The Good News: Less Energy to Create More Prosperity

October 14, 2013

Grist:

America’s population and economy are both growing, yet its energy appetite is falling. That’s because of substantial energy-efficiency gains made in recent decades.

Those gains are helping the country reduce oil imports, save money on power bills, and move toward meeting agoal set by President Obama of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent between 2005 and 2020.

The news is laid out in a Natural Resources Defense Council report cheerily titled America’s (Amazingly) Good Energy News [PDF]:

[O]ver the past 40 years Americans have found so many innovative ways to save energy that we have more than doubled the economic productivity of the oil that runs our vehicles and the natural gas and electricity that runs almost everything else. Factories and businesses are producing substantially more products and value with less energy. …

[B]ecause increasing efficiency is far less costly than adding other energy resources like fossil fuels, this is saving the nation hundreds of billions of dollars annually, helping U.S. workers and companies compete worldwide, and making our country more energy-secure.

America’s energy use peaked in 2007 and has been falling ever since, the report says. Less energy was used by Americans last year than in 1999, despite 25 percent economic growth in the intervening years.

My video on efficiency, the first of two, is below. If you’re pressed, skip to 7.09 for the relevant punchline.

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81 Responses to “The Good News: Less Energy to Create More Prosperity”


  1. The thread has gone badly off topic. Decades ago, a claim was made that reduced electricity consumption would lead to the end of civilization as we know it, and that GNP versus electricity consumption curves proved it. Debunked. Along the way, something strange happened. Energy consumption flatlined and decreased. Could some be from recession? Sure. Here is a wake up call. Global warming is already here. We all thought it might be death, illness, and war that follows unrestrained growth. Yes, but that is not the biggest part of what has already happened. The ecological pressure of non-sustainability is driving the reduction of resource depletion. In China, pollution is choking growth. In Africa, disease and starvation. The effects of unrestrained growth and resource demands will reduce same by reducing both demand and population. It has to. Supply cannot keep up with exponential demand. It is already happening NOW. What do you think Katrina, Sandy, and the myriad of other global weather effects and the depletion of oil have done to the global economy? I guess that pretty well explains a recession doesn’t it? And the result? Less demand.
    Less growth. Less population. Or at least, less population that lives long and absorbs more resources.


  2. This is a reply to jimbills, re-parented for readability and in 2 parts due to length.

    But, really, any look at nuclear has to account for Chernobyl and Fukushima.

    Okay, let’s account for them.  Chernobyl was the consequence of an out-of-spec experiment in a graphite-moderated, water-cooled RMBK reactor.  Nobody will ever build another RMBK; we can forget about another Chernobyl.  The Fukushima Dai’ichi meltdowns occurred because some very early BWRs (designed by GE for other conditions) had their backup diesel generators flooded by a massive tsunami.  Current designs like the AP-1000 would be safe for days even without power.  Designs on the drawing board like S-PRISM and LEADIR would be safe indefinitely, but the US regulatory system is effectively set up to prevent them from being built here.

    The claims of long-term harm from these accidents are based on the Linear No-Threshold hypothesis, which is known to be wrong.

    Japan and Germany haven’t decided to drop nuclear out of the blue because of a 50-year misinformation campaign. They did it (at enormous cost) because of Fukushima.

    You had it right the first time:  Germany DID decide to drop nuclear due to disinformation.  Then Germany reversed the decision due to the cost of Russian gas and the total effort required to go fully “renewable” (if millions of tons of steel and concrete and machinery with a 20-year lifespan can really be renewable), and then re-reversed itself in the mistaken belief that plants on the Danube could be swamped by tsunamis and that Japan had actually suffered harm from radiation rather than hysterical reactions to mostly (or even totally) harmless levels of it.

    What Germany has achieved to date is the expenditure of enough money to make Germany’s grid as fossil-free as France, with rising coal dependency, rising carbon emissions, rising prices and no end in sight.  The laws of physics are unswayed by ideology and don’t care how humans vote.

    It doesn’t matter if no one has directly died from it (yet) – there are countless cases of radiation leakage, and the whole area is completely unusable for possibly generations.

    The exposure rates in even the most heavily-contaminated areas northwest of Fukushima are now safe just one meter off the ground; claims to the contrary are based on health models which are known to be wrong (see above link).  Those rates will decrease fairly rapidly as cesium and strontium wash downward into the soil, where their emissions are shielded (and the materials themselves decay, unlike chemical toxins).  The same is true of Ukraine; look up “Chernobyl babushkas” to open your eyes on that one (it opened mine).


  3. Part 2 of reply to jimbills (and sorry about the screwup in part 1).

    It’s pretty amazing to call Fukushima and Chernobyl “hype”.

    At one time it was amazing to hear someone say that witches didn’t exist.  Today you’ll see schizophrenic attitudes about radiation; the radon and dissolved uranium and radium in natural hot springs is “healthful”, but anything from a nuclear reactor is “deadly”… yet they come from exactly the same source material!  The aftermath of the Goiânia accident says otherwise; “the rate of cesium-137 related diseases are the same in Goiânia accident survivors as they are in the population at large.”  A study of the incident in Taiwan (see the NIH paper “Effects of Cobalt-60 Exposure on Health of Taiwan Residents Suggest New Approach Needed in Radiation Protection”) when steel was contaminated with cobalt-60 and incorporated into buildings says this:  “On the contrary, those who were exposed had lower incidences of cancer mortality and congenital malformations.”

    Yes, it’s amazing when you’ve been indoctrinated all your life that all radiation is deadly.  It was all disinformation (the link I gave you suggests the purpose behind it).  It is a late-20th-century superstition, and has no place any more.

    I’m against humans overdrawing on the environmental bank account – which we’re doing to a gross degree. I don’t really see nuclear in any form solving that.

    A reliable, decarbonized electric grid running on an energy source good for thousands of years does a lot to cut back on the check kiting.  If it’s cheaper than other energy sources (and nuclear electricity is far cheaper than petroleum) it can be used to shove them out of their existing niches, repaying even more of that overdraft.  The byproducts of nuclear energy are mostly harmless to the environment even in the worst case; Chernobyl’s exclusion zone has become a wildlife mecca.

    None of the above. I’d rather have no electricity of any kind – or maybe four solar panels to run a handful of light bulbs and a fan

    The production of solar panels relies on a large and varied industrial chain, from semiconductors to glass making to polymers to aluminum smelting and all the mining activities behind them.  Those activities share one trait:  they can’t be powered by solar panels.  Either you maintain and improve industrial civilization, or you collapse all the way back.  Going back to a pre-industrial world means a roughly 90% population collapse, and people will eat everything edible and burn anything they can find to stay alive along the way.  After the collapse of 1929, hungry people hunted the deer of the eastern US close to extinction within months.  Imagine the same thing world-wide, but going on for a couple of generations.  How far does THAT draw down the environmental bank account?

