Jordan Peterson is a fool, Part I’ve-Lost-Track-Of-The-Number


You can’t do anything about global warming, he says. Might as well burn more coal, otherwise you’ll have to start burning trees. There’s nothing anyone can do to mitigate climate change.

There are more trees in the Northern Hemisphere* than there were 200 years ago, which says to me that we do have the power to enable changes in the environment. Where he goes off the rails is in implying that it would be worse to burn trees than to burn coal. Trees are a renewable resource. There is no net gain in atmospheric CO2 if you plant trees at a rate equal to or faster than the rate you burn them, while burning coal releases CO2 that has been sequestered for hundreds of millions of years.

No, you don’t have to turn off your heat (Minnesota, in the winter? No, thanks). But you can get your heat from renewable sources that don’t contribute to greenhouse gases. About a third of US electricity generation is from coal, another third from natural gas, and the other third is from renewables and nuclear power. We can shift that — in Germany, about half their power is generated from renewables and nuclear, so you can clearly work in that direction without compromising industry. One thing we could do is phase out new coal power plant construction and encourage more solar and wind power (and nuclear, maybe — although that’s guaranteed to start arguments among environmentalists). It’s going to take time, but it doesn’t help to have apologists for the fossil fuel industry advocating for giving up.

It also helps to set personal limits and long-term goals. That was the whole point of the Paris climate agreement, to set goals and provide practical guidance in meeting them. You know, the agreement our President* reneged on to keep his coal and oil friends happy.

And that Peterson guy has a packed house listening to him babble garbage.

*You should ask yourself, what about the Southern Hemisphere? Why doesn’t he say anything about that? Aren’t most of the planet’s trees in the tropics? Asking us to pay attention to a success story on the fringe while ignoring a net loss of 10 billion trees per year in the core is a classic right-wing distraction tactic.

Comments

  1. kurt1 says

    But those things are incredibly complicated! Better come up with the first 3 ideas of why we can’t do anything and stick with it.

    He’s also putting up false dichotomies in pretty much every sentence.

  2. jack lecou says

    I’ve heard that more trees thing before, and I suspect it’s a little weasely too. The wording there is very specific. A bit like the old “sea ice extent is greater than ever” canard.

    “More trees” is a very different claim than “more heavily forested” or “more kilotons of timber”. Tree farms and so forth are probably doing a lot of work to make it true. I.e.: Most of the old growth (and even second-growth) forests might be gone, but don’t worry! For every one of the big old trees that used to grow on this continent, now there’s 10 times as many little fast-growing saplings being grown up every year or two to feed into a paper pulper. More trees than ever!

    (Young trees don’t necessarily help with GW either. IIRC, something to do with the soil and root microbiome – there’s a net GHG release in the first few years of a tree’s life, so it takes long-lived trees to balance it out.)

  3. raven says

    Peterson is an idiot.
    He isn’t even trying to look like he knows anything or cares about anything other than his bank account.

    .1. He is making a common error.
    That because you can’t do everything, you should do nothing.
    We might not easily stop the rise in CO2 but we can slow it down and limit its effect
    to future centuries.
    That right there is a huge advantage.
    It gives us time to adapt and to come up with more permanent solutions.

    .2. He is also just flat out wrong.
    The world has been making efforts to limit CO2 rise in a haphazard and disorganized way for the last few decades.
    They’ve been working and better than many thought.
    A few decades ago renewable power, wind and solar, were considered not viable sources favored by granola crunchers and tree huggers.
    Today they have the fossil fuel industries running scared and passing laws to favor them and harm renewables.
    Same thing with electric cars.

    .3. Peterson also neglects to mention that the world isn’t static, locked into his version, which looks a lot like 1950’s Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet.
    Future technologies we are working on now could have a dramatic effect on CO2 rise.
    Solar fuels and biofuels from algae or other sources are on the horizon and like renewable electricity, could one day soon make competitive transportation fuels.

  4. says

    Yeah, I remember touring a site in New Jersey that used to be an old foundry at the time of the Revolutionary War. They had reconstructions of the area, and it was totally stripped of trees a few hundred years ago by charcoal burners. Now, of course, it’s relatively densely forested again. Yes, there are more trees there now, but in part that’s because the iron industry moved to the midwest. And now there are again more trees in the midwest, because the iron industry has collapsed.

  5. Oggie. says

    PZed:

    The biggest reason that the eastern hardwood forests were decimated was because they were converted to charcoal for the iron furnaces. The reason that anthracite became the fuel of choice, even though it was relatively expensive, was the paucity of charcoal and the difficulties inherent in moving charcoal long distances (anthracite, being quite hard (it is called hard coal for a reason) travels well; charcoal tends to become dust). The reforestation of the coastal plain and the Piedmont began when the metallurgical industry switched from charcoal to hard coal (and later to coked bituminous) (and the areas around the coal mines were swept clean of trees either through strip mining or the use of lumber as supports in the deep mines) and then accelerated as farms were abandoned and left to reforest themselves.

    The Midwest, however, is becoming a forest again for a couple of reasons. First, many of the farms have windbreaks planted (where there is sufficient moisture, of course) and, as smaller farms are abandoned, the windbreaks provide both seeds and a stable area for propagation. The second reason is the lack of bison. Bison were quite effective on the great plains at slowing, or even reversing, the encroachment of trees into grasslands — the tender young saplings are nutritious. Additionally, the amount of soil churning done by a herd of bison makes it more difficult for trees to get established. Though the metallurgical industry can be quite damaging (just look at places down wind of lead or zinc smelters), the damage tends to be localized (though the contamination is multi-generational).

    So, yet again, Peterson is wrong. He argues that more trees means that nature is doing great. Of course, he does that by ignoring the opportunistic disaster taxa that have colonized the former hardwood forests; he does that by ignoring the damage caused to diversity by slash and burn industrial development; he does that by ignoring history.

    (Note: I am very confident in my first paragraph, and I am somewhat confident in my second paragraph is remember from a couple of books I read fifteen years ago which I no longer have, nor do I remember the titles.)

  6. petesh says

    @5: Love it when a prose comment has an endnote with error bars!

    @PZ: If you are going to follow the Pierce standard of adding an asterisk to the Prsnit, perhaps you should use daggers for footnotes. Unless, of course, you are suggesting that Trump should consider the Southern Hemisphere, which might actually be less unlikely than Peterson so doing.

  7. mrquotidian says

    I keep wanting to use that old line that Peterson is so mistaken that he’s “not even wrong,” but that seems too charitable. He’s worse than wrong. Certainly not even close to right. His individual sentences may contain bits of fact, but the way he strings them together renders the totality a complete inversion of the truth. It’s staggering.

    What a canard about the trees. We cut all the damn trees down a hundred years ago! Where I live, you’re lucky to find a tree more than 80 years old- and that’s in an area of California that was entirely covered in ancient redwood forest. Pictures from the early 1900’s of the area show hillsides completely barren.

    I can’t fathom how people pay to see this grumpy uncle sit in a chair on stage and bitch about SJW’s or whatever. Don’t they have a real uncle for that? Truth be told, the audience looks pretty uncomfortable, but maybe I’m just projecting.

  8. says

    Well, yes, actually I do burn wood.
    It’s called pellet heating and it’s very nice (downside: it needs a huge amount of space). Together with insulating the fuck out of our almost 60 years old house, we could significantly reduce the amount of energy needed in the first place and then we switched to a renewable source.
    Yeah, Jordie, sometimes “burn wood” is actually part of the solution.

  9. says

    The solution to co2 is nuclear power. If you don’t think so, you should go read Michael Shellenberger’s Forbes columns and refute them. Please check out his work at:

    http://environmentalprogress.org/founder-president/

    And no, you can’t (at any appreaciable scale) “get your heat from renewable sources that don’t contribute to greenhouse gases”. The intermittency problem is a cliff that Germany has just reached the base of. These rocket scientists are going to miss their 2020 targets. Fossil fuel backup is being stretched to the limit. If there’s a major winter blackout, Rick Perry is going to look like a genius!

  10. David Klopotoski says

    What’s with that chair? Does he travel with it everywhere he goes? Is it part of his contract when he agrees to speak at a university that they include a brown leather chair? Or maybe every pompous ass simply plops one out on stage when they have a speaking engagement?

  11. says

    I have big garden. I grow wood on it. It covers approximately 10% of my wood consumption for heat and I estimate it can expand to 50% as the trees take root on bigger area. The rest was fossil fuels until recently, last year I switched to wood.

    I can confirm from my own experience that wood does, in fact, grow on trees and is therefore renewable resource. Revolutionary, I know.

  12. quasar says

    For all that the massive man-made lumber and pulp forests might look green, in reality they’re ecological wastelands that really only support the undergrowth decomposers who make survival possible for the trees. And even they struggle because humans cart away the most valuable compost, leaving behind little more than dead bark and foliage.

    Saying there’s “more trees” in the northern hemisphere and thinking that’s good for the environment is like saying there’s more carbon in cities than in rain-forests, and since life is carbon-based cities are better for the environment than rain-forests. (may not actually be true, but it makes the point)

  13. Ichthyic says

    let’s see… large scale environmental repair on a global scale that was initiated because of scientists providing evidence of catastrophic consequences if nothing was done… has that ever happened?

    well, there’s the ozone hole.

    which has been shrinking for 30 years now thanks to scientists having provided evidence of the problem, and the world accepting it and working towards solving it.

    the hole is expected to be fully closed by 2030.

    fuck these motherfuckers like Peterson. they actually should not be tolerated, at all, and an appropriate response to them should be tar and feathering, and given what’s at stake (pun), I am not kidding.

    so why ARE we tolerating them?

    don’t goddamn tell me “free speech”, because you know that is NOT an answer given what is at stake.

  14. Onamission5 says

    Burning trees might (might) be overall better on the scale of planetary climate change, but locally it has potential for health hazard. I hail from a region in which so many people use wood for heat that it has to implement particulate/haze warnings every winter, in part due to geography and human made heat creating an inversion layer which traps most of the wood smoke in the mountain valley. One sees the same effect with summer fire season.

    Mind this is by no means an argument in favor of coal.

  15. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    One thing we could do is phase out new coal power plant construction and encourage more solar and wind power (and nuclear, maybe — although that’s guaranteed to start arguments among environmentalists).

    I keep concluding that nuclear power has a role to play as a stopgap/harm-reduction/transitional technogy for the short to medium term. Then I realize that puts me in less than total opposition to its spittle-flecked delirious fucking Lovecraft-style* CULTISTS and feel very uneasy. :/

    *Well, the non-racist elements of Lovecraft-style cultistry.

  16. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Azkyroth
    That’s some great fallacious reasoning you have on display there.

    My one minor solace is that in the decades to come, when the problems caused by global warming and ocean acidification are worse, at least I get to tell people like you “I told you so”.

  17. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Here. Let’s play a game.
    “I feel uneasy because I don’t believe in a god, which means that I’m not part of the popular position, and even most of the experts and very smart and knowledgeable people disagree with me.”
    How is that any different than the feelings that you have expressed about being uncomfortable about siding against the “mainstream” green energy movement? How are the feelings that you have expressed any different than how many Christians and Christian sympathizers feel that atheists are amoral murderers because they don’t have a basis for morality? It’s fallacious.

    Now, using expert opinion is ok as a short-cut, and we all do it all the time. However, it seems that you have looked into it, and (rightly) concluded that the anti-nuclear majority of the green energy movement is simply wrong, and yet, like many a new atheist, you still feel sympathy for the persons with the incorrect beliefs, e.g. the anti-nuclear environmentalists, and you feel antagonism towards the persons with the correct beliefs, e.g. pro-nuclear environmentalists.

    Why do you feel this kind of disdain? Because people like me have been telling you for years that anti-nuclear environmentalists are completely wrong, often in denial, and sometimes willfully delusional? Again, explain to me why you are ok with this here for the pro vs anti nuclear debate, but you probably take an entirely different position regarding the pro vs anti god / religion debate.

    I am purposefully drawing this parallel, because I have become convinced that the entire green energy movement is quite comparable to any other sort of religious cult. There are a few people at the top who are probably being profit from lying to the people in their church, such as Mark Jacobson, and then there’s many others who are well-being but ignorant, and often willfully ignorant, in part because they need to virtue signal to other members of their group that they are “good people” – they are “good people” because they obey the dictates of the group.

    We need to recognize the entire green energy movement for what it is – a sham.

  18. says

    @EL:

    I think that Azky is talking about Republicans, not mainstream green energy folks.

    But aside from that: feeling uncomfortable is an emotion, it doesn’t necessarily imply that Azky is going to vote or exercise other decision making power based on that feeling.

    I can have a feeling that it might be nice if my political enemies were blood-sucking demons who have no scraps of humanity left to them, but if I sigh, maybe write a snarky comment on the internet, throw back a shot of Laphroaig and forget about that feeling when it comes times to make actual decisions, that’s, well, human. It might be nice if no one ever felt that way, but the real problem is actual demonization and the actual justification of otherwise abhorrent tactics on the assumption that your feelings that your political opponents lack humanity.

    It might be more efficient of me to ride my bike to work, but if I feel like I don’t want to be seen as a hipster because I don’t like hipster culture before I go ahead and ride my bike to work, it’s really no problem for the planet (or society) at all.

    Shorter me: I think you’ve concluded from a snarky, self-deprecating comment that admits to a human failing as part of an attempt to get past it that Azky is actually endorsing demonization and prioritizing energy solutions based on which persons we don’t like this week.

    I can’t speak for Azky, but I seriously doubt that’s what Azky intended.

  19. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I just feel like myself and other proponents of “nuclear works, solar and wind doesn’t”, are caricatured in that way. Because of a (well justified IMO) persecution complex, I just assumed that the vitriol was aimed at me.

  20. Ichthyic says

    you’re not caricatured.

    you’re rightly laughed at for your continuing failures of logic, reason, and lack of research.

    and if people aren’t laughing at you, they should be.

  21. says

    Again, I doubt it, but you’ll have to ask Azky.

    I do agree with you that some number of green movement activists – even before there was a “green energy” movement – demonized the nuclear power industry. I think there are strong reasons to distrust the historical nuclear power industry in the US, given its close ties to the military and the penchant for keeping secrets that were actually in the public interest to know, but healthy distrust is not the same as demonization.

    I also am interested to see if those progressive breeder reactor things (I can’t recall the official name) or the thorium molten salt reactors can come online soon enough to make a positive difference. If they can, I’d happily support them.

    My biggest problem with the current nuke power industry is that I don’t think it’s possible – given the history of concealing information that is a part of that industry – to ever really trust their own safety assessments about currently existing infrastructure. Would they tell us if a concrete containment vessel was breaking down faster than anticipated? The DoE didn’t at Hanford, and the DoE is the department who would be working with a local nuclear plant to determine whether the public should be informed about this, that or the other thing.

    I’d actually trust new nuclear infrastructure a lot more (though not fully) than I do existing infrastructure, because there competent scientists who can – given the much more rapid and thorough communication infrastructure we have now – perform rather thorough analyses of a new design before it gets built, and so i think it’s more likely to be fundamentally sound from the beginning and outside groups, with better access to designs and plans, will have better ideas of what they should monitor, where, and when to determine if some mishap or problem is being concealed.

    But yeah, even my distrust of the DoE and existing infrastructure isn’t reflexive or extreme. it’s certainly true that continuing operation of an existing nuke plant is much better for the environment than continuing operation of an existing coal plant, and probably better than a natural gas one (my knowledge of those details isn’t precise enough to be sure on that point).

    But it’s not nuclear tech that bothers me: it’s the history of behavior on the part of humans who are responsible for owning, operating, regulating, and maintaining that tech. Since at least some of those people are gone/retired/dead, they surely deserve more trust than they did a few decades ago. But how much? It’s frustrating to say, but we probably won’t know unless and until another coverup is discovered. If they’re actually not covering up anything, by definition it wouldn’t look any different from a successful coverup. So the people who were responsible for, say, the DoE in 1966 kinda screwed themselves if they wanted the publics trust. There’s simply no way to go back in time and do everything right. So we’re stuck. A bunch of people earned a bunch of distrust, and now this generation who worked with and trained under those people are getting transitive distrust applied to them. Maybe it’s not deserved, maybe it is, but it’s there whether we would like it to be or not.

  22. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Crip Dyke:
    My position is simple. I’m convinced beyond reasonable doubt of the following:

    1- We need to reach practically zero CO2 emissions fro the human sectors of transport, industry, and electricity, as soon as reasonable possible. Even if we manage this feat, that’s still only 87% of all human CO2 emissions, and that might not be enough. Consequently, anyone talking about a mere 50% reductions at 2050 is not taking the problem seriously enough, which is unfortunately most of the green energy movement. The big problem is that the rest of the world is industrializing, so a mere 50% reduction from current standards, when combined with the rest of the world industrializing, is only going to drastically increase CO2 emissions.

    2- Solar and wind and hydro cannot reach practically zero CO2 emissions from those sectors. Adding on the random assortment of ancillary green technologies (waves, tidal, burning farm waste e.g. biomass, etc.) won’t change that. Batteries and other storage tech are not good enough either.

    3- Nuclear can do it for the electricity and industry sectors. Nuclear could do it alone. Nuclear could also do it with other energy tech, but other energy tech mixes cannot do it without nuclear. (As for transport, the solution is orthogonal to nuclear vs green electricity. The solution for transport does not depend on the solution for electricity and industry.)

    4- Nuclear accidents are far less bad than people make them out to be. Nuclear accidents are far less bad than global warming. How many people died from Hanford storage? A dozen, tops? (I don’t actually know.) How many die every year from airborne particulates from coal? About 3 million premature deaths every year. How many will die from global warming, ocean acidification, and the knock-on effects? Maybe a lot more. Because the only options on the table that I see are 1- nuclear, or 2- global warming, I’ll take nuclear every time.

    So, to me, you can raise whatever stink you want about not trusting the nuclear industry, or whatever, but you (almost certainly) will not convince me that it’s going to be worse than global warming and ocean acidification, and all of the knock-on effects.

    There’s better chance that you can convince me that solar, wind, and the rest of the green schmorgesborg can work without nuclear, but that’s going to be hard. I already have good reason and evidence that it won’t, and worse, I also have good reason and evidence that many of the so-called academic experts of the green energy movement are bald-faced liars, and consequently I strongly believe that the entire green energy movement is an intellectual house-of-cards, just waiting to be blown over by the unfortunate facts. I’d rather that this happen before the world goes to hell from global warming and ocean acidification.

    In other words, I strongly believe that the situation is comparable to the situation where the tobacco industry hired experts to say that tobacco is good for you, and to fake reports that tobacco is safe and doesn’t cause cancer. The green energy movement are “useful idiots” for the fossil fuel industry.

    To Ichthyic
    I just see projection. The last time I really tried to engage on this topic here, I was the one doing all of the research, and everyone else was just relying on bad hearsay of some random, often uncited, experts. In the end, most people said that they wouldn’t engage me on the merits, and instead they said that they’ll trust in their expert consensus no matter what I said. So, yea. As I said, imagine being an atheist, arguing with Christians about the existence of god and miracles, and having the Christians citing theologians as experts. That’s a pretty good picture of how I feel when people cite Green Peace, Helen Caldicott, Mark Jacobson, Benjamin Sovacool, and others, on this topic. You might as well be citing experts in imaginary fabric.

