Posted by: ericgrimsrud | February 13, 2013

The Business-As-Usual / Happy-Science approach to Global Warming

I believe that a free market generally provides an excellent means of solving problems – when it is fairly applied and all of its downsides as well as upsides are carefully considered. As we know all too well, however, often the downsides are not adequately considered if they are of a longer-term nature than the upsides. Often those potential downsides are then dismissed with the overly optimistic views that “something will come up” or “we’ve been through some tough times before” with the assumption that we will be able to address those long-term downsides later when they become more apparent. So it is with the “Great Anthropogenic Global Warming Debate” that policy makers and Business-As-Usual advocates are presently having. The BAU group embraces a distinctly unfair form of the free market system – one that allows a continuation of fossil fuel use without payment of a fee for the disposal of waste CO2 into the atmosphere. They believe that we should continue to do this until the alternate, non-CO2-emitting forms of energy production becomes financially competitive with fossil fuel use – a condition generally thought to be about 50 years off.

For more than a decade, this has been the argument put forward by the Swedish economist, Bjorn Lomborg, and, of course, the fossil fuel industries love him. We now know, however, that we are running out of time for an effective response to AGW – while the emissions of CO2 continue to increase exponentially every year (see my recent post called “Our Greatest Immediate Challenge “). So while Lomborg’s plan might have had great merit if proposed about 50 years ago, there is no longer sufficient time to adopt it. Since Lomborg’s plan is considered untenable by the legitimate scientific communities, the forces for BAU now invariably accompany this plan with one of various “happier versions” of climate science – usually articulated by an amateurish “in-house” pseudo-scientist. Their inadequate and minimal-action approach to addressing AGW is very much alive throughout the USA and certainly in the state of Montana.

As a Montana example, let’s first consider the version of happy science provided in the 2010 issue of the Montana Treasure State Journal, the official publication of the Montana Petroleum Association, pages 28-32 (see: http://www.montanapetroleum.org/assets/PDF/articlesReports/2010-Treasure-State-Journal.pdf.) This “lesson” in climate science (entitled “The Earth’s Atmosphere Needs More Carbon Dioxide”) is provided by a semi-retired oil executive named H. Leighton Steward who claims to have morphed into a climate science expert during his recent retirement years. By his use of a childish model for CO2’s effect on temperature, one that was abandoned in about 1940, he “shows” that the temperature of the Earth cannot rise more than about 0.2 degrees C even if CO2 levels are allowed to increase without any restraint to levels as high as 1,000 ppm or more! Apparently, that bit of “great news” passes for real science at the Montana Petroleum Association. For the last couple years, I have offered the MPA an opportunity to upgrade their knowledge of climate science, but they have shown no interest. Some of you might have also noted that Mr. Steward is presently pushing his view of climate science at the national level by using his Houston associations with a group of retired NASA has-beens. (see http://www.businessinsider.com/nasa-scientists-dispute-climate-change-2012-4).

Another example of this mating of BAU economics with happy versions of science was recently provided on the national scene by the Wall Street Journal. On Dec. 18, 2012, they ran an opinion piece entitled “Cooling Down the Fears of Climate Change” by Matt Ridley, a British author and businessman with a strong background in biology. He does indeed have a strong professional and educational background in the biological sciences and his book, “Genome” has been very well-received. Unfortunately, in his WSJ article, he ventured into territory that he obviously knows relatively little about in order to offer his own version of happy climate science. Using another British businessman named Nic Lewis as his primary reference along with an assortment of other cherry-picked and sometimes misrepresented items from various literature sources, Mr. Ridley informs us that “it remains highly plausible that there is no net positive feedback from water vapor” as CO2 levels rise (it should be noted that the opposite has been thought to be the case over the last 116 years ever since Svante Arrhenius first contemplated the atmosphere’s effect on surface temperatures way back in 1896). Thus, he concludes that Mr. Lewis’s observational data “would be pointing at only about 1.2°C of warming for the end of the century”, as opposed to the 3° to even 5°C increase predicted by most climate scientists today if BAU continues. Moreover, Ridley suggests that “a cumulative change of less than 2°C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good”. The implication of Mr. Ridley’s unique view, of course, is that we can continue to let the existing BAU market place do its thing and the planet will be just fine, if not actually improved. In his WSJ piece, I also noted that Mr. Ridley’s high regard for his main reference, Mr. Lewis, appeared to be based on the fact that Mr. Lewis has served as a reviewer of documents produced by the IPCC. Mr. Ridley failed to point out or perhaps does not know, however, that the IPCC review function can be served by anyone who wishes to volunteer for that service – no credentials or professional experienced are required. Not surprisingly, the remarks Mr. Ridley made in his WSJ piece have been either debunked completely or ignored by the scientific community. They have, however, been embraced by the forces for BAU. After all, here we have a renowned scientist telling us that all will be OK with BAU – while displaying no regard at all for the far more likely possibility that he is entirely wrong!