    I hear your complaints about modern culture, but… baby, bathwater, eh?

    • jimbills Says:

      EP – you spend a lot of time rationalizing and minimizing nuclear disaster, but whatever. I’ll just talk about the last part.

      You had an earlier comments about how many greens don’t really understand fossil fuels, or what they’ve done for us. I’d have to agree with this statement.

      We live in a world created and run on them. We cannot picture anything else because of them. 90% more people are alive today because of them. They are so integral to our current economy that our economy would collapse without them (they aren’t just electrical creation, but transport, agricultural fertilizer, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and they are in almost every manufactured product we currently create).

      When we first started exploiting them, we didn’t know they’d lead to such environmental problems (especially climate change). We didn’t know it would lead to massive booms in population.

      But they do, and they have. Energy creation is just ONE part of the picture – it’s also what energy does that is important. Energy funds our ability to over-exploit all other resources and it allows huge populations. Given time and any percentage of growth, this over-exploitation of the environment guarantees disaster. The balance will come due.

      I’m not pro-collapse. I’m anti-industrialization. We shouldn’t have started this process in the first place, or at least we should have regulated its excesses much more sharply. But we didn’t know.

      The baby in the bathwater, as you say, is a trap. We didn’t mean to create it, but we did. I really have no faith in technology when our problems are the result of technology. One type of technology carries with it many obstacles and problems, no matter what it is. We solve one problem with technology, and we find we have 20 more.

      My suggestion, to which I know no one is interested in (and I know which is fantasy), is that we drastically limit the material excesses of the Western world, extend basic comforts to the developing world, establish a true and faithful balance of accounts on resource use/pollution down to 10 generations, do this on a global cooperative level (as opposed to national basis), spread the change out over 50 years (the time limit I give before environmental issues really go critical), and become a LOT smarter about what technologies should and should not be used.

      Technology is a part of who we are. I don’t expect or ask that it goes away. But we really have to ask ourselves if certain technologies are really to our greater good, or not.

      If we don’t do these things, I only see disaster ahead for our species (and many others on the planet), but que sera, sera.


      • you spend a lot of time rationalizing and minimizing nuclear disaster

        WHAT nuclear disaster?  There was one at Chernobyl.  Three Mile Island was an industrial fiasco with no harm to anyone.  Fukushima was a natural disaster followed by a paranoia-driven panic, with a very small actual radiation threat.  You want to talk disasters?  Bhopal was a disaster.  3800 dead immediately, with a lot more dying of the aftereffects or just maimed for life.  Fukushima Dai’ichi, a disaster?  Nothing compared to Bhopal, not even a Chernobyl.

        Chernobyl pales next to the Banqiao and Shimantan dam failures.  171,000 dead right there.  Still pushing hydropower?

        But they do, and they have. Energy creation is just ONE part of the picture – it’s also what energy does that is important. Energy funds our ability to over-exploit all other resources and it allows huge populations. Given time and any percentage of growth, this over-exploitation of the environment guarantees disaster.

        You’re too old-school to grasp the full nature of the game-changers.
        1.  Most of the effect on the environment doesn’t come from energy use per se, but the collateral effects like effluents.  Nuclear energy affects tiny areas and emits almost nothing but a bit of heat (and we can reduce that).
        2.  Most nations able to make use of nuclear power do not have exploding populations, at least not from natural increase (the USA is being overwhelmed by legal and illegal immigration).  But those nations are the ones where most of the carbon emission is going on.  Fix things there, and much if not most of the problem is solved.  India may yet be an exception.

        I’m not pro-collapse. I’m anti-industrialization. We shouldn’t have started this process in the first place, or at least we should have regulated its excesses much more sharply. But we didn’t know.

        We don’t get to replay the game your way.  You can either find a way to wind down humanely, or reap both humanitarian and ecological disaster.  People will not lie down and die quietly; they’ll do anything to stay warm and fed, because they don’t care about tomorrow’s environment if they won’t be there for it.

        extend basic comforts to the developing world

        If that doesn’t include a one-child policy and zero emigration to the West, you’re not serious.

        spread the change out over 50 years

        I don’t think we have 50 years.  I suspect we have 20, at most.  France, at least, shows how we could nuclearize (and de-carbonize) electrical grids and a lot else in less than 20 years.  We have to start thinking about carbon removal, like converting all our random excess biomass to durable bio-char and storing it where it won’t burn.  Think of it as re-creating the coal beds we mined.  And it has to be something that can be done at a profit, because otherwise there won’t be any money to do it.

        It’s a tall order.  That means there’s no time to waste.  You with me, or not?

        • dumboldguy Says:

          “People will not lie down and die quietly; they’ll do anything to stay warm and fed, because they don’t care about tomorrow’s environment if they won’t be there for it”.

          That dovetails with the question some denier type once asked—–

          “What have future generations ever done for me?”

          • jimbills Says:

            Plus, EP’s argument there is a really a straw man. Again, I’m not arguing for collapse (although I do think we’re going to get it one way or another), I’m saying we need to dramatically lower material excesses in the West and extend basic comforts to the developing world.

            Everyone stays warm and comfortable. They still get their basic needs met, which will require a certain level of technology and energy creation (and yes, I’d prefer renewables) – but it would be a tiny fraction of what we currently use.

            Over time, we’d also need to reduce populations by lowering birth rates across the globe (a big reason why basic comforts are essential in the developing world) and aim for a world population no more than half what it is now.

            All of this is just imagination, of course. We gotta have our toys, and our tv(s), and out cars and RVs, and our bigger and bigger homes (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-F_HhxTPQ40c/Tj6bWAu5dCI/AAAAAAAAPjo/8QPrn_8-O8E/s1600/homes.jpg), and alls the power we need to run them.


          • That dovetails with the question some denier type once asked—–

            “What have future generations ever done for me?”

            You’re really living up to your screen name, because instead of admitting that the problem is real and doing something about it your first urge is to kill the messenger.

            Environmentalism is critical, but freezing and starving people have higher priorities.  In Greece, Golden Dawn at least has one idea right:  take all the immigrants from warm countries and send them back where they came from.

          • greenman3610 Says:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Dawn_(political_party)

            things grow ever clearer the more you post. That’s why I like an open door policy as much as possible.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Are you speaking to me, E-P? I presume you are, because of the snide comment about “living up to your screen name”. I am, after all, just a “dumb old guy” who is not enough of a renaissance man to lay claim to being an “engineer poet” or anything nearly as “lofty” as that, so maybe that’s why I’m having difficulty trying to figure out exactly what your point is?