  23. KG says

    The solution for transport does not depend on the solution for electricity and industry. – EL@24

    I know very well that you’re completely impervious to reason on this issue (and many others) despite your risible belief in your own rationality, but as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, decarbonising transport requires solving the problems of storing vast amounts of energy and then using it (either as electricity, hydrogen, or carbon-neutrally produced hydrocarbons) to move things around. So the main issue resulting from the intermittency of solar and wind would have to be solved even if most electricty were produced from nuclear reactors. Aside from that, the plain fact is that renewables are growing much faster than nuclear, which is dogged by the complete failure of the industry in most cases to deliver its projects anything like on time and within budget, let alone the problems of proliferation and safety.

  24. KG says

    …and on the issue of nuclear accidents, sure, they have not (so far) killed large numbers of people – although the possibility of such an accident (or terrorist attack) doing so is certainly there. But Fukushima showed that, whatever your disaster, a nuclear power plant in the vicinity can make it very much worse. At a time of utmost national crisis, the Japanese authorities had to divert huge resources to dealing with the risk of a catastrophic release of radioactivity and evacuating people near the plant, and could not send help to the areas worst affected by the tsunami by the shortest route. Accidents are also gobsmackingly expensive and difficult to rectify: the Japanese will be dealing with the aftermath of Fukushima for decades, at a cost estimated by their trade ministry at $180 billion. No insurance company will accept the full risk of a nuclear accident, nor can such risks even be passed on to the huge reinsurance businesses: governments always have to act as insurers of last resort – a massive subsidy to the nuclear industry.

    I also am interested to see if those progressive breeder reactor things (I can’t recall the official name) or the thorium molten salt reactors can come online soon enough to make a positive difference. – Crip Dyke@23

    They can’t. The recent IPCC report showed that the next 12 years are crucial if we are to avoid going over 1.5C above preindustrial mean global temperatures – beyond which, the effects get rapidly worse. Neither of these vaunted types of reactor are beyond the experimental stage (see here for the fast neutron reactors and here for thorium, and note that the source in both cases is the World Nuclear Association), and it would be absurd to start large-scale deployment without considerable experience of how they perform in practice over 10 years at least. Given the time needed for planning, finance and actual construction, large-scale deployment of such reactors (even assuming they work as their proponents claim) could not make much difference before 2040 at the earliest. If we haven’t massively reduced net GHG emissions by then, we’re toast.

  25. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To KG
    Prescript: I’d like to note that you came on intelligently, reasonable, and making real arguments. I’ll try to do the same. Sorry for length.

    First, there’s a factor of roughly 40 difference between how much energy storage you need for a reliable grid with mostly unreliables, vs the amount of energy storage that you need to run transport in the US. (Roughly 2x difference in primary energy content when looking at transport that cannot be easily connected to the grid, and 7x difference for days of storage required, and 3x difference for the conversion efficiency from primary energy to wheel motion.) Then, we in the US also pay roughly 2x or more for each unit of useful energy from gasoline in cars compared to electricity from the grid. Together, this makes an absolutely huge difference in the amounts of energy storage needed for transport vs the grid.

    Second, it appears that you’re assuming chemical batteries for are the solution for transport. I’m not. Batteries can replace gasoline for some transport, but batteries are limited by raw material shortages, energy capacity, and energy density. The energy capacity and density limitations means that it cannot work for ships and planes, especially planes. For planes, you need liquid hydrocarbons. The raw material shortage problem means that it cannot scale to the whole transport problem.
    https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/
    Every year some new vaporware company comes up to pitch their vaporware chemistry which gets around this problem, but then I never hear from them again. People just don’t realize how incredibly energy dense gasoline is, and how our society depends on this level of energy density. With or without nuclear, chemical batteries are not enough for all of transport.

    My current hope, and it’s just a hope, is synthetic gasoline made from CO2 from the air or oceans plus nuclear electricity. It’s been demonstrated to work at lab scales. Cost estimates vary, but some estimates have suggested around 6 USD per gallon at the pump with nuclear electricity, which is something that could politically happen, especially with international treaties for carbon taxes.

    Alternatively, maybe we just stop most air travel, put nuclear reactors on the big freight ships (all 16 of them – I’m not joking – it’s really something like 16 ships)
    http://go.enfos.com/blog/2015/06/23/behemoths-of-emission-how-a-container-ship-can-out-pollute-50-million-cars
    electrify our railroads and replace as much trucking as we can with railroads, change work commuter distances, and hope that batteries and other changes in residential personal transport can handle the rest.

    I suppose you might foolishly argue that “if we can create enough gasoline from electricity for transport, then we can do the same thing for grid storage too”. The answer is no – the round-trip efficiency would be abysmal. You’re looking at a cap of around 50% for the combustion engine to turn the gasoline back into electricity (and no I don’t think that fuel cells can scale), and some similar number for converting electricity into gasoline in the first place, meaning that the combined round-trip efficiency is ballpark 20% or 30%. That’s not workable.

    Aside from that, the plain fact is that renewables are growing much faster than nuclear, which is dogged by the complete failure of the industry in most cases to deliver its projects anything like on time and within budget, let alone the problems of proliferation and safety.

    Arguments from popularity are not good arguments. People can do stupid, stupid things, like be religious. I have already made clear that I think the green energy movement is comparable to a religion in terms of intellectual rigor, and so you’re going to get nowhere with me by citing general arguments from authority or arguments from popularity.

    Nuclear cannot deliver in the west for several reasons.

    First, you’re comparing mass produced solar panels to one-of-a-kind first-of-a-kind ludicrously large prototypes. You need to compare it to like and like, such as the nuclear plants in South Korea, which cost roughly 1/4 of the plants in the west, and the prices have been falling steadily for like 30 years.

    Second, manipulations of the spot market prices by solar and wind put additional stresses, financial and physical, on nuclear power because a lot of the current crop of nuclear power plants were not designed to load follow, and definitely for nuclear power plants in America. You can make a nuclear power plant that will load follow, and even retrofit existing plants, but the retrofiting won’t happen for reason 3.

    Third, people have been sold this grossly false and ludicrously exaggerated understanding of the dangers of radiation. For some reason, people are concerned about nuclear waste from power plants, which has basically never killed anyone and probably never will (Hanford is a weapons waste cite, different stuff, more dangerous, also not as well cared for), compared to coal which kills 3 million people every year from airborne particulate pollution alone, and also compared to the massive environmental costs of solar and wind production. Solar cell construction is a dirty business. I’m not saying that it’s so dirty that we shouldn’t do it, but I am saying that people have their priorities completely out of whack because they have a flat-Earth level of understanding of the dangers of radiation and nuclear waste. It really seems to be true that most people get their information from the movie The China Syndome and professional liars / fools like Helen Caldicott and Green Peace.

    This hysteria leads to a regulatory environment with stifling costs and risks. The “as low as reasonable possible” standard, instead of a fixed standard based on real health risks, causes an uncontrolled ratcheting-up of costs. Investors cannot know the costs, because any moment there might be a regulatory change that drastically increases costs to new and/or existing power plants because of this “as low as reasonably possible” standard. The legal framework also allows for substantial delaying tactics by groups like Green Peace, which further increases costs to investors.

    Fourth, many areas have subsidies for non-nuclear green energy, and also straight-up quotas for green energy that explicitly excludes nuclear. My home state of California is one such state, where one nuclear power plant has already closed in large part because the state has a rule that says a certain fraction of the total electricity must come from green sources, and explicitly says that nuclear is not green. The laws are not fair, and they’re not aimed at reducing emissions. Instead, they’re aimed at appeasing the quasi-religious green energy cult.

    https://atomicinsights.com/nuclear-plants-losing-money-astonishing-rate/

    let alone the problems of proliferation and safety.

    In your pithy ending I think are the biggest two real problems with nuclear.

    By “safety”, the real real concern is not on safety in terms of real harm to human health, because the risk there is very low. Remember that only about 300 people actually died from Chernobyl (excluding the clean-up crew), and thus far about 0 people have died from radiation poisoning from Fukushima. Instead, the real concern for me is the possibility of long-lasting loss of land due to contamination. Even this may be exaggerated, but I am not fully confident to say so. I will mention that, as far as I know, most of the exclusion zone of Fukushima is already at safe levels, IIRC 10 mSv / year or less, and most is much less, which is about the same as the background radiation rate in Colorado (AFAICT mostly from larger than normal amounts of radon from the ground). So, while it might be safe to live there, I am still concerned about possible bio-accumulation differences due to the different radioactive chemicals involved (I don’t know), and I’m also concerned about the potential impact on food and livestock grown in the area.

    Proliferation is a tricky game. I think it’s a huge concern. However, I think it’s also important to recognize that there’s very little correlation between countries with civilian nuclear power and countries with nuclear weapons. If you actually look at the history, the connection is tenuous. It’s also true that practically every real nuclear weapon was constructed using centrifuges or with a purpose-built dedicated nuclear reactor, e.g. practically zero nuclear weapons have been built using a civilian-design power plant. It’s typically just easier to build a custom purpose reactor to get the (proper) plutonium, or to build centrifuges to get the uranium. That’s how everyone has done to date.

    I also think that the genie is out the bottle, and that further restrictions on nuclear power will have practically zero effect on the spread of nuclear weapons. Anyone who wants a nuclear weapon can get one, and only judicious diplomacy and international pressure will stop that. Stopping the spread of clean, affordable energy will make the problem of nuclear weapon proliferation worse IMO, and that’s even before we consider the impact of global warming and ocean acidification on the frequency of war, terrorism, and political stability in the future.

    Further, modern reactor designs are much safer than Fukushima, and even the Fukushima era western designs are quite safe. Fukushima was an isolated incident, whose damaging effects have been exaggerated, and with modern designs such events are much less likely to happen.

    So, in sum, I think these are genuine concerns, but I also think that they are addressable.

    although the possibility of such an accident (or terrorist attack) doing so is certainly there.

    Not really, no. You need to stop getting your science information from TV shows like “24”, Tom Clancy books, and Green Peace. Those are fiction (even if Green Peace doesn’t label their information as such).

    the Japanese will be dealing with the aftermath of Fukushima for decades, at a cost estimated by their trade ministry at $180 billion.

    Much of that money is spent on needless measures, due to a pseudo-science standard on the dangers of radiation. I’m not saying that radiation is harmless, but the standards in use are ridiculous.

    No insurance company will accept the full risk of a nuclear accident, nor can such risks even be passed on to the huge reinsurance businesses: governments always have to act as insurers of last resort – a massive subsidy to the nuclear industry.

    First, please see:
    https://atomicinsights.com/quantifying-the-price-anderson-subsidy/
    In short, the actual costs of the American insurance scheme are minor, not huge. Second, lack of insurance would not have stopped nuclear power plants from being built. Also, without the government insurance, the company without insurance (or with private insurance) simply would not have enough liquidity to pay the whole damages, and thus the government insurance probably increases the payouts that victims would receive in the case of an accident.

    This is just a false green talking point. Solar and wind receive way more money in subsidies than nuclear.

    They can’t. The recent IPCC report showed that the next 12 years are crucial if we are to avoid going over 1.5C above preindustrial mean global temperatures – beyond which, the effects get rapidly worse. Neither of these vaunted types of reactor are beyond the experimental stage […] could not make much difference before 2040 at the earliest. If we haven’t massively reduced net GHG emissions by then, we’re toast.

    I’ll mostly disagree but disagree on a minor point.

    I agree that in the short term, we should be focusing on conventional reactor technology. France went from like 20% nuclear electricity to 80% nuclear electricity, and they did so in less than 20 years, and they were not in the urgent rush that we should be in to combat climate change. There is nothing physical or technical stopping us as a world from replacing all fossil fuels for electricity production with nuclear in a comparable amount of time across the whole Earth. Instead, it’s a matter of politics, like the argument that we’re having now.

    I disagree on one minor point: The technology is closer to being ready that you give credit for. Several companies with leaders that I trust and whom I’ve vetted enough, such as Moltex and ThorCon, are ready to build commercial scale prototypes of next-gen non-breeder reactors that should be cheaper and safer. I believe ThorCon in particular when they say that they could reasonably be in full scale production, if only someone would write them a billion dollar check, and find a country with a reasonable regulatory environment. Again, I agree with you that we should focus on what we have now, but I also think that we should continue R&D into everything, including solar, wind, and chemical batteries, but given that the US has spent like 10 or 20 billion USD on subsidies for solar and wind deployment, not R&D, I just want a few billion of that spent instead on promising nuclear research too. Or may just take some of that money out of the defense budget. We don’t need the F-35.

    To cut off the argument preemptively: “But there’s not enough nuclear fuel without breeder reactors”. This might be true, but possibly not. However, even if it is true, we still have several decades of fuel at a minimum, and likely much more, and I’d rather have those several extra decades to figure something out. To paraphrase the ThorCon sales pitch, even if we go through our 20 year worldwide supply of nuclear fuel, that would make it a tremendous success, and it’s something that we need to do.

    If we haven’t massively reduced net GHG emissions by then [2040], we’re toast.

    And the only thing that can possibly do that is nuclear. For all of your complaining about nuclear power, at least it’s ready now for the grid and industry uses. Non-nuclear green is not. No one can honestly tell me how we can transition the United States or any other large country 100% off of fossil fuels for industry and electricity, but it is easy to do so with nuclear, as demonstrated by France.

  26. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I believe ThorCon in particular when they say that they could reasonably be in full scale production in 10 years

    Important missing element. Sorry.

  27. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I should stop, but I should bring up one other point.

    Today, worldwide energy usage, measured by primary energy content, is about 18 TW. With the rest of the world industrializing, this number is not going to go down. It’s going to go up. A lot.

    What does this look like?

    You can look up the numbers for worldwide availility of non-solar, non-wind, non-nuclear green energy. Last time I did this, it doesn’t add up. For example:

    Hydro. About 1 TW worldwide. It would be hard to even double this. And that’s roughly 70% of the world’s actually installed non-nuclear renewable generation.

    Wave power. Found a source that says 2 TW if we did it for all of the coastline in the world. Not happening.

    You can do the same for the other options, and they all come up very short. Even adding them all up doesn’t get to our target number.

    That leaves solar and wind as the main workhorses in this hypothetical non-nuclear drastically-reduced-CO2-emissions world. What would that look like?

    (40 TW) (1 sq meter / 150 W daily average solar radiation) (1 / 15% conversion efficiency)
    = 1.8 million sq km

    That’s bigger than many countries.

    France: 644 thousand sq km
    Germany: 357 thousand sq km
    California: 424 thousand sq km
    Texas: 696 thousand sq km

    The green pipedream involves literally paving over the land area equal to France plus Germany plus California plus Texas. It wouldn’t be a one-time effort because they wear out. They need to be replaced in the neighborhood of every 30 years. It would be a never-ending project of constantly repaving over an area this size in solar cells.

    I believe that this cannot happen, and if you were to honestly look at it, you wouldn’t believe it too. Look at a picture of the globe, and imagine that portion of Europe or America literally covered completely in solar cells. And don’t give me any nonsense about “rooftop solar”. For this to work, it needs to be industry scale with industry practices, and that means paving over wide swathes of area – not individual piecemeal additions to irregularly shaped buildings, with higher costs of initial installation, and much higher costs of replacement.

    Doing this would be an ecological disaster of unprecedented proportions. The Fukushima exclusion zone, for reference, is 371 sq km, a small, small fraction of the area that we would be required to literally pave over and over again, constantly, until the end of time.

    Even a tenth of a project of this size is impossible. I would be surprised if we even did a hundredth of it. Can you imagine it? A hundredth of this is an area of 18 thousand square kilometer. Imagine that area paved in solar cells. That’s 6 times bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island, and that’s just a hundredth of the required area.

    As soon as you start to look at the scales involved, you see that energy / power density is king, and that is the number which really matters, and that’s arguably the biggest reason why solar and wind won’t work – they have very low energy / power density. It’s non-engineers thinking that they’ve solved an engineering problem when they have absolutely zero of the requisite engineering knowledge.

    PS:
    Wind energy density is much lower. Literally the first source googled says that it’s lower than previous estimates, and that 1 W / sq m might be typical for very large wind farms. Compare that to the 22.5 W / sq m, daily average, that I assumed for solar ((150 W / sq m) * (15% conversion efficiency)). Admittingly you don’t need to pave over the entire area in order to put up wind farms, but the area is also around 20 times larger. Without knowing any more, I’d say that it’s a wash in terms of plausibility.

  28. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    http://landartgenerator.org/blagi/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/AreaRequired1000.jpg
    Yes, we’ve all seen the graphic. I think that it’s short by at least a factor of 2, and probably 3 or 4 because they use overly optimistic numbers for daily average solar radiation, and overly optimistic numbers for conversion efficiency.

    It might look small on the graphic – you need to put that into perspective. That single dot in Africa is about 125 thousand sq km. It looks deceptively small. Instead, look up the land area of your own country, state, region in sq km, and then imagine having that dot where you live. See how far out it would go. It would go for 176 km in every direction if you were in the middle of the area in the shape of a circle. Think of a place that is 176 km away, and think what it would be like if everything was covered in solar cells between you and that place. And then realize that the real needed area is many times bigger than that.

  29. says

    It would go for 176 km in every direction if you were in the middle of the area in the shape of a circle. Think of a place that is 176 km away, and think what it would be like if everything was covered in solar cells between you and that place.

    Yeah, because that is how it is actually working: When you put up solar panels you absolutely destroy everything in that area and then cover the area in solar panels. Nobody would ever be so stupid and put them on, say, rooftops. Or grazing land where it often actually even helps to prevent the soil from drying out and provides shade to the life stock. And there are absolutely no areas left that serve no other purpose than top park cars and where you could put up solar panels so they wouldn’t just produce energy but also possibly reduce energy consumption because the cars parked underneath would be protected from the elements.
    Too bad nobody ever thought of it. Instead we will simply bulldoze over the Rhineland.
    Seriously, EL, are you being very stupid or very dishonest or do you think you’re arguing with people who have never actually seen a solar panel?

  30. jack lecou says

    Instead, look up the land area of your own country, state, region in sq km, and then imagine having that dot where you live. See how far out it would go.

    In addition to what Giliell said, I’d just point out that the argument you’re making here is essentially fallacious. It’s a sort of appeal to incredulity. “This thing, if it happened, would be really big and incredible to imagine.”

    The problem is, that’s kind of how all infrastructure works. We could sit here with our calculators and do the same exercise for all the asphalt in our roads and highways. Or all the steel in our bridges and buildings and ships. Or all the oil pumped and refined and burned on a yearly basis (never mind all time). Or all the copper in our wire grid. Etc., etc. If you pile that stuff all up in one place and paint the right picture, it’s always incredible. Unbelievable, even. What does a billion tons or a thousand square kilometers of something even mean? How did we ever mine that much or smelt that much or build that much?

    And yet, we did. That stuff exists. And other incredible things can and will exist in the future.