Finally, I will share here some of my recent interaction with a friend (perhaps now a former friend) who presently works at the head of what is reported to be one of our nation’s largest think tanks dedicated to improving environmental quality through market-based approaches. I had hoped that I might find in this person a more professional blending of modern climate science with market approaches. Sadly, I have so far been disappointed, as explained below. While I would assume that my former friend is proud of his views, I will honor his request here that he not be identified. I will also point out that I invited my friend to correct any misunderstandings I might have had of his recent communicatoins with me and, so far, he has offered no such corrections.

My recent exchanges with my friend began shortly after I heard him being interviewed on a radio program dealing with the AGW issue. On that program, my friend said that he does not study the energy policy knowns as a “Carbon Tax” because he does not beieve a carbon tax has any chance of being instituted in the USA. Upon then asking my friend why he held this view, he explained that he does not believe that any energy policies could make any differences with respect to any outcomes of AGW. This comment both surprised and disappointed me because I would have thought that a carbon tax would surely reduce CO2 emissions and, therefore, would also reduce future temperatures – as expected by me and about 98% of other professional climate science researchers. In addition, my understanding is that the small carbon tax that has been applied in Australia over the last couple years has resulted in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions in that country. Therefore, the basis for my friend’s statement appeared to me to be that he doubted the prevailing scientific view of AGW – that the increased levels of CO2 caused by BAU would, in fact, result in dangerously high temperatures. He explained to me that while he was not a denier of AGW, he does consider himself to be an “agnostic” with respect to the science involved and tends to favor the scientific view expressed by Matt Ridley, whose WSJ article I discussed above. My friend recommended to me both Ridley’s WSJ article and his new book, “Rational Optimist” which I then purchased and read (in a separate post to be entitled “The Hubris of Mankind and Matt Ridley” I will also discuss this book). After providing my feedback to my friend concerning the two sources of information he recommended and upon trying to expand his scientific knowledge to include some peer-reviewed versions of the science, my friend became distinctly irritated and declared that he saw no point to our further discussions of the science involved in climate change and signed off. Like most other BAU market advocates I have tried to approach, he is apparently very content with the happy version of science he has found in the “wisdom” displayed by his libertarian friend, Matt Ridley. My friend’s hope, I can only guess, is that Mother Nature cares about the political and economic ideologies of human beings. Unfortunately history has shown that the field of science has typically provided our best predictions of what She does.

In summary, all of these experiences and many more of the same nature have reinforced my impression that BAU market forces and happy versions of science go hand-in-hand when it comes to the subject of AGW. Personally, I suspect that many of these BAU advocates, such as my friend who I happen to know relatively well, are actually aware of some of the best science available. I also suspect, however, that many of them are equally aware of a universal downside of being somewhat too well-informed. That is, with greater knowledge, one might then be obliged to act more responsibly and doing so might prove to be contrary to one’s financial or political goals. Indeed, one can often do much better financially if one finds an excuse for not knowing so much. As Mark Twain once observed “no one ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the public”.


Responses

  1. “We utilize energy from carbon, not because we are bad people, but because it is the affordable foundation on which the profound improvements in our standard of living have been achieved – our progress in health and welfare.” (the increase in life expectancy should also be mentioned) If one travels to different parts of the world where people are not blessed with our energy resources and; therefore, the electricity and fuels provided by these fossil fuels, one can see just how hard and in most cases short life is.