            Please tell me what “messenger” I am killing. I was merely pointing out a somewhat ironical denier comment that illustrates one of the hurdles we face in dealing with the ever-increasing blight that is the human species on the planet.

            Some of us do indeed take the long view about the survival of the biosphere. I personally don’t give a rodent’s rear end whether man survives as a species—man has had his chance and looks to be headed for self-induced extinction, but he shouldn’t take all other living things with him as we “go Venus”.

            Some care for nothing but their place in the here and now (and I speak mainly of those in the developed world who have the luxury of NOT having to struggle for daily survival). It is interesting to see that many Greeks “turned animal” when they couldn’t afford to buy fuel, but I am also having difficulty seeing what the Greek Nazis (reborn) of Golden Dawn “got right”. Do immigrants cause global warming? Could you expand on that?


          • Please tell me what “messenger” I am killing. I was merely pointing out a somewhat ironical denier comment

            Which had no other relevant context, and came across as a sneer (“People are causing a real mess in their desperation to keep warm” / “What have future generations ever done for me?”).  If it wasn’t meant that way, I apologize for the misunderstanding.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            “People will not lie down and die quietly; they’ll do anything to stay warm and fed, because they don’t care about tomorrow’s environment if they won’t be there for it”.

            That dovetails with the question some denier type once asked—–“What have future generations ever done for me?”

            Perhaps I wasn’t clear—I was responding to the first sentence, i.e., “people will do anything to…” (meet their needs, even if it damages the future survival of the biosphere), because their needs are in the here and now and are a matter of immediate survival—all animals do what they need to do to survive, and it wasn’t meant as a sneer at all, although you could accuse the denier who made it of sneering at anyone who thought we should care about the future of the biosphere and the human species.

            (PS I am still rather confused about the whole Greek Nazi and immigrants causing global warming thing).


          • Greenman, how do you THINK demagogues acquire power?  They speak to needs no one else will address (like having to institutionalize their children for lack of food to give them).  In Greece, as in the rest of Europe, most “non-hard right” parties have sold out their own people in favor of vast vote-farms filled by third worlders living on the welfare state.  If the Greeks can’t have a party looking out for Greeks, who can?  (NB, I am not the least bit Greek.)

            The actual Greek fascists are the “antifas”, as you can see from their brownshirt activities acting as shock troops for government police on Chios.

        • jimbills Says:

          “1. Most of the effect on the environment doesn’t come from energy use per se, but the collateral effects like effluents.”

          You didn’t really grasp me there. Energy use powers heavy resource use beyond electricity generation (and yes, heavy effluents). It also powers high populations, greater land use and deforestation, greater material production, greater stress on other species, and greater carbon emissions (from other sources besides electricity creation and even transport). The current level of energy used by humans in the OECD (and especially if it’s extended to the developing world) will strip the world’s capacity to provide for humans, because it is merely an enabling agent for all the types of economic activity.

          It doesn’t matter if we replace all our current (and ever rising) energy creation with nuclear, or renewables. It’ll give us a few more years or decades, yes, but as long as economic growth continues, all roads lead to just one place. If that’s old school, fine.

          “Most nations able to make use of nuclear power …. are the ones where most of the carbon emission is going on. Fix things there, and much if not most of the problem is solved.”

          Carbon emissions don’t change magically with heavy nuclear use:
          http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=en_atm_co2e_pc&hl=en&dl=en&idim=country:FRA:DEU:GBR

          Given time and economic growth, the total emissions are the same no matter what we do. Only rapid de-industrialization (or de-growth) will have any effect – but I know this is something no one really wants, and so it is fantasy to suppose it will actually happen.

          The rest of your suggestions are just fantasy on top of fantasy. It’s interesting to think about, okay, but humans are just animals rationalizing greater and greater exploitation. Maybe we could be more, somehow, but that’s the long shot miracle.

          If the goal is economic growth, “one child” policies will never, ever fly:
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/china-business/10221730/China-to-ditch-its-one-child-policy-as-ageing-crisis-looms.html

          And even then they are nearly impossible to implement. I’m certainly for having only one child, or no children, on a personal basis, though.

          Zero immigration to the West would ALSO require public acceptance of de-growth. Immigration is driven by the needs of economic activity – cheap labor to maintain profits.

          Even though I’m anti-globalization, I’m also anti-isolationism. In the end, we’re all in this together. Separation will only lead to conflict. I do, however, think that we both can and should dramatically lower legal immigration quotas and fiercely crack down on illegal hiring (punish the employers instead of the employees). But then, I’m in favor of de-growth.


  4. Replying to jimbills, re-parented again:

    EP’s argument there is a really a straw man.

    No, I was correcting your misperception of what people under stress actually do.

    I’m saying we need to dramatically lower material excesses in the West and extend basic comforts to the developing world.

    You cannot do that if the people in question will take those comforts and continue doing the same things which put them into their previous bind.  Even feeding them may be a mistake.  If you feed a million starving, miserable people only to produce two million starving, miserable, crowded people, your “compassion” has done actual harm.

    Over time, we’d also need to reduce populations by lowering birth rates across the globe

    That has to come first or you will never catch up.  You also have to insure that those who accept the population control are not swamped by migration from elsewhere, otherwise you either (a) get right back to competition by demographic growth, or (b) produce a genocide.

    We gotta have our toys, and our tv(s), and out cars and RVs, and our bigger and bigger homes

    Home sizes in the USA are going down again.  The crazy effects of the real-estate bubble are swinging back.  Besides, the problem isn’t square footage or time spent in an RV in a park somewhere, it’s the effects of those things on the environment.  If we can make those effects sufficiently small, we can still enjoy them without guilt.  This is an incentive to work at it, no?


  5. Another reparented reply to jimbills.

    You didn’t really grasp me there. Energy use powers heavy resource use beyond electricity generation (and yes, heavy effluents).

    You are committing the fallacy of ambiguity, saying “energy” does such-and-such without differentiating between solid/liquid/gaseous fuels, transport/heating fuels, fossil/renewable fuels, and pure work.  This leads to faulty conclusions.  For instance, one of the reasons materials are not recycled is that it costs too much (usually in energy) to do it.  Cheap enough energy can make it attractive to recycle instead, especially if it’s zero-emission.

    It also powers high populations, greater land use and deforestation

    That’s not just wrong, it’s backwards.  England was nearly deforested for fuel and building materials until coal started to make inroads during the Industrial Revolution, and large parts of the USA have returned to forest in the last century as energy consumption soared.  Greece is being DE-forested today because of the excessive expense of the usual heating fuels; lack of energy, not a surfeit, is powering illegal logging.  Last, the highest energy consuming nations on earth have birthrates well below replacement.