    It looks like a lot of your arguments here amount to that. Big numbers. Appeals to incredulity. But those aren’t actual arguments. Yes, the numbers are big, but that doesn’t mean anything. So are nations, and national GDPs. What matters is the ratio.

  31. says

    I see that Little ELmo is infesting this space with his creationist grade screeds too, pronouncing that carbon neutral electricity is the equivalent of “irreducibly complex” and can absolutely definitely only be produced by the Great God Nookle.

  32. says

    Giliell, Rooftop solar can only provide a minor amount. Mark Jacobson’s 50 state plan calls for 3.98% residential and 3.24% Com/Gov PV rooftop, and you can bet he didn’t leave any roofs uncovered! For comparison, he has 30% solar PV plant and 7.30% CSP plant.

  33. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Pharyngulites, arguing with EL does not appear to be keeping your teeth sharp or your coats shiny!

    I gave up while ago. EL is a TRUE Believer. Hence this.

  34. dianne says

    Giliell, Rooftop solar can only provide a minor amount.

    Compared to what? My roof is producing essentially all my electrical needs at this point. Admittedly, one residential building in the northeast US is hardly a major removal of carbon from the system.

  35. says

    Dianne, It’s not providing any electricity for you at night and there’s a lot more electricity that was used to manufacture all the stuff in your household, above all your household needs.

  36. jack lecou says

    @35:

    It’s pretty clear Giliell didn’t claim that rooftops alone would be sufficient. The point was just that EL’s argument from incredulity is silly*: In practice, however many zeta-acres of solar might be required, they’re unlikely to be entirely contiguous, and needn’t conflict with existing land uses. Even to the extent that large solar power plant installations would be the primary component, they wouldn’t be placed all in one spot, or displace anything. They will be put wherever the land is cheap — which is to say, unused.

    And I have questions about that study you link. Take parking lots, for example. Estimates vary, but there are something like 500-800 million surface parking lot spaces in the US. That represents a total area somewhere between the size of Puerto Rico and of New Jersey. Maybe 10,000 to 20,000 km^2.

    Your link theoretically counts parking areas together with rooftops and other structures, and yet Table 4 shows a TOTAL of only about 5000 km^2 available for that entire category. But raw surface parking lot area alone are at least 2 or 3 times that much.

    It’s possible they’ve decided that 75%+ of surface parking lots are “unusable” for some reason, but if so, the justification and methodology for that culling isn’t exactly self explanatory. (“Uneconomical” I might be prepared to grant, but it’d be nice if that was clearer.)

    * To beat that horse further, suppose we lived in an alternate universe where didn’t have parking, but suddenly decided we needed 800,000,000 new spaces for some reason. Alternate EL would then pop up and tell us this is flatly impossible. Such a quantity of parking would be inconceivable – an expanse of asphalt rivaling the size of the entire state of New Jersey. Simply unpossible.

    And yet.

  37. says

    Nerd of Redhead, I looked at your link and would like to ask you if you’re sure it’s not you that can’t be reasoned out of what you weren’t reasoned into? As for myself, you could probably call me a true believer in nuclear. I like to think that I’m open to other views. For example, I agree with Nobel prize winning physicist, Robert Laughlin that hydrocarbons are the optimal way to store chemical energy (in a practical sense), but what about mechanical energy? I just ran across a story of Chinese researchers finding a way to make carbon nano-tubes. (I found it at WUWT and I don’t think PZ will let me link there). This might make space elevators feasible, but they could also be used for flywheels. Tensile strength is a limiting factor in their design, so I’m hearing speculation about the kinds of order of magnitude increases in power density that is needed for renewables. Of course, being doable and being practical and economic are two (three?) different things.

  38. says

    Jack L and everyone else interested in renewables vs nuclear, you should check out Michael Shellenberge,rs work. You can watch him debate (along with Ken Caldeira) with Mark Jacobson in this video:

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Canman, nuclear is technologicakl feasible, but no way is it feasible politically.
    If EL wants to convince me he is right, he takes his idea to those with money to build the plants, and see their response. I know the silence of not supplying their money will be deafening, but he still won’t be able to shut the fuck up even then.
    All he has is ego and noise from harassing those of us who acknowledge the ability of technology to make wind/solar/tide feasible in the long run, without “putting up or shutting up”. Like any creobot/godbot/liberturd, etc.

  40. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To jack lecuo

    We could sit here with our calculators and do the same exercise for all the asphalt in our roads and highways.

    The numbers involved here are way, way bigger. I’ve seen estimates of the amount of paved roads worldwide being about 100,000 sq km. Compare that to 1,800,000 sq km.

    And I consider this to be the weakest of my arguments. The problem with intermittency and batteries is the real show-stopper. It annoys me that people respond to the weakest argument, and rebut that, and then pretend as though they have rebutted my entire position. Of course, I understand this, and I should probably only go with my strongest arguments and not even mention the weaker arguments. Unfortunately, now the entire thread will focus on this one weak argument, ignoring the strong arguments that I made. C’est la vie.

    It’s pretty clear Giliell didn’t claim that rooftops alone would be sufficient.

    That’s not clear to me at all. In fact, it seems pretty obvious that Giliell hasn’t looked into the problem at all, and just trusts some phony experts without good reason that it’ll all work out. As I said, the green energy movement is a religious cult.

    The point was just that EL’s argument from incredulity is silly*: In practice, however many zeta-acres of solar might be required, they’re unlikely to be entirely contiguous, and needn’t conflict with existing land uses. Even to the extent that large solar power plant installations would be the primary component, they wouldn’t be placed all in one spot, or displace anything. They will be put wherever the land is cheap — which is to say, unused.

    I’m not saying that we don’t have enough land. I’m saying that this infrastructure project is several orders of magnitude larger than anything else we have ever accomplished. I’m saying that if you look at the sheer scale of what is suggested, it is way beyond anything humanity has ever accomplished. Again, I would be surprised if we even reached 1% of the goal.

    ..

    To dianne
    Your roof does not supply enough power for you, or you are extremely far from typical. You’re either connected to the electrical grid for night, winter + cloudy weather, etc., or you have lots of batteries, or you have a diesel backup, or something like that, or you experience regular power outages, or you’re extremely far from typical in some way. As for the batteries, the energy required to make those batteries is way more than the energy you get from your roof for the lifetime of the batteries. Also, see what canman wrote.

    ..

    To Lofty

    I see that Little ELmo is infesting this space with his creationist grade screeds too, pronouncing that carbon neutral electricity is the equivalent of “irreducibly complex” and can absolutely definitely only be produced by the Great God Nookle.

    “Arguments by analogy are fraud.”

    My local university doing something towards self sufficiency using human altered surfaces twice over:
    https://news.flinders.edu.au/blog/2018/08/23/almost-6000-solar-panels-power-campus/
    And they certainly haven’t run out of surfaces to populate with solar and storage.

    “Doing something” is not the same thing as “doing something productive”. Quoting your article “soon provide one-fifth of the electricity needed to power Flinders University’s Bedford Park campus”. Am I supposed to be impressed? I am not. Just because someone can do 20% does not mean that they can do 100%. The problem is not one of scale. Entirely new problems arise. Specifically, the problem of intermittency and no practical storage technology. Your article doesn’t mention what kind of storage that they use, if any. So, I’m not sure what pipedream or lie that they’re planning, but it’s a pipedream or a lie.

    ..

    To Giliell

    Nobody would ever be so stupid and put them on, say, rooftops.

    It’s like you just skimmed my post instead of actually reading it, because I addressed this. canman also addresses other aspects of this.

    Or grazing land where it often actually even helps to prevent the soil from drying out and provides shade to the life stock.

    Increase the land area covered by a factor of 3.

    also possibly reduce energy consumption because the cars parked underneath would be protected from the elements.

    This is borderline non-sequitir. The green delusion is strong with this one. Just another example where the green energy movement is not an environmentalist movement, but instead an anti-corporation anti-industrialism anarchic movement where the real goal is to make everyone self sufficient – environment be damned. Whereas, I’m actually an environmentalist.

    Seriously, EL, are you being very stupid or very dishonest or do you think you’re arguing with people who have never actually seen a solar panel?

    At least read the whole post that you’re responding to, and show that you have read it by at least acknowledging the preemptive rebuttal to some of the points that you are about ot make. Do that before you accuse me of being dishonest, because now I accuse you of an extreme lack of rigor which is borderline dishonest, i.e. strawmanning. It’s just pathetic projection.

  41. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Increase the land area covered by a factor of 3.

    Sorry, I meant something more like 25%. I don’t know why I wrote that number. I just did some quick research which indicates something closer to 1.25x. My apologies.

  42. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To build on a previous point – after decades of trying, worldwide photovoltaic installation is about 400 GW capacity. At a generous value of 150 W / sq m daily average solar radiation, with a reasonable value of 15% conversion efficiency, that’s 9 GW of actual production. Compare that to our target of like 20 TW or 40 TW. It’s not even 1%. It’s not even 0.1%. It’s 0.045%. In those two decades, we could have transitioned most of electricity production worldwide to nuclear – and I say this with confidence because France actually did this. Compare that to Germany, where solar and wind is still only like IIRC like 10% or 15% solar plus wind. How much longer will we keep trying this approach which does not work, when France has showed us that the nuclear approach actually does work!?

    For nuclear power to succeed, we need to recognize that it’s not as dangerous as Green Peace says it is. It’s far less dangerous. We also need to recognize that most of the actual costs are artificial costs that have nothing to do with the technology, and instead can be easily fixed, such as what we see in other non-western countries, especially a country like South Korea. The reasons include lack of standardized designs, extra costs from regulation, legal delaying tactics by groups like Green Peace, and other regulatory problems, and legal quotas for no-CO2 energy which explicitly exclude nuclear, and also market manipulations by solar, wind, and natural gas to drive up the costs of nuclear.

  43. says

    EL, the clockwork soldier of the nuclear industry continues to prattle on.

    Specifically, the problem of intermittency and no practical storage technology.

    You really have no idea where storage technology is going, do you? Possibly because you have a couple of sub critical hemispheres of Uranium as ear warmers.

  44. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You really have no idea where storage technology is going, do you?

    It’s going nowhere very quickly, as far as I can tell, with lots of vaporware companies along the way.

    You know that we don’t even have 1% of the required lithium for the amount of battery that we would need, right? Ditto for nickel and lead. Sodium-sulfur is probably the best I’ve seen of the proven tech that can scale, but just too expensive.

    So, what pipedream(s) are you backing? Battery with raw material shortage problems, i.e. lithium, nickel, lead, and others? Vaporware battery companies? Compressed air? Hydrogen? Pumped water? Flywheels? Whatcha got? What do you want to go into?

  45. dianne says

    Your roof does not supply enough power for you, or you are extremely far from typical. You’re either connected to the electrical grid for night, winter + cloudy weather, etc., or you have lots of batteries, or you have a diesel backup, or something like that, or you experience regular power outages, or you’re extremely far from typical in some way.

    You are right about one thing: we are connected to the grid. That’s where the excess power flows to in the day and where that power is drawn from at night. The power company charges a fee for the connection and for banking excess power during the day and…that’s it. That’s our electric bill. So either we are producing all our power needs or the power company is engaging in some form of bizarre charity. Which do you think more likely?

  46. says

    Just think, if all of those companies currently building battery factories listened to “experts” like EL instead of their industry analysts they could just shut them down and get back to burning glow-in-the-dark rocks.

  47. says

    @EL:

    I think you read my earlier comment unfavorably, but let’s let that slide. While I believe that nuclear power’s effects are dramatically better than the effects of fossil fuel-based electricity generation and am perfectly happy to see some level of nuke generation for some period of time, you are wrong to dismiss the problem of “hysteria”.

    Even if it is hysteria, that constitutes a major barrier to actually constructing nuke plants. Also, as I mentioned above but seem to have missed, the DoE sabotaged goodwill by lying about Hanford and other things. As the DoE is the regulator of private nuclear-electricity generation plants, the relevance isn’t whether the nuke-electric industry uses the same reactor technology as Hanford. The relevance is that that industry uses the same regulator with the same credibility problems. There was a fuck of a lot of optimistic futurism surrounding nuke plants for a long time. The DoE squandered it, and if you want to convince people to pay money for new nuke plants, you’re going to have to deal with the fact that the DoE fucked up big time, repeatedly, and now simply won’t be trusted.

    It may very well be that current nuke plants aren’t leaking anything dangerous. It may very well be that there’s no significant risk of dangerous leaks from any plant being seriously considered for development in the US today. But the people that have to pay for it – the rate payers who don’t get to choose which generating plant feeds them electricity and who don’t get to choose their electric company without picking up and moving… sometimes out of state – don’t trust nuclear power. That’s not a problem created by Greenpeace. No one would listen to Greenpeace had the government given consistently honest, credible information over the decades.

    So now you have this problem. What is your plan to deal with it? Yes, it would be great if we all knew all the facts and could make rational decisions regarding distribution of risk, but if you want this you’re going to actually educate people about what those risks really are, and the DoE sabotaged so much good will here that you’re signing up for a multi-year campaign.

    I don’t in any way want to make decisions on something other than the facts as they actually are, but the facts as they actually are include things like, “Is the technology affordable?” and, just as important, “Do the people with the money to buy this technology actually want to spend money on it?”

    I in no way want to hold you back from providing accurate information to the 300M people living in the US. Go nuts. Be the best educator the country has ever seen. But you can’t hand wave away the serious problem that you don’t (at this point) have willing and eager customers.

    By contrast, you have tons of willing and eager customers for lots of different small-scale solar techs, and a growing market of large customers for wind tech.

    Given all that, I’m perfectly happy to have as many reduced-carbon GW of energy generation as possible, fission, fusion, solar, wind, or whatever. Whatever can be built that significantly staves off crisis should be built. But handwaving away the problems of credibility created by the US government and the DoE doesn’t get you closer to actually increasing low-carbon generating capacity.

    Finally, in regards to your “vaporware” comment, grid-level electric storage is here now. It’s not nearly as widespread as it needs to be to fully time shift intermittent generating sources’ production if those sources were generating 50%+ of our electricity, but it’s not all vaporware, and it’s not all based on speculative chemistries and unproven proton membranes. This company is currently constructing a small, but nonetheless grid-scale, energy storage project in India. It costs less than 50% of current pumped-hydro storage and, unlike pumped hydro, is geography-independent (you can build it on a hill or in the middle of Nebraska for the same costs, assuming you’re transporting the construction materials the same distance, while pumped hydro only works in places where the topography is highly variable and the bedrock won’t let your pumped-water drain through porous mineral deposits like limestone). It is much cheaper than grid-level battery storage.

    While the current company’s current projects use materials like the debris used concrete extracted from demolished buildings (debris that would otherwise go to landfills), it’s likely that building huge amounts of such storage would require adding other materials that might up the cost or the energy requirements per MWh in the future, this tech is dirt cheap now, and by the time its costs are ready to go up because of those market forces, the costs of other storage (possibly even one or more of those new battery chemistries) will come down.

    So it’s not all vaporware. Storage projects are being built now. Storage can use well-understood, non-experimental tech and still be dramatically cheaper than what we’ve got now.

    I think you need to more carefully consider some information about which you seem overly certain -like your opinion of storage tech- and also how seriously you take certain problems (the problem of getting people to spend money on fission generation is non-trivial).

    I agree with you on the seriousness of the problem. I agree that it’s obvious that fossil fuel generation (especially but not only coal) needs to be stopped – tonight, if we could manage it. But I think a lot more people here are both/and (with regards to nuke + solar/wind/hydro) than you’re assuming, and I think that reasonable discussion of the problems of quickly increasing fission generation capacity needs to happen if any effort to increase generation capacity is going to succeed. That means internalizing the fact that there’s a real public-relations problem that needs to be overcome. It means that we need to have a real plan for disposal, and the supposedly pro-nuke republicans have been at least as responsible for borking any serious effort to create a viable long-term storage plan. This isn’t all hysterical left-wing enviro-whacko ramblings. The political problem isn’t created by a rational understanding of science either. The best place for long-term storage the DoE could identify was in Michigan. But the political dynamics created by senators who want to be reelected in a world where the DoE has 0 credibility sabotaged that and shunted the problem to the still-acceptable, but clearly inferior site of Yucca mountain merely because there are fewer people in Nevada … and even the Yucca plan can’t get legislation authorization industry-scale movement and storage. Yeah, it may be politics, but from their point of view, they’re being rational because the evidence of voting patterns really does tell those senators that they really will be defeated in reelection if they accept storage in their state, or even create a plan where trainloads of waste will pass through their states on the way to Yucca. This dynamic may not be justified by the science on radiation’s health effects on humans, but it’s a real-as-hell political dynamic. Problems exist. You want to be successful? Then you have to actually address them. And if you want to get shit done in the next 10 years, then your plan has to have a reasonable chance of getting those problems solved in 2-3 so that building can begin and capacity can be online in 10.

    Taking things personally and handwaving aren’t going to get us to 350ppm any sooner than tokamak fusion.

  48. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    So either we are producing all our power needs or the power company is engaging in some form of bizarre charity. Which do you think more likely?

    Your electricity budget is subsidized by fossil fuels and/or nuclear. You abstract is as “banking” or “storing” energy. That’s not what the sevice is doing. Rather, when you need energy, it burns fossil fuels (or nuclear fuels), and very likely some significant amount of natural gas peakers. So, you are flatly incorrect when yoo say “My roof is producing essentially all my electrical needs at this point”. It is not even close to true. That little abstraction of the connection to the energy grid is hiding a massive, massive amount of work that your little roof could not hope to match. The same story would be true if you bought batteries from a store and used that to store energy locally.

    To Crip Dyke

    I think you read my earlier comment unfavorably

    I’m on edge now. Apologies.

    you are wrong to dismiss the problem of “hysteria”.

    But you can’t hand wave away the serious problem that you don’t (at this point) have willing and eager customers.c

    I don’t think that I’m wrong to characterize it as hysteria, but I would be wrong to “dismiss it as hysteria”. I already completely agree with you that this is a significant problem. I believe that this education problem is the biggest problem by far standing in the way from the world using nuclear to help combat global warming. I apologize for giving it short thrift. I happen to think that most of the arguments are entirely bunk, but the existence of the people who believe that bunk is a huge, huge problem.

    But handwaving away the problems of credibility created by the US government and the DoE doesn’t get you closer to actually increasing low-carbon generating capacity.

    I’ll say it again. These sorts of problems are solvable, unlike the problem of changing fundamental rules of physics, or demanding that an unspecified radical technological breakthrough happen. You and many other people have a hangup. I suggest that it’s going to be easier to deal with this hangup, and fix some of the trust and oversight problems along the way, rather than make magical pixie dust ala wind and solar work. I agree that there could better transparency, but I still must insist that this problem is being blown out of all proportion because of outright lies and other misinformation from Green Peace and the like about the real dangers of nuclear waste and radiation.

