Are we screwed? It sure looks like we are.


Classes are over. Christmas is less than two weeks away. I’ve got a month of relaxation ahead of me. So what do I do? Read the most godawful depressing doom and gloom stuff.

Anglo-American society is now the world’s preeminent example of willful self-destruction. It’s jaw-dropping folly and stupidity is breathtaking to the rest of the world.

The hard truth is this. America and Britain aren’t just collapsing by the day…they aren’t even just choosing to collapse by the day. They’re entering a death spiral, from which there’s probably no return. Yes, really. Simple economics dictate that, just like they did for the Soviet Union — and I’ll come to them.

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump are now the pre-eminent symbols of suicidal collapse in the world right now. The core problem, though, isn’t going to disappear if those two were to melt into decaying goo right this instant. They have a network of criminal bureaucrats supporting their regimes. And below those are vast mobs of ignorant rubes willing to vote for them.

We are caught in a death spiral now. A vicious cycle from which there is probably no escape. The average person is too poor to fund the very things — the only things — which can offer him a better life: healthcare, education, childcare, healthcare, and so on. The average person is too poor to fund public goods and social systems. The average person is too poor now to able to give anything to anyone else, to invest anything in anyone else. He lives and dies in debt to begin with — so what does he have left over to give back, put back, invest?

A more technical, formal way to put all that is this. Europeans distributed their social surplus more fairly than we did. They didn’t give all the winnings to idiot billionaires like Zucks and con men like Trump. They kept middle and working classes better off than us. As a result, those middle and working classes were able to invest in expansive public goods and social systems. Those things — good healthcare, education, transport, media — kept life improving for everyone. That virtuous circle of investing a fairly distributed social surplus created a true economic miracle over just one human lifetime: Europe rose from the ashes of war to enjoy history’s highest living standards, ever, period.

I don’t think there is no escape, but this is a generational problem. We’re not going to dig ourselves out of the hole in a single election cycle, that’s for sure, and it’s going to take long term effort at root of our societies to repair it.

The problem is the same problem every democracy faces: demagoguery. For the last 70 years, US politics has been the playground of boogeymen. First it was the Commies, an external threat that led to the construction of the military/industrial complex, stupid wars, and a wasteful build up paranoia and guns. Then in the 60s it switched to an internal boogeyman: race and immigration. It turns out that if you play up a vast imaginary existential threat, you can lead the sheep to slaughter themselves. They’ll dismantle health care and education and social welfare willingly, just on the threat that The Other will benefit. The Republicans have built their base on bigotry, while the Democrats have gone along willingly on the promise of neo-liberalism and do-nothing centrism. The problems just grow and grow, building more generations of ignoramuses who make the problems worse and worse.

And so it goes.

I’d like to think we’ll reach a breaking point and the destruction of our pride and prestige will snap people out of these delusional acts of self-destruction, but they only seem to amplify themselves. Wreck education, and our lead in science and technology crumbles, and you’d think the people would say we need to repair the educational system to catch up…but no, instead they whine that it’s all those liberals coming out of the colleges that are the cause, so they resolve to wreck it more.

And that’s where we stand, thrashing about and chasing all the wrong solutions.

I’m sure there’s a way out. It’ll require some resolve and will, though, and it’s far easier to blame brown people and intellectuals and uppity women.


As soon as I posted this, I discover an excellent illustration of the problem.

Yep. The problem isn’t that we’re busy demolishing our infrastructure and tearing apart the people who make up our society, it’s that we aren’t doing enough to smash those “parasites” and root out the imaginary genetic inequalities. It’s people like Bo Winegard who are killing us all.

Comments

  1. Who Cares says

    While most of the countries in the EU have done better on the distribution of wealth it is slowly changing to the rich are becoming richer and the middle class poorer. Is one of the reasons that racism is on the rise.
    Worse following this article the Brexit was a result of trying to create a wedge that could be used to get rid of the social safety net (seeing that that put a break on profits) in the EU.
    So the question is how long will the middle class (and lower) of EU countries be better of then corresponding groups in the USA.

  2. unclefrogy says

    I share the perspective and can not see that it will change until it gets worse. The only bright thing I can see is I have been wrong more then I have been right. So where am I making a mistake now?
    uncle frogy

  3. cartomancer says

    Prophecy is difficult. Particularly about the future.

    But we cannot afford to give in to despair. Ordinary people have organized and demonstrated and won real victories for themselves in far more horrendous circumstances than this. Setbacks must not be allowed to stop the work.

  4. jrkrideau says

    If you want to feel even more depressed, try Chris Hedges 2014 book “America: The Farewell Tour”. I have only read a couple of chapters but he is not bright and bubbly.

    His interview with Steve Paikin on / The Agenda was not cheering.

    If one looks at the UK general election results, they may be looking at the dismemberment of the country. BTW how is the Puerto Rican Independence Party doing at the moment?

  5. cartomancer says

    One fact that few people are talking about is that the Tories only actually increased their share of the overall vote by 1.2% this time round. A negligible amount.

    Admittedly Labour lost 7.9% of theirs, which annoys me, given that their move to the left is what needs to happen, and what got them my vote for the first time in my life. But, any way you slice it, a third of the country at least is firmly behind more progressive, more sensible politics. This is a much better basis from which to work than you have in the US, where your Democratic party is nowhere near as progressive as the modern, post-Blair Labour party and your Republicans are off the charts. Indeed, our Tories, awful though they are, are somewhere close to your Democrats in terms of how far right they are by global standards.

    But parliamentary politics is not the main answer. We need grass roots organizing. We need to build structures of cooperation, caring and support outside those of the party political process. The French have the right of it at the moment. We could all take a leaf out of their book.

  6. karellen says

    Politics, too, has become a sclerotic Soviet affair. Anglo-American societies aren’t really democracies in any sensible meaning of the word anymore. They’re run by and for a class of elites, who could care less, literally, whether the average person lives or dies. […] In Britain, it’s the notorious public school boys, the Etonians and Oxbridge set.

    Uh, what? “Anymore”? Etonians and the Oxbridge set running the UK isn’t a death spiral; that’s business as usual for the last 370 years.

    That brings me to arrogance. What’s astonishing about our elites is how…arrogant they are…and how ignorant they are…at precisely the same time.

    And, again from a UK perspective, this differs from 30, 50, 100 years ago how exactly? The author claims to be describing how things now are much worse than they historically used to be, with very little comprehension of how things historically actually used to be. That and their apparent need to put at least one sentence per paragraph in bold (it’s not quite as bad as using too!!! many!!! exclamation marks!!!!!, but it’s close) makes it hard for me to take the article too seriously.

    (Yes, it sucks that Johnson is PM with a large majority. Lots of already-disadvantaged people are going to struggle, and worse, because of the things he and his government will do over the next few years. I’m not saying things are fine. But I don’t agree that it’s unstoppable doom, doom, doom.)

  7. says

    Now this runs into one on my ethical/moral issues that I’m wrestling with.

    I honestly believe that the tourette’s syndrome gives me demogogue instincts. And to me it looks like the problem is the strong group-behavior related fear being irrational. It seem to me that a demogogue could be useful, but it’s used as a pajorative, andI want to be politically useful.

  8. says

    I’m using facebook to practice rational hate, disgust, and fear. Aimed at beliefs and behavior, not whole people. Not whole groups except where it has to do with beliefs and behavior (white supremacists, bigots in general). It is what I am. Getting control of it and focusing in facebook seems the best thing to do politically.

  9. stroppy says

    IMO this comes at a very bad time. World wide, the combined effects of environmental degradation in all of its forms will not be conducive to rational behavior. Buckle up all you with long lives ahead of you! So sorry about your inheritance…

    And speaking of anglo whatnots, how’s the craziness index reading in Oz these days?

  10. Susan Montgomery says

    “And no matter how much the gray people in power despise knowledge, they can’t do anything about historical objectivity; they can slow it down, but they can’t stop it. Despising and fearing knowledge, they will nonetheless inevitably decide to promote it in order to survive. Sooner or later they will be forced to allow universities and scientific societies, to create research centers, observatories, and laboratories, and thus to create a cadre of people of thought and knowledge: people who are completely beyond their control, people with a completely different psychology and with completely different needs.

    And these people cannot exist and certainly cannot function in the former atmosphere of low self-interest, banal preoccupations, dull self-satisfaction, and purely carnal needs. They need a new atmosphere— an atmosphere of comprehensive and inclusive learning, permeated with creative tension; they need writers, artists, composers— and the gray people in power are forced to make this concession too. The obstinate ones will be swept aside by their more cunning opponents in the struggle for power, but those who make this concession are, inevitably and paradoxically, digging their own graves against their will. For fatal to the ignorant egoists and fanatics is the growth of a full range of culture in the people— from research in the natural sciences to the ability to marvel at great music. And then comes the associated process of the broad intellectualization of society: an era in which grayness fights its last battles with a brutality that takes humanity back to the middle ages, loses these battles, and forever disappears as an actual force.”

    Hard To Be A God – Arkady & Boris Strugatsky

  11. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    karellen: “And, again from a UK perspective, this differs from 30, 50, 100 years ago how exactly?”

    See, that’s the depressing thing. It’s not different. We’re still talking about nationalism, racism, sexism, fascism, etc. as if they were viable world views, when everything that has happened over the past century stands an an irrefutable indictment of each of these execrable ideas. History has shown us that nationalism and fascism inevitably lead to war. Science has produced irrefutable proof that gender and race are social constructs. And yet…

    Here we are at the end of the 2nd decade of the third millennium pretending that the three centuries of the last millennium never happened, while at the same time confronting existential threats that the blinders of ideology won’t let half the people in our societies even see. It makes one wonder if walking upright was a good idea after all.

  12. says

    Actually a better way to express it is the tourette’s syndrome giving advantage with demogogue instincts, which everyone has to an extent.
    I think the scrupulously obsession is a reasonable instinct, I just need to manage it.

  13. nomdeplume says

    Are we screwed, yes we are. And most of the organisms we share DNA with are screwed to. The rise again of neoconservatism (which is really just the old laissez-faire capitalism combined with the even older feudalism) and religiin has happened at precisely the time a world being screwed by CO2 and over-population needed both of those out-dated creeds to be well and truly in the rear vision mirror of history. Who could have guessed?

  14. says

    Cross posted from the Political Madness thread.

    From Paul Krugman:

    […] The truth is that even now I don’t fully understand how things got this bad. But the reality is clear: Modern Republicans are irredeemable, devoid of principle or shame. And there is, as I said, no reason to believe that this will change even if Trump is defeated next year.

    The only way that either American democracy or a livable planet can survive is if the Republican Party as it now exists is effectively dismantled and replaced with something better — maybe with a party that has the same name, but completely different values. This may sound like an impossible dream. But it’s the only hope we have.

    NY Times link

    Another excerpt from the article:

    The most terrifying aspect of the U.S. political drama isn’t the revelation that the president has abused his power for personal gain. If you didn’t see that coming from the day Donald Trump was elected, you weren’t paying attention.

    No, the real revelation has been the utter depravity of the Republican Party. Essentially every elected or appointed official in that party has chosen to defend Trump by buying into crazy, debunked conspiracy theories. That is, one of America’s two major parties is beyond redemption; given that, it’s hard to see how democracy can long endure, even if Trump is defeated.

    However, the scariest reporting I’ve seen recently has been about science, not politics. A new federal report finds that climate change in the Arctic is accelerating, matching what used to be considered worst-case scenarios. And there are indications that Arctic warming may be turning into a self-reinforcing spiral, as the thawing tundra itself releases vast quantities of greenhouse gases.

    Catastrophic sea-level rise, heat waves that make major population centers uninhabitable, and more are now looking more likely than not, and sooner rather than later.

    But the terrifying political news and the terrifying climate news are closely related.

    Why, after all, has the world failed to take action on climate, and why is it still failing to act even as the danger gets ever more obvious? There are, of course, many culprits; action was never going to be easy.

    But one factor stands out above all others: the fanatical opposition of America’s Republicans, who are the world’s only major climate-denialist party. Because of this opposition, the United States hasn’t just failed to provide the kind of leadership that would have been essential to global action, it has become a force against action. […]

  15. says

    I think the lesson is this:

    Humanity is doomed to wipe itself out, and that’s probably a good thing.

    It’s just a shame it will take a thousand years of misery to get there.

  16. says

    I’m unconvinced that we’re doomed. When enough people choose overt social disgust and anger over the effects they will want a place to put it.
    Bioremediation and socioeconomic conversion will become more focused on. I can think of dozens of metabolic reactions that accept or release CO2, and I’m sure there are going to be controls discovered for methane…
    I just found.out that banded iron formations might be bacteria poo.
    I can understand processing sadness but make sure you put a time limit on it.

  17. kingoftown says

    There was some good news out of this election. The majority of both Scottish and Northern Irish MPs are pro Europe and nationalists outnumber unionists (i.e more want to leave the UK than remain). Time to jump the sinking ship.

  18. Susan Montgomery says

    @22 No one ever does, do they?

    We need to change our tactics and premises in order to subvert and co-opt their tactics and use them against them. For example, what if we begin by assuming that a rank-and-file Trumper is as much a victim as anyone else? And let’s also assume that the direct approach will fail. Let’s assume that if we give him facts and figures he won’t understand them – not because of any inherent lack of intelligence but because of a substandard education and an ingrained distrust and resentment towards intellectuals and education. Pointing out that he’s a victim will only result in him responding that only “liberal crybabies” are victims. And pointing out any benefits that may happen to other people but not necessarily to him is pointless.

    With the direct methods out, what then do we do?

  19. ajbjasus says

    You got a month off?

    Well I’m a working man in the uk and must say I’m slightl6 jealous.

  20. numerobis says

    The horrifying bits of the GOP strike me extremely similar to the horrifying bits of the Democratic Party in the 19th century. There was a brief period when it wasn’t in charge of either party.

    Somehow we keep preventing the worst from infecting Canada but there’s nothing inevitable about that.

  21. William George says

    I think it was the great philosopher Albert Camus who said, “Yeah, we’re fucked. Pass the wine bottle.”

    Or was that Bender? It’s hard to tell them apart.

  22. dma8751482 says

    Best to remember that life on Earth has survived exponentially worse conditions than humans could ever be able to accomplish short of catastrophic nuclear war.

    And really, did anyone believe our species or our civilization would last forever? It was going to end eventually even in the perfect scenario.

  23. says

    How can this article have missed the rise of bombarding specific people and demographics with outright lies about leftist candidates on social media? Algorithmic targeting of millions of people with memes about “dirty immigrants pouring across the border” and “Corbyn wants White Genocide”?

    I don’t see any solution to this aspect other than the destruction of all of Facebook’s and Twitter’s data centers and headquarters. The next president ought to unilaterally order them razed to the ground, after giving everyone a chance to evacuate the facilities. Democracy will die without drastic measures.

  24. Susan Montgomery says

    @31 Don’t give up hope. mDNA studies have indicated that there have been times when you could have fit every living human being into Yankee Stadium. Once we give up, they win.

  25. leerudolph says

    Ian King, @19:

    Humanity is doomed to wipe itself out, and that’s probably a good thing.
    It’s just a shame it will take a thousand years of misery to get there.

    By the time the human species has wiped itself out, whether or not it takes another thousand years, it probably will have wiped out many more other species than it has so far. Which I think will be a worse shame.

  26. unclefrogy says

    @31
    it ain’t life that is in danger or facing doom. it is human civilization that is blindly facing doom. It is the greedy short sided who are driving us forward toward the tipping point and no amount of reason nor evidence seem to be able to prevent it or convince any of those driving us toward the catastrophe that the danger is real
    life and life’s processes will continue it has passed through bottle necks before.
    Humans might even survive and rebuild some kind of new civilization maybe I can’t tell, it looks like we may be too stupid and self-centered to figure it out.
    uncle frogy

  27. dma8751482 says

    @32
    I’m not saying to give up but I’m also not saying that it’s wise to cling onto hope when there’s no good reason to do so- that just brings further despair. Those humans you spoke of didn’t need hope to survive and replenish our species, just the will to keep going. Nothing more, nothing less.

    @35
    It’s awfully narrow-minded to assume that this specific form of human civilization is the only one that matters. Civilizations have died off and been replaced before, the only thing different here is that we may be around to see it happen and it’ll be far more significant for us than just reading “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. (On that note, recall that the Romans never considered that their empire would end one day either.) Personally I have a sense that sheer inertia will allow the status quo to exist in a form at least somewhat similar to what we have now, for better and for worse. Much like the fall of the Western Roman Empire and how it was succeeded by its eastern half, the Byzantine Empire.

    And if human civilization really is done for in such a way that rebuilding is impossible? Well, we can say we had a good 10,000 years or so while it lasted and hope that whatever sentient lifeforms take our place will learn from our mistakes.