    Break free of your prejudices for a moment and ponder what a large supply of inexpensive, carbon-free electricity would do for Greece.  People could keep themselves warm with electric blankets and warm up single rooms, even if they could not heat entire houses.  They would benefit immediately from sealing gaps and insulating walls to keep bigger spaces warm.  No trees would be cut and the air quality would improve.  And far from “heavy resource use” being involved, only tiny amounts of material need be handled if it came from nuclear energy.

    The current level of energy used by humans in the OECD (and especially if it’s extended to the developing world) will strip the world’s capacity to provide for humans, because it is merely an enabling agent for all the types of economic activity.

    Unsupported assertion.  People are quite capable of reducing landscapes to desert with stone axes and goats.

    Given time and economic growth, the total emissions are the same no matter what we do.

    If that’s your belief, you are aiming at exactly the wrong target.  The sub-replacement birthrates of the OECD would do the job for you, except that the economic elites have pushed immigration to “solve labor shortages”.  Now, one man’s labor shortage is another man’s great job market, and in the current economic malaise that is EXACTLY what we need.  A shortage of labor is just what you should be pushing for, to reduce consumption and environmental damage even if the standard of living continues to rise.  Stop worrying about energy (working people think you’re an elitist snob) and solve their immediate problem by rolling back the tsunami of immigrants.

    but humans are just animals rationalizing greater and greater exploitation.

    You call a switch to a lifetime supply of energy you could hold in your hand “greater and greater exploitation”.  This is empty ideological posturing.

    Zero immigration to the West would ALSO require public acceptance of de-growth. Immigration is driven by the needs of economic activity

    The Western publics have long accepted de-growth, by their own actions.  It is political and economic elites who have demanded immigration to shift income from labor to capital and immiserate the middle class.  Every time an immigration issue has been subject to popular vote (like California Prop. 187) the public voted to shut it down.  Maybe if you want to save the world, you need to shoot a billionaire.

    Look at France compared to the other European countries. Look at Belgium. It’s the same to slightly less.

    Belgium has less than 0.2% of the world’s population, but 0.8% of the world’s oil-refining capacity.  A lot of the refined products are exported.  You are mis-allocating carbon emissions if you assign all refinery emissions (and those from other exports) to Belgium rather than the ultimate consumers.

    • jimbills Says:

      Excellent rationalization for greater and greater exploitation. Kudos.

      There are too many subjects here, and they’re all rather complex, to really address any of this adequately, but I’ll briefly go over one subject – deforestation. One aspect of globalization is that we spread the effects of resource exploitation from local sources to global ones. Sure, we are letting some forests re-grow in the States and Europe, but we are rapidly deforesting the Amazon and the Taiga, as well as the forests in Indonesia.

      This deforestation is driven by the needs of the world economy – not because people are cold. Energy is the driving agent behind this deforestation, as without that power the economy simply wouldn’t have the reach it currently does:
      http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/blog/global-deforestation-europe-faces-up-to-its-d/blog/45812/

      Indonesia alone lost nearly 5,000 square miles of forest from 2009 to 2011. What’s going on in Greece right now can’t touch it:
      http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/10/24/5334637/indonesia-forest-still-dwindle.html

      If we didn’t have the world economy demanding material resources at greater and greater rates, we wouldn’t have the rapid deforestation that we see now. There are no signs that further growth in the world economy will reverse this trend or the many other environmental effects we are currently witnessing.

      I don’t really care to continue this conversation, as I think it’s pointless. You have your dogma, and I have mine. We won’t see eye to eye.


  6. WOW. I never expected the thread to go so long. I guess that is what happens when you let someone get away with a comment like:

    Fukushima and Chernobyl, what disaster?

    There is just no reasoning past this point. D. Nile.

    EP sidestepped the whole point that if nuclear power were to reduce carbon emissions, you could look at France and the US right away as examples of lower carbon. NOT. FAIL. In France, the country touted as Nuclear Camelot, CO2 has not improved. In all cases, that is because electricity is only about 20% of energy. Same in the US. The recession did more to reduce CO2 than any other factor. In fact, nuclear is not about to do anything of the kind. Its down 4% US and gaining momentum in that direction.
    http://www.treehugger.com/energy-efficiency/us-nuclear-power-decline.html

    Golden Dawn? Yeeeooooowww. Daaayyumm.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Dawn_(political_party)

    “They have also made use of Nazi symbolism, and have praised figures of Nazi Germany in the past.”

    • jimbills Says:

      I didn’t reply to the overly obvious ones, because what’s the point? His reasoning can be clearly discerned in his responses. There’s no real dialogue to be had with such thinking. The hyper-rationalization is obvious to everyone except the rationalizer. Such people have an answer for everything – solutions bent with painstaking care to fit their core beliefs.

      It ends up with claiming Fukushima is not a disaster and a crypto-fascist defense of Golden Dawn.

      There are some people who can engage in an open and honest dialogue, and some who just can’t (that last group, unfortunately, is the majority. Most people defend their beliefs and/or ego passionately without any hint of self-examination or true questioning). I usually try to give people as much of an opportunity as possible to reveal at least some level of openness, but eventually there’s a point where it’s clear which way the wind blows. I lose patience in dealing further with such people.

      The matters discussed here HAVE to focus on reality. What is happening in the world, why is it happening, are there real solutions, and so on. We all have to admit we might be wrong in some way to have a real conversation (we almost certainly ARE wrong in one way or another). The thing that drives me absolutely nuts about such issues is when people treat them as if they’re on a debate team. Debaters don’t self-criticize – they attack with every line of approach they can. To admit a flaw in one’s one argument is to ‘lose’ – when what should really be seen is that one is getting closer to the reality of the matter.

      This, after all, is the scientific method. Develop a hypothesis, and see if it’s supported or not by a rigorous (and objective as possible) examination of the facts. If it’s not supported, move on. But this is where denial and rationalization takes root – a person can easily become more attached to the hypothesis than the reality.

      Anyway, I know I’m being self-superior, which I despise in myself, so I’ll shut up now.


    • Fukushima and Chernobyl, what disaster?

      There is just no reasoning past this point. D. Nile.

      If the Fukushima meltdowns are such a disaster, where’s the death toll to match?  Around 15,000 died in the tsunami, but the meltdowns killed nobody.  On the scale of lives lost, Chernobyl is on the order of the Lac Megantic oil-train inferno and way smaller than Bhopal, which in turn pales in comparison to the Banqiao dam failure of 1975.  I keep sending you to the information which shows that the radiation threat has been deliberately exaggerated for political purposes, but you won’t read it.