    Take a look at this person, one of the foremost advocates, leaders, and organizers in the anti-nuclear green energy movement.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Caldicott
    She has stated on film that she believes that millions of people died from Chernobyl, when the real number is about 300. When faced with the facts that the World Health Organization and practically all other medical organizations agree with a number closer to 300 or 3000 vs 1 million, her ill-prepared off-the-cuff remark implying that there is an international conspiracy among the doctors and scientists about the death toll from Chernobyl. From the movie “Pandora’s Promise”, link includes timestamp. Keep going for about a minute, and she says “This is the biggest cover-up in the history of medicine”.
    https://youtu.be/TLuKXOVnzhE?t=126

    As the other person in the video says, it’s the same thing as global warming deniers, anti-vaxxers, zero-nuance anti-GMOers. The anti-nuclear position is inextricably linked to the same sort of anti-science mindset as creationists and global warming deniers.

    Am I accusing this of you? I don’t know. You’ve been careful to keep your cards close to your chest, and to not take a firm position. I am accusing most green persons of this – the liars and fools, and the people who choose to trust the liars and fools.

    https://newatlas.com/energy-vault-concrete-tower-battery/57164/

    Meeting our growing energy demands without continuing to destroy the planet might be one of the biggest challenges of our time, and it calls for some pretty creative solutions. Swiss company Energy Vault has just launched an innovative new system that stores potential energy in a huge tower of concrete blocks, which can be “dropped” by a crane to harvest the kinetic energy.

    Sorry for not hearing about this sooner. Haven’t heard of this before now. My initial gut reaction said “no way that this can work”. It reminded me of the idea of using train cars, which is silly. However, I don’t think I can dismiss it out of hand. I have a lot of questions about it, and I want to see if they live up to their price estimates. However, even if they can meet their goals, I don’t think that’s enough.

    I just did some preliminary research on this. I like the idea – low cost, simple tech. Just blocks of concrete and a crane. However, the devil is in the details – details which I think very few people know. So, definitely worth trying out. However, they may be basing their cost estimates on existing usage of cranes, and their usage patterns would be very different, and I suspect do more damage to the equipment, increasing costs. Then again, for 7 days of storage, most of the cranes would be idle for most of the time, which means that maybe these cost estimates based on existing usage could be accurate.

    I also wonder how much this can be automated and how much human labor would be required. Human labor is the key. If it requires 10% of the human workforce, it probably won’t work, and I’ve seen back-of-napkin suggesting numbers like this. For comparison, I’ve seen estimates that only 1% of the total population works in oil, including drilling, refining, transport, and even selling at gas stations. Again, energy density matters.

    However, I’m not that hopeful. I’ve found statements from the group that says 150 USD per KWh is their goal. This seems a little higher than some of the estimates I’ve seen for the cost of pumped water storage. Still, the goal is something like 7 days of storage. Case example: A large nuclear plant is typically 1 GW, which costs between 0.5 billion and 8 billion USD, depending on which country you build it in. A coal power plant is in the same range of cost. If you wanted to replace that with solar or wind, you’d need 7 GW-Day of storage, and at 150 USD / KWh, that comes out to about 25 billion USD.

    What source did you use to get the “50% cost of pumped water”?

    the costs of other storage (possibly even one or more of those new battery chemistries) will come down.

    I don’t know why you think this will happen.

    Storage can use well-understood, non-experimental tech and still be dramatically cheaper than what we’ve got now.

    Why do you believe that? I’m serious. This is a serious question. Why do you believe that? Also, why do you believe that better electrochemical batteries will arrive? I hate to use this question on you because it’s used all the time in a dishonest way to attack nuclear IMO, but I have to ask: If this is all so easy, why isn’t it already being done? Sure, you can cite to me one project in India. I’m not trying to say that it cannot be done because of this question and facts (I’ll argue that from other evidence and reason). I’m trying to understand why you are so optimistic about relatively unproven technology and engineering that you say is “just around the corner” (paraphrase). I see the same basic facts as you, and I come away horribly pessimistic about the possibility of new tech “just around the corner”.

    It’s like the old joke about fusion power – always 20 years away. I feel this way about energy storage techs.

    Every year, I see some startup like this, and green proponents advocate it to me, similar to how you are doing now, and in a year or two’s time, I never hear about this startup again, and I never hear about this technology again. I have paid attention to the dozens and dozens of hyped-up startups, and each has gone nowhere, and it cannot be for lack of funding. This is why I use the term “vaporware”. I expect in 2 years time, no one will be talking about this startup or approach again. It’ll be just another example in the long list of examples of overhyped and ultimately vaporware energy tech.

    Surely you have seen the same list of startup companies that promise the world and deliver nothing in this space. How many times does one need to be taken advantage of before one should become jaded and take a highly pessimistic outlook?

    That’s why I’m endorsing nuclear, because no new tech is required.

    Too many people hype up thorium reactors, or breeder reactors, or whatever, as our saviors. I think they’re great nifty ideas which have a good chance of working, and that means we should be throwing lots of money at them in R&D, but I also believe that even this questionable concrete brick stacking energy storage tech, and wind and solar tech, deserve R&D money.

    I don’t argue that nuclear can solve global warming right now because of unproven reactor designs. Conventional reactors designs ala South Korea and France is enough. South Korea demonstrates that we can still build them cheaply, and France demonstrated that we can transition a whole large western country to nuclear electricity in 20 years or so.

    I feel that there is the lack of the requisite sense of urgency from you Crip Dyke, and other environmentalists. We have a serious problem, and we’ve knwon about it for decades, but instead of fixing the problem with the tools that we have, we have decided to delay on the hope that something better is just around the corner, and we’ve been doing that for decades, and making almost no progress in the meantime in actually solving the problem. If we started 30 years ago to solve the problem with the tools that we had then, CO2 emissions would be like 40% of what they are today, and hundreds of millions of people would still be alive who would have otherwise died from coal pollution (not even counting global warming), and we would be in a damn better position than we are now. So, why, now, should I continue on this same foolish path of waiting on the next new thing that will save us, when the old unshiny thing is demonstrated and ready to go? Again, given that we both recognize the absolutely unparalleled scale of the disaster that we flirt with, global warming and ocean acidification, it seems to me that not taking the only demonstrated solution, nuclear, and doing it right now, is the most irresponsible thing that humanity has ever done, and might be the last thing that our civilization will ever do. Again, it makes me doubt the sincerity of the typical anti-nuclear green advocate about their belief and concern regarding global warming when they seemingly have more important priorities than actually combating the problem.

  49. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Sorry, posted, too early. A couple of other points.

    It means that we need to have a real plan for disposal,

    This isn’t all hysterical left-wing enviro-whacko ramblings.

    You want to be successful? Then you have to actually address them. And if you want to get shit done in the next 10 years, then your plan has to have a reasonable chance of getting those problems solved in 2-3 so that building can begin and capacity can be online in 10.

    I honestly tried to do this in a way that was less rude, but I don’t know how, and I will almost always choose forthrightness over avoiding the appearance of being rude. I know this is a giant “blah blah blah but…” disclaimer, and I know that intent is not magic, but I still think explaining my intent is better than nothing here.

    No. It is just hysterical left-wing enviro-whacko rambling.

    I agree that this is an important public issue that must be addressed. However, I strongly disagree regarding the way to address it. The so-called nuclear waste problem was created in order to be unsolvable. It’s unsolvable because it’s not based in facts. I will not give you a plan for the disposal of waste that you are calling for, because this entire framing of the discussion is wrong, and agreeing to this framing of the discussion means implicitly admitting far too many falsehoods, and these implicit false assumptions make it impossible to mount a credible defense of nuclear. Instead, the only path that I see forward is to attack the myths head on, and that means I will not be giving you that giant nuclear disposal site that lasts for a bajillion years that you’re asking for.

    How many people died from Hanford? I asked you above. This time I’m seriously asking the question, and I’d like some attempt at an answer. I cannot get any estimate from 10 minutes of internet searching. This makes me think that the actual number is like 5 or less. I’m guessing that it’s actually zero. Just like Three Mile Island. Just like Fukushima. Even Chernobyl’s death count is only about 300 (practically all thyroid cancers).

    How many people die every year from premature deaths from airborne particulate pollution from coal? 3,000,000. Every year.

    There is no nuclear waste disposal problem. Or at least, I should say that the nuclear waste disposal problem is a huge problem, and it’s one of the biggest problems stopping nuclear today, but the problem exists solely in the imagination of a large portion of the population and the problem does not exist as a health danger in reality.

    Let me again link to this:
    http://thorconpower.com/docs/ct_yankee.pdf

  50. dianne says

    EL@54: I think you are drastically misunderstanding how banking works. In sunny times (which pretty much means any sun, even cloudy days because modern solar cells are quite productive), they feed power into the system. The power company uses that power to supply other houses, businesses, etc. As a result, they do NOT burn oil, gas, or coal. They also don’t use the wind generated electricity they buy from Texas or the solar they buy from Pennsylvania. Yes, I agree the other way around would make more sense, but there it is. At night, they send power back to my house. Our plan is actually with a company that specializes in collecting wind and solar power from multiple sources and using that, so the electricity flowing back in is from non-fossil fuel sources anyway, but let’s say it isn’t. Maybe the company is lying or whatever. Nonetheless, the amount of electricity they send back is the same as or less than the amount they got from us. They aren’t the same electrons, but they produce the same amount of power. The same amount of fossil fuels remain unburned. If the exact electricity our panels made was used by the office buildings downtown, replacing the coal produced electricity that they would otherwise have used, and then the electricity we use at night was made by burning coal, so what? The total net amount of coal burned electricity we used was zero.

    Now, suppose we produce and use an average amount of electricity. If everyone did the same thing, could this 100% remove the need for other power sources? Probably not. You’d probably still need a backup source for situations such as a run of cold snowy weather blocking the panels for weeks on end and certainly places in the far north where there’s little or no sun in the winter are going to need a backup. But electricity is remarkably efficient to transmit over long distances. Texas to the rescue! Or throw up some windmills offshore like they have in Denmark. There are multiple methods. The basic point is that modern solar cells are much more efficient than you’re giving them credit for and don’t need an excessive amount of space to produce a reasonable amount of energy.

    As far as nuclear power goes, if it were truly a choice between nuclear and fossil fuels and there were no other choice, nuclear would be the better bet. However, first off, you’ve badly underestimated the mortality from disasters. Chernobyl had a number of deaths due to marrow toxicity and a very superficial search on pubmed revealed a number of papers documenting an increase in cancer among workers and people who lived in areas contaminated by fallout, as well as other chronic diseases including hypertension and respiratory disorders. Anecdotally, I’ve seen some really bizarre cancers in immigrants from Poland in the 1990s/early 2000s. That seems to have settled down a little now. Hard to say what that means. Public health studies on Fukushima show increased perinatal mortality in contaminated areas. It’s clear that when things go wrong, they can go very wrong. And poor regulation of an industry such as is a problem in the US (and Russia and Japan) increases the risk of something going wrong. If nothing else, this is exactly the wrong moment to propose nuclear. The risk of disaster is too high until we get a Democratic government back that will regulate the industry sensibly.

  51. says

    About that crane and cement block energy storage system:

    That’s something that can be easily compared to pumped hydro storage, which is currently the most economical form of energy storage. The amounts of energy storage are proportional to the density of the material and how high it is lifted.

    One little realized aspect of hydro storage is the astounding amounts of water that are used. Take Hoover Dam, which has a hydrolic head of almost 200 meters (about 600 feet). How much water do you have to lift that 200 meters to run a 100 watt lightbulb for an hour? I come up with about 180 kg or 50 gallons. That makes 500 gallons per kilowatt hour.

    Now cement is about three times as dense as water and iron about 8 times as dense — well within an order of magnitude. Of course you can increase energy stored by increasing lift height. By any measure, you’re talking huge amounts of material.

  52. says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal (especially from #55, but also more generally)

    No. It is just hysterical left-wing enviro-whacko rambling.

    You removed my statement from its context in which I mention that anti-environmental, pro-nuke republicans engage in anti-scientific hysteria around the storage of radioactive waste materials.

    The point isn’t that it’s not all hysteria. The point is that it’s not all left-wing and it’s not all pro-environment, enviro-whacko hysteria. Quite a lot of this is right wing hysteria by people who are not pro-environment and don’t give a shit about reducing CO2 emissions at all. How can you possibly, having read what I said or even just being aware of Republican NIMBY-ism regarding nuclear power, assert that anti-scientific responses to the possibility of nuclear power generation are “just … left-wing, enviro-whacko rambling”?

    You gotta read the context. You’re picking out one word, “hysterical,” and you then want to assert, “but yes it is hysterical!” without paying attention to the fact that the plain reading of your sentence (and the plain reading of other sentences of yours in this thread) is that right-wingers and centrists are guiltless and anti-scientific thinking on nuclear power and nuclear waste is a left-wing only phenomenon. My argument isn’t that hard to parse, and neither is my original sentence. Why else am I bring up right-wing senators and why else am I saying that this isn’t “just hysterical, left-wing enviro-whacko” in nature? I didn’t just mention hysteria. I mentioned a specific type of hysteria, and the dynamic you’re talking about is manifestly not only of that type.

    You gotta read everything that people are saying. Anti-scientific thinking is anti-scientific thinking. Blaming it on the greens is short sighted since it is clearly true that people who are ideologically and politically opposed to the greens nonetheless indulge deeply in the same anti-scientific thinking you decry.

    If you don’t understand the problem, you can’t fix it, and you seem rather focussed in pinning the problem of consumers’ rejection of nuclear power on the environmental movement when the problem is much broader than left-wing voters and left-wing electricity consumers. There are a lot of people who would love to hear any conspiracy theory that bashes the Greens that will still scream bloody murder about having a vitrification plant built in their state.

    I strongly disagree regarding the way to address it. The so-called nuclear waste problem was created in order to be unsolvable. It’s unsolvable because it’s not based in facts. I will not give you a plan for the disposal of waste that you are calling for, because this entire framing of the discussion is wrong, and agreeing to this framing of the discussion means implicitly admitting far too many falsehoods, and these implicit false assumptions make it impossible to mount a credible defense of nuclear. Instead, the only path that I see forward is to attack the myths head on, and that means I will not be giving you that giant nuclear disposal site that lasts for a bajillion years that you’re asking for.

    Bullshit.

    If your plan is on-site open-air storage pools, that is still a plan. People won’t agree to building more nuclear without a plan. fFs the people building the plants have to have a plan, because they have to have engineers and architects determine where pipes will lead, whether compartments need room for human access to remove/exchange materials, etc. etc. etc. There’s OBVIOUSLY going to be a plan of some type. If you want to use good science to argue that the best plan is on-site, open-air storage pools, then use science to do that. You can’t quote me anywhere saying that we have to have a single national storage site, or that we have to store the waste for any particular number of years. I simply haven’t said it.

    But the people who will end up paying for plants want to know what’s going to happen to the waste and whether what’s going to happen is going to be harmful.

    If the facts determine that the right plan is to disperse the waste into drinking water and let everyone consume it, then that’s the right plan. I’m not asking for an unscientific plan based on hysteria, but you have the practical problem that without a plan you won’t get consent to build. Complicating this is a distrust of radiation generally and the DoE specifically, and that’s not a left-wing specific or environmentalist specific problem.

    In order to illustrate that this isn’t left-wing specific or environmentalist-specific, I mentioned what happened in the political debate over the national repository plan. The point isn’t that we need a national repository, it’s that the debate wasn’t driven by one’s relative allegiance to the green party or to reducing CO2 emissions. What predicted whether someone supported the Michigan site or the Nevada site or some other site was largely related to how close that politician’s constituents lived to the proposed site and to the proposed cargo corridors leading to the site. That’s it. Not whether they were democrats or republicans. Not whether they were for reducing CO2 emissions or anti-CO2 emission reductions. Proximity.

    This demonstration that political and consumer opposition exists across the ideological and environmental spectrum is entirely independent from the question of whether a national repository is required for safe disposal or whether another plan is more appropriate or more economical.

    Again, you’re confusing statements about the political and consumer landscape with statements about the science on the health impacts of environmental exposure to various radioisotopes in various amounts.

    Listen to what people are saying: that’s the way to come across as non-condescending. I know jack shit about how many milli-sieverts exposure is safe or how quickly radioisotopes might harmlessly disperse or how quickly they might concentrate in the food chain. What makes you come across badly isn’t the presentation of too much data, with too many specifics as if you condescendingly assume we don’t know the half-lives of various thorium isotopes when, geez Louise, doesn’t everyone have the half-lives of every radioisotope memorized?

    What comes across badly is that you’re assuming that people say things that aren’t in their comments (and then criticizing people for what was never actually there) and at other times failing to actually read things – or maybe just failing to understand them. I find it truly difficult to understand how you can read my example about how anti-scientific thinking about radioactive waste quite clearly cuts across the political spectrum, and then in your comment #55 reassert:

    No. It is just hysterical left-wing enviro-whacko rambling.

    No. It’s not. It’s really, really not. The problem of scientific ignorance and reflexive, prejudiced thinking on issues related to radiation and health is not limited to the left-wing, not limited to environmental activists, and certainly not limited to the subset of folks that are both left-wing and environmental activists. The fact that you can reassert such nonsense makes people question whether you’re capable of dialog (at least on this topic). I don’t know about others, but I have to wonder whether you’re irrationally ignoring the words that people are writing because you’re convinced that you already know the sum total of everyone else’s objections might be. I have to wonder whether you’re capable of reading me fairly when you don’t even attempt to address the objection that right-wing Republicans engage in anti-scientific thinking on this issue, therefore this can’t be just left-wing hysteria. I have to wonder whether you’re too deep in your prejudices to even think clearly on this issue.

    And when I get to questioning your ability to think clearly on the issue given your obvious assignment of 100% blame (e.g. it is “just left-wing, enviro-whacko hysteria”) to a group that can’t possibly responsible for 100% of the problem, then I have to question whether to trust other assertions that you make in the context of this discussion. If you’re not thinking clearly, how do I, a non-expert in health issues generally and certainly on issues of radiation and health, evaluate your claims that no national repository is appropriate given your completely irrational refusal to even admit that right-wing Republican senators aren’t actually left-wing enviro-whackos?

    What makes your argument come across badly is not condescension in the sense of covering basic ground repeatedly. What makes your argument come across badly is condescension in the sense that you come across as (whether it’s true or not) someone who is unwilling to even listen to others’ points of view, no matter how reasonable, hell: no matter how obviously fucking true.

    I’m perfectly willing to agree that you might know more than me about a great deal related to energy generation, energy storage, nuclear generation, radioisotopes effects on health, and shitloads of other topics touched on in this discussion. But there’s no way that I can trust that you know more than me because while you’re decrying thinking that denies facts in favor of prejudices, you’re denying facts as obvious and incontestable as the fact that right-wing Republicans aren’t left-wing.

    How do I trust you in this discussion if you won’t concede that?

    Learn to read what others are actually saying – neither more nor less – and you’ll gain a lot of credibility and a lot of respect. I really believe that you care like hell about making the world a better place. I also believe that your irrational rejection of obviously true statements is going to get in the way of you accomplishing that.

  53. says

    Let me also address a separate issue:

    I feel that there is the lack of the requisite sense of urgency from you Crip Dyke, and other environmentalists. We have a serious problem, and we’ve knwon about it for decades, but instead of fixing the problem with the tools that we have, we have decided to delay on the hope that something better is just around the corner, and we’ve been doing that for decades, and making almost no progress in the meantime in actually solving the problem.

