Remember the lies


Big Oil would like us all to forget that they lied to us for decades — they tried to tell the public that global warming wasn’t a big deal, it wasn’t happening, and if it was, it was all our fault with our great galumphing carbon footprints, while they were innocently serving our needs and using the profits to do great things for the environment. Now that climate change is here to stay and dramatically and conspicuously affecting our lives, they’d like those campaigns to vanish down a memory hole. Don’t let it happen! The oil companies are literally evil villains, conspiring to cause world-wide suffering in service to their profits.

Mobil and ExxonMobil ran one of the most comprehensive climate denial campaigns of all time, with a foray in the 1980s, a blitz in the 1990s and continued messaging through the late 2000s. Their climate “advertorials” – advertisements disguised as editorials – appeared in the op-ed page of the New York Times and other newspapers and were part of what scholars have called “the longest, regular (weekly) use of media to influence public and elite opinion in contemporary America”.

Between 1996 and 1998, for instance, Mobil ran 12 advertorials timed with the 1997 UN Kyoto negotiations that questioned whether the climate crisis is real and human-made and 10 that downplayed its seriousness. “Reset the alarm,” one ad suggested. “Let’s not rush to a decision at Kyoto … We still don’t know what role man-made greenhouse gases might play in warming the planet.”

Liar, liar, planet’s on fire. These were prolonged FUD campaigns. Scientists knew what was happening and what was going to happen, and they said so, and Big Oil paid pet scientists to lie. It happens every time a company gets huge and its shareholders get greedy and rampant, raging capitalism kicks in to destroy all restraint. This is what the tobacco companies did when the scientific evidence came pouring in that smoking causes cancer — they lied. And they got away with it. It’s what Big Ag got away with with profligate spraying of pesticides. It’s what the oil companies got away with again with spewing lead into the environment.

How are we going to make them pay if we forget how much they consciously, intentionally lied to the world?

Comments

  1. says

    I’m old enough to remember regular/unleaded. It wasn’t a difficult transition. Green energy from fossil fuel is also not a difficult transition. It only looks so on this side of the inevitable transition. It looks hard but it’s actually doable. Coal is dead. Petroleum us dying. You can’t fight change and scarcity.

  2. says

    At the time it wasn’t very hard to “convert” a car from regular to unleaded. Literally you just had to retune the engine. For most the only tool you needed was a 1/2″ wrench, but people shit their britches over it anyway.

  3. says

    Yep. Speaking of liars, the Biden administration knows all this, and just promised to try to do something about it at COP 26. But instead, they are now holding the largest-ever auction of US offshore drilling rights. That’s after telling OPEC they should increase production, and also after refusing to even try to fund the climate change responsibilities they committed to at the earlier G7 conference. Sure is a good thing we didn’t get a radical like Sanders in the Presidency. Gotta appease those moderates — at least, until we all die from climate change — and attract the 2 or 3 remaining Republican voters who might be willing to switch parties if the Democrats move far enough to the right. Proving multiple times in a row that the party is deliberately lying every time it opens its mouth on the subject of climate change certainly won’t hurt the Democratic Party at all. Certainly not among younger voters, who are both the most concerned over the problem and more likely to vote Democratic if they turn out. This isn’t a dead-end strategy by a bunch of corrupt wankers who are every bit as bad and dangerous as Republicans, it’s totally sane and intelligent.

  4. brucegee1962 says

    And now Jerome Powell has been re-nominated to the Fed, despite months of lobbying by climate change groups. Suddenly the whole “Let’s go Brandon” meme is starting to sound less sophomoric.

  5. says

    @6: No it isn’t. And WTF does the fed have to do with climate change? And do you really think a Republican administration would be an improvement?

  6. brucegee1962 says

    @7
    To respond to your points in order:
    1. “No it isn’t.”: With stuff like “Let’s go Brandon” that doesn’t have anything to do with policy (tan suits, feet on the oval office desk, stumbling on the steps to AFOne, etc.) I’ve tried to get in the habit of pretending the opposite side did it, and seeing if it would bother me. During the Trump era, the left was always coming up with cutesy ways of denigrating the orange tyrant, like the “45” logo done up to look like a swastika. If a meme was going around that made it look like we were using the f-bomb on Trump without actually saying it, would it have bothered me or anyone else here a whit? No. I conclude that the left’s “Let’s go Brandon” outrage is faux.
    2. “WTF does the fed have to do with climate change?” I participated in one of the Fed office protests last month trying to get this message out, but it didn’t seem to get much publicity. So for your edification: https://350.org/press-release/fossil-free-fed-launch/
    3. “Do you really think a Republican administration would be an improvement?” What the heck makes you think I believe that? Biden needs to bow out of the race for 2024 and make room for an actual climate warrior progressive. With the approval numbers he’s been getting, he can’t hide behind “I’m the only Dem who’s electable” any more.

  7. says

    Well, here’s Robert Kuttner’s take:

    “Biden’s carefully considered decision to reappoint Jay Powell to chair the Fed for four more years, with Lael Brainard elevated to vice chair, was the safer course. Powell will now be confirmed overwhelmingly, and Biden will have a Republican Fed chair firmly committed to resisting the call for a premature hike in interest rates based on a mistaken diagnosis of what is really supply-shock inflation.

    But the progressive community’s campaign to have Biden replace Powell with Brainard will still bear fruit. Biden has three other Fed seats to fill, and with Powell staying as chair there is now even greater assurance that he will fill the other slots with progressives, who are also likely to be women and people of color.

    Three leading candidates are former Fed governor (and former deputy Treasury secretary) Sarah Bloom Raskin to be vice chair for supervision, Michigan State economist Lisa Cook, and AFL-CIO chief economist and Howard University professor Bill Spriggs. The latter two are African American. This lineup would produce the most progressive and diverse Federal Reserve ever.

    It would also leave Powell on the short side of a 4-3 majority of Fed governors who are far more committed to tough banking supervision and regulation than he is, as well as an even more solid majority against needless tightening of monetary policy. For the moment, there is just one Democrat on the Fed board. There will soon be four.

    Normally, the Fed chair runs the place and calls the shots, but not if he is at risk of being outvoted. In 1987, the Fed was debating whether to weaken the Glass-Steagall wall between commercial and investment banking by allowing commercial banks to underwrite several categories of bonds. The powerful chair, Paul Volcker, was a monetary conservative, but he knew his history and was opposed to any weakening of Glass-Steagall.

    Volcker lost that battle, in a 3-to-2 vote. A Fed chair cannot function when he loses control of his board, so Volcker, at just 58, resigned from the Fed, with six years of his term remaining.”