      Yes, I am taking a position exactly opposite the conventional wisdom.  That is because the conventional wisdom on this issue is DEAD WRONG.  You have not offered one shred of evidence to support the CW, preferring to point-and-sputter.  “D. Nile”, indeed.  That’s not an argument, it’s an abdication.

      EP sidestepped the whole point that if nuclear power were to reduce carbon emissions, you could look at France and the US right away as examples of lower carbon. NOT.

      The NRC is an agency devoted to blocking nuclear energy, which is why it’s only 19% of US generation when it was once forecast to eliminate coal based on its cost of construction and operation.  You can find a good treatment of the history of that change here.  There have also been deliberate policy moves to push gas-guzzling (and carbon-spewing) vehicles, like Bush’s first-year expensing of Hummers used “in a business”.  If you try to hold the US nuclear industry (embattled and vilified as it is) responsible for not offsetting this, you are simply not connected to reality.

      The truth of the matter is that a heavily-nuclearized grid (Ontario) is already achieving average carbon numbers about a fifteenth of the limit for new plants set by the Obama administration, and roughly a tenth of Denmark’s.  So you say Ontario still hasn’t electrified transport and heating.  Okay, what’s the show-stopper?  I don’t see one.  It’s far easier to do that than to make “renewable” bio-gasoline, which is probably going to need lots of natural gas for process heat.

      Ontario’s politics on the issue are schizophrenic.  Some insist (and apparently believe) that wind will be the salvation.  But the paragons of wind all have much worse GHG numbers per kWh than Ontario.  Someone needs to step up and tell the Canadians that they’re leading the world for once, and to capitalize on it instead of apologizing for doing it the “wrong” way.

      Golden Dawn? Yeeeooooowww. Daaayyumm.

      YHBT.  YHL.  HAND.  (One more case where the Conventional Wisdom needs a good shaking up, BTW.  In 1930′s Germany, whose parliamentarians were arrested to consolidate power for the dictator?  Not the National Socialists’… but that’s what’s being done to Golden Dawn in Greece, and there’s talk of doing it to the National Front in France.  The fascists are the ones calling themselves “antifa”.)


      • Radiation hormesis (also called radiation homeostasis) is the hypothesis that low doses of ionizing radiation (within the region of and just above natural background levels) are beneficial,

        Consensus reports by the United States National Research Council and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) argue[citation needed] that there is no evidence for hormesis in humans and in the case of the National Research Council, that hormesis is outright rejected as a possibility.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_hormesis

        but you won’t read it. Au contraire.


        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_hormesis

          but you won’t read it. Au contraire.

          Really?  It says this:

          the Académie des Sciences — Académie nationale de Médecine (French Academy of Sciences — National Academy of Medicine) stated in their 2005 report concerning the effects of low-level radiation that many laboratory studies have observed radiation hormesis.[6][7]

          So here we have an observed effect, that nevertheless several “research” organizations deny exists… in humans.  We could do things like measuring the difference in tumor-suppression gene activity in people in different radiation fields, before and after CAT scans, and so forth, but despite these ready-made opportunities they assert it is not a possibility.  Note well:  they don’t say we should do research, they assert a conclusion contrary to measured fact.

          There’s an explanation for this.  There is a lot of money being made in radiation protection.  There is a poster I see regularly on Adams’ blog, whose name I shan’t write because he probably has a Google alert on it, who is a fanatic hormesis denier… and got quite a bit of money from selling a radiation-protection business which would have been worthless if hormesis was acknowledged.

          Adams has this to say:

          The relevant policy-setting reports like NCRP-136 and -121 concede that the data demonstrate hormesis, but they recommend it would be “prudent” to assume the opposite. It’s not science, but a strange sense of prudence, that leads people to want to hide hormesis.

          As James Muckerheide documented years ago, “There Has Never Been a Time That the Benefits of Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation Were Not Known.” T.D. Luckey’s canonical works on Radiation Hormesis in 1980 and 1991 documented some 3000 cases of hormesis. Sakamoto, Hattori and others have been healing people with half-body irradiation. The literature covered in the 2012 ANS President’s Special Plenary published a 200-page summary report on the subject. The most important news about the terrifying subject of nuclear radiation is that it’s good for you. When do we lift the ban on telling people that?

          Well, I’m telling you that.  I’m telling you that there’s a reason that bathing in certain hot springs or lying buried in certain sands have a reputation for being healthful.  I’m telling you that you can reproduce these things at home, if you want to.  I’m telling you that you can scratch one source of worry off your list, and improve your life and the lives of your children and grandchildren thereby.

          Why do you find this so hateful?


        • Now, please tell me why an industrial accident with zero fatalities qualifies as a “disaster”, especially since there is good reason to believe that most of the avoidance measures taken in response are not necessary for health and are in fact the cause of almost all of the economic damage.


    • FYI, here is a physicist saying “What nuclear disaster at Fukushima?”.  One great quote (emphasis added):

      A consequence of all this is that internationally the public is now really ‘spooked’ when it comes to the topic of nuclear power. A real ‘fear factor’ looms over the mere word ‘nuclear.’ Newspapers love this, and really push imagery like; ‘nuclear leak’ or ‘radiation exposure.’

      To a nuclear physicist like me, I look upon such public reaction half with amusement and half with dismay. The amusement comes from the fact that so many people can be scared so easily by so little. It is like shouting: “Ghost in the bedroom,” and everyone runs and hides in the hills.

      The dismay reaction is that there is a body of anti-nuclear activists who do not want the public to know the truth, and the anti-nukes enjoy stoking the fear factor and maintaining public ignorance.


  7. Jimbills – your responses are rational and sane. Don’t worry about being superior. After all, you admit doubt, and examine alternatives in a scientific way. That is rational dialogue and helpful to everyone. I agree about the debate nonsense. Debate equals reality to them. That simply shows how unreasoning they are. skeptictman57 warned that EP was a nuke troll on Oil Drum, no sense in convincing, I agree. There are some trolls I refuse to engage with in any meaninful way. Respond to the myths that need debunking. I like Peter’s way of engaging with them to smoke them out. Stupidly, they continue to engage here, even when their presence reveals the naked truth about them and defeats their aims. I do not fear that they might desist once revealed. They are really not here to convince anyone. They are here to distract. It sounds destructive, and it is, but there is a bright side. It motivates the rational to dig deeper for the truth. Its really not that hard to do the research. Trolls provide the motivation. See how they defeat themselves?

  8. dumboldguy Says:

    The thread is dying, you say? Does this meant that E-Pot is NOT going to explain to me the connection between Nazis, immigrants, and global warming?

    I am afraid that I will just have to remain a dumboldguy (and I was looking forward to hearing more about nuclear-powered planes and cars as well).