    I hope that Eric remembers when this recently happed: (July 31, 2012) “On Tuesday, India suffered the largest electrical blackout in history, affecting an area encompassing about 670 million people, or roughly 10 percent of the world’s population.”
    This is even more interesting regarding this incident:
    “India’s power sector has long been considered a potentially crippling hindrance to the country’s economic prospects. Part of the problem is access; more than 300 million people in India still have no electricity.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/world/asia/power-outages-hit-600-million-in-india.html?pagewanted=all

    “This one comes from a special chapter of the Cleopatra Club – “God will take care of everything. We don’t need to worry about it.”
    I would rather rely on some supreme being taking care of this, the earth’s climate, than some bunch of delusional fools running around crying that the sky is falling because of the use of fossil fuels that has improved the lives of humans more in the last 100 years than in all of the recorded history of human existence on the planet. Today in the US, 2% of the population is able to feed the other 98% of the population plus a good part of the world because of the use of fossil fuels. If you contest that, then show me along with showing me the proof of an experiment that shows that the amount of CO2 now present in the atmosphere has one damn thing to do with the earth’s climate. It has never done so in the past; so, why would it do so now? Temperature on earth have been gradually increasing since the end of the Little Ice Age or it would not have ended.
     
    It is kind of hard to know just what to believe, right, Eric. I have a few questions for you. Just which period in the past would have qualified for your climatic “utopia” since you believe that things are so bad now?
     
    Would it have been before 1900 when the life expectancy for men was 46.3 and 48.1 for women in the US; by 1998 according to a Berkeley study, that had improved to 73.8 for men and 79.5 for women.
    http://demog.berkeley.edu/~andrew/1918/figure2.html
    According to another study in 1930 the life expectancy for both sexes was 59.7 years. and in 2010 it was 78.7 years.
    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005148.html
     
    “Despite the rise in real income, by the end of the century life was still hard for the average European, compared to 21st century European standards. In Britain the average male was dead at 51.5 years of age, the average woman at 55.4. In France these figures were 45.4 and 50, in Spain at 41 and 42.5. Figures for the Russians, available in 1895, have the average male dead at 31.4 years and the average woman at 33.3.”
    http://www.fsmitha.com/h3/h49soc.htm

    You have nothing to take the place of carbon based fuels that would not prevent humanity from returning to the stone age and do not tell me that wind and solar are going to do the trick.
    “China is currently the number one producer in the world of wind and solar power, but don’t use it themselves. While they manufacture 80% of the world’s solar panels, they install less than 5% and build a new coal fired power station every week. In one year they turn on more new coal powered electricity than Australia’s total output.”
    cid:C0E30DD2ABDD4F6793212D3965906521@MYPC   cid:9CE44E50819E4F1081109463B641148F@MYPC

    You write this:
    “In addition, my understanding is that the small carbon tax that has been applied in Australia over the last couple years has resulted in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions in that country.”

    This is what no tax has done in the US:
    “Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the United States from January through March were the lowest of any recorded for the first quarter of the year since 1992, the federal Energy Information Administration reports.”

    Of course there always has to be a far left fool in every crowd that just knows that the only way that anything can get done is to force people to do “what’s right” through government mandate and additional taxes.

    “Dr. Apt is among those who believe government intervention would be needed to cut emissions to acceptable levels.
    “If we see more and more variability in the climate, not just droughts but also more storms,” he said, “there may very well emerge a consensus that we need to finally do something to stop this very dangerous unprecedented experiment that we’re doing on the planet.”
    He continued: “My fear is that if the U.S. is so laggard in greenhouse gas regulation that we will be buying technologies from abroad rather than selling them, as we did with clean air and water.”
    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/17/a-20-year-low-in-u-s-carbon-emissions/

    Even Pravda can see that this whole scheme is what it is, a scam.
    “That brings us to Cap and Trade. Never in the history of humanity has a more idiotic plan been put forward and sold with bigger lies. Energy is the key stone to any and every economy, be it man power, animal power, wood or coal or nuclear. How else does one power industry that makes human life better (unless of course its making the bombs that end that human life, but that’s a different topic). Never in history, with the exception of the Japanese self imposed isolation in the 1600s, did a government actively force its people away from economic activity and industry.”
    “Even the Soviets never created such idiocy. The great famine of the late 1920s was caused by quite the opposite, as the Soviets collectivized farms to force peasants off of their land and into the big new factories. Of course this had disastrous results. So one must ask, are the powers that be in Washington and London degenerates or satanically evil? Where is the opposition? Where are the Republicans in America and Tories in England?”
    http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/19-10-2009/109977-self_immolation-0/