    FTR I agree the problem is urgent.

  54. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To dianne
    Bolded added:

    Our plan is actually with a company that specializes in collecting wind and solar power from multiple sources and using that, so the electricity flowing back in is from non-fossil fuel sources anyway, but let’s say it isn’t. Maybe the company is lying or whatever. Nonetheless, the amount of electricity they send back is the same as or less than the amount they got from us. They aren’t the same electrons, but they produce the same amount of power. The same amount of fossil fuels remain unburned. If the exact electricity our panels made was used by the office buildings downtown, replacing the coal produced electricity that they would otherwise have used, and then the electricity we use at night was made by burning coal, so what? The total net amount of coal burned electricity we used was zero.

    You moved the goalposts. This was a discussion about whether your roof made you self-sufficient or not. Now, you moved the goalposts. It was a subtle move, but a hugely important move. In the original context, the clear meaning and implication was that your roof alone is capable of supplying all of the electrical power that you need. This is false. We have now established that in order for your to get the electrical power that you need, there needs to be a natural gas, coal, nuclear plant, etc., somewhere else, to provide power when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing, and/or naturas gas, coal, nuclear, etc., to subsidize the creation of whatever energy storage overhype. Even in your hypothetical fantasy scenario, you need the entire grid in order to store and/or transport power from one place to another in order to keep your lights on. It’s important that we do not fall prey to this delusion that we can have self sufficient energy supplies. We need to nip this anarcho-pipedream in the bud.

    Aside: It’s fascinating how the green movement is simultaneously both incredibly in favor of an anarcho-pipedream of self-sufficiency without big evil corporations and big infrastructure, but they will immediately endorse infrastructure projects bigger than anything humanity has ever done at the drop of a hat. The electrical grid is arguably the biggest and most complicated thing (or close to it) that humanity has ever built, and then the greens want to come along and make it many times bigger and many times more complicated with load shifting, smart metering, etc. I just enjoy the compartmentalization. End aside.

    On to the new goalposts. Even the bolded statement is questionable. The generators are not perfectly efficient at turning on and all. Even natural gas turbines, famous for being able to turn on and off quickly, are not perfect at that. The electric grid companies must keep a certain amount of spinning reserve, in this case it’s literally spinning, and it’s in reserve. The turbines of some of the natural gas turbines are literally kept spinning. They need to keep a little bit of additional production ready to go, and that does consume extra fossil fuel. Because you’re using intermittent power production on your roof, that increases the ramp-up and ramp-down that the electric grid must do, and that will cause a little more fossil fuel to be burned than your simplistic model would show.

    Going more broadly, the current grid is not well-built to handle power flowing in both directions, nor handle such large fluctuations, nor permit large amounts of long-distance electricity transfer. Increasing use of intermittents (i.e. solar and wind) will typically require additional infrastructure on the grid to handle these other things (which is in addition to the extra spinning reserve necessary). Because solar and wind cannot cut it on their own, this extra infrastructure will require additional use of fossil fuels (or nuclear), which again means increased CO2 emissions (or increased nuclear usage) above a baseline where you don’t use solar on your roof.

    Then there’s also the emboddied energy in the solar cells themselves on your roof. Those solar cells were constructed using fossil fuels (or nuclear), and just having them at all, using them or not, means that you caused additional CO2 emissions (or increased use of nuclear).

    But electricity is remarkably efficient to transmit over long distances. Texas to the rescue! Or throw up some windmills offshore like they have in Denmark. There are multiple methods. The

    This is the crux of the problem. As soon as you start looking at the actual historical data for wind and sun, this is false. There is this thing called “the weather” and “seasons”, which frequently (i.e. once a decade) cause drastically reduced solar and wind over most of Europe for a week at a time. Drastically reduced solar because of winter solar radiation values being much reduced, and persistent cloud cover. Drastically reduced wind because the same weather pattern also causes almost no wind across most of the Europe. In the middle of winter, which is one of those times that you need lots of energy to prevent people from being turned into literal popsicles.

    Even the best minds that the green energy movement has cannot solve this problem. When you press them, they all point to the same single study as a solution, a certain paper “100% Wind, Water Solar” written by Mark Jacobson. Unfortunately, Mark Jacobson is a known fraudster who practically invents numbers to make nuclear look bad and renewables look good. Even though he is a known fraudster in his academic papers on this topic, he’s still considered by most people in the movement to be their foremost expert. Let that sink it. A con-man is considered by the movement to be their foremost expert for solving this problem.

    Within the last year or so, other academics called Jacobson out on his errors by publishing a peer-reviewed paper in literally the same journal that Jacobson published his paper. What did Jacobson do? He filed a defamation lawsuit against the authors of the rebuttal paper, and also against the journal itself. Let that sink in.

    On this basis, and others, I have concluded that this is not a solvable problem. You need to sit down and do the numbers, and run the hour-by-hour simulations of power demand vs power supply, and when you do that, you find that it just doesn’t add up.

    Also, long distance power transmission equipment isn’t super cheap. If you start transmitting power over a whole continent, then the equipment costs start to become significant, and that offsets the gains that you are getting, and also increases the energy requirements enough so that solar and wind become close to a net negative energy. It’s called the EROEI problem.
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/

    Chernobyl had a number of deaths due to marrow toxicity and a very superficial search on pubmed revealed a number of papers documenting an increase in cancer among workers and people who lived in areas contaminated by fallout

    Do better than a superficial search. Most of them are written by outright frauds, or they use fallacious statistical techniques. It’s the same for anyone claiming an increase in birth defects in the area. The only confirmed increase in cancer is thyroid cancer, IIRC an estimated 30,000 cases, and with an IIRC 99% survival rate with early detection, that’s about an estimated 300 deaths. And even I am wrong on these points, I’m not wrong by much, and the total deaths is still going to be at worst a few thousand. Again, how many people die from coal every year from airborne particulates alone?

    I’ve seen some really bizarre cancers in immigrants from Poland in the 1990s/early 2000s. That seems to have settled down a little now. Hard to say what that means.

    I suggest that you’re falling prey to confirmation bias.

    Fukushima […] perinatal

    A few seconds of internet searching review that this particular study is another one from a well-known fraudster.
    http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/6/13/nope-theres-no-perinatal-mortality-surge-from-fukushima-fallout
    You have to understand that this is a racket, that there is a whole outrage industry in place, catered to sell pseudoscience to people like my mother, and to people like you. My mother organized a boycott against my elementary school (aka 25 years ago) because they were placing a cell phone tower nearby and she thought that cell phone towers cause cancer. These people are either real believers in their quackery, or they’re just users of poor fools like my mother who don’t know any better.

    The risk of disaster is too high until we get a Democratic government back that will regulate the industry sensibly.

    The facts are that as bad as the regulation actually is, only about 300 people have ever died. Compare that to coal where 3,000,000 people die every year worldwide from airborne particulate pollution alone. Your prioritization is completely out of whack. On just this measure alone, we need to be massively increasing nuclear in order to shut down coal plants as fast as we can. I’m not assuming better regulation, oversight, and safety. I’m letting the historical record speak for itself.

    To Crip Dyke
    Responding slightly out of order.

    I find it truly difficult to understand how you can read my example about how anti-scientific thinking about radioactive waste quite clearly cuts across the political spectrum, and then in your comment #55 reassert:

    Again, what you call “quite clearly [true]” is something that I find to be quite clearly wrong. This may be the source of the confusion between us. More on this later in the post.

    You removed my statement from its context in which I mention that anti-environmental, pro-nuke republicans engage in anti-scientific hysteria around the storage of radioactive waste materials.

    The point isn’t that it’s not all hysteria.

    I thought the context of that was particularly about nuclear waste disposal. In that context, I still stand by the assertion that it’s 99.9% hysteria. I agree that it’s not purely limited to the left-wing, but it is a primarily left-wing issue; it’s being bolstered by pseudoscience from left-wing organizations like Green Peace, Friends Of The Earth, and the like. It’s not purely a left-wing issue, but it is primarily a left-wing issue.

    Quite a lot of this is right wing hysteria by people who are not pro-environment and don’t give a shit about reducing CO2 emissions at all.

    Blaming it on the greens is short sighted since it is clearly true that people who are ideologically and politically opposed to the greens nonetheless indulge deeply in the same anti-scientific thinking you decry.

    You are looking only at a small portion. In Europe and the rest of the world, the left-wing anti-nuclear environmentalists are setting policy, and this policy is taking us backwards. Leaders like Germany are increasing CO2 emissions because they’re shutting down nuclear power plants and building more coal plants. They’re also increasing the number of immediate human deaths because coal particulate pollution kills a lot of people, and nuclear kills practically zero. The primary impediment worldwide to fixing global warming is the greens because of their strident anti-nuclear position. If it were not for the anti-nuclear position of greens, then the people in charge in Europe would be building nuclear. My home state of California might be building nuclear instead of shutting down nuclear plants. You are wrong here – the primary problem is the greens, and moreover, we would have already fixed the problem for the electricity and industry sectors if the greens would have been pro-nuclear like 20 or 30 years ago. I don’t see how this is up for debate. I don’t see how this is anything other than blindingly obvious. Look at the political power that the greens have in several US states, and also in Europe, and look how they are setting real policy for the foolish massive build-out of solar and wind worldwide. Imagine if that policy and money was instead spent on nuclear.

    There are a lot of people who would love to hear any conspiracy theory that bashes the Greens that will still scream bloody murder about having a vitrification plant built in their state.

    They are not the problem worldwide. They are a relatively minor problem that is primarily an American thing. And even then, some states, like my home state of California, the greens are in charge of energy policy, and they are the problem.

    Bullshit.

    If your plan is on-site open-air storage pools, that is still a plan. People

    There’s OBVIOUSLY going to be a plan of some type.

    I now take the opportunity to encourage you to read more carefully. I wrote:
    “I will not be giving you that giant nuclear disposal site that lasts for a bajillion years that you’re asking for.”
    Then, I also linked to a plan at the end of my post with a plan. Let me link it again, third time now.
    http://thorconpower.com/docs/ct_yankee.pdf

    In order to illustrate that this isn’t left-wing specific or environmentalist-specific, I mentioned what happened in the political debate over the national repository plan. The point isn’t that we need a national repository, it’s that the debate wasn’t driven by one’s relative allegiance to the green party or to reducing CO2 emissions. What predicted whether someone supported the Michigan site or the Nevada site or some other site was largely related to how close that politician’s constituents lived to the proposed site and to the proposed cargo corridors leading to the site. That’s it. Not whether they were democrats or republicans. Not whether they were for reducing CO2 emissions or anti-CO2 emission reductions. Proximity.

    On what basis do you make these claims? Do you have proper studies to back this up? Or is this based only on your personal recollection of the events?

    In my view of the world, which is seemingly much more well investigated than yours, the nuclear waste problem is well-known to be an invention of the green coalition, and it was specifically invented to be the invincible argument against nuclear power. The people complaining about the need for a national repository are mostly the same people who are complaining about the inadequacy of Yucca mountain, and they’re mostly the same people complaining about the purported dangers from accidents of transport of waste to Yucca mountain. These people will complain no matter what we do with nuclear waste, because they don’t want to solve the problem, because they don’t want nuclear power at all.

    Just look at some of my responses to dianne in this post, towards the end of my section responding to dianne. There is a whole outrage industry who are taking advantage of people who are scientifically ignorant on this issue and who don’t know any better, and these people invariably have green-party loyalties and positions. Do some right-wing individuals buy into this? Yes. But the “experts” peddling this crap invariably do it from a green position, with green funding, and with associated green rhetoric. (Of course, I think that a substantial portion of green funding is coming from the fossil fuel industry, and ultimately the greens are just useful idiots to the likes of the Koch brothers, but the anti-nuclear hysteria is targeted to people on the left, and people on the left buy into it much more.)

    that’s the way to come across as non-condescending.

    I don’t know how to say “you are wrong – you don’t know what you’re talking about” without being condescending, and yet, I think it needs to be said.

    PS:

    I ask you again: How many people died from the radiation release from Hanford?

    I ask you again: We could have solved the CO2 emissions from the electricity and other industry sectors by now if we just used nuclear. Yet, people like you and the people that you’re defending, 20 years ago, said “but we can solve it without nuclear, the technology is almost here”. Yet here we are, decades later, and the technology is not her yet, but yet I hear the exact same lines, that the non-nuclear solution is just around the corner. It’s a giant con-job, and I don’t understand how you don’t see it. You’re being taken advantage of. How long should someone wait in a situation like this before they assert that the solution is probably not coming tomorrow, and instead we should use the solution that we already have?

    FTR I agree the problem is urgent.

    Again, because of my line of argument just above, I doubt this, or I doubt your ability to prevent yourself from being conned in this instance by the greens.

  55. says

    I now take the opportunity to encourage you to read more carefully. I wrote:

    “I will not be giving you that giant nuclear disposal site that lasts for a bajillion years that you’re asking for.”

    And what I’m trying to point out is just this: I NEVER FUCKING ASKED FOR THAT. All I said was that you need a plan. My clarification is that I don’t care what the plan was, but a plan of some sort is absolutely necessary both on a basic logistical level so that workers don’t have to wade through a parking lot that accidentally filled up with waste in order to get to their jobs inside the plant, but also on a political/ PR/ capitalist level where your plan reissues your customers and voters so you can get the damn plant built and start reducing fossil fuel generation.

    But the short answer is that I NEVER FUCKING ASKED FOR A “giant nuclear disposal site that lasts for a bajillion years” OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. The only mention of the national repository was in the context of disproving your simplistic claim that all anti-scientific opposition is coming from the left wing. A statement about who voted which way in Congress is not a request for a specific thing. It’s just relating the facts with which you should be able to agree that political opposition to local nuke power is widespread. The Republicans are CONSTANTLY advocating for nuclear power generally … and then CONSTANTLY arguing strenuously against it as soon as a specific plant is proposed anywhere near them. It’s the worst form of NIMBY-ism and is, frankly, even more unscientific than some enviro-group who believes that minute amounts of radiation are intolerable. The Republicans act as if radiation is perfectly tolerable by black and brown people and maybe the folks they’d call poor white trash, but OMG RADIATION IS A THREAT TO THE CHILDREN WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE WHITE SUBURBAN CHILDREN. How the fuck do they get the idea that nuke power is just fine in poor neighborhoods but a threat to health in white, middle class and wealthy neighborhoods? That’s anti-scientific as fuck. You should know this, and yet you’re the one who insisted that this is ONLY a left-wing problem. It’s plainly fucking not.

    In any case, I never asked for a national repository. You can’t find the place where I asked for a national repository. Your repetition of your previous assertion that I did call for a national repository is the repetition of complete bullshit.

    Again, you’re making shit up, sticking it in some imaginary version of my comment, and then criticizing me as if I really did say something I never said.

    Can you ever stop doing that?

  56. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Crip Dyke,

    Can you ever stop doing that?

    Heh. Indulging a hobby-horse, you are. So, no.

  57. says

    I don’t know how to say “you are wrong – you don’t know what you’re talking about” without being condescending, and yet, I think it needs to be said.

    And, again, I’m telling you that the problem isn’t saying, “You’re wrong”. The problem is that you’re not even paying attention to what other people are actually saying. That is dismissive of your conversational participants, and THAT is condescending.

    If you cared enough to read what I wrote and accurately quote it and accurately understand it and then said, “YOU’RE STUPIDLY FUCKING WRONG” at the top of your keyboard’s voice, with an explanation of how I’m wrong that makes it clear you are rebutting what I’ve actually said, that wouldn’t be condescending. It wouldn’t be bad in any way. It would be in keeping with Pharyngula traditions, even.

    But when you tell me that I’m wrong when I say that anti-scientific, reflexive anti-nuke power statements and actions are not limited to the left, you are, yourself, wrong. And it appears from context that you made that error because you were so focussed on one word in that statement that you didn’t come close to understanding my point. When you tell me I’m wrong while being completely ignorant of what I actually said, while completely misunderstanding not only my argument, but even what my conclusion actually is, and then when you’re the one who is wrong (as you admit in a later comment that concedes irrational right-wing anti-nuke sentiments exist), your repeated insistence that I’m wrong is not only condescending as it implies you don’t even have to understand me before you criticize what I have said, but it also paints a pretty piss-poor picture of your reading comprehension and your ability to participate productively in dialog. (Or it paints a pretty piss-poor picture of your honesty, but I don’t think failed attempts at lying to cover up right wing irrationality is what’s happening here.)

    In any case, odds are greater than 50% that I’m done on this one. You’re not able to read others comments on this topic, so I don’t know why I would keep talking. This is just a final, hopeful shot. It probably won’t get through to you, but it’s cheaper than buying a lottery ticket.

  58. says

    Having tried this before, I feel that debating EL in the subject of nuclear power is like trying to get a duck soggy by spraying a garden hose at it. All you’ll get is loads of angry quacking.

  59. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Crip Dyke:
    No, I understood well enough our disagreement. In practically my first sentence to you in the previous post, I said this:
    “Again, what you call “quite clearly [true]” is something that I find to be quite clearly wrong. This may be the source of the confusion between us. More on this later in the post.”
    I believe you are the one with a need to read better.

    On this same topic, I’ll also ask again: Why do you believe that there is just as much anti-nuclear radiation-phobia on the right as the left? Personal experience? Or as a result of a systematic analysis, i.e. a proper scientific study / survey of public opinion?

    But the short answer is that I NEVER FUCKING ASKED FOR A “giant nuclear disposal site that lasts for a bajillion years” OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

    I think I need to provide the link again, for a fourth time.
    http://thorconpower.com/docs/ct_yankee.pdf
    Will you acknowledge this time that I did provide a real plan for the real problem of the disposal of nuclear waste? Will you acknowledge that I provided this plan from the start? I wonder. Again, you need to read better.

    I’ll also ask again: How many people died from Hanford? And how many people die every year from airborne particulate pollution from coal?

    I’ll also ask again: If someone tells you that they have a solution to the problem just around the corner, and they’ve been telling you that for 20+ years with no visible progress on that solution, is it time yet to believe that you’re being conned? When is the appropriate time to conclude that you’re being conned?

  60. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    For clarity, let me provide a longer chain of quotes:

    Crip Dyke: I find it truly difficult to understand how you can read my example about how anti-scientific thinking about radioactive waste quite clearly cuts across the political spectrum, and then in your comment #55 reassert: “EL: No. It is just hysterical left-wing enviro-whacko rambling.”

    Me: Again, what you call “quite clearly [true]” is something that I find to be quite clearly wrong. This may be the source of the confusion between us. More on this later in the post.

    Me: I thought the context of that was particularly about nuclear waste disposal. In that context, I still stand by the assertion that it’s 99.9% hysteria. I agree that it’s not purely limited to the left-wing, but it is a primarily left-wing issue; it’s being bolstered by pseudoscience from left-wing organizations like Green Peace, Friends Of The Earth, and the like. It’s not purely a left-wing issue, but it is primarily a left-wing issue.

    I don’t know how I can be more clear on this topic. I don’t take your word as gospel that it is an equally left-right problem, and it seems that you expect me to take your word as gospel that it is equally a left-right problem, and again, I believe that the source of your confusion is that I am flat-out rejecting your assertion that it’s an equally left-right problem in America. I’ve tried really hard to be clear here.