    • The connection between immigrants and climate change is simple:  they flock to the countries which have a higher standard of living, which increases the amount of fossil fuel they can afford (and they consume it).  Often they buy the fuel with welfare payments rather than wages.

      The Nazi connection is that anyone who dares to point this out is almost immediately branded a Nazi or other pariah-equivalent.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Thank you, E-pot, for clearing that up for me. Would it be correct to say this?

        These “immigrants” likely burned coal or dung or charcoal or wood (from denuded hillsides) where they came from. In their new “higher standard of living” countries (like Greece?), they likely used natural gas or electricity instead, which, because of the efficiency of central energy sources, probably REDUCED their per capita carbon footprint (to say nothing of air pollution)?

        Wasn’t that the “object lesson”?—that they were reverting to their “primitive” fuels, thereby increasing their carbon footprint, and deforesting Greece? And you suggest that we should burn even MORE fossil fuels to transport them back to their countries of origin so they can do there EXACTLY what they’re now doing in Greece?

        That might be efficient if we used those nuclear-powered planes, cars, and trains you keep going on about, except that we will all be suffering from the more extreme effects of AGW long before they become a reality. Perhaps you intend for them to walk home?

        And “…they buy the fuel with welfare payments rather than wages”?. Lord love a duck, man! You DO brand yourself as a “pariah-equivalent” when you make statements like that Sieg Heil, Herr E-Pot!!


        • These “immigrants” likely burned coal or dung or charcoal or wood (from denuded hillsides) where they came from.

          In other words, they used renewable energy.  They already lived the ideal that Western “greens” want.  Why on earth should those people come here?

          In their new “higher standard of living” countries (like Greece?), they likely used natural gas or electricity instead

          Yes, fossil fuels.  Non-renewable.  You have it backwards.

          Wasn’t that the “object lesson”?—that they were reverting to their “primitive” fuels, thereby increasing their carbon footprint, and deforesting Greece?

          They were going to their desperation fuels, trying to survive.  This is the inevitable result of any program which drives people into energy poverty to control greenhouse emissions.  Forests and wildlife are the concerns of people who have survival taken care of; hungry, freezing people can’t afford those worries.

          If you don’t want people cutting down forests to stay warm, you have to give them an affordable way of staying warm that does not involve cutting down forests.  Nuclear energy uses only tiny amounts of land, and the buffer zones around the plants are great places for trees to grow undisturbed.

          And you suggest that we should burn even MORE fossil fuels to transport them back to their countries of origin so they can do there EXACTLY what they’re now doing in Greece?

          If they’re transported back to their countries of origin (which can be done by energy-efficient boat, even by sail) it won’t take long to achieve net greenhouse-gas reductions.  Not at all like Somalis in Minnesota, who run their kitchen stoves all day because they refuse to dress for the local weather conditions.  Somalia is where they belong.

          And “…they buy the fuel with welfare payments rather than wages”?.

          “Refugees” immediately qualify for all assistance programs, including TANF, EBT and heating.  And yes, I do dare to bring up facts that upset the Politically Correct.  Delusions lead to disaster.  Judging from your horrified reaction, you’re badly in need of a reality check.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            As I mentioned on another thread, one should not try to teach a pig to whistle—it only wastes your time and annoys the pig. In his annoyance at our attempts to teach him to whistle, and in his eagerness to strike back, O-Log has again rushed into more of his convoluted and illogical arguments.

            He says right off that I am the one that has it backwards, but at the same time says that COAL is a “renewable” energy source? On what time scale is coal “renewable”?

            And he again adds points to his “pariah equivalent” score with slurs against Somalis in Minnesota and veiled references to “refugees” and what moochers they apparently are. Does he live in Minnesota and does he have first hand experience of what he says about Somalis there? Some links perhaps?

            Finally, in his mindless narcissism and cluelessness, O-Log states:
            “And yes, I do dare to bring up facts that upset the Politically Correct. Delusions lead to disaster. Judging from your horrified reaction, you’re badly in need of a reality check”.

            That stands there for all to see, and needs no real response from me other than to say that what “horrifies” me (and probably many others on this site) is thinking that O-Log is allowed to vote..

            O-Log proudly tells us that he “dares” to bring up what he calls “facts” to “upset the PC”. He implies that OTHERS are “delusional”. He again fails to recognize that HE is the “disaster”, and that HE is the one who is badly out of touch with “reality”. Before I annoy the pig again, I will close.

            Seig Heil!, Herr E-Pot! (Although I must admit that sending the refugees back to where they came from by SAIL-powered boats is more benign than what the Nazis would have done to them—you WOULD provide them with adequate food and water, wouldn’t you?)

          • greenman3610 Says:

            “Not at all like Somalis in Minnesota, who run their kitchen stoves all day because they refuse to dress for the local weather conditions.  Somalia is where they belong.”
            citation please?
            If you can’t cite a solid source for this, then you are on very, very thin ice.


          • one should not try to teach a pig to whistle—it only wastes your time and annoys the pig.

            There are other uses for pigs.  (I don’t expect you to understand this until later.)

            O-Log has again rushed into more of his convoluted and illogical arguments.

            Am I supposed to be hurt by part of that comment?  FWIW, “convoluted and illogical” without any actual details of how the logic is faulty could just mean that you lack the ability to understand what was put before you.  That IS befitting your screen name.

            He says right off that I am the one that has it backwards, but at the same time says that COAL is a “renewable” energy source?

            You did have it backwards, and the closest I have come to what you said is where I stated “like converting all our random excess biomass to durable bio-char and storing it where it won’t burn.  Think of it as re-creating the coal beds we mined.”  This does not state that coal is renewable, at least on the scale of human civilization.  It does propose a mechanism for sequestering carbon and helping to remediate the biosphere.

            If you still believe otherwise, do please quote me and post the hyperlink to the specific comment.  I’m certain that the exact words in context will support me.  It is always good to have my opponent hand me their head on a platter, destroying their own arguments with specific citations.

            Does he live in Minnesota and does he have first hand experience of what he says about Somalis there?

            If you don’t know about the Somali taxi drivers refusing to carry passengers with dogs or alcohol, and the charter school with the mosque (First Amendment violation right there) teaching Islamic studies (Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy), you are too ignorant to have an opinion.

            He again fails to recognize that HE is the “disaster”, and that HE is the one who is badly out of touch with “reality”.

            I’m so glad the Dunning-Kruger effect has been named, because it provides a perfect referent for people like you.

            I must admit that sending the refugees back to where they came from by SAIL-powered boats is more benign than what the Nazis would have done to them

            You were the one who was so concerned about the carbon footprint of their return trip.  I’d be perfectly happy to send them by airplane, so long as their exit from the USA was (a) prompt and (b) permanent.  But if minimizing their emissions is the price required to get it done, I’ll go along.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            E-Pot demonstrates the depths of his narcissism by madly lashing out at me without giving much thought to the consequences. What consequences? For one, he has fulfilled Peter’s earlier stated expectation for folks of his ilk—that they will eventually “reveal all” about themselves. For another, that he proves my points for me yet again.