    [Response by EPG: J Doug, All that simply to tell us how difficult it will be to solve the AGW problem? I entirely agree that it will be extremely difficult. You go one step further, however. I think you also saying that because the problem will difficut to solve, the problem does not exist !!!! I can’t accept that logic, of course. ]

  2. EPG,
    Rather than trying to pick my way through your “Moderation” minefield I posted something on a site that does not indulge in censorship. Posts are accepted or rejected. You get a mention:
    http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/unified-theory-of-climate-revisited/

    I look forward to your comments.

    [Response from EPG: gallopingcamel, glad you have found a better location for sharing your thoughts. And thanks of including my name in such good company. ERic ]

  3. Above you said:
    “Therefore, the basis for my friend’s statement appeared to me to be that he doubted the prevailing scientific view of AGW – that the increased levels of CO2 caused by BAU would, in fact, result in dangerously high temperatures. “

    You seem here to make the automatic assumption that if someone doubts a particular proposed ‘solution’ to rising CO2, they must also doubt the effects of rising CO2 on climate. I’ve seen you make this assumption repeatedly, both here and other places you’ve posted like WUWT. Sometimes I’ve even seen you state it in response to posts that specifically state that the effects of rising CO2 on climate are immaterial to their point.

    I could make the argument that any proposed solution to rising CO2 SHOULD be made as if it’s effect is immaterial. A solution is ether feasible and effective, or it’s not, regardless of why it should be done. But instead I’m going to argue the statement you’ve assumed. I’m going to argue that the solution doesn’t work, so CAGW isn’t real.

    The most common proposed solution to rising CO2 put forth is some form of ‘Tax’ or ‘Price’ on CO2 production. The usual justification for this is that by increasing the cost of CO2 producing processes like energy production, transportation, cement creation, farm animal raising, ect. consumers will be encouraged to switch to less CO2 intensive or more efficient alternatives. The reason this solution doesn’t work is because they’re usually are none, not ones that are feasible and effective anyway. Cement can’t be made without producing CO2, and modern civilization is literally built on cement. You could double the production cost of cement, triple it, and it would still be the material of choice for everything from road to building construction. And transportation would require a huge and costly reorganization to move away from fossil fuels. We’ve already SEEN a doubling and more in gas prices, with hardly any change in consumption. If there were a viable alternative it would already be implemented by now, but there isn’t. Electric Cars have so far proven uneconomical even with significant subsidies. And Mass Transit systems have proven again and again to be far costlier to built and operate then their proponents expect. Of course, efficiency is promoted as at least a partial solution, since half a fix is better then none. But despite any presidential mandates, if it was possible to increase efficiency by a significant amount we would already be doing it. In fact we already are. Mileage has been steadily increasing since the first cars appeared on the road, and we’ve reached a point were only small improvements are possible without significantly changing what we consider a ‘car’. And quite frankly I can’t see us shifting to smaller ‘mini’ cars without accepting a large decrease in crash survivability, which won’t happen.

    But the most damaging to the ‘Alternatives’ meme is energy production, because here there IS an effective and reasonably economical alternative. No, I don’t mean ‘renewables’ like wind or solar power. Both of those have come up short everywhere they have been tried, not that that has stopped their promoters from continuing to push them. No, I’m talking about Nuclear Power, and it has been rejected by the Greens even more thoroughly then fossil fuels.

    THAT is why the solution doesn’t work, so CAGW isn’t real. If Nuclear Power was twice as dangerous as the Greens claim, and CAGW was half as dangerous as they claim it will be, then it would still be a clear improvement to fill the world with reactors then to continue to burn coal and gas. That would be a reasonably effective and feasible alternative to CAGW Thermageddon, a solution that works.

    And few green or liberal leaders will ever even suggest it. Because they don’t really believe in CAGW anymore then I do.