    Powell remains as Fed chair for now, but he will be presiding over a transformed institution. ”

    Let me just add that in reality, the Fed has nothing to do with climate change, however people may have tried to make it a cause celebre. There are some people who think it should act to restrict investment in fossil fuels, but that is really outside of its purview. This simply is not the point of leverage. And Let’s go Brandon is completely idiotic.

  8. imback says

    #1 @Ray, it may have seemed straightforward to convert to unleaded in retrospect, but it was a struggle and the reactionary powers spread around Fear Uncertainty & Doubt just like they always do. Clair Patterson, who earlier helped establish the age of the Earth, published his first paper on anthropogenic environmental lead in 1962 and received extraordinary pushback from fellow scientists in industry. We did not even begin to reduce lead until 1973 and did not get lead-free until 1987. Here is a memoir of Patterson’s work published by NAS upon his death in the 1990s.

  9. Mark Dowd says

    I conclude that the left’s “Let’s go Brandon” outrage is faux.

    What outrage?

    Went to a comedy show last week, and before the show there were a few people shouting that to each other in the crowd (one of them 2 rows directly in front of me, you annoying piece of shit asshole). It was literally the first time I had ever heard it, but I knew on instinct it was some QNut Trumpist bullshit. Dear God it was SO FUCKING DUMB.

  10. lochaber says

    Maybe I missed the memo, but I don’t feel there is “outrage” over “Let’s go Brandon” so much as embarassment. It’s not nearly as clever as the right thinks it is, and, well, very little of the left is in a cult of personality about Biden, so saying “fuck Biden” maybe gets about half an eye-roll from me. Hell, I’ve said that myself probably a couple dozen times, and I went and voted for him in the general election…

    The right chanting “let’s go Brandon” is just a better summary for their projection and stupidity and shallow-ness then I could ever come up with on my own. It’s just so fucking dumb…

    I don’t think I’m triggered, maybe I’m pwnd (do the kids say that anymore?), whatever, mostly I’m just mildly irritated I have to share a country and a language with these paragons of wit…

  11. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    @OP
    Don’t forget the paid shills and FUD that probably make up a substantial portion of the Green NGOs and anti-nuclear advocates.

    @imback
    Note that the situation that we have now is very different than the situation with Patterson. There was one or two paid shills contesting Patterson. By contrast, we have many climate scientists who say that 100% renewables are impossible. The situations are not comparable.

    @Ray Ceeya

    Green energy from fossil fuel is also not a difficult transition.

    Orly? See following quotes. See also: How every region and country that adds more solar and wind invariably sees (significantly) increasing electricity prices, and they’re all still at relatively low total penetrations (when you take external grid connections into account); it only gets much harder from here.

    Quoting leading climate scientist Dr. Ken Caldeira:
    https://youtu.be/KnN328eD-sA?t=121

    There’s really only one technology that I know of that can provide carbon-free power when the sun’s not shining and the wind’s not blowing at the scale that modern civilization requires and that is nuclear power […]

    https://youtu.be/KnN328eD-sA?t=3109

    The goal is not to make a renewable energy system. The goal is to make the most environmentally advantageous system that we can while providing us with affordable power, and I think if – a clear analysis of that will show that nuclear power will be part of that solution.

    Quoting leading climate scientist Dr. Kerry Emanuel:
    https://youtu.be/KnN328eD-sA?t=251

    Let me tell you why I’m here. As Kirsty just told you, I work in the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, and we have a good-fashioned motto in Latin which is “mens et manus” which means “mind and hands”, and we’re very much about solving problems. I’ve worked – all four of us [Dr. Ken Caldeira, Dr. Kerry Emanuel, Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Tom Wigly] have devoted substantial fractions of our professional lives to understanding fundamental physics, chemistry, biology, climate systems, and we [??] do it because we want to understand it. We didn’t have any ulterior baggage there, but that study of the climate system has very strongly led us to the conclusion that we are incurring unacceptable risk for future generations. I think that’s why we’re all here. Solve the problem. Now as Ken properly said, there are a lot of people who see this as an opportunity to advance one agenda or another. Ok. We have to be conscious of that. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But, why are four climate scientists who don’t have strong backgrounds in nuclear physics here talking to you today about nuclear energy? It’s because we’re scientists, and we can do the math. Alright? If we want – if we truly are sincere about solving this problem, unless a miracle occurs, we are going to have to ramp up nuclear energy very fast. That’s the reality. That’s not my ideology. I don’t care whether it’s nuclear, like my friend Kenny said. We don’t care if it’s nuclear, or solar, or hydro. Whatever combination works. The numbers don’t add up unless you put nuclear power in the mix.

    https://youtu.be/KnN328eD-sA?t=1297

    So, Seth, first of all, I very much agree with my colleague [??], 10 to 15 years is about right. To him that sounds like a long time. To me that sounds remarkable. I mean Sweden and France went – this country that we’re in went from almost no nuclear power to 80% electricity in something like 15 years. What else are – What are our other options? We can scale up and solar and wind pretty quickly up to a certain limit, and then we run headlong into the barriers dictated by intermittency.

    https://youtu.be/KnN328eD-sA?t=1956

    I probably differ a little bit from my colleagues in that I don’t think it should be a level playing field. I think we should put much more money into nuclear and stop wasting a lot on covering the Earth in solar panels. We can get to 30%, and then you hit a brick wall. We’ve done the numbers. Have you? You cannot power the world on renewables. You can’t do it. Unless there’s a miracle. Alright? We’ve done the math. So sorry I take an exception to you. You’re very wrong on this. Alright?

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

    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.

    Quoting preeminent climate scientist Dr. James Hansen:
    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 agree 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 – the foundation that had been my most reliable source while I was a government employee – because I liked 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-government 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 mouth shut, but you know we’re at a point where we better not keep our mouths shut when 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, and they know that. The governments of China and India know that. They want modern, better, safer nuclear technology, and for the West not to help them is immoral because we burned their share of the carbon budget. Now they’re stuck in a – they want to get wealthy. They want to raise people out of poverty. They need energy to do that. You can’t do it without energy, and so if they don’t have an alternative to do that, they’re going to use coal, and we should be helping them to find a clean alternative.

    https://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/jim-hansen-presses-the-climate-case-for-nuclear-energy/
    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.

    […]

    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 no threat 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. Why the inconsistency?