            I will waste little of our time trying to teach the pig to whistle here, but will make a few final points.

            E-Pot of course brings up the idea of “hurt” and goes ad hominem, rather than deal with the facts of the statement. Typical of the narcissist who wants to make it all about him and punish those who refuse to recognize his superiority. SBAN, E-Pot!

            E-pot evades the issue of his rather bald assertion that coal is “renewable” with a tap dance. “Bio char and recreating the coal beds we mined”? Please!

            More narcissism and strutting with “It is always good to have my opponent hand me their head on a platter”. I don’t view you as an “opponent”, E-pot—to paraphrase an old saw, “It is not nice to have battles of wits with the half-armed”, and I’ll stop beating in your remaining half-brain the moment you stop trying to make it all about you and get back to AGW. SBAN, E-Pot!

            And in his thrashing, E-pot goes from Somalis running their stoves too much (which, if at all true, has at least some small relevance to AGW) to a mad rant on taxi drivers, mosques, and the freaking First Amendment!. Lord love a duck, E-Pot! You have really lost it!

            As for “I’m so glad the Dunning-Kruger effect has been named, because it provides a perfect referent for people like you (DOG)”, it is both sad and laughable that E-Pot fails to see that his rantings illustrate the DKE far more vividly than my comments do. SBAN, E-Pot!

            In a final demonstration of his racism, misogyny, and UN Americanism, E-Pot finishes with “I’d be perfectly happy to send them by airplane, so long as their exit from the USA was (a) prompt and (b) permanent.”

            I am tiring of this dialogue with E-Pot and would like to get back to discussing climate change. Would anyone care to place any bets as to whether E-Pot will overcome his narcissism and his susceptibility to DKE and let this exchange wither? I predict he will again prove my points for me by coming back at me with even greater foolishness., but DO sincerely hope I’m wrong. PLEASE SBAN, E-Pot.

            Sieg Heil!, Herr E-Pot! (although “final victory” seems to be slipping further from your grasp the longer you allow your narcissism to rule you).


          • E-Pot demonstrates the depths of his narcissism by madly lashing out at me without giving much thought to the consequences. What consequences? For one, he has fulfilled Peter’s earlier stated expectation for folks of his ilk

            This, from the one who calls me “E-Pot” and “O-Log”, and adds “Seig Heil!” to his commentary.  Hypocrisy much?

            This is why I let you do the name-calling.  You can’t show anyone where I said what you claim I said, but you have plenty of verbiage to spend on ad-hominem attacks.  This isn’t going to be lost on the people whose opinions matter.  I know I can’t teach you to sing (it’s “teach a pig to sing”, not “whistle”), but you’ve been quite useful nevertheless.  As I said before, there are other uses for pigs.

            E-Pot of course brings up the idea of “hurt” and goes ad hominem

            Hypocrisy again.  It was amusing the first few times, but it’s getting stale.

            E-pot evades the issue of his rather bald assertion that coal is “renewable” with a tap dance. “Bio char and recreating the coal beds we mined”? Please!

            Re-creating the carbon stores represented by coal beds is a possibility for reducing atmospheric CO2 (I won’t go into the details, because your reflexive hostility wouldn’t let you understand them even if you had the reading ability; those interested can take one look at the Keeling curve and will grasp the implications).  This is more than I’ve seen you put forward.  This is really ironic:  someone proposes a concept for actually repairing damage to the environment, and you immediately get your hate on for it.

            I’ll stop beating in your remaining half-brain the moment you stop trying to make it all about you and get back to AGW. SBAN, E-Pot!

            Just quoted to drive that irony a bit deeper.


          • citation please?
            If you can’t cite a solid source for this, then you are on very, very thin ice.

            I knew I’d seen it before, but my search terms kept bringing up too much chaff to find what I was looking for.  But today, I struck gold:

            Fredence, a recent immigrant from Burundi, bundles up in blankets and uses heat from her oven to try to keep warm in her Portland apartment.

            Also:

            They receive rental vouchers for the city-managed general assistance program.

            They live off the US taxpayers, who were never asked if they wanted to assume this burden.  Why not help the Burundians in Burundi, the Somalians in Somalia, etc?  It would be far cheaper, and not involve the wastage of fuel and emissions of carbon:

            He said some tenants open windows in winter….

            There is rampant fraud in many refugee programsCIS claims fraud as high as 90% in Somali refugee applications, and that’s just based on claims of family relationships; one estimate is that 95% of all UN refugee applications are fraudulent.

          • greenman3610 Says:

            Fail.
            Your post referred to Somalis “in minnesota” who “refuse to dress for local weather conditions”,
            not Somalis in Portland who are struggling to assimilate and learn about infrastructure they have
            never seen.
            I came very close to permanently blocking you on this one. I allow you to post for the same reason
            I allow others with whom I disagree to post – because in the long run, I think it shines a light
            more clearly on the points I am trying to make.
            You have certainly underlined my long running assertions that racism and climate denial go hand in hand
            http://climatecrocks.com/2013/03/17/on-display-at-cpac-racism-homophobia-mysogeny-climate-denial-whoda-thunk-it/
            http://climatecrocks.com/2013/01/15/colin-powell-to-gop-knock-off-the-racism-btw-climate-denial-too/

            so thanks for that.
            But I will not allow my blog to be a platform for racist, mysogynist, homophobic, or any other
            kind of stereotyping – and, heads up everyone, while obviously we have a range of opinion here,
            and I encourage a robust discussion – diverse views and sharp elbows allowed -
            if there is any foul language or personal abuse to be dished out, I’ll dish it, and I’ll decide when the line is crossed.
            Tip: Don’t challenge me on this one.


          • Your post referred to Somalis “in minnesota” who “refuse to dress for local weather conditions”, not Somalis in Portland who are struggling to assimilate and learn about infrastructure they have never seen.

            Right, because there’s no possible similarity between the behavior of equatorial peoples suddenly translocated to Minneapolis MN and Portland ME.  And of course, the media would NEVER play down these behaviors out of anything so ridiculous as a “desire to be sensitive”.  And increased fossil-energy consumption… obviously not something to worry about, if It’s For A Good Cause.  A show of hands in favor?  </sarcasm>

            Keep making unprincipled exceptions to goals of literally earth-saving importance, and people might start thinking that your avowed purpose isn’t your real purpose.  Like, the purpose of replacing nuclear with wind isn’t to do something about climate change, but to sell natural gas.  Or, the purpose of “renewable energy” isn’t to save the earth and its biota for the future, but to force austerity on one’s moral inferiors.  For their own good, of course.

            There’s at least one commenter here who seems to adhere to that last.  He views energy, not pollution but energy, as inherently bad.  And in their unguarded moments, some pillars of the “green” community express the same views; even solar energy would be “bad” if it suddenly became cheap and abundant.  It’s hard to get fence-sitters to come down on your side if you don’t practice what you preach (e.g. Al Gore).

            I came very close to permanently blocking you on this one.

            I would be a lot further along in that UChicago course on climate science if you had.  I aced the first two quizzes in week 2 on my first attempt, BTW.  (I just missed the registration cutoff for week 1; I learned about it one day too late.)

            You have certainly underlined my long running assertions that racism and climate denial go hand in hand

            Right, I’m a climate-change denialist, who tells your readership about an on-line class on the science so they can become more knowledgeable and better able to articulate the case for climate science.  And freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, and McDonald’s is real food.  Do I really need to use the </sarcasm> tag?

            You appear to have gone into cognitive dissonance meltdown.  You can’t get your mind around the facts that (a) third-world immigration to the USA boosts fossil-fuel consumption and makes climate change worse*, and (b) nuclear power is doing a better job of reducing carbon emissions than renewables.  Your reaction is to label me “racist” and “denialist” instead of dealing with those facts.  (Since battling climate change implies a strong future time preference, everyone posting here is racist by definition.  The word has become a joke.)  But discounting a claim because of its origins is a faulty argument itself, the “genetic fallacy”.

            * Bringing non-English-speaking, illiterate in any language, immigrants to the USA imposes burdens on a host of things, from housing to transportation to education to social services to law enforcement.  The financial and human capital tied up in those things is unavailable to solve our energy/climate problem.  Worse, the need to get children into schools that actually teach academics instead of trying to bring immigrants with no tradition of literacy into the 21st century drives urban sprawl and increases fuel consumption for commuting.  All this, to put third-worlders into a strange land and alien culture where they lack the assets needed to get more than menial jobs.  This does neither the climate nor the USA any favors, and it should be stopped.  Unless, of course, the avowed purpose isn’t the real purpose….

            This post is combative, but certified Foul Language Free™.

          • NevenA Says:

            I wager that on average those illiterate immigrants have higher IQ and education level than the average American. But then again, that is not very difficult. :-P


          • How much are you willing to lose wager, NevenA?  Find someone trustworthy to hold the bet, and I’m in.


  9. Here is a reference that simply destroys the myth of nuclear power reducing CO2 emissions. The crux is that 80% of energy use is not electric, but is fossil fueled. Even in France where 78% of electricity is nuclear, there is little impact on fossil fuel use because of transportation, heating, etc. In fact, France has had to import electricity and add fossil fuel generators because nuclear is a poor choice for peak loads. France nukes are military and government controlled. Thus a clampdown on bad PR and little visibility to finance. In the US, at least civil run operators know that a high nuclear percentage is not good. Germany, big wind and solar, is a net electricity exporter.
    http://www.nirs.org/international/westerne/258614beyondmythfr.pdf


    • Here is a reference that simply destroys the myth of nuclear power reducing CO2 emissions.

      Let me see if I can follow this argument.  You are claiming that some demands continuing to run on fossil fuel means that (a) the carbon that would have been emitted if nuclear electricity had been generated by coal instead was actually emitted anyway, causing no actual reductions [1], and (b) there’s no possibility of additional substitution in the future [2].

      (a) is certainly a non-sequitur.  The de-carbonized electric grid in Ontario leads to lower per-capita carbon emissions than just south of the border.
      (b) This is also a non-sequitur.  Speaking personally, I have substituted a great deal of motor fuel at 38 MPG (roughly 150 gCO2/km) with electricity at 120 Wh/km.  If this electricity is generated using NG-fired CCGTs at 550 g/kWh, net emissions are 66 gCO2/km; if it’s generated from wind, hydro or nuclear, it’s zero.

      There are also gross flaws in the logic.
      [1] implies that wind and solar will not cut carbon emissions either.  Can’t have it both ways.  Ontario shows that this is false; the coal and gas that Ontario isn’t using for electricity aren’t just being added to something else.
      [2] implies that most end-uses won’t be able to switch to zero-carbon energy.  Again, my personal experience shows that this is false even for one of the more difficult cases.

      So don’t try to pull that junk on me.  I have existence proofs to the contrary; hell, I’m one of them.

  10. dumboldguy Says:

    I had said several days ago: “I am tiring of this dialogue with E-Pot and would like to get back to discussing climate change. Would anyone care to place any bets as to whether E-Pot will overcome his narcissism and his susceptibility to DKE and let this exchange wither? I predict he will again prove my points for me by coming back at me with even greater foolishness., but DO sincerely hope I’m wrong”.

    As all can see, I was not wrong in my prediction that E-Pot would not be able to resist yet another attack on me rather that spending his time discussing AGW. Thank you once again for proving my point, E-Pot. I am done with you here after this minimal commentary—it’s fortunate for you that folks are pretty much done looking at this thread, probably because it has become unproductive for us—maybe you can redeem yourself on other threads.

    Peter has addressed the logic FAIL and racism involved in Somalis in MN and Burundians in Maine—I will do no more than shake my head there at E-Pot’s response. I would hope that Peter will now address the “challenge” that E-Pot so cleverly tries to disguise as “foul language free” debate.

    One last point. I had also stated: “E-pot evades the issue of his rather bald assertion that coal is “renewable” with a tap dance. ‘Bio char and recreating the coal beds we mined’? Please!” E-Pot’s very typical response?

    “Re-creating the carbon stores represented by coal beds is a possibility for reducing atmospheric CO2 (I won’t go into the details, because your reflexive hostility wouldn’t let you understand them even if you had the reading ability; those interested can take one look at the Keeling curve and will grasp the implications). This is more than I’ve seen you put forward. This is really ironic: someone proposes a concept for actually repairing damage to the environment, and you immediately get your hate on for it”

    I once again challenge him to give us ANY realistic and reasonable “possibility” data about how much biochar we would have to bury (and where and how deep) to “recreate” the fossil coal that we have so madly burned since the beginning of the industrial age. (He has no “details”). He won’t go into the details because his “reflexive narcissism” requires that he continue to mindlessly argue a point that really can’t be argued, throwing in some ad hominems, distracting Keeling curve references, and dismissiveness of those who point out his failings—-it is after all, all about him.

    And have I called E-Pot O-Log? Or vice-versa? I am just a dumboldguy and may have done that. Perhaps because they are so similar in some ways? Are they perhaps the same person?


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