    [Response from EPG: Don’t know who those “greens” and “liberals” are that you suggest I represent. My ideas are my ideas. And I happen to know from personal experience that the alternates do work. I have a large home in a cold climate and we take very little electricity from the grid and use very little natural gas – due to solar panels, solar and wood pellet heating, common sense, etc. The only reason society does not do much better w.r.t. fossil fuel use is that we do not try hard enough. This, in turn, is largely because the suppliers of fossil fuels do not want us to and put us to sleep with their “don’t worry – we are taking care of you” advertisements.

    Concerning what you think “my friend” said, I was simply pointing out that he did not seem to believe that AGW constitutes a very serious problem – as I do. Thus, he is content to let BAU continue and is prone to accept the happy version of climate science offered by his friend, Matt Ridley.]

    • The idea that I suggest you ‘represent’ the greens or liberals is a strawman argument, as I never made such an inference and have no idea what your social or political position is, although given your occupation and stated beliefs I would normally figure it safe to assume you belong to one of those political organizations. On the other hand I have know CAGW believers who were conservative or even libertarian, so it is hardly a guarantied thing.

      What I clearly stated was that it is the green and liberal LEADERS who, by their actions, show that they do not really believe in the dangers of CAGW that they promote. If they did, they would be pushing for real and effective solutions, not just inefficient and often corruption filled money shuffles. They would “Walk the Walk”. Like You.

      I actually have a lot of respect for your opinion and thoughts on this subject, even though they are clearly the opposite of my own, because you do clearly believe in the dangers of CAGW and live in a manner such as to limit you own CO2 footprint. (If Al Gore made half the effort you clearly have I would have given his opinion at least some consideration.) In fact I think Watts was clearly wrong to have banned you from WUWT. The only way to have a debate is if both sides are free to put forwards their position and evidence. I do think you should have refrained from some of the aggression and language you sometimes used however. (Yes, I know you say you were only responding in kind. My mother would have something to say about the “they were doing it first” argument. 😉

      On the other hand, I think you’re wrong about the viability of your ‘solutions’ to CO2 production, though not because they don’t work. Both my sister and mother have wood burners at their homes, and use them very effective for heating. In addition, my mother has both a geothermal heat pump and a small electric generating windmill that my stepfather built, and my sister has a small solar preheater for her water heater. In addition they both grow large gardens and even raise chickens, (last year my sister raised turkeys also, but she swears never again.) and while most don’t consider gardening a CO2 reducer, every pound of food grown is a pound not transported to and from a store.

      I however don’t do or have any of these things, not because I don’t want them, but because I live in the center of Fort Wayne, IN. Housing code precludes any form of wood burner (and even some fireplaces), there’s no room for a garden, no windmill, no geothermal, and definitely no chicken coop. Even if I COULD put in a wood burner, the only reason wood is affordable is because few people use it. There simply isn’t enough wood being produced to make it much more common then it is today. It isn’t scalable up to a point of being a replacement for energy production.

      I might be able to put in a grid-tied rooftop solar rig, (though my neighborhood has a pretty strict ‘historical building’ code) but the whole reason my sister and mother don’t have one is that we don’t get all that much sun to begin with. There’s a reason some people call this town ‘Fort Rain’.

      I’m actually a proponent of grid-tied Solar, and think the programs to make it more affordable are one of the smarter ones promoted by the Greens. On the other hand they make more sense somewhere that gets a lot of sun then somewhere that doesn’t. Paying people to install solar panels in Maine probably isn’t cost effective. And again this isn’t scalable. Even if we COULD afford to put solar panels on every roof in America,(and we can’t) it would produce enough energy, constantly, to provide for all our needs. So far no combination of Wind, Solar, Biofuel, or any other ‘renewable’ have been able to replace the BAU generators like Coal and Gas. The whole reason they are ‘business as usual’ is because they work. Europe has already shown what happens when you try to replace BAU with Not Enough. The people rebelled, and reinstated BAU. (In Germany’s case, going back to Coal power.)

      One of my problems with the term BAU is that ‘business’, by it’s nature, is never ‘as usual’ for long. All businesses are a balancing act between a number of different forces, any of which can change at a moments notice, and none operating in a vacuum. Trying to alter an Business from the top down through government dictate or manipulation will always fail if the motivation for that business is still in effect.