  28. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @6: The end of Bretton Woods, the shift from 80-20 inequality to 90-10 inequality, the persistence of this inequality despite an actual welfare state, the end of apartheid… We are at the only point in history where we’re actually trying to figure out how to provide for billions of people as if any of them aren’t expendable, rather than just taking it near-universally for granted that we can afford to keep women in the home or huge swaths of people as slaves or serfs. It’s true that the material inequality is similar to what we saw in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but that’s not counting either the immense progress in all other social arenas (and the fact that this inequality is occurring in a society that has the remnants of a welfare state rather than no idea of what that would even look like) or the immense danger of climate change and resource depletion.

    @36: The collapse of the Roman Empire meant literally backsliding into conditions emulating the very start of agriculture. Let’s not be so blase about billions dying.

  29. ColeYote says

    @numerobis: I have to say Alberta is making me increasingly nervous about that. And, I mean, I live in Ontario, our provincial government isn’t much better, but we at least have the good sense to despise ours.

  30. dma8751482 says

    @37

    That’s actually just a stereotype that started up around the Renaissance and really took off around the Enlightenmenr. Agriculture then was actually fairly well developed, and if it weren’t for the plague it might have been possible for the empire to be restored under Justinian.

  31. davidnangle says

    Short term problem: We’ve broken money. We created it as a tool, a physical counting system to maintain a workable economy. It is not difficult to see that it is rapidly failing to do that. It’s pooling destructively in fewer and fewer spots, and is not serving the vast majority of people well enough for them to stay alive.

    Short term fix: Redefine money, scoop it out of the clotted up areas and redistribute. This will take more guns and ammunition than America has. It will take more murdering than America has a taste for. Unless we can convince the majority of people not to fight to the bitter end for their own destruction.

  32. F.O. says

    It’s not only US and UK.
    Plenty of countries are well on the way to fascism.

    The lies work because the same people with money also control the media.
    Democracy is not compatible with this concentration of power.
    Liberal democracies don’t have the means to keep themselves healthy.
    Either a society equips itself with all the tools necessary to remove any venue of power accumulation, either it goes fascism.
    Right now, we’re enthusiastically going fascism.

  33. unclefrogy says

    the fascist mentality can only see some imaginary past that never was and can only seize power, they build nothing for the future nor can they adjust to changing times. They are a reaction to change that has never accomplished anything in the long run and we do not have the time for their childish power games nor their bullying. The earth and the earth’s systems do not have a vested interest in humanity
    I do not think it is guns we need but courage.
    uncle frogy

  34. says

    At the risk of dragging in an unpopular topic:

    It is generally agreed that as a purely statistical matter, people grow more conservative as they age.

    We are currently at a point in America where a single demographic bulge, the Baby Boomers, that has dominated everything for decades is now edging up into their late 50s and beyond. Not just politics but everything has been tailored for the Boomers for decades now.

    Therefore, by pure statistics: America will necessarily be unusually conservative for a while.

    Are there left-leaning Boomers? Sure. Are there far-right Millennials? Also sure. There are also pack-a-day smokers who live into their 80s, and that doesn’t change the overall fact that smoking lowers your life expectancy.

    America will almost certainly move leftward as the Boomers die off. Whether that will happen fast enough to make a difference is the critical question.

    (The Boomers were also the last generation to be raised while leaded gasoline was in use, which it is suspected causes antisocial behavior, which might help explain why our current right-wingers are so drastically unhinged.)

  35. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    So, the right is definitely science denying when it comes to climate science, but so too are the left. When will the left start listening to the same scientists, like James Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, and most climate scientists at large, regarding the proper fix for climate change? James Hansen says that the Greens are more to blame than the climate deniers because they’re proposing changes that won’t work. Kerry Emanuel is even more explicit and says that Greens could be more of an impediment to fixing the climate than the deniers because of their resistance to nuclear power. Most climate scientists say we need nuclear. Even in the recent IPCC report, which was very wrongly biased against nuclear, practically all of the scenarios for reducing CO2 emissions involve very large increases in nuclear power worldwide.

  36. stroppy says

    So “Sunday Morning,” hosted by the ever smug Jane Pauly, has revived a pointless version Point/Counterpoint today, with air-headed Thomas Friedman facing off against some Trumpie cult member. Pretty much sums up where we are these days.

    Thank you corporate America, for the brilliant animatronics you’ve somehow managed to pass off as imaginative punditry.

    Re Krugman (#18). Right on. But this:
    “…The truth is that even now I don’t fully understand how things got this bad…”
    I wouldn’t expect anybody to have predicted this in its particulars, but surely it’s not all that surprising in hindsight. OTOH, it should prove to be a rich field for scholarly research for many years to come.

  37. chrislawson says

    GerrardOfTitanServer–

    The IPCC 1.5C report summarises many models for reducing greenhouse emissions fast enough to prevent warming going above 1.5C. Some of those models involve increasing nuclear power output. Some of those models involve zero nuclear output. The IPCC, far from being ‘wrongly biased against nuclear’, lists lots of different pathways from published projections and addresses the nuclear options on page 325. If you read the text you will notice that it is not anti-nuclear at all. It acknowledges both the benefits and the risks of the technology. I won’t quote the entire section here, but only the most blinkered pro-nuclear nutcase could see this as anti-nuclear bias. You can read the report here (PDF) if you don’t believe me. Indeed, it was so ‘biased against nuclear’ that several nuclear industry sources quoted the report as saying nuclear power was essential to fighting global warming (which was a complete lie of course).

    John Hansen opposes the Green New Deal because he doesn’t think it will work as well as carbon taxes and technological development. You know what he has never said? That the ‘Greens are more to blame than the climate deniers.’ If you can find a reliable reference for this I will happily stand corrected, but having read quite a lot of Hansen’s words I don’t think that’s very likely.

    I know less about Emanuel, but again I find it hard to believe that he thinks anti-nuclear activists are more of an impediment than climate change deniers. Show me a quote.

  38. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    In other news, I’m starting to think that GerrardOfTitanServer is a bot. No matter what the subject, he finds a way to distort it to the ebil greenies opposing nukes.

    The more he writes, the less he passes the Turing test.

  39. unclefrogy says

    ok if I accept that as we age we get more conservative what does that mean exactly? If it means becoming a republican I doubt it, but if it means we become more risk averse I will agree.
    The neo-conservative tea partiers, the alt right, the authoritarians and the neo-faschists are not anything if not radicals who want force to change society and government into something they think it has always been. they want to take all the power and control to themselves and to hell with any who might disagree.
    There is nothing risk averse about burning down the climate, there is nothing risk averse about gambling that a complete free market will solve everything. There is nothing about letting corporations exploit cities regions and the people who live there and then just move when it suits them that conserves anything. What is conserved by letting some few individuals accumulate 90% of all that society produces?
    It is not what they say but what is done and nothing that those who take the name conservative today that conserves anything, not the land nor the air nor the water, not the people who live on it not the society which is made up of all the people, not the health of the people nor the education of the children that will make up the future of the society.
    Just because they call themselves conservative does not make it so.
    uncle frogy

  40. Susan Montgomery says

    @48 I have to wonder how much of this is intentional and how much of it is just Boomers and Xers who can’t move past adolescent self-gratification and are just running on autopilot.

  41. says

    @#48, unclefroggy:

    That’s a mere quibble on dictionary definitions, and strikes me as disingenuous.

    What people mean when they say “people become more conservative as they age” is, generally, that they become less open to change, and also more concerned with property (i.e. hostile towards taxation). There are “reasonable” explanations for both:
    • Experience with changes which fail teaches us to distrust future changes (rightly or wrongly — remember, not everybody is a logician and even logicians can have unconscious biases; we’re talking about the statistical median person, not what we would like the statistical median person to be)
    • Every time the world changes, it introduces new information you do not know about the world. Large changes therefore make you (relatively speaking) stupider, at least temporarily. Having to keep up with the new information and make decisions becomes more difficult as you become older.
    • Fears don’t keep up with the times. Baby Boomers were mostly raised to have an unexamined fear of Communism. There’s a museum in London meant to demonstrate the horrors of Communist government; one of the exhibits is a typical bedroom in a Communist regime. The most common comment made by people under 40 who visit is that the bedroom is nicer than their apartment. Capitalism has become at least as great a threat to well-being as Communism ever was — but Baby Boomers were raised to view the former with trust and pride and the latter with disgust and fear.
    • The older you are, the more likely you are to own significant amounts of property. This alone tends to cause older people to want to keep taxes low — but also, the amount of time and effort involved in “earning” that property causes older people to resent any suggestion that property should not have to work so hard to obtain things. (This is not limited to property — for example, any suggestion that schools should reform in a way which would make things “easier” for kids, even if backed by solid research and recommendations from doctors, is met with a wall of “I went through the old system and turned out okay, why should modern kids get this benefit I didn’t?”)
    • Propaganda is cumulative, and in a capitalist society, most propaganda will be right-wing, and older people have been exposed to more of it. There are all kinds of studies out there showing that it is not actually possible to completely tune out the biases presented in the media to which you are exposed, no matter how consciously you try.

    And, of course, although aging probably won’t turn a Democrat into a Republican, it might turn a Democrat into an Independent or an Independent into a Republican. And for years now, the largest group of registered voters has no longer been the Democratic Party but Independents. (And party registration doesn’t really mean much. Democrats like to blame the Greens for Al Gore’s 2000 loss in Florida, but exit polls showed that there were 10 times as many Democrats who voted for George W. Bush because they “couldn’t see any difference” than there were Green voters. If party membership automatically indicated voting patterns, Gore would have won.)

    People who feel no strong attachment to the Democratic Party — and it has become very difficult to feel a strong attachment to the Democratic Party in recent decades — are going to be open to arguments and propaganda which they would otherwise ignore.

    2016 was a perfect storm for all of this:
    • Fear of change based on failed earlier changes? Those Rust Belt states that Hillary Clinton lost remembered her in the 1990s backing NAFTA to kill good-paying jobs, “the end of Welfare as we know it” to destroy the social safety net after those jobs were gone, and bank and market deregulation to wipe out their savings and foreclose their houses.
    • The ACA increased health insurance coverage, but by mandating private insurance it encouraged health insurance companies to produce hard-to-compare options. Are you better off paying $500 a month for plan A which has low co-pays and a long list of minor benefits, $450 a month for plan B which has high co-pays for medications but no co-pays for doctors and a deal with the local senior center for free Tai Chi classes, or $200 a month for plan C which has nothing but catastrophic coverage? Are you likely to get sick this year? Have any hereditary diseases? Better hurry up and research all of it, the deadline’s coming! This was the only major legislation that came out of the Obama presidency, and in 2016 they ran on a platform of “we won’t fix anything, but we’ll keep the ACA”.
    • Democrats like to dismiss Republican spears against the Clintons because they were mostly based on fiction. A lot of the leadership seemed to think that by declaring the smears non-factual, they would magically cease to have any effect on the voting public. But sadly, just because they were based on fiction does not mean they were not effective. (They also like to pretend there were no factual reasons to dislike them, which is ridiculous. Anybody remember Libya?) Between 24-year-old stuff being brought back again and 24 years of continued exposure to those smears, Hillary Clinton was never going to get any right-leaning votes. (Which is particularly relevant because that was explicitly her strategy: kick the base in the teeth and hope the right will reward the disloyalty. The only Democrat running for President since 2000 who has not adopted that strategy in their campaign was Obama, who was also the only Democrat to actually win the election.)
    • Although the ACA is explicitly not a tax — in fact, it bends over backwards to avoid taxing people for health insurance, and instead makes everything private, the very definition of neoliberalism — it nevertheless is a government-mandated cost, and although it limited the profits of private insurers by percentage it contained no provisions to prevent private insurers from rigging the system by simply raising the payouts on procedures to raise the dollar value of that percentage. In a fairly large number of regions, health insurance costs have risen dramatically since the passage of the ACA, and “we must preserve the ACA” was the 2016 Democratic mantra.

    And wow, that got long fast. Sorry.

  42. stroppy says

    Lots of pressure to sell out. If graying yuppies want to salvage some scraps of their legacy they should work to alleviate that, not to mention mentoring up comers– like yesterday. None of this doddering uncle Joe, “I’m not passing the torch” shit.

  43. rpjohnston says

    You hear it all the time, “The billionaires are trying to tear us apart! They’re pitting us against each other! We can’t win unless we set aside our differences and come together as a nation!”

    Trying? They succeeded. The tore off the Right and set them down an irredeemable path of destruction.

    Yet you always hear it said to liberals, as if it’s all their responsible for making them come to their senses.

    It WOULD be much easier to make the country we should have if the Right would work to do so. They won’t, and in fact will attack any effort to do so, so we can’t make a good country until they are made harmless.

    It WOULD also be much easier if the centrists would get off their fucking pedestals and fight the Right. The arsonists are far outnumbered by the non-arsonists after all. But the centrist have already gotten theirs, so winning doesn’t matter much to them; winning is a matter of life-and-death to the young people and minorities making up what we call the “Left”, so centrists know they can force us to accept a milquetoast do-nothing by threatening to throw power to the arsonists.

    I don’t see any way to convince Centrists to not be fuckholes for once. Moral arguments fall flat as they just sanctimoniously call their amoral stances “strategy”. We have no power to influence them with. I’m more and more becoming convinced the the only hope of salvation lies in defeating the Centrists and taking control of the Democratic Party from them, evicting them if we most, and then hoping we still have enough time and power to destroy the Right.

    Frankly, I don’t think it’s likely. And of course if the Centrists make Biden win, any hope will be gone.

  44. birgerjohansson says

    Susan Montgomery @10 , thank you for reminding me of that excellent book by two Soviet authors who managed to keep their integrity in a corrupt system.

  45. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Responding out of order to make a better post.
    Quoting chrislawson

    John Hansen opposes the Green New Deal because he doesn’t think it will work as well as carbon taxes and technological development. You know what he has never said? That the ‘Greens are more to blame than the climate deniers.’ If you can find a reliable reference for this I will happily stand corrected, but having read quite a lot of Hansen’s words I don’t think that’s very likely.

    Quoting James Hansen
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110729_BabyLauren.pdf

    A facile explanation would focus on the ‘merchants of doubt’ who have managed to confuse the public about the reality of human-made climate change. The merchants play a role, to be sure, a sordid one, but they are not the main obstacle to solution of human-made climate change. The bigger problem is that people who accept the reality of climate change are not proposing actions that would work.

    You are right that James Hansen more often emphasizes the need for a carbon tax, and specifically a fee-and-dividend approach, which he emphasizes also in this source. However, he does also say stuff like this, same source:

    The Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy

    The insightful cynic will note: “Now I understand all the fossil fuel ads with windmills and solar panels–fossil fuel moguls know that renewables are nothreat to the fossil fuel business.” The tragedy is that many environmentalists lineup on the side of the fossil fuel industry, advocating renewables as if they, plus energy efficiency, would solve the global climate change matter.

    Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.

    This Easter Bunny fable is the basis of ‘policy’ thinking of many liberal politicians. Yet when such people are elected to the executive branch and must make real world decisions, they end up approving expanded off-shore drilling and allowing continued mountaintop removal, long-wall coal mining, hydro-fracking, etc.–maybe even a tar sands pipeline.

    Related. A snippet from a press conference with James Hansen. Transcribed by me.

    https://youtu.be/KnN328eD-sA?t=2041

    Well, I can point out one or two points. What you find if you advocate – You know, frankly, I’ve spoken to many scientists, and by far the majority agrees that nuclear needs to be part of the solution. However, when you stand up and say that, there’s an anti-nuclear community, which I would characterize as quasi-religious, which just hammers you, and you have to spend a lot of your time trying to deal with that. I’ve even found that some of the – you know that I’m no longer a government employee I have to raise the funds to cover my group of four people, and there are a number of foundations [???] foundation that have been my most reliable source while I was a government employee because I like to speak out is not part of my government job but so I had to prove that I was not using government funds, so when I traveled I had to get non-goverment funds to pay for that. Well, the foundation that provided the funds now will not give me a dime because they are anti-nuclear, and so there’s a lot of pressure on scientists just to keep their mouths shut, but we’re at a point where we’d better not keep our mouths shut when we can see a story which has become very clear, and that is that it’s a .. mirage to think that all-renewables can provide all of the energy that we need, and at the speed we need. China and India are using tremendous amounts of power, almost all coal for their electric plants, and there’s no way that they can power their steel mills and all the other factories that they’re building products for us on solar panels.

    Quoting chrislawson

    Some of those models involve increasing nuclear power output. Some of those models involve zero nuclear output. [..] You can read the report here (PDF) if you don’t believe me. [ https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2019/06/SR15_Full_Report_Low_Res.pdf ]

    Note that the IPCC has released several reports over the years. I was making claims from sources that might be referring to older IPCC reports. Let’s look to see what this particular report says… From a quick skimming, your report matches exactly the reporting that I’ve seen online in this matter.

    [pg 14]
    Breakdown of contributions to global net CO emissions in four illustrative model pathways
    […]
    [Table:]
    Global indicators … P1 … P2 … P3 … P4
    […]
    [From nuclear in 2050 (% rel to 2010)] … 150 … 98 … 501 … 468

    Given that this matches the reporting that I’ve seen on the matter, I don’t have any further interest to dig into this paper because of its well-known anti-nuclear bias.

    Quoting chrislawson

    The IPCC, far from being ‘wrongly biased against nuclear’,
    […]
    If you read the text you will notice that it is not anti-nuclear at all.

    As above, my sources may be referring to older IPCC reports. However, if these IPCC reports do not have an anti-nuclear bias, then why have many of the scientists on the IPCC and many others signed a public leader to heads of government saying exactly that?

    http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/10/25/open-letter-to-heads-of-state-of-the-g-20-from-scientists-and-scholars-on-nuclear-for-climate-change

    We are writing as scientists, scholars, and concerned citizens to warn you of a persistent anti-nuclear bias in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on keeping global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.[1]

    While many of the scenarios in the IPCC report call for the expanded use of nuclear energy, the report nonetheless repeats misinformation about nuclear energy, contrasts nuclear negatively to renewables, and in some cases, suggests an equivalency with fossil fuels.

    […]

    Signed,

    Tom Wigley, Climate and Energy Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

    Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    David Lea, Professor, Earth Science, University of California

    Barry Brook, Professor of Environmental Sustainability, University of Tasmania

    Paul Robbins, Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    [… and many more]

    Quoting chrislawson

    It acknowledges both the benefits and the risks of the technology.

    At least for some of the older reports, and possibly this newest report too, most of the risks that it cites are lies. For a brief breakdown of those lies – lies of false assertions and lies of omission, check the same source as above.

    http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/10/25/open-letter-to-heads-of-state-of-the-g-20-from-scientists-and-scholars-on-nuclear-for-climate-change

    I would provide a quote here, but it’s practically the whole document and it would be rather large.

    PS:

    I cannot find the source now, but someone with expertise, possibly an insider, went over the report, and described it something like as follows: It’s like someone ran the numbers honestly at first, and the scenarios came out as mostly nuclear, and that was not acceptable to the compiler, and so they introduced an artificial asspull constraint of nuclear fuel shortages, and they picked just the right number until the calculations produced an amount of nuclear power that they were comfortable with.

  46. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To chrislawson
    Sorry. Missed this the first time.

    Quoting Kerry Emanuel

    The anti-nuclear bias of this latest IPCC release is rather blatant, and reflects the ideology of the environmental movement. History may record that this was more of an impediment to decarbonization than climate denial.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/10/29/top-climate-scientists-warn-governments-of-blatant-anti-nuclear-bias-in-latest-ipcc-climate-report/

    PPS: I think you haven’t read as much as you think you have if you managed to miss this from Kerry and you also managed to miss the things that James Hansen has said. Stop reading only Green sources. They’re consummate liars and/or completely incompetent scientifically or engineering-wise.

  47. nomdeplume says

    WTF @54?! This is someone who really really wants to have nuclear power.
    Whodathought?
    That the same
    people who
    damaged the
    world by
    flooding it with
    carbon dioxide,
    now say they can
    solve the problem
    by flooding it with
    radioactivity?

  48. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To nomdeplume
    Radiation and radioactive waste is not as harmful as you think it is. The real dangers have been exaggerated by a thousand or million fold by professional liars like Green peace et al as part of a 50 year misinformation campaign.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/05/anti-nuclear-lobby-misled-world

    To Kip T.W.
    Are you calling the IPCC reports nuts? Practically all of their scenarios have lots more nuclear power than today. Are you calling most of the climate scientists nuts, including many who worked on the IPCC report?

    Seriously: What does it take to get through to people? What sort of evidence or expert citation do I need to find to show that you are wrong? Were you just born knowing that solar and wind et al are good and can work, and that nuclear is bad and evil?

  49. nomdeplume says

    Unlike the professional and well paid liars who work for the energy companies who stand to make a great deal of money out of a panicked rush to nuclear power. What on earth do you imagine conservationists like Greenpeace and, well, me, would get out of lying about nuclear power? And why on earth would you prefer the risk of a thousand Three Mile Islands, five hundred Chernobyls, one hundred Fukushimas, than using solar power directly or indirectly in the form of wind? Power to cheap to meter doesn’t give your friends enough profits? Nuclear energy is already consigned to the dustbin of history, and so are you my friend. Good night.

  50. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To nomdeplume
    I didn’t call you a liar. You’re just misinformed. The leaders of the Green movement know better, and they are professional liars or delusional, e.g. “liars for Jesus” – they believe so strongly that they’re willing to lie in order to achieve their “noble” ends.

    Why don’t I want to use solar and wind et al? Because it won’t work. Believing that renewables can replace fossil fuels “is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy” – James Hansen, source above. Again, in case you don’t know, James Hansen is the most prominent and foremost climate scientist ever. Source above. You know – that guy who warned the world and appeared in front of the US Senate in 1988 to warn us about global warming from human-caused greenhouse gas emissions? And his opinion is not alone. It’s shared by most climate scientists.

    Why is it that you think that you know better than the scientists?

    I was unsure if I wanted to go there, but I’ll go there now:

    That the same people who damaged the world by flooding it with carbon dioxide, now say they can solve the problem by flooding it with radioactivity?

    What same people? How are the fossil fuel moguls the same thing as the climate scientists telling us that we need to do something right now that will work to stop human-caused greenhouse gas emissions? How twisted must your world view be to say that James Hansen and other climate scientists are “the same people” who profited of releasing all of those greenhouse gases?

    I can’t be sure, but I can say that this strikes me as a tirade against science at large, and specifically technology and technological progress. I can’t be sure that you’re guilty of this intellectual sin, but it is a very common theme in the modern anti-nuclear environmental Green movement – believing that science and technology are the true evils that we need to combat. What you said makes perfect sense if you are conflating all scientists and engineers into the same bucket, and blaming science, engineering, and technology.

    I don’t believe that. I don’t believe in the Aesop of Frankenstein. I don’t believe that science, engineering, and technology are the enemy. I believe that science, engineering, and technology can lead us to a better world. I believe that technological progress is both possible and desirable.

  51. unclefrogy says

    @58
    I think Kip is pointing out that you are some what of a monomaniac obsessed with one thing and it is the only answer to climate change everything else is wrong. which you advocate for with huge walls of text. not screaming in all caps but still many long quotes added. every time you post
    uncle frogy

  52. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To unclefrogy
    Guilty as charged. I am obsessed with this. I want to save the world. At this point, it’s no longer a technological problem. It’s a political problem. The primary problem is how to convince enough of the Greens that they’re delusional and/or they have been lied to as part of a 50 year misinformation campaign by the Green orgs so that we can start really pursuing nuclear power.

    Also, I did try to start with a small lead-in, and I only went large with sources when my particular direct claims were challenged. Hell, the other person even asked me to produce those quotes.

  53. unclefrogy says

    no one wants to dispute with you because it is not going to be a discussion it is not two way it is one way your way and nothing else will do.
    uncle frogy

  54. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To unclefrogy
    And back in reality, someone made points, asked if I had any citations to the contrary, and I provided the citations that he asked for. It seems like it’s rather interactive and two-way to me.

    So, I’m trying to translate what you mean into the language that I understand. The best that I’m able to do right now is that your quasi-religious dogma is being challenged, and a conversation in your mind about this topic involves give and take, e.g. both sides can have good points. Sorry. That’s not how it works sometimes. For comparison, in a comparison between a modern biologist and a young Earth creationist, the biologist is going to be right on basically every point, and the creationist is going to be wrong on basically every point.

    Now, I’m open to argument, and I will do my best to argue in good faith and for the truth. However, I’ve been researching this a while, just like I’ve been researching and learning about evolution for a long while, and so I fully admit up front that a hypothetical person is very unlikely to change my mind and convince me that creationism is true, just like you are very unlikely to convince me that we don’t need lots and lots of nuclear right now to effectively combat climate change.

  55. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Today I learned: “not listening” means “not agreeing”.

    Please killfile me Nerd. Nothing of value would be lost.

  56. stroppy says

    So, “Are We Screwed?” Well, you know that painful feeling you’re having in your nether regions right now? There’s your answer. And it’s going to get worse, guaranteed. The only question is, how bad do we let it get before putting a stop to it?

    ……

    How to get more conservative as you get older: Let those arteries harden, baby!

    ……

    Gerrard, I say this out of love, take your damned meds.

  57. says

    Thanks, uncle frogy, you got it right on the nose.

    On another topic, I once saw an exchange where someone was giving the standard quote (Churchill or whoever): “If a man is not a Liberal at the age of 30, he has no heart. If he is not a Conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain.” Another poster replied “And if he is not King of the Forest by the time he is 50, he has no courage.”

  58. dma8751482 says

    In any case, nuclear energy will function as a stopgap measure until renewable energy is further refined: the danger of nuclear waste in the future will be a non-issue if solar and wind power alone remain insufficient to answer the growing energy demands of the present (thus ensuring further climate change happens). I acknowledge there are risks to nuclear power, but they look increasingly preferable to continued dependence on fossil fuels.

    Greenpeace has also had a history of lying abiut nuclear power and its risks:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/greenpeace-accused-of-telling-lies-in-advert-watchdog-bans-antinuclear-image-1447196.html

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/01/AR2006060101884.html

    The second link there should be concerning in itself. After all, “alarmist and armageddonist factoids” are not what anyone here would call sound arguments.

  59. Susan Montgomery says

    @53 You’re welcome. I think it’s awful that the Strugstskys (along with Stanislaw Lem) get so little recognition. I had to discover them totally at random by finding some publicity stills from the Inhabited Island movie.

  60. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Gerrard, I say this out of love, take your damned meds.

    Isn’t this like super ableist? This seems like the sort of shot that perpetuates wrong stereotypes about people on medication. It’s just like “I’m not racist, but…”.

    It’s, of course, an extremely fallacious argument, eg a non-argument. This is the kind of shit that I expect to hear said to protesters from regressive Republicans.

    And where is the rest of the commentariat calling out this shit? I’ve seen PZ ban people for less when he’s in a bad mood IIRC.

  61. Porivil Sorrens says

    @67

    take your damn meds

    Fuck off, don’t do this. As someone who actually has to take meds to manage mental illness, don’t use this as a shitty last second gotcha against someone you disagree with. It’s ableist bullshit.

  62. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Gerrard and dma8751482,
    I am not anti-nukes. I do have reservations about relying on nukes to get us the the climate crisis. Nukes certainly have not demonstrated their ability ramp up quickly or economically. I am fully cognizant that part of this arises from public resistance to the technology, part from the fact that historic numbers are for past technologies. However, at the same time liability legislation has been highly favorable and counts as a subsidy, and no one has yet developed a suitable protocol for storing nuclear waste.

    Finally, I have trouble with the idea of escaping from Big Fossil Fuel only to get into bed with Big nukes.

    That said, I am very doubtful that we can get through this crisis without taking advantage of every possible solution that can buy us time. We have squandered all of our ability to pick and choose long ago.

  63. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    I am not anti-nukes. I do have reservations about relying on nukes to get us the the climate crisis.

    There’s a lot of false information here. It’s going to take a while to correct everything.

    Nukes certainly have not demonstrated their ability ramp up quickly or economically. I am fully cognizant that part of this arises from public resistance to the technology, part from the fact that historic numbers are for past technologies.

    For the modern day, that is a big part of the story. However, this claim is more than that. This claim is that it never happened. Let me introduce you to France, which converted half their electricity to nuclear in 15 years, and they were not in a big rush like we should be, and their electricity is still quite cheap compared to other countries in Europe like Germany.

    South Korea is also an amazing success story of nuclear power today. See:
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516300106

    Most of the world used to be able to build nuclear cheaply, and on time. Then something happened. Three Mile Island and Chernobyl happened. Suddenly, after those dates, capital costs for nuclear in the west increased by 3x or 4x. Cite:
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516300106

    This is not a coincidence. Nuclear power is expensive in the west because we have chosen to make it so.

    It is important to understand that this is not an accident. This is the result of 50 years of effort by the Greens.

    http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/3/28/why-the-war-on-nuclear-threatens-us-all

    A secret memo written by the Sierra Club’s executive director proposed a strategy of fear-mongering to make nuclear expensive. “Our campaign stressing the hazards of nuclear power will supply a rationale for increasing regulation… and add to the cost of the industry,” he wrote.[1]

    http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/1/11/jerry-browns-secret-war-on-clean-energy

    Sierra Club’s Executive Director, David Brower […] As the Sierra Club board started to clamp down on Brower’s spending, he started attacking the Board’s decision to support the building of Diablo Canyon. “If a doubling of the state’s population in the next 20 years is encouraged by providing the power resources for this growth,” Brower said, California’s “scenic character will be destroyed.”[3]

    See also:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Masses:_Opposition_to_Nuclear_Power_in_California,_1958%E2%80%931978

    (If you’re wondering, “what is the Sierra Club”?, it was by far the dominant environmental group in America, circa 1960.)

    Let’s talk about reasons why nuclear power is expensive.

    First, it’s not. That’s a lie based on financial accounting tricks. For example, Hinkley-C will still be cheaper than solar and wind, in spite of its many cost and schedule overruns. This trick is known as “discount rates”. For a private investor, 5 dollars tomorrow is “worth more” than 5 dollars in a year from now. This is true because of inflation, but it’s also true because the same real purchasing power now is worth more to someone than the same real purchasing power 1 year from now. This is called “the time value of money”. A discount rate is one way to mathematically model this fact about human valuation by saying that money in the future is worth less than money today. I have no problem with using discount rates for private investors to figure out what they want to invest in for personal gain, but when they start applying this to public infrastructure investment, the results are perverse. With a discount rate, if something lasts twice as long, it doesn’t have twice the value. In fact, with commonly used discount rates, half or more of the real value of a nuclear power plant is “discarded” or “discounted”. Effectively, instead of modeling them as lasting 80 years, only the first 30-40 years are considered to be worth anything. For more information, including pretty graphs to visualize the math, see:
    https://thoughtscapism.com/2019/11/05/decarbonisation-at-a-discount-lets-not-sell-future-generations-short/

    It’s also said that nuclear power is expensive. Expensive compared to what? Fossil fuels? Perhaps. This is especially true in comparison to natural gas today. However, when compared to solar and wind? No. What matters is total system cost, and in that metric, Greens love to ignore a bunch of inconvenient details. Most Green academic papers that you can find for a Green non-nuclear grid with zero CO2 emissions have an overbuild factor of 2x or 3x of solar and wind in order to help deal with the intermittency. That’s basically never costed properly when showing solar and wind cost numbers to the public. The same Green papers also typically invoke lots and lots of very long distance transmission, e.g. lots of new transmission lines, and transmission lines are very, very expensive – surprisingly so for someone uninformed. Those are basically never costed when showing solar and wind cost numbers to the public. The same Green papers also typically have energy storage – often implausible energy storage, but let’s ignore that for now. The papers differ in which outlandish energy storage they plan to use, but they variously include batteries, pumped hydro, compressed air in caves, heat stores, synthetic hydrogen or methane production (e.g. “power-to-gas”), etc. Rarely are these included in cost numbers shown to the public, and basically never do they include the necessary amount of storage, i.e. I’ve seen one or two cost comparisons that include 4 hours of storage, when the real number needs to be close to 4 days of storage to avoid regular blackouts. There’s also the probable problem that solar (always) and wind (often) lacks grid inertia. They are often asynchronous generators, giving no inertia to the grid, and it’s likely that the grid would collapse without sufficient inertia. This is a highly technical and esoteric, but hugely important point. This inertia could be supplied by additional equipment, but again at more cost that is never included in cost numbers that are shown to the public.

    Let’s also talk about some of the other reasons why nuclear is expensive which are easily fixable.

    Many of the nuclear power plants today are first-of-a-kind designs. It’s no surprise that these will have cost overruns. Once we pick a few designs and standardize them, and use the same work crews to build them to gain learning curve experience, we should see learning curve decreases in cost – just like any other industry. This is not hypothetical either. Look at the nuclear power plant costs in South Korea – they have seen cost decreases year over year going on like 30 years now.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516300106

    The current extreme fear overreaction has led to safety regulations that are obscenely ridiculous over-the-top. In the US, we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars at least to prevent exposures that are ten thousand times less than background. And yes, that is the correct number of zeros in both cases (100,000,000 and 10,000). I’m talking here about the cryogenic equipment that the EPA requires to capture radioactive krypton.
    https://atomicinsights.com/opportunity-use-science-establish-radiation-standards/

    We can also talk about the ongoing costs associated with reducing exposures to nuclear power plant workers from cobalt in steel, which is again far less than background.
    https://atomicinsights.com/reducing-nuclear-operational-and-capital-costs-by-improved-technology/
    https://atomicinsights.com/cost-increasing-results-of-accepting-the-linear-no-threshold-lnt-assumption-of-radiation-health-effects/

    See also:
    https://atomicinsights.com/evidence-suggesting-lnt-fabricated-purposeful-effort-hamstring-nuclear-technology-development/

    Nuclear power is also more costly than what it needs to be because of the carefully designed free market structures that we have. The existing electricity markets seem to have been carefully designed in order to favor solar, wind, and natural gas, at the expense of nuclear. Almost no one speaks about this because of its arcane details, but it’s very very important to the story. I speak of two things.

    Nuclear power plants, when designed with the capability, can load-follow just fine. However, plants in America have not been designed to load follow, and adding stuff to the plant to properly load-follow is a risky endeavor mostly because of the NRC regulations which could easily kill the entire plant with any small mistake during the upgrade. So, American plants cannot load follow very well. So, sometimes when there’s an excess of solar and wind, electricity prices go negative. When this happens, the nuclear power plant must reduce its power output, or it must pay money to the grid for the grid to accept its electricity. So, the operators sometimes reduce its power or shut it down entirely. When you reduce power or shut down an American nuclear power plant, this leads to a build-up of xenon gas, which is a “poison” to the chain reaction. It decays very quickly, IIRC a half life of 8 hours, but while there are substantial amounts of it in the reactor, running the reactor is impossible. So, solar, wind, and natural gas can “conspire” together to make negative prices in the market, forcing the nuclear power plant operator to shut down for a least a day or two because of the xenon transient, leaving natural gas with monopoly pricing in the meantime. Worse, NRC regs often keep the nuclear power plant shut down for even longer because IIRC they have to file a report and ask for permission to restart the reactor even if they know exactly why they shut down, giving natural gas even more time of monopoly power. This article goes into some more of the details.
    https://atomicinsights.com/why-cant-existing-nuclear-plants-make-money-in-todays-electricity-markets/

    The second part of the story re the market design is the problem that in many places, solar, wind, and natural gas don’t receive most of their money from selling electricity. Instead, in many places, solar and wind receive most of their income from renewable-energy-credits (RECs). Also, in many US States and elsewhere around the world, there are laws in place that require the grid operator to use X% green electricity, and the law defines “green” to exclude nuclear, which is the biggest subsidy of all. In many places, natural gas receives most of its income from things called “capacity payments”. Because the electricity market has been carefully deregulated in just the right way, we have hourly auctions for electricity prices, but this would lead to regular blackouts on its own because there wouldn’t be enough incentive to have enough spinning ready dispatchable capacity to prevent regular blackouts, and so we have capacity payments – payments that we pay to operators to keep their generators ready to produce electricity at a moments notice. In many places, natural gas operators get most of their money from capacity payments instead of from selling electricity. When operators receive most of their money for doing something other than selling electricity, this creates perverse outcomes. Also, nuclear is not a benefactor of these schemes, and thus at a disadvantage. We shouldn’t have deregulated markets at all, and especially not hourly auctions. Again, it appears as though the regulated free market system was carefully designed in order for maximum profits for natural gas and their buddies in solar and wind. The same source above, reproduced here, covers some more of the details.
    https://atomicinsights.com/why-cant-existing-nuclear-plants-make-money-in-todays-electricity-markets/

    Also, don’t forget that the regulatory environment for nuclear makes it a very bad investment for private investors. The risk is too high. The “as low as reasonably possible” standard for radiation release is often interpreted to require extreme expenditures of money to prevent miniscule exposures. (See my example above of hundreds of millions of dollars to buy cryogenic equipment to prevent exposures to the public that are ten-thousand times less than background.) The problem here is that as soon as some new exposure is found, or some new – very expensive – tech is proposed to fix it, the government requires existing nuclear power plants and power plants in construction to retrofit their design, increasing costs and increasing delays, which again makes nuclear power plants into a bad investment for private investors. Moreover, the Greens know this, which is why it’s well-known that they will abuse the legal and regulatory process to delay new plants as much as possible and to further increase their costs as much as possible. For but one example, see:
    https://atomicinsights.com/foes-manipulative-legal-strategy-closing-nuclear-reactors/

    However, at the same time liability legislation has been highly favorable and counts as a subsidy,

    False.

    If you assume that nuclear accidents are infinitely harmful, then yes it counts as an infinite subsidy. However, nuclear accidents are not as dangerous as most people think they are, and this “subsidy” is far smaller than most people think it is. Also, in the US, nuclear power plant operators have to pay into insurance, and they have paid quite a bit of money into this fund. So, a good argument can be made that far from a subsidy, this is an extra cost of operation – sofaras US nuclear is concerned.

    and no one has yet developed a suitable protocol for storing nuclear waste.

    This a complete fiction. Nuclear power plant accidents are a real concern. Nuclear waste disposal is not. Nuclear waste is not as dangerous as you think it is. It’s less dangerous by a factor of a thousand, and maybe a million. Industry regularly deals with toxic chemicals that are more dangerous than nuclear waste, and we don’t freak out about that.

    You incorrectly understand the real scale of the danger because the Green orgs have consistently lied to you for over 50 years. They are shameless in their arguments, willing to lie at every opportunity.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/05/anti-nuclear-lobby-misled-world

    So, what do we do with it? Keep it in dry cask storage for now until we get a fast breeder reactor online because 96% of that so-called spent nuclear fuel is fuel for a fast breeder reactor. That, or we can reprocess it. Both of which leave stuff that only takes about 300 years until it reaches the radioactivity of typical ore. Partial cite, see:
    http://thorconpower.com/docs/ct_yankee.pdf

    Having said that, if nuclear waste was a threat to human health or the environment, and it’s not, then there are several easy and cheap methods for disposal.

    Deep sea bed disposal.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/10/the-sub-seabed-solution/308434/

    Deep borehole disposal (with optional reprocessing to make the disposal size smaller).
    http://thorconpower.com/docs/ct_yankee.pdf

    Disposal in copper containers and bentonite clay.
    https://jmkorhonen.net/2013/08/15/graph-of-the-week-what-happens-if-nuclear-waste-repository-leaks/

    Here’s the money shot concerning “what happens if it leaks?” from the source above:

    According to Finnish analysis from 2009, assuming that:
    – nuclear waste canisters start leaking after a mere 1000 years
    – a city is built upon the repository site by people who…
    – eat only food produced locally and…
    – drink only water from local sources and…
    – spend all their time ( 27/7/365) in the most contaminated spot
    … it’s just possible that one person living in AD 12,000 might be able to receive what’s the highest single dose: 0.00018 mSv per year.

    [Gerrard: For reference, typical background is 3 mSv / year.]

    […]

    It is highly instructive to note how anti-nuclear activists seek to discredit the science here. They may well know that even using highly pessimistic assumptions about e.g. the copper canister and the bentonite clay, there is an overwhelming probability that any doses caused to the environment or to the public will be negligible. Perhaps for that reason, or perhaps simply because they themselves honestly believe that any leakage results to immediately horrendous effects, they completely ignore the crucial question: “so what?”

    What would happen if a waste repository springs a leak?

    What would be the effects of the leak to humans or to the environment?

    Even if you search through the voluminous material provided by the anti-nuclear brigade, you most likely will not find a single statement answering these questions. Cleverly, anti-nuclear activists simply state it’s possible that nuclear waste can leak – which is not in doubt, anything is possible – and rely on innuendo and human imagination (fertilized by perceptions of nuclear waste as something unthinkably horrible) to fill in the gaps in the narrative.

    Whether you go along with this manipulation is, of course, up to you.

    Finally, I have trouble with the idea of escaping from Big Fossil Fuel only to get into bed with Big nukes.

    The environment and human health does not care whether you like it. They don’t care about whether your economic scheme is capitalism or communism or socialism or anarcho-capitalism. What it cares about is how much CO2 and other greenhouse gas we put into the air. What is more important to you – saving the world, or sticking it to the man?

    Don’t get me wrong. I really appreciate sticking it to the man. I call myself a card-carrying radical Marxist (really just a mainstream European social democrat). I also think we should stick it to the man via a greenhouse gas emissions tax, and specifically James Hansen’s plan of fee-and-dividend so that the tax is progressive instead of regressive tax. I just don’t think that it will be enough because of the many hurdles placed in front of nuclear, and because the world probably lacks the political appetite for a greenhouse gas emissions tax that will be high enough. It’s probably an unsolvable fiat problem (and my apologies for making this sort of fiat argument). For example, we got such a thing in (part of?) Australia, and then the government that created the tax was immediately voted out of power.

    Physics and thermodynamics do not care about your feelings. Solar, wind, and renewables cannot work. At least, the odds of them working is incredibly low. “Like believing in the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy”. So, however bad you think that nuclear is, it’s not as bad as global warming. What’s worse? A Fukushima every decade? Or runaway global warming and ocean acidification?

    And thankfully, you’re wrong about how bad nuclear is. Nuclear is way better than what you think it is. It’s both safer for human health and cleaner for the environment compared to all alternatives, including solar, wind, and hydro. Hydro has killed more people than nuclear ever has or will. Solar and wind, because of their incredibly small power density, requires massive amounts of toxic substances, produce massive amounts of toxic waste, and require massive amounts of mining.

    Further – your attitude here is a real problem. The Greens have become an anarcho-communist movement moreso than they are an environmentalist movement. The Green New Deal really is much more about socialism and radical social upheaval, and sticking it to the man, than it is about fixing the environment. We know how to fix the environment, and it’s going to be relatively easy. The Greens seem to salivate over their dream of de-growth, back to nature, of requiring radical behavior changes. As I said to the other poster above, it’s not primarily about saving the environment. Instead, it’s a regressive Luddite backlash against technology and progress. It’s the same wrong-headed moral lesson from Frankenstein of “nature good, science bad”.

    That said, I am very doubtful that we can get through this crisis without taking advantage of every possible solution that can buy us time. We have squandered all of our ability to pick and choose long ago.

    This is a zero-sum game. Every bit of money spent on solar and wind is a bit of money (and human labor and resources) that was not spent on fixing problem, not spent on nuclear.

    We need to think about the shape of the final solution, and we need to get there ASAP. As soon as you allow a substantial amount of nuclear in your model, and if you apply your model honestly, then the model will immediately lead to a solution that is practically all nuclear and hydro. In that sort of solution, solar and wind have no marginal benefit – I mean “marginal” in the usual economic sense. You need enough nuclear and hydro to cover peak load, and then enough surplus to cover the occasional planned or unplanned shutdown. In that sort of grid, what value does solar and wind have? Zero. Solar and wind cannot reduce the total number of nuclear power plants and hydro because of their intermittency. Solar and wind can allow nuclear power plants to run at less than full when the sun or wind is available, but nuclear power plants don’t save money by scaling back power. The cost of nuclear fuel is a tiny portion of the cost of nuclear power. Moreover, lots of ramping up and down introduce additional wear and tear in the nuclear power plant, and require different designs capable of more load-following which are (slightly) more expensive. Adding solar and wind to a nuclear-and-hydro grid doesn’t save any money. It actually makes it more expensive.

    We squandered our time. We squandered it because the Greens have squandered it. For just one example, in my home state of California, we were on track to build enough nuclear reactors in the 1970s that we would have completely clean electricity today. However, Jerry Brown, Democrat, the first time he was governor, he managed to kill most of the nuclear projects in the State, and instead he built a coal plant. Of course he built a coal plant. That’s just what Greens do. The first thing that they do when they get to power is to shut down nuclear and replace it mostly with coal and natural gas. Coincidentally, Jerry Brown’s father also had huge financial investments in coal power. Then, the second time Jerry Brown was governor, he finished his work, and basically killed the last two nuclear power plants in California.

    When James Hansen warned the US Senate in 1988, based on the experience in France, we could have easily stopped all greenhouse gas emissions from electricity, and easily electrified most industrial process heat, and indoor heating and cooling, and several other uses of fossil fuels that are easily electrified. IIRC, that gets us to like 50% of all human greenhouse gas emissions. Throw on transport fuel for another large fraction of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, and whatever the solution there, it’s almost certain to depend on cheap electricity and/or cheap (nuclear) heat. We could actually be well on our way to actually fixing this damn problem instead of where we are now, increasing greenhouse gas emissions year over year.

  64. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Fantasies shared by most climate scientists, and most scientists at large. Why are you so anti-science?

  65. says

    Fantasies shared by most climate scientists, and most scientists at large. Why are you so anti-science?

    Complete and utter bullshit as always, Gerrard. Your devotion to a small group of “scientists” who happen to agree with your world view is not a tiny jot different from a religious fundamentalist. It’s when you blather stuff like this

    In that sort of solution, solar and wind have no marginal benefit – I mean “marginal” in the usual economic sense. You need enough nuclear and hydro to cover peak load, and then enough surplus to cover the occasional planned or unplanned shutdown. In that sort of grid, what value does solar and wind have? Zero. Solar and wind cannot reduce the total number of nuclear power plants and hydro because of their intermittency. Solar and wind can allow nuclear power plants to run at less than full when the sun or wind is available, but nuclear power plants don’t save money by scaling back power. The cost of nuclear fuel is a tiny portion of the cost of nuclear power. Moreover, lots of ramping up and down introduce additional wear and tear in the nuclear power plant, and require different designs capable of more load-following which are (slightly) more expensive. Adding solar and wind to a nuclear-and-hydro grid doesn’t save any money. It actually makes it more expensive.

    then we know you aren’t capable of understanding anything other than your god-like, paternalistic, all powerful, invariant source of power.

    The old paradigm of the centralised radially branched power grid is nearly over. Get used to it.

  66. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Lofty
    Where did you get such a silly idea? You’re jumped out of the pan and into the fire in terms of your pseudoscience beliefs and assertions. This is pure, unbridled fantasy.

    No one even remotely respectable is saying that. No one. The climate scientists are saying that we need nuclear. I can even cite a Pew Poll showing that most members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science are pro-nuclear.

    Moreover, you’re going above and beyond simply denying what the climate scientists and most scientists are saying. You’re even denying what the authors of all of the Green academic papers are saying. There are plenty of Green papers arguing that we can do 100% renewables without nuclear. They’re written by academics and “academics” like Mark Jacobson, Andrew Blakers, and others. Even though the papers are all fatally flawed, none of the papers say anything remotely like us getting rid of the grid. All of the 100% renewable papers say the exact opposite. They all say that we need to drastically increase geographic spread of the solar and wind collectors, and all of the corresponding drastic increases in transmission, in order to account for the inherent intermittency of solar and wind.

    Your anarcho-communist dreams of a rugged self-reliance are a dangerous fiction.

    It actually reminds me a lot of the “American rugged self-reliance” which is at the heart of American Republican resistance to social programs, and that attitude of absolute self reliance is wrong-headed and noxious and harmful there, and it’s wrong-headed and noxious and harmful here too.

  67. says

    Gerrard, let me tell you a little story.

    When I was a wee babby my parents emigrated from Germany to Australia. To converse with her extended family, Mother could 1. write an ordinary letter (took 4+ weeks) 2, write on an aerogramme (a week) or 3. send a telegram (hours). Imagine her joy when the first satellite based telephone service opened so she could converse with only 3 seconds of delay to the person at the other end hearing her voice and replying. Fast forward to the era of fiber optic communications and even those few seconds were removed making contact possible in less than human comprehension time. Now of course the globe is festooned by a veritable spider’s web of data cables sending umpteen jiggerbytes of information per second in every direction. This web has multiple redundancy as it can be backed up by satellites and is a miracle of scientific progress in less than 50 years.

    Now I make a prediction: that in the next 50 years a multiply redundant web of HVDC cables spins its way right around the globe, connecting up regions with a surplus of renewable energy to those with storage and those without much of either. There will be plenty of room for a few nook plants in the mix but they won’t be dominant. HVDC cables already connect across 1000km stretches so none of this is impossible, merely difficult and expensive to get going.

    Please take your fundamentalist fantasy elsewhere, it’s tired and old and has been debunked many many times. Merry Spidermas!

  68. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Oh, I see. You aren’t arguing against a massive interconnected power grid, much moreso than today’s grid. You’re just arguing that all of the power producers ok the grid will be very very small and privately owned by individual houses or building owners. I see.

    So, I’m back to my original question? Why do you think you know better than the IPCC report which calls for much more nuclear than today in almost all of its scenarios, and why do you think that you know better than most climate scientists who day that we must have lots more nuclear power and the IPCC report is not pro nuclear enough? Are you an engineer? Have you run the cost numbers, labor numbers, resource numbers? Have you run the hour by hour simulations against real world sun and wind data to see if your grid has any blackouts? On what basis do you substitute whatever it is that you’re substituting in the place of the conclusions of the foremost scientists in the world in their domain of expertise?

  69. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Arguments from authority are not always fallacious.

    Also, as I’ve shown in this thread, I’m more than willing to engage on the individual arguments in their merit too.

  70. unclefrogy says

    hey gerry why is 70 years of pro-nuclear propaganda put out by the nuclear industry better then 50 years of anti-nuclear propaganda put out by “the Greens”?
    uncle frogy

  71. consciousness razor says

    Gerrard:

    Most of the world used to be able to build nuclear cheaply, and on time. Then something happened. Three Mile Island and Chernobyl happened. Suddenly, after those dates, capital costs for nuclear in the west increased by 3x or 4x. Cite:
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516300106
    This is not a coincidence. Nuclear power is expensive in the west because we have chosen to make it so.
    It is important to understand that this is not an accident. This is the result of 50 years of effort by the Greens.

    Instead of a vast 50-year conspiracy perpetrated by a nebulous group with very little evident political power,[1] isn’t it more plausible that it costs more money to have better safety/security?[2] That is the obvious thing to try to improve about the planning, design, operation, oversight, etc., of new or existing nuclear plants, after accidents like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Hopefully, you recognize that this version of events (unlike your circuitous, long-winded propaganda effort) is at least somewhat plausible, although I’ll happily concede that of course it’s not the whole story.
    [1] If there had been some such group with so much influence, we would presumably not be in the dire situation we find ourselves in now, where fossil fuel lobbyists and their billionaire masters still run the show, we’re worried so much about impending doom and the effects on the environment and our economy this has already had, and so forth.
    Question: can you explain why we’re even having this very conversation in the first place? I think that with something like my story, I can, but that you cannot consistently do so with yours. Wouldn’t the things I described be at least somewhat different, if your story were right? Or do these bad actors only act in the mysterious shadow realm that only you are aware of, while doing basically nothing in the sad, mundane world we’re all familiar with? If so, why would they act that way? Do I have to change some of the basic thing I think I know about human psychology and society, just so I can buy into your conspiracy theory? If so, that’s kind of a high price for me to pay, one I don’t think I can afford. (And no: I don’t want a government subsidy to help out with this).
    [2] It would be nice if those things were just free somehow, or if there were no reason to worry about them. But the real world isn’t always that nice. You often seem to be proposing that we cut various standards/regulations back, to make it possible (or easier) for nuclear to be a competitive option. Why exactly should we do anything like that?

    I have no problem with using discount rates for private investors to figure out what they want to invest in for personal gain, but when they start applying this to public infrastructure investment, the results are perverse. With a discount rate, if something lasts twice as long, it doesn’t have twice the value. In fact, with commonly used discount rates, half or more of the real value of a nuclear power plant is “discarded” or “discounted”.

    It’s a fair point that the public shouldn’t normally worry so much about getting more immediate or short-term returns, like an individual person would. People have full successful lifetimes and die within a span of a few decades, while successful nations/societies last much longer than that and of course consist of many such people. However, it is possible in certain circumstances that we would need the resources the public invests to be effective relatively quickly, so that type of thing isn’t always or necessarily perverse.
    Anyway, what you pass over in silence is that a “public investment” should be publicly owned and operated. If that were the game we were playing with the nuclear industry – that we literally have the whole industry and are playing a game solitaire, because the game isn’t that we were handing our money over to a handful of wealthy individuals/corporations, so they can make themselves more wealthy – then I could see how such public investments should be construed in the way you suggest, with the caveat above that sometimes we do need things to happen fast.

    Most Green academic papers that you can find for a Green non-nuclear grid with zero CO2 emissions have an overbuild factor of 2x or 3x of solar and wind in order to help deal with the intermittency.

    But since we’re not limited to “solar and wind,” since we can also have hydro, pumped storage, geothermal, etc., not to mention nuclear power of course, I don’t see why we should care about abstract projections from papers by “Greens” you yourself distrust, if those papers don’t take all of that into account … as they should be, if they’re going to being fair about the potential for solar and wind as parts of a more comprehensive system. If you were saying they should be more fair to solar and wind, rather than using these half-truths to do your usual conspiracy-mongering, that would another story where we might actually agree.

    Industry regularly deals with toxic chemicals that are more dangerous than nuclear waste, and we don’t freak out about that.

    We don’t? Maybe you don’t. Maybe we should.

  72. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    unclefrogy,

    70 years of pro nuclear propaganda? Whatever do you mean? Unless you mean the very small but vocal group of scientists on the IPCC, like James Hansen. Most of the industry players in nuclear in the west are getting out of it because it’s not profitable in current circumstances.

    consciousness razor,

    I am not advocating for the removal of all government oversight. That would be very wrong-headed. However, it’s incredibly childish to say either “all regulations are good” or “all regulations are bad”. I’m just advocating that we get rid of some of the bad regulations that are hampering nuclear power. There is no real connection between some of these safety regs and public safety. There is no need for the American nuclear industry to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent exposures that are ten-thousand times less than background re cryogenic equipment to capture krypton gas.

    Instead of a vast 50-year conspiracy perpetrated by a nebulous group with very little evident political power,[1]

    Nonsense. Many US States have renewable portfolios that require a certain fraction of electricity to be cited from non-nuclear sources. Germany is shutting down their nuclear and consequently missing their greenhouse gas emission targets. It sounds like even France, one of the poster children of nuclear success, might soon start shutting down their nuclear plants. All because of the many lies that the public believes which come from the Green movement.

    after accidents like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl

    This is just more circumstantial evidence that you are simply misinformed. Instead of going for another real accident like Windscale or several others, you go to Three Mile Island. No one was harmed from Three Mile Island, and there is no lasting contamination of note outside of the reactor.

    Yet, you are right that Three Mile Island plays a very important part in the history of the anti-nuclear movement. The movie The China Syndrome was an incredibly important role in this story, starring and promoted by an avowed anti-nuclear advocate, and luck was with them that it was released mere days before the Three Mile Island accident. This colored the public’s perception of the accident so that we associate it with real disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima, even though nothing of note actually happened to the public. This was the beginning of the end of nuclear power in the west, even though it was almost a complete non-incident. Rather than talk about the real effects, people talked about “what could have happened”.

    . Hopefully, you recognize that this version of events (unlike your circuitous, long-winded propaganda effort) is at least somewhat plausible, although I’ll happily concede that of course it’s not the whole story.

    It’s almost complete bullshit. That is the public’s perception, but the public’s perception is basically completely detached from reality, to the extent that I have just described.

    [1] If there had been some such group with so much influence, we would presumably not be in the dire situation we find ourselves in now, where fossil fuel lobbyists and their billionaire masters still run the show, we’re worried so much about impending doom and the effects on the environment and our economy this has already had, and so forth.

    The problem is two-fold. The Green movement is not primarily an environmentalist movement. It’s primarily a regressive degrowth Luddite movement, and their core pillar is anti-nuclear activism. How else do you explain the fact that when Green-aligned actors come to power, they shut down nuclear power plants which are largely replaced by fossil fuels?

    The second problem is that the Greens are a tool of the fossil fuel industry. They’re “useful idiots”. It’s hard to know how many are on the payroll of the fossil fuel lobby, seemingly a lot of them are. Before I start naming names, it’s important to explain why this is. The fossil fuel people know that solar, wind, et al are not terribly big threats to fossil fuels because they don’t work, and the people would rather have the lights even if that means continued greenhouse gas emissions. However, the Greens are a very useful tool for the fossil fuel lobby because they are an incredibly potent weapon against a very real threat to their fossil fuel industry, the only real life-threatening threat that they have – nuclear power.

    Friends Of The Earth was started by David Brower, who left the Sierra Club because the Sierra Club at the time was pro-nuclear. David formed Friends Of The Earth with the explicit goal to be anti-nuclear activism. He started it with a grant from oil money, from an executive of a company which later became BP.
    https://atomicinsights.com/smoking-gun-robert-anderson/

    Mark Jacobson is a professor at Stanford, and he is the most respected academic in the American Green movement when it comes to providing papers that show we can switch to 100% renewables, (100% wind water solar in his case). His university program is being funded by oil and natural gas money, and he is a senior fellow of a think tank related to the same oil and natural gas money.
    https://atomicinsights.com/following-the-money-whos-funding-stanfords-natural-gas-initative/
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/03/28/the-dirty-secret-of-renewables-advocates-is-that-they-protect-fossil-fuel-interests-not-the-climate/

    Jerry Brown was a two-time governor of California. The first time that he came to power, he killed most nuclear in the state, and he built a coal plant. The second time that he came to power, he basically killed the state’s last two remaining nuclear power plants. His father has huge “interests” in fossil fuels.
    http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/1/11/jerry-browns-secret-war-on-clean-energy

    Gerhard Schröder was the Chancellor of Germany up until 2005, leader of a political alliance with the Green party. Now, he sits on the board of one of the giant Russian energy giants, re natural gas giants. I can’t make this shit up. You would think that they would hide it just a little.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/08/08/he-used-to-rule-germany-now-he-oversees-russian-energy-companies-and-lashes-out-at-the-u-s/

    Other Green NGOs like Greenpeace don’t have public funding, but if we know of this much, imagine how much more there is below the surface.

    You are a tool. A useful idiot. You have been had. Fooled. Hoodwinked.

    We’ve seen this before too. Industry hires experts to protect their product. We’ve seen this with leaded gasoline, with tobacco.

    You often seem to be proposing that we cut various standards/regulations back, to make it possible (or easier) for nuclear to be a competitive option. Why exactly should we do anything like that?

    Because that is the only option that is physically possible, that doesn’t involve genocide, and that doesn’t face insurmountable fiat problems, which can stop runaway global warming, ocean acidification, and the rest of the knock-on effects. Let me remind you again that I have seemingly a large majority of the consensus of relevant scientists on my side.

    Anyway, what you pass over in silence is that a “public investment” should be publicly owned and operated.

    You can go have your masturbation about economic justice while I’m having a conversation about preventing the world from burning. Literally some places will become too hot for human habitation. The answer we need is nuclear.

    It doesn’t have to be nuclear. If the plan must involve nationalization of the energy grid to get you on board, I’m totes cool with that. I don’t know if that additional point is sellable to the rest of the public, but if it is, I have no objections, and I’d probably prefer it that way. I’ve already said in this thread that I think that free markets for electricity, and especially hourly-auctions, are bad for the public.

    But since we’re not limited to “solar and wind,” since we can also have hydro, pumped storage, geothermal, etc., not to mention nuclear power of course,

    One – no combination of those will work without substantial amounts of nuclear. This is what the climate scientists say. Even the IPCC report, with its strong anti-nuclear bias, still says that we need a lot more nuclear in practically all of its scenarios for reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

    I don’t see why we should care about abstract projections from papers by “Greens” you yourself distrust, if those papers don’t take all of that into account

    My point simply was that any real plan to make a renewable non-nuclear grid work will require a lot more than just solar panels at commonly cited prices, and that practically all price comparisons in the public are basically dishonest.

    We don’t? Maybe you don’t. Maybe we should.

    It’s not as dangerous as you think.

    Nuclear waste from civilian reactors has not harmed anyone and it likely will never harm anyone. I’d sooner worry about getting struck by lightning than nuclear waste in dry cask storage or some of the permanent storage solutions that I named else-thread.

    Nuclear is safer for public health and less harmful to the environment than all other energy sources, including solar, wind, and hydro, by a lot. I am not just saying that it’s not as bad as you think it is. I am saying that it’s so good that it’s better than solar, wind, and hydro by a lot. Your understanding of the dangers of radiation and nuclear waste is completely out of whack, and you seem to give no appreciation to the very real dangers of solar cell production, wind turbine construction, hydro dam accidents, etc. A single hydro dam accident has killed a hundred times more, plausibly maybe even ten-thousand times more, people than Chernobyl, and yet we haven’t regulates hydro dams out of existence. I’m telling you to get a grip. Get some perspective. Grow up. Nothing is perfect. Everything has risks. Part of becoming an adult is understanding this and making sensible choices instead of waiting for a perfect solution.

  73. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Ugg, third readthrough I noticed this typo:

    It doesn’t have to be nuclear privatized nuclear. If the plan must involve nationalization of the energy grid to get you on board, I’m totes cool with that

  74. says

    “Radiation and radioactive waste is not as harmful as you think it is.”

    Tell that to the residents of Pripyat. And Hanford. And Fukushima. And how about Nagasaki and Hiroshima, while we’re at it.

    Please seek help for your unhealthy obsession.

  75. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    unclefrogy,
    I just don’t get it. Why do you side with proven liars and shills over the foremost climate scientists in the world and the UN scientific committee the IPCC? I’d really like to know, because I just don’t understand your outlook at all. Do you think James Hansen is deluded, or crazy, for saying that believing in renewables is comparable to believing in the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, and that the Green movement is both wrong and quasi-religious regarding their anti-nuclear position? How do you square these facts and others with your view of reality? I just don’t get it. I feel like I’m arguing with actual young Earth creationists or flat-Earthers.

  76. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Let’s talk discounted rates: Nukes take a helluva long time to build. I have doubts whether they can be deployed on a scale that makes a difference to the climate crisis. Moreover, I don’t think you are going to have much luck getting folks to change economics just to make nukes competitive. And if nukes aren’t competitive in a Price-Anderson subsidized environment, under what circumstances would they be?

    As to France, it’s decision to rely on nukes was strategic rather than economic. They simply didn’t have the coal supplies they needed to supply their energy economy. S. Korea is similar.

    Not one of your disposal ideas has been validated, let alone tested. And the problems all of them face are 1) water and 2)geologic stability on a timescale of centuries if not millennia.

    While the new nuke technologies are interesting, they also have not been validated. We do not know if they could be deployed more quickly.

    Finally, even if your diatribe against the modern green movement were not so broad brush as to be utterly risible, your insistence that nukes are the “only” solution and that any effort towards renewables is money wasted utterly invalidates your argument. Renewables have demonstrated the sorts of reduction in cost that nukes have promised only in the fever dreams of blinkered ideologues like you. There is every reason to believe that progress will continue. The only question is whether energy storage moves more quickly than new nukes can be deployed.

  77. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    And how about Nagasaki and Hiroshima, while we’re at it.

    When calculating death counts, do I get to tally “all deaths from all of the mechanized wars” under the “gasoline” column because they used gasoline? Please. Come on. Be reasonable. This is ridiculous.

    Tell that to the residents of Pripyat. And Hanford. And Fukushima.

    Pripyat and Fukushima are your only real contenders.

    The scientific consensus is clear that the total number of deaths from Chernobyl is only 4000. And that could have been much less if the Soviet Union simply instructed the population to avoid milk for 3 months. Had that instruction been given out, the total death count for people other than the cleanup workers would be near zero. More recent evidence also suggests that the predicted deaths from the cleanup workers is too high. Plausibly, the total death count could be like 50.

    Fukushima. No one died from radiation, and likely no one will die from radiation. More deaths have been attributed to the evacuation than can be attributed to the tsunami, and the evacuation was ill-conceived, ill-advised, and was a bad move for public health. (You typically shelter in place. Evacuations typically cause more exposure because you’re outside.)

    Let me name from cities for you now.

    Zhumadian City
    Tens of thousands of people killed almost instantly. Possibly closer to hundreds of thousands dead in total. Entire cities permanently destroyed. A hydro dam overflowed.
    https://www.internationalrivers.org/resources/the-forgotten-legacy-of-the-banqiao-dam-collapse-7821

    Dalahai village
    Thousands poisoned. Lives ruined. Many sick and dead. A permanently toxic landscape. All to make the permanent magnets that are used in many application, including infamously most wind turbines. There’s a reason why China is the supplier of like 95% of rare earths, and it’s not because they have cheap labor, nor because they have all of the deposits. It’s because it’s the only place on Earth that has environmental regulations lax enough to permit mining and refining rare earths on the cheap. I wonder how the Greens feel about that. I’m sure you know – “out of sight, out of mind”. Very colonialist. Fits the Greens perfectly.
    https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/wind/big-winds-dirty-little-secret-rare-earth-minerals/

    I say again, radiation is not as harmful as you think it is, and the nuclear accidents were not as bad as you think that they are, and solar, wind, and other options are worse for public health and worse for the environment. Your understanding has been informed by 50 years of lies. If nothing else, please read this, and please read the linked-to scientific papers.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/05/anti-nuclear-lobby-misled-world

  78. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    WMDKitty,
    Maybe you’ll answer my question. Why are you siding with proven liars and frauds and shills, the Green orgs, instead of with the climate scientists and the IPCC?

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space,

    Let’s talk discounted rates: Nukes take a helluva long time to build. I have doubts whether they can be deployed on a scale that makes a difference to the climate crisis.

    See: France. Next.

    Moreover, I don’t think you are going to have much luck getting folks to change economics just to make nukes competitive. And if nukes aren’t competitive in a Price-Anderson subsidized environment, under what circumstances would they be?

    Please see my previous post for the many reasons why nuclear power is more expensive than what it could be. Please also see my previous post for an explanation for why the Price-Anderson act is actually a tax on nuclear power and not a subsidy.

    Not one of your disposal ideas has been validated

    I did indirectly link to a rather thorough Finish paper that says otherwise. Not only that, the Finnish paper assumed that it would leak and calculated the consequences. Perhaps you should read the paper and actually read what I write instead of lying about it.

    your insistence that nukes are the “only” solution and that any effort towards renewables is money wasted utterly invalidates your argument.

    I’m just repeating what the leading climate scientists are saying. Again, James Hansen, on record as saying that the Green movement is quasi-religious in their opposition to nuclear, and that the Greens are the primary obstacle to fixing the climate because they aren’t doing things that will work, and saying that believing in renewables is comparable to believing in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. And many other climate scientists are joining him when he says similar things. Why do you side with the proven liars and shills of the Green orgs instead of with the leading scientists?

  79. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    I should correct myself, only a few of the climate scientists would say anything as strongly that money spent on renewables is wasted, but some of them do. Regardless, most of them say that it’s impossible without nuclear power. If I can get you to accept that, and that we should fix the problems that are unfairly keeping nuclear down, I’m totally all for open market solutions and/or government directed solutions based on fair and reasonable metrics including time to build, cost, human health and safety, and environmental impact, as long as such things are based on real science and real facts, and not the lies and bullshit that Greenpeace et al put out.

  80. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    I also really want to ask this now.

    Nukes take a helluva long time to build. I have doubts whether they can be deployed on a scale that makes a difference to the climate crisis.

    France converted half their electricity to nuclear in 15 years, and they were not in a hurry to do so. We could be faster. I know you know this. Are you saying that’s not fast enough? That’s about as fast as we can hope to get in any plan. We would have to increase certain kinds of industry to fix the supply chain for conventional nuclear, specifically the very large forging facilities that are necessary, but that’s not magic. It’s not rocket science. This is easily doable.

    I write this because you should know better. You should be better. How can you write this with a straight face? How can you look at yourself in the mirror after saying this? I don’t know how to interpret this except as blatant dishonesty or willful self-delusion. You’re sitting here, blatantly lying to my face, or you’re just lying to yourself. Which? I don’t know.

  81. dma8751482 says

    @76

    A fair enough sentiment. We can’t afford to be picky with our options, and what might cause problems is preferable to what WILL cause problems. I’d prefer it be kept to a safe level as well, but at this point safety has long since flown the coop.

  82. dma8751482 says

    Furthermore, while the issue of geological stability is a valid one it will be a moot point if climate change is already irreversible and inducing catastrophic effects by then. Hence my advocacy of it as a purely short-term measure until the situation is stabilized and renewable energy sources are able to take on the full load. Or better yet, when we as a species accept that we just have to use less energy for a change.

    @GerrardofTitanServer
    Citing your sources is good and all, but you would be better served by just linking them and allowing people to read them on their own. And consider using fewer words to express the same sentiments, nobody likes a wall of text.

  83. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Gerrard, Any time someone tells me that their way is the only way, and that any deviation from it can only do harm and that this is a zero-sum game, I feel quite free to ignore anything else they have to say. I consign them to the Donald Trump memorial bin, which comes with two different handy flush protocols.

    To contend that the entire solution of climate change reduces to massive deployment of nukes is such a gross oversimplification that it makes it completely clear that you don’t understand the problem.

    Please do feel free to fuck right off, though.

  84. consciousness razor says

    This is just more circumstantial evidence that you are simply misinformed. Instead of going for another real accident like Windscale or several others, you go to Three Mile Island. No one was harmed from Three Mile Island, and there is no lasting contamination of note outside of the reactor.

    You were the one who fucking mentioned it, which is why I fucking quoted you about it and responded to what you said.
    Besides, even without harming anyone, accidents like that indicate there are problems with the safety and/or security measures which led to it, because they should not happen. If your style of responsible nuclear oversight isn’t supposed to be “move along, nothing to see here” when something like that happens, then fuck you for implying it anyway.
    You are a dishonest propagandist. Do you think anyone here can’t see that?

    You can go have your masturbation about economic justice while I’m having a conversation about preventing the world from burning. Literally some places will become too hot for human habitation. The answer we need is nuclear.
    It doesn’t have to be nuclear. If the plan must involve nationalization of the energy grid to get you on board, I’m totes cool with that. I don’t know if that additional point is sellable to the rest of the public, but if it is, I have no objections, and I’d probably prefer it that way. I’ve already said in this thread that I think that free markets for electricity, and especially hourly-auctions, are bad for the public.

    I don’t think you can decide what you’re saying. For your analysis to make any sense, I think you would need to actually support nationalization of the nuclear industry (and whatever else may need to come with it), not brush it off as “masturbation” while also saying you would probably prefer it. Otherwise, you’re full of shit. Again.

    One – no combination of those will work without substantial amounts of nuclear. This is what the climate scientists say. Even the IPCC report, with its strong anti-nuclear bias, still says that we need a lot more nuclear in practically all of its scenarios for reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

    This is totally irrelevant to what I had written. That was “one.” What’s “two”?

    My point simply was that any real plan to make a renewable non-nuclear grid work will require a lot more than just solar panels at commonly cited prices, and that practically all price comparisons in the public are basically dishonest.

    You are basically dishonest. Should we just call it even?

  85. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    PZ,
    Maybe you will answer my question. Why is it that you are seemingly defending the lying Green orgs and attacking the leading scientists in this matter? I had hoped that you would be better than this.

    cousness razor,

    Accidents will always happen. Hopefully accidents teach us how to do better design and procedure in the future, but perfection is a goal that we will never reach. Why are you demanding perfection? “Being the best option by far” is more than enough. We don’t need perfection.

    I don’t see why my analysis requires nationalization. I’m not against nationalization, and it might work better that way, but I don’t see how it’s a requirement.

    And I’m totally lost on whatever esoteric points that you’re trying to make at the end there. Probably strawmanning, but I can’t quite make sense of whatever you’re trying to say.

  86. dma8751482 says

    @105
    Let the leading scientists defend themselves if they are so sure of their conclusions.

  87. says

    Gerrard, bullshitter extraordinaire:

    Oh, I see. You aren’t arguing against a massive interconnected power grid, much moreso than today’s grid. You’re just arguing that all of the power producers ok the grid will be very very small and privately owned by individual houses or building owners. I see.

    You don’t see anything at all except gamma ray impact flashes. HVDC can connect regions in the multiple GW range, not domestic producers in the multiple kW range. HVDC can connect low population areas with lots of mountains to areas with lots of sun and wind and areas with lots of population. It’s about powering industry and cities 24/7. It totally negates the bullshit favored by Big Power proponents as to what happens when “the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine”.

    Low density domestic power generation and consumption will mostly be handled by local generation and storage. Some grid operators are already trimming their remote customers by cutting off their long thin distribution lines and giving them solar plus storage. Maintenance on small power lines (and the risks they have in starting fires) is already more expensive than adding local storage. The cost of battery storage continues to plummet. Repurposed batteries will cost a fraction of new batteries as electric vehicles reach the end of their useful lives.

  88. consciousness razor says

    Accidents will always happen. Hopefully accidents teach us how to do better design and procedure in the future,

    Hope doesn’t cut it. Put your money where your mouth is and don’t act like we ought to be cutting corners.
    Accidents aren’t cheap either, by the way; most people have no trouble understanding this, since there are really a lot of aspects to it. If you expect to get value out of a plant that’s running after 70 or 80 years (or whatever number you toss out), that means you want to avoid accidents as much as possible at all such plants. And if the promise is that nuclear power production is supposed to be increased quickly, so you can claim that will help to get us off of fossil fuels ASAP, then you also don’t want such unfortunate setbacks popping up left and right, invalidating your projections about the timeline. And of course with many of them operating at once, relatively small risks at each can still add up to something substantial, so you do want them to be very small risks.
    As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But we’d be talking about a whole lot of cure, when it’s building a whole new nuclear plant since you broke the last one (due to incompetence, greed, pure unhinged zealotry for the cause, or whatever the hell might be driving you).
    It’s also worth pointing out that what I mentioned above is in addition to whatever effects an accident may have on the environment, human health, the larger economy, or the political climate. That shit just doesn’t help anybody.
    Notice how this was all put in the perspective of somebody who supports nuclear power, wants it to succeed, possibly even someone who wants to make money from it. I feel like I have to point out to you that this was not a hate letter to nuclear power, and it isn’t scare-mongering, so that maybe that thought will sink in, before you start typing again. I think this is simply how a person has to think and talk about the subject, if they’re going to be taken seriously.

    but perfection is a goal that we will never reach. Why are you demanding perfection?

    Why are you saying I made a demand I didn’t make? Apparently, it’s because you’ve got no response to anything I actually said. Or you just don’t care to think about what you’re reading, because you have things of your own to write and no time for that. Or you’re treading water, until I get tired of your bullshit. But I was tired of it years ago.

    “Being the best option by far” is more than enough. We don’t need perfection.

    I think I described the best option above. I support nuclear power being done safely and responsibly, which is apparently not your style. I think the evidence is clear that it will not be the only thing we do, so I put very little stock in your fantasies of it being the whole shebang. You may as well hope that someone develops fusion power in the next few years, because you can talk all you want about it – you certainly do – but it’s just not happening.

    I don’t see why my analysis requires nationalization. I’m not against nationalization, and it might work better that way, but I don’t see how it’s a requirement.

    You want to brand it as a “public infrastructure investment,” so you can leverage that in your argument about how we should analyze the costs. (Of course, any of the alternatives could be nationalized just as well, not only nuclear. I’m only considering the implications of your proposal at the moment.)
    So, you have to actually mean that it’s a public infrastructure investment, because in actual fact it will be a public infrastructure investment. (Not the trickle-down nonsense of “let’s give these wealthy people our tax dollars, so they can become more wealthy.”) The point is that you can’t just use the magic words whenever you think that will be convenient for your arguments, only to later admit (if we’re lucky) that you were being dishonest while asking us to forgive the dishonesty.

  89. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    consciousness razor
    You characterize it as cutting corners. I characterize many of the safety regs as pseudoscience that have nothing to do with public health. Again, to use the example of hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on cryogenic equipment to capture krypton to prevent exposures that are ten thousand times less than background. We can get rid of those nonsense regulations while keeping the good ones and adding more good ones.

    You say it’s not scaremongering, but I think it is because you keep changing the characterization of what I want done from “get rid of the bad regulations, including safety regulations, but many others (I spent more time talking about a half dozen other factors)” to “cutting corners”. That sounds like scaremongering to me.

    There are plenty of public infrastructure projects that are built and maintained by private contractors. I still see nothing logically inconsistent, unethical, etc., with the idea that the government can subsidize private industry because of the benefits that it will do for the public. Aren’t we already doing that with solar and wind? What you are saying still doesn’t make any sense to me. It seems like you’re being incredibly hypocritical.

  90. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Let the leading scientists defend themselves if they are so sure of their conclusions.

    I just don’t know what to make of this.

    One the one hand, they are doing that. They’re writing open letters and giving interviews with media and publishing peer reviewed papers and participating in the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Some of them, like James Hansen, run a private org to fight climate change. More broadly, James Hansen is even suing the federal government (or did sue?)(specifically it was his daughter that was one of the plaintiffs), arguing that the government’s inaction violated the rights of everyone, especially children who will inherit the world. I don’t know what else you expect them to do.

    On the other hand, this seems quite perverse. Are only credentialed scientists now allowed to talk about matters of public importance? Obviously, this is hugely hypocritical. Moreover, can you imagine a young Earth creationist using this retort in a conversation with a lay person who is defending evolution? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that happen. I think you just one-upped creationists in their absurdity. That’s impressive. I congratulate you.

  91. dma8751482 says

    That is to say, you’re not James Hansen and that you’ve got some real nerve speaking as if he personally requested you to defend him. Not to mention that you seem incapable of coming up with a single novel thought of your own and would rather keep quoting him out of context.

    And keep in mind I don’t even disagree with you that much. If this is how you treat your allies then I’d hate to see what you do to your enemies.

  92. says

    “WMDKitty,
    Maybe you’ll answer my question. Why are you siding with proven liars and frauds and shills, the Green orgs, instead of with the climate scientists and the IPCC?”

    Hilarious, coming from the dishonest nuclear advocate.

    You’re projecting.

  93. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    It means “stop trying to act as if you speak with their personal sanction”.

    Da fuck? Why else would they write peer reviewed papers, and especially open letters, and talks with the media. Of course this is what they want. For goodness sake, he even participated in a stunt lawsuit to raise visibility on this issue. Of course he and the other climate scientists who are doing these things in public would love to be cited to correct misinformation that threatens us all.

    quoting him out of context.

    Well, you could have fooled me that you’re my ally when you say nonsense like this.

    I think your real problem is not with me citing sources and citing scientific expert consensus, your protestations notwithstanding. Seemingly your real problem is that you think that I’m misrepresenting them. Care to explain which quote you think is taken out of context?

  94. dma8751482 says

    @116

    At this point? I’m not sure if I trust that you’ve quoted any of them in context now. I might have started as your ally but I am increasingly reconsidering that position the longer you talk.

    And I already told you, YOU ARE NOT JAMES HANSEN. So quit being so offended when I say that I don’t trust you to represent his work correctly. And if you are him…well, I’d have expected so much better from you than griping and paranoia.

  95. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    More tone trolling. Wow.

    You know that I provided direct URL links, right? It would take you mere minutes to verify I didn’t take him out if context, and you didn’t, and instead it is you who are griping and making paranoid claims that are trivial to confirm or deny but you choose to remain in ignorance because you feel that I wasn’t sufficiently nice and accommodating of their religious dogma. It probably took you longer to write that then it would have to click and read my links (and watch that part of the video interview). Give me a break. Projection much?

  96. dma8751482 says

    @118
    Religion has nothing to do with it, and I want to hear your own argument instead of James Hansen’s argument. Are you just a parrot who can’t form an original thought without some old fart putting words in your mouth first?

    Make your own arguments for once. I’ve heard Hansen’s and I personally think that for all his virtues, he may not have all the answers on this particular subject.

  97. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Make your own arguments for once.

    Why should I do that? Is it now a sin to base my beliefs in large part based on the scientific consensus of the relevant experts? Is it a sin to make claims based on the expertise and opinions of the leading scientific experts in the world? Your demand here is asinine. You’re asking for me to take it upon myself to make informed opinions on matters that I am not an expert in, and moreover you might even be asking that I ignore the advice of the leading experts when I make my opinion. This is the height of intellectual regressivism.

    But here’s one of my personal beliefs in this matter, which is only strengthened every time I deal with Greens in debate and argument. Concerning this:

    Religion has nothing to do with it,

    I believe that belief in renewables is a religion, in a sense. It doesn’t have a god, but it has many false beliefs that are held without good reasons. Most of the followers are true believers, who believe it because they think it’s true, and who believe it because they want to fit in, and who believe it because that’s all they’ve been their entire life, and because it’s what their close social group believes, etc. Whereas, many of the leaders appear to be cynically using the followers, although it seems that some of the leaders are just as deluded and foolish and filled with wrong ideas as the followers.

    Identification with the beliefs becomes part of a person’s core identity, and thus they resist any challenge to it ever more strongly. It transcends merely a belief in facts, and into a way to bond with other people.

    It also seems that many of its adherents are pathologically incapable of recognizing that the real experts, the scientists, think that they’re wrong, and that they think that their beliefs are patently absurd. Lofty’s plan in this thread is a great example of pure nonsense that is accepted and promoted in the religion. Somehow, in the same post, they describe a ridiculous plan that has a decentralized, world-crossing, underwater power cables, and yet also says that transmission lines are going away because local solar cells and batteries are cheaper than transmission and transmission lines are bad because of fire risks. I don’t even understand. How can someone be that brainwashed?

    Many people in this thread also think of radiation as this infinitely dangerous substance, and believe that Chernobyl caused lots of birth defects – which it didn’t, and that it’s still causing ongoing harm today, and it’s not, and that the area around Chernobyl is dangerous or even uninhabitable – again false. They buy this narrative from the Green orgs that flatly contradicts every respectable medical outlet, including the World Health Organization, the United Nations committee UNSCEAR, the Red Cross, various papers in Lancet and other medical journals, etc. Instead, they listen to people like Helen Caldicott say that the biggest coverup in the history of medicine – her words, not mine – was to cover up the real scale of the public health impact of the Chernobyl accident, and that all of the sources that I just named were part of the conspiracy. She’s actually a conspiracy theorist. How is it that she can maintain the level of credibility that she does in the Green movement? I can go on and on and on about the patent absurdity of these people leading the movement, liars and conmen, and many who are just delusional conspiracy theorists like Helen Caldicott.

    The Green religion incorporates a lot of conspiracy theorist thinking. Like any good conspiracy theorist, the Greens believe that they’re smart enough to realize something that most other people don’t, which makes them feel smart, good, and self-important. It’s like a rush. They think that the rest of the world is out to get them, and that there’s a secret international conspiracy against them. — Now, to be fair, they’re partially right about the secret international cabal. The fossil fuel lobby does exist, but it doesn’t have the power that I named to completely take over the World Health Organization, the Red Cross, the IPCC, UNSCEAR, and all other respectable organizations of science and medical health. There’s my level of “conspiracy” which is that a lot of conmen rose to positions of power in the movement and are out for themself, which is what we see in other religions all the time, and the there’s their version of the conspiracy theory, which says that almost every scientific organization in the world is part of the conspiracy, which is just ludicrous.

    I think it is like a religion in most of the ways that matter.

  98. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Here’s some more damning examples.

    Here’s more on the Chernobyl Greenpeace thing. It pisses me off to even think about it. Basically, Greenpeace helped publish a book that claimed about 1 million dead from Chernobyl, compared to the roughly 4000 predicted dead from the W.H.O. et al. It was published and presented as though it was peer reviewed, but the publisher, The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, later put out a disclaimer saying, and I paraphrase, “nope”. Then, when you dig into the book to see how it calculates its result, it sums up all of the excess deaths in the area, from every cause, no matter whether the cause has a relation to radiation or not, and attributes that to Chernobyl. Apparently no real effort was taken to account for confounding variables in the analysis, and that’s how you get the 1 million figure that is often cited.

    I bet you can still find lots of Greenpeace persons and other Green org spokespeople still pushing this verifiable nonsense. This is one of many reasons why I think that the Green movement is a religious cult.

    Sources:

    https://www.utne.com/environment/chernobyl-death-toll-4000-or-1-million-7272

    https://atomicinsights.com/devastating-review-of-yablokovs-chernobyl-consequences-of-the-catastrophe-for-people-and-the-environment/

    Let me talk about one of my other favorite examples, Mark Jacobson. He’s a professor at Stanford. I mentioned his fossil fuel funding above, but I didn’t mention the rest. He’s considered by many Greens in America and elsewhere to be the leading scientific expert on a 100% renewables system. He has published several papers in this regard, arguing that the US could go to a 100% wind, water, solar system and that it would be cheaper too. His paper, called the 100% WWS paper for short, contains several gross errors that mean he’s completely incompetent and the peer review are incompetent too, or he’s a conman. When these errors were pointed out by another paper with a joint 20+ authors, published in the same journal, Jacobson doubled-down, said he made no mistakes, and sued the paper authors and the journal itself for defamation. This is a con-man.

    What mistakes did he make that were so egregious? Basically, it appears that in his simplistic modeling and simulations of matching hourly demand to hourly production, he modeled hydro as having infinite storage capacity, limited only by the yearly energy output. Suffice to say, this is a major problem. This problem might have gone undiscovered, except he was incompetent enough to include a few day sample of his simulation in the paper itself, and this sample just so happened to include a section of like 8+ hours of American (and Canadian) hydro running at a capacity that was approximately 15x the total combined modern hydro capacity of America and Canada. Now, this was a problem, because his paper elsewhere described that he was only using existing hydro installations, and that’s what leads me to this personal conclusion about what happened. Not only was he incompetent enough to make this fundamental modeling mistake in the first place, but then he was unbelievably incompetent by including a graph in his paper of a few days which showed the error. I personally think it’s a combination of being a paid shill and being unbelievably incompetent.

    When pressed on these problems, his first reaction was to say that his paper assumed that every existing hydro installation would have the power capacity increased by a factor of 15x, including extra turbines. Of course, this is completely unmentioned and un-costed in the paper. Of course, this idea is also ludicrous. Increasing the flow rate by that much would absolutely destroy everything downstream.

    And yet I still see Jacobson cited positively to this day, including that particular paper. It’s absolutely infuriating, I tell you.

    Sources:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/11/03/when-scientists-sue-scientists/

    https://www.vibrantcleanenergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/ReplyResponse.pdf

    Now, let me continue with Jacobson. For the foremost expert of the Green community, it gets worse. Much, much worse.

    He wrote an article for the popular magazine Scientific American. The article included a throwaway line that nuclear produces 25x as much CO2 as wind. No context or source or explanation was given. “Where did this come from?” you might image. You can look at his peer-reviewed papers that were published at about the same time, and you can find the answer. One of those papers asserts that nuclear produces 9x to 25x as much CO2 as wind when you account for the whole lifecycle, such as mining, refining, and enrichment, and cites another peer-reviewed by himself. Convenient that “9 to 25” got simplified to “25” in his Scientific American article. In that peer-reviewed paper, to justify that assertion, he cited another paper by himself. So, what’s in that paper?

    In that paper, he was looking at very short time horizons, and assumed nuclear takes a long time to build, and assumed that the country was already burning coal and that the nuclear would replace coal, and therefore tallied up the greenhouse gas emissions from coal and put that under the “nuclear emissions” column. He is the author of all of this papers and articles. I refuse to believe that he simply forgot. He purposefully created this first peer-reviewed paper for the express purpose to later quote-mine himself to the public.

    It gets worse. Far worse.

    In that same paper, he assumed that increased use of nuclear power would lead to a periodic, recurring, limited nuclear war every 30 years. He then proceeds to describe the contents of cities, and how much greenhouse gases they produce when burned, and includes all of those emissions under the “nuclear power” column. I am not making this shit up. This is beyond-the-pale dishonest.

    The little fucker even has copies of the papers and Scientific American article on his own website for all to read. It’s surreal how little they try to hide this shit. And yet, the Greens haven’t deposed him. He is still a professor at Stanford. He’s still one of the most respected, or the most respected academic expert in the Green community.

    The blogger here at Oceanoxia even cited this person, and when I confronted them with this information and demanded an apology and retraction for citing Jacobson and this paper, I was met simply with denial and misdirection.

    The Green movement is a religious cult.

    Worse, this incompetent conman is actually driving public policy. The other paper that I mentioned by the other 20+ authors that rebut this claim make it clear in news article that they didn’t care if some people were pursuing impossible goals in academic papers, but they started caring when they learned that this paper and others like it were having a real effect on public policy.

    Sources:

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030/

    https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/sad1109Jaco5p.indd.pdf

    https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/JDEnPolicyPt1.pdf

    https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/ReviewSolGW09.pdf

  99. dma8751482 says

    I already pointed out that Greenpeace has a history of being overzealous in this very comments section, thank you very much. That does not justify your own overzealousness one bit.

    You’re asking for me to take it upon myself to make informed opinions on matters that I am not an expert in

    I most certainly am. That’s not being regressive, it’s asking you to be a little less of a mindless drone uncritically regurgitating what some important person has to say (gee, that sounds an awful lot like what your Greens are doing, isn’t it?) and think for yourself for more than two minutes at a time. Isn’t that what being scientific is all about?

  100. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Isn’t that what being scientific is all about?

    Sometimes, no. I don’t understand the math of general relativity and quantum mechanics. I might one day, after years of study. In the meantime, I might say that I find Hawking’s recent paper compelling arguing that black holes don’t have event horizons, but this is not an informed opinion, because I don’t understand the math or data. At best, it’s a flight of fancy.

    Regarding energy systems, while I might have a very basic training in engineering, and a sufficient understanding of the math, I haven’t taken the necessary time to fully analyze the scientific literature, and while I’m personally more competent, I am still not an expert. I could easily make mistakes. That’s why, barring extreme evidence to the contrary, we should parrot the consensus of scientific experts, especially when we ourselves do not have the same level of training and expertise.

    I still can’t believe that you’re criticizing me for appealing to and repeating what appears to be the consensus of leading climate scientists. What is the color of the sky in your world?

  101. dma8751482 says

    That’s why, barring extreme evidence to the contrary, we should parrot the consensus of scientific experts, especially when we ourselves do not have the same level of training and expertise.

    No, that is an excuse for intellectual slothfulness and an unwillingness to analyze the information that you are given. Laziness is no excuse for due diligence and failure to look at the data yourself.

    The consensus doesn’t know everything. Even when they aren’t actively pursuing an agenda of any kind (and I am not saying they are), their knowledge is by incomplete. E.G. Hansen’s work has no way of anticipating advancements in renewable energy technology, thus he may be underestimating their potential. He is a climate scientist, not a prophet.

    To make myself clear: in no way am I saying that nuclear energy is bad, as you are bent on believing. Merely that it is best used as a temporary stopgap measure instead of the panacea you are convinced it will serve as. It will serve its purpose just long enough before it can be eschewed in favor of something that will require minimal human oversight and will not be dependent on limited supplies of heavy metals.

    But I’ll throw you this bone- here are the real lessons from Chernobyl and Fukushima:

    Don’t build a nuclear power plant on the shorelines of an island nation known for its earthquakes and tsunamis.
    If you must run safety experiments in a nuclear power plant, don’t do it during the night shift and make sure the staff actually knows what will likely happen in non-normal conditions..

  102. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Testing. My post hasn’t appeared. Seeing if I can post anything anymore. I’m not getting any banned message.

  103. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Odd. I’m tripping some filter right now, and I don’t know why.

    Le me just rewrite it. It’s a little shorter this time.

    I do try to analyze the data for myself, but I am not an expert, and I give a lot of credence to the leading experts, like we all should. I have also attempted to look into the details myself, which has in large part led me to the current positions that I hold.

    Nuclear is not a stopgap. You calling it a stopgap is one reason why I’m saying that you’re misinformed and spreading misinformation, and making nuclear look worse than what it really is. Nuclear is cleaner for the environment, safer for public health, produces less toxic waste in a holistic analysis, is cost competitive, and better in almost every way compared to every alternative, including non-alternatives like solar and wind.

    We will never run out of nuclear fuel. Uranium extraction from sewater is pretty advanced, and it’s likely that uranium from seawater is a cheap, sustainable, renewable resource. Uranium and thorium extraction from everyday rock is also quite solid in terms of inexhaustibility and cost. We’ll never run out of rock. We’ll run out of sun before we run out of rock.
    energyfromthorium X com/cubic-meter/
    energyfromthorium X com/energy-weinberg-1959/

    Nuclear is safe enough even in places prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. The reactors at Fukushima survived the earthquake without any damage. If they just had power to run the pumps to deal with the decay heat, there would not have been a problem. More strongly, the real problem here was that they were a very old design without passive decay heat removal. All modern designs have passive decay heat removal. They don’t need the diesel generators which flooded at Fukushima.

    The things to learn from Chernobyl are many. In addition to the things you said, here are some more. Don’t use a design that has a positive temperature-reactivity coefficient. We have never built such a dangerous reactor in the west. Chernobyl didn’t have a containment dome, again unlike all reactors ever built in the west – this is a big reason why Fukushima was not as bad.

    Another thing to learn is that we should move away from high pressure water in the reactor because of cost issues (high pressure stuff is very expensive), and safety issues (high pressure is bad, and water can lead to hydrogen can lead to explosions, and water can react with lots of things to make the radioactive stuff airborne, and so on), and further cost issues from the additional safety equipment to deal with the safety issues.

    Another thing to learn is that the operator shouldn’t have the ability to disable safety critical systems. There should not be a button or knob that they can adjust to make the reactor unsafe. Several next-gen designs have this “foolproof” safety characteristic where the decay heat removal requires no power or moving parts, and it cannot be disabled by a person in the control room or elsewhere.

  104. dma8751482 says

    I give credence to experts too, but even so I act on the assumption that nothing they say should be above suspicion- not necessarily due to malice, but because their understanding may be incomplete or because they failed to take other factors into account. Forgive me for thinking you fall into the latter group.

    Nuclear is cleaner for the environment, safer for public health, produces less toxic waste in a holistic analysis, is cost competitive, and better in almost every way compared to every alternative, including non-alternatives like solar and wind.

    For now- it doesn’t produce much toxic waste, but any amount of waste greater than zero will bite us in the ass just as badly as fossil fuels have even if we can’t see it right away. Hence my saying to use it alongside the alternatives until said alternatives ARE viable to use on their own because it will both mitigate the negatives and allow for a faster transition when that obsolescence occurs. You speak as if they will never become more efficient or more powerful than they are as of this posting. Did you miss that part?

    Furthermore, even if I ignore the potential conflict of interest in your cited source (who would obviously push for the benefits of a reactor that he would directly profit from), his estimates also suggest that thorium is both evenly distributed and easily accessible, which is not a given. It also fails to account for the amount of energy actually needed to extract the thorium from the crust (or uranium from seawater) or it at least doesn’t show the figures for it.

    The reactors at Fukushima survived the earthquake without any damage. If they just had power to run the pumps to deal with the decay heat, there would not have been a problem. More strongly, the real problem here was that they were a very old design without passive decay heat removal. All modern designs have passive decay heat removal. They don’t need the diesel generators which flooded at Fukushima.

    It was still unwise for them to be set up there in the first place. Unless those plants couldn’t be put anywhere else at all, there was no reason for them to be somewhere where their exposure to a natural disaster was near inevitable. The rest of what you said still applies as methods of mitigating damage, but Fukushima wouldn’t have been such a concern if the power plants were far enough from the coast to avoid ever being damaged by the tsunamis.

    Several next-gen designs have this “foolproof” safety characteristic where the decay heat removal requires no power or moving parts, and it cannot be disabled by a person in the control room or elsewhere.

    “A common mistake that people make when trying to design something foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of fools.”

    Those fuckups will happen, no matter how hard you try to prevent them- even if you automated the whole process of heat removal it could still end in disaster if the wrong number is out of place in the programming- or worse, if it got hacked by an outside agent and intentionally forced into operating in unsafe conditions by feeding it false data.

    Hence my view that other energy sources will be safer, since they have fewer points of failure and can be reactivated with less difficulty if/when they do fail. At worst, a broken windmill will not cause a mass panic or require extensive cleanup.

  105. says

    Isn’t that what being scientific is all about?

    No, being scientific doesn’t involve slagging off at any scientists (cult! cult!) who don’t support your narrow world view. A true scientist reads widely and considers all angles.

    What is the color of the sky in your world?

    (Squints out of the window, scientifically) Blue, red and white mainly with a hint of grey and brown. Diverse, you see.

  106. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    dma8751482,
    Read the second source. I included it for a reason.

    I agree that nothing is truly foolproof, which is why I used hazard quotes. However, you are being a bad reader again. You talked about bugs in programming, or the possiblity of being hacked. I said that these “foolproof’ solutions have zero moving parts, and require zero power. They don’t involve circuitry of any kind. There is no possibility of bugs or being hacked because there is no programming code that could contain bugs or be hacked. There is literally no batteries, no motors, no valves, no pumps, no electricity, no circuitry, etc., in the passive decay-heat removal system of some modern designs.

    Still, you are right that a determined fool could break it. For example, an operator could take a sledgehammer or pile-driver to the safety system to stop it from working, but that is roughly the level of incompetence that someone would need to have in order to prevent these sorts of passive decay-heat removal safety systems from working.

  107. dma8751482 says

    I couldn’t help but notice that the paper the second source quotes from was dated from 1959, hence my questioning if it was still relevant- renewable energy technology has not remained the same since that paper was written and I do not see why we should act as if nothing has changed since then. And you haven’t yet acknowledged that the source’s agenda is profit-driven and therefore circumspect; given that he personally identifies as a “Thorium evangelist” on his own Twitter account, I can hardly imagine he’s being an unbiased provider of information on the subject.

    Still, you are right that a determined fool could break it. For example, an operator could take a sledgehammer or pile-driver to the safety system to stop it from working, but that is roughly the level of incompetence that someone would need to have in order to prevent these sorts of passive decay-heat removal safety systems from working.

    And I am sure that somehow someone of that degree of incompetence will get access to those systems. Even if that miraculously doesn’t happen, basic entropy dictates that they will inevitably fail, and then the consequences will be just as detrimental as they would be for any other nuclear disaster. So it is not enough for the systems to be robust, the cost of failure must be equally minimal. Like I said, any amount of toxic waste beyond “none” is unacceptable.

  108. dma8751482 says

    @132
    And to clarify, I brought up automation specifically because humans are too fallible to be trusted with maintaining anything where the price of an accident is that severe. It doesn’t even need to be a fool either, just someone clumsy enough to trip and fall over the wrong machine. Unless these reactors magically prevent radiation from having any negative effects at all or we gain the ability to fire off all their nuclear waste into the sun, they will not be safe enough to serve as a long-term (I.e. more than a century or two) source of energy.

  109. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    And you haven’t yet acknowledged that the source’s agenda is profit-driven and therefore circumspect

    I take it you still haven’t read the paper. It’s from a leading scientist who worked at one of America’s national Labs, Oak Ridge National Lab. What kind of profit-driven angle do you think that they have? Or do you mean a selection bias, that we shouldn’t trust a scientist working at a national lab if they are cited by a private business? I should hope not.

    Being so old is one of my points as well. We’ve known that nuclear fuel is inexhaustible for over 60 years now, but the Greens are still perpetuating the lie that it’s not. It’s really quite frustrating.

    Like I said, any amount of toxic waste beyond “none” is unacceptable.

    Then you need to leave modern society entirely. Seriously, how ignorant are you of what modern industry does. All of it. Everything. Solar and wind too, as I have been pointing out on many occasions in this thread. You are not thinking critically. You are just repeating Green talking points, and ludicrously bad ones at that.

    And finally, I will say again that your understanding of the negative effects of a reactor accident are way too large, much larger than reality. For example, the worst hydro dam accident in history killed way more people than Chernobyl. The Banqiao dam. Even the Bhopal accident might have, probably did, kill and harm more people than Chernobyl. Chernobyl was not as bad as you think it is.

  110. dma8751482 says

    @135
    “Not so bad” does not mean “good”. It never has and claiming otherwise is lowering everyone’s standards. All the accidents you cite are tragic but they also amount to whataboutism. There is never such a thing as too safe.

    And yes, I have the right to be suspicious when the specific type of reactor being advocated for is the same one that will make the blog’s owner very rich if it gets made. I might trust it more if he didn’t stand to personally benefit from it.

    Whether nuclear power is inexhaustible or not is irrelevant- why you think that’s an argument is beyond me, and in hindsight my bringing up that point was counterproductive.

    I acknowledge that solar and wind power are not perfect, but they at least have the potential to have their waste products reduced to nothing with further refinement. Nuclear power, by definition, will never reach that point.

    And besides, it costs billions of dollars to set up even a couple of nuclear power plants which won’t even be active for over a decade. It has to be cheap and buildable within a short time as well as safe, and on that measure at least renewables have it beat. Were it not for government subsidies nuclear energy wouldn’t even be competitive. Time is not on your side.

    And I can cite sources too:
    https://www.eia.gov/analysis/studies/powerplants/capitalcost/pdf/capcost_assumption.pdf
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN1W909J
    https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/01/31/debunking-the-low-cost-nuclear-myth/
    https://climatenexus.org/climate-news-archive/nuclear-energy-us-expensive-source-competing-cheap-gas-renewables/

  111. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    When a rational adult is faced with a bunch of options with significant positives and negatives, they pick the option with the least bad negatives. This is not “whataboutism”. This is the basic definition of “rational”. You don’t make choices in a vacuum. To make a choice, you always have to compare it to alternatives.

    There is such a thing as “too safe”. Particularly, if you make something “too safe” by adding on so many safety features that it will never be used, then you’re bound to use a substantially cheaper but less-safe alternative. That’s what we have right now concerning nuclear power. We have passed regulations that require it so be so incredibly “safe” that we are choosing more dangerous alternatives right now. Again, on the simple airborn pollution argument alone, we should be switching from coal to nuclear as fast as possible. Coal kills millions of people every year just from airborne particulates. Forget all of the accidents that we’re talking about. Everything is better than coal.

    So you don’t trust a scientific paper if a business cites it. Just wow.

    Also, we have practically infinite fuel supply with any breeder reactor. It doesn’t have to be a thermal spectrum liquid fluoride molten salt thorium breeder like what Kirk is pushing. It could be a fast spectrum molten salt breeder reactor. It could be a liquid sodium breeder reactor, like the IFR and S-PRISM reactor. It could maybe be a gas-cooled breeder reactor (is there such a thing?).

    The idea that solar and wind will have their waste products “reduced to nothing”, but nuclear won’t, is nonsense. The toxic waste from solar is so voluminous that we cannot afford to clean it up. Literally. The laws of thermodynamics would probably forbid it. The power density and total energy output of a solar cell is so low that it’s doubtful whether you could build a solar panel, and the necessary transmission lines and batteries or whatever other storage, and then also clean up the solar panel waste, in large part because there would be such a massive amount of solar cells to clean up. We’re going to dump old cells in a standard garbage dump, or we’re going to ship it to poor countries where they’ll be taken apart by hand by poor people who are poisoned in the process by the heavy metals and other toxins. That is what is going to happen to the absolutely ginormous amounts of solar cells that we’re making. By contrast, nuclear waste will never hurt anyone.

    I feel like we’re going in circles. In a mere 15 year span, France started and finished construction of enough nuclear plants to cover 50% of their electricity demand. Now, look at the stated goals of Germany. They’re not claiming that they’ll be that fast with renewables. Everyone seems to think that nuclear is slower than renewables, but the history shows otherwise. Nuclear is faster than solar and wind (and the fundamental reason for that is that solar and wind can’t work, and so they’re banging their head against the wall, and throwing money in a trash fire).

    We don’t need breeder reactors now. Conventional pressurized light water reactors would be enough. We shouldn’t wait for breeder reactor tech to be perfected. PS: You know that Russia has ran a full commercial scale breeder reactor for like a decade, right? Why is that Green apologists like yourself always get certain facts wrong like this which are trivial to look up? Google BN-600 and BN-800.

    Regarding your sources that nuclear power is expensive, I simply refer to you my post 77. I’m practically sure that nothing in your sources properly addresses even half of my arguments, and instead they just repeat the same old tired dishonest and ill-informed arguments. And again, I’m going to side with the scientists. In one of the videos I linked above, one of those leading climate scientists says something like “look, we’ve trained for years to be able to do mathematical modeling, and we’ve done the math, and the numbers just don’t add up without substantial amounts of nuclear”, and again I must emphasize that as far as I can tell, this is the position of the large majority of climate scientists.

  112. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Correction: A rational adult picks the least bad option, weighing all of the pros and cons of every option.

  113. dma8751482 says

    @139
    That is what I have been doing. It just so happens we have irreconcilable differences as to what that entails.

  114. dma8751482 says

    @143
    Correction: they don’t exist on a feasible level. A couple of Russian breeders are hardly enough to provide for the entire planet.

  115. dma8751482 says

    You know what? I’ve realized arguing about this is a waste of my time and patience since there’s no chance of anyone convincing anyone else, but for the sake of appeasing my own compulsions I’ll make a few closing remarks. (Curse the inability to edit previous posts.)

    Nuclear energy will almost certainly be a part of the solution to the energy crisis, perhaps the most prominent part at first until future advances make it obsolete (e.g. fusion that’s actually viable). But to tout it as the silver bullet that will solve all energy problems is foolish, no matter how many scientists say otherwise- they’re the very people who ought to know that anyone saying that there’s a simple solution for a complex problem is either lying or out of their minds. You yourself said everything is better than coal, so you gain nothing by vilifying what should be complementary elements of the solution.

    Yes, I acknowledge that I am overly wary of nuclear energy, but only because if anything does go wrong its negative consequences could last for generations on end. Of course that’s going to make me and other people distrustful no matter how many promises you make about how this time it’s different. If you don’t like that, you’ll have to learn how to earn people’s trust instead of lecturing them about how they’re wrong and you’re right.

    To be blunt, we don’t have 15 years to start and finish construction as France did unless renewables mostly or entirely replace fossil fuels in that interim time period. By that time global warming will have already become all but irreversible, so the benefits will be too little and too late in that scenario.

    Finally, not everyone arguing against you is part of the Big Green Boogeyman. If you want to cling to the beliefs that I consider flawed, so be it. I’ll keep my opinions to myself if you do the same.

  116. says

    The reason that France went for nuclear energy is simple: atom bombs. Mururoa Atoll ring a bell? The secret funding for running conventional nuclear plants dries up when the military loses its appetite for plutonium powered destruction.

  117. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    You wrote

    Like I said, any amount of toxic waste beyond “none” is unacceptable.

    Then I wrote

    Correction: A rational adult picks the least bad option, weighing all of the pros and cons of every option.

    Then you wrote

    That is what I have been doing. It just so happens we have irreconcilable differences as to what that entails.

    You are not behaving like my definition of rationality when you make absurd demands like, paraphrase, “zero toxic waste”. Almost everything produces toxic waste, including solar and wind.

    A reasonable human adult right here would admit there error and apologize for saying something so foolish. However, you have just been doubling down and/or in denial.

    Breeders

    You wrote that breeders don’t exist. This is patently false. It seems that you at least admitted your error, but rather than show contortion or apologize, you make another foolish argument, ignoring the preemptive arguments that I already made: Specifically, we don’t need breeders right now to fix climate change. Well need them eventually, but not any time soon, and we have plenty of time to figure that out.

    they’re the very people who ought to know that anyone saying that there’s a simple solution for a complex problem is either lying or out of their minds.

    I’ve always wondered where this bit of religious dogma came from. It’s core to the Green energy religion, and its proponents speak of it as being obviously true, but to me with my minimal engineering training, it’s not obviously true at all. In fact, it seems to be false as a general principle.

    To be blunt, we don’t have 15 years to start and finish construction as France did unless renewables mostly or entirely replace fossil fuels in that interim time period. By that time global warming will have already become all but irreversible, so the benefits will be too little and too late in that scenario.

    Repeating my argument again, that you seemingly have not acknowledged: this timeline is the best that we have. Countries like Germany are not going any faster. Again, adults make choices between real options, not between real options and fantasy. The proper response to you now is “and I want a pony”.

    https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=I%20want%20a%20pony&amp=true

    PS

    You’re not arguing properly right now. You’re not acknowledging my preemptive arguments, and you’re also making incredibly foolish arguments. I suspect that’s because you are reading too fast and not taking enough time to think about it, and instead you’re just reacting defensively and responding by rote when I dismantle every single one of your arguments.

    I agree with you that this conversation between us is probably not worthwhile because you are not currently able to engage in conversation honestly, but that’s frequently how it is when engaging with religious apologists. It frequently takes a long time to break down their dogma.

    Also, people often have public debates with religious apologists like this in large part for the audience who may be more receptive.

    Finally, not everyone arguing against you is part of the Big Green Boogeyman. If you want to cling to the beliefs that I consider flawed, so be it. I’ll keep my opinions to myself if you do the same.

    But you clearly are. Practically all of our disagreements are because you’re believing the lies from Big Green. You’re repeating standard talking points. Again, it’s funny when you accused me of not having an original thought, because more and more, that description seems to apply to you. Projection much?

    PPS

     If you don’t like that, you’ll have to learn how to earn people’s trust instead of lecturing them about how they’re wrong and you’re right

    I don’t know how. I suspect that it’s basically impossible when arguing with religious fanatics.

    I could earn trust by saying that solar and wind have a big place too, but that would be a lie, and I try not to lie.

  118. dma8751482 says

    I can’t believe I’m doing this, but here I am again. Congratulations, I guess.

    First, I apologize for the breeder error. I would have deleted that post if I had the ability to do so, but there is no option to do so. I also apologize about the demand about zero toxic waste, as there I was indeed unversed on the matter. It is still an ideal I would like all forms of power generation to follow, however. Furthermore, I do tend to grow strident when agitated, and it is an issue I seek to fix.

    this timeline is the best that we have

    My issue is that it’s not good enough. It’ll be too late by the time those plants are operational. Change has to happen now or not at all.

    I don’t know how. I suspect that it’s basically impossible when arguing with religious fanatics. I could earn trust by saying that solar and wind have a big place too, but that would be a lie, and I try not to lie.

    Start by saying without a hint of falsehood that you’d be 100% fine with a big nuclear reactor in your backyard and would prefer it to a windmill. And also tone down the name-calling and overall tone of smug superiority, I don’t readily trust the arguments of people who act as if they’re better than I am. I know this is a tone argument, but you won’t persuade me by saying ‘what you believe is a lie!’ in three different ways. Then, try showing empathy for those who might be wary of your claims instead of declaring them deluded or fanatics. Notice I have not even once done that sort of name-calling, as tempting as it is.

    I’ve always wondered where this bit of religious dogma came from. It’s core to the Green energy religion, and its proponents speak of it as being obviously true, but to me with my minimal engineering training, it’s not obviously true at all. In fact, it seems to be false as a general principle.

    Because the simple solution isn’t free of problems, and its solutions will need to be fixed too. Do you expect those dry casks to lask centuries when there isn’t even a long-term storage location for them? In any case, you can’t just engineer a solution that neglects the human element and the opinions of the people. They may be ill-informed morons but they’re the ill-informed morons that will make or break you.

    As an aside take a good look at this:
    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Salem_Hypothesis
    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Engineers_and_woo

    Engineers and people who think themselves engineering experts have repeatedly proven themselves to be dangerously anti-science time after time, so I am indeed biased against engineers. How could I not when they’re the biggest “scientific” defenders of creationism?

    At the bare minimum, can you at least acknowledge that I am trying to argue in good faith here? It feels like I’m being attacked just for not agreeing enthusiastically.

  119. dma8751482 says

    P.S.: As I’m sure I have unintentionally demonstrated thoroughly, nuclear power has an atrocious PR problem. How do you intend to fix that? All the engineering brilliance on the planet means diddly squat when you must also convince people even more stubborn than I am that nuclear power isn’t the force of blackest evil that it’s made out to be.

  120. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    I think you are arguing in better faith than most people here, and enough that I’m still engaging with you, unlike certain other people here. With a couple of recent exceptions, you’re doing a good job.

    Yes nuclear had a public-relations problem. It’s also the biggest problem that it is.

    I would love a nuclear reactor in my proverbial back yard. Given the track record, I wouldn’t be scared at all. I don’t think you can make an apples to apples comparison to solar and wind, because most of the toxic waste from solar cells and wind turbines is somewhere else, not in my backyard. I definitely wouldn’t want that toxic waste in my backyard, but I wouldn’t mind nuclear waste repository in my back yard, temporary or permanent.

    Reminds me of the challenge that the scientist Bernard Cohen made to another leading Green spokesperson of falsehoods, Ralph Nader. Nader is famous for saying scientific nonsense like plutonium is the most toxic substance know to humanity, and that a single dust grain sized particle could kill someone, and even kill lots of people. Cohen fought against him in the public space, and once challenged Nader to consume an amount of caffeine and Cohen would consume an equal mass of plutonium. The point of this challenge is that the amount of caffeine was lethal, and that the plutonium would have likely caused him no harm, in order to make the point that a lot of the stuff that Nader was saying was wrong.

    How do we change public opinion when they believe such extreme falsehoods,and when believe these falsehoods so strongly? I don’t know. I really do see the challenge as comparable to arguing against Christianity to a believer. It’s really hard, and many believers will never change their minds. I sometimes argue with believers because sometimes they change their minds, but also because this sort of public conversation is read by many others, others who might be on the fence in the middle and more easily persuaded. It’s unlikely that well convert most of the hardcore Green members, but I hope to eat away at the periphery, and also earn followers from the general public.

    How do we do it? I don’t know. However, I honestly feel it’s a much better approach to try compared to praying that we discover some as of yet radical technological breakthrough in the next 5 or 10 years that allows this renewable pipedream to work.

  121. dma8751482 says

    How do we do it? I don’t know. However, I honestly feel it’s a much better approach to try compared to praying that we discover some as of yet radical technological breakthrough in the next 5 or 10 years that allows this renewable pipedream to work.

    At this point both of them are equally unlikely. You can’t just undo almost 40 years of suspicion and distrust without eating a lot of crow and bending so far backwards to appease public sentiment that it’ll snap your spine in two.

    At least the renewable “pipedream” (pardon the quotes but I’d still prefer to remain optimistic about them) doesn’t have people actively working against it who will hold the technology’s every failure against it.

  122. dma8751482 says

    Also, this was posted a week ago, were probably the only ones still reading these comments.

  123. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    That is one difference between us. I suspect I know a little more about engineering than you do, and I definitely think that I know more about the engineering aspects of this problem space than you do, and I am so incredibly pessimistic about an engineering solution that doesn’t involve nuclear. That’s why I will still – sometimes – try to assign moral blame and shame these people against nuclear because they are ruining our planet. It really is their fault because of their patently false beliefs, both regarding nuclear and regarding renewables. I think your optimism and the way that you frame the issue is incredibly dangerous. I think it’s one of the most dangerous views that it’s possible for a human to hold because of what we have at stake, because of the consequences if your ill-placed optimism continues to be unfounded.

  124. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    For full clarity, I have been really really angry with these same people as soon as I learned that these people are also the single biggest cause of world hunger.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/01/forgotten-benefactor-of-humanity/306101/

    That’s about when I lost my shit and came to believe that the Greens are truly evil, selfish, racist, colonialist, regressive, anti-science Luddites. The Green energy movement is arguably the most dangerous, destructive, and harmful political ideology on the planet.

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