    Because they realize that renewable energies are grossly inadequate for our energy needs now and in the foreseeable future and they have no real plan. They pay homage to the Easter Bunny fantasy, because it is the easy thing to do in politics. They are reluctant to explain what is actually needed to phase out our need for fossil fuels. Reluctance to be honest might seem strange, given that what is needed to solve the problem actually makes sense and is not harmful to most people. I will offer a possible explanation for their actions below.

    Dozens more prominent scientists have also come out publicly in favor of nuclear power. 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

  12. unclefrogy says

    @13

    at the scale that modern civilization requires

    what constitutes modern civilization?
    Why should I support the consumer economy that is busy filling up land fills with billions of tones of waste. Things that last a few years at best and need to be replaced because they can not be repaired when it is possible and not impossible from the start. just through away Modern civilization that is rapidly killing the worlds forests, plowing up every piece of land that they can to feed everyone. covering over farm land with vast dirty cities and roads full of traffic. The modern civilization whose economy is built on perpetual growth in search of ever more profit. which is built on exploitation of people by every means imaginable Is that the modern civilization we must save? with ever more building things we can barely control. Who benefits in this modern civilization?

  13. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    unclefrogy
    That’s not the way that he’s intending to use the words, IMO. You have your pet hobby horse, and you’re interpreting everything through the lens of that hobby horse, and painting anyone who disagrees with you as fully with “the enemy”.

    IMO, he uses “modern civilization” to include things like modern medicine, city water and sewage systems, refrigeration for safe food and medicine (including many kinds of vaccines like most / all of the COVID vaccines), indoor heating and cooling.

    Who benefits in this modern civilization?

    Almost everyone. Life expectancy continues to rise worldwide AFAIK, and hunger continues to decline worldwide AFAIK. Further, we would have made even more progress on hunger already, especially in Africa, if it wasn’t for the environmentalists, who let their romanticism with naturalism, and privilege and colonialism, get in the way of actually feeding people. See:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/01/forgotten-benefactor-of-humanity/306101/

    Who benefits from this modern civilization? About 1-2% of the world’s energy supply goes to the making of inorganic fertilizer. Without that inorganic fertilizer, we couldn’t make enough food to feed even half the world. There’s not enough land. At least half of the world would starve. It’s been a hundred years, and so no one is alive today who experienced it firsthand – the discovery of the Haber process, which is arguably the most important technical discovery in the history of humanity. At that time, Europe was running out of food, and large amounts of food and fertilizer was being imported. There were literal wars fought in the Americas over bat and bird poop because it was a good fertilizer. The Haber process was lauded in the newspapers as “bread from air”.

    So, who benefits? I benefit. I like having enough food to eat so that I don’t starve. I like having my refrigeration so that I can have COVID vaccines. I like having my indoor running water and sewage instead of dumping my chamber pot on the street. I like the additional health safety that comes from city water systems instead of pumped water or – even worse – river water. I like that I can aspire to be something more in life than a subsistence farmer doing hard manual labor. I like that I didn’t die in very early childhood which is very common in areas of extreme poverty.

    Let me end with a quote from the greatest person to ever live:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/01/forgotten-benefactor-of-humanity/306101/

    Environmental lobbyists persuaded the Ford Foundation and the World Bank to back off from most African agriculture projects. The Rockefeller Foundation largely backed away too—though it might have in any case, because it was shifting toward an emphasis on biotechnological agricultural research. “World Bank fear of green political pressure in Washington became the single biggest obstacle to feeding Africa,” Borlaug says. The green parties of Western Europe persuaded most of their governments to stop supplying fertilizer to Africa; an exception was Norway, which has a large crown corporation that makes fertilizer and avidly promotes its use. Borlaug, once an honored presence at the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, became, he says, “a tar baby to them politically, because all the ideas the greenies couldn’t stand were sticking to me.”

    Borlaug’s reaction to the campaign was anger. He says, “Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They’ve never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.”

  14. John Morales says

    Gerrard, you’re so predictable. As always, you dig in to your rather dated stash of links.
    Which don’t say what you think they say — no matter how curated, none of the people you cite are against wind or solar, as you are.

    See also: How every region and country that adds more solar and wind invariably sees (significantly) increasing electricity prices

    Um, look at South Australia. Heck, look at Australia. Quite the opposite.

    (As solar and wind grows, prices are going down)

    Dozens more prominent scientists have also come out publicly in favor of nuclear power.

    But, unlike you, they’re also in favour of wind and solar.

    PS http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110729_BabyLauren.pdf

    We put solar panels (11.3 KW) on our barn at a cost of $72,312.

    Care to compare cost and efficiency of solar and wind between 2011 and 2021? :)

    The rest of that article is similarly dated. It’s like comparing electric cars then and now, but much more so.

  15. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Which don’t say what you think they say — no matter how curated, none of the people you cite are against wind or solar, as you are.

    So, you didn’t actually read what they wrote. Such a troll. Let me return the favor and not bother reading anything you wrote. It’s probably all flagrantly wrong anyway.

  16. John Morales says

    Gerrard, we’ve been over this over years now. You always end up grudgingly conceding this point or that, but then the next time you just start over again, as if nothing had happened.

    Specifically, I recall the last time I asked you to quote a specific claim that solar and wind should not be employed by one of the (ageing) luminaries you so revere. Do you remember?

    PS I do recommend you curate your links; they’re getting embarrassingly out of date.

  17. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    I probably differ a little bit from my colleagues in that I don’t think it should be a level playing field. I think we should put much more money into nuclear and stop wasting a lot on covering the Earth in solar panels. We can get to 30%, and then you hit a brick wall. We’ve done the numbers. Have you? You cannot power the world on renewables. You can’t do it. Unless there’s a miracle. Alright? We’ve done the math. So sorry I take an exception to you. You’re very wrong on this. Alright?

  18. John Morales says

    We can get to 30%, and then you hit a brick wall. We’ve done the numbers.

    Apparently, South Australia didn’t get the memo.

    The South Australia state government set a 2020 target of getting 26% of the state’s energy from renewables. It smashed that goal, with renewables delivering 60% of its energy needs. In October of that year, 100% of the state’s energy came from solar sources – just for one hour, but it marks an impressive turnaround for a region that was 100% reliant on fossil fuel as recently as 2006.

    Key to its success has been a commitment to a mix of renewable sources, the IEEFA says. “South Australia therefore provides valuable lessons for the rest of the world, showing what is possible with variable renewable energy (VRE) and distributed energy resources (DER) integration.”