      Take the whole Keystone Pipeline affair. Many of the leaders of the climate change movement have strongly opposed it, because it represents a significant input of CO2 producing energy. Recently the state department decided that it did not represent a significant danger of increased climate change, a decision hotly opposed by the protesters.

      The decision was not made however because the state department doesn’t believe in CAGW. It was made because the Canadian tar sands do not exist in a vacuum. With or without the keystone pipeline they were going to be developed. They are already being sent thought lesser pipelines, and even by rail car. If the US banned their import entirely the oil would be shipped somewhere else to be processed. Even if Canada itself banned them from being shipped it wouldn’t stop it. Someone would just build a refinery right there, because it would be valuable enough to warrant it. The only reason it’s not already being done is because as long as it can be shipped it’s cheaper to do so.

      As I’ve said, this is the kind of reason why I say “The solution doesn’t work, so CAGW isn’t real.” The climate change leadership simply doesn’t choose it’s battles as if CO2 is the real problem. It’s always based on political power, or subsides for marginal businesses (usually run by cronies), or their preferred forms of social change. It’s never something that can have a realistic effect of CO2 production.

      When I see Al Gore or James Hanson promoting the building of Nuclear Power plants on the coast of Africa, to pump desalinated sea water into the Sahara to turn it into a CO2 absorbing garden and food production center, then I’ll believe they’re worried about CAGW.

    • schitzreehitzree: I agree with you regarding nuclear power but this is what the environmental sector of the population did back in the 1980s. In 1973 when OPEC cut production because of the Yom Kipper War, U.S. utilities ordered 41 nuclear power plants. The environmentalist then changed all of that in 1989 to the point where the completed, ready to operate 6 billion dollar Shoreham plant on Long Island N. Y. was never allowed to operate because Governor Mario Cuomo’s office would not sign the documents required to operate the plant. Most of the cost of the plant was passed on to Long Island residents and now the electricity that would have been generated is now produced by fossil fuels. There is one “green” note regarding all of this debacle that the past governor should be very proud of: “In 2005, two 100 foot high wind turbines with 25 foot blades were erected at the plant and attached to the electric grid, generating a peak power of 50 kilowatts each (1/8000 of the power that the nuclear plant would have generated)”

      I also wonder why the Yom Kippur War should have cause so much interest in nuclear power plants when in the US now petroleum only supplies .8% of the electrical needs of the nation.
      “Petroleum can be burned to produce hot combustion gases to turn a turbine or to make steam to turn a turbine. Residual fuel oil, a product refined from crude oil, is often the petroleum product used in electric plants that use petroleum to make steam. Petroleum was used to generate less than 1% of all electricity in the United States in 2011.”
      http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=electricity_in_the_united_states

      “Of course, the Three Mile Island event didn’t help the plant’s popularity.” but I’m sure that everyone is aware that the nuclear aircraft carrier “Enterprise” was recently decommissioned after 51 years of safe service to the US Navy and how much smaller of a back yard could one imagine than being on a nuclear powered ship.

      According to one viewpoint of reports offering the comparison between wind versus nuclear energy, there has not been one single injury to a nuclear plant worker in all its 104 power plants and 40 years of service in the United States… not one!
      http://notrickszone.com/2011/03/14/even-candles-kill-many-more-than-nuclear-power/

      One can wonder at just how save gas is and we all know of gas explosions killing folks, such as recently happened in Bozeman, MT.
      MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — A national safety group is urging states and regulators to adopt new standards that would ban a pipe-cleaning practice blamed for a 2010 Connecticut power plant explosion that killed six workers.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/27/connecticut-power-plant-explosion_n_983884.html

      June 14, 1952 Keel for the Navy’s first nuclear submarine, Nautilus, laid at Groton, Connecticut.
      March 30, 1953 Nautilus first starts its nuclear power units
      December 12, 1963 Jersey Central Power and Light Company announces its commitment for the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant, the first time a nuclear plant is ordered as an economical alternative to a fossil-fuel plant.
      October 17, 1973 The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agrees to use oil as a foreign policy weapon, cutting exports 5 percent until Israel withdraws from Arab territory occupied during the Yom Kippur War. Days later Saudi Arabia cuts oil production by 25 percent and joins many other oil-producing nations in embargoing oil shipments to the United States.
      1973 U.S. utilities order 41 nuclear power plants, a one-year record.
      1986 The Perry power plant in Ohio becomes the 100th U.S. nuclear power plant in operation.
      1988 U.S. electricity demand is 50 percent higher than in 1973.
      1989 America’s nuclear power plants provide 19 percent of the electricity used in the United States; 46 units have entered service during the decade.
      http://scienceclub.nei.org/scienceclub/4yourclassproject/4ycp_timeline.html