  61. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    If you think it beneficial, I am always willing to engage in a medium that is better for communication, such as gmail text chat, discord text or voice, and the like.

  62. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Here. Let me try to find actual studies on this, so we can replace personal impressions with hard facts.

    The page attempts a direct URL link, which goes to 404, but it reports the study results.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/20/business/economy/liberal-biases-too-may-block-progress-on-climate-change.html

    Only 35 percent of Democrats, compared with 60 percent of Republicans, favor building more nuclear power plants, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center.

    Another:
    https://news.gallup.com/poll/190064/first-time-majority-oppose-nuclear-energy.aspx

    Republicans continue to be more likely than Democrats and independents to be in favor of nuclear energy. Still, support for the use of nuclear energy among Republicans and Democrats has declined in comparison to 2015. A slight majority of Republicans, 53%, are in favor of nuclear energy, down significantly from 68% last year. One in three Democrats, 34%, favor it, down from 42% in 2015.

    Another:
    http://www.pewinternet.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2016/10/PS_2016.10.04_Politics-of-Climate_FINAL.pdf

    Some 57% of conservative Republicans, and 51% of all Republicans, favor more nuclear power plants. Democrats lean in the
    opposite direction with 59% opposed and 38% in favor of more nuclear power plants.

    So, I believe that this is good evidence to support my position that it is primarily a problem on the left, and I believe this is good evidence against your position that it’s an equally left-right problem.

    I also made the claim that it’s primarily left-wing organizations that are spreading radiophobia lies, such as millions of people dead from Chernobyl, or Fukushima radiation being responsible for more than like 5 deaths, or nuclear waste being particularly dangerous (it’s really not). I’m not sure if anyone has done any proper studies on this, particularly trying to measure and catalog the number and influence of left-wing organizations peddling these lies vs the number and influence of right wing organizations. All I can say here is that I know of many left-wing organizations that peddle these lies, and very little right wing organizations which have significant concern about the dangers of nuclear waste, or other things nuclear. Practically every anti-nuclear organization that I know of is strongly left-leaning. Still, let me poke around for a little more, and see if I can find anyone who has done this sort of scholarly work.

  63. methuseus says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal:
    You are not paying attention to what Crip Dyke is actually saying. They showed that it is not just left-wing by showing that even right-wing politicians go apeshit about nuclear when it is proposed in their city/district/state. If you’re asking for a specific proposed plant, how about you show a specific proposed plant that was supported by right-wingers that was only shut down because of the left.
    Yes, you linked to a PDF, but you provided no context. I read it. Next time state that it is your “plan” for nuclear waste. Which, if you actually read the PDF, is not a plan in any form. It is saying that the plan used for the CT Yankee site is safe. The PDF doesn’t outline the plan at all, but hints at what was done. You could have said, “Open-air cooling pools transitioning to metal and concrete-clad casks as per this PDF.” But you didn’t, you provided a link with no context as to what info was inside.
    Why can’t you admit that there might be some pushback on nuclear from right-wing sources no matter what their mouthpieces say? We know they give lip service to “family values” and then practice anything but in their own lives or in legislation they propose. Why is this one issue so different that they can’t possibly be speaking out of both sides of their mouth?
    Yes, nuclear would be great to transition to not needing any direct CO2 generating plants. Don’t forget that nuclear reactors require huge amounts of concrete, and cement production (primary ingredient of concrete) is one of the largest producers of CO2. So are you sure the amount of CO2 produced is more than offset by the reduction in CO2 from power generation? I think it likely is, but have you even thought about that?
    For the record, I cannot find how many died at Hanford. Likely under 100, but possibly more since it was a military-backed facility and we have no idea whether any of the soldiers that were ever assigned there died from related causes, or combat, or anything else. The military isn’t exactly known for open records, especially when talking about nuclear weapon generation. There was also concern about radioactive components leeching into the ground water, etc. which would be more likely to affect wildlife than necessarily humans, which can also be harmful in other ways.

    The last thing I will say on this: if you care so much about this, what are you doing to make it happen? Have you even tried to create a PAC or similar group that can start to try and get some measure of clout? Have you been calling your senators and representatives, both at the national and state level, sent them letters detailing why they need to convince the public that nuclear is right? Arguing on this site is not going to change anything, but by having an organization with a website that details these things and that you can point back to, really helps your case.

  64. methuseus says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #69:
    Great links that support some of your assertion. But Crip Dyke, and I, have tried to point out that, when you try to put a nuclear generator in their backyard, Republicans are just as worried about the effects of it as Democrats.

  65. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You are not paying attention to what Crip Dyke is actually saying. They showed that it is not just left-wing by showing that even right-wing politicians go apeshit about nuclear when it is proposed in their city/district/state.

    I am paying attention. I acknowledged that this sometimes happens, while also pressed Crip Dyke for evidence that it happens equally from Republican reps vs Democratic reps. I think that such a claim is false.

    Why can’t you admit that there might be some pushback on nuclear from right-wing sources no matter what their mouthpieces say?

    I already admitted this.

    Don’t forget that nuclear reactors require huge amounts of concrete, and cement production (primary ingredient of concrete) is one of the largest producers of CO2. So are you sure the amount of CO2 produced is more than offset by the reduction in CO2 from power generation?

    Yes.

    The last thing I will say on this: if you care so much about this, what are you doing to make it happen?

    For one example, I voted for Michael Shellenberger in the primary for California governor.

    Arguing on this site is not going to change anything

    I disagree. If I could change the minds of prominent left-leaning bloggers, they could reach more people. It’s also my time to spend in how I choose to spend it. I argue for the truth. Please don’t tell me how to spend my time in way that could be interpreted as “I don’t want to see you here any more correcting misinformation”. That is the last thing that we as members of the skeptic community should ever say.

    But Crip Dyke, and I, have tried to point out that, when you try to put a nuclear generator in their backyard, Republicans are just as worried about the effects of it as Democrats.

    I think that this is false. I think that it is false because the left are more anti-science on this particular issue than the right. I think that Republicans are less concerned on average because Republicans on average have less pseudoscience beliefs regarding the over-exaggerated dangers of radiation compared to the left. I think that fear of radiation and nuclear is much more pronounced on the left, and especially among the left-leaning environmentalists who are typically anti-nuclear. The left likes to pretend that it less anti-science than the right, and I think this is generally true, but on the issue of energy policy and global warming, it seems to me that the left is just as fucked as the right, in their own, unique way, by being so incredibly anti-nuclear that they would rather let global warming happen than use nuclear to fix it. In effect, they’re burying their heads in the proverbial sand and ignoring the problem by pretending that their solution is just around the corner. They’ve been doing this for 20 years. Remember that (purported?) quote from Einstein about insanity – doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result?

  66. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also:

    The PDF doesn’t outline the plan at all, but hints at what was done.

    What more do you want? That outline of a plan is more than sufficient for our purposes here. My point is that the so-called problem of nuclear waste disposal is 99.9% exaggerated. Every additional word that I use to your concern is another small surrender that I make on this issue by pretending that this issue is more serious than what it actually is. Again, the proper thing to do is to note that it’s not a problem, and that it’s all (mostly) a political creation of the left and especially the so-called environmentalists, whose organizations and “experts” are probably funded in large part by the fossil fuel industry.

  67. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Of course, if you want me to explain in detail why it’s not a problem, and dangers of radiation are grossly exaggerated and misunderstood, we can do that. I’m more than happy to spend a lot of words on that. I’m just not happy about spending a lot of words on the minutiae of a mundane disposal plan for nuclear waste.

  68. Jazzlet says

    EL is also incorrect about how support or lack of suppport pans out in terms of left and right in Europe. I admt it is historical, but it was Tony Benn as Energy Minister that told us electricity would be too cheap to bother metering when we had nuclear generating our electricity. El doesn’t account for the fact that the position of the left in Europe is complicated by things like union support, but EL doesn’t seem to have a solid grasp of the social dynamics around nuclear.

  69. dianne says

    EL: Secondary source links are not reliable or convincing. Find a peer reviewed paper that refutes any of the assertions made. I’m ready to read any actual peer reviewed evidence you can come up with. Good luck!

  70. says

    @Giliell, that link you provided is very cautious in saying that any causal link to the nuclear plant has not been established since the mechanism is unknown.

  71. says

    @EL:

    You are not paying attention to what Crip Dyke is actually saying. They showed that it is not just left-wing by showing that even right-wing politicians go apeshit about nuclear when it is proposed in their city/district/state.

    I am paying attention. I acknowledged that this sometimes happens, while also pressed Crip Dyke for evidence that it happens equally from Republican reps vs Democratic reps. I think that such a claim is false.

    Your statement to which I objected:

    It is just hysterical left-wing enviro-whacko rambling.

    What was my objection?

    The point isn’t that it’s not all hysteria. The point is that it’s not all left-wing and it’s not all pro-environment, enviro-whacko hysteria. Quite a lot of this is right wing hysteria

    Does anyone see in there an assertion that the phobic reactions are divided 50/50? That I’ve ever used the word “equal” or any of its synonyms to compare the amount of anti-factual phobia on the left with that on the right?

    No?

    So EnlightmentLiberal is, once again, making up bullshit and then asking me to defend the bullshit as if I’d said it originally and it did not drop entirely from the feverish butthole of his imagination?

    Kell soupreez.

    And, gosh, what was the basis for my assertion that this conversation was unproductive?

    I’m telling you that the problem isn’t saying, “You’re wrong”. The problem is that you’re not even paying attention to what other people are actually saying. That is dismissive of your conversational participants, and THAT is condescending.

    Go back and read my #64 again. If you’ve got better information, great. But why are you trying to argue with me about the supposed 50/50 left right split?

    You originally made a false statement that ALL of the phobic, anti-science reactions were on the left. I called it out. In the process of retracting it, you called me out for … saying that the phobic reactions were 50/50, which in fact I did not say.

    You can review my comments as much as you like. I called out your bullshit, 100% blame on one side for what it is. I did not make an assertion that I knew exactly how much was on one side, only that the right-wing contribution to this anti-scientific phobia under discussion was greater than 0.

    From all appearances, it seems that when you finally do concede the obvious (in this case that some amount of bullshit is coming from the right wing), the fact that you got it wrong at first and had to admit error comes with a defensiveness that makes you want to call me out as just as wrong.

    Maybe I have asserted incorrect things in this thread, but what you called me out for saying is something I never said. You made it up. It’s entirely in your head. How is anyone supposed to have a productive conversation with you when you can’t tell the difference between what i wrote and what your imagination barfs up?

    Can you, for one minute, stop talking about nuclear power to address the actual block to continuing the conversation: the fact that you have, multiple times in this thread, attributed views to people that those people have never expressed? It’s happened at least twice to me – maybe more, it’s not like I’m counting.

    After that, perhaps you can address this: I said earlier that I do consider the problem of bringing CO2 emissions down to be an urgent problem. You don’t know me off-line. You don’t know where I give money or time. You likely know only what I’ve written on FtB, though it’s possible I’ve written a few comments elsewhere you’ve come across (say on Wonkette) and even theoretically possible (though dramatically unlikely) that you’ve read things published off-line and on paper under that pen name – though those are scant, old, and now out of print and may not tell you much about my current state of mind.

    Given all that, the only real source of information short of telepathy that you could possibly have about my subjective prioritization of reducing carbon emissions is very likely what’s in this thread.

    And yet, when I made such a statement, you said,

    Again, because of my line of argument just above, I doubt this, or I doubt your ability to prevent yourself from being conned in this instance by the greens.

    If you can’t trust me to be honest and accurate in my assessment of my own subjective priorities, why the fuck would you want to have a conversation with me anyway?

    If I lie even when it doesn’t matter, if I’m so out of touch with myself that I don’t know my own priorities, if you can’t trust what I say about things where what I say on the topic is the only possible evidence you might have, then I am not a worthy conversation partner for you.
    Imagine I made a statement to the effect of

    ZOMG, EL, you’re so perfectly right on every point as well as in your rhetorical tactics, there’s nothing you’ve ever said in this thread that should have ever raised an objection by me, I don’t know how I could have been more wrong…

    how would you know whether you’ve convinced me in fact, when you’ve previously established that you don’t trust me to honestly and/or accurately relate my inner experience? How would you know when to quit? Wouldn’t you be doomed to continue arguing forever even after I announced robust agreement with every word you say, since you can’t be any more sure that I actually agree than that I find the problem “urgent”? Don’t you, at some point, have to accept my assertions about my own beliefs and feelings or else doom yourself to expanding this thread forever?

    If you actually want to have a productive conversation, then either you need to do it with someone else, someone you can trust, or you need to both decide to trust people’s narration of their own internal viewpoint and to stop the conversation about nuclear power long enough to address your own behavior in this thread, thus giving the other people in this thread a reason to believe that in the future you’ll be addressing what folks are actually saying and not your own fevered imagination.

  72. says

    Since I said it’s happened at least twice, I feel compelled to document at least one other occasion, but I didn’t want to slow down the flow of the previous conversation’s argument because it had to get to a conclusion eventually. For the record, here is at least one other occasion

    But the short answer is that I NEVER FUCKING ASKED FOR A “giant nuclear disposal site that lasts for a bajillion years” OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

    I think I need to provide the link again, for a fourth time.
    http://thorconpower.com/docs/ct_yankee.pdf
    Will you acknowledge this time that I did provide a real plan for the real problem of the disposal of nuclear waste? Will you acknowledge that I provided this plan from the start?

    this is in reference to an earlier exchange:

    the only path that I see forward is to attack the myths head on, and that means I will not be giving you that giant nuclear disposal site that lasts for a bajillion years that you’re asking for.

    Did I, in fact, “ask for” a “giant nuclear disposal site that lasts for a bajillion years” or a plan for same?

    No. No I did not.

    Note that the problem I’m identifying is that EL has asserted that I’ve asked for something which I did not ask for. Does EL apologize for making up this request?

    No. No, EL does not.

    Does EL even admit to making up this request?

    No. No, EL does not.

    I thus submit example #2.

  73. Rob Grigjanis says

    Charly @79: I can’t read German, but we’ve had these discussions with EL before, and I certainly remember seeing a paper that found large spikes in radiation levels during plant shutdowns, refuelling and startups, which could have long-term health effects for nearby residents. I can’t find the paper (I think it was a translation of a German paper), but there is this article about the Oyster Creek plant in New Jersey.

    Low-level emissions from Oyster Creek are continuous as long as the plant is in operation. Although emissions have not exceeded the federal limit during the project, a landmark National Academy of Sciences study from the late 1990s, commonly referred to as the Bier VII report, stated that no amount of continuous exposure to low-level radiation is safe.

    The citizens’ readings include different types of radiation, making it possible to see a pattern of typical background radiation in communities around the plant. The monitor furthest and upwind from the plant acts as a control. At that site, the readings are lowest.

    During a nine-day period in July the plant went into an unexpected hot shutdown and group participants simultaneously noted sustained periods of spikes in their readings. Radiation spikes just a half-mile from the plant suddenly jumped 43 percent over the usual pattern. During refueling, the rate of spikes went up 30 percent. (A spike is defined by the national project as a period of 10 minutes or more when the average radiation counts are at least 22 percent above average.)

  74. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Does anyone see in there an assertion that the phobic reactions are divided 50/50? That I’ve ever used the word “equal” or any of its synonyms to compare the amount of anti-factual phobia on the left with that on the right?

    In order to illustrate that this isn’t left-wing specific or environmentalist-specific, I mentioned what happened in the political debate over the national repository plan. The point isn’t that we need a national repository, it’s that the debate wasn’t driven by one’s relative allegiance to the green party or to reducing CO2 emissions. What predicted whether someone supported the Michigan site or the Nevada site or some other site was largely related to how close that politician’s constituents lived to the proposed site and to the proposed cargo corridors leading to the site. That’s it. Not whether they were democrats or republicans. Not whether they were for reducing CO2 emissions or anti-CO2 emission reductions. Proximity.

    I await an apology.

  75. says

    Also:

    Nevada’s U.S. Sens. Dean Heller, a Republican, and Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, have made their determination to block the latest Yucca proposal clear since the Trump administration first proposed resurrecting the project in early 2017.


    Sen. Harry Reid, a Democrat first elected in 1986, crusaded against the measure. So did his Nevada colleagues in Congress.

    Republican Dean Heller, senator from that state? Opposed.

    Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto senator from that state? Opposed.

    The delegation from 1987 that was discussed?

    From the Senate:
    Harry Reid, Democrat.
    J. Chic Hecht, Republican.

    From the House:
    District 1, James Bilbray, Democrat.
    District 2, Barbara Vucanovich, Republican.

    I am dead fucking on about how proximity ruled who was willing to lead the opposition to the National Repository both in older debates and in current ones.

    Also? Whether or not Nevada was split 50/50 Democrats & Republicans during the debates on Yucca Mountain (and it was), whether or not Nevada’s senators and reps were 100% unified in opposition against Yucca Mountain (and they were) – driven by proximity, not party ideology – the split of politicians over one particular debate is not equal too, nor did I ever claim it was representative of, the split amongst the general populace in anti-scientific opposition to nuclear power.

    Politicians are ALSO members of the general public, therefore showing that right wing politicians engage in reflexive aversion to the byproducts of nuclear fission ABSOLUTELY SHOWS that you were wrong to assert that this was only a left-wing phenomenon.

    The general public’s numbers, however, absolutely dwarf those of members of congress, and therefore the split in congress is not going to be representative of the general public.

    This is so fucking easy. I used a specific debate among politicians to show that anti-scientific opposition wasn’t limited to those on the left. I was correct. You even backed off that claim later and now seem to think it’s common sense to believe that anti-scientific opposition isn’t “just” a left-wing phenomenon – despite the fact that that is exactly the claim you made earlier.

    You still made a mistake. I was still correct to call you on it. You’re still incorrect to say that my citing of the debate over the national repository amounts to an assertion that anti-scientific opposition is “equal” (your word) on the right and on the left. And then, when I note that I never used the word “equal” or any of its synonyms, you pull out a quote that was discussing members of congress, NOT the general public, and STILL doesn’t use the word “equal” or any of its synonyms.

    How you can possibly believe that the first quote about not using equal or its synonyms is in any way rebutted by the second quote … in which I do not use “equal” or any of its synonyms … is simply beyond me. Your comment #83 is more evidence of the fact that you’re perfectly willing to misrepresent the views and words of others. It does not establish my need to apologize for making that assertion. Rather, it further validates my assertion.

    And beyond all that, you haven’t addressed comment #81.

    Just … Freud.

    I do not even know what goes on in that brain of yours.

  76. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The word equal is nowhere in that quote.

    Do you even know how to read for content?

    The error is clear as day to me, with just those two quotes that I provided in post 83. They are clearly contradicting. In one, you say that you never said it was equally the fault of both sides. In the second, you say that it is equally the fault of both sides. You didn’t use the word “equally” verbatim in the quoted piece from the earlier post, but the meaning is crystal clear.

    I’m surprised. I thought you would admit error when I pointed it out. I’m honestly taken aback. I’m not sure how to proceed.

  77. says

    Here’s another factual assertion of yours which I can’t imagine is anything but bullshit:

    I thought the context of that was particularly about nuclear waste disposal. In that context, I still stand by the assertion that it’s 99.9% hysteria.

    Since you’re so interested in me establishing 50/50 responsibility (which I have never asserted), perhaps you’ll cite the source from which you derived the 99.9% figure.

    Unless you hold yourself to entirely different standards than those which you employ when reading others’ comments.

  78. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And beyond all that, you haven’t addressed comment #81.

    I’m not sure how to proceed. I thought I would just address one thing, rather than go over everything, because I’m seeing what you have written, clearly so, and in other portions, you deny ever having written that, even when it’s pointed out to you. I don’t know what to do about that, and I don’t think trying to address other issues will be productive until we resolve this. However, my hopes of resolving this are close to zero. I just… I don’t know. Am I in the Twilight Zone right now? Am I being punked?

  79. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Explain your interpretation that leads to the inconsistency

    I will do that. Working on that right now.

    and Admit your own errors when they occur.

    I will do that. I’ll work on the given examples after that.

  80. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    “In order to illustrate that this isn’t left-wing specific or environmentalist-specific,”
    The “this” here is referring to the nuclear waste disposal plan, and presumably the higher-than-population-average demands for higher safety of storage of the nuclear waste as part of this disposal plan, e.g. what I called “phobia”.

    To say that something isn’t specific in this context, I understand that to mean that it’s unrelated, e.g. orthogonal, e.g. not correlated, e.g. in a Bayesian sense, the estimation that we hold about someone else’s beliefs would not be changed based on the additional knowledge that they are an environmental activist or member of such a group, or they are a Democrat, or the are a Republican. Now, you could have meant something weaker like “it might happen more frequently in one group, but it also happens less frequently in the other group”, but I think that the remainder of the paragraph is not compatible with this interpretation.

    “In order to illustrate that this isn’t left-wing specific or environmentalist-specific, I mentioned what happened in the political debate over the national repository plan.”
    So, you mean to make a point about the broader context by claiming that a single example is illustrative of the broader context.

    “The point isn’t that we need a national repository, it’s that the debate wasn’t driven by one’s relative allegiance to the green party or to reducing CO2 emissions.”
    Note that you did not say “it was only partially driven by”. Instead, you said that it was not driven by. This is a strong claim, a claim of zero correlation.

    “What predicted whether someone supported the Michigan site or the Nevada site or some other site”
    So, now you mean to give the real explanation, having dispensed with the false explanation.

    “was largely related to how close that politician’s constituents lived to the proposed site and to the proposed cargo corridors leading to the site. That’s it. Not whether they were democrats or republicans. Not whether they were for reducing CO2 emissions or anti-CO2 emission reductions. Proximity.”
    Again, this is rather strong language that leaves zero room for a possibility of correlation with left-right identification. In particular, you said “that’s it”, which is an assertion that there is no other elements of the explanation, and in particular that’s an assertion that the left-right split has zero value in the explanation, e.g. zero predictive power, e.g. zero correlation with left-right split.

    Now, what did you say in the other quote?
    “Does anyone see in there an assertion that the phobic reactions are divided 50/50? That I’ve ever used the word “equal” or any of its synonyms to compare the amount of anti-factual phobia on the left with that on the right?”

    And what did you say in the first sentence of the other quote?
    “In order to illustrate that this isn’t left-wing specific or environmentalist-specific,”

    And as just explained, this is not a weak statement meaning “it does not happen solely on the left”, but rather the stronger claim “it happens equally on the left and right”. Again, you were quite explicit, several times using language in the single paragraph that there is no correlation with the left-right divide. And yet you deny this, leaving me flabbergasted.

  81. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    perhaps you’ll cite the source from which you derived the 99.9% figure.

    I feel like this is not an entirely genuine question. I feel like you’re venting. Consider, how would one verify or falsify that something is “99.9%” hysteria or not? It was obviously not a proper scientific statement, and instead a general abstract expression of rhetoric, of opinion. I could use an analogy to legal standards of defamation – this is probably not a defamatory statement because it’s not a clear statement of simple fact.

    Having said that, let me still try to describe myself.

    For one, without looking it up, I might bet that the price tag of Yucca mountain disposal site, when compared to the modern disposal plan that I’m calling for, is different by a factor of 1000, and a factor of 1000 is related to “99.9%”.

    For another, we can look at the respectable medical community’s estimate of the death toll from Chernobyl, and compare that to the estimate of the death toll from persons who are respected within the environmental movement, such as Helen Caldicott. The estimates are, respectively, several hundred, to millions. That’s another factor of 1000, which is again related to “99.9%”.

    I admit that it’s a happy coincidence that my number “99.9%” happens to align so well with these other numbers. Again, I just picked it out of my ass as a generalized abstraction of what fraction of the concern among the environmentalists is warranted, and I’m glad to see that my entirely asspull number seems to match reality fairly well. I got lucky. Of course, I think in a very small part, getting lucky was enabled by me being so well educated on these issues.

  82. says

    Did you or did you not assert that:

    <

    blockquote>[Anti-scientific, irrational opposition to nuclear power] is just hysterical left-wing enviro-whacko rambling”

    I cite comment #56. The answer is clearly yes.

    Is it then appropriate to point out this error?

    Well, depending on your level of SIWOTI, yes. But if you’re going to have a serious conversation, it’s certainly not inappropriate, even for low levels of SIWOTI.

    Given this, was it fair and appropriate to point out that irrational opposition to nuclear infrastructure is not limited to the left wing?

    Yes.

    Do the facts support such an assertion that irrational opposition exists on the right.

    Yes.

    In a fact based discussion, is it important to point out a specific black swan to disprove the assertions that all swans are white, or should we just take it for granted that nothing is absolute?

    I believe it is important to point out a specific black swan.

    What was the black swan?

    Politicians opposition to the national repository – there was some complicated behind-the-scenes maneuvering decades ago that led to the exclusion of a Michigan site, but I can’t find convenient links just now. It’s much easier to cite the political discussion around Yucca, though unfortunately that gives us only one state for reference. Fortunately, one black swan is enough.

    Can I prove that I was talking about politicians and not the general public?

    Sure. From my comment #59, later quoted by you in #83:

    <

    blockquote>I mentioned what happened in the political debate over the national repository plan. The point isn’t that we need a national repository, it’s that the debate wasn’t driven by one’s relative allegiance to the green party or to reducing CO2 emissions. What predicted whether someone supported the Michigan site or the Nevada site or some other site was largely related to how close that politician’s constituents lived to the proposed site

    <

    blockquote>

    Can a statement about a specific thing be extrapolated to a general category of which that specific thing is a member?

    No. This is a fallacy and/or relies upon inductive reasoning. I have a friend with 3 fingers on her right hand, 5 on her left. I can cite her as proof that not all persons have 10 fingers. Citing the reality of her body in this way does not in any way constitute an assertion that all people have 8 fingers or that the average person has 8 fingers. Citing an exception to an absolute statement (“It is just hysterical left-wing enviro-whacko rambling”) is not the same as making a new, different absolute statement.

    So can any statement of mine about the specific events surrounding the congressional debate on Yucca be reasonably interpreted to be an assertion about the state of all debate on all issues related to nuclear infrastructure across in the US?

    No. Of course not.

    So, even if I had asserted that the debate on Yucca includes precisely the same amount of irrationality from the left-wingers as it did from the right-wingers, that would still not support any assertion that I have made statements about relative nuclear irrationality in general?

    Correct.

    So what the fuck is my assertion regarding relative nuclear irrationality?

    I have none. I don’t know the state of relative irrationality. I’ve not done any research in this area and I don’t know of any research in this area that I could quickly find and cite.

    But could that statement of mine be so badly worded as to imply such a statement?

    Sure. And if it did, that would be wrong of me. However, I don’t think it did. I’m happy to listen to argument about the reasonable construction of the meaning of my statements, but I know what I was talking about, I know what I intended, and – whether or not I’m blinded by my a priori understanding of my intent at the time I wrote my words – I don’t find any statement that left-wingers and right-wingers are “equally” responsible for irrationality. I wouldn’t have wanted to make such a statement because I have no evidence to back up such a statement.

    Okay, we can agree that it’s bullshit to assume a statement about a specific congressional debate is simultaneously a statement about the broader population’s rhetoric across time, across the country, across the political spectrum, and across the range of nuclear infrastructure issues (not merely Yucca) being discussed. Correct?

    Sure. Or we should be able to do so.

    But if it were the case that someone mistook a statement about a specific congressional debate to be a statement about the general populace and how they approach the entire range of issues related to nuclear infrastructure, what sentences quoted in #83 would constitute a statement that irrationality was distributed “equally”?

    Let’s look:

    In order to illustrate that this isn’t left-wing specific or environmentalist-specific, I mentioned what happened in the political debate over the national repository plan.

    Hmm. Nothing about comparative frequency. The initial sentence actually sets out that I’m trying to disprove the hypothesis that nuclear irrationality is “left-wing specific or environmentalist specific”. This initial framing makes it hard to think that I’m going for anything other than presentation of a black swan.

    But okay, I could have shifted gears or made a careless statement later. Let’s continue:

    The point isn’t that we need a national repository, it’s that the debate wasn’t driven by one’s relative allegiance to the green party or to reducing CO2 emissions.

    The debate was driven, in the Yucca case, by the staunch opposition of the Nevada delegation. I have previously established, in comment #85, that this delegation has been fairly evenly balanced over the years. In fact, in the article quoted the relevant current senators mentioned by name were one republican & one democrat. The article also mentioned Harry Reid (a democrat) by name and the Nevada delegation of 1987 by specific year, which included Harry Reid, one other democrat and 2 republicans.

    This is a straight up recitation of facts. There were unified in opposition across party, regardless of where they stood on limited greenhouse emissions. In fact, in the 1987 congress limiting greenhouse gas emissions was nowhere on any congress member’s political radar.

    What predicted whether someone supported the Michigan site or the Nevada site or some other site was largely related to how close that politician’s constituents lived to the proposed site and to the proposed cargo corridors leading to the site. That’s it.

    I probably shouldn’t have mentioned Michigan. That was back-channel maneuvering, IIRC, and included little open political debate. In fact, even after Michigan was removed from the list of potential sites, one or two states besides Nevada still got consideration. One of those was Texas. I can’t easily speak to what happened around Texas’ removal (well, I could google and I bet I could find the info, but I didn’t have it in my memory when I wrote the above and I hadn’t mentioned Texas in that paragraph anyway, so doing so wouldn’t help us understand the paragraph as written), but once the congressional conversation focussed on Nevada, the state’s delegation was uniformly and loudly opposed regardless of party. The major objections centered around fear-mongering, including the idea of terror-attacks on trains and semis carrying waste as well as fear about what might happen if waste leaked into the Yucca-area groundwater. It was proximity to the site, rather than being left-wing or right-wing, that drove this conversation.

    Again, this is straight up fact. If the entire delegation is opposed (and it was), and the delegation includes democrats and Republicans (and it did), it would be hard to argue that any of this fear-mongering was was because of allegiance to political party or to a left-wing or right-wing ideology. The common factor amongst the Nevada delegation wasn’t party. It was proximity to Yucca.

    But let’s look at that quote again, because at least here there’s an assertion about the motivations for nuclear irrationality. Maybe there’s an implied comparison of frequency?

    What predicted whether someone supported the Michigan site or the Nevada site or some other site was largely related to how close that politician’s constituents lived to the proposed site and to the proposed cargo corridors leading to the site. That’s it.

    I don’t see any comparisons of relative frequency of nuclear irrationality. Maybe I missed something, but it doesn’t appear to be there to me.

    Not whether they were democrats or republicans. Not whether they were for reducing CO2 emissions or anti-CO2 emission reductions. Proximity.

    Okay, this is saying that the party of a congress member did not predict the opposition to Yucca. Does that mean the irrationality is 50/50?

    Hm. I suppose it might be taken to imply that. Support of Yucca vs. Opposition to Yucca isn’t entirely identical to absence or presence of nuclear irrationality, but they’re certainly correlated.

    I think what I was saying was that the effect of proximity overwhelms the effect of party. To the extent that I implied irrationality on this specific issue was exactly 50/50, that is wrong. However, I think that’s something that has to be read into what I said. Senator Harry Reid traded favors for anti-Yucca votes. More recently Senator Heller has done the same. So I suppose that in addition to proximity, there’s an indirect factor: do you owe favors to someone who represents constituents in proximity to Yucca. Who owes whom favors, and who wants to help the reelection of whom is, in part, a function of political party. However, those favors and that party membership would be irrelevant without the proximity factor. So it does trace back to proximity, and party membership as a factor has been swamped. I mean, take a look at the conclusion of the article I cited in #85:

    The ConversationIf Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decides that enabling Heller to claim that he saved Nevada from hosting the nation’s nuclear waste will help re-elect him, protecting the GOP’s slim majority, I think Yucca Mountain will be dead again. At least for the moment.

    What’s interesting here is that while proximity is the direct driver, McConnell has no need to fear monger: he simply chooses not to schedule votes. Thus his opposition is not the same as any embrace of nuclear irrationality.

    This is important to prove that even if political opposition to Yucca had 0 correlation with political party, that would still not be the same as nuclear irrationality having a 0 correlation with political party.

    In order to illustrate that this isn’t left-wing specific or environmentalist-specific, I mentioned what happened in the political debate over the national repository plan. The point isn’t that we need a national repository, it’s that the debate wasn’t driven by one’s relative allegiance to the green party or to reducing CO2 emissions. What predicted whether someone supported the Michigan site or the Nevada site or some other site was largely related to how close that politician’s constituents lived to the proposed site and to the proposed cargo corridors leading to the site. That’s it. Not whether they were democrats or republicans. Not whether they were for reducing CO2 emissions or anti-CO2 emission reductions. Proximity.

    So, maybe you’re saying that my statement that political opposition to Yucca couldn’t be predicted by party is a de facto statement that all nuclear irrationality is evenly distributed across the political spectrum.

    I don’t see it. I don’t think that’s a fair reading of what I said. I am willing to entertain other readings but since there’s no obvious fair reading that has me saying that nuclear irrationality is evenly distributed across the political spectrum, you can’t prove otherwise by simply dropping the quote. You’re going to have to actually do the work of parsing what I’ve written and explain how you came to your conclusion.

    If you’re not willing to do the work, I can’t help you.

  83. says

    I feel like this is not an entirely genuine question. I feel like you’re venting. Consider, how would one verify or falsify that something is “99.9%” hysteria or not? It was obviously not a proper scientific statement, and instead a general abstract expression of rhetoric, of opinion.

    I’m not venting.

    I agree that this

    was obviously not a proper scientific statement, and instead a general abstract expression of rhetoric, of opinion.

    My substantive question is this: if your statement which included the very specific assertion of a very specific proportion – 99.9% – is mere rhetoric and you are not to be asked for proof that your assertion is correct, then on what basis can you reasonably demand of me proof that nuclear irrationality is evenly distributed across the political spectrum?

    Am I not allowed to use rhetoric that has reasonable interpretations but also unreasonable ones? Why is that a special privilege of yours? You even asserted that I’d said that left-wing and right wing irrationality was “equal” when I’d never used that word. I, at least, have the benefit of accurately quoting you saying 99.9%.

  84. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Crip Dyke
    The first rule about holes – stop digging.

    Can a statement about a specific thing be extrapolated to a general category of which that specific thing is a member?

    No. This is a fallacy and/or relies upon inductive reasoning.
    […]
    So can any statement of mine about the specific events surrounding the congressional debate on Yucca be reasonably interpreted to be an assertion about the state of all debate on all issues related to nuclear infrastructure across in the US?

    No. Of course not.

    I remind you of what you said:

    In order to illustrate that this isn’t left-wing specific or environmentalist-specific, I mentioned what happened in the political debate over the national repository plan.

    I am not saying that you presented it as an argument of extraplation, of induction. However, you did clearly mean to make an assertion, not an argument from a specific instance, but instead a naked assertion about the broader case, and you chose to describe your assertion about the broader case by using a single case example.

    I don’t know why you’re accusing me of accusing you of making an argument of extrapolation, of induction. I don’t know why you’re denying that you were making a broad statement about radiophobia on the left and right side of America, but that’s what you wrote, and you even clearly explained that this is what you set out to do with that sentence that I have quoted here.

    I know that you’re better than this; you need to stop digging.

    I have more prepared if you want (specifically regarding your claim that I strawmanned you about you asking for a single long-term storage facility for nuclear waste), and I can respond to the remainder of your most recent post too, but I don’t think that going on all of these tangents will be the most productive way forward. If you really want me to, just ask, and I will.

  85. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I agree to your current post. But that’s not what you wrote earlier, as I explained at length in post 92.

  86. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    In particular, you accused me of strawmanning you when you said:

    Does anyone see in there an assertion that the phobic reactions are divided 50/50? That I’ve ever used the word “equal” or any of its synonyms to compare the amount of anti-factual phobia on the left with that on the right?

    And I showed, in quite excruciating detail, that you were incorrect. I still expect an apology.

  87. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And in case Crip Dyke doesn’t return, for the benefit of any other readers, I didn’t strawman them either by saying that Crip Dyke expressed a desire for long-term storage facilities. See what they wrote here:

    It means that we need to have a real plan for disposal, and the supposedly pro-nuke republicans have been at least as responsible for borking any serious effort to create a viable long-term storage plan.
    […]
    The political problem isn’t created by a rational understanding of science either. The best place for long-term storage the DoE could identify was in Michigan.
    […]
    This dynamic may not be justified by the science on radiation’s health effects on humans, but it’s a real-as-hell political dynamic. Problems exist. You want to be successful? Then you have to actually address them. And if you want to get shit done in the next 10 years, then your plan has to have a reasonable chance of getting those problems solved in 2-3 so that building can begin and capacity can be online in 10.

    I admit that this is less clear than our other disagreements and miscommunications, but this really does seem like Crip Dyke telling me that I need to have a plan for long-term storage of nuclear waste. At the very least, this seems like a plausible enough interpretation of what they meant to write. (I feel like I’ve been pulling teeth with Crip Dyke, and that Crip Dyke has been purposefully obscure and purposefully choosing words to enhance ambiguity in order to catch me in a trap. I know that this is probably not their intent, but I have been similarly frustrated by this exchange.)

    I suppose that they could quibble over whether or not they said “one facility” or left unspecified the number of requisite facilities, but that is an unimportant minor point to me, and I hope that Crip Dyke wouldn’t focus on that point alone being the strawman. Either way, I’ll apologize for being not precise enough in my use of grammatical constructions and thereby wrongly implying that Crip Dyke asked for one long-term storage facility, when appears that Crip Dyke didn’t ask for a specified number of such long-term storage facilities.

    And I’ll repeat what I said earlier, many times: I won’t kowtow to the irrational demands of these people for “Green Peace approved ™” long-term storage facilities of nuclear waste. The demand is irrational, and the level of desired “safety” is so high that costs become impossible to manage. This is also like the “Green Peace approved ™” safety standards for operating nuclear power plants – they’re impossible to meet, and it is a mistake for the nuclear advocate to try to meet them. Instead, the nuclear advocate needs to clearly and strongly say that the demands are based on false assumptions, and with the proper facts in place, there are other disposal plans which are far less costly without comprising safety to any measurable degree. In other words, nuclear waste is just like any other kind of toxic waste – it’s not magic. It’s not infinitely dangerous in infinitesimal amounts. There are other kinds of toxins with comparable LD50s to nuclear waste, and we don’t demand the same outrageous disposal regimes for those other toxins. Moreover, the idea of a leak a million years from the future that will kill millions of people is just flatly impossible. Such scenarios depend on false understandings of the actual danger of radiation and the human body’s response to ionizing radiation.

  88. methuseus says

    @EL:
    Yes, you have been straw-manning this whole time. You are still trying to prove that Crip Dyke made an assertion that the hysteria is equal among right and left-wing adherents. They didn’t in any way. The assertion was made that it is not merely left-wing, and you are blowing it out of proportion by not admitting that right-wing people are against it. Your own numbers:

    Some 57% of conservative Republicans, and 51% of all Republicans, favor more nuclear power plants. Democrats lean in the opposite direction with 59% opposed and 38% in favor of more nuclear power plants.

    show that there is plenty of right-wing opposition to nuclear power generation.
    As for what you’ve done to make this happen, you voted for one person. Big whoop. If that’s all you have to show for it, plus telling left-wing people that they have to change their minds and get out of the way of right-wing people, you have done literally nothing.
    You also ignored well over half of what I said. You cherry-picked the fact that I said your link wasn’t much of a plan to tell me it is a plan. No, it’s not. It is a study of radiation levels that result from using their plan versus how much ash is produced from a coal plant. What they did is good enough to keep the radiation from spreading (at least as far as we can tell), but it is in no way a plan. Besides, that was only a footnote, and my main comment, what I spent most of the words on, was that you should explain why you are posting that link and say that it is how to store nuclear waste. It was very far from clear every single time you posted that what the link was for.

    You are willfully ignoring the bulk of what others are saying to you to focus on the fact that you think, if only lefties would change their minds, nuclear power would abound. There is still enough pushback from every political ideal, at least in the USA, that plants aren’t getting built. If you were right, and it’s a lefty thing, why aren’t new nuclear plants being built in Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, where the state legislatures are predominantly right-wing?

    I’m with Crip Dyke, there’s no actual content in what you are saying, and you are niggling over little points that have no bearing on reality. I probably shouldn’t have even typed this out, but I guess I’m a bit of a masochist when SIWOTI.

  89. methuseus says

    Ugh, I know this is just being masochistic, but I forgot to address this:

    There are other kinds of toxins with comparable LD50s to nuclear waste, and we don’t demand the same outrageous disposal regimes for those other toxins.

    Nuclear waste is not the same as other chemicals. Certain components can lodge in your thyroid, your bones, other organs. They continually bombard the inside of your body with radiation while inside you. Other chemicals don’t so that. So, yes, nuclear waste has to be handled differently. Or do you really think the Radium Girls were just stupid? If they had worked with another chemical with a comparable LD50 to radium, but was not radioactive, they wouldn’t have had the same lifelong issues.

  90. Dunc says

    People may want to review this thread over at Marcus’s place (from around comment #18) when deciding how much time they want to spend arguing with EL.

  91. methuseus says

    @Dunc:
    EL seems to ignore facts that are inconvenient, such as nuclear being killed by all ideologies and that nuclear waste is different. Thanks for that.
    I do believe that nuclear power could help in our endeavors to minimize CO2 production, but if we lie about it nothing’s ever going to come of it. No, I don’t know what to do, but being stupid won’t work.

  92. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Responding slightly out of order.

    such as nuclear being killed by all ideologies

    I just cited evidence that among typical persons, American Democrats are like twice to three times as likely to be against nuclear power compared to American Republicans. I also mentioned that I know of plenty of radical leftist organizations that are extremely anti-nuclear, and I don’t know of a single right-leaning organization that is anti-nuclear power. I don’t know why others have a hard time accepting these obvious facts as facts.

    and that nuclear waste is different.

    I don’t even know what this is supposed to mean.

    but if we lie about it nothing’s ever going to come of it.

    Making a factual mistake is not lying. That is a much bolder claim. Name me a single lie that I have made in this thread, and why you think it is a lie. “Lie” requires state of mind, and I’m asking you why you think that I have the state of mind, the intention, to mislead others about the truth of the matter, e.g. lie.

    Yes, you have been straw-manning this whole time. You are still trying to prove that Crip Dyke made an assertion that the hysteria is equal among right and left-wing adherents. They didn’t in any way.

    You’re wrong. See post 92. If you’re not going to engage on anything more than a superficial level, then neither will I, and I will just refer you to the analysis that I’ve already made.

    Thus far, Crip Dyke has accused me of strawmanning them 2 or 3 times, and when I looked back over what was said, I come away feeling even better that I didn’t strawman them. I hope that Crip Dyke will read this again with a calmer head, and recognize (and admit) their mistakes.

    show that there is plenty of right-wing opposition to nuclear power generation.

    Which I’ve already accepted, numerous times.

    As for what you’ve done to make this happen, you voted for one person. Big whoop.

    What the fuck is wrong with you? Do you want my auto-biography, and my tax returns, and a day-by-day calendar of my activities? Moreover, what are you trying to say here? That I’m somehow hypocritical if this is all that I’ve done? Fuck you.

    Moreover, talking does do something. I was just listening to “Make No Law” podcat by Popehat, and he makes a broad point that talking does matter. He uses a case example: America doesn’t have sedition and espionage laws anymore in large part because someone like me talked to someone else on a train. Specifically, because a law professor struck up a conversation on a train with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes about how the utilitarian value of free speech, which continued in a letter correspondence, which directly led to several articles and further discussion which is probably what changed Holmes’s mind, which got him to vote differently on the court, creating practically the entire modern interpretation of the first amendment as it relates to political speech. Talking does do something. Talking is one of the most important things that you can do, especially when you’re talking to someone who doesn’t agree with you. I’m not saying that talking is enough. I’m not saying that other activities are less effective than talking. But don’t give me this nonsense that talking with your political opponents doesn’t do anything.

    What they did is good enough to keep the radiation from spreading (at least as far as we can tell), but it is in no way a plan.

    I take it that you didn’t actually read it. IIRC, it’s just two pages, and most of the second page is a plan. I encourage you to actually read the 2 page document before lying about reading it and lying about what’s in it.

    There is still enough pushback from every political ideal, at least in the USA, that plants aren’t getting built.

    Everyone else here keeps asserting this, and I keep asserting that it’s mostly false. Yes plenty of individual Republicans are against nuclear power, but again, as a political force, it’s primarily a problem of the left. The non-governmental organizations and (self-advertising) public donors against nuclear power are almost entirely left-leaning, and strongly left-leaning at that.

    If you were right, and it’s a lefty thing, why aren’t new nuclear plants being built in Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, where the state legislatures are predominantly right-wing?

    Because the leftists control the federal government and specifically the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and they get to set the rules, and those rules make it very, very hard for nuclear power.

    Also, the particular kind of free markets in many US states permit manipulation of spot prices by solar, wind, natural gas, which hurts the bottom lines of nuclear, because American nuclear plants were not made nor licensed to load-follow. The markets should be restructured to better reflect the higher value of reliable electricity production and the relative absence of grid storage technology.

    Also, the evidence suggests that many of the anti-nuclear leftist political organizations, such as Green Peace, Friends Of The Earth, etc., receive a substantial portion of funding from fossil fuel companies. This would make sense, because these anti-nuclear organizations are their best friend, fighting against the only real threat to their bottom line, nuclear. They know that solar and wind won’t work, and most hypocritically, natural gas is a huge friend to solar and wind, because increased use of solar and wind typically involves increased use of natural gas in order to handle the intermittency and unreliability of solar and wind.

    The left is strongly anti-nuclear. That doesn’t make the right pro-nuclear. It just makes the right indifferent / slightly against nuclear power.

    Nuclear waste is not the same as other chemicals. Certain components can lodge in your thyroid, your bones, other organs. They continually bombard the inside of your body with radiation while inside you. Other chemicals don’t so that. So, yes, nuclear waste has to be handled differently. Or do you really think the Radium Girls were just stupid? If they had worked with another chemical with a comparable LD50 to radium, but was not radioactive, they wouldn’t have had the same lifelong issues.

    So the damage route uses an entirely different physical process, nuclear instead of chemical. What’s your point? I don’t see it. My point is that it doesn’t represent a larger health danger compared to some other non-nuclear toxins which the left – and a lesser number of people on the right – don’t freak out about. If you take anything else away from this conversation, my central thesis is that most of what you know about the real health effects of radiation is wrong.

    PS:
    Fuck you Dunc. Die in a fire. And again, as a survivor of third degree burns, I know how horrible of a death that is.

  93. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Correction:
    http://thorconpower.com/docs/ct_yankee.pdf
    Not 2 pages. 4 pages. If you exclude the pictures, it’s like 2 and a half. Almost all of the final page lays out the framework for a plan of the handling of nuclear waste. Can’t miss it. It’s the part with bullet points labeled “1” to “6”.

  94. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also, regarding Texas and renewable energy. Educate yourself before putting your foot in your mouth.

    http://vjel.vermontlaw.edu/files/2013/06/How-Texas-Overcame-California-Renewable-Energy-State.pdf

    What is surprising is that Texas is beating California in the renewable energy arena. Therefore, the assumptions people make about these two states will soon need to change, as Texas is becoming a leader in renewable energy, being the nation’s leading wind energy producer,18 meanwhile, California consistently fails to meet its renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goals, adding very little new renewable capacity.19

    And if you think that this somehow contradicts my position that the greens are having a huge effect on national energy policy, and the greens are practically in charge of the NRC, I suggest you re-read what I wrote, and think a little more on the topic, and try to understand my position instead of the caricature that you have in your head. Specifically:

    The longer that you look into this, the more plausible that it becomes that the entire green energy movement is a charade, a divide and conquer strategy, from the fossil fuel lobby, to keep us bickering among ourselves, to ensure the continued dominance of fossil fuels. I don’t say this lightly, but only after years and years of seeing the absolute lack of intellectual rigor and responsibility from the green NGOs and their leaders and academic experts, such as the continued respect for the fraud Mark Jacobson, Helen Caldicott, and others, and also from seeing some reports on their funding and how a lot of that funding ties back to the fossil fuel lobby.

    You’re being conned. It’s not a great exaggeration to say that everything you know on this topic is wrong. Solar and wind won’t work. The green portfolio won’t work. Nuclear is the safest and cleanest form of energy production, even moreso than wind and solar (or about tied). They have lied to you about how dangerous radiation is, and how dangerous nuclear waste is. Coal kills like million times more people than nuclear. (How many people have died from coal in the last 50 years? About 150 million deaths from premature deaths from illnesses from airborne particulate pollution alone. How many have died from radiation from civilian nuclear programs? About 300.) The breakthrough that they have been promising for 20+ years to make wind and solar work hasn’t come yet in those 20 years, and it’s probably not coming anytime soon, for reasons that are readily understandable by anyone with a solid understanding of engineering, i.e. energy density, and EROEI, and a basic background into existing research into energy storage.

  95. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The clown mask has slipped, revealing the monster inside…

    I don’t take kindly to being personally attacked a hypocrite or a liar. Treat me with respect, and I’ll treat you with respect.

    Of all places on the internet, this should be the place where it is recognized that it is wrong to demand maintaining the veneer of civility when being attacked by an abuser who maintains that veneer of civility.

    Of all places, this should also be the last place where I’m tone-trolled.

  96. methuseus says

    EL you don’t feel you are strawmanning when multiple people here and at the link Dunc supplied have shown you how.

    You are not listening to facts.

    I am so fucking done. I just can’t anymore. It’s worthless. You’re talking to someone who agrees with you overall and you did this to them.

  97. says

    PS:
    Fuck you Dunc. Die in a fire.

    I don’t take kindly to being personally attacked a hypocrite or a liar. Treat me with respect, and I’ll treat you with respect.

    Fucking dimwit trolls don’t deserve respect.

  98. methuseus says

    By the way, NRC is pretty loose with regulations if you look at criticisms. Also headed by a Republican, though I’m sure she has no input on anything since there are leftists that work there as well.

  99. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To methuseus
    As I said, engage in some more detail with my post 92, or else there’s nothing more for me to say “I’m right, and you’re wrong”.

    I am so fucking done. I just can’t anymore. It’s worthless. You’re talking to someone who agrees with you overall and you did this to them.

    Considering that you still haven’t engaged with anything that I’ve said from post 92, I offer an alternative interpretation: You didn’t actually talk with me at all. Instead, you were just talking to me. You tried to lecture to me. You didn’t actually engage in a dialog. Engaging in a dialog means talking about anything specific. Anything at all. Talking about the specific things that I said which were a strawman, and at least responding intelligently to my one single rebuttal, explained at detail in post 92. Instead of that, seemingly you just knew that you were right, and there was no need to actually question yourself. At least, that’s how I’m going to see it as long as your arguments are as simple “3 people in the thread disagree with you, therefore you’re wrong”.

    If you want to convince me, you need to talk with me, and not talk to me. You need to go back over the thread, and pick out quotes, and maybe even provide some commentary to those quotes, to show how I am wrong and how I did strawman some people. In particular, concerning the one particular strawman claim, I have done that already, in post 92.

  100. methuseus says

    @Lofty:
    That was really where it completely went off the rails, though it was tenuously hanging on before that. Die in a fire with specifically mentioning how painful it would be? Yeah, I don’t need to listen to another word…

  101. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Fucking dimwit trolls don’t deserve respect.

    Let me know if you have anything more than name-calling and tone-trolling.

  102. methuseus says

    Post 92 has no content. At all. There is nothing to respond to. You did not rebut anything. You are not talking to me either, in any way. You know nothing about how radiation works on the body vs chemicals. you do not seem to understand the scientific method. There is no use in talking to you.

  103. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To methuseus
    Well then. And here I thought with my English reading ability, I explained in detail how Crip Dyke did say that radiophobia happens equally on the left and right.

    Well, then, good day sir or maam.

  104. methuseus says

    It’s stupid, but one last try:
    Saying that whether someone is a Democrat or Republican has no bearing on their support of something doesn’t mean that one thinks that the support between both sides is 50/50. It means there is no correlation. So that’s why you’re strawmanning. Crip Dyke never said it was 50/50, they said it was immaterial.

  105. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Thanks for trying to engage. However, like my earlier interaction with Crip Dyke, I’m honestly flabbergasted. I don’t know what to say to that. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m also trying really hard here to not accuse you of anything to repay the generosity that you’re showing me, and so please don’t take this as any accusation. However, I don’t know how to make any further progress without explaining how I understand what you’re writing. By going into detail on what you just wrote, and explaining how I think what you just wrote obviously contradicts itself, I hope to be able to elicit some further communication from yourself in order to clear up the miscommunication between us.

    It appears as though you’re saying something like “Crip Dyke says that there is no correlation”. It appears as though you’re saying something like “Crip Dyke did not say nor imply that support between both sides is 50/50”. Do I understand you correctly this far? If yes, then I’m completely lost. I don’t understand anything of what you’re saying. In my world, to say that there is no correlation between variables A and B is the same thing as saying that variable A is equally distributed over the partition of variable B. In particular, to say that two variables are not correlated is to say that the correlation coefficient of the two statistical variables is equal to 0.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_coefficient
    Continuing, in the particular case of a 2-value variables, for there to be no correlation between A and B, aka for the correlation coefficient to be 0, that means P(A=1) = P(A=1 | B=1) = P(A=1 | B=2), e.g. P(is against nuclear power) = P(is against nuclear | is Republican) = P(is against nuclear | is Democrat), e.g. “1- the probably that a random person is against nuclear power is equal to 2- the probably that a random person is against nuclear power, given that they’re a Republican, and that is equal to 3- the probably that a random person is against nuclear power, given that they’re a Democrat”. This sort of mathematical expression means the same thing as the colloquial expression “it happens on both sides equally”, and in this context, this is also the same meaning as the colloquial phrase “the trait is distributed 50/50 between the two subpopulations”.

    Also, what does this mean “Crip Dyke never said it was 50/50, they said it was immaterial.”? Immaterial in what way?

    If you mean to say that it’s immaterial in the sense of statistical correlation, then we’re back to what I just wrote about the correlation coefficient being 0, e.g. zero correlation, and it appears to me that what you intend to communicate is self-contradicting.

    If you mean to say that it’s immaterial in the sense of “not relevant to the discussion”, then I have to politely disagree, because I think it is very relevant to the discussion, because one of my central claims here has been that the left, and specifically the green energy movement and the “combat climate change” movement, are disproportionately responsible – are primarily responsible – for the anti-nuclear power policies in this country and other countries around the world.

    Maybe you mean that it’s immaterial in the sense that, while there is a statistical correlation, this statistical correlation is not causative correlation, and there are other factors in play here which are the real causative factors. If this is the correct meaning that you intended to convey, then I think this doesn’t do anything to alleviate Crip Dyke’s mistake – Crip Dyke would have still written that the trait “being against nuclear power” is equally distributed over the partition { set of Democrats , set of Republicans }.

    Are we talking about the same thing even?

  106. says

    @EL, for what it is worth:
    1) I agree with you that nuclear power is overtly demonized and its dangers are greatly exacerbated and blown out of proportion. They are not trivial and should be adressed, but the deaths from nuclear power production per TW produced are vastly smaller than for coal, even if nuclear power plants realy double the occurence of childhood leukaemia in their vicinity (because coal burning does that too).
    2) I think that transition to completely renewable energy is still desirable and possible, but probably not quickly enough. With the technology available right now, I think replacing coal with nuclear for the transition period is rational and should be done. Then humanity could concentrate on CO2 sequestration and complete transition to renewables.

    Nevertheless, in this specific conversation, to me there is no doubt that you are putting words in Crip Dyke’s mouth and you are interpreting their posts extremely unfavourably even after it was – very clearly – explained to you multiple time over. You keep on beating a strawman of your own making, and that you cannot see it is evidently due to your own bias and investment in “winning” an argument and being right on every single minute point. You are no longer discussing anything, no longer trying to convice anyone, you are flogging a dead horse that is completely tangential to the arguments presented.

  107. Jazzlet says

    Well put Charly!

    I’d add that the way EL is going about ‘promoting’ nuclear power makes me suspect that it is actually against nuclear power, as that seems to be the only rational explanation for the the way it responds to other posters, particularly to those suppportive of nuclear power.

  108. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Charly
    Thank you. Of course, I must politely disagree about strawmanning, but I will agree that I could have been better at avoiding miscommunication. With the benefit of hindsight, I could have been. I don’t purposefully try to talk other people, but I feel like I definitely did here.

    To Jazzlet
    I’m just a tenacious asshole. I’m trying to be nicer online, mostly, with better reading comprehension skills, but I have a long way to go.

  109. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Correction:

    I don’t purposefully try to talk past other people, but I feel like I definitely did here.

    I do try really hard to avoid this, and yet it happens quite frequently on here. I don’t know what else I can do to try and be better except what I’m already doing. I’ll continue to try to be a better person.

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