    […]

    Wholesale electricity prices for South Australia were the lowest in the Australian National Electricity Market in the final quarter of 2020. So low that the price of electricity fell to minus-$9 per megawatt hour (MWh) between 10am and 3.30pm during the first quarter of 2021.
    [a chart showing the negative daytime prices in south australia
    South Australia’s electricity prices fell into the negative early in 2021.
    Image: AEMO]

    Not only has this enabled renewable companies to undercut traditional coal and gas generating businesses, it has “rapidly driven down wholesale electricity spot prices in line with the merit order effect (due to lower-cost electricity being available in the wholesale market), especially in the middle of the day when prices are often negative,” the report says.

    (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/06/renewable-energy-south-australia-climate-change/)

    What’s amusing is that you imagine being a “leading” (if long-retired) climate scientist entails expertise at industrial energy generation and distribution.

  19. unclefrogy says

    if this modern civilization the one that needs this increasing large amount of power were so wonderful why are boarders like the US Mexican full of refuges were arec al those people coming to europe coming from where are the homeless that are in all of our cities coming from. this modern civilization that is devouring the ecosystem that we came from and sustains us.
    The advancements in science that have given us so many marvels like several brand new vaccine. and world wide communication and effective agriculture that is replacing the wild lands and still many people are starving to death..
    the benefits are all trickle down. from the wealthy owners of the capital to us rent payers on the bottom only just enough some times to survive. I will admit I have my “favorite hobby horse” can you. mine is life on this planet if there was any doubt in anyone’s mind before this last 2 years has shown that we are not in control and certainly not a priority.
    I see no rational reason why we should continue in the way we have been doing things for the last few hundred years. I am interested in any reason why we should or any alternatives that might let us co-exist with the whole world and all the people plants and animals on this planet.

  20. unclefrogy says

    I also see no reason to expect that the way we conduct “this modern civilization” will continue for very much longer without changing drastically I hope not violently but it is only a hope. The “safe middle’ the moderate way will not do anything, it will fail to resolve any of the pressing issues ,doing anything to continue the status quo and prop-up the system will just delay things.

  21. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    John
    A person with integrity would admit their error and apologize. I notice that you did neither.

    Regarding your absurd claim about South Australia – look at where the electricity is actually coming from. It’s coming from neighboring regions and their coal power plants. You can only claim 60% or whatever number via financial accounting games that pretend that there is infinite free storage on the grid, and there is not.

    unclefrogy

    I see no rational reason why we should continue in the way we have been doing things for the last few hundred years.

    Going backwards is not a solution. You have it wrong. Industrial advancement is not the enemy of the environment. It’s the only way that we can save it.

    It’s poor subsistence farmers that have a lot of kids. We need to raise them out of poverty to reduce birthrates to slightly less than breakeven, such as what we have in basically every industrialized country. There’s undoubtedly a lot of factors that go into women voluntarily and spontaneously having less kids as GDP per capita rises, but it all depends on modernization and industrialization.

    Second, ignoring the effect on birth rates, you think that industrialization is the enemy of the environment, and you’re still wrong. Most of England was deforested at the start of the industrial revolution because they needed the land for growing food and the wood for fuel. It was the use of coal as a substitute for wood that allowed the forests to grow back. It wasn’t just England either.

    When we use automation, we have more free labor and material in order to protect the environment. It’s why rich countries have things like a clean water act, clean air act, environmental protection agency, endangered species act, etc.

    When we use automation and inorganic fertilizer, we can have higher yields of food on the smaller plots of land, and we can put more people into dense cities. Both effects allow more land to remain wild and to be re-wilded.

    The way that you protect and preserve the environment is not by making humans live in harmony with nature. You protect the environment by removing humanity from nature and into cities.

    One of the big remaining issues is greenhouse gas emissions, but that can be easily addressed in large part by nuclear power. Nuclear power might not be enough on its own, but together with electrification, it should be enough for like 70% – 80% of all human greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a really good start.

  22. John Morales says

    I don’t know if you’re aware, but I lived in South Australia from 1972 to 2020. I’m in Queensland now. But I’m damn well familiar with the place.

    It’s [electricity] coming from neighboring regions and their coal power plants.

    https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/energy-supply/sas-electricity-supply-and-market

    As I write this, it’s 9:45pm — night time.
    The graph (as I write) shows 409MW gas, 848MW wind, 27MW battery.

    (Obviously, daytime differs, since solar rules then)

    Since SA has had (several times now) had to forcibly disable solar panels from contributing to its grid (look it up, too much energy for the grid as it stands), you may be able to guess it exports more than it imports, especially during the day. The plan is to generate 500% of need from renewables in the future… not the only state which plans on exporting energy. After all, lots of sun, lots of wind around here. More where I now live.

    You can only claim 60% or whatever number via financial accounting games that pretend that there is infinite free storage on the grid, and there is not.

    You really are a dolt. I’ve just linked to an actual live depiction of power generation from the National Electricity Market agency via the official Government web site. It’s not anything to do with “financial accounting games”.

    (I remember when you used to think SA still ran coal plants, and that Australia was over 80% coal. As I’ve noted, grudging concession at the time, but you’ve already forgotten)

  23. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    John
    You haven’t done anything to address my arguments, which is still that you’re going to either depend on (imported) coal and natural gas electricity when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing, or you’re going to have regular blackouts. There is no third option when building lots of solar and wind. Nothing that you wrote has addressed this argument at all.

  24. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Also, that 30% was a claim about yearly averages. Clearly so. A single snapshot in time of 60% for an hour, or a day, or whatever, is not a disproof either.

  25. KG says

    You haven’t done anything to address my arguments, which is still that you’re going to either depend on (imported) coal and natural gas electricity when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing, or you’re going to have regular blackouts. There is no third option when building lots of solar and wind. – GerrardOfConspiracyTheories

    A barefaced lie, of course. The development of multiple methods of storing energy, which John Morales cited in an earlier thread, is proceeding rapidly.

    A single snapshot in time of 60% for an hour, or a day, or whatever, is not a disproof either.

    It was for the entire year of 2020, you purblind numpty.

  26. larpar says

    Gerrard @ 15
    ” You have your pet hobby horse, and you’re interpreting everything through the lens of that hobby horse, and painting anyone who disagrees with you as fully with “the enemy”.”

    That’s the clearest case of projection that I’ve ever seen.

  27. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    @PZ
    https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2018/ee/c7ee03029k
    https://kencaldeira.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/geophysical-constraints-on-the-reliability-of-solar-and-wind-power-in-the-united-states/

    Check out Figure 3.
    They sum all wind resources over the whole continental US, and they graph how much of minute by minute energy demand can be satisfied by wind vs the installed capacity of wind. Look at the 0% storage line for the 100% wind case – it’s not pretty.

    Do you grid uptimes comparable to today for parts of the world where electricity is still reliable? That’s at least 99.95% uptime. Even an hour blackout can impose severe consequences on everyone far beyond the 1 hour period of no electricity.

    Note that this relies on a lossless cross continent transmission grid of infinite capacity. That’s how we get to such high amounts of “demand satisfied”. In the real world, transmission lines have losses, and transmission lines are extremely expensive.

    The cost of such a grid is probably an order of magnitude higher than the costs of the wind turbines. For example, see:
    https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/renewable-us-grid-for-4-5-trillion

    The real figure 3 when we take into account the constraints and limitations of a plausible grid will be substantially worse for grid up-times.

    There’s a reason that electricity prices go up wherever they install substantial amounts of solar and wind. And those cost increases are without substantial storage – relying instead on fossil fuel backup. Costs are only going to explode from here for the places that already have relatively high amounts of wind and solar.

  28. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    larpar
    Yes. Guilty as charged.

    KG

    A barefaced lie, of course. The development of multiple methods of storing energy, which John Morales cited in an earlier thread, is proceeding rapidly.

    No it’s not. Pumped storage can’t scale because there’s not enough land. Lithium ion batteries can’t scale because there’s not enough lithium. Ditto for lead and nickel. Iron batteries are the new fad, but like the previous dozen battery startups that have claimed to solve the problem, I expect that this will fade into obscurity soon enough like all of the vaporware battery startups that came before that claimed to solve this problem. Compressed air isn’t going to do it. Flywheels at this scale are a joke. Train cars going up and down hills and towers that stack concrete blocks are AFIAK an order of magnitude too expensive as well. What do you have? Can you pick one or two technologies that we can focus on? Or is it going to be a gish gallop where I have to debunk them all?

    It was for the entire year of 2020, you purblind numpty.

    It was not over 60% every minute for a whole year. If you track where that electricity came from, most of it came from coal and natural gas. Saying that 60% of their electricity came from renewables exists only on the paper of accountants, and not in the real world.

  29. KG says

    GerrardOfConspiracyTheories,

    Look, numpty, which combination of storage methods is best will vary from place to place, and from one application to another. Most of your #31 consists of bare assertion without argument.

    Lithium ion batteries can’t scale because there’s not enough lithium. Ditto for lead and nickel…

    Then nuclear is not going to solve the transport problem* (transport accounts for something like 1/3 of total energy use) because you can’t put a fucking nuclear reactor in every truck, plane and auto.

    Iron batteries are the new fad, but like the previous dozen battery startups that have claimed to solve the problem, I expect that this will fade into obscurity soon enough

    So you have no argument here, just your own unsupported belief. You don’t even mention sodium-suphur batteries – I suppose you think the world is going to run short of one or the other.

    Compressed air isn’t going to do it.

    Again, unsupported assertion. Liquified air is a related technology – does not need a lot of land or rare minerals, can be sited anywhere, can make use of waste heat from industrial processes. Are we likely to run short of air to liquefy?

    It was not over 60% every minute for a whole year. If you track where that electricity came from, most of it came from coal and natural gas. Saying that 60% of their electricity came from renewables exists only on the paper of accountants, and not in the real world.

    I didn’t say it was over 60% every minute of the whole year; it was, according to the link, 60% of total electricity production over the year, which in itself refutes the claims you repeat about not being able to get above 30%, and shows how dishonest your blathering about “an hour, or a day, or whatever” was. As for your assertion that the 60% claim was not justified, you’ve asserted that twice, but given no evidence.

    I do urge people to follow GerrardOfConspiracyTheories’ link to <A=”https://kencaldeira.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/geophysical-constraints-on-the-reliability-of-solar-and-wind-power-in-the-united-states/”>Ken Caldeira’s article, because it really doesn’t support his absurd claims that wind and solar power are practically useless. Some quotes:

    Our main conclusion is that geophysically-forced variability in wind and solar generation means that the amount of electricity demand satisfied using wind and solar resources is fairly linear up to about 80% of annually averaged electricity demand, but that beyond this level of penetration the amount of added wind and solar generation capacity or the amount of electricity storage needed would rise sharply.

    Obviously, people have addressed this problem with more complete models. Notable examples are the NREL Renewable Electricity Futures Study and another is the NOAA study (McDonald, Clack et al., 2016). These studies have concluded that it would be possible to eliminate about 80% of emissions from the U.S. electric sector using grid-inter-connected wind and solar power. In contrast, other studies (e.g., Jacobson et al, 2015) have concluded that far deeper penetration of intermittent renewables was feasible.

    What is the purpose of writing a paper that uses a toy model to analyze a highly simplified system?…

    and:

    On the other hand, if we could get enough energy storage (or its equivalent in load shifting) to satisfy several weeks of total U.S. electricity demand, then mixes of wind and solar might do a great job of meeting all U.S. electricity demand.

    and:

    All of these studies share common ground. They all indicate that lots more wind and solar power could be deployed today and this would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Controversies about how to handle the end game should not overly influence our opening moves.

    There are still questions regarding whether future near-zero emission energy systems will be based on centralized dispatchable (e.g., nuclear and fossil with CCS) or distributed intermittent (e.g., wind and solar) electricity generation. Nevertheless, the climate problem is serious enough that for now we might want to consider an ‘all of the above’ strategy, and deploy as fast as we can the most economically efficient and environmentally acceptable energy generation technologies that are available today.

    It’s also worth noting that wind and solar are not the only renewable sources. Hydro is by far the best developed of the others, but geothermal, tidal and wave power are all worth considering in some places, and all these apart from wave power suffer less from intermittency than wind or solar.

    *I’m assuming use of batteries rather than hydrogen fuel cells, or hydrocarbons produced using low-carbon electricity, for transport – but of course if the latter are used instead, renewables can be used to produce the fuel.

  30. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    It can be economically and physically feasible to use electricity to charge car batteries or create synthetic hydrocarbons without it being economically and physically feasible to use batteries or synthetic hydrocarbons as grid storage. Different use cases with different constraints and different price points. One big difference is that we can use reliable electricity to make synthetic hydrocarbons for cars, but we can’t do the same with excess electricity from intermittent solar and wind because the industrial equipment to create synthetic hydrocarbons just cannot be turned on and off whenever you feel like it. It takes days to turn on from cold shutdown, and turning it off quickly will cause losses of the reagents, and it will induce thermal stresses in the equipment leading to creep damage and worse. A lot of industrial equipment cannot run off of intermittent electricity.

    Re iron batteries. Yes. I didn’t provide any particular sources. How about I make a reminder for 5 years from now. If we’re both still here, will you agree to apologize to me if I’m right? I am making this guess based on the long history of battery vaporware startup announcements, and the longer history of the same Green lies over and over again.

    Do you have any idea how much sodium-sulfur batteries cost?

    How can liquified air storage make use of waste heat from thermal generators like coal, nat gas, and nuclear? Also liquified air has an absolutely horrible round-trip efficiency. There’s a reason why its not being used right now for grid storage, and (expensive) batteries like Li-ion are. It’s because liquified air storage s even more expensive than the already expensive li-ion batteries.

    I didn’t feel the need to provide evidence right now that the absurd claim that 60% of its energy came from renewables is false. It’s obviously false. It’s obviously true that most of the electricity consumed in South Australia came from other regions of Australia, and during some percentage of the time, South Australia exported large amounts of renewable energy to other regions of Australia. The problem is that I don’t think you really care what is true and what’s not. If I provide this evidence (which should be straightforward to do, albeit annoying), do you agree to formally apologize to me, and further say that I do know what I’m talking about, and that you obviously don’t? Otherwise, what’s the point of this conversation with you where you feel no shame for making shit up, and feel no compunctions about making shit up, as long as it serves your agenda?

    So, you do the gish gallop approach to arguing for renewables in the last paragraph. Here’s the argument again. We’re going to be using 30 TW worldwide, and we need to electrify most of that ASAP. All of the renewable technologies except for solar and wind are highly limited in how much they can be expanded, and they will not be able to make up more than small amounts of this 30 TW target. For example, hydro is only 0.5 TW worldwide, and it’s unlikely that it can grow much more because all of the good spots are taken. For example, the amount of tidal energy worldwide that can be feasibly harvested is estimated at less than 1 TW for shallow waters. Wave energy is similarly limited in worldwide availability. Biofuels are limited by land available to pretty small amounts. Traditional geothermal is also quite limited in geography. I suppose non-traditional deep bore geothermal doesn’t have an inherent scaling limitation, but it’s much too expensive to consider. Want me to keep going?

    The brute force answer is that which we already see – the only significant players are hydro (because it’s cheap and effective), and solar and wind (because they’re cheap for intermittent sources, and can scale). All others are inherently unscalable or much too expensive.

    And because hydro itself is inherently quite limited in scale relative to our 30 TW target, that means solar and wind will be the large majority of the 30 TW in 100% renewable plans. And that’s impossible because of their intermittency and common mode failures.

  31. unclefrogy says

    industrial development as it has been practiced up until today has one primary motivation and driving force, that is ever more profit. that profit comes from every aspect of the enterprise. After all of the expenses are taken care of the resulting profit goes to those who own the enterprise which is an ever decreasing fraction of the population. It is not based on feeding the people, advancing scientific understanding, protecting the earth, or sharing the “wealth” created with the whole of the people on earth.
    If it was not for the struggle by generations of people to curb industry as practiced through unionization and government regulation we would have collapsed long ago. To suggest that there is only a choice between modern industrial development as it has been practiced for 400 years and going back to some imagined feudal agrarian society is to be disingenuous or just naive
    I am privileged to live in a wealthy western country which which benefits greatly from the exploitation of workers and the environment around the world to give me access to price competitively goods made as cheaply as can be gotten away with some where other then the country I live in because it is cheaper those who make those decisions care only for profit so nothing else matters.
    I do not have any comprehensive answer on what needs to be done. I only know that I see no reason to trust industry nor the owners on industry to make the decisions for us because they have never ever done anything like that before. clearly we have problems with how things are now more of the same will not solve any of them if it could it would have already done so.
    the development of coke in Coalbrookdale helped usher in the industrial age which made England wealthy and helped to sustain and expand vast a Dickensian world, that world and that prosperity was supported by colonial exploitation of peoples all around the world all for profit.

  32. KG says

    One big difference is that we can use reliable electricity to make synthetic hydrocarbons for cars, but we can’t do the same with excess electricity from intermittent solar and wind because the industrial equipment to create synthetic hydrocarbons just cannot be turned on and off whenever you feel like it. It takes days to turn on from cold shutdown, and turning it off quickly will cause losses of the reagents, and it will induce thermal stresses in the equipment leading to creep damage and worse.

    I think some actual sources would be useful here, given your record of distortion. Oddly enough, there are plants using power from renewables to make synthetic fuels already operating (this one is hydro), and in development (this one is wind). Certainly not every source of renewable electricity is going to be usable for every purpose, but you’ve come nowhere near demonstrating that the amount of synthetic hydrocarbon fuel required (given that most vehicles could use batteries or hydrogen) cannot be produced using renewables.

    A lot of industrial equipment cannot run off of intermittent electricity.

    True. But (a) that does not mean this has to be the case – there has been little incentive to devise equipment that can until recently, and (b) those processes that require constant electricity can be prioritised. Demand management is hugely important (and in fact could probably make more near-term contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions than either nuclear or renewables, by minimising use of the most polluting plants).

    Re iron batteries. Yes. I didn’t provide any particular sources. How about I make a reminder for 5 years from now. If we’re both still here, will you agree to apologize to me if I’m right? I am making this guess based on the long history of battery vaporware startup announcements, and the longer history of the same Green lies over and over again.

    Pointless blather. You concede that you have no argument.

    Do you have any idea how much sodium-sulfur batteries cost?

    A lot less than a nuclear power station! There is of course no single answer to your question – it depends on the size and performance characteristics of the battery, and as with most technologies, economies of scale and refinements in technology lower costs over time (except nuclear plants, apparently).

    How can liquified air storage make use of waste heat from thermal generators like coal, nat gas, and nuclear? Also liquified air has an absolutely horrible round-trip efficiency.

    As usual, you are simply out of date.

    I didn’t feel the need to provide evidence right now that the absurd claim that 60% of its energy came from renewables is false. It’s obviously false.

    IOW, you have no evidence that it’s false.

    If I provide this evidence (which should be straightforward to do, albeit annoying), do you agree to formally apologize to me, and further say that I do know what I’m talking about, and that you obviously don’t?

    Clearly, what you care about is being seen to win the argument, not the truth. If I’m wrong on a specific issue, I’ll admit it, but since I know you routinely talk complete drivel and distort your sources, motivated by your irrational hatred of “Greens”, I’m not likely to admit that you know what you’re talking about in general.

    Otherwise, what’s the point of this conversation with you where you feel no shame for making shit up, and feel no compunctions about making shit up, as long as it serves your agenda?

    A truly astounding example of projection. I notice you don’t even try to defend your misrepresentation of Ken Caldeira.

    We’re going to be using 30 TW worldwide. and we need to electrify most of that ASAP. All of the renewable technologies except for solar and wind are highly limited in how much they can be expanded, and they will not be able to make up more than small amounts of this 30 TW target. For example, hydro is only 0.5 TW worldwide, and it’s unlikely that it can grow much more because all of the good spots are taken. For example, the amount of tidal energy worldwide that can be feasibly harvested is estimated at less than 1 TW for shallow waters. Wave energy is similarly limited in worldwide availability. Biofuels are limited by land available to pretty small amounts. Traditional geothermal is also quite limited in geography. I suppose non-traditional deep bore geothermal doesn’t have an inherent scaling limitation, but it’s much too expensive to consider. Want me to keep going?

    No, I want you to give sources for your figures – and not ones that are simply pro-nuclear propaganda individuals or outfits.

  33. KG says

    Further to #35,
    My point about renewables other than wind and solar was not the total amount of power they could contribute, but that they (in the cases of hydro, geothermal and to a degree tidal) can produce non-intermittent power, for those uses where that is essential (as of course can energy storage).

  34. tuatara says

    @33 hey, you racist fuckwit.

    I didn’t feel the need to provide evidence right now that the absurd claim that 60% of its energy came from renewables is false.It’s obviously false. It’s obviously true that most of the electricity consumed in South Australia came from other regions of Australia, and during some percentage of the time, South Australia exported large amounts of renewable energy to other regions of Australia

    It’s “obviously false” is it?
    If anyone here is curious to see the data (“obviously” not that “obviously false” piece of shit @33) if I may refer you to: https://opennem.org.au/energy/sa1/?range=1y&interval=1w
    which is data collated and supplied by the AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator – the agency tasked with overseeing the entire electricity market in Australia).
    For the 12 months to date, South Australia achieved an average electricity consumption from:
    41.6% Wind
    4.7% Solar (utility)
    15.6% Solar (rooftop)

    When I was at school, we learned what is called “mathematics”, and under mathematics, those figures SUM to 61.9.

    BTW, the 60% figure was stated in several places. Flinders University for example:
    https://news.flinders.edu.au/blog/2021/02/28/why-sa-is-a-renewable-energy-powerhouse/
    Or perhaps they are a front for the fossil-fuel funded greens and cannot possibly be trusted.

  35. says

    A person with integrity would admit their error and apologize.

    Yes, we know you have no integrity, you lying piece of garbage.

    You can only claim 60% or whatever number via financial accounting games that pretend that there is infinite free storage on the grid, and there is not.

    A single snapshot in time of 60% for an hour, or a day, or whatever, is not a disproof either.

    So you never even clicked his link, you fundamentally dishonest maggot.

  36. says

    Yes. I didn’t provide any particular sources. How about I make a reminder for 5 years from now. If we’re both still here, will you agree to apologize to me if I’m right?

    If I provide this evidence (which should be straightforward to do, albeit annoying), do you agree to formally apologize to me, and further say that I do know what I’m talking about, and that you obviously don’t?

    Otherwise, what’s the point of this conversation with you where you feel no shame for making shit up, and feel no compunctions about making shit up, as long as it serves your agenda?

    What an insufferable ass and a deeply, fundamentally dishonest person.

  37. lochaber says

    my best guess is that GoTS is using a bad excel spreadsheet that default formats %numbers to 0.00 decimals, and then is locked into integer-only round-down results. So, something is either 0 or 1, with no inbetwixt, and if it isn’t 1 (100%), then it is 0…

  38. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    KG
    Please don’t conflate hydro and solar/wind. Proving that you can do something with hydro doesn’t prove that you can do something with solar or wind.

    Your second source is making a bald-faced claim which is clearly a lie. It won’t be powered only by wind. It’ll be powered by hydro, nuclear, or fossil fuels.

    The inherent physics and engineering of many industrial processes means that they cannot be made to run intermittently on intermittent electricity. You cannot take a chemical process at several atmospheres of pressure and hundreds of degrees C, and turn it on for only a few hours every day when there is excess solar or wind electricity. It just doesn’t work.

    Re sodium sulfur costs. If you compare the costs of 1 day of sodium sulfur batteries vs just building a new nuclear power plant to handle the same real electricity production, you will find that – under pessimistic assumptions of Hinkley C / Vogtle numbers – the total costs of the nuclear power plant are less than the total costs of the sodium sulfur batteries (approx 0.4 USD / watt-year to 0.5 USD / watt-year). If you consider optimistic numbers for nuclear based on historical France and South Korea, then the upfront costs of nuclear are lower as well (approx 3 USD / watt to 7 USD / watt), and the total costs is even better (approx 0.14 USD / watt-year to 0.5 USD / watt-year). You really need to look up the numbers and do the math instead of relying on prejudices.

    Re compressed air round-trip efficiency. You’re citing Wikipedia, which openly admits that it has no proper third-party verification for the claims, for the claim that they can use waste heat approx 100 C to generate electricity, and that it’s economically feasible to do so. This is patently false. Please take some basic engineering classes. Otherwise, you look almost as silly as someone saying that they invented a perpetual motion machine.

    No, I want you to give sources for your figures – and not ones that are simply pro-nuclear propaganda individuals or outfits.

    Why? This demand is ridiculous. You’re biasing the conclusion from the start. You might as well be a creationist demanding that I provide evidence for evolution but it can’t come from any scientific organization that is pro-evolution.

    tuatara
    No, you’re the racist for denying clean, cheap, abundant energy to the world while still living your relatively posh lifestyle that depends on fossil fuels.

    You’re misinterpreting your source. You are using accounting under the assumption that the grid connections to the rest of Australia are a free infinite capacity lossless battery, which it most certainly is not.

    lochaber
    Seems rather odd that most climate scientists agree with me, not you. Do you think that they’re making the same mistakes?

  39. John Morales says

    Gerrard:

    The inherent physics and engineering of many industrial processes means that they cannot be made to run intermittently on intermittent electricity. You cannot take a chemical process at several atmospheres of pressure and hundreds of degrees C, and turn it on for only a few hours every day when there is excess solar or wind electricity. It just doesn’t work.

    And yet, as I noted in earlier discussions, those are the systems that are being sold, right now.
    And for which many, many proposals are in the pipeline, to the tune of many billions of dollars.
    Not hard to find such.

    But fine, let’s grant, arguendo, that it is impossible to turn those machines off once they’ve been turned on, because of $REASONS. Have you heard of energy storage, in its various forms?

    Imagine a system where the process requires a fixed amount of energy (X) per day, and one sets up a system that generates 4X at 33% duty cycle, and a storage system of 6X which charges during the generator’s duty cycle and discharges at other times.

    (Can you?)

  40. John Morales says

    Gerrard, why do you imagine grid interconnections exist?

    You are using accounting under the assumption that the grid connections to the rest of Australia are a free infinite capacity lossless battery, which it most certainly is not.

    Imagine place A and place B, well-separated.

    Imagine the wind is blowing in A but not in B, or in B but not in A.

    Imagine either A or B can supply, when generation occurs, both A and B.

    (Can you?)

    Why you ostensibly confuse the concept of energy distribution with that of energy storage is… not opaque to me. :)

  41. John Morales says

    Huh. Gone quiet, I see, Gerrard.

    Anyway, just checked the power supply snapshot:
    https://reneweconomy.com.au/nem-watch/

    Sun 28 Nov, 10:55 (NEM Time) in MW

    Gas 85 Wind 75 Large Solar 333 Small Solar 1255
    Supply 1749 Demand 1483

    Notice the batteries are charged (no supply in or out), notice too that the demand excludes household/business use for Small Solar — that is, what you see going into the grid is what is not used for air-conditioning, fridges, washing machines, computers etc. It’s only what’s in excess of their actual usage — and yet, it’s by far the largest component.

  42. tuatara says

    Oh come on now John.

    You should “know” that those figures are a ruse to lure you away from nuclear power.

    Back when GoDs first accused me of racist colonialism I asked him specifically about the people of Kiribati. He did not deign a response being worth his effort.

    For everyone here, please refer to these global co-ordinates: 0.405037,173.921233. Please everyone, take a good look at Abemama – Google satellite view is a good enough view..

    Perhaps GoDs can tell us all how these people can afford a SMR either financially or positionally, or he could even tell us all how helping these people by providing low-cost renewable electricity using solar panels is in any way “racist”.
    Aside from burning unicorn shit, if not renewables then they carry on by burning imported fossil fuels to generate electricity.

    He calls me a racist for advocating renewable energy, energy efficiency, and even (how dare I) treating electricity as a precious resource not to be wasted. If he calls me racist for that, he is calling most of you racist too.

  43. KG says

    GerrardOfConspiracyTheories@42,

    No, I want you to give sources for your figures – and not ones that are simply pro-nuclear propaganda individuals or outfits. – Me

    Why? This demand is ridiculous. You’re biasing the conclusion from the start. You might as well be a creationist demanding that I provide evidence for evolution but it can’t come from any scientific organization that is pro-evolution.

    I did not demand that the source be opposed to nuclear-power. But you frequently pretend people agree with you when they don’t (see my excerpts from Ken Caldeira@35), or as @13, source your claims from corporate shills such as Shellenberger, who routinely distorts the facts – e.g. discussing and defending the current level of meat production without even mentioning methane until the point where he praises industrial livestock farming over the use of pastures) and trivialising the dangers of climate disruption in contradiction to the expert consensus, but exactly in line with those fossil fuel interests you claim to deplore. That’s the kind of source I’m referring to. If you won’t give your sources, what could one reasonably conclude other than that they are either not, in context, supporting your claims, or are lying propagandists such as Shellenberger?

    GerrardOfConspiracyTheories@42 again:

    Re sodium sulfur costs. If you compare the costs of 1 day of sodium sulfur batteries vs just building a new nuclear power plant to handle the same real electricity production, you will find that – under pessimistic assumptions of Hinkley C / Vogtle numbers – the total costs of the nuclear power plant are less than the total costs of the sodium sulfur batteries (approx 0.4 USD / watt-year to 0.5 USD / watt-year). If you consider optimistic numbers for nuclear based on historical France and South Korea, then the upfront costs of nuclear are lower as well (approx 3 USD / watt to 7 USD / watt), and the total costs is even better (approx 0.14 USD / watt-year to 0.5 USD / watt-year). You really need to look up the numbers and do the math instead of relying on prejudices.

    Lots more unsourced figures, which of course I’m not going to accept without knowing where they come from. But if nuclear power is so fucking cheap, why is EDF demanding a guaranteed price way above market rates for the electricity Hinkley Point C may one day produce?

    £92.50/MWh (in 2012 prices), which will be adjusted (linked to inflation – £106/MWh by 2021) during the construction period and over the subsequent 35 years tariff period. The base strike price could fall to £89.50/MWh if a new plant at Sizewell is also approved. High consumer prices for energy will hit the poorest consumers hardest according to the Public Accounts Committee.

    In July 2016, the National Audit Office estimated that due to falling energy costs, the additional cost to consumers of ‘future top-up payments under the proposed HPC CfD had increased from £6.1 billion in October 2013, when the strike price was agreed, to £29.7 billion’. In July 2017, this estimate rose to £50 billion, or ‘more than eight times the 2013 estimate’

    Why should we make optimistic assumptions about the cost when EDF are making this demand? And why should we exclude the costs of decommissioning the nuclear plant, or the potential costs of accidents or sabotage? This Scientific American article on Fukushima says:

    In 2016 the government increased its cost estimate to about $75.7 billion, part of the overall Fukushima disaster price tag of $202.5 billion. The Japan Center for Economic Research, a private think tank, said the cleanup costs could mount to some $470 billion to $660 billion, however.

    Back to GerrardOfConspiracyTheories@42@

    Re compressed air round-trip efficiency. You’re citing Wikipedia, which openly admits that it has no proper third-party verification for the claims, for the claim that they can use waste heat approx 100 C to generate electricity, and that it’s economically feasible to do so. This is patently false.

    From the wikipedia article I cited:

    The IMechE (Institution of Mechanical Engineers) agrees that these estimates for a commercial-scale plant are realistic.

    It’s not clear to me why I should accept the word of a dishonest nuclear fanboi over that of the IMechE.

    KG
    Please don’t conflate hydro and solar/wind. Proving that you can do something with hydro doesn’t prove that you can do something with solar or wind.

    Your second source is making a bald-faced claim which is clearly a lie. It won’t be powered only by wind. It’ll be powered by hydro, nuclear, or fossil fuels.

    I did not conflate hydro and solar/wind, liar; I explicitly made the point that the former has the advantage of much lower intermittency. And you have provided no evidence that my second source @35 is lying – just bare assertion, as so often.

    What we get from you are unsourced numbers, unsupported assertions, misrepresentation of what both other commenters and your own sources have said, ludicrous accusations of racism… Can we be sure you’re not an undercover agent for Big Wind, sent out to undermine the case for nuclear power?

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