      Now at this crucial time in the history of the United States we have a person whose only experience has been acting as a community organizer making decisions, and the experience factor has certainly been shown to be important, we now have no place to store nuclear power plant by-products due to actions taken by him. There has been $13.5 billion already spent on the Yucca Mountain storage site, and most of that put up by utilities and the US GAO says that that the closure was for political, not technical or safety reasons; but, who would expect an alternative site to be suggested by this community organizer, and none has been so far and now we find that the waste tanks at Hanford are leaking; so, can I imagine he will have a ready answer for that problem also? In short, kiss nuclear power development in the United States goodbye and according to what some advocate, since they have theirs so why should they worry? The rest of the proletariats can hitch up old Dobbin and skid in another log and make sure that they have plenty of tallow candles on hand.

  4. J Doug, In your account of nuclear power in the USA, you left out the main reason why nuclear did not continue to prosper in the late 20th century. That reason is that it became clear that nuclear could not compete with fossil fuel based power. And so investors disappeared. If we had a carbon tax back then so that FF power also paid for its disposal of waste (CO2) just as the nuclear industry does, ourcomes would have been different. Going forward, we need to impose carbon taxes ASAP.

    • Eric; I have no idea where you arrive at your information but it seems to be untrue, imagine that.
      Comparing Energy Costs of Nuclear, Coal, Gas, Wind and Solar
      Published April 2, 2010
      Per Kilowatt-Hour Production Costs

      […] To the right is a list of the per kWh production costs used to develop the total cost per kWh estimates in this article. Coal, Gas and Nuclear estimates are 2008 data from NEI.
      Nuclear: $0.019
      Coal: $0.027
      Natural Gas: $0.081
      Wind:$0.030
      Hydroelectric: $0.009
      Solar: No estimate found
      http://nuclearfissionary.com/2010/04/02/comparing-energy-costs-of-nuclear-coal-gas-wind-and-solar/

      If, and knowing you, I assume that you will not like the above figures and I admit that they may be biased because of the source, you can give these a try:
      Year
      Nuclear

      Fossil Steam
      Hydro-electric
      Gas Turbine and Small Scale
      Nuclear
      Fossil Steam
      Hydro-electric
      Gas Turbine and Small Scale
      2001
      4.67

      18.15

      43.55
      18.13
      23.23
      7.16
      50.53
      2011
      7.01

      27.08

      38.80
      24.70
      35.09
      8.88
      44.54
      http://www.eia.gov/electricity/annual/html/epa_08_04.html

      You should also know that it was under Margret Thatcher that she pushed for nuclear power to break the coal mining unions that were very disruptive for the UK economy and in the process started this anthropogenic global warming frenzy that you seem to advocate should be “controlled” by taxation. If, back years ago, the fuels that built a great nation, fossil fuels, had been taxed as you now want to do and charge a tax to sequester a benign and essential for life on earth trace gas, CO2, then you must not care that the US is the largest debtor nation on earth and the economy at present is in the tank because the country can not compete on the world market, such as with China and India who build as many coal fired plants as they can import the coal to operate, then you have no regard what so ever for the welfare of your nation.

      I know how you just love my quotes, as much I do your conjecture not based on facts.
      “The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it” — H L Mencken
       
      These two below pretty much describes the anthropogenic global warming alarmist who can not produce a verified experiment to back up their contentions about how the amount of CO2 in todays atmosphere is destroying the climate and humanity.
      ‘Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action’ — Goethe
       
      “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” — Voltaire

      [Response from EPG: I remember back in the 70’s that the state of Washington did not finish construction on about 5 nuclear power plants when they realized that the costs would be too high relative to coal fired plants

      and “a stich in time saves nine”]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: