity by 2025. The goal was met in 2010. Even the worst grid congestion issues were addressed fairly rapidly, with the 'CREZ' project.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Texas

      https://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2014/06/26/how-n...

      As a result, wind power construction in Texas had slowed--but it's not stopping, as the new transmission capacity is stimulating economically-driven projects in newly-accessible areas:

      http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059995041

      Analysts project that the net effect will be to lower electricity rates.

      In closing, I'd like to link a graph I put together. It was a quick and dirty exercise, and I didn't make a note of the data sources, unfortunately, but they were all official data pretty easily available online.

      I was trying to get at the economic and emissions impact of wind power in the state. Some argue (actually, I think you may have made this argument once or twice) that renewables don't cut emissions because of an alleged need for spinning reserves, mostly fossil fueled. It's wrong, because the reserve is much less than the total generation, but looking at what the actual 'big picture' numbers show seemed interesting.

      Sure enough, it showed that Texas emissions have been basically flat during the 'wind deployment era', even as energy use, state GDP and population all surged.

      http://i1108.photobucket.com/albums/h402/brassdoc/...

      (I hope that claim is stated correctly; I can't actually look at the graph because Photobucket is 'down for maintenance' and I didn't keep a copy on my hard drive.)

      Anway, the takeaways from the Texas experience are:

      1) Wind power can help reduce emission intensity, and by implication reduce actual emissions;

      2) Wind power can be ramped up very quickly compared with other types of power-related infrastructure;

      3) The intermittency of wind power is problematic but not unmanageable;

      4) The economic impact on GDP of quickly adding ~10% wind generation is essentially unnoticeable.

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      Doc Snow 13 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      It's often asserted that clean air is 'too expensive', and often assumed that deaths due to air pollution are restricted to places like New Delhi and Beijing. Not actually true on either account, as a new study shows:

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/02/26/low-carbon-pol...

      If you do the math, you find that 175,000 premature deaths avoided by 2030 amounts to over 2 and a half million. The economic benefits would amount to $250 million per year, or over $4 billion in the next 15 years. The ratio of benefits to costs would be in the range of 5:1, up to a possible 10:1.

      Apparently, it's really dirty air that is expensive.

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      Doc Snow 12 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, did you see this item?

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-con...

      Speaking, as this whole project has done, about predictions--the 'skeptic' Global Warming Policy Foundation produced a 'prediction' of no warming, based on (frankly) silly statistical grounds, only to find that global mean surface temperature already exceeded their (very large) error margin at the time it was published!

      This may be the most spectacularly failed prediction of 'warming cessation' ever!

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      Doc Snow 12 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      And a thought-provoking piece that came across the transom just now.

      Many 'climate skeptics' (I use the single quotes because some--not all--are anything but skeptic) like to pillory the IPCC as 'alarmist' or 'extreme.' However, the first Chairman, Bert Bolin, always advocated for scientific reticence and erring on the side of caution, because he foresaw that the topic would be controversial, and wanted to insure that the Panel retained its credibility. Some see it differently today, of course, but be that as it may here's an example of reticence that doesn't serve the user community well:

      http://phys.org/news/2015-02-ipcc-sea-level-scenar...

      Quote:

      [A commentary, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, warns that the IPCC scenarios are often inappropriate or incomplete for the management of high-risk coastal areas as they exclude the potential for extreme sea-level rises. This missing information is also crucial for a number of policy processes, such as discussions by G7 countries to establish climate insurance policies and allocations of adaptation funding by the Green Climate Funds.

      ["Although the IPCC scenarios are a big step forward in understanding how the climate system works, these scenarios are not designed from the perspective of coastal risk management and, unfortunately, this is not spelled out clearly both within and beyond the IPCC reports," says lead author Dr Jochen Hinkel from the Global Climate Forum.]

      (This article comes from February of 2015.)

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      Jack Lee 12 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I always thought building homes close to beaches was a bad idea. It is our insane national flood insurance policies that is mostly responsible. I believe John Stossel did a story on this a while back. Global warming may be responsible for some rise in ocean levels, to what extent is debatable but it is irresponsible for any one to build so close to oceans that we know from history that can be devastating just from natural variations.

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      Doc Snow 12 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I agree with you about subsidizing flood insurance in dangerous areas. Shouldn't happen, and it will be increasingly unaffordable. I'd only add that it's at least as irresponsible to forbid government agencies tasked with managing coastal areas from considering the best scientifc projections available about sea level rise, as was done in North Carolina in law, and Florida in effect.

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      Doc Snow 11 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      A new effort in modeling, not climate, but the economics of climate change, has just been published.

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/04/05/global-warming...

      "A new report claims that global warming of 2.5°C by 2100 could put at risk an average of $2.5 trillion, or 1.8%, of the world’s financial assets." However, there is also "a 1% chance that a warming of 2.5°C (or 4.5°F), could threaten a whopping $24 trillion, or 16.9%, of global financial assets in 2100, due to uncertainties in estimating the “climate Value at Risk.”"

      That latter case is approaching Great Depression levels of value loss.

      "The researchers also found that increasing our efforts to minimize global warming will not have a deleterious effect on financial assets, and will in fact end up increasing the value of global financial efforts by around 0.2%, or $315 billion, “than if warming of 2.5°C by 2100 occurred along a ‘business as usual’ pathway for global emissions.”

      “When we take into account the financial impacts of efforts to cut emissions, we still find the expected value of financial assets is higher in a world that limits warming to 2°C,” explained Dietz. “This means risk-neutral investors would choose to cut emissions, and risk-averse investors would be even more keen to do so.""

      In other words, they found that taking action to mitigate climate risk is cheaper than failing to do so.

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      Jack Lee 11 months ago from Yorktown NY

      doc, I read the article and it is very skimpy on hard data. How are they able to make economic projects going forward to 2100 when we can't even predict what happens next 5 years? This article and it's conclusions are highly suspect. There is no magic about the 2 degrees C threshold. Here is a rule of thumb - anything predicting long range is suspicious because they can't be proven or disproven long after the person making the prediction is dead.

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      Doc Snow 11 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I share some of your skepticism about economic modeling, and the necessity of making assumptions. However, it beats examining the entrails of chickens, so I think we should take it for what it is worth.

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      Doc Snow 11 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "Renewables are crushing fossil fuels," says Bloomberg:

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-06/...

      Interestingly, this faster growth rate is attributed not to subsidies, but to economies of scale. (The analogy would be to building a fire: you need tinder to start (subsidies), but when the wood itself starts to catch, heat builds up fast.)

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      Doc Snow 11 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, here's a new statistical study examining the proportion of observed warming caused by humans. Essentially, they find that it is ~100% human-caused.

      Two links--first, a general description:

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-con...

      Second, the paper abstract:

      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00382-...

      (Unfortunately, the whole paper is paywalled, though there may be a pre-print out there somewhere if you search.)

      I'm not suggesting this 'settles' everything, BTW, but I do know that you are interested in the question, and so present it FWIW.

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      Doc Snow 9 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      An important study comparing the modeled results of 1.5 C warming versus 2 C. Bottom line: that half degree would make a huge difference, especially for coral reefs. (2 C, long considered 'sort of safe', would basically put *all* Earth's coral at risk of bleaching, and hence extinction.)

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/scientists-compare...

      Also noteworthy is the assessment that to have a 66% chance of avoiding 1.5 C, we'd need to reach zero emissions in about 4 and a half years.

      That ain't happening.

      It could have, had we not wasted decades in fruitless debate. But now we are condemned to riskier plays.

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      Jack Lee 9 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, where are you getting these estimations? It would take a lot more to kill off the coral reefs. If there is anything I know, and that is life is very resilient. It is hard to kill off a whole species of animals or plants...

      The coral reef is no different.

      We did not waste decades of fruitless debate... If anything, we have not had the real debate necessary to implement any drastic measures that is being proposed. The cost/benefit analysis has never been done.

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      Doc Snow 9 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, the source is given in the link. And your claim that "It would take a lot more to kill off the coral reefs" is pure unsupported assertion. I wish it were actually true, but the evidence says otherwise.

      Yes, life writ large is resilient. But mass extinctions can happen, do happen, and the evidence says that one is happening now. As far as reef-building goes, it has disappeared several times from the evolutionary record, taking millions of years to re-evolve.

      https://letterpile.com/books/Elizabeth-Kolberts-Th...

      As to the 'debate' question, I would submit that you are seriously misreading the situation. When you are in danger of an auto collision, you hit the brakes. There is time later for detailed analysis as to whether or not you 'really' needed to do so.

      It has been more than evident that we needed to 'hit the brakes' on climate change for quite some time. Now we are in a 'panic stop' situation. Had we acted more moderately earlier on, we would be in a much better place now. But as the link points out, now we have basically one US presidential term to get to zero emissions in time to have a 2/3 chance of staying under 1.5 C warming.

      Which means, in practical terms, that we have less than that 2/3s chance, since there is just zero probability that we will be at zero emissions in 2020.

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      Jack Lee 9 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Your assessment on the political scene is correct. The way I see it, regardelss of who gets elected, there will be little impact on the climate change front. The Republicans tends to be skeptics while the Democrats talk a good game but did little to help except reward some of their big donors with lucrative subsidies and loans...

      Your analogy of the driving accident is a good one. However, what if we reacted the wrong way and caused an accident rather than preventing one...hence the debate...what is the real problem and how best to solve it considering cost/benefits....I hate to harp bact to the same point. The models that we rely on to determine the long range impact of climate change is not accurate enough at this point. If they were, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

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      Doc Snow 9 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "The models that we rely on to determine the long range impact of climate change is not accurate enough at this point."

      I strongly disagree on this point. There are many questions of detail for which we don't have answers. But we can be quite sure that it will keep warming for as long as (and longer than) we keep carbonating our atmosphere. And we can be quite sure that the result will be damaging.

      After all, it is not the carbonated atmosphere that is the status quo. We know the Holocene was stable, a suitable time for developing agriculture. How, then, can we 'cause an accident' by reverting to something closer to that norm?

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      Jack Lee 9 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I was using your analogy and projecting a possible effect. What if we did reduce all carbon emissions and discover sometimes later that solar and wind power generation replacement was causing some other unwanted effects...the first law of thermodynamics is that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Suppose the process by which we extract the energy from our sun in a global fashion, for converting to electric power...causes some effect that changes our weather pattern for the worse. I don't think we have considered this for the long haul.

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      Doc Snow 9 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, that is extremely far-fetched. After all, the energy we receive from the sun is already absorbed by the earth anyway; we don't 'extract' any extra. And all the energy eventually ends up as heat, either way. Moreover, the fraction of power we need for our society's purposes is quite small compared with the total power the sun freely showers us with--a Sandia labs paper puts the amount of solar energy technically extractable at 7,500 TW, whereas global power demand is about 15 TW.

      And there are known non-climatic benefits to switching to renewables, too: significant gains in public health due to cleaner air, economic gains due following from the health gains and from employment in the RE sector, and gains in the conservation of fresh water (thermal plants of all sorts are very thirsty critters.)

      Moreover, don't you think it's a little strange to advocate *not* solving a serious known problem for fear that we *might* end up creating yet another that probably doesn't, but conceivably 'could' exist?

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      Jack Lee 9 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, you may not see it but your response to this question actually makes my case. If the sun is so over powering, how is it that it has so little affect on climate change?

      I think you might be dismissing the potential effects of solar farms and wind farms. Right now, we are only using 2% of renewable energy. If we go to 100% as you suggest, who is to say the effects they may cause? The jet stream may change course, or the ocean flows such as the gulf stream...not to mention the harm to birds...

      What I am warning is before we jump in with both feet, we need to understand the un-intended consequences of these actions.

      To answer your last question, it is not strange at all to want to study the long term effects of drastic solutions. I am not advocating for not solving this problem but just want to make sure we apply the right solution.

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      Jack Lee 9 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, this is a news article from the Main Stream media of CNBC -

      http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/04/climate-accord-irre...

      Even they are starting to question the climate change solution...

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      Doc Snow 9 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "Doc, you may not see it but your response to this question actually makes my case."

      No, it doesn't. Think it through: the magnitude of an energy flux is independent from the variability of that flux. There is a fantastic amount of energy flowing in freely from the sun--AND it is amazingly consistent. The former is what determines how much is potentially available to us; the latter is what affects climate.

      "What I am warning is before we jump in with both feet, we need to understand the un-intended consequences of these actions."

      Why should we start acting that way now, in particular? We didn't do that with fossil fuel combustion, after all.

      "The jet stream may change course, or the ocean flows such as the gulf stream...not to mention the harm to birds…"

      Funny you should say that. Anthropogenic warming is currently affecting the gulf stream:

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2016...

      It may well also be affecting the jet stream:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environ...

      And coal plants are far deadlier to birds than are wind turbines:

      http://cleantechnica.com/2013/11/26/wind-farm-bird...

      "Even they are starting to question the climate change solution…"

      One researcher does not make a 'they,' so I really don't see this as any kind of trend. But in any case, researchers have been questioning all along; that is how the scientific process works. So the 'starting' is, I think, also not really the case.

      "I am not advocating for not solving this problem but just want to make sure we apply the right solution."

      I agree in principle, but we do not have the luxury of infinite amounts of time to bring a solution to bear.

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      Jack Lee 9 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, no one is proposing an infinite amount of time... Just enough so we understand the process and get the model right.

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      Doc Snow 9 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "Doc, no one is proposing an infinite amount of time..."

      Well, I do believe that you aren't, Jack. I think you operate in good faith.

      But I'm not so sure about some others. Oh, they won't *admit* to wanting an indefinite delay, but that's what it will come down to in effect. There will be--has been, so far--an endless moving of goalposts, an endless procession of ever-less significant objections (each of which, however, will be presented as absolutely crucial), an endless series of worries and cavils. Some of it would be financially-driven, some ideological/political.

      My perspective is that that we not only understand the process *well enough*, we have done for a considerable time. The ''model"--which I take to mean "the model of a sustainable energy economy"--won't be developed a prior via a process of purely rational design, but in real time via a more evolutionary process. Rationality will be important, of course, but invention by definition involves the unexpected (some of it, unwelcome.) It would be nice if every contingency could be foreseen and our pathway could be perfectly safe, but that is not (and never has been) the world in which we live.

      Right now, we have about 4 years worth of global emissions left before we drive our chances of avoiding a 1.5 C warming below 2/3s. I know I said that before, but that is a BIG DEAL. About half that has already done serious damage; climate-linked disasters this millennium have easily cost on the order of a hundred billion USD and a hundred thousand premature deaths.

      Given that the damage function is more likely to resemble an exponential function than a linear one, does it seem like a good idea to double the warming? (Not that it would stop with a doubling...)

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      Jack Lee 9 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, did you hear about this from Denmark?

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/06/07/denmark-can...

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      Doc Snow 9 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      No, thanks for the heads up. Unfortunate news, IMO, and a political decision on the face of it.

      Here's another story about it:

      https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2016/06/05/denmark...

      They are cutting back on the growth in wind, but not abandoning it, and supposedly at least the 'fossil free by 2050' goal remains in place. It will be interesting to see how the Danish public reacts to this change in policy.

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      Jack Lee 9 months ago from Yorktown NY

      It's funny how economics works...even in some democratic socialist countries. I wonder what Bernie Sanders think about this?

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      Doc Snow 9 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

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      Doc Snow 9 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      And more on economics--specifically those of nuclear power:

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/06/09/illinois-power...

      'The forecast is partly cloudy.'

      I'm not anti-nuclear, but I don't see nuclear power expanding drastically any time soon, given the current economic and political climate. Hence, my support for renewable energy, which not only *can* but *is* scaling up very rapidly, and displacing fossil fuel generation.

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      Jack Lee 9 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, the jury is still out. I would not celebrate as yet until the Government ends its subsidies of renewable energy. That is when we will know for sure if the source is sustainable.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, with your interest in adaptation, I thought you'd like this item:

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/climate-cha...

      An interesting side point is the suggestion that climate change is having a sort of 'collateral benefit' by forcing designers to consider vulnerabilities that may have already existed, but which did not receive due attention prior to climate change risks helping focus minds.

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, thanks for the linked story. I'm always interested in new ways of dealing with climate change. By the way, I just published a new hub on the failures of the UN. It includes the climate change debate-

      https://hubpages.com/politics/The-Many-Failures-of...

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, on a slightly different topic, I was wondering if you knew how much of our earth is human activity compared to the whole earth? Just give an estimate... That is, of all the 7 billion people and all the buildings and structures and cars and all manufactured items and squeeze them into one box, how large would that box be compared to the size of the earth?

      Perhaps this exercise will help you understand how insignificant we are to the world we live...

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc,

      Here is a link to help you solve this problem -

      http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/03/7-3-billion-people-o...

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Without 'looking ahead' at your link:

      Human activity is, by definition, biological activity. Therefore, I would see the correct metric as being that of "Net Primary Production"--essentially, the amount of useful chemical energy fixed by plants.

      Humans are generally estimated to appropriate about 20% of NPP--and to be responsible, moreover, for a reduction in NPP of somewhere between 5-10%.

      http://www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php...

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_production

      http://www.rainforestconservation.org/rainforest-p...

      That is far from insignificant, my friend--especially given that we don't know how much appropriation of NPP is completely unsustainable--ie., suicidal.

      OK--'looking ahead' at your link:

      The 'waitbutwhy' post is entertaining, but pretty meaningless. Suppose you did put all humans in that monstrous building he imagines--and he didn't include any allowance for head room, floors and structural features, so I think those 1.07 km sides would have to be considerably larger in a 'practical' case--how long could they survive in there?

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, as usual, you miss my point with this exercise. What I was attempting to show is that humans with all the stuff we created, can fit inside a very small portion of the earth. It was estimated by some scientist years ago, that all things of human production can fit inside a cube 300 miles. The earth is 260,000 cubic miles by comparison. So the question philosophically is can something so small less than 1/1000 of the host do the damage that we claim we can do? The sun by comparison is much larger than the earth even with 93 million miles between us. It's effect since the dawn of humanity is unquestionably more significant by any measure.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "Doc, as usual, you miss my point with this exercise."

      Jack, as usual, you interpret alternate viewpoints as 'missing the point.'

      "So the question philosophically is can something so small less than 1/1000 of the host do the damage that we claim we can do?"

      The answer empirically--I don't know about 'philosophically'--is clearly 'yes.' To take just one of many possible examples, a single Ebola virus is relatively much smaller in relation to a man or woman--less than a millionth of a meter long. I wouldn't care to admit even one to my body, and I don't suppose you would, either.

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, point well taken, however, a virus can replicate at a much faster rate and that is how it takes over or kills the host. We humans are not on the level of viruses. We have been on earth a mere few thousand years. We have the capability to destroy our world with nuclear arsenal but that is another problem. The resources available on earth is vast. We are just scratching the surface if you will...

      Anyway, just food for thought.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I wasn't going to comment on this--wanted to give you the 'last word' for a while--but I find I can't resist.

      Have you considered relative times? A human might live 80 years, under pretty good circumstances, and Ebola kills in a few days. Comparing those times, the "time ratio" is in spitting distance of 10,000:1.

      If we assume that AGW causes a major extinction event within a millennium--no-one reputable expects that AGW will wipe out Earthly life--then that ratio will take us back 10 million years. But the earliest mammals were about 200 million years back, and even placental mammals have been around for something like 65 million. That means that using those milestones, the posited "AGW event" would be *more* abrupt, by a factor of 6.5-20.

      If we "make man the measure," then anatomically modern humans have been around for about 200,000 years. Applying the 10,000:1 ratio, the 'disease process' of AGW would have to be active over about 20 years. That says that by that measure, the "AGW event" is a bit slower, but not a whole lot--less than an order of magnitude.

      Food for thought.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Of interest in the ongoing development of electric propulsion technology:

      http://www.siemens.com/press/en/pressrelease/?pres.../en/pressrelease/2016/corporate/pr2016070333coen.htm&content%5B%5D=Corp

      That 260 Kw motor equates to about 350 horsepower, if the online unit converter I used is correct (and if I used it correctly).

      I knew that Airbus is working is working on electric planes, but I didn't realize that their plane is to have them in production by 2018 at the latest:

      http://www.flyingmag.com/news/airbus-build-electri...

      I did not expect to see electric aviation advancing so fast. (Note: Intentional shunning of the obvious punning metaphor!)

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, Thanks for the info. I am surprise as you by the progress in electric airplanes.

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      What do you think of carbon credits?

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/07/09/carbon-trad...

      Came across this on WUWT...

      Here is plot of carbon value -

      http://calcarbondash.org

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      doc snow 8 months ago

      I think the idea is sound, but the implementation quite often is not. Part of the problem, of course, is the success of other carbon mitigation efforts--efficiency and alternate energy have become very affordable, so why buy credits on top of your investment cost if you can get zero-emissions capacity more cheaply than the erstwhile 'conventional' alternative?

      I also think the WUWT writer is a little too fond of the word 'fraud', and not nearly fond enough of substantiating his claims.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, in a nutshell my comment is that the principle of carbon credits is sound--witness the success of the 1990s cap-and-trade plan that basically saved the Smoky Mountains. It's estimated to have racked up benefits that were 40x the costs.

      However, the details matter. In Europe, I think there is good reason to believe that the allocations of 'free' credits were too generous. And of course, the rise of renewables and widespread energy efficiency improvements has resulted in emissions cuts in many European nations, undercutting demand for credits. My perception is that their scheme has been more or less useless.

      As to California, I'm really not sure what that graphic is trying to tell us. (Clearly, credits are fairly cheap there, too, which suggests that they aren't having a huge effect--but the site also says that they were designed to be a 'backup' to other reductions methods, and that they only started to affect electric generation in 2013, and transportation last year. Maybe an economist could say whether the prospects are better than for the European system; but I can't.

      As a last aside, I'd add that the WUWT writer is far too free with the use of the word "fraud", particularly when he has produced exactly zero evidence that any such thing has occurred.

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, thanks for the info. I don't claim to know much about carbon credits. Just thought I get an opposing view. I realize WUWT is one sided though they have some very good history. Reading Anthony Watts's bio, It sounded very much like myself. If he didn't start that site, I probably would do one like it.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Hi, Jack--came across this short piece, and since we've talked a bit about coal jobs, thought I'd share it.

      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/07/the-wa...

      So, why was the destruction of coal jobs by mechanization and mining technology OK, but the destruction of much smaller numbers of coal jobs by competition with renewables, by pollution regulations, and by competition from natural gas, not OK?

      And what does it say about the folks who make this argument?

      Any thoughts?

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, the answer is simple. I have no problem with coal being replaced by other forms of energy source as long as it is by the free market and technology improvements. The problem is when government dictates policies that affect the outcome unfairly. I don't even have problem with government regulations for improved environment such as clean air and auto emmission limits ... They cross the line when they state as a public policy to put coal plants out of business as some politicians has stated. Also, by offering tax credits to competing industries that are not competitive. I hope you see the difference.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I think I do, but let me test it.

      Based on what you just wrote, I would think that you are probably basically OK with the Clean Air Plan, in that its structure sets pollution goals, broken down by state, but leaves the states free to choose how they wish to address those goals.

      (Although of course the states could then choose strategies that you might disapprove of.)

      Is that correct, or am I off-base in understanding your point of view?

      I would also point out that pretty much by definition new technology is rarely instantly competitive. It's not unusual, historically, for governments to support nascent industries that they believe will serve the national interest. Both automotive and railroad industries benefited in their time (and indeed still do, on occasion at least, as witness the recent bailouts of GM and Chrysler.) So it seems a 'line' that you'd prefer to be the norm, rather than an existing norm.

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, as I said I have no problem with putting restrictions on emission to improve air quality...

      Here is what I object to -

      http://dailycaller.com/2015/08/03/flashback-2008-o...

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I don't quite understand. As I read his comments, he is acknowledging the economic reality that 'clean coal' is simply not viable--and if we charge for carbon emissions, dirty coal isn't, either. That doesn't mean that the *objective* per se is to kill coal; it remains cleaning the air and mitigating carbon emissions. (Of course I realize that you are still somewhat skeptical about the urgency of doing the latter.)

      Getting back to the jobs point, I still for my part find it strange to privilege economic gain (primarily for resource companies, and only secondarily for the economy at large) as a justification for job losses, but not similarly to privilege clean air, public health, and a stable climate. The irony becomes particularly pointed for me when the former has eliminated something close on the order of 125,000 jobs, and the latter only threatening 75,000 (assuming coal dies completely and totally).

      Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I was curious to get your take on it.

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc,

      Here a new article on wuwt -

      I couldn't said it better...

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/07/15/climate-sca...

      The author makes a great point about climate change as a goal.

      Perhaps we should be worrying about the next ice age.

      What can we do if anything?

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Oh, really. Did you not note that there is zero actual analysis in there? Pure 'hand-waving'--which is an idiom for unsupported argument.

      Even if he were correct--which he is not; climate science may not be either perfect or complete, but it is well past the point of being able to paint a reasonable 'Big Picture' of what is going on--the transition to Ice Age conditions would take place over millennia. Points you have long made about having time to mitigate and adapt to current climate change would apply--but about 100x more so.

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Here is news article on hurricanes or lack there of...

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/15/opinion/where-ar...

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Thanks, Jack, an interesting discussion from Adam Sobel. The main point, I think, is one I've highlighted more than once, that:

      "The best science doesn’t, in fact, predict that the future will hold more hurricanes; most of our best models predict there may be fewer… As the climate warms, the physics says hurricanes should get stronger, because the tropical ocean surface heats up more than the atmosphere above it, increasing the temperature differential on which storms feed. The best computer models also predict stronger storms, so we have separate but consistent lines of evidence. Even if the number of hurricanes decreases somewhat, the overall increase in intensity may well mean that there are more of the strongest storms. And the very strongest storms of the future will probably exceed any of the past in their intensities.

      "While several groups of scientists who have done statistical analyses of data on all storms for the last few decades have found significant increases in the numbers of the strongest ones, Categories 4 and 5, it is also true that those results are not consistent across all studies."

      A new aspect for me was the influence of aerosols:

      "But aerosol cooling appears to be disproportionately effective in reducing hurricane intensity, and climate models suggest that, because of the aerosols, hurricane intensity globally should not have increased much yet, despite warming caused by greenhouse gases.

      "But it isn’t likely to stay that way."

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      The same goes with NOAA. They also are perplexed by the lack of hurricanes...

      https://www.climate.gov/news-features/features/wil...

      Looking at the plot for the past 100 years, it sure looks to me like there is a natural cycle and one that is separate from increased CO2. Don't you agree?

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "Also?" What Dr. Sobel said was:

      "There is also large natural variability, in the Atlantic and elsewhere. Some hurricane seasons are active and some aren’t. The fluctuations occur not just year to year but even decade to decade and longer. The current hurricane drought is one such fluctuation. While there is debate about the drought’s significance, there is little doubt that its primary cause is dumb luck, and that won’t continue forever."

      The NASA link is from 2010. A lot has happened since then, so I think you have to look at it as 'state of the art six years ago.' If you want to find out what the state of play is concerning hurricane frequency and AMO, I'd go to Google Scholar and search for up to date research.

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      But, do you see what I'm pointing out in the plot? If CO2 is a bigger factor, wouldn't you see it overlay-ed over the natural cycles of hurricanes?

      These are the common sense questions that are not being addressed IMHO.

      The same goes for rising oceans...

      There are 3 possibilities:

      1. CO2 is a main factor

      2. CO2 is a limited factor (other drivers)

      3. CO2 is not a factor

      Which is it? and the data from the past 50 years exists...

      Why can't they be analyzed with that in mind.

      The scientific method is clear. Data is collected. Theories are proposed, Match the theory to the data. Predictions are made going forward. If the predictions match and repeatable, the theory is sound. If not, look for other explanations, or modifications to the theory...

      Why are this not being done in climate change science?

      The reason we have these debates is because of lack of real science being done...

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, no-one claims that there is a direct correlation between CO2 and hurricane frequency. That is a straw man that you are creating (or maybe 'promoting' would be a better word.) So why would anyone research an idea that no-one in the field thinks is the case?

      But you decry that as a 'lack of real science.'

      Maybe you should take a look at Dr. Sobel's recent publications before you make such a claim:

      https://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2015&...

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I'm confused. I did not make the connect in the first place. It is the climate change proponents that brought it up and made these dire projections. Every few weeks, we hear of more impact by fossil fuel emissions that is affecting this or that...

      The lack of real science is my personal observation. I could be wrong on some individual researcher however, as a whole, this community seems to be influenced by politics than pure science. That is what I and others are pointing out.

      You seems to be ok with it and accepts all and any scientific study that are support for AGW and don't seem to care when real data does not pan out or at least does not jive.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      A "connection" is not a direct correlation. And if we are talking about hurricanes, there is no question about a disconnect between data and projections, because the projections have been (for some time now) that we will have fewer, but more intense, hurricanes over the coming decades. So far, it looks as if that's what we are getting, but it's difficult to be sure because--again, just as the research community has been saying--there is great natural variability, which makes statistical analysis tough.

      So what *do* we know about how CO2 affects hurricanes? Well, we know 3 relevant things that affect hurricanes:

      1) warmer sea surface temperatures increase storm intensity, so as Dr. Sobel points out, a warmer world, all other things being equal, would have stronger storms.

      2) Vertical wind shear inhibits hurricane formation, and under warming, climate models show *more* wind shear, so--again, all other things being equal--a warmer world would have lower rates of hurricane formation. (Ie., this trend is 'working against' trend #1.)

      3) New information, reported by Dr. Sobel, says that aerosol-driven cooling specifically appears to be highly effective in suppressing hurricane formation. Over time, under a BAU scenario, warming still 'wins out' over this effect, so we would still see increases in storm intensity, considering points 1 & 2. However, if we take steps to clean up our energy economy, as we are starting to do, we may see a temporary medium-term surge in storms due to a reduction in this aerosol forcing.

      So we have a pretty nuanced picture. One thing I do want to point out is that 'average warming' isn't what drives hurricane formation and trajectory. It's warming where hurricanes grow and where they strengthen.

      Note that this all proceeds from 'real science.'

      "The lack of real science is my personal observation."

      I offer this humbly, as it is a direct contradiction, and as your statement certainly proceeds from your personal experience. But I don't think it *really* is a personal observation; I think you are getting this idea from folks whose *business*--and I use that word advisedly--is promulgating it as a meme. If you want to evaluate the science, please take a look at the actual literature--and not just by Dr. Sobel, or about hurricanes, but across the board.

      "You seems to be ok with it and accepts all and any scientific study that are support for AGW and don't seem to care when real data does not pan out or at least does not jive."

      I think you are being pretty unfair to me in that sentence. Remember how all this started? Remember how you complimented me for taking a pretty painstaking and--you said--fair-minded look at the projections you had pointed to?

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I don't rely solely on people who are skeptics. I make an effort to attend talks and related topics to see the bigger picture. Unfortunately, our scientists seems to lack that common sense approach. The big picture being, not everything is about CO2... The sun and other factors do affect climate and as much as the scientists want to believe it, we are just a small clog in the wheel and not the wheel.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "Unfortunately, our scientists seems to lack that common sense approach. The big picture being, not everything is about CO2..."

      Well, we'll have to differ on that. Both in general communication about climate science and in research, I've seen mainstream scientists carrying out a careful, detailed, and ongoing effort to look at *all* relevant factors, including solar radiation, natural climate cycles, aerosols of all sorts, and even cosmic rays.

      And what have they found? That "The sun and other factors do affect climate..."--that "not everything is CO2"--but *also* that if we continue with BAU, CO2 forcing will increasingly dominate.

      Nobody actually thinks that 'everything is CO2'--but the likes of Breitbart, GWPF, Heartland and the API like to claim that 'climate scientists' do in fact think that. It's just another straw man.

      "... we are just a small clog in the wheel and not the wheel."

      Another denialist framing of the issue, and another straw man--albeit one that works more at the emotional than cognitive level. Climate science tries to quantify physical forcings accurately, be they human or otherwise; but when the policy implications of the answers they find might hurt vested interests, lo and behold, this effort is caricatured as arrogance. It sounds damning, especially for those whose image of science is colored by the image of Dr. Frankenstein 'tampering with Nature.' It cloaks denialism, and its radical refusal of responsibility, in a becoming cloak of humility.

      But this isn't about how morally worthy humanity is, or what our ontological status is. It's about making informed decisions about the consequences of our actions.

      And it's common sense that if we won't look honestly at the best information we have about probable consequences, then we are not going to make very good ones.

      I don't know if you've ever read my Hub on this, but it turns out that it takes a less remarkable species than you might think to permanently alter the Earth's atmosphere:

      https://hubpages.com/education/Puny-Humans-Can-We-...

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Have you seen the projection for peak oil and the actual use?

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil#/media/File%3AHubbert_Upper-Bound_Peak_1956.png

      Does this give you pause that experts sometimes can be wrong?

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I don't know why you ascribe to me the notion that experts can never be wrong. All I've been saying is that they tend to be right much more often than non-experts, and that it is foolish to bank on the latter over the former.

      The graph you put forward is interesting. Why do you think the curves match so well, then abruptly diverge? (And yes, I think I know why it is, and expect that if you put forward a reason, it will match the one I have in mind. Call it a 'projection.')

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      The reason I believe is due to fracking. Projections with everything is based on current knowledge. We have no models for the unknown. Fracking has changed the amount of fossil fuel and gases that were not accessible before. It also has changed the supply demand curve. Who knows what will happen in 5 years that can change dramatically our understanding of climate change science and the mitigation of it. I do know this. The premature declaration of peak oil, will delay the adoption of solar and wind renewable energy sources.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Exactly. Fracking, a new technology, could not have been reasonably foreseen at the time of the original projection.

      However, there is a big difference between technologies, which have, as you say, 'no model', and the understanding of fundamental processes. The science of climate change goes back to the early 19th century, the large outlines of its modern form go back to 1938, and the thoroughly modern era, characterized by thorough understanding of radiative transfer in the atmosphere and the beginning of numerical modeling techniques, goes back the early 1960s. I mention that because, while we tend to think about climate science as being young and modern, the reality is that it is older and more mature than, for instance, modern cosmology--and that means two things. One, it has survived a *lot* of testing over all those years. Two, the remaining room for uncertainty about core issues is comparatively small.

      Therefore, the chance that the 'big picture' will change much any time soon is quite small. There will be new developments, certainly, and many improvements and refinements. But the essentials will almost surely remain pretty much the same.

      "The premature declaration of peak oil, will delay the adoption of solar and wind renewable energy sources."

      I don't see either how, or why. Renewables for the most part don't compete against oil in the electric generation space. And they seem to be doing well versus both coal (the old king) and natural gas (in the US, where it is cheap due to fracking). That space is where the current action is for renewables.

      The next frontier is transportation. There, oil is the rival, and price is certainly an issue. But it isn't fracking that has driven the prices down; it's conventional oil, for which Saudi Arabia has opened the taps in what is presumed to be an effort to shore up their market share. (And it's had some success; quite a few US frackers have gone bust or scaled operations way back.)

      Meanwhile, electric transport isn't competing primarily on price; it is competing on being clean (or, if you prefer, 'green'), and to some extent on being a superior driving experience (and having simpler mechanics with vastly decreased part counts, which should mean greater reliability over time.) So if price isn't the main issue, how large will the effect of fuel prices be?

      To the extent that overall cost of ownership does affect adoption, we should expect improvements: battery prices (a major cost driver in transportation) have fallen dramatically, and seem to be poised for further decreases, given the increasing economies of scale. (Probably technological improvements, too, but that is harder to be sure of.) If it gets to the point where the unsubsidized cost of ownership is comparable or better--and that does seem possible, if not yet imminent--things will get very interesting in the transportation space.

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      As someone who follow technology, I don't see it as far as electric car is concerned. The big problem is battery and the recharging... Even if you can bring done the cost of the vehicle, the usability and convenience of gasoline cannot be surpassed easily. I guess we will soon see...

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Currently, it depends on usage patterns. For 'commuter cars', battery tech is already perfect, because you never have to visit a gas station--just plug in when you get home. That's a lot of time saved over the course of a year--and in this country, there are a lot of people for whom that is the primary use. That's the segment where BEVs are not only viable now, but growing now, and where price improvements will accelerate their adoption.

      But for many of us, we do want the flexibility to pull trailers or do extended road trips, and either can't afford, or don't wish to afford, an extra vehicle when one will serve. Battery capacity, energy density, and charging times are all relevant in that context. I think we'll continue to see significant developments in those areas.

      You probably won't like this initiative, as I expect you'll file it under "government picking winners", but there's an impressive public-private initiative to address the issues that you are talking about. The most directly relevant point in the fact sheet is this:

      "DOE will partner with industry, the National Laboratories, and other stakeholders to develop a study that will examine the vehicle, battery, infrastructure, and economic implications of direct current (DC) fast charging of up to 350 kW, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. A 350 kW charging system could charge a 200 mile range battery in less than 10 minutes. The implementation of DC fast charging has the potential to impact many technology areas and tackle key technological barriers associated with high rate charging (50 kW and above), and fast charging increases the utility of EVs, aides in their adoption, and helps enable widespread use of EVs. "

      (I believe that these kinds of charging rates are experimental, but past the 'vaporware' stage. It's hard to tell, because a lot of the 'experimenters' seem to be playing their cards very close to their vests, presumably in light of the profit potential.)

      But there's a lot more in the initiative, too, much of which seems to me to be pretty sensible--and also pretty much in line with historical practices which saw public-private partnerships drive the development of our current rail and air networks. Anyway, the fact sheet is here:

      https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/0...

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, you are right. I am not happy about this new initiative by the Whitehouse. It sounds like another government planned project to benefit the few such as Tesla and Musk...

      It is interesting for me to note, in this age, how everything seems to turn upside down. A communist country like China is finding practical solutions to their traffic and energy consumption such as electric bicycles... Mostly private initiatives and yet our Captialist free enterprise USA is seeking a government dictated policy similar to the great 5 year plans of Communist China of yester years. Which do you think will succeed?

      Just a side note, I live in the subburb of NYC. Last year, in our local strip mall, an electeic charging station was installed in the parking lot. As far as I can tell, it has not been used much. It is there collecting dust.

      In a neighboring city of Fort Lee, NJ, a few years ago, an all our effort was paid for with federal funding to install solar panels all over the streets and telephone poles...

      Some of which was pointing the wrong direction and covered by trees...

      It was a disaster on monumental proportions. It was an ugly sight and did very little to produce the estimated electricity for the grid.

      Two examples of how central planning never works. Neccessity is the mother of invention.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I don't think you can equate a public-private partnership with 'central planning.' The role of government in this isn't to say exactly what should happen and where, it's to help corporate actors to set standards and guidelines within which private initiatives will occur and be most effective, and to ensure that there is access to funding for innovative technology which bankers won't consider, or will only consider at prohibitively expensive rates.

      And, just as a side note, in China central 5-year plans aren't a thing of the past; the 'action period' of the 13th just began this year:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-year_plans_of_C...

      Here's a random story (just read it this morning) that's relevant (and one which I think will intrigue you):

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/china-robots-labour-1...

      I think it's interesting how the story describes both market forces and government policy as driving China's adoption of robotic manufacturing.

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Fyi,

      Here is one story on NJ disaster in the making from the NYT -

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/28/science/earth/28...

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, also if you read some of my other hubs on robots, they will never replace humans. All the "expert" projections about the coming singilarity is just science fiction gone amok.

      I worked in the Research division of one of the top research facilities. They have been doing AI research for 40 years and they are no closer to understanding how the human brain work and does what it does... Robot will be around to perform repetitive tasks and off load humans for more creative tasks. IMHO

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, the story I linked is precisely about robots performing repetitive tasks. Just for clarity, are you expanding the thought, or did you think you were contradicting my thesis?

      By the way, I forgot to mention in my earlier comment the potential role of rentals and car or ride-sharing technologies in addressing the 'flexibility issue' I identified. It's hard to discern what the real trends are, but there are 'straws in the wind' that suggest the traditional car ownership model could be eroding:

      http://www.cleanfleetreport.com/best-car-sharing/

      I could present some anecdotal evidence on that score, but will refrain for brevity.

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Yes, I am digressing a bit from the main topic here. One of my other pet peeve is how the media seems to take all these "expert' predictions of future technologies and have little understanding of what is possible and what is fiction...

      With regard to self driving cars, I do see a niche market for automated cars in limited capacity. I don't share the view of Elon Musk on the self driving car on open roads or the ride share program of uber expanded to all vehicles.

      We are a free enterprise economy and people like me will always want to own my car, choose my options and have it in my garage...call me selfish but that is my preference.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Yes, media are often less critical than they could or should be. Increasingly so, as news room staff are cut, and there is more and more emphasis on cost containment. Recycling press releases is an obvious response.

      I don't expect to see an end to private ownership of autos any time soon. But I do think it might become considerably less pervasive. Uber and lyft are awfully popular with the young, who are also less likely even to have a license than in the past. It's intriguing to watch.

      "We are a free enterprise economy and people like me will always want to own my car, choose my options and have it in my garage...call me selfish but that is my preference."

      Ah, but the young *aren't* 'like us', are they? ;-)

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Don't be so sure... Remember the famous quote by Churchill...

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      You mean this one?

      http://www.winstonchurchill.org/resources/quotatio...

      "If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain." (Note that the institute thinks this attribution false, for reasons you can see at the linked page.)

      I don't think it applies to my comment, if it is what you had in mind, since the 'likeness' was presumed to apply to both you--a conservative--and me--a liberal.

      (And I don't see car ownership as a primarily political issue, anyway, FWIW.)

      If it's some other Churchillian utterance you had in mind, please elaborate!

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      That is the quote. It does apply to your comment about young people today. What they are taught in school and later experience in real life will affect their politics.

      In case you missed my drift, what I say is these environmentalist youth that have been brain washed by their libeal professors about the evils of Capitalism and ... Will learn for themselves the failures of government to protect them...

      What drives progress and their financial security is tied to capitalism and economics of the free enterprise system. Govnment mandates just get in the way of profits. It is hard to change human nature.

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      Doc Snow 8 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I think you vastly overestimate both the political uniformity and the influence of educators at all levels.

      "Will learn for themselves the failures of government to protect them..."

      There's no arena in which that is shaping up to be more true, than in the arena of climate policy.

      "...the evils of Capitalism..."

      Capitalism is all very well and good, but it depends upon the wider social and political context (for instance, the rule of law, not to mention the legal details).

      "Govnment mandates just get in the way of profits."

      They can, but that is not always a bad thing. Profits (for whom?) are not synonymous with maximizing well-being across society.

      "It is hard to change human nature."

      Indeed it is--which is why we will always need to restrain the greed of everyone, but especially of the rich, by appropriate social constraints.

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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      That is a fallacy. You liberals fail to understand human nature. Greed is what drives profits and profits is what pays for everything including government... I agree part of the limited government is to prevent abuses and criminal activity. And having a level playing field such as anti monopoly laws...

      The rich is not the problem. They pay for 80% of the taxes. Without the rich Corp., we will be living as the Amish...Nothing wrong with that I suppose. At least we won't have climate change to worry about.

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      Doc Snow 7 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "Greed is what drives profits and profits is what pays for everything including government."

      Checks and balances, remember?

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      Jack Lee 7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, on a different related issue, I was visiting a small town upstate NY this past weekend. I stopped in a local book store and found the book "Investing in Renewable Energy" by Jeff Siegel. It was published in 2008 so naturally I pick it up and browse through it. It was full of rosy projections into 2020...and beyond. Needless to say, in 2016, they have all proven to be wrong or overestimated.

      Just thought you would like to see a real data point from average people who does not follow the ins and outs of climate change...but does live on the same planet.

      Here is the link on Amazon -

      https://www.amazon.com/Investing-Renewable-Energy-...

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      Doc Snow 7 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Not much I can say about that without the actual book, is there?

      But I do dare say that just about *every* book on investing and energy use that was published in 2008 proved to be off (and probably 'overestimated') unless it was by one of the prescient few who saw the Great Recession coming.

      The book aside, the actual trends in renewable energy are pretty impressive. A 'snapshot' of world statistics is here:

      http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publication...

      Since 2010, actual generation has increased by 1,100,000 Terawatt-hours--about 25%. The year-on-year increase in total renewable generation in 2014 was 5%, which implies a doubling time of 14 years--but for wind it was 12%, and for solar, 39%. (Geothermal was a respectable but less stellar 7%.)

      And it's notable that the renewables revolution isn't limited to one nation or region. The original push was centered primarily in Europe, with a secondary focus in North America. Now, though, both China and India are moving strongly into renewables--China, in fact, has become the largest global producer of renewable energy, and has built an impressive manufacturing capability in the area. Some regions are still comparative laggards--the Middle East, notably if unsurprisingly--but even there, significant developments are occurring.

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      Jack Lee 7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I just thought you might know of him. He is big on green energy and also a musician.

      Here is his company on investing -

      https://www.greenchipstocks.com

      His big push seems to be TSLA and cannabis stocks.

      I really don't think he knows what he is talking about...

      Just one man's opinion.

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      Doc Snow 7 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Actually, I agree with you, more or less. I've had an email subscription to a related newsletter for a few years, and while there is sometimes an interesting factoid or two, for the most part it's pure clickbait.

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      Doc Snow 7 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Semi-related: wagering on climate change. 'Warmists' win big.

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-co...

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      Doc Snow 7 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      And I almost forgot the updated model-observation comparison just posted:

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2016...

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      Doc Snow 7 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Worth noting: a traditional automotive "major" makes a big promise on autonomous cars:

      http://cleantechnica.com/2016/08/18/ford-true-self...

      (For casual readers, autonomous vehicles may seem unrelated to issues of climate change and clean technology, but they have the potential to take a lot of vehicles off the road by increasing fleet utilization rates, and thus to decrease transportation emissions.)

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      Jack Lee 7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      doc, thanks for the info.

      I actually wrote a hub on this recently.

      https://hubpages.com/autos/Holy-Grail-of-Self-Driv...

      I do believe they will have some impact, if they succeed.

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      Doc Snow 7 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Thanks, jack, I'll be sure to check out your Hub.

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      Jack Lee 7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      BTW, have you seen this new vehicle that gets 84MPG-

      https://www.eliomotors.com

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      Doc Snow 7 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Hadn't seen that, thanks! Looks interesting, but automotive start-ups are hard, hard, hard. I certainly wish them luck.

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      Jack Lee 7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I agree it's hard but their low price point can have a tremendous advantage. I can see someone who commutes to work getting one as a second car. It looks fun to drive.

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      Doc Snow 6 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      A lengthy, but worthwhile 'future think' piece from Bloomberg about the the second-order effects of EV adoption:

      http://about.bnef.com/blog/liebreich-mccrone-elect...

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, very interesting read. I think it is optimistic to think EV will over take gas cars in the near future. There are many obsticles to work out and the infrastructure issue is huge.

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      Doc Snow 6 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I thought you'd be interested. I agree that this is a bullish take on things, but of course I'm not as bearish on EVs as you are. Time, as always, will tell.

      But whatever the time scale, I think it's worth noting that there are practical driver advantages to EVs (a point you don't hear much about, except from drivers themselves), and more importantly that the consequences will be a good deal more far-reaching than most are thinking about yet.

      Anyway, best (slightly early) wishes for your Labor Day weekend!

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      Jack Lee 6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Thanks, you too.

      I just read this in the news and wonder what you think.

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/29/ob...

      I want our politicians to follow the Constitution. Maybe I'm old fashion...

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      Doc Snow 6 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Obviously, I'm in favor of the Treaty and of the President's actions in negotiating and signing it, as well as executive actions bring US energy policy into accord with its terms. Like you, and I think like the President (who you may recall is a former professor of Constitutional law), I want our politicians to follow the Constitution.

      But I also want a viable future. As I wrote the morning the Paris Accord was signed:

      "Here, on the 'red clay hills of Georgia,' some of us want an agreement very, very badly indeed. Here, as around the world, we watch, dreaming that the future will be one in which our children and grandchildren will be able to live lives not constrained by want, instability, disorder, privation and disaster; that our world will not be impoverished beyond recognition by the loss of innumerable species, gone forever under an onslaught of change too rapid for them; and that just perhaps, this 'defining moment'--in which we come together, 196 nations strong, to accept an imperfect but hopeful compromise--reclaims for us as a species a modicum of wisdom."

      https://hubpages.com/politics/Flame-In-Darkness-Th...

      When Congress is manifestly shirking its duty in this regard; when it persists in acting in direct opposition to public opinion (as documented in many, many years of polling on the topic); when it disregards, denies and denigrates the near-universal advice of the best American scientific minds; when, according to the best information we have, and over decades, it acts to increase peril to the Republic and indeed to the entire world, then--as the famous tagline puts it--"we have a problem."

      The President's actions are meant to address that problem. Yes, it's about his 'legacy'--but if his legacy is a more livable climate, should we not all be grateful that we receive that particular gift?

      To be sure, I'd much prefer that this was all 'done right'--that the advice and consent of Congress was part of this whole process. I'm a 'liberal', but I don't suffer from the illusion that only my point of view has validity. Conservative perspectives on solving the climate crisis would be extremely valuable.

      However, a poisoned public discourse and political process has meant that in the minds of far, far too many people, denying climate change even exists has become a "conservative credential." (It's nothing of the kind, in my opinion; no true conservative can fail to be to some extent an environmentalist, because the traditional values and ways of life conservatives are meant to defend are intimately tied up with a reasonably clean and livable environment.) In the absence of conservative solutions, we try to fly with just one political wing. It's ugly and imperfect, but it's better than nothing.

      And maybe it will be enough for us to survive long enough for conservative political culture in this country to heal itself. At least, one may hope.

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      Jack Lee 6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc,

      You are letting your politics influence your judgement. If one President is allowed to make treaties and sign accords, then what's to stop future presidents of doing the same, perhaps not to your liking. Our Constitution is clear, only Congress can do this because they are ultimately elected by the people and they are suppose to do our bidding. Besides, these commitments are long term and spans decades. It is ineffective for one President to sign it and then future presidents may rescind it. A better and proper approach is to debate it in Congress and pass a treaty that is sustainable for the long term. My problem with President Obama in this case and in others, is that he refuses to work with Congress on anything. Past presidents of both parties have done so. president Clinton signed the welfare reform bill along with a Republican controlled Congress and the country was the beneficiary. That was just one example. Reagan did the same during his administration with a Democratic Congress. Sorry to get off topic a bit but as a conservative, I am consistent. I want the Constitution to be our guiding principle regardless who is in power for the moment. In the long run, we will be better off.

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      Doc Snow 6 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I think you have it exactly backwards, Jack. It is Congress which has persistently refused to work with the President. The most recent example--and a highly egregious one--is the refusal to consider Merrick Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court.

      There is legal precedent for arrangements such as the current Paris Treaty. I've already agreed with you that it is not the best case scenario, and I must agree with you that future actions in line with it may or may not be to my liking. However, as you know, my opinion (and not just mine!) is that action on this front has become highly urgent. Supposing for argument's sake that this precedent is every bit as bad as you believe it to be, that danger has to be set off against the danger climate change poses--including the danger to democracy.

      As an example, whether or not the Syrian drought of 2007-8 was directly caused by climate change--and one paper at least has concluded that the drought was indeed partially attributable to it--there can be no question about the profoundly negative effects that drought kicked off in that unfortunate nation.

      Of course, Syria wasn't a democracy in the first place, as we are. But environmental strains create economic woes, which create political turmoil. Indeed, the Syrian situation has already created its share of political turmoil, from Berlin to San Diego. And we are still only approaching 1 C warming.

      All of which is to lay out some of the reasons why I think that allowing Paris to fail--which, without the US, it will--is much, much more dangerous to our democracy than is executive action.

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      Doc Snow 6 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, thought you'd be interested in this example of a commercially-oriented strategy focussed on electric vehicles--coming from a traditional, American, mainstream car company.

      I love the idea. I really, really like the idea of being able to replace my Subaru Forester with an equivalent BEV--a vehicle that, sadly, does not exist today, though it perfectly well could, from a technical point of view.

      Anyway, the link:

      https://cleantechnica.com/2016/09/22/ford-electrif...

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      Jack Lee 6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Thanks for the link. I am always interested in new technology that will help our environmemt. In the case of electric cars, I am just not sure the battery life will be sufficient to last 10 years...the live of a regular gas powered car.

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      Doc Snow 5 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      It's not exactly the same issue, since the technology has evolved a bit and the usage and charge patterns are a bit different, but the precedents are encouraging:

      http://www.autoblog.com/2011/03/29/toyota-prius-re...

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      Jack Lee 5 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I came across this site and it describes all the points that I've made about climate change. Just wondering if you have responses to these charges...Especially the tie between environmentalist and climate change.

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      Doc Snow 5 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, looks like you forgot the link?

    • profile image

      jackclee lm 5 months ago

      Sorry about that. Here is the link -

      http://defyccc.com

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      Doc Snow 5 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Easy: it's nonsense and/or falsehood, lock, stock and barrel.

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      Jack Lee 5 months ago from Yorktown NY

      How do you square the fact that Nuclear power is totally non-carbon emitting and it has been around for 60 years and yet, climate change activists will not support it to replace coal and gas power plants? They rather search for new renewable power of solar and wind and yet they are no where near the efficiency or cost of nuclear power. Please ask your friends and supporters this simple question. I sure like to hear the justification...

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      Doc Snow 5 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "How do you square the fact that Nuclear power is totally non-carbon emitting and it has been around for 60 years and yet, climate change activists will not support it to replace coal and gas power plants?"

      Some do, including some very prominent ones:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIbziE-78DI

      The role of nuclear power in future energy mixes is one of active debate among those concerned about climate change. Some are quite passionate advocates of nuclear technology.

      "They rather search for new renewable power of solar and wind and yet they are no where near the efficiency or cost of nuclear power."

      Define 'efficiency', please. If you are talking about efficient use of capital, wind is far more 'efficient' than nuclear, and solar is (now) not far behind:

      https://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/pdf/electricity_...

      (Note in particular Table 4a.)

      Also, if you are talking about a solution to the climate crisis, we have only a few years to make rapid decreases in carbon emissions. With nuclear planning and build times being what they are, and nuclear's need for a highly skilled work force and enormous amounts of relatively long-term investment, it seems to me highly unlikely, verging on the impossible, to ramp up nuclear generation anything like fast enough to address the need. Renewable energy, on the other hand, shows considerable promise in this regard (though build rates are still not high enough, due to insufficient political will on a global scale).

      That said, my feeling is that nuclear technology will play a role in the energy generation mix going forward. Wind and solar will be the 'backbone' technologies over coming decades, but we'll also see nuclear as part of the mix, along with hydropower.

      One final note on the article: did you notice that it consists pretty much entirely of pure assertions, unaccompanied by any form of evidentiary support?

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      Jack Lee 5 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, efficiency in the sense that pound for pound, square meter to square meter, nuclear power is much more efficient than solar and wind. The amount of energy stored in nuclear fission material is much higher than even oil and gas. Nuclear submarines have been operating in our navy for a long time and they are safe and they work...

      If we really wanted to solve this crisis, don't you think the "power that be" who ever they are would be doing this to "save the planet"?

      I believe France is one country that depends a high percent of their electric power on nuclear power plants. It can be done.

      It comes down to why we choose to puff up solar and wind... when an alternative energy source is available? Have you really consider this?

      Don't you think environmentalists have had their way and co opted this climate change movement?

      If you think about it, we could make this a non issue in 10 years. We can build nuclear power plants all over the country and the world. Why are the UN and the IPCC and climate scientists not pushing this obvious solution?

      Perhaps, they know this is not the dire calamity they try to sell us???

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      Jack Lee 5 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Here is link to nuclear power in France - they contribute to 39% of their power in 58 plants...

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Fra...

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      jaxckclee lm 5 months ago

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      Doc Snow 5 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Going to address your points in reverse order.

      1) "Hope this doesn't happen here-"

      Apparently it didn't happen as described in Australia, either:

      https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/se...

      "One of the worst storms to hit South Australia in 50 years knocked out 22 high-voltage power pylons. The lines on those pylons carry electricity generated near Port Augusta to the rest of the state.

      "When they went down, a cascade of automatic safety switches appear to have been flipped, in order to protect the rest of the SA power network – and indeed the rest of the National Electricity Market…

      "What did wind power have to do with it? Nothing. [Politicians] Nick Xenophon, Barnaby Joyce and others have been out blaming wind power for the blackout. But it is simply not true.

      "Just before the blackout occurred, windfarms were producing about half the state’s electricity demand – they were not shut down as a result of the high winds. And ElectraNet, the owner of the downed high-voltage lines, made clear the blackout was caused by the storm damage to their network."

      2) I'm familiar with the case of France, which currently generates 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy. (The lower figure you give reflects the fraction of total energy use, which of course is smaller.) However, far from being a model that the rest of the world can follow today, the rapid build up of nuclear power in France in the 70s and 80s can't even be replicated in today's France.

      "More than fifty reactors were built in less than twenty years. This impressive result was obtained for several reasons:

      – Only one operator making the important decisions and applying one policy;

      – The choice of a single technology, PWRs, and the decision to benefit of a serial effect by ordering lots of similar units and keeping them similar all along the construction and operation;

      – A Safety Authority delivering decisions on time on the basis of a huge amount of technical work including the review of all the similar studies done in the US.

      – A financing mostly done by loans from the world market with a guarantee of the French government.

      "• None of these conditions can be considered today…"

      http://www.jaea.go.jp/04/turuga/center/intl/img/B-...

      (And in point of fact, current French energy policy calls for reducing reliance on nuclear generation.)

      I must say as a side note that the 'conditions' described are pretty much the antithesis of a free market approach such as you would approve of; it was very much a 'command style' thing, with government firmly in charge at every turn. So, you might want to be careful what you wish for here.

      3) "It comes down to why we choose to puff up solar and wind... when an alternative energy source is available? Have you really consider this?"

      Nice pun. But let me illuminate the answer: renewables are cheaper, do not have the problems of long-term toxic waste storage or the potential for large-scale catastrophic failure such as we saw at Fukushima. Above all in this context, they are much quicker to build. Yes, they are extremely energy dense. But I don't agree that that is a very meaningful measure of 'efficiency' in most applications. (Though it's important for naval vessels.)

      Sadly, perhaps, you are not correct in asserting that "...we could make this a non issue in 10 years. We can build nuclear power plants all over the country and the world." We don't have the political will, the financing, or a sufficient skilled workforce (as far as I can tell--nobody seems to want to talk about this need--but see the description of the workforce for the Plant Vogtle expansion currently underway near me).

      http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2016-04-15...

      "There are currently 5,500 construction workers at the site, which has been called the largest construction project in Georgia. About 3,300 of those are people with special crafts, such as the precision welding so critical to a nuclear power plant.

      "“You’ll see those numbers go up,” McKinney said. “I think it will be a challenge for our contractor because as we continue to increase our productivity at the site, we’ve got to have more people.”

      "Delays early in the project have left it three years behind schedule and with an ambitious plan for completion of more than half of the work remaining.

      "The quality of the crafts people has been instrumental in maintaining site safety and avoiding citations from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, McKinney said.

      "One reason the contractor, Wes­ting­house, has been able to attract top-notch workers, he said, is because building America’s first commercial reactor in a generation is on par with assembling rockets as far as being a major career accomplishment."

      Be that as it may, Vogtle is projected to take 13 years from early permitting to completion (2006-2019). And that's a modern modular design, as the story notes. Chinese reactors--and China is one of the nations building the most new nuclear capacity--aren't coming online all that much more rapidly. They are probably the closest thing to the model of 70s-80s France.

      http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/c...

      "Following the Fukushima accident and consequent pause in approvals for new plants, the target adopted by the State Council in October 2012 became 60 GWe by 2020, with 30 GWe under construction. In 2015 the target for nuclear capacity on line in 2030 was 150 GWe, providing almost 10% of electricity, and 240 GWe in 2050 providing 15%. However the post-Fukushima slowdown may mean that the 2030 figure is only about 120 GWe. These have reduced the targets from before the Fukushima accident of having over 80 GWe (6%) of installed capacity by 2020, and a further increase to more than 200 GW (16%) by 2030, as agreed in the 22 March 2006 government "Long-term development plan for nuclear power industry from 2005 to 2020". The State Council Research Office (SCRO) has recommended that China aim for no more than 100 GW before 2020 (built and building), in order to avoid a shortfall of fuel, equipment and qualified plant workers. It expressed concern that China is building several dozen more Generation 2 reactors, and recommended shifting faster to Generation 3 designs such as the AP1000.

      "Following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, China froze new plant approvals, followed by a slow down in the programme. No new approvals were made during 2014. In 2015 the EPR and AP1000 builds were reported to be running over two years late, mainly due to key component delays and project management issues. However these delays do not necessarily put the overall programme to 2030 in doubt.

      "In September 2015 State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation president, Zhongtang Wang, stated that by the end of 2015, China would have 53 nuclear power units operating or under construction, and this should reach 88 by the end of 2020."

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Chi...

      As I said, nuclear power will have a role in the future. But it's no silver bullet.

      One final point. You ask "Why are the UN and the IPCC and climate scientists not pushing this obvious solution?"

      Let me remind you that the IPCC has no mandate to 'push' *any* solution--and they don't. Not renewables, not nuclear, not lifestyle adaptation. It's quite simply not their remit, and you will search Assessment Reports in vain for policy recommendations.

      As I showed in the previously linked video, some climate scientists *do* in fact push for nuclear--and Hansen, Wigley and Caldeira are about as high-profile as any climate scientist. Others, of course, disagree with them for various reasons, including the ones I've given above.

      As for the UN, it does not dictate policy to its member states--they decide what to do. So it is with the Paris Accord.

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      Doc Snow 5 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Interesting that WUWT completely ignored the weather picture in the SA blackout story:

      http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia...

      I realize that they don't think that extreme weather happens any more… ;-)

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      Jack Lee 5 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Thanks for the long response. It will take me some time to digest. With regard to extreme weather, I would ask you to go back 100 years and look at our historical records. The extreme weather we experience today is no more or less than what happened all through history. We are just better at predicting and reporting on them...

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      Jack Lee 5 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I am going to attend a talk at the Lamont Dougherty Observatory this afternnon. Here is the speaker and topic.

      http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/u...

      I'll let you know how it goes. It should be interesting to hear from a climate scientist.

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      Doc Snow 5 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "I would ask you to go back 100 years and look at our historical records. The extreme weather we experience today is no more or less than what happened all through history."

      In some cases--such as tornados--that is true, or probably so. In others--such as extreme precipitation and heatwave frequency and intensity--it is clearly not. And in a third group of instances--hurricanes come to mind here--the information we have is inconclusive.

      Enjoy the talk. I hope it's illuminating.

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      Jack Lee 5 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, It was a very interesting talk. I made a request for his slides. If I get it, I will send it to you.

      To summarize, his study was on a specific period of 100000 years about 23 million years ago. From the fossil records taken from a specific spot in New Zealand. His focus was to study the correlation between increased CO2 activity as it relates to ice accumulation in glaciers. By studying the leaves of the deposits, he could determine the CO2 levels over that period. The surprise finding is that CO2 went from 450ppm to 1150ppm and then fell back to 510ppm over that 100000 years. This seems odd in the long history of our planet... When I asked if he had any insight as to what caused the sudden increase and later the fall of co2 concentration, he did not seem to know but attributed it to changes in the ocean...but agreed it was a natural event. I was amazed at the fact that this took place millions of years ago due to natural causes and yet we did not have a runaway greenhouse effect. Anyway, it goes to confirm my theory that these climate scientists gets funded to study these very minutia details and try to demonstrate a correlation with what is going on today. Yet, they miss the bigger question that they should be answering...

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      Doc Snow 5 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Thanks for the brief report, Jack.

      But I think that your comment that "they miss the bigger question that they should be answering…" is itself a miss, for a couple of reasons. One is that the science is necessarily pretty granular. One needs to focus in pretty closely to even get a project like this one done at all given the volume of work to be done, and one also needs that close focus to be able to master all the knowledge that you need to even have the appropriate context for such a study. Second, it's through *many* such research projects that people will be able to get at 'the big picture.'

      On another facet, if you are thinking that the danger we face is that of a 'runaway greenhouse effect', then you are mistaking what the science has been saying. There is virtually no danger of a 'runaway':

      "On the Earth, the IPCC states that "a 'runaway greenhouse effect'—analogous to [that of] Venus—appears to have virtually no chance of being induced by anthropogenic activities.""

      That is because:

      "Positive feedbacks do not have to lead to a runaway effect, as the gain is not always sufficient. A strong negative feedback always exists (radiation from a planet increases in proportion to the fourth power of temperature, in accordance with the Stefan-Boltzmann law) so the positive feedback effect has to be very strong to cause a runaway effect (see gain). An increase in temperature from greenhouse gases leading to increased water vapor (which is itself a greenhouse gas) causing further warming is a positive feedback, but not a runaway effect, on Earth. Positive feedback effects are common (e.g. ice-albedo feedback) but runaway effects do not necessarily emerge from their presence."

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runaway_greenhouse_e...

      So, the fact that there wasn't a runaway greenhouse then is no surprise.

      However, the fact that greenhouse gas burdens will decline again, eventually, does not mean that we have nothing to worry about. In past (natural) warming events, we can see massive extinctions in the fossil record, including long-lived biological impoverishment. That is why many folks say that avoiding the worst climate change isn't about 'saving the planet', because the planet (including the biosphere writ large) will ultimately be just fine.

      However, human society is much, much more vulnerable.

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      Jack Lee 5 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc,

      You are making my point. Natural effects of climate change is there ever present. It has caused vast variations of our climate in the past and will in the future. What makes man think that we can affect it one way or another to the great extent of overiding the natiral cycle. If we have a better understanding of the total combined effects of all factors, perhaps we can deal with the specifics of target adjustments and mitigation by adapting as our ancestors have done.

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      Doc Snow 5 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "What makes man think that we can affect it one way or another to the great extent of overiding the natiral cycle."

      Well, the fact that we *should* be in a 'cooling' part of the cycle--and were, until the Industrial Revolution kicked in--but instead are experiencing highly unusual rates of warming, for one.

      And for two, the fact that this was predicted by well-understood physical theory.

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      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Looking at the recent 'supermoon' one night, it occurred it me that that meant a King Tide. How would seaboard cities, especially the Miami area, fare? This kind of sums it up, I think:

      http://www.citylab.com/weather/2016/10/sea-level-r...

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      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, I thought you would be interested in this article because you have an ongoing interest in natural variability, and particularly the solar cycle. It also goes into a prominent instance of a (failed) prediction based on solar trends.

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2016...

      Also note the last graph: it goes directly to the question at the beginning of this article.

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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, thanks for the reference. I will check it out.

      I have noticed a strange dichotomy in the scientific community. On one hand, they claim we are changing our envionmemt in a big way with climate change. On the other, they say the earth has a natural cycle of warming and ice ages...

      In recent times, they are proposing terra farming of Mars... to make it hospitable to life.

      So what is it that they really belief? Should man do nothing to our earth and allow the natural cycles to take place? Or should we be proactive and change our environent and habitat for the better? Including colonizing other planets?

      It is a philosophic question? What is the role of man when it comes to our global environment?

      Here is where I come down. I believe we can't affect things in a global way for the time being. And perhaps never. I am talking about the really big changes such as continental drift and super volcanos and giant asteriods...and yes even global warming. It is arrogance that man thinks he has control over his destiny when in reality, we are just here in an instance by the grace of God.

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      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "On one hand, they claim we are changing our envionmemt in a big way with climate change. On the other, they say the earth has a natural cycle of warming and ice ages."

      There's nothing contradictory about these ideas. And in fact, both are true, according to the best information science has to offer.

      Let's consider a medical analogy. There is a daily cycle in human body temperature:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_body_temperatu...

      However, that does not mean that various interventions cannot affect temperature:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_body_temperatu...

      The article doesn't mention it, but some medications and recreational drugs can and do affect body temperature, even to the point of inducing death:

      https://www.promises.com/articles/abused-drugs/sti...

      Similarly, the Earth can and does experience glacial cycling while still being affected by artificially increased CO2 levels. (And in fact, CO2 greenhouse warming/cooling is believed to be a necessary component of the glacial cycling over the Quarternary.)

      "It is arrogance that man thinks he has control over his destiny when in reality, we are just here in an instance by the grace of God."

      That's a strawman argument, because to say that 'man has control over his destiny' is not at all an equivalent statement to 'man can create serious adverse effects in the global environment.' I don't believe the first statement, but the second is at present a matter of record. It can't be rationally disputed:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_impact_on_the_...

      Climate change is a salient example, but very far from the only one.

      I'd only add that, far from those who point out human impacts on the environment being guilty of 'arrogance', those who deny them are guilty of pernicious false humility--and (pretty much by definition) irresponsibility.

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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, what if our use of fossil fuel is part of the "grand design"... who is to say it was our destiny to harness the earth's natural resources to improve our circumstance and bridge to the next frontier? If you look at history on a grand scale, at every point of planetary evolution, things happened that lead us to this point. The dying of the dinasaurs... the rise of mammals, the invention of electricity and nuclear power...

      I come back to my main argument of scale. The earth is huge. We are tiny in comparison. It was estimated by scientists a while back that all man made creations can be fitted into a cube of 300 miles on each side. Compare that to the size of the earth.

      I say scientists are conflicted because they want to stop human contribution to global warming, and yet are perfectly fine with allowing the earth to enter ice ages as a normal cycle. The damage to humanity would be many magnitudes if the next ice age comes and we are unprepared to deal with them. The question is still what is the scale? Both in term of magnitude and time frame. What if, in the future, we are able to construct a global bubble and create an artificial environment where we have absolute control over temperature and conditions? Is it even a plausible viability? Interesting exercise in thinking out of the box...

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      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "I say scientists are conflicted because they want to stop human contribution to global warming, and yet are perfectly fine with allowing the earth to enter ice ages as a normal cycle."

      Jack, are you not aware of the characteristic time scales involved? In the case of climate change, we are going to be suffering serious damage by mid-century, and if we don't get our act together and mitigate emissions in just a few short years, we'll be on the road to something altogether too much like hell on earth for anyone's comfort. In the case of natural glacial cycles, glacial onset can take tens of thousands of years--lots of time for us to take action, after just the sort of deliberative process you advocate in the case of anthropogenic warming.

      In short, scientists are worried about global warming because it is an immediate threat, and not worried about the next glaciation because it isn't.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacial_period#Quate...

      "I come back to my main argument of scale. The earth is huge. We are tiny in comparison. It was estimated by scientists a while back that all man made creations can be fitted into a cube of 300 miles on each side. Compare that to the size of the earth."

      I don't mean to be snarky, but that isn't even an argument. Granted that "all man made creations" are much less massive than the earth, so what? A fatal botulism attack produces toxins far less massive than your body, too. Ditto the venom of any number of snakes, plutonium, or even an air bubble in your bloodstream. Relative mass is totally meaningless.

      "...what if our use of fossil fuel is part of the "grand design""

      What if the "grand design" calls for us to consciously decide when we've burnt enough of it?

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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I was hinting at Neil deGrasse Tyson and his support for terra farming of Mars as a long term mitigation of climate change on Earth. The effort and resources needed to pull that off will require a large amount of fossil fuel. However it happened, we were give these rich resources of energy to be used for our progress and development. Would you deny them to people in the third world? Who need them to survive?

      Where does one draw the line. Ok to use fossil fuel to expand our interstellar expansion, not ok to burn coal to heat homes and generate cheap electricity...

      In macro economics, you need to weight these competing goals and see what makes the most sense. Your analogy of virus does not fit the discussion when it comes to our Earth. I am talking about the physics of very large masses. Even if you could generate a large amount of heat, it will take centuries to melt all the ice in Antarctica. That is one example. I can cite many. The reason it takes 100 thousand years for glaciers to form and dissipate is the same principle. It is like moving the titanic... it cannot turn on a dime.

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      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Terraforming Mars, if it ever happens, won't be done with fossil fuel, it'll be done with solar power. ('Cause there is no fossil fuel on Mars, but there is solar power.) As to rocket fuel, it need not be carbon-based; several current systems use LOX and hydrogen:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_propellant#Cu...

      "I am talking about the physics of very large masses. Even if you could generate a large amount of heat, it will take centuries to melt all the ice in Antarctica. "

      Again, that's irrelevant. The greenhouse effect doesn't work by 'generating heat'; it works by slowing cooling, thus allowing the VERY large amount of heat continuously produced by solar radiation to exceed that cooling rate.

      And it's ludicrous to make the final melting of all Antarctic ice your milestone; yes, that will take centuries, but in the meantime (presuming that is the kind of temperature trajectory we realize) agriculture will have been made very much less productive and consistent; some areas of the planet will be periodically too hot for humans to survive outside for periods of a few hours or more; sea level rise will have obliterated all our coastal cities; the seas will have become significantly more acidic, adding a further deadly challenge to the human impacts of over-fishing, toxic and plastic pollution, and warming; ecosystems will have been disrupted on a global scale, inducing a crippling cascade of species extinctions; and millions of humans will be displaced, with the entirely predictable consequence of military conflict. (Cf., Syria today; that conflict was kicked off in part by just the sort of drought long predicted for the Middle East by climate modeling.)

      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/a-major-c...

      These are effects that do not take centuries; at the rate of warming we see now, some take just decades. And we're already decades into the process--which is why the 'score' of predictions to date was as high as it was in this Hub.

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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Colonizing Mars will take tremendous efforts and resources. I was not referring only to the rocket fuel... Every item needed to create a Mars station will have some carbon foot print. Keeping the international space staion online requires tremendous efforts...

      Think about all the items, food, oxygen, water... all needs fossil fuel at some time to create and prep and ship and that's only to orbit. Imagine the efforts to send to Mars with supplies for perhaps years...

      I am not against these efforts but I am just pointing out the choices some people are willing to make.

      I guess we will have to disagree on the size of the Earth and the time scale needed to make the drastic changes we are discussing here. 100 years can be a blip in cosmic time or it can be a long time for humans to plan and adapt. I prefer to think if climate change is going to be an impact, we have the time and the resources to deal with it. No need to scare kids into thinking the world will end.

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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I create a hub recently. You might find it nostalgic.

      https://hubpages.com/technology/Transient-Technolo...

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      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "Every item needed to create a Mars station will have some carbon foot print."

      Not if we have created a sustainable energy economy. However large the putative Martian effort, it will by basic logic be a relatively small subset of the world economy, which the objective is to decarbonize.

      "I guess we will have to disagree on the size of the Earth and the time scale needed to make the drastic changes we are discussing here."

      Well, I can't force you to think this or that. However, I would point out that at the outset of this process you made a commitment:

      "I will make a pledge to you.

      You ask me what it would take to be convinced.

      If the items in the forecast for 2015 and 2020 comes true as they projected, I will be convinced."

      Prior to that, you had stated:

      "...the one evidence I need is for the various climate models to agree with reality. There projections has consistently over estimated the temperature rise."

      I've shown that many of the projections have "come true" in whole or in part, and that yes, temperature observations are in very reasonable agreement with model predictions. (Of course, this installment of comments between us was sparked by an update displaying such an agreement.) And you haven't addressed any of the substantive points I just made at all. At what point does refusal to consider the evidence become a violation of your promise to me?

      "I prefer to think if climate change is going to be an impact, we have the time and the resources to deal with it. No need to scare kids into thinking the world will end."

      It's not about scaring the kids, or even us. It's about looking at reality honestly, and making choices that are best for us and especially for them. The world won't end; paleoclimate studies show that even the most deadly episodes of warming did not end life, though they impoverished it for millions of years:

      http://phys.org/news/2015-09-siberian-culprit-end-...

      But, please, please, please note that the laws of physics, meteorology and biology don't give a tinker's damn about what you, or I, "prefer to think." I'd "prefer to think" that we have nothing to worry about, too. But that is not what an honest look at our situation shows.

      I will not disengage from this process. I like you on a personal basis, and think that the ongoing conversation has merit. But I must confess to real disappointment with the tenor of your responses of late. More and more, they have tended to the 'agree to disagree' line you adopted above. Certainly in this life, we must all do just that from time to time. But if that's all there ever is, then there is no real engagement, no real responsibility to the truth, no accountability and no real learning. No real relationship, either.

      I hope you will consider this earnestly and in the spirit that I write it. It's not just an intellectual game. It's a matter of survival, as I think I've demonstrated time and again. You say you disagree--but 'prefer to think' is not an argument, nor evidence toward one.

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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I hear you and I'll take your advice going forward. From my perspective, I have lost faith in our scientific community. They have lost me in their blind pursuit of this agenda. It is hard for one person to chase down real data and reach un-tainted pre-conclusion.

      I will use the present election process as an analogy.

      The news media and political pundits and pollsters for the most part believed that Hillary was going to be elected the next President of the US. As it turned out, they were wrong. Why you asked? The after analysis showed that these people who should know better did not look at a large segment of th population (middle america). They were living in their bubble of elite thinking. They knew better...and look down on the will of the people. The common sense things that most people hold dear, patriotism, individual freedom, security, sovereignty, free enterprise and fair play...

      The analogy if you will, between this and the science of climate change is this. The establishment already made up their minds about this a long time ago. All studies since have been placed on the emphasis of validating that theory rather than looking in all areas for answers. Thus, they missed some other explanation and moreover, rejects any disenting opinion and prevent them from publishing. The peer reviews are a joke. Thus, it has become a club of like minded people and consenses rather than true science.

      You are right, I have not been forth coming with counter actions to your detailed studies.

      It is not up to me to challenge them. No more that I to challenge the pollsters that Hillary is ahead of Trump...After all, they did the work. The problem is how they conducted the polls that are suspect. We all know public opinion can be skewed.

      I just hope the people doing the work knows what they are doing and not be swayed by the current mind set and the pursuit of public funding.

      In my many attendences of talks, I find it disturbing when these scientists fail to ask the basic question of even their own data results. It's almost like they have a blind spot. Anyway, it is just one lone voice in the wilderness.

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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, by the way, there is one more analogy to this election I should point out. It is directly related to how we got started on this debate. The results...

      If the results of the last 8 years of progressive policies had worked, the election of Hillary would have been a landslide. Don't you agree? She ran on being the third term of Obama...

      The actual results have been stagnant economy, high youth unemployment, record food stamp recipients, and record national debt and ISIS...

      The same goes with climate change. If the actual climate have been what they predicted, I would have no debate. Why there are still skeptics like me? You have to deal with that and ask your scientific community what went wrong? Introspection is good after an election loss of this magnitude, and the same should go with climate scientists.

      The big difference is a failed election is only temporary of 4 years. A failed climate change policy can cause damage for generations and affect millions of people around the world.

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      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Thanks for your responses, Jack. For some reason I didn't see a notification on them, so I apologize for a slow response.

      I won't comment on everything you said, as my responses already tend to be too long! However, I will respond to this paragraph:

      "The establishment already made up their minds about this a long time ago. All studies since have been placed on the emphasis of validating that theory rather than looking in all areas for answers. Thus, they missed some other explanation and moreover, rejects any disenting opinion and prevent them from publishing. The peer reviews are a joke. Thus, it has become a club of like minded people and consenses rather than true science."

      That's an accusation that you hear frequently enough from the contrarian side. However, there's certainly countervailing evidence to set against that accusation. I can think of at least 3 big instances off the top of my head, and there are probably many more less-prominent examples.

      1) The 'hurricane' debate--there was much back-and-forth about hurricane trends, with some like Kerry Emmanuel seeing more dramatic increases in frequency and strength in the data he studied, and others, like Chris Landsea saying, "Not so fast! What about global trends?" It got a bit nasty there for a while, as I recall at least, but things settled out in the middle, with Dr. Emmanuel's North Atlantic trends looking solid, but considered regional and not necessarily global in import, and the projection agreed that in the future we will probably see less frequent but more intense hurricanes as the century progresses.

      2) The drought controversy: in AR4, there was a projection of global increases in drought. But newer work focussed on the conflicting definitions and metrics used to define drought (for instance, it is differently defined in the contexts of meteorology, agriculture and hydrology). The result was that AR5 walked the conclusions back a bit, calling the relevant points in AR4 'probably overstated'.

      3) The current kerfuffle over the existence or not of a 'pause' in warming. IMO, it's mostly a question of definition, and a lot of the debate is fairly futile because its terms aren't consistently defined between the debaters. But it certainly shows that there isn't a 'team playbook', as some allege.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      An interesting survey, looking at economist's views on climate change. A plurality (42%) thinks economic damage is already being done, a majority thinks it will be by 2025, and nearly everybody (89%) think it will by mid-century. 56% think 'drastic action' is warranted.

      http://policyintegrity.org/files/publications/Expe...

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I have a problem when the two words are put together - experts and consensus. What experts? and what consensus?

      Experts predicted peak oil and prices skyrocketing... Oil is at $49 per bbl.

      Consensus is Hillary will win the 2016 election. She lost by landslide...

      Climate change is complicated. We need to address it carefully and deliberately and responsibly. Creating panic and scaring people will not work in the long run. Al Gore should learn a lesson by now. He needs to apologize for his transgressions, instead he seems to be doubling down.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "Experts predicted peak oil and prices skyrocketing... Oil is at $49 per bbl."

      As you say, which experts?

      "Consensus is Hillary will win the 2016 election. She lost by landslide..."

      In what world is that true? She won the popular vote by about 2%, or 2.6 million votes--which is pretty close to the poll average just prior to the vote:

      https://www.google.com/amp/www.ibtimes.com/latest-...

      "He needs to apologize for his transgressions, instead he seems to be doubling down."

      What 'transgressions?' AIT has been shown to be largely accurate. Mr. Gore's statements are generally thoughtful and well-researched.

      That's in stark contrast to the views of the President-elect and his EPA head, who is owned by the fossil-fuel lobby, heart, soul and gonads.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I don't want to digress but winning the popular vote is not how our election works. Do you know the reason for the electoral college? It was setup specifically to avoid popularism taking over our country. Please look it up and see the genius of this.

      With regard to Gore, he has exagerated the threat of climate change. His documentary "an inconvenient truth" has been discredited on many occasions. He has been responsible for the mass indictrination of a generation of students who believes that climate change is the biggest threat to our world.

      His carbon credits to fight climate change is a scam. It has made him lot of money but has done little to affect climate change.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Yes, I understand the Electoral College, but when a candidate loses the popular vote, he didn't win "by a landslide".

      WRT your next paragraph, I would say, "No, " "No, per the NAS," and "Educated, not indoctrinated." (And CC *is* the most serious threat facing us, so that educative effort is a damn good thing.)

      As to the investments in carbon credits, I'd be very interested to see an unbiased and scholarly look at their effects if any. It's often imagined by some that they 'must' be a scam, but it would, I think, be interesting to see just what projets were in fact carried out, and what the net effect was calculated to be.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      It appears Al Gore is making a follow up to his documentary in 2017. It would be interesting to see what new predictions he will make and for what time frame.

      I attended another talk yesterday at Lamont. The speaker was focusing on the impact on air quality and climate of burning of biomass around the globe. What caught my attention is that CO2 gas is NOT classified as a pollutant and the fact that despite the health hazzards of burning biomass, one effect on climate is that it contributes to some cooling of ambient temperatures.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "It appears Al Gore is making a follow up to his documentary in 2017. It would be interesting to see what new predictions he will make and for what time frame."

      It will also be interesting to see what he has to say about past projections and how they have turned out. CO2 has kept rising, temperature has kept rising, and, according to the reinsurance industry, weather-related disaster costs have kept rising. The Arctic sea ice has certainly kept shrinking--shockingly so, in fact--as have glaciers on a world-wide scale (though yes, there are a minority that are growing, generally due to increased local precipitation.) And speaking of precipitation, there's been an observed trend of increased extremes, particularly in North America, where the early data is the best, allowing for sufficiently long records to be able to detect trends. Shouldn't forget those long-predicted regional droughts in the American Southwest and the Middle East. I could go on, but fear to become tedious.

      "I attended another talk yesterday at Lamont. The speaker was focusing on the impact on air quality and climate of burning of biomass around the globe."

      I envy you the opportunity to do that. It's great that you take advantage.

      "What caught my attention is that CO2 gas is NOT classified as a pollutant…"

      By whom? It certainly is by current US law, and meets many dictionary definitions. I'm not disputing that whether someone so classed it for their particular purpose, but I would question the apparent assumption here that their choice is somehow definitive.

      BLOCKQUOTE:

      Pollutant: A substance or condition that contaminates air, water, or soil. Pollutants can be artificial substances, such as pesticides and PCBs, or naturally occurring substances, such as oil or carbon dioxide, that occur in harmful concentrations in a given environment. Heat transmitted to natural waterways through warm-water discharge from power plants and uncontained radioactivity from nuclear wastes are also considered pollutants.

      The American Heritage® Science Dictionary

      Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.

      (END BLOCKQUOTE)

      I'd also note that nitrogen, which is no more toxic than CO2--I say that without checking at which exact levels and conditions each can kill you, as in both cases the conditions are blessedly unusual--and which makes up nearly 80% of the atmosphere by mass, can be a pollutant when it over-fertilizes certain ecosystems, particularly bodies of water. It, too, is regulated as such in many countries.

      "...and the fact that despite the health hazzards of burning biomass, one effect on climate is that it contributes to some cooling of ambient temperatures."

      Yes, aerosols are a pretty big deal in climate studies, and not just ones from biomass burning--fossil fuel burning creates them, too. And the effects can be opposite--sulfuric acid aerosols are well-accepted as having been a principal cause of the 1960s cooling which kicked off the media 'cooling flap' some folks like to cite as evidence of scientific changeability, but 'black carbon' can and does warm, notably when deposited on snow or ice and exposed to the sun. (I expect you heard something about that in the talk?) It depends upon the size and composition of the emitted particles, I gather.

      You may be interested in the what AR5 has to say about clouds and aerosols in Chapter 7 of the Working Group I Report. (WG 1 is the primary report, with WGs 2 & 3 reporting on impacts and potential adaptive and mitigative responses, respectively.) As you will see if you pursue the link, there are still a lot of, as you put it in an earlier comment, 'tough questions' being asked and answered in the research with regard to clouds and aerosols--bluntly, there's still a lot of uncertainty, still a lot of scientific work to do, though progress has been and continues to be made.

      https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/...

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Intersting, I will look into it. Another piece I learned at this talk is - uncertainty. She has stated from the outset that the effects from biomass burning are long reaching and they are still in the very early stages. The uncertainty is part of it. It is refreshing to hear one scintist who shows some humility. Unlike Al Gore, who is not a scientist, but claims with certainty that the debate of global warming is settled...

      While we are discissing this, it is ironic that the whole country is experiencing a deep freeze at the moment due to polar vortex...whatever that is... To me, it is just weather which has been happening for as long as I can remember. We've had extreme weather since the 1960s, growing up in NYC. Both hot and cold...

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      "Unlike Al Gore, who is not a scientist, but claims with certainty that the debate of global warming is settled…"

      Different levels of discourse. Detailed, quantitative studies of something very granular subjects (biomass burning) are one thing. The 'big picture' conceptual frame (observed warming trend is due to human actions) is quite another.

      The latter may sound harder to figure out, when you phrase it like that, but the 'big picture' on climate change now is formed by intersecting lines of evidence from many different disciplines. Consequently, overturning it wholesale would require revolutions in many or even most of them. While possible in principle, that's highly unlikely in reality. It's in that perspective that the 'science is settled' meme needs to be understood.

      Well, that and the fact that Mr. Gore is trying to bring about social change within the political process. Hence he must use messaging styles appropriate to that milieu, not scientific language appropriate to scientific journals (or even press releases.)

      "We've had extreme weather since the 1960s, growing up in NYC. Both hot and cold…"

      Of course, and we'll continue to do so. But it's rather telling that the current rather unexceptional cold snap is being talked up by contrarians who completely ignored the last 3 years, or downplayed them. Almost as if they were feeling a little desperate...

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I am just pointing out the obvious. People seems to have a short memory. We've always had extreme weather one way or another. The problem with exaggerating your case is that when it doesn't happen as projected, you loose your audience and your credibility.

      I am not desperate in any shape or form. The people desperate are the climate alarmist and the people in government agencies such as the EPA and Nasa and NOAA. The election of Trump have driven them over the wall. They can't comprehend how a climate skeptic could be elected President. Perhaps, it is because of President Obama, who claimed climate change is the biggest threat...

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      I didn't say you were desperate, Jack; I said those are who have seized on a fairly normal US cold snap--one not even qualifying, from what I've seen so far, as 'extreme'--after ignoring much more remarkable immediate weather history seem pretty desperate to try to make a case that is really not viable.

      On the 'immediate history,' by the way, I've been looking at the wildfire outbreak here in the Southeast; I may do a Hub about it. A lot of people have remarked on how unusual it is: the air quality impacts in Atlanta, which I experienced directly, the acreage burnt and money spent in a normally pretty wet part of the country, and above all the terrible losses in Gatlinburg. As usual in the real world, a lot of factors came into play, but this is definitely one of them--the warmest US autumn on record:

      http://www.noaa.gov/news/us-had-its-warmest-autumn...

      "The people desperate are the climate alarmist and the people in government agencies such as the EPA and Nasa and NOAA."

      Yes, probably. They should be; the President-elect's nominations and appointments signal that he will be putting the foxes, the shills and tools of fossil fuel interests, in charge of policy. And of course there will be massive budget cuts, because the Republican party collectively wants to shove all of our heads deep into the sand on this issue. They don't want to know, and they don't want the country to know.

      And yes, I am desperate on this. It's reckless endangerment, pure and simple. You and I will probably escape through natural deaths before things get really, really, bad, but this election has been a horrible disaster for our children, grandchildren and generations to come. Just when there was some hope of adequate climate action, a minority of US voters brought in a climate denialist's dream.

      You may call us 'alarmists.' But we have reason for our alarm, good reason. And, since you've been making predictions for the next ten years, let me make a few.

      --There will be very serious political instability during the Trump administration. Far from uniting the country, as he promised, Mr. Trump will exacerbate American divisions.

      --America will be more isolated and less respected on the world stage. China will increasingly be seen as the global leader. (This may not apply to the whole ten year period.)

      --The next ten years will be comfortably--and I use that term with double meaning and deliberate irony--warmer than the previous ten.

      --In three years, we'll be able to say definitively that the 10s were 'comfortably warmer' than the 00s, despite solar cycles or putative 'slowdowns' in warming.

      --The next ten years will also see at least one new low record minimum for Arctic sea ice, quite likely before 2020.

      --Extreme precipitation events and flash flooding will continue the observed increase.

      --Climate refugee numbers will continue to increase, though often the proximate cause will be, as in the Syrian case, war or political instability.

      --Global costs of climate-related disaster will continue to climb.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, that is good. I hope you wouldn't mind if I add your predictions to my hub just for contrast.

      The climate change and global warming has always been one sided. They fail to mention some people around the world will actually benefit from a warming climate especially those in the colder regions. There will be a shift in agriculture as it has been in the distant past as it will in the future. That is the nature of climate...

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      No, feel free. I may do something on my side with this, too, but we'll see.

      "The climate change and global warming has always been one sided. They fail to mention some people around the world will actually benefit from a warming climate especially those in the colder regions."

      I'd disagree. Right through to Callendar (1938), it was completely assumed that warming would, if anything, be good. And since the dangers began to be recognized, there has been recognition that there would be benefits for some, especially in the early stages of things. I'm really busy right now, or I'd quote you some IPCC on that, but look for yourself if you like.

      "There will be a shift in agriculture as it has been in the distant past as it will in the future."

      All I can say there is, "shift" doesn't begin to cover it!

      Hope you enjoy the holidays.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Why don't you research whether they hold up? That will be much more convincing than if I just feed you my POV.

      Short version, though: some have some validity, some are pretty much bogus--notably the idea that there will be more land available for agriculture. (The growing season in poleward areas isn't the biggest bar to agriculture; the lack of arable soil due to glaciation is a much more serious constraint.)

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, you realize why they named Greenland. It used to be green and fertile.

      In the past, when the earth was warmer...

      "Scientists who probed 2 km (1.2 mi) through a Greenland glacier to recover the oldest plant DNA on record said that the planet was far warmer hundreds of thousands of years ago than is generally believed. DNA of trees, plants, and insects including butterflies and spiders from beneath the southern Greenland glacier was estimated to date to 450,000 to 900,000 years ago, according to the remnants retrieved from this long-vanished boreal forest. That view contrasts sharply with the prevailing one that a lush forest of this kind could not have existed in Greenland any later than 2.4 million years ago. These DNA samples suggest that the temperature probably reached 10 °C (50 °F) in the summer and −17 °C (1.4 °F) in the winter. They also indicate that during the last interglacial period, 130,000–116,000 years ago, when local temperatures were on average 5 °C (9 °F) higher than now, the glaciers on Greenland did not completely melt away."

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Interesting, and a new result which "contrasts sharply with the prevailing one." So you can't take it as the last word.

      But it doesn't matter; for practical purposes it doesn't contradict my point in the slightest. You can form lots of new topsoil over say, ten thousand years. But that is of no practical help to farmers in the interim.

      In the long run, the planet will be just fine, even if we do our worst. Biodiversity will eventually regenerate, just as it did after past extinctions. (Though 'eventually' sometimes meant as much as a couple of million years. But humans may not be, and that goes double (or more) for our cultural heritage.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      So the argument is really with the time scale... If scientists can determine how fast or slow ice melts on a global scale, then we will have a better handle of how best to mitigate it. For example, if it is decades, we may need to act with urgency, if it is on the order of 100 years, we have time to relocated or better technology...if however, it is on the order of 1000 years, then my inclination is that there is little we can do that will make any dent. Don't you agree on this point? A lot can happen in 1000 years...just look back 1000 years in 1916 what have we done...

      The number one issue for climate scientists right now should be to determine the rate of change or in math term, the slope. If it is steep like Al Gore belief in his documentary, then we are screwed. If it is a slow incline, it is not a big deal.

      Why are they not focusing on this? I'll let you figure that out. $$$$

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Yes, time scale is vitally important.

      "Why are they not focusing on this?"

      There's been a lot of focus on this, IMO. Each and every IPCC Assessment Report, for example, projects impacts over defined time scales, as best as can be done. It's particularly critical with biological impacts, where it's virtually a cliche that the observed speed of warming is very challenging for organisms and ecosystems to adapt to.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      South Australia is taking a step forward into distributed, responsive energy storage--well, two, actually:

      https://cleantechnica.com/2016/12/17/worlds-larges...

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Very interesting. According to the announcement, it cost $3800 for the homeowner to buy these battery units. Do you think this is economically viable? How often will they need to be replaced? In my car, a battery only last 5 years or so...

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      And globally, renewable energy continues to push down costs, increase deployments, and generally become more competitive with conventional generation. A nuanced report:

      https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-...

      https://www.lazard.com/media/438037/lazard-lcoe-10...

      Bloomberg's take on the Lazard report:

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-17...

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      doc, I have no poblem with renewable energy as long as it is unsubsidized by tax payers. When the cost come down enough to be competitive, I will buy into it. For ceretain applications and regions, solar and wind is perfectly fine. It is not going to be effective for all energy replacements. That is why I predict fossil fuel will be around a very long time.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, it remains to be seen how long the Powerwall will last in practice, since it is still a new product, but Tesla warranties it for 10 years.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      A really interesting video on sea level rise in Maryland. I think you may enjoy it; there's a wide-ranging discussion of the natural and human-induced effects driving SLR there. IMO, this is the sort of effort we should see in more jurisdictions. What's the good of having science if you don't use it?

      https://youtu.be/RCc3C89qxOM

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      …And another wind power milestone, this one from the heartland of the good 'ol USA:

      https://cleantechnica.com/2016/12/21/wind-energy-b...

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      Jack Lee 2 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, just want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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      Doc Snow 2 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Thank you, we have been having one, and wish you the same!

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      Doc Snow 2 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      A nice fleet-size electric bus order in the US--a welcome milestone as electric transportation continues to make progress.

      https://cleantechnica.com/2017/01/16/king-county-m...

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      Jack Lee 2 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I hope these buses will work better than the ones NYC got years ago. I remember they got a fleet of hybrid buses and after a few years of use, they were costing more to service and were abandoned. Another failed experiment...on the road to climate change.

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      Doc Snow 2 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      The ones in pilot projects have worked very well. That's why King County now has the confidence to proceed with wider deployment. And in terms of hybrids versus pure electrics, the latter have an edge over the former, and even over ICE technologies, because the part counts are significantly lower. Of course that's not the only factor at play, but it is a real one.

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