247 Responses to Open Thread Non-Petroleum-Feb 24, 2017

  1. Preston says:

    Plug-in car sales grew 42% worldwide in 2016. Big growth in China where small EVs already cost less than fossil cars. They don’t have much range, but they are real popular first cars and compare well against walking, bikes, or scooters.

    “Plug-in volumes have more than tripled since 2013 and continuing on last years growth rate of 42 % would mean 8 out of 10 cars sold being Plug-ins in 2030. Inconceivable today, not impossible for the future. The global picture shows just 0,85 % market share, but in some markets it is already a multitude of that: Norway had 24 % plug-in share in 2016, Netherlands 5 %, Sweden 3,2 %. The impact on the vehicle population is still hardly noticeable in most countries. The global motor vehicle population of cars and trucks has reached 1,4 billion and just 2 million of them can be plugged in.”


    • HuntingtonBeach says:

      Will Fossil Fuels And Conventional Cars Be Obsolete By 2030?

      Rapidly falling prices of renewable energy are not just transforming the energy markets but disrupting them.

      In 2016, solar power became the cheapest form of energy in 58 lower income countries, including China India and Brazil. In Europe, in 2016, 86% of the newly installed energy capacity was from renewable sources. Solar power will likely be the lowest-cost energy option in almost all parts of the world in less than 10 years. Is it all over for fossil fuels?

      Tony Seba, Author of “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation,” predicts that the industrial era of centralized fossil-fuel based energy production and transportation will be all over by 2030. Solar energy and self-driving electric vehicles will take over.


      • Nathanael says:

        The answer is simple: “Yes”.

        I think fossil fuels might not be obsolete for airplanes by then (maybe they will, maybe they won’t), but for everything else, they’ll be obsolete.

        Will they still be in use? Probably. Obsolete stuff can stay in use for startlingly long periods. Home heating oil has been uneconomical since the 1970s and yet a lot of houses still use it. But it is definitely *obsolete*.

        • Preston says:

          Of course bio-fuels are an option for airlines. In the US currently, 10% of our fuel is bio. If that’s not needed for passenger cars then there might be plenty for airlines. Assuming the climate isn’t already ruined.

          Also, Elon Musk recently said he only needs another doubling of energy density by weight to make a viable electric airplane.

          • Nick G says:

            I suspect that synthetic fuel (from electrolytic H2) is already pretty close to competitive with jet fuel, if you include all of the external costs.

            As very cheap surplus electricity grows, synthetic fuel will get cheaper and in several decades is very likely to be clearly cheaper, even without external costs.

            Liquid H2 may turn out to be the best option, given the extra costs of releasing GHGs in the upper atmosphere.

          • Nick G says:

            miscellaneous aviation stuff:

            “they expect to see initial hybrid aircraft with up to 100 passengers and a range of around 1,000 kilometers by around 2030.

            Siemens researchers have developed a new type of electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms, delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts—five times more than comparable drive systems. ”

            “Boeing (BA) rival Airbus (EADSY) and Siemens (SIEGY) have agreed to work together on developing an electrically powered aircraft, with a plan of “demonstrating the technical feasibility” of hybrid or electric propulsion systems by 2020, the companies said Thursday.

            Boeing has also put its weight behind efforts to develop electric aircraft, and Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk has also entertained the idea of making an electric jet.

            Airbus in 2014 ran its first public test flight of the E-Fan, a two-seat electric aircraft intended for pilot training. Siemens has been at work on an electric aircraft engine since sometime around 2011, when Airbus, Siemens and Austrian aviation company Diamond Aircraft introduced a hybrid aircraft.”

            Current jet aircraft are capable of about 80 to 120 p-mpg. The new turbofans are much better and new development jetliners will get about 200 -220 p-mpg. They would do better if they went slower also.
            Allan H http://peakoilbarrel.com/the-eias-international-energy-outlook-2014/comment-page-1/#comment-511578

            It seems inevitable that all commercial vehicles will include PV on any spare surface at some point. They spend most of their time outside, are busiest during the day, and planes spend a lot of time above the cloud line.

            Plus, fuel on the road or in the air is far more valuable than it’s market price. Mid-air military refueling requires 5 gallons for every gallon delivered. Every gallon not needed on a plane is a gallon that doesn’t need to be transported on every flight, that frees up payload capacity for passengers, etc.

            All vehicles use a significant percentage of their fuel to generate electricity for instruments, pumps, lighting, HVAC, etc. PV can provide that far more cheaply than liquid fuel, even now. That disparity will only grow.
            Liquid fuel can be synthesized right now, with existing tech, for $10/gallon or less. If aviation becomes twice as efficient, then the effective price of fuel is only $5/gallon. That’s obviously viable, and again, that’s with current synthesis tech, which will certainly improve over time.
            The aviation industry is researching electric power for light/general purpose aircraft as well as commercial airliners. The electricity would be provided by batteries or in some cases perhaps fuel cells. I would not be surprised to see thin flexible printed PV cells applied to/built into the wings, control surfaces, and body. The electric power would, in some cases, be the sole power for the aircraft, and in some cases, would augment FF engines.

            Even if only achieving limited success, the big take-away is that aircraft require MUCH higher energy densities than automobiles and thus the aerospace industry will push the development of energy storage technologies.

            Hybrid (extended range) turboprop commuter:


          • Hickory says:

            I think that using biofuels for aviation is an environmental catastrophe. You would be diverting very productive land from wildlife, forest, diverse ecosystem, or food crops- to a monoculture system aimed at exporting energy as much as possible from the system, all in order to send people up into the air. This is a bad thing from so many angles.

            • HuntingtonBeach says:

              I was thinking a long the same line. Your still burning the fuel and dumping CO2 into the atmosphere.

              • GoneFishing says:

                Not talking about biofuels, talking about synthetic fuels. Whole different feed source. Energy comes from electric power.

                • HuntingtonBeach says:

                  From the perspective of climate and ecology, biofuels and fossil fuels have in common that they contribute to the production of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which has emerged in recent decades as the fastest-changing greenhouse gas, whose principal impacts are global warming and ocean acidification. However biofuels actively participate in the carbon cycle today by photosynthesizing carbon dioxide, unlike fossil fuels whose participation was long ago, and can therefore in principle bring atmospheric CO2 into an equilibrium not possible with the continued use of fossil fuel.


                  • GoneFishing says:

                    Except for the large generated pulse of free CO2, which in the case of trees lasts 60 to 200 years if allowed to grow back. So the so-called equilibrium would be at a higher CO2 concentration.

            • Preston says:

              I was suggesting that we already produce enough bio fuel. Currently it’s added to our petrol for our cars. Once cars move to electric then the fuel we already produce could be used for aviation instead. So no additional land would need to be diverted. Maybe synthetic fuels would be better. Either way it’s fine as long as the carbon in the fuel came from the air and not a fossil source.

              • Hickory says:

                “Either way it’s fine as long as the carbon in the fuel came from the air and not a fossil source.”
                I highly disagree with this notion. The idea that you can divert the productivity of prime farm land (where the corn is grown) from forest, grasslands or food production so that people can go on vacation is environmental terrorism.

                • Preston says:

                  Diverting corn starch away from ethanol bio fuel production and to producing more and more high fructose corn syrup is nutritional terrorism.

                  Also, A lot of air travel is business related, it isn’t all tourism.

                  But I understand your point and don’t entirely disagree – we need to be open to change and perhaps we don’t really need so much air travel. BAU isn’t going to fly…

                  • Hickory says:

                    Preston- Indeed, we need to face the reality that BAU is unsustainable, and in fact is so far beyond sustainable that its killing the planet. As we push towards renewables, we shouldn’t be trying to fulfill all the frivolous or extravagant energy uses that have been acceptable in the past. Rather we need to learn to live much more simply. Flying in an airplane is one to say f…you to the world, no matter where the energy is derived.

  2. Boomer II says:

    'The wild west of wind': Republicans push Texas as unlikely green energy leader | US news | The Guardian: “For Texas, this most Republican-dominated, oil-rich and fracking-friendly of states has found itself with the improbable status of being a national leader in this growing form of renewable energy.”

    • alimbiquated says:

      Wind is very attractive to the Republican’s rural constituency because anyone with a farm in the Midwest can make good money on wind farms.

      • Anton Koffield says:

        Yes indeed. In North Dakota a farmer with large swaths of land can earn money three ways:

        (1) Farming soya, sunflower, rapeseed. etc.

        (2) cutting a deal to lease oil drill pads and taking a cut from the oil extraction

        (3) farming the wind and getting acut from each of the wind turbine towers on his/her land.

        Sweetheart deal, if you happen to be lucky enough to own the right land!

  3. George Kaplan says:

    The CT2016 Carbon Tracker from NOAA came out last week (maybe the last for some time?). If it has been discussed and I missed it, apologies for reposting. The figures are for 2015. Compared to 2014 fossil fuel emissions were up a small amount (within error bars). Wildfires were up 10%, and both land and ocean sinks were down, So net CO2 was higher as shown. But th increase has flattened off a bit from the early years of this century. That said NOAA indicate their models indicate numbers a bit lower than observed. It is worth exploring the site and looking at the numbers for different locations.


  4. Food for thought. Of the universe, you can see one part in 250. 249 parts of 250 is stuff you cannot see.

     photo Composition of the Universe_zpsj2z7ogjr.jpg

    • Fred Magyar says:

      I guess in the grand scheme of things, we humans aren’t all that important after all, eh?!

    • Javier says:

      I wouldn’t go too far with this. Dark matter and dark energy are the product of a mismatch between current understanding and observations. Nobody has been able to demonstrate that they do exist. They might exist or alternatively our current understanding and theories could be wrong.

      • Well I could question dark energy, though I think the odds are that it does exist exactly as they say it does. However I don’t think there is any doubt about dark matter. Otherwise the stars orbiting the center of the galaxy are clearly disobeying the basic laws of physics.

        • Javier says:

          Non scientists have a curious faith on science getting everything right, when history of science is actually a record of getting things wrong many times before getting things right.

          Phys.org: New theory of gravity might explain dark matter
          November 8, 2016
          “A new theory of gravity might explain the curious motions of stars in galaxies. Emergent gravity, as the new theory is called, predicts the exact same deviation of motions that is usually explained by invoking dark matter.

          According to Erik Verlinde, there is no need to add a mysterious dark matter particle to the theory. In a new paper, which appeared today on the ArXiv preprint server, Verlinde shows how his theory of gravity accurately predicts the velocities by which the stars rotate around the center of the Milky Way, as well as the motion of stars inside other galaxies.

          “We have evidence that this new view of gravity actually agrees with the observations, ” says Verlinde. “At large scales, it seems, gravity just doesn’t behave the way Einstein’s theory predicts.”

          When something that nobody has ever seen or detected (like ether or dark matter) is invoked to fit current understanding to observations, our skepticism alarm should set off. I am sure William of Ockham would enjoy shaving our current understanding.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Dark matter and dark energy are the product of a mismatch between current understanding and observations.

        Perhaps but I think I’ll wait to hear what the particle physicists who actually study this have to say about it…


        Quantum Haplodynamics, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy
        Harald Fritzsch1,2 and Joan Solà2,3


        In quantum haplodynamics (QHD) the weak bosons, quarks, and leptons are bound states of fundamental constituents, denoted as haplons. The confinement scale of the associated gauge group SU(2)h is of the order of ^h ~ 0.3 TeV. One scalar state has zero haplon number and is the resonance observed at the LHC. In addition, there exist new bound states of haplons with no counterpart in the SM, having a mass of the order of 0.5 TeV up to a few TeV. In particular, a neutral scalar state with haplon number 4 is stable and can provide the dark matter in the universe. The QHD, QCD, and QED couplings can unify at the Planck scale. If this scale changes slowly with cosmic time, all of the fundamental couplings, the masses of the nucleons and of the DM particles, including the cosmological term (or vacuum energy density), will evolve with time. This could explain the dark energy of the universe.
        (Bold mine.)

        • Javier says:

          Fred, you have the default position. You accept scientific consensus and only change your view when scientific consensus changes its view.

          As a scientist skepticism has served me very well. Scientific consensus is wrong often enough as to be adequate not to trust it.

          My view about the glacial-interglacial cycle expressed in my article:
          goes head on against scientific consensus in defending that:

          – 65°N summer insolation, as described by Milankovitch does not determine interglacials. Obliquity is a more determinant factor.

          – There is no 100 kyr cycle. Eccentricity does not determine interglacials.

          – MIS (Marine Isotopic Stadial) 7c and 7e, and MIS 15a and 15c, should be considered separate interglacials indicating that there have been 11 interglacials in the past 800,000 years, making it impossible to fit a 100 kyr cycle.

          My skeptical view, that runs contrary to scientific consensus on the issue has just received a very strong support from a recent Nature paper,

          This article defends the same points against scientific consensus that I made in my article.

          The article is paywalled, but it has been made available here for anybody interested in these issues:

          An example that going with the evidence instead of scientific consensus and group interpretación, is more often than not the right path. An even a non specialist from a different field can get things more correct than the specialists by being skeptical and following evidence wherever it takes.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            Fred, you have the default position. You accept scientific consensus and only change your view when scientific consensus changes its view.

            To be clear I’m talking about your comment regards dark matter and energy.

            Since I myself am not a particle physicist I think I prefer to listen to a Nobel Prize Winner such as Frank Wilczek and what he has to say about what the consensus is. The lecture linked below is not specifically about dark energy and dark matter but fascinating nonetheless.

            Lecture: Materiality of a Vacuum

            • Javier says:

              You can listen to anybody you want. Personally I will not be convinced about something for what there is no evidence even if the Pope in person tells me. Until the time solid evidence is produced it is just an interesting hypothesis to me.

              • Fred Magyar says:

                Personally I will not be convinced about something for what there is no evidence even if the Pope in person tells me.

                LOL! Neither would I but if we are talking cosmology or particle physics then I’m more likely to give credence to someone with a Nobel prize in physics, than I am to you.

      • Gerry says:

        You should talk to someone who actually works to understand that stuff.
        Look for the nearest university with an astrophysics department.

    • Nathanael says:

      There’s actually some evidence that this is just calculation error. There’s a lot of problems with that in cosmology; there’s so much extrapolation involved that a small calculation error on the front end leads to huge errors on the conclusions.

      This isn’t like atmpospheric science, where the results are highly robust, and where the evidence for CO2-emissions-induced global warming has only gotten stronger since Arrhenius first calculated it.

      Particle physics disgraced itself with the entire string theory nonsense and has not really had a good record lately.

      • There’s actually some evidence that this is just calculation error.


        I have no idea exactly what you are referring to, dark matter or dark energy, but whichever there is not even the slightest chance that it is a calculation error. The theory might be wrong but the data they are looking at is exactly right. Looking at dark matter, they know exactly the rate of rotation of stars around the center of the galaxy, and stars around all the other galaxies they checked. And what is happening is impossible unless there is a lot more matter in the outskirts of the galaxy that they cannot see. Or, as Javier suggest, there is some law of physics that we just don’t know about. I doubt if that is true but his suggestion is just one hell of a lot better than yours.

        No one but no one has ever suggested that they just made an error with their math. As if it hadn’t been checked by other cosmologists a hundred times over. That suggestion is totally absurd. Give me a break?

        • Preston says:

          On dark energy they did a lot more sampling hoping to get to a 5 sigma result but it didn’t help, the data is only 3 sigma at this point. Yes, that’s a good indication but to qualify as scientific proof they like to see 5 sigma. There are local motions and measurement tolerances. 11 out of 12 of the jurors say he’s guilty but we need unanimous.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Particle physics disgraced itself with the entire string theory nonsense and has not really had a good record lately.

        Oh, come on!

        String Theory is a branch of theoretical physics and has many issues to be sure but has resulted in some beautiful mathematical tools, but particle physics is also an empirical science. It can be tested and observed by experiment. Case in point:


        The Higgs Boson

        On 4 July 2012, the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider announced they had each observed a new particle in the mass region around 126 GeV. This particle is consistent with the Higgs boson predicted by the Standard Model. The Higgs boson, as proposed within the Standard Model, is the simplest manifestation of the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism. Other types of Higgs bosons are predicted by other theories that go beyond the Standard Model.
        On 8 October 2013 the Nobel prize in physics (link is external) was awarded jointly to François Englert and Peter Higgs “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.”

        I wouldn’t exactly call that a disgrace…

    • Boomer II says:

      I thought about posting the article, but then I wasn’t sure what the point was. This seems to be the crux of the article.

      “Yet green energy has a dirty secret. The more it is deployed, the more it lowers the price of power from any source. That makes it hard to manage the transition to a carbon-free future, during which many generating technologies, clean and dirty, need to remain profitable if the lights are to stay on. Unless the market is fixed, subsidies to the industry will only grow.

      Policymakers are already seeing this inconvenient truth as a reason to put the brakes on renewable energy. In parts of Europe and China, investment in renewables is slowing as subsidies are cut back. However, the solution is not less wind and solar. It is to rethink how the world prices clean energy in order to make better use of it.”

      The article offers some ideas for solutions, but they don’t seem to be clear guidelines.

      • Boomer II says:

        I suppose I would restate the article as thus:

        The cheaper renewables get, the cheaper other sources of energy get to be competitive. But that means everyone in the generation business makes less money.

        But then again, that’s precisely what has been demanded of renewable energy. “We’ll switch to it when it becomes price competitive.” Well, that is starting to happen, with or without subsidies.

        So the article seems to want something other than a government-controlled energy system, but at the same time doesn’t like what a market-driven system is doing to existing utilities. It might be better to focus on how electricity generation can be done entirely with renewables, with other sources as backups, rather than how to keep the current system running.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Boomer II,

          I agree, at this point even without subsidies wind and solar will start to outcompete fossil fuel electricity in more and more areas. Hopefully only the necessary backup will be subsidized, eventually even fossil fuel backup will be eliminated and batteries, fuel cells, pumped hydro, hydro, and vehicle to grid will provide all the backup that is needed. Things in the electricity industry will look very different in 30 years and fossil fuel use for electricity and other energy uses will be cut back substantially, in 40 to 50 years it may be close to zero, if current progress continues.

          Not a panacea by any means, just a small step in the right direction to deal with two looming problems, peak fossil fuels and anthropogenic climate change.

          Access to education and modern birth control would go a long way to solving the population problem (particularly in sub-Saharan Africa), as would more rapid economic development coupled with less fossil fuel use and greater use of non-fossil fuel energy Worldwide.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          It might be better to focus on how electricity generation can be done entirely with renewables, with other sources as backups, rather than how to keep the current system running.

          Precisely! That’s exactly what disruption and paradigm shift are all about.

          Remember these stores? Times change…

          • Oldfarmermac says:

            It’s VERY important that we as supporters and boosters of renewable energy acknowledge that it will be necessary to maintain a substantial portion of our fossil fuel energy infrastructure for quite a long time, probably as long as forty or fifty years, in some cases. Certainly fifteen to twenty years in just about all cases and places.

            And somebody is going to have to pay for maintaining it, because the renewable industries are still just barely big enough and old enough to wear long pants and tie their own shoes, figuratively speaking.

            When we fail to acknowledge this truth, we set ourselves up to be made out as fools by skillful fossil fuel industry mouthpieces.

            If subsidized renewable electricity forces the legacy fossil fuel industries into bankruptcy, then the tax payers will wind up paying the tab for maintaining the necessary back up capacity as long as necessary.

            It’s best to be forthright about such things, rather than talking like car salesmen.

            • JN2 says:

              >> If subsidized renewable electricity forces the legacy fossil fuel industries into bankruptcy <<

              Unsubsidized wind is already cheaper then new build gas or coal. Which is just as well as the subsidies (production tax credits) are being phased out.

            • Nick G says:

              It’s VERY important that we as supporters and boosters of renewable energy acknowledge that it will be necessary to maintain a substantial portion of our fossil fuel energy infrastructure for quite a long time

              Nobody is disagreeing with that. *No one*. Not here, anyway.

              Certainly fifteen to twenty years in just about all cases and places.

              Sure. But…that’s shorter than the lifetime of plants that are being installed right now. Especially in the US, electricity consumption is flat and NG and renewables are displacing older plant. Coal plants are being shut down. In fact, even some NG plants are being shut down – see California, and the current debate there about over capacity.

              Investors in utility infrastructure and “downstream” fossil fuel capacity should be very, very careful – they’re at great risk of losing money on stranded investments.

              • notanoilman says:

                “Especially in the US, electricity consumption is flat”

                But, with growing electric transport, will that continue or will there be a rise?


                • Nick G says:

                  I’d estimate that fully converting passenger vehicles would increase demand for power by about 25%. That would argue for demand for grid power rising. That could conceivably mean demand for more backup by fossil plants.

                  Except…electric vehicles are a perfect match for wind and solar. They can be charged when the wind blows and the sun shines. In fact, because they can stop charging during peak periods, and actually send power back to the grid, they will provide backup power of their own. They will actually decrease the need for fossil backup.

                  And, many people will install rooftop PV, charge their car, and export that power to the grid. That will reduce total demand on the grid.

                  So, I don’t see EVs increasing the need for fossil power backup.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    Did you take into account all the pumping and refining electric energy that will not be needed as oil is replaced as a transport fuel.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    U.S. petroleum refining consumes the most energy in the industrial sector

                    Petroleum refining accounted for about 29% of U.S. industrial primary energy consumption in 2010.1 Most of the energy consumed is in the form of byproducts of the refining process.

                    The petroleum refining industry uses energy both to supply heat and power for plant operations and as a raw material for the production of petrochemicals and other non-fuel products. The U.S. petroleum refining industry consumed about 5.9 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of primary energy in 2010 for fuel and non-fuel (feedstock) uses.

                    The top six refining states are Texas, Louisiana, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.


                  • Nick G says:

                    Most of the energy consumed is in the form of byproducts of the refining process.

                    I think that the grid electrical input to refining is about 4GW, or about 1% of the grid’s average output. That’s not nothing, but it’s not that significant to the calculation of the impact of EVs.

                • Bob Nickson says:

                  Utilities have no worries. Legal pot farm operations will ensure growing power demand even if EV’s don’t.


                  Well, unless Trumps relentlessly pro-job growth, anti-regulation, pro-business, pro-state’s rights, small government administration starts enforcing federal marijuana law for some perfectly ideologically consistent reason.

      • alimbiquated says:

        Here’s my take: Renewables are poised to hammer the energy industry.

        The profits from energy come from selling fuel and maintaining the infrastructure. Using wind and solar ruins the fuel selling business. Plant maintenance is also cheap, especially for solar. The grid and other transport needs maintenance, but it’s a low margin business, if not a public service.

        So energy supply will decrease, and the market incentive to increase it will be suppressed by low prices. I think that is what is behind the problems in the coal and nuclear industries. I also think it will affect the oil industry as well, when battery prices fall far enough.

        I don’t know what comes next, but the days of illiterate sheikh driving gold plated Rolls-Royce motorcar is coming to an end. And so is most of the industry he lives on.

        I suppose people will react to energy shortages by reducing consumption or something. It seems very strange. Maybe the growth in energy use over the past centuries can be explained by the profits the energy companies produced?

        • Fred Magyar says:

          I don’t know what comes next, but the days of illiterate sheikh driving gold plated Rolls-Royce motorcar is coming to an end. And so is most of the industry he lives on.

          Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys! If nothing else it might level the playing field for a while allowing for completely new economic systems to emerge.

          I keep suggesting that people read Douglas Rushkoff’s ‘Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus’. It’s The OS Stupid!

          We are still trying to run a 21st century economy on a 13th century printing press operating system. Corporations having a monopoly on centralized energy distribution systems based on fossil fuels financed by centralized currencies is literally destroying everything including those who currently hold all the wealth and power. Even they know the system doesn’t work anymore.

          The future is probably some kind of distributed peer to peer exchange economy based on crypto currencies. Think digital bazaar… The current corporatist systems was created by the monarchies and the noble class of the 13th century to crush the rise of the merchant class that threatened their ability to control wealth. Before that nobody had ‘JOBS’ Jobs are not a good thing…

          This is what nationalists like Trump and company want to bring back. The genie is out of the bottle. We need to think how we are going to create sustenance and opportunities for fulfillment for billions of humans who are for all practical purposes superfluous in today’s economy and will become more so with the advent of robots and AI and other disruptive technologies. These people are going to need food, shelter, education, healthcare and a feeling of purpose…

          We need some serious outside the box thinking, like yesterday!

          Time for a drink.

        • Nathanael says:

          “So energy supply will decrease, and the market incentive to increase it will be suppressed by low prices.” Yes….

          “I suppose people will react to energy shortages by reducing consumption or something.”
          …those who can afford it will install their own solar panels and batteries, obviously. If you don’t want to reduce consumption, you build your own energy generation. This wasn’t a possibility for most people in previous centuries, but it is now, so people will do it.

  5. Anton Koffield says:

    I was wondering if any of the smart folks here can analyze and comment on this 2011 article, and also if anyone knows of a more modern article on this premise and/or is able to perform their own calculations and post their own ‘article’ about this opportunity cost calculation here at POB?

    So, it is unrealistic to expect the money spent on ‘Defense’ to be be drawn to zero and spent on other things, but it is instructive to realize the opportunity costs.


  6. HuntingtonBeach says:

    Obama’s Climate Change Legacy Is Impressive, Imperfect And Vulnerable

    The president made significant strides while hamstrung by an obstructive and regressive GOP, but he got a late start and was forced to act unilaterally too often.

    President Obama’s environmental legacy was mainly forged over the last three years. During his second term in office, he made combating climate change a priority, laying out his ambitious Climate Change Action Plan on June, 25th 2013. Since then, the administration has put forth a series of regulations to cut carbon emissions and methane emissions from power plants drastically. They directed federal agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% by 2025. The U.S. partnered with India to jointly fund clean energy research, and to reduce HFCs and air pollution through programs and community awareness. Obama worked with Germany, France, and Japan to raise billions for the Green Climate Fund. He finally rejected the Keystone XL last year, and, perhaps most significantly, the U.S. was able to bring China on board for the historic Paris Climate agreement.

    As Obama himself stated, “What makes climate change difficult is that it is not an instantaneous catastrophic event… it’s a slow-moving issue that, on a day-to-day basis, people don’t experience and don’t see.” He’s right; it’s a really hard sell. Preservation is not sexy. Our culture is stitched to immediate gratification. We trade in the now, tangled in the tangible, seemingly content to suck every well dry and let future generations manage the fallout.


    • George Harmon says:

      Planet earth is going to be cycling through the present warming phase, followed by a cooling phase next, then warming again, just as it has done during all of history. Meanwhile Obama certainly does have a legacy concerning the climate…a legacy of using climate as an excuse to exercise more government control over the people and make our energy bills skyrocket. His extreme climate controls benefited nobody, no matter what race or ethnicity they were or wherever they lived. I guess in that regard he truly was an equal opportunity kind of guy. An equal opportunity freedom and wealth destroyer.

      • Gerry says:

        Sure, life on earth will most probably keep on living.
        The odds on us humans surviving are not as good though…

        • Nathanael says:

          What Gerry said.

          We seem to be causing a repeat of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (which was caused by CO2 emissions from megavolcanoes, it appears — but this time there are no megavolcanoes, it’s all our fossil fuel burning).

          Life survived that just fine. But humans would never survive it. So best if we prevent it.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Obama’s extreme climate controls?!


      • Nick G says:

        make our energy bills skyrocket.

        Except that US energy bills haven’t gone up significantly.

        And, if you like coal you also have to be happy with asthma, cancer and mercury poisoning. When you include health costs (both for miners and everyone else who breathes the air) then coal is very, very expensive.

        • Nathanael says:

          Yeah, energy bills are actually down, thank you solar and wind.

          • Paul Helvik says:

            Maybe where you live, which apparently must not be in the Northern Plains or Upper Midwest. Here, drastically increasing energy prices have become a highly discussed topic among business owners and job creators. Unfortunately, among many political types, increased energy bills are simply seen as an unavoidable consequence of insane energy policies such as the renewable energy mandate in Minnesota that has seen the state deliberately turn away cheaper forms of electricity in order to placate a small, but highly vocal, faction of extreme environmentalists.


            The chief impetus for rate increases over the past decade has been utilities’ need to recover costs of sizable investments in infrastructure. Power companies in district states have spent billions of dollars on new generation, increased transmission capacity and facility improvements. Much of this infrastructure spending has been in response to new federal air quality regulations and efforts by some district states to promote environmentally friendly generation.

            • HuntingtonBeach says:

              Paul are you one of the kind of guys who poisoned Flints water system because you were penny wise and dollar foolish ? or would just do it intentionally ?

              • Paul Helvik says:

                The alterations to Flint’s water system are a lot like these renewable energy mandates: poorly-devised government programs put in place without fully determining all the possible negative consequences that could result.

                • HuntingtonBeach says:

                  “without fully determining all the possible negative consequences that could result”

                  Exactly the situation of burning limitless amounts of fossil fuel

                  So your a FoxNews viewer too

            • islandboy says:

              Hey Paul, do you work for/at the Heartland Institute or the Institute for Energy Research by any chance? Your post is written as if it is coming straight from their play book. These Koch supported “think tanks” have as their main agenda, supporting viewpoints that coincide with those of their major benefactors (founders) and your post couldn’t be more in line with the Koch’s way of thinking.

              What I find interesting is that these former champions of the free market (the Koch brothers) are now seeking, by way of political action, to engage in Regulatory Capture and use laws or regulations to obstruct their competition. These actions, if successful may turn out to be against the future prospects of the US as it seems that a transition to fuel free sources of electricity is well underway in many parts of the world. If the US stifles the new energy industries instead of encouraging them, the Asian countries will continue to take market share away from the US and eventually nobody will want the fuel being sold by the Koch brothers or the machines that use those fuels.

              • Fred Magyar says:

                He is just another Fossil Fuel Fascist who wants others to pay for his arrogant destructive lifestyle. These people have no sense of personal responsibility! They think they can shit in the commons forever without any consequences.

              • Paul Helvik says:

                If you must know, I work for a railroad that thrives on hauling coal. If the extreme environmentalists and leftists were to be succeed in their quest to shut down all of the mines in the Powder River Basin, my job would go away, as would thousands of other good-paying, unionized jobs stretching hundreds of miles away from the mines. Furthermore, several main lines that owe their existence to the haulage of coal would become unneeded. Consequently, they would likely be ripped up, which would lead to the loss of property tax revenue in numerous counties and local jurisdictions across the country.

                • Fred Magyar says:

                  Tough noughies! Life just ain’t fuckin fair is it?!

                  If you really believe that your cushy lifestyle is threatened by environmentalists then you are just plain ignorant of reality. Truth is it is the lousy economics of coal that will get you first. Hope you and the other lovers of the coal economy have a good back up plan because coal related jobs are going away and there is not a damn thing you or Trump can do about it. It’s just bad business!
                  You can scream and wail and tilt at windmills all you want!

                  If you think all those jobs related to coal that are going to be lost are a problem then try wrapping your head around the economic catastrophe coming your way caused by technological disruption of things like AI, robotics, self driving trucks etc…


                  Driverless trucks: economic tsunami may swallow one of most common US jobs

                  America is producing more than ever before, but it is doing so with fewer and fewer workers. Once trucks become automated, where will these jobs go?

                  For millions of average Americans, the reasonable expectations of their youth – a steady job, home ownership, college education for their children – have degraded into decades of stagnation, even as they have been continuously bombarded by news of the overall growth and prosperity of the US economy.

                  The driving force behind this transition has been technology. It is widely recognized among economists that while the impact of globalization has been significant, especially in specific regions of the country, robots and factory automation have been a far more powerful force. Indeed, even those jobs that did migrate to China are now evaporating as factories there aggressively automate.

                  Among those workers who remain employed, it has become almost cliche to complain about good, well-paying factory jobs that have degraded into far less lucrative and reliable positions at Walmart. The few good working class jobs that remain are those that – at least so far – have been exempt from the forces of both globalization and automation.

                  How do you think that will ripple through the economy?!

                  So go ahead and blame the left and the environmentalists and send my regards to your new employers when you get your next job as a greeter at Walmart. Then again maybe Walmart will put a big smiley faced robot as a greeter in your place…

                  • Synapsid says:

                    FredM, (When I don’t know how to bring a given item to general attention here I always tell FredM.)

                    In re: the general renewables topic:

                    Go to Reuters home page and under “World” in the top black bar click on “Special Reports.” The first report is: US military marches forward under green energy, despite Trump.

                    The military, especially the Navy, have been making increasing use of renewable energy since the GWBush administration, and the new SecDef, General Mattis, is one of the major drivers with a specific goal of getting rid of fuel convoys (perfect targets) to the extent possible. Obama required the
                    Army, Navy and Air Force to deploy one gigawatt of renewable power and the Navy has already done so.

                    Forward Marine units carry solar panels to charge comms, GPS, night-vision goggles and such.

                    The takeaway: the DOD is a huge customer so this supports jobsjobsjobs. Please to get the message out, and don’t forget the “jobs” part as any politician has to pledge allegiance to that.

                    (Still no port in the house.)

                • wharf rat says:

                  “They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
                  Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back
                  To your hometown”

                  You’re SOL. You should start thinking about job retraining.

                  Renewable Energy Technology | Casper College

                  The Renewable Energy Technology program is a versatile, interdisciplinary program that offers students the opportunity to become trained in variety of technologies. The core of the program is centered on electrical power generation from wind and solar.

                  Making China great again.

                  Both the production and the consumption of coal in China have fallen for the third year in a row, while the utilization rate for coal-fired generators has declined to 47.5% – an all time low – down from a peak of 79% in 2011.

                  China installed a world record 33.2 gigawatts of solar in 2016, more than doubling the previous record of 15 GW installed by China in 2015.

                  In terms of wind, China installed ‘just’ 17.3GW in 2016, down from the record annual install of 29GW in 2015, again set by China.


                • Bob Nickson says:

                  Coal can no longer compete. That’s what is killing it Paul.




                  It won’t be back either, never mind the fracking, in some markets, wind and solar power are now cheaper than coal, and those will both continue to decline in price.


                • Nick G says:


                  You have my condolences and hopes for a better future. It’s not your fault that coal jobs are in danger, and you deserve better than to have your career in danger. No one told you starting out that this could happen. It’s a tragedy, no question, and you deserve compassion and help in dealing with it.

                  But…you do have to be realistic. The other guys are right: coal is very expensive, even if you ignore CO2. The other forms of pollution that coal creates are very expensive in their own right: particulates, mercury, sulfur, etc., etc. And coal is even expensive if you exclude pollution – it just can’t compete.

                  Trump is wrong. Coal jobs aren’t coming back, no matter what happens.

                  • Boomer II says:

                    Coal people might try to blame renewable energy, but their real problem is natural gas. So it is one fossil fuel group against another. There’s no reason coal should be favored over natural gas. And coal has the disadvantage of being a bigger hassle to transport.

                    And working for a railroad that hauls coal gets a double whammy because that’s a problem — that coal has to be hauled. It’s something that the market will want to eliminate as soon as other options are cheaper. As has been pointed out here before, even if coal was being given away for free, the transportation costs to get it to power plants would make it more expensive than natural gas in some places.

                  • islandboy says:

                    “Coal people might try to blame renewable energy, but their real problem is natural gas.”

                    This is exactly why I posted the graph with my comment further down and why I extended the period back to 2000. The lines for NG and coal are almost mirror images of each other! It is NG that has been coal’s nemesis since 2000. Wind only started becoming a noteworthy contender in about 2007 and solar only recently began to “move the needle”.

                    With that, it is somewhat odd that renewables are being singled out for attack with little or no attention being paid to the role of NG by the critics of renewables. It’s not really all that odd when you realize that some of the owners of coal businesses also have interest in oil and gas and these people do not see renewables as a viable business. Unfortunately for them, the renewable genie is now out of the bottle.

            • t says:

              Annual Average Price per Kilowatthour by State
              (Lowest to Highest Rate as of 2015)
              Rank State Average Electricity Rate
              for All Sectors
              (Cents per Kilowatthour)
              1 Washington 7.41
              2 Louisiana 7.64
              3 Oklahoma 7.83
              4 Wyoming 7.95
              5 Kentucky 8.03
              6* West Virginia 8.12
              6* Idaho 8.12
              7 Arkansas 8.15
              8 Iowa 8.47
              9 Utah 8.61
              10 Texas 8.63
              11 Indiana 8.79
              12 Oregon 8.82
              13 North Dakota 8.85
              14 Montana 8.93
              15 Nebraska 9.04
              16 Illinois 9.28
              17 Missouri 9.30
              18* South Dakota 9.31
              18* Virginia 9.31
              19 Tennessee 9.35
              20 North Carolina 9.36
              21 Alabama 9.37
              22* South Carolina 9.48
              22* Nevada 9.48
              23 Georgia 9.52
              24 Mississippi 9.55
              25 New Mexico 9.68
              26 Minnesota 9.69
              27 Colorado 9.78
              28 Ohio 9.90
              29 Kansas 10.06
              30 Arizona 10.40
              31 Pennsylvania 10.41
              National Average 10.42
              32 Florida 10.64
              33 Michigan 10.84
              34 Wisconsin 10.93
              35 Delaware 11.21
              36 District of Columbia 12.08
              37 Maryland 12.14
              38 Maine 12.97
              39 New Jersey 13.93
              40 Vermont 14.36
              41 New York 15.28
              42 California 15.50
              43 New Hampshire 16.03
              44 Massachusetts 16.86
              45 Rhode Island 17.05
              46 Connecticut 17.76
              47 Alaska 17.94
              48 Hawaii 26.17
              Source: Electric Data Browser (http://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/browser/) Energy Information Administration, Washington, DC. Nebraska Energy Office, Lincoln, NE.
              Note: *Starting with this report, states are ranked so that equivalent prices are ranked at the same level.
              This table was updated on June 28, 2016.
              Typically, there is one year between updates.

              It appears that some states that have LOTS of renewable electricity are among the lowest cost states. Oklahoma, Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, North and South Dakota, etc are all at the low end of the price scale, and all these states are heavy into renewable electricity.

              Paul , you are either seriously ill informed, or else you are dumb enough to think any body on the net can’t just type ” electricity rates by state ” into his favorite browser, hit enter, and come up with the actual facts.

        • HuntingtonBeach says:

          “Except that US energy bills haven’t gone up significantly”

          Hi Nick,

          I would sight the two primary reasons fracking and EV’s. Fracking has turned a shortage of oil and gas into a current surplus. EV’s have shown that the monopoly gasoline and diesel have had on transportation is in the process of being broken. The OPEC leaders of the world now are able to see competition. They will have a limit to what they can charge do to alternatives.

          The George Harmon’s(Koch Bros) of the world are simply trying to hold on to their energy monopoly

        • Nate Mahler says:

          here in wyoming we love coal- Gillette Wyoming is Coal City USA! Obama was the worst President in my lifetime, killing the coal job’s left an right in this state…i seen 100’s of good men laid off in pbama’s war of coal. many probably will never ever work again since all job’s depend on coal here an always will. evil man!

          • Here in Alabama and Florida, we love to breathe clean air. 100’s of men lost their jobs but 10,000s of men, women and children will breathe cleaner air. In the long run millions of people will live longer lives because the breathe air free of coal pollution. Look at China, millions are dying because of coal fired power plants pollution.

            No, Obama was not an evil man, he was a president who knew the truth. Only very stupid, stupid, people would trade a few coal jobs for millions of lives of men, women and children.

            Obama, a very good man, a saint.

            • Oldfarmermac says:

              Well said , Ron

              But you forgot to mention that for every job lost in mining coal, a hundred or more NEW jobs have been created in the wind and solar industries. 😉

              Never the less, we should not forget that guys like Nate Mahler are real, and suffering real pain. I have a nephew who has landed and lost THREE good career jobs with small local companies that manufacture made to order equipment for nearby coal mines.

              Maybe I should say that these three small companies USED to make custom ordered mining equipment locally, since two of them went broke, and the third consolidated operations and closed the local shop.

              In the second and third case, he got the job based on a sterling recommendation from the previous company. He’s sharp, and still young enough to go back to school, and I’m hoping to talk him into getting into something that cannot be off shored, and not likely to become obsolete.

              Considering his existing skills, and his preference for working at varied work hands on, the best options would appear to be something to do with energy efficiency for the next twenty years or so, in my estimation.

              There aren’t any job openings around here yet, to amount to anything, in the wind or solar industries, but there are buildings and houses by the tens of thousands that will be getting heat pumps, new windows, better insulation,etc…………

              And the nearest community college has programs covering all the stuff a hands on guy needs to know.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi OFM,

                I heard a radio program about programs for wind power technicians. It’s supposed to be high paying steady work especially if you are willing to travel. It was on NPR within the last two months. Sounds right up this guys ally, the program was somewhere in the Midwest.

              • GoneFishing says:

                Yep, it’s always been changing. At least in the last two centuries it has. Not many large sailing ships being built these days or horse drown vehicles. No one thinks of all those lantern manufacturers that went out of business as coal gas and electricity took over. How about typewriter manufacturers and the photographic film industry? Telegraph operators are sucking wind these days. Tap dancers and banjo players too.

                Yep it’s been changing fast for a long time now, technologies disrupting technologies. Tough finding a job building steam locomotives today.

                Technology to outfit a kid back in the good ole days.
                Clothes, shoes, coat, hat, comb, pen and pencil, paper, crayons, bicycle, watch and clock.
                Technology to outfit a kid now:
                Clothes, shoes, coats, hats, laptop, smartphone, flat screen TV, speaker system, wi-fi, game boxes. And a mom or dad with car to shuttle them around to all the activities and their friends houses.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            See my comment to Paul upthread.


            Good luck with Trump and your new greeter job at Walmart!

      • islandboy says:

        We must thank “George Harmon” for another “thought provoking” post, brought to us with the kind support of the happy billionaires!

  7. George Kaplan says:

    Arctic ice extent might have peaked for the year. Although last year and 2015 did something similar and then grew a bit more later on in March and April this year the ice in the peripheries is much thinner and more smashed up and it looks like some might already be melting back, as well as a lot of thicker stuff being pushed out east of Greenland. The Arctic is due another hot spell on the Atlantic side over the next two weeks. In the past volume, which must be the more relevant, if less obvious, parameter, has continued to grow until the end of April even as the extent declines, but this year has deviated from usual patterns quite a bit.

    • Javier says:

      Arctic ice extent might have peaked for the year.

      You wish. For some strange reason that I can’t understand.

      The average season extends to mid-March, and Arctic sea ice already has more ice at this time of the year than 2016 and 2006 and shows robust growth. 11 years without significant Arctic sea ice melting in the month of February, and likely March next month. The Arctic is now as cold as the average between 1980-2010, so Arctic sea ice has no reason to stop growing for the next two weeks.


    • Javier says:

      Arctic sea ice alarmism is unjustified

      • Fred Magyar says:

        That’s hilarious!

        • Javier says:

          Yes, I think so. All worried about an imminent Arctic melting that for the past ten years hasn’t advanced. Clearly we don’t understand what is happening as well as we think.

          • So … is Javier’s essential contribution to science photoshopped charts?

            • Nathanael says:

              Yep. What a liar.

              • Javier says:

                Do you think NSIDC and DMI lie about their data? I don’t think so. If they say there is more Arctic sea ice now than in February 2006 it is because there is more Arctic sea ice now than in February 2006.

                Of course we know internet is full of fake news that say that the Arctic is melting when the data shows it hasn’t melt in 10 years.

                • chilyb says:

                  Hi Javier,

                  How much arctic sea ice volume do you think has been lost since 1800?

                • No Javier,
                  What you did was take a chart from Climate Central and placed a caption that says “No Arctic Melting This Year” on top of it — knowing full well that Climate Central would never suggest something like that.

                  Because you did not say that you added that caption that makes you a manipulative liar who would probably resort to any distortion to promote your political agenda.

            • Survivalist says:

              This is an interesting chart updated daily.
              Roughly tied for record low as of Feb 25.


          • Fred Magyar says:

            2017 ushers in record low extent
            February 7, 2017
            Record low daily Arctic ice extents continued through most of January 2017, a pattern that started last October. Extent during late January remained low in the Kara, Barents and Bering Seas. Southern Hemisphere extent also tracked at record low levels for January; globally, sea ice cover remains at record low levels.

            Javier you are right! There is no melting! The ice is sublimating…

            • Javier says:

              Arctic sea ice has grown a lot since late January and it is no longer at record lows. Check the data if you don’t believe it, or don’t believe NSIDC own chart:

              There is a lot of variability in the path sea ice takes at different years. You can compare 2012 that had a lot of winter sea ice and very little summer sea ice with 2006 that had very little winter sea ice and a lot of summer sea ice. That 2016-2017 fall-winter had low sea ice means nothing.

              Alarmism about Arctic sea ice is just silly. But doomsters have to be busy with something.

              • Fred Magyar says:

                Of course we know internet is full of fake news that say that the Arctic is melting when the data shows it hasn’t melt in 10 years.

                Sure Javier!


                Arctic sea ice extent for January 2017 averaged 13.38 million square kilometers (5.17 million square miles), the lowest January extent in the 38-year satellite record. This is 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 square miles) below January 2016, the previous lowest January extent, and 1.26 million square kilometers (487,000 square miles) below the January 1981 to 2010 long-term average.

                So is that excerpt fake news? Or are you just full of it?

                • Javier says:

                  No. It is irrelevant. Who cares that on January it was the lowest, if on February it isn’t. For every month there is a year that had the lowest ice on record. So what?

                  If Arctic sea ice is disappearing, then every summer there should be less and less ice. That’s clearly not the case, ergo Arctic sea ice is not disappearing.

                  • Survivalist says:

                    If arctic ice is increasing, then every winter there should be more and more. That’s clearly not the case, ergo Arctic sea ice is not increasing.

                • Javier says:

                  And it is also a trivialization of climate change. Arctic sea ice monthly variability is due to weather, not climate change. That this January had the lowest January on record is not due to climate change. It is related to weather patterns that displaced Arctic air over most of Europe and parts of North America at the same time warmer air was displaced over the Arctic causing higher than average temperatures in the Arctic (to the alarm of the usual doomsters) and record snow over Greenland.

                  All this climate change trivialization is causing the opposite effect to the intended. People are realizing that they are being played, and when they learn that there is more summer Arctic sea ice now than when Al Gore made his movie, and they have been reading the opposite for 10 years there is no going back and their faith on climate change reporting by the media gets broken for good.

                  • Fred Magyar says:


                  • alimbiquated says:

                    Oops Javier you showed your hand when you mentioned Al Gore. You’re a Republican.

                  • Javier says:

                    Don’t be silly, alimbiquated,

                    I am a foreigner. Your party divisions don’t actually make much sense to me. You don’t even have a proper left.

                    Al Gore is a liar that made a lot of money out of the climate scare, regardless of his party affiliation.

                • Survivalist says:

                  JAXA data for Arctic sea ice extent finds that of the 57 days so far in 2017 a vast majority were record lows.


                  And when it’s not a record low it’s usually 2nd place.

                • Survivalist says:

                  “Arctic sea ice is not decreasing. There will be more of it in 2017 than in 2016.” ~ Javier



                  So far in 2017 the majority of the days have had less Arctic sea ice not more as your failed prediction stated.



                • Javier says:

                  That you are so keen on reporting January or February Arctic sea ice is telling a lot. Minimum high March Arctic sea ice took place in 2006, and minimum low September Arctic sea ice took place in 2007.

                  You need to focus on different metrics to keep alarmism alive in the face of lack of Arctic sea ice melting for 10 years, against all predictions.

                  This year again, as for the past 10 years, those minimums are likely to be surpassed, indicating that Arctic sea ice melting is not progressing as feared. It should be a motive for celebration by Arctic sea ice alarmists.

                  • wharf rat says:

                    “minimum low September Arctic sea ice took place in 2007.”
                    Or not.

                    On September 16, 2012 sea ice extent dropped to 3.41 million square kilometers (1.32 million square miles). This appears to have been the lowest extent of the year. In response to the setting sun and falling temperatures, ice extent will now climb through autumn and winter. However, a shift in wind patterns or a period of late season melt could still push the ice extent lower. The minimum extent was reached three days later than the 1979 to 2000 average minimum date of September 13.

                    This year’s minimum was 760,000 square kilometers (293,000 square miles) below the previous record minimum extent in the satellite record, which occurred on September 18, 2007. This is an area about the size of the state of Texas. The September 2012 minimum was in turn 3.29 million square kilometers (1.27 million square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average minimum, representing an area nearly twice the size of the state of Alaska. This year’s minimum is 18% below 2007 and 49% below the 1979 to 2000 average.


                  • Javier says:

                    The September 2012 low was an outlier due to very unusual weather conditions reflected in several storms that affected sea ice extent.

                    Despite the 2012 outlier the trend has been slightly upward since September 2007.

                  • Javier says:

                    Tamino is the guy that says El Niño only added less than 0.1°C to 2015 and less than 0.2°C to 2016. Yeah right.

                    Better not to share his opinions.

                  • Javier is the guy that thinks that paleoclimate transitions occur faster than anthropogenic changes … likely because he is paid to say that.

                  • Survivalist says:

                    Javier appears to have a pretty loose definition of what the word “minimum” means. Scientist or sock puppet? You decide.

    • wharf rat says:

      Antarctic Sea Ice Hits New All-Time Record Low

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  9. islandboy says:

    The EIA published their latest edition of their Electric Power Monthly on the 24th, with data for December 2016 and the full year’s data for 2016. In a post on the previous non-petroleum open thread, I looked at the projections from the EIA’s 2014 edition of their Annual Energy Outlook to compare the actual data for 2015 and 2016 with their projections. During that exercise, I downloaded the February 2012 edition of the EPM to get data back to 2000 (they switched from presenting fifteen years of annual data to to ten by February 2013) and added the data to the file I use so for the time being my graph of the annual data from Table 1.1 will start from 2000. Below is a collage of the 2000-2016 annual data along with the monthly data from January 2013.

    For 2016 annual dat there are several areas worthy of note.

    2016 is the first year where the contribution of NG exceeded that of coal (33.8% vs 30.4%)

    The contribution from non-hydro renewables continues it’s steady climb with wind reaching 5.55% and solar at 1.38%, breaking out above 1% for the first time, to take the contribution from non-hydro renewables to 8.89% and all renewables to 15.4%

    As far as the monthly data goes, since September of 2016, wind has been generating slightly more than conventional hydro-electric, generating almost 1% more in October. The only time wind has ever contributed more than conventional hydro-electric was in the month of November of 2014 and 2015. I expect wind will continue to contribute more than hydro from this point forward.

    • Nick G says:

      These are great charts!

      A few suggestions: If you post these two charts in separate comments, they’ll be larger and clearer.

      If you embed the legend into the chart, the body of the chart will be much larger and clearer.

      Finally, if this is Excel you can change the sequence of the data series, and sort the legend items in descending order of magnitude, to match the chart and make it easier to follow.

      • islandboy says:

        Thanks. I used to post them separately before I discovered PhotoCollage, a neat little open source app for linux. I also use a command line app, “convert” to resize the jpegs to under 50 kB so that the comments will post and that makes them significantly less clear.

        I use the “Calc” spreadsheet from the LibreOffice office suite to create the graphs and save them as images and I’m not sure how I could embed the legend without obscuring parts of the chart. I did play around though and discovered I could alter the legend so that it’s just one column instead of two. I also tried exporting the charts as svg files, importing them into the LibreOffice equivalent of MS PowerPoint where I can arrange them, take a screenshot and save that as a jpeg. I did some trial and error until the final result below ended up under 50 kB.

        • Nick G says:

          Those are definite improvements.

          A few more thoughts: you can make the space used by the legend box narrower by reducing the text used by the widest item: “All Renewables…”. You could delete the parenthesis, or shorten it to “(Inc. Solar, Hydro)”.

          The body of the chart could expand if you reduce the length of the X axis titles by using 3 letters: “13 Jan, Mar…”.

          Finally, the legend can go into the empty spaces in the chart: for instance, in the first chart there’s space between 50% and 60%, and between 20% and 50% on the left side (the font might need to be smaller…).

          • islandboy says:

            I have dropped the text in parentheses since it is superfluous. I only used it when I realized that the column headed “Renewables” in Table 1.1 of the EPM does not include hydro and that when Solar got it’s own column, it was not included in “Renewables” either. “All Renewables” should be self explanatory.

            I also used the three letter abbreviations for all months except January, which results in a cleaner look. The unabbreviated January makes for a nice delineation between years IMO.

            In the interest of maintaining a clean look, I think it would be best to leave the legend outside the graph. I won’t re-post the graphs. The changes should show up when I report on the next EPM at the end of March.

    • t says:

      Wind and hydro make a beautiful couple, and can dance together with the best of them, once we get some additional transmission lines built, and our energy ducks in a little bit straighter row.

      Most hydro plants can’t run at any better than about fifty percent due to lack of sufficient water.

      With plenty of wind and solar power on tap, utility managers will be able to hold back a lot of water to compensate for times when the wind and sun don’t cooperate.

      And pumped storage means we can recycle the water itself any place where the topography is suitable, and a good site available.

  10. islandboy says:

    Another set of data I have been tracking from the EIA’s Electric Power Monthly is the data for the fast growing solar sector. Below are graphs that show the solar output, including estimates of distributed generation, since January 2014 and the solar output relative to the total output for each month of the year. The second graph is an attempt to illustrate how solar may one day provide most of the additional power needed during the summer months in the US, if it is able to double more than four more times.

    At almost 6,000 GWh, four doublings will take solar output at the peak summer months to 96,000 GWh and the difference between the total output from the April/November lows to the July-August high, is in the region of 100,000 GWh. If solar output were to continue to double every two years, by 2025 solar would be doing some very heavy lifting during the summer days, leaving little room for NG and coal fueled plants.

    IMO, it is in recognition of this threat from solar, a great deal of push back is being developed by the Koch brothers and their ilk. They have not yet figured out a way to make the sun shine only where they want it to!

    • islandboy says:

      The version of this graph that was posted, does not show the data for November and December. Below is the corrected graph

  11. islandboy says:

    The last section of the EIA that I have produced graphs for is the section concerning capacity additions (Table 6.3. New Utility Scale Generating Units by Operating Company, Plant, Month, and Year). The column labeled YTD in the percentage additions graph is the overall percentages for the whole year.

    It would appear that a fair amount of capacity additions are not reported in the month they are actually added as it is unlikely that so much more capacity was added in December than in other months

    Notable items from the capacity additions:
    * NG had the most capacity additions at 33% with Wind next at 32%, followed by Solar at 28%, Nuclear at 4.1%, Hydro at 1.4% and Batteries at 0.7%.
    * Batteries were the sixth largest source of capacity additions.
    * 192.3 MW of batteries were added, more than the 50 MW of coal.
    * Renewables (Wind, Solar and Hydro) made up more than 60% of capacity additions.

    It would appear that the future for FF is not bright, despite the steps the new administration is going to take to make FF plants less expensive to operate (Make FF great again?). Florida Power & Light plans to build 596 MW of solar farms by 2018 and some states are not going to relent on their plans to harness more solar and other renewable energy. California, Hawaii, New York and North Carolina come immediately to mind (see http://www.seia.org/research-resources/top-10-solar-states ) while in the south, especially the south west solar is winning on the basis of LCOE so robust growth should continue in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and it is expected that Texas will see significant activity in 2017. It remains to be seen if the Trump administrations efforts will slow the solar adoption rates in those regions that have committed heavily to renewables.

    • islandboy says:

      Here’s the EIA’s take on 2016 electricity generation capacity additions

      U.S. electric generating capacity increase in 2016 was largest net change since 2011

      More than 27 gigawatts (GW) of electricity generating capacity was added to the U.S. power grid during 2016, the largest amount of added capacity since 2012. These additions more than offset the retirement of roughly 12 GW of capacity, resulting in a net capacity gain of nearly 15 GW, the largest change since 2011. These net additions follow a 4 GW net capacity decrease in 2015—the largest net drop in capacity recorded in the United States.

      The mix of capacity additions has changed considerably in recent years. In the past 15 years, nearly 228 GW of natural gas capacity was added, and from 2002 through 2006, natural gas made up most of the capacity additions in each year. More recently, renewable technologies, primarily wind and solar, have made up a larger share of additions. Of the 2016 total utility-scale capacity additions, more than 60% were wind (8.7 GW) and solar (7.7 GW), compared with 33% (9 GW) from natural gas. Because of differences in the capacity factor across different types of plants, shares of new capacity additions are not typically a good indicator of the shares of generation provided by new capacity across technologies. In addition to varying across generation technologies, new plant capacity factors can also vary significantly across regions.

      Large amounts of new utility-scale wind capacity started entering the market in 2007 and have since averaged 7 GW per year, despite occasional lapses in available tax credits. With the exception of 2014, annual utility-scale solar additions have increased in each year since 2008. About 7.7 GW of utility-scale solar was added in 2016—the most ever. The amount of utility-scale solar capacity added in 2016 alone was greater than all utility-scale solar that had been added through 2013. Although not included in the utility-scale additions shown above, another 3.4 GW of distributed solar photovoltaic capacity (i.e., rooftop systems) were added in 2016.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        At least our old friend Texas Tea makes no bones about being an oil man. He most likely honestly does believe in the stuff he posts, whereas some others are simply trolling and pretending, doing one thing while saying another.

        There are tons of honest, mostly clear thinking people who do not believe in the climate science consensus.

        It’s not really even their fault, they just don’t know the facts.

        I’m personally a lot better informed than the average man on the street, but there are dozens of fields of science that are utter mysteries to me. There are dozens of important foreign languages I can’t speak. I can’t read music. I can’t program, I can’t fly a plane. For everything I know ,there must be at least a thousand things about which I know essentially nothing.

        One thing I do know is that the VAST majority of people are more or less technically illiterate. Anybody who has ever worked in a public school who is himself or herself technically literate will tell you the same. Hell’s bells, over half of the TEACHERS in our schools are for all intents and purposes technically illiterate, in terms of the sciences.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          At least our old friend Texas Tea makes no bones about being an oil man. He most likely honestly does believe in the stuff he posts,

          That doesn’t make him or the 60 million or so other arrogant, ignorant gullible unthinking morons who actually voted for the orange headed orangutan currently occupying the White House any less dangerous!

          There are people who honestly believe the earth is flat! Would you want one of them responsible for plotting a polar plot of the Toronto-Hong Kong great circle route for your airliner?!

          Who knows, maybe we will get lucky and get through this period of history unscathed but Sky Daddy help us if we should be faced with a real emergency of some sort.

          We’re All Cucks Now
          A Conversation with David Frum


          • Oldfarmermac says:

            Hi Fred,

            My sympathies are with you, but I live right in the same cage at the zoo as that sixty million, and not all of them are bad people, or even stupid.

            They just don’t know the real score.

            We could discuss the reasons for their ignorance all day, amiably, but at the end of the day…….. We wouldn’t know how to cure it.

            • GoneFishing says:

              People live by stories and once the stories get set in it’s a rare person that can stand the changes or make them to accommodate the new stories.

              We tell ourselves stories every day and reinforce the belief in them. The stories are generally tied to some kind of reality or at least to a long history behind the story.

              I agree with you on not trying to change someone’s story. Better to find a way to make new things fit into the story. People get angry when one tries to rewrite the story they believe and the anger closes the door. They have to rewrite themselves. Nothing saying we can’t shed some light on the subject though.
              And when push comes to shove, most stories accommodate change. It’s all in how the change is framed.

        • Nick G says:

          It’s not really even their fault, they just don’t know the facts.

          It’s not an accident. They’ve been deliberately misinformed by dishonest media, including Fox News and Rupert Murdoch’s papers. These media are partly pandering to people’s vulnerabilities to fear and anger, and partly deliberately distributing reactionary ideas.

          These dishonest media are an enormous problem (they certainly spawned the Trump campaign), and I don’t really see good solutions.

          • Oldfarmermac says:

            Hi Nick,

            I do agree that the Koch brothers and their ilk are responsible in large part for the general public’s sorry state of ignorance,especially over the last few years, and that they played a significant role in electing Trump. How big that role was, I am not at all sure, but I don’t think it was a game changer, in terms of this last presidential election, except in the last three Rust Belt states that put Trump in the WH.

            Energy in general was a relatively minor issue, in my opinion, except as a hot button, which the Koch types pushed hard and often, in order to remind the voters who was who in the larger culture war.

            My personal belief is that even if energy had not been on the table as a hot button issue, Trump would still have won the states he did win, although somewhat smaller margin,excepting those three.

            Considering how close the vote was in the three states that put him over the top, if energy hadn’t been a hot button in his favor among working people pissed at Clinton’s embrace of globalism and banksters, he might not have carried those states.

            So maybe the election DID turn on energy, after the fashion of the kingdom that was lost for want of just one horseshoe nail.

            But the problem goes far deeper, and far farther back. We have some very decent schools, in some communities, but overall, our public schools SUCK, and the reasons they SUCK are many and varied, and most of the people who are supposedly trying to fix the problems are either actually working for one or another special interest OTHER than the kids, or else flailing in the water with countless other people with no way up and out except to push somebody else UNDER.

            I strongly recommend that every body read the little book The Peter Principle for laughs and insight, and the sequel The Peter Prescription for additional insight. These books are mostly about laughs and smiles, but they contain a hard kernel of truth just a little way beneath the surface.

            I’m not sure there IS any politically viable solution to the education problem. Throwing money at it helps, sometimes, but nearly all the money is spent on teachers and administrators salaries, and you could double them overnight, and five years from now, eighty or ninety percent of the teachers in classrooms today who are incompetent or indifferent or both would still be there.

            Nobody has ever come up with a scheme whereby money fixes broken homes, at least not reliably. Billions spent annually on cops and jails haven’t cured the drug problem, etc.

            All or at least most of our current welfare system is set up in such a fashion that it tends to CONCENTRATE troubled people in troubled communities, and when you have countless idle hands…….. those hands WILL find something to do, and most of the time it’s something that would be much better left undone.

            I am NOT advocating cutting off welfare, except in individual obvious cases of fraud, but the system we have is NOT working worth a damn. It IS more or less keeping the lid on the pressure cooker from flying off, and that’s about all, in overall terms.

            And it does obviously result in a lot of children having something to eat, and a lot of deserving people having a roof over their heads, and all that, which is morally right, and not only right, but IMPERATIVE.

            I don’t have any good answers, and I strongly suspect that none exist, or else I would have heard about them by now.

            I have personally turned the lives of a VERY few kids approaching adult hood around, by taking a personal interest in them, when nobody else was doing so, but for each of that half a dozen or so, I saw a hundred that had nobody taking a REAL interest in them. All I could to was try to connect with them at some particular teachable moment, for the most part, and try to get them to understand what was in their own best self interest. That occasionally worked with the ones with better gear between their ears. One in particular was a miserable failure at school.

            I helped get a job as a laborer, reminding him at every possible occasion how to GET ALONG on the job, so as to advance. He listened, and kept his mouth shut, and cheerfully did what he was told, and within few months, he was given the opportunity to drive a truck on the job site, and then learn another machine, and another, and to help the mechanics when there were breakdowns, because the foreman and the mechanics LIKED him. He was, as they say, part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

            If we hadn’t lived by chance on the same street, I wouldn’t have had any opportunity to talk to him once he dropped out of school.

            Today, at fifty, he’s a first class mechanic, Cat certified, and the fore man to boot.

            A couple of other kids that I helped get on at the same place didn’t last more than a couple of months. They were capable, but they just didn’t UNDERSTAND how to go along in order to get along, and they weren’t interested in being told HOW.

            The foreman back then told me he went thru a dozen or more new hires to get ONE he wanted around long term, and one he could tolerate, and my former student, the foreman now, tells me the same thing.

        • Survivalist says:

          Hey OFM, you had been talking about ICE vs battery power chain saws over in the other column. I hope you don’t mind me saying here in this column since we might get talking about non oil stuff if we start going on long winded about it. Yes, not your style I know lol 😉 anyway, I love my ICE saw. Husqvarna 372 XP. It puts the fuel in the stove real good. I’ve used an electric saw on a plug in chord around the yard and I don’t mind it. But I’d never consider getting a battery powered saw and extra batteries so I can go out in the back 40 to cut wood all day. I’d rather use a two-man saw and save myself all the expense of batteries. I could haul logs back to the yard and buck them up with the plug in saw. I figure the chainsaw is one of the best inventions ever. A lot of beech stands got left alone until the chainsaw hit the market. Nothing worse than hand falling beech. It puts the hard in hardwood.

          • t says:

            Hi Survivalist,

            I try to tell it like it is, and FOR NOW, I just can’t see paying out for enough batteries to head for the woods and actually work all day. My saw cost five hundred bucks, yours new is probably nine hundred now, same make, but you have the real McCoy commercial grade.

            These saws are NOT finicky, and they DO start first pull, and they DON’T give any more problems than say a nice Toyota Camry, lol.

            But batteries are getting so much better so fast that if I were a younger guy, my NEXT saw might actually be battery powered.

            Something tells me that power tool batteries are marked up all out of reason by the manufacturers and probably their dealers as well.

            That something is the fact that you can get two new batteries, charger, drill or saw, storage box, etc, for only twenty bucks or so more than a couple of replacement batteries, when the stores are running sales.

            It’s fine to get all giddy about how great things WILL BE later, but it’s better to be a little more objective about the relative merits of ICE versus battery TODAY, when talking to the man on the street.

            Otherwise, folks new to the renewables issue are going to be very disappointed by the harsh realities involved in making the switch, and the resulting bad first impression can set up like concrete.

            I will be the first person in this forum to sing the praises of my battery powered carpentry and mechanic’s tools. They work so well they are world class bargains by any measure. I can work quite a bit FASTER using them, and the time saved is worth several times the cost of batteries.

            Electric cars are ALMOST there, but not quite yet.

            It’s a SERIOUS mistake to argue that the price of a car is the price AFTER collecting a subsidy, in terms of political discourse, because it’s untrue. Doing that makes renewables advocates look like shills, like shyster lawyers, LIKE CAR SALESMEN, lol.

            Everybody knows that the guy that gets the subsidy is mooching off other taxpayers, and there is no HONEST way to claim otherwise. Claiming otherwise enrages the political opposition, and that’s not good. You don’t win elections by firing up the opposition, lol.

            I do personally believe the subsidies we provide to the renewable energy industries are AMPLY justified, and great deals for everybody, COLLECTIVELY, and post many comments to this effect.

            But I would like to see the subsidies granted in a way that is fair to people who don’t make enough to take advantage of them.

            I will continue to tell it like it is about politicians and chainsaws. Most people who need a chainsaw on a REGULAR basis are far and away better off owning a quality conventional saw, and putting the difference into some useful project or an investment.

            Opportunity cost MATTERS.

            You can, with a little luck, retire ten or twenty years early by driving Chevy’s rather than Beemers or Audis , and investing the difference in purchase price, taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs.

            You can with a little luck retire ten or twenty years early simply by investing the price of one pack of cigarettes a day, every day, from the time you start work, and not taking anything out.

            • Survivalist says:

              I’m guessing maybe you have the 455 Rancher. If so that’s a nice little saw. Most of my electric hand tools with plug in chords are still good for me. My skill saw is still plug in. Never gets far from an outlet at anytime. The battery powered drills are probably what has the biggest increase in convenience over plug in. Battery or a plug in skill saw makes no dif to me. But half way up a ladder doing siding or on a roof finds me liking the handling and convenience of a drill with a battery pack.
              I’ll be honest and say I’ve never tried a battery powered chain saw but I’m well acquainted with how much juice a chainsaw needs. It seems to me I’m either gonna be changing batteries a couple times an hour or carrying a chainsaw/battery that is so heavy I get less work done. Now as I said I’m speculating. I’ve only ever used the ICE saw and the electric saw is plug in so no battery.

              • HuntingtonBeach says:

                I’ve got a $49 Harbor Freight 14″ 120v special and 150′ of 14g orange extension cord

                No- gas, 2 stoke oil, noise, battery, charger, pull starter, spark plug, choke, monthly payment but I do have an excuse not to take on large jobs

              • Oldfarmermac says:

                You guessed right. I would have paid the thousand for the top of the line, because quality is always cheap, except for the fact I won’t be using a chainsaw enough from here on out to wear out the Rancher, never mind the real logger’s saw.

                Too old, but old is better than dead, lol.

                • Survivalist says:

                  Only reason I went with the 372 is because I occasionally need to push a 24 inch bar. Not often, but when it occurs I don’t want to be Mickey Mouseing around. I almost went with the 365. I like the Rancher too.

          • notanoilman says:

            Heh, I saw an ice carving class going on at a local school using electric chain saws, Couldn’t help but think ice+tropical sun => water, water+electricity => oooops! No breaker visible and adapters lying on the floor between puddles.


    • Gerry says:

      Reminds me of “100 authors against Einstein” (easy to google).

      They all made fools of themselves.

  12. Longtimber says:

    “FP&L plans to install 596 MW of PV by 2018” Goody for the poor energy consumer. Investor Owned Utilities “IOU’s” and shareholders in Florida get 10% on ANY Investment – 20 years. That would be ~ 14.4% consumer cost including spending on the Girls Scouts, Advertising, Lobbing, and Favors. So that $500 Installed PV Panel now costs North of $1000. You see any problems with the Model? The Action is behind the Meter. No way to Tax the kWh’s .. The Beltway – Healthcared – Energy Deregulation. Graph is the 1st 6 days of production from a Rooftop 10kW ( AC ) Teir 1 PV System with 290 watt Mono Panels and Solar Edge Optimizers. The 27th was overcast/raining much of the day . Today is 2/28. Note that 10-35% kWh Summer savings from Array shading – AC Load Reduction is Typical.

  13. t says:


    Things are changing. The activists among big D Democrats are no longer willing to put up with Republican Lite leadership, and the leadership is beginning to get the message.

    • Nick G says:

      Is drug re-importation a good idea?

      As far as I can tell, US drug companies subsidize low drug prices in places like Canada, and make their money in the US. That profit is what pays for drug research.

      I’d be delighted to see drug companies reduce their advertising and dividends, but their research is vital to longer and better lives.

      This looks like killing the golden goose.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Hi Nick,

        I can read your comment and agree with you one hundred percent, or disagree to almost the same extent, depending on which “hat” I put on to read it.

        IF you happen to have PLENTY of money, drug prices, and the near monopoly or monopoly status pharma has, considering patent laws, etc, are no problem.

        But your argument, killing the goose, is fundamentally one based on the PUBLIC welfare.

        And pharma could fucking care less. Corporations are synthetic alien ( non carbon like every thing else alive we know about on this planet ) immortal life forms without scruples of any kind whatsoever. Anything pharma does in terms of giving some people a break is done for pr purposes, rather than for any other reason.

        You DO have a point, but the situation with advertising, patents, discriminatory pricing, etc, is unacceptable from a public policy point of view.

        Maybe it’s time for the REST of the WORLD to pull its fair share of the load when it comes to the research and development of new drugs and medical equipment, so that ordinary people here in the USA get a fair shake.

        I talk to people with hardly any money at all, almost every day, who have serious problems that require expensive drugs- drugs that are exactly the same ones sold in other countries by the same companies for a minor fraction of what they sell for HERE.

        One of the things I find both extremely amusing and extremely infuriating about such questions is that the people who defend the drug companies so seldom admit, or even KNOW, that they have been in bed with the regulatory authorities so long that they have essentially captured control of the regulatory process, and it is now structured more to protect pharma from the public than to protect the public from pharma.

        And both political parties, up until very recently, are entirely in the vest pocket of pharma, peeking out. A few Democrats are now beginning to question the status quo, but most of the D party is still on board with it, at the actual level where things happen, or don’t, meaning in Congress.

        I have things to do right now, but maybe I will get back with some of the details later.

        IS there any other important industry that sells it product to the government on the grand scale that is protected by law from the bidding process usually used?

        The answer to this one question alone should be more than ample to allow a thinking person to understand that pharma is ripping us off to as great or greater extent than any other industry, while posing as choir boy.

        • Songster says:

          Absolutely correct! The unholy alliance between “big pharma” and the Congress is one of the major problems with our healthcare costs.

          As I understand it, one good thing about the ACA is that it is a step towards correcting that. I am hoping that we will eventually come up with a simpler ACA…who knows maybe even single-payer.

        • Nick G says:

          Sure. All of that makes sense.

          But…we still need to make sure we don’t kill drug R&D. In fact, we desperately need 10 times as much research. We shouldn’t do anything to reduce it.

          The pharma industry may be evil, but…we need it, and while we go about reforming it we need to keep in mind that we can’t kill it in the process.

          So, this re-importation thing just looks completely not-thought-out to me. I’m sure that reform is a good idea, but let’s do it in a smart way, not something that just looks good to consumers, but is…simplistic and unrealistic.

          Seriously: what’s more important than health? Think about your own health. Think about your parents, and all of the people of your and their generation that you’ve lost. What would you pay for robust good health to age 100?

          So, how do you address people not being able to afford their prescriptions? Easy – expand insurance coverage, expand Medicaid, expand Medicare Part D, and get those people’s drugs paid for. Would that be expensive? Sure. But who cares? Really?

          If it were up to me, we’d reduce the military by 25%, we’d slap a 50% tax on ICEs and fossil fuels, on gambling and (legalized) drugs, liquor, pot, etc., and put all that money into public medical research.

          Any public policy about health insurance and drug costs should address this issue first and foremost: We’re at serious risk of going down the path of many other major countries, which seriously, seriously underfund medical research. That would be a disaster – this is literally a matter of life and death.

          Roughly 10,000 people die every day of unnecessary illness in the US alone. The human body is just a machine. If we understood it the way we understand cars, we could save all those lives.

          We need much more research. Public would probably be better – private drug companies don’t care about curing anything. In fact, they seriously want to avoid that. Their dream is expensive, lifetime maintenance drugs. Each generation of drugs in their ideal world would be only 5% better than the previous generation: just good enough to get patents and FDA approval, not so good that they cure anything and put themselves out of business. But…private incremental research is infinitely better than nothing at all (the perfect is the enemy of the good).

          • HuntingtonBeach says:

            An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

            Health, nutrition, exercise and safety education with taxes on candy, cake, soda, liquor, ice cream, cookies, pizza and Cheetos would better serve society. You might want to look at some real gun regulation and more pollution controls too.

            Oh never mind, I forgot this is America. Home of don’t tread on me.

            • Nick G says:


              But…some people can’t manage to do all the right stuff, and even when you do, that can’t fix everything. 15% of Lung cancer happens to people who have never ever smoked. There will still be marathon runners who get heart attacks, etc., etc.

  14. Longtimber says:

    The future of energy is even more distributed

  15. Oldfarmermac says:

    While I’m not so gung ho about the current state of the art of batteries as some others, I am nevertheless amazed at the speed at which battery manufacturers have been improving durability and reducing prices, at least at the wholesale level.

    And it could be that ” We ain’t seen nuttin yet” .


    • Longtimber says:

      Batteries importance is wayyyy overrated. A well designed Standalone “system” power flow is > 80% direct ( avoiding the chemical dance ). Why would one take .06 kWh PV Power and turn it into .36 cents kWh power? There’s no getting around it the fact that eChem storage … aka Battery cost more +++ than the Power itself. By Design the sum of loads behind a utility meter WASTE more power than used …. Powering such crap via eChem is ridiculous. PV is the Last step in the Stand-alone conversion process. Note: Such electrical systems are now referred to “stand-alone” in the North American National Electrical Code … aka. NEC

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Hi Longtimber,

        I’m with you, most of the way anyway.It seems obvious to me that the way to get there soonest in transitioning to renewable energy is to use it directly as it is produced to the greatest practical extent.

        I have near zero hands on expertise in this field, but I do know that it doesn’t cost very much extra to wire a house and to build appliances in such a way that dishwashers, hot water heaters, air conditioners, clothes dryers, and other appliances run automatically when the renewable juice is flowing in, whether from panels on the roof or from a wind farm hundreds of miles away. If there is no other immediate use for that juice, it could be fed into a few tons of gravel in the crawl space or structural concrete embedded with heating elements during the cold months, so as to reduce the need for heating energy over the next few days.

        A famous old general from days gone by once said in response to the question why he allowed his men a ten minute rest every hour even on forced marches to a battle, that that was the FASTEST way of getting to the actual destination.

        Production is now just about cheap enough, or soon will be, for wind and solar power to REALLY start taking a bite out of ff consumption.

        Storage can mostly come later, as a practical matter, when it will be cheaper anyway.

        I believe in subsidizing renewable energy, but I do NOT believe that subsidizing the installation of batteries built using current technology will do much if anything to advance the invention and development of NEW battery technology.

        The research into NEW technology is NOT funded by the sale of existing batteries that don’t yet sell well enough for the manufacturers to sell very many of them without subsidies to help cover the cost.

        There are hundreds at least, if not thousands, of universities where state of the art research is being done, and considering the total amount of that research, hardly any of it is done with money provided by the battery industry. Most of the spectacular results we have gotten used to over the years come about due to discoveries in fields OTHER than the ones that get the credit. Consider the microscope. Physicians get the credit for figuring out how to control microbes, but the microscope, which is simply a reversed telescope, was not invented to look for microbes.

        Farmers didn’t invent the Haber Bosch industrial process.

        The Wright brothers didn’t invent the internal combustion engine.

        It’s not likely that whoever discovers or invents the technology that allows us to eventually have cheap practical electrical energy storage will be employed by a battery company.

        I don’t think I am getting anywhere by arguing that the best path forward , politically is to lighten up on the climate question, and focus on the day to day positive aspects of pushing the growth of renewable energy, but then it always takes a long time for people to change their minds about such things.

        In a nutshell, here’s my reasoning.

        The people who are on board with climate science and the overall D party agenda are going to STAY on board, so long as the D party takes care of them, and they have JOBS above all else. If they are unemployed or scared of being unemployed, they might just surprise everybody except some old cynic such as yours truly, and vote for a TRUMP. Shit like that happens.

        So- We need to remind people, often, already on board about the climate issue, but we don’t need to HAMMER on it almost exclusively day in and day out , while ignoring the OTHER positive aspects of renewable energy.

        You just don’t SELL something, other than fire and health insurance, by talking about it preventing problems that are actually remote from the immediate day to day lives of voters. That’s a damned hard sell, and it doesn’t actually WORK, except if the customer is technically sophisticated enough to REALLY understand it, and take it to heart. Liberal or D voters of the man or womon on the street will be on board, because the D PARTY is on board, but not all that COMMITTED to actual action. Their support is more about political solidarity,US Democrats versus THEM (fill in this black with your favorite insults ) Republicans.

        Even people who ARE technically sophisticated, at least in their own line of work, are not easily motivated by trying to sell them on the consequences of not doing the RIGHT THING NOW.

        For instance, the typical nurse ( and I believe women on average are smarter and more conscious of the long term than men ) these days is quite well educated in respect to the basics of diet and nutrition and the long term consequences of either eating right or NOT eating right.

        Walk into any damned near any hospital, and you will see that at least half of them are seriously overweight and obviously get little or no useful cardiovascular exercise.

        Hells bells, I know more about nutrition and health than most nurses, having a broader background in biology,( Been to nursing school myself, so all the classes they take, all the nutrition courses they take, plus what they teach in ag colleges, which is a GREAT deal more. I’M FAT. And I know it’s killing me, slowly, and that my remaining years are not many, and I DON’T believe in an afterlife.

        Continuously hammering on climate is NOT doing anything to convince conservative types to vote D, quite the contrary.

        But on the other hand, there are enough EXCELLENT arguments available, if they are presented properly, to convince conservative types that renewable energy is the way to go.

        I have mentioned these arguments often, and won’t repeat them right now.

        But I have gotten excellent results using these arguments when talking to even the worst of redneck Trump types face to face. Of course I am careful not to insult them, or talk down to them, when doing so.

        I just think about the right ways to push their hot buttons, and push them.

        Talking about clean water laws the way the average liberal talks about them just pisses them off, because it gets them to thinking about the GUV’ MINT telling them what they can and can’t do on their own property.

        But talk about somebody upstream putting piss and shit and used toilet paper in the stream they used to fish in, or in the stream from which their community draws it’s water supply, and before you know it, they’re talking about putting them upstream motherfuckers IN JAIL.

        SO HELP ME SKYDADDY, I have had one actually stop and more or less clam up in the middle of a sentence calling for jailing an upstream developer who allowed run off to kill all the brook trout in a stream nearby, a stream both of us fished as kids, when he suddenly realized he was contradicting himself , having said within the previous five minutes that it’s nobody’s goddamned business what people do on or with their own property.

        Incidentally , the trout are back, because we now have erosion control ordinances which are enforced, and the state fish and game people restocked the stream, but we still can’t fish there. The land has been cut up into lots, and enough of them have no trespassing signs that there is no longer any reasonably free access to the stream.

        Give me a six pack of beer, or two six packs, to lubricate my listener’s mind, and I can play the fear , obfuscation and doubt game against the fossil fuel industries one on one like professional violinist.

  16. Oldfarmermac says:

    Globalization may play out in some rather unexpected ways.


    This guy thinks that hotels in the USA will be cleaned by robots controlled by workers in the Philippines or some other low wage country. He also points out that quite a lot of supposedly safe jobs can be off shored via electronic communications and robotics. I don’t see why not, from the technical pov, except that I don’t personally think of machines that are merely remotely controlled as robots. To me, a robot is a machine that can do its job without a human being in immediate control.

    I remember talking to a computer programmer, some years ago, at about the same time I first got internet, about how great globalization WAS , in his opinion, due to EVERYBODY being more prosperous. Not long after that, his own job was off shored, with programmers in India taking his work for about ten cents on the dollar. He sure as hell sang a different tune after that, although he did land another job fairly soon.

    What’s to stop a self employed American engineer from lining up a business relationship with a few engineers in India, or anyplace else where the schools do a good job of teaching English, and taking in four or five times as much work as he is really capable of doing himself, in terms of say designing a factory?

    When the drawings come back, he can look them over, and sign his own name to them. What’s to stop him? How many other self employed engineers can he put out of work? Do you REALLY need to be physically located in the USA to do the work of a CPA? Or do you merely have to know how to do the work, since the necessary data can be sent anywhere at near zero cost these days?

    Of course accountants have professional licensing procedures in place that are supposedly there to protect the public, but in actual practice, they serve just as well and maybe even better to protect accountants FROM the public, which might not actually want to pay a hundred or two hundred dollars an hour when an Indian accountant would gladly do the same work for ten percent.

    The owners of the furniture and textile industries that used to be very important in this area actually did what they could to stay HERE, mostly, but once the competition from cheap imported clothing and furniture got to a certain point, it was offshore or perish, and they off shored.

    And when they did, what they actually accomplished, long term, was to teach the people in the countries they moved to HOW do make clothing and furniture, plus they provided them with the necessary infrastructure.

    They still own brand names, and distribution systems here in the USA, but they mostly don’t actually own their industries anymore. They’ve mostly been DISPLACED by the very people they taught to make clothing and furniture.

    Brand names just don’t mean much anymore, except in conferring STATUS, compared to what they meant in times gone by. I have old set in their ways neighbors who don’t think twice about being the first local person to buy a Korean made car these days. These same people LAUGHED at folks who were the first ones to buy Japanese cars back in the eighties, saying it was foolish to take a chance on something so expensive failing to give good service.


    Some people believe that the cost advantages associated with globalization mean it simply CANNOT be stopped, and while I recognize that this is a VERY powerful argument, I don’t see it as a slam dunk certainty.

    We do lots of things for reasons other than efficiency or commercial advantage, things that cost us a lot of money, such as for instance spending mega bucks on keeping old farts like me alive for their last few days in this old vale of tears, when the same megabucks spent on proactive care and health education earlier would buy a hundred times as much additional life expectancy.

    I am not predicting it will happen, and I don’t think it will happen to any real extent , but depending on how the political cards fall, globalization might be severely curtailed and even partially reversed.

    Consider what might be the simplest case in favor of protectionism in a country such as the USA. Suppose it costs twenty percent more to manufacture sneakers here than it does in China, when all is said and done, or even a hundred percent more. BUT if we have a few thousand people gainfully employed making sneakers, that’s a few thousand who will not be eating with food stamps and living under roofs paid for by those who still have jobs.

    The professional and entrepreneurial classes would see their incomes drop relative to the working classes, and wouldn’t be able to accumulate so many assets, but their standards of living wouldn’t be very seriously affected. You don’t actually live much better on three million than you do on three hundred thousand, except in terms of status.

    Except for the necessity of importing certain materials or resources which are unavailable domestically, it seems to me that a very large and rich country such as the USA could function satisfactorily without a great deal of international trade. It might help to think of the possibility by visualizing the COUNTRY as a microcosm of the world. We “Earthians” don’t trade with any other WORLDS, lol.

    Smaller countries would not do well at all, COULD NOT do well, without extensive trade, because small countries aren’t possessed of enough people and resources to maintain all the different industries we take for granted these days.

    I am not advocating a protectionist race to the bottom, although it’s rather likely at least one person will accuse me of doing so, lol. What I am doing is wondering if the political cards might eventually fall in such a way that protectionism becomes the norm, rather than globalism.

    This might or might not result in higher living standards for some people, including a lot of my neighbors and some of my relatives. It wouldn’t make much difference to me, since I buy very little of anything except the bare necessities such as food and clothing.

    Where will offshoring STOP ? According to the link, rentacop work can be offshored. Education can be off shored, if a parent is willing to pay in a state that allows home schooling, and wishes to hire a teacher via the net. Substantial amounts of health care work can be off shored, or automated. The last time I got an X ray, the procedure was done in the doctor’s office, but the radiologist was someplace else, reading x rays faxed to him, one after another at a billed rate of ninety bucks a piece. I guess it took him all of two or three minutes to read mine.

    Sometime back I took an old friend unable to drive to the doctor, and from there to the hospital for an ultrasound, which was performed by a very nice lady very close to retirement, who probably makes MAYBE fifty plus bennies. She chatted right along with me and her patient, telling us she averages eight or nine a day, eight hours, that she spent two years at the local community college learning how, that the equipment cost close to a million, all together, but that it’s ten years old. It all fits into a smallish room, maybe three hundred square feet at the outside.

    So when she was finished, we asked how long it would be before the results were back, and she said anywhere from five or ten minutes to 24 hours, depending on if the specialist happened to be at his desk, or gone home for the day. She punched a couple of buttons, and the data flew upstairs to the relevant diagnostician’s office, and sure enough, in less than ten minutes, the results were back on her screen, and at my friends doctors office as well. Eight hundred and seventy bucks they billed him.

    Does any body here think a retail pharmacist REALLY does anything except count pills and put them in bottles according to what is written on the prescription provided by the customer’s physician?

    Big Pharma so far has managed to protect itself by getting in bed with the government, with the result being that government is doing more to protect Pharma from the people than it is to protect the people FROM Pharma. I posted a link about that earlier today.

    American farmers are mostly safe from foreign competition, but not in every case, by any means. Local apple growers used to be able to sell any culled production to processing plants that made apple juice. Now that market is just about gone, due to cheap imported apple juice concentrates, according to industry scuttle butt. It’s GOOD to be retired in some ways, lol.

    I don’t pretend to have answers at all, never mind GOOD answers to all these questions. Maybe somebody else has some.

    ONE thing I am absolutely dead fucking SURE of is that the R types are right, ninety percent of the time, about welfare creating dependency. I know plenty of people personally who are as thoroughly hooked on various sorts of welfare as any drunk is hooked on his booze. They won’t move, once they’re in subsidized housing, and on the local distribution list for food stamps, free school lunches, etc, squared away with the clinics run by the state health department, etc. And if they DON’T move, well then, they AREN’T going to work, because there is no legitimate work available, locally, that pays as well as the combination of welfare and a little under the table hustling.

    It’s certainly TRUE that anybody who has long been self supporting and self respecting who hits a spell of bad luck and finds himself or herself on welfare will get OFF welfare as soon as possible, and go back to being self supporting.

    But it’s equally true that people who get accustomed to welfare have VERY little real incentive or even DESIRE to get off of it, because they correctly see that any job they MIGHT get will pay hardly any better than what arrives via the mail box, plus they would actually have to GO TO WORK, as opposed to sitting around playing cards or watching tv or maybe going fishing.

    No doubt I will be accused of being a Trumpster for saying these things, but they are nevertheless true. I know, because I LIVE among working and welfare class people. They accept me as one of them, although they know I am moderately well off. I don’t pass judgement on them, and they know it, and they know I will NOT rat them out if I see them working although they are not SUPPOSED to be working.

    So HOW does the average local guy or girl who gets welfare look at it, in terms of his or her self image?
    They look at it as a winning card in their hand, the hand they were dealt in the lottery of life, in the same sense as a person who inherits money looks at their inherited money. They don’t feel the least goddamned bit guilty or ashamed about taking whatever they can and do get. They just see it all as a matter of LUCK, and there is certainly a large element of truth in seeing it that way.

    The average kid who gets into medical school never stops to think that he got there because he was LUCKY ENOUGH to be BORN ON THIRD BASE – to parents who provided him with a decent home, in a place with decent schools, encouraged him to do well, taught him good habits, etc, etc etc.

    Probably pretty close to ninety percent of the physicians who get their license this year were lucky enough to be born on third base. They have done only what is the norm for people in their situation, whereas the other ten percent have done something truly noteworthy, clawing their way up and out of their economic and cultural backgrounds.

    • GoneFishing says:

      Old Farmer,
      The energetics of the system are changing. The technology of the system is advancing quickly. The climate is changing and the ecosystem is faltering.
      The cards are being reshuffled right now and any country or region that thinks it can survive without global trade is playing a game of craps. Ten to twenty years from now could be as different as 1900 was from 2000. We do not know in which direction, either.
      Welcome to a world that mimics the uncertainty that the poor have been living with forever.
      What happens when the plethora of world produced products is narrowed down by the isolationist policies being promoted right now? Jobs lost in the stores, the warehouses, the trucking and rail industry and on and on. When those people can’t spend, other jobs are lost or reduced in pay.

      BTW, the Boeing Dreamliner is not very American.

      Guess what folks, the most American car is the TOYOTA CAMRY. Third on the list is a Honda.
      And that Keystone Pipeline, with it’s short term construction jobs will carry foreign oil every day, not just for the short term.
      So beware of the rhetoric about MADE IN AMERICA and JOBS IN AMERICA. It rings like an empty fuel tank.

      Our biggest opportunity is in renewable energy and it’s offshoots as well as in climate change mitigation and agricultural renovation. Why should the US allow the ROW to lead in those areas? Just because there are minority who want to anchor us to the failing ways of the past and a paradigm of isolationism that is a sure way to the poor house?

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Hi GF,
        You MIGHT be right. I can’t prove you are wrong, and don’t even intend to try.

        My immediate goal at the moment is to see if any body can produce any HARD EVIDENCE that a LOT of international trade is essential to the prosperity of a country such as the USA.

        All the things you say may very well be true, but just saying them does not MAKE them true.

        The disruptions you talk about, the lost jobs you talk about, are REALITIES for millions of people as the RESULT of international trade.

        It’s true that grain farmers are doing well exporting grain in actual or processed form as chicken, but it’s also true that a lot of other farmers, including some of my immediate family, have lost markets due to cheap imported food.

        It’s fairly obvious that more trade means more competition, and a greater variety of products, and so forth, but it does NOT necessarily follow that ANY GIVEN country will be more prosperous as a result.

        There are countless lies told, and they are told by countless different people. Sometimes the very worst of enemies make common ground in telling a given lie. The bankers have their lies, Pharma has its lies, the insurance and real estate industries have their lies, farmers have their lies, the fossil fuel industries have their lies, and political parties have their lies too.

        Only a fool believes something simply because he has been told it’s so by people who have skin in the game, and it’s goddamned hard to run across ANYBODY who doesn’t have skin in any game they talk about.

        Let us consider just two lines of work as a simple example, in order to throw a little light on whether it’s always better to engage in trade to supply a couple of given goods or services. Both countries can produce both products, although one produces them CHEAPER, in terms of the monetary cost, than the other country.

        Let the products be clothing and furniture, since these two industries have mostly been off shored , creating some VERY REAL problems in my neck of the woods, even as smart assed damned yankee pundits make fun of the south for not being as prosperous as the north.

        Well, that PARTICULAR bit of fun has come back to bite a GIANT chunk out of the ass of the north, as the auto industries have been moving south, moving OUT of the high wage north. The foreign make auto plants that are have moved IN are to my knowledge every last one in the south, and smart alec yankees are now feeling a more than a little of the same pain as a result of some of their industries being “globalized ” across a few state lines to the places they so enjoy poking fun at.

        If anybody wants to know WHY we have so much economic inequality, perhaps they should spend a few hours contemplating the fact that when the economy has adjusted itself over decades to having X million manufacturing jobs, and you export entire industries, you have a VAST surplus of former industrial workers, and all the other workers that indirectly supported their industries , and any remaining employers EMPLOYERS can hire as much help as they want for peanut wages, because that’s the way the employment market WORKS. You don’t have to pay more than peanuts when you have a large surplus of applicants for any openings.

        There’s more than just one kind of race to the bottom. As you strip the industry out of a community, you leave a VACUUM, and given a little time, SOMETHING will fill that vacuum. It won’t be new high tech industries, though, because such industries don’t move to places that are already economically distressed.

        The vacuum is partly filled by a new class of independent businessmen, variously known as burglars, fences, dope dealers, and pimps.

        People who have a hard time finding money enough to eat and pay their utilities don’t have any thing left to spruce up their property, things go downhill.

        You need more cops, and while cops are NECESSARY, and the NEED for them grows as things go down hill, they don’t produce a GODDAMNED thing, they just prevent formerly non existent or minor problems from getting TOTALLY out of control. Ditto offices full of social workers who were formerly unnecessary, or else only formerly needed in relatively minor numbers.

        Now can I prove by any OBJECTIVE measure that MY paradigm is more representative of reality than yours? No, but the flip side of that coin is that you can’t prove your case either, except by just repeating your arguments.

        And incidentally…… it’s a HARD fact that within fifteen miles of my house, there’s a mill yard that buys all the prime hardwood logs harvested nearby, and trucks them all the way to Norfork, well over two hundred miles , or sometimes to a port in NC, and then they are blue water freighted to some place overseas, and manufactured into furniture, and then shipped BACK here.

        The people who lost their jobs in the furniture industry certainly can’t afford good furniture anymore. But people who are well insulated by way of working in industries or professions that can’t be or at least have not YET been off shored get their furniture, and their hamburgers, at BARGAIN prices, because the former furniture workers are so short of employment opportunities that even the market for burger flippers is severely over supplied.

        I am not trying to argue that the truth is all on my side, and none of it on yours, but it pisses me off no end to hear a constant drumbeat for globalism, with hardly any consideration given to the flip side of the issue by the high and mighty media, up until very recently. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the media are mostly owned and operated by the same businesses and people who reap the vast majority of the benefits of globalization, and thus not NECESSARILY to be trusted to tell the whole truth about globalization.

        I have long and often repeated that you should be very careful what you wish for, because you may GET IT, and when you DO, you very often find that it has some very troublesome strings attached.

        The liberal establishment got pretty much what it WANTED, by way of the courts, rather than the ballot box, in terms of the culture war that has been raging in this country since the sixties.

        Well, the cultural revolution came with strings attached. It is in very large part because of this cultural revolution that the R party has been gaining more and more power for a long time now.

        Only a fool would argue that Koch brothers types don’t successfully sow fear, obfuscation, and doubt, etc, thus successfully influencing elections, but that tactic works MOSTLY because the ground, the electorate, is well suited to it. People, especially older people, seem to mostly like things as they WERE, and they are inclined to VOTE for politicians that promise them things will stay the same.

        You are dead right about the economy inevitably changing, in unpredictable ways, but that doesn’t mean politicians can’t bring about or prevent some changes. Politicians can certainly at least TRY to pass laws that for instance reinstate certain social taboos that were outlawed by way of the courts, such as male only and female only bathrooms.

        If they DON’ pass such laws, because the courts prevent them from doing so, well then…….. maybe the people elect new politicians, who are more and more inclined to promise them what they WANT, until we eventually wind up with TRUMP, who will put judges on the Supreme Court who WILL reinstate the former taboos, if that’s what the people really want. You either believe in democracy, or you DON’T, and blaming not getting what you want on FUD on the part of Koch brothers types, or preachers, or whoever, is a cop out. People have a right to listen to whoever they please, or they don’t, and to vote as they please, or they don’t.

        It’s certainly easily possible to make a good argument that the country really does want the old social order, as evidenced by there being so VERY many R type politicians in elected offices ranging from dog catcher to president.

        Note that I have also argued that the old social order will die on it’s own, if left alone, because the core constituency of the old order is fast headed for the nursing homes or the cemeteries, while the younger people are mostly either happy with the new culture, or indifferent to it. If they are employed and doing ok, they are rather likely to vote D,IF they vote, because their individual value systems are far more compatible with the D agenda than the R agenda.

        But if they are UNEMPLOYED, or underemployed, and hurting economically…….. well the Trump message sounds one hell of a lot better to them than the HRC message, especially if they aren’t possessed of that supposedly magical college degree.

        EVERYTHING in the modern world seems to be connected to every thing else in some fashion or another, so that when you pull any given string in one physical or cultural space, things happen in other places far away, things that are often unexpected and often unpredictable.

        My own personal belief is that I would PERSONALLY be better off, and not just because I live in the southern boonies, if I were paying twice as much for shirts and pants, but supporting far fewer people on welfare, paying the salaries of far fewer cops and jailers,, and less worried about former textile workers sinking into ever deeper poverty, and maybe getting mugged as a result.

        The establishment , left or right, hasn’t done a goddamned thing for the vast majority of the people who have paid the price of offshoring , and never will, other than provide some welfare assistance.
        The social safety net certainly helps, but it doesn’t actually FIX the problem, it just prevents it from exploding into something approaching outright anarchy. Welfare in any form is all about temporarily preventing bad news from morphing into disaster news.Welfare is like a water truck that delivers water to houses on a street with a broken main. You can run the delivery truck forever, or you can try to fix the main. Nobody is doing much in the way of fixing. Not more than ten or fifteen percent of the people I know personally who used to work in textiles and furniture got any training that helped them find new jobs as good or better than their old ones. They got unemployment, they got food stamps, they got free school lunches.
        None of those things FIXED their problem, which was and remains the lack of a satisfactory job.

        I don’t have much in the way of answers, but I have PLENTY in the way of questions and doubts about the conventional wisdom.

        We may indeed be headed to hell in a hand basket, collectively, and there might not BE any way to prevent our arriving there. I am not CERTAIN that collapse, environmental, economic, or cultural is baked in , but neither am I certain that the world in general will pull thru, or that this country, the USA, will pull thru and avoid a very hard crash and burn end game.

        I believe as a person in most of what the modern liberal establishment wants, such as strong environmental protections, renewable energy, affordable and efficient medical care, etc.

        But if the liberal establishment wants my weapons, it will have to pry them out of my cold dead hands, because I do believe the possibility of collapse is real, even here in the USA.

        Can I fort up and survive until things settle down again, in the event society DOES collapse? Maybe, my chances are many many times better than most peoples ‘ chances. I have a fall back plan, and while I ‘m not a ” prepper” I have the skills necessary to make it work, and a place to live such that I can provide myself and a few friends with the essentials such as food, water, and shelter, indefinitely, barring bad luck. My chosen friends are tough guys and girls, with complimentary skills which will be priceless IF the worst comes to the worst.

        All we have actually ever done by way of planning is to get together and have a few drinks and discuss the possibilities. If the shit hits the fan, we will get together as fast as possible, and hope that by mutually supporting each other here on my place that we will survive at least a while. People in a place like LA or NYC would be eating each other in two weeks if the grid were to go down permanently.

        Is an outright collapse likely? It’s certainly not out of the question. I guess the odds are less than one percent annually, at this time.You will agree that they are getting worse. Maybe the odds are two percent annually NOW, and maybe in ten years they will be ten percent annually.

        I am most emphatically not arguing that we should give up international trade, and try to emulate the North Koreans, but I think we really really ought to think long and hard about what the real tradeoffs are, and who pays the price of those tradeoffs, and what the eventual consequences of their paying them might be.

        I DO argue that TRUMP is president today because the people who paid the price put him in office, although I also argue that Clinton would have won if she had been a better candidate, in terms of public perceptions. Trump didn’t really beat her, she beat herself by way of unforced errors, such as not campaigning in the Rust Belt like she meant it, and taking the banksters money for speeches- when she already had PLENTY of money.

        • GoneFishing says:

          You are talking about the Corporate Monster that moved industry to other countries and at the same time heavily automated factories to get rid of people. The Corporate Monster does not care much about people and has a strong hold on government, because the people stopped being citizens and let it happen.

          Globalization is a result of not only economic differential but of resource depletion. Sure companies wanted a cheaper place to manufacture their goods, but lets face it, the domestic iron supplies in the US ran low a long time ago. Same with a number of other materials, they are easier or possible to get from elsewhere. Since we are the now second largest manufacturing country in the world, bigger than Europe, how does that jive with loss of jobs unless automation replaced the worker? We do not lack for manufacturing capability, but every time a factory is built it is manned with the minimum amount of people possible at the minimum price. Wages have been flat and down in the US since the 1970’s.

          Go ahead, take the food, clothing, and products off the shelves that are made in foreign lands or from products sourced in foreign lands. See how much would be there, not much.
          While you are at it, remove the foreign sourced oil too. Take off the wings, fuselage and much more from that Dreamliner too, see how well it works.

          I do agree with the clothing, American clothing was much superior and longer lasting than what we get now.

          I know that 1.5 cents of your tax dollar that goes to welfare is really hurting you. We all feel for you. You would do so much better with that 1.5% increase.
          We feel for the American Corporations that in total only pay 10 percent of the federal taxes in the US.
          Twenty-six of the corporations, including Boeing, General Electric, Priceline.com and Verizon, paid no federal income tax at all over the five year period. A third of the corporations (93) paid an effective tax rate of less than ten percent over that period. (2008 to 2012)

          Better to work on energy transistion and stop worrying about the big sellout that the corporate world did to people starting back in the 1950’s. It would take two generations to convert the US into independent production and be an exercise in futility because the old paradigm is failing. Best get on with the new one and work with the world doing it.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Old Farmer Mac,

          I will go with the international economists who disagree with you completely.

          This is one idea that Republicans used to agree with that is correct.

          As I have pointed out before, protectionism hurt some workers and helps others as far as jobs go, and it hurts everyone who buys stuff because of higher prices. Yes there are people who used to make furniture or shoes or clothing in the US who have lost their jobs. So is the answer to create tariffs so that retaliation by other nations means that auto workers, and people that work at high tech factories such as Boeing, GE, or Intel lose their jobs because exports decrease?

          You are correct to claim that I have not presented any data. My point is simply this as many jobs will be lost as are saved, but the higher prices are a sure thing.

          Not a good policy.

        • Nick G says:


          80% of the unemployment you’re thinking about was caused by automation.

          Let me say that again.

          80% of the loss of jobs you’re concerned about was caused by automation, not off-shoring.

          For instance, it takes far fewer UAW workers to assemble a car than it did 50 years ago. Even if the US imported no cars at all, the UAW membership would still have been decimated (from the latin, to reduce by a factor of 10). In the same way, the furniture factories would still be mostly gone, or much smaller. Even with no furniture imports.

          So, when politicians blame off-shoring and imports for job losses, they’re lying to the public. They’re scapegoating other countries and lying about the possibility of bringing back those jobs. It’s not going to happen, even if imports are eliminated (which also isn’t going to happen, but that’s another discussion).


      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Not advancing that quickly:
        While many of the historical trends Toffler describes are accurate, the book appeared when most of these exponential trends halted. It was right around 1970 when the increase in the number of scientific papers published in the world—a figure that had doubled every fifteen years since, roughly, 1685—began leveling off. The same was true of books and patents.
        Toffler’s use of acceleration was particularly unfortunate. For most of human history, the top speed at which human beings could travel had been around 25 miles per hour. By 1900 it had increased to 100 miles per hour, and for the next seventy years it did seem to be increasing exponentially. By the time Toffler was writing, in 1970, the record for the fastest speed at which any human had traveled stood at roughly 25,000 mph, achieved by the crew of Apollo 10 in 1969, just one year before. At such an exponential rate, it must have seemed reasonable to assume that within a matter of decades, humanity would be exploring other solar systems.
        Since 1970, no further increase has occurred. The record for the fastest a human has ever traveled remains with the crew of Apollo 10. True, the commercial airliner Concorde, which first flew in 1969, reached a maximum speed of 1,400 mph. And the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144, which flew first, reached an even faster speed of 1,553 mph. But those speeds not only have failed to increase; they have decreased since the Tupolev Tu-144 was cancelled and the Concorde was abandoned.


        • GoneFishing says:

          Ummm, we have not achieved a Type I civilization yet. We are a Type Zero and have a long way to go to Type I. We are limited to chemical means to achieve speed (as if that is a good goal) and are just starting to harness the power of the sun.

          What is the hurry anyway? The most pleasant of times are had when moving slowly and quietly or sometimes just not moving much at all.

          • Bob Nickson says:

            “What is our hurry anyway?”

            25 miles per hour is a pleasant speed. On an electric bicycle, it is an exciting speed.

            In all of our rush to get from point A to point B, it would be wise for us to consider the illusion of speed as we weigh out our transportation choices.

            For a median personal income of $40k a year and a yearly vehicle cost of $8k, a person would need to work 400 hours to pay for the car (ignoring taxes). For yearly travel of 15,000 miles, that equates to a speed reduction of 37.5 miles per hour to account for the time spent working to pay for the machine to travel at the higher speed.

            Personally, I’d rather have the 400 hours and travel at the slower speed.

            • Nick G says:

              Or, drive a 5 year old EV (like a $7k 2012 Nissan Leaf) at 20% of the overall cost of a new ICE, and have the best of both worlds…

  17. Longtimber says:

    Rooftop PVSystem above should yield an annual daily average of ~50kWh requiring a Pak with 5000 of these 18650 Tesla Batteries. If 80% kWh power goes to loads direct it would only require 1000. Not difficult to do .. just some tweaks/appliance upgrades. Note that these Panasonic/Tesla Batteries are NCA Chemistry type grouped as ” Li Metal Oxide ” . It’s possible that UL will never approve systems with such cells for Home Energy Storage to Standard UL 9540. We have Installed Powerwalls and they are wickedly complex. I think there is a future deploying used eV’s for HiPower stand-alone systems. New definition of yard car.

  18. Boomer II says:

    I have suggested multiple times that changes in US policy may open the door for China to take on a bigger global role.

    Why Trump’s trade threats can’t hurt China much: Economist
    “‘The largest categories are laptops, mobile phones and tablets, goods for which China is responsible for over 70 percent of global production,’ he said. ‘This means that in the short run at least, U.S. consumers will have little choice but to continue to purchase many Chinese made products, implying a much smaller and manageable hit to Chinese GDP.'”

  19. hightrekker23 says:

    I’m afraid any reasonably educated, rational, and unbiased adult (or younger) can understand what the climate science has been telling us now for two decades: the Earth is warming (so far by about 1 degree Celsius since 1800), slowly but surely, due to humans’ putting carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere, mainly through burning fossil fuels (gas, oil, and coal) and the byproducts of large-scale and animal-based agriculture. A good primer on this is Danny Chivers’ No-Nonsense Guide to Climate Change.

    Second – and it only takes a bit of sociological thinking here – we see that this is having massive negative effects on people’s well-being: floods, droughts, superstorms, rising sea-levels, loss of biodiversity, polluted cities, rivers, and oceans. This means homes lost, famine, early deaths, poor health, social disruptions, and conflicts (think wars, civil wars, overthrows of governments, and the like).

    Third, the governments and the economic elites of the world do not have this steadily worsening crisis under control. The Paris Agreement signed by 196 nations of the world in December 2015, offers no chance of containing global warming under the thresholds that science suggests must not be passed (above two degrees Celsius we can expect extremely dangerous disruption in all the living and social systems of the planet). We have already reached 1.4 degrees Celsius of inevitable warming (the extra .5 degree is guaranteed because there is a lag between the gases getting into the atmosphere and the warming that they cause). The Agreement is weak because it is not legally binding (each government made a “pledge” of what it would do in terms of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, and there is no enforcement mechanism for failing to comply) and the pledges, even if all met, would still raise global temperatures in this century by around 3 degrees Celsius. A further devastating disappointment is the stinginess of the wealthy nations of the global North (historically responsible for most of the CO2 already in the atmosphere) in financing the renewable energy revolution that the under-resourced countries of the global South require (their emissions are growing, and China is the world leader now).

    Meanwhile, the fossil fuel corporations, some of which are the biggest in the history of the world, and one of whose former chairmen, Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil, is now U.S. secretary of state in the climate-denying Trump administration) have no plans to reduce their profits by keeping their assets in the ground. This spells catastrophe if they are not checked; what leading U.S. climate scientist James Hansen has called “Game over” for the planet. In 2012, U.S. climate activist Bill McKibben of the organization 350.org (350 parts per million being what scientists have established as the “safe” limit for controlling climate change – we are now at 405 and rising) calculated and others have since confirmed that the world’s carbon “budget” for staying under two degrees was about 565 gigatons of emissions, while the proven reserves of the fossil fuel companies and countries (some having nationalized their oil and gas as in the Middle East, Russia, and Venezuela, among others) were around 2,795 gigatons at that time. In other words, these corporations have a business model that entails burning more than five times the amount of fossil fuels that the Earth handle. Since we currently emit over 30 gigatons per year (this is the number that must be reduced to zero before 2050) one can see that we have less than 20 years of “business-as-usual” before we pass into extremely dangerous climate territory. In fact, if one wants to hold to a more stringent, safer limit of 1.5 degrees, and wants to have a better than 80 percent chance of staying under that, we have more like nine years left till our climate’s tipping points loom large.

    So, given the inexorable and terrifying math of global warming, the incapacity of world governments to curtail it, and the determination of some of the richest economic entities on earth to bring it onto us, what are we to do?

    Any ideas?

    • scrub puller says:

      Yair . . .


      “I’m afraid any reasonably educated, rational, and unbiased adult (or younger) can understand what the climate science has been telling us now for two decades”    But we can’t. that statement is nonsense. At a local level there are no obvious issues, it’s all happening too slowly.                                  The site wont let me format this so I’ll try again another day. Cheers.                                                                                                                                                                        

    • GoneFishing says:

      Doesn’t matter what we believe, the natural world operates on physical principles. At +2C we get at least 5 meters of sea level rise, 6C higher in the Arctic, major changes in the hydrological system and weather. At +4C we lose the ice caps completely, sea level rise of 80 meters, Arctic is + 12C at least. Antarctica becomes ice free. The world is a very different place. The albedo is quite different too.

      Because it takes so long to heat the oceans and melt ice, we are getting the effects from the 1970’s, maybe early 1980’s. More to come. The permafrost contains as much carbon as all the fossil fuels that are or ever were.

      Barrow Alaska gave a reading yesterday of 418 ppm CO2. Not to worry though, that monitoring is due for shut down.

      • hightrekker23 says:

        So, you are saying nature really doesn’t care what you or I think?
        Cheeto Boy had better make a law making that illegal!

      • Pierre Lechelle says:

        So, how do you solve it? People have no need to care, now, and for many years in future.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        At +4C we lose the ice caps completely, sea level rise of 80 meters, Arctic is + 12C at least. Antarctica becomes ice free. The world is a very different place. The albedo is quite different too.

        Hey who knows, maybe we will be able to grow bananas in Antarctica… There’s plenty of coal to be mined there to be used to generate electricity to power the grow lamps during the long dark months of the Antarctic winter… At least the temperatures will be nice and balmy!


        The highest temperature for the Antarctic Continent, defined as the main continental landmass and adjoining islands, is the temperature extreme of 17.5 C (63.5 F) recorded on Mar. 24, 2015 at the Argentine Research Base Esperanza located near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

        Hmm, on second thought most of the coal seams in Antarctica are along the coast… not to worry, 80 fsw is well within the safe limits for coal mining scuba divers! Bring on the Antarctic banana plantations!

    • Javier says:

      Any ideas?

      Yes. Don’t pay too much attention to that bunch of lies.

      “the Earth is warming”

      “due to humans’ putting carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere”
      It was warming before, so the attribution is undetermined. We do not know how much warming is natural and how much human made. That’s why we don’t know climate sensitivity to CO2.

      “we see that this is having massive negative effects on people’s well-being: floods, droughts, superstorms, rising sea-levels, loss of biodiversity, polluted cities, rivers, and oceans.”
      We don’t see that except in computer models. Pollution and loss of biodiversity are not due to climate change. Extreme weather events are on a decreasing trend. Positive effects are real, negative effects are hypothetical.

      “the governments and the economic elites of the world do not have this steadily worsening crisis under control.”
      I suspect they don’t believe there is a crisis in the first place, and are just acting in consequence.

      “the fossil fuel corporations have no plans to reduce their profits by keeping their assets in the ground.”
      Surprising that you come up with this at this blog. Oil companies respond to a demand for oil. If there is lack of demand, the oil will be kept in the ground. That decision does not correspond to oil companies.

      • Javier should read the news more often and then perhaps would understand the air pollution in China is caused by the massive amount of fossil fuels that they are burning. Unless he thinks that is a “bunch of lies” too.

        • hightrekker23 says:

          I think our friend Javier has just stopped taking things seriously.
          It lets him sleep at night.
          Or possibly just a paid sociopath as some have speculated?

          Either way, it makes life easier for him or her.

        • Javier says:

          Why am I not surprised that you don’t understand that pollution and climate change are two separate issues? That you can have a problem with one without having a problem with the other? Didn’t we have a pollution problem in the 70’s, when temperatures were below average?

          • Javier, CO2 and other pollutants are being added to the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels. This blog POB exists partly to document the atrocities (as DK once put it).

            • Javier says:

              WebHubTelescope, CO2 is not a pollutant. It is an essential gas for life as we know it, as essential to us as oxygen.

              The burning of methane produces CO2 and H2O, two molecules essential for life. With adequate measures and regulations pollution is not a problem.

              The problem with the Chinese is that they don’t care about the environment. They have made a mess of their rivers and their natural environments. They even adulterate babies’ milk. They have to get their act together, but that has little to do with climate change.

              • Survivalist says:

                Vitamin A is essential to health however too much seems to be problematic. How can that be? How can something that is essential be bad for you? All a mystery to Javier I’m sure. Hypervitaminosis A, or vitamin A toxicity, occurs when you have too much vitamin A in your body. This condition may be acute or chronic. … Chronic toxicity occurs when large amounts of vitamin A build up in the body over a long period of time. Symptoms include visual changes, bone pain, and skin changes.

                • Javier says:

                  “Vitamin A is essential to health however too much seems to be problematic.”
                  I don’t think that makes Vitamin A a poison, does it?

              • Fred Magyar says:

                WebHubTelescope, CO2 is not a pollutant. It is an essential gas for life as we know it, as essential to us as oxygen.

                Your arguments are beyond ridiculous!

                H2O is essential for life but you can fuckin drown in it too!

                The problem with the Chinese is that they don’t care about the environment. They have made a mess of their rivers and their natural environments.

                Well they seem to have begun to turn the corner as opposed to the US which seems to be trying to go back to destroying it’s own environment.

                Published on Jan 5, 2017
                China’s National Energy Administration announced on Jan. 5 it plans to invest $361 billion in clean renewable energy by 2020

                Published on Nov 5, 2016
                China is usually focused on economic growth, not the environment. But it’s now turning its attention to green energy.

                • Songster says:

                  I am also pretty certain very few of the Chinese leaders think climate change is a grand conspiracy of the climate scientists or “good” for us.

                  • Boomer II says:

                    And it doesn’t matter if they care about climate change. The air pollution problem is so severe they have to do something. Plus they can be the world leader in renewables, which is an economic and strategic advantage for them.

                • Javier says:

                  “H2O is essential for life but you can fuckin drown in it too!”
                  And that doesn’t make H2O a pollutant, does it?

              • notanoilman says:

                “CO2 is not a pollutant. It is an essential gas for life as we know it, as essential to us as oxygen”

                Wanna fill a tank with it and come scuba diving.


                • Fred Magyar says:

                  Heh, if we are talking about Scuba, I’d be happy to let Xavier Don Quixote de la Mancha have a tank filled with 100% of that, oh so essential to life, O2!
                  High pressure O2 toxicity will get him just as effectively as a tank full of CO2 would. Too much of a good thing can be quite the problem…

                • Javier says:

                  You seem to ignore the role CO2 has for life. A clue: It is not animals who need to breath the stuff.

      • Survivalist says:

        “Extreme weather events are on a decreasing trend”


        • Javier says:

          That graph is not corrected for population growth and economical development.

          The conclusion of the global study is in page 13:
          “annual inflation-adjusted economic losses from reported weather-related events increased between 1980 and 2009 by about $US2.7 billion per year on average, thus tripling over the 30-year period. However, when these losses are normalised using the method of Pielke and Landsea (1998) there is no significant trend over time, while the method of Neumayer and Barthel (2010) shows a downward trend over time that is marginally significant. Hence the rise in economic losses of US$2.7 billion per year can be attributed to the increase in population and wealth per capita that is exposed to weather-related events.”

          Kelly MJ 2016. Trends in estreme weather events since 1900 – An enduring conundrum for wise policy advise. J. Geography & Natural Disasters 6, 1. 1000155

          A survey of official weather sites and the scientific literature provides strong evidence that the first half of the 20th century had more extreme weather than the second half.

          “Ryan Maue: Global warming reduces pole-equator T gradient. That’s a climate on laxatives — not steroids.”

          That’s what Manabe and Wetherald seemed to conclude back in ’79.
          “The reduction of the meridional temperature gradient appears to reduce not only the eddy kinetic energy, but also the variance of temperature in the lower model troposphere.”

          Translation: Global Warming leads to LESS extreme climate
          You FAIL.

  20. Survivalist says:

    Does anyone have a source for the state of the atmosphere in GHG CO2 equivalents. I heard 490. Any charts or sources tracking the trend?

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Survivalist,

      CO2 equivalents are a problematic metric as it depends on the time frame used for some Greenhouse gases, methane converts to carbon dioxide over a roughly 10 year period. CO2 is very long lived and is the more important GHG over the long term.

      See post below from David Archer of Real Climate for a mainstream climate science view


      He concludes:

      It’s the CO2, friend.

    • GoneFishing says:

      It’s the CO2, ozone, H2O, methane and a list of other gases given in the link above.
      People make the mistake of discounting a persistent level of GHG. Decay time does not matter since the amount in the atmosphere is persistent. Over 20 years methane is 86 times more powerful a GHG than CO2.
      Tropospheric ozone is oft forgotten, yet it is believed to have caused about one-third the warming during modern industrial time.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        I wouldn’t be alarmed about any of that!

        Pollution and loss of biodiversity are not due to climate change. Extreme weather events are on a decreasing trend. Positive effects are real, negative effects are hypothetical.
        Xavier Don Quixote de la Mancha

        “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” – George Orwell

        • GoneFishing says:

          No need for alarm, it’s just what exists at this time. Maybe the bankers will suck in all the excess GHG’s for us so we can have another major glaciation.

          I do feel sorry for the future generations that can’t use the local swimming hole because the gators moved north. Does gator taste good?

        • hightrekker23 says:

          Look at the cave dwellers in So Colorado / N Mexico. They did not migrate immediately once the climate changed, they fought it and wished it away.

          In the end, they ended up eating each other.

          Xavier Don Quixote de la Mancha is just a cave dweller.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Gone fishing,

        The 20 year time frame is not of much importance, what is the residence time of tropospheric ozone? About 20 to 25 days based on Chapter 8 of AR5WG1, p. 670.
        On page 680 they report RF of about 0.4+/-0.2 W/m2 from 1750 to 2011.
        Total anthropogenic forcing from 1750-2011 is 2.3 Wm-2 (p. 696 chapter 8 AR5WG1)
        so tropospheric ozone is about 17% of this total rather than one third. This will level off or decrease as fossil fuels are phased out on NOx emissions decrease. The estimates are mostly model based as we do not have good observational data before 1950. Generally you distrust the models (or so it seems to me), without them we can only speculate how tropospheric ozone has changed over time from 1750 to 1949. Also the data is very limited from 1950 to 1969, somewhat better from 1970 to 1995 and much improved in the satellite era after mid 1990s.

        Also European Tropospheric Ozone levels have stabilized as well as Japanese, indicating that pollution control may reduce tropospheric ozone.

        • GoneFishing says:

          But they are all still present and contributing, so there must still be a source feeding them. Therefore they are still causing heating.
          And yes the 20 year value is important but low. If a GHG has a concentration C in the atmosphere then it’s GHG effect is not Csub20 or Csub100, but C, which for methane is about 100 times the effect of CO2.
          The only reason that the time factor is important is if the source fades and the concentration reduces with time. In the case of tropospheric ozone that will eventually happen sometime in the future. In the case of methane, not going to happen. There are several sources of methane and rising temperature will only increase methane output.

          • Survivalist says:

            Hi GF,
            According to this report, the presence of methane in the atmosphere climbed only 0.5 parts per billion (ppb) in the early 2000s. But that number jumped to 12.5 ppb in 2014 and 9.9 ppb in 2015, after a substantial, if less dramatic, increase in methane in the years leading up to the spikes of the past two years.
            “Looking at the scenarios for future emissions, methane is starting to approach the most greenhouse gas-intensive scenarios,” Rob Jackson, an earth scientist at Stanford University who co-wrote the study, told The Washington Post. “That’s bad news. We’re going in the wrong direction.”


            • GoneFishing says:

              Some people think persistent increasing GHG’s have little effect. Since it’s the thought that counts, there will be no problem.

              sarc off

              • Javier says:

                “Some people think persistent increasing GHG’s have little effect.”

                Perhaps because increasing GHG’s have little effect on the rate of warming, and the rate of melting, and the rate of sea level rise.

                It does look like actually there will be no problem.

  21. GoneFishing says:

    If you want to know what is going on in the Arctic watch the Weather and Climate Summit Day 5 . Jennifer Francis speaking.


    • Fred Magyar says:

      Yeah but that was in 2011 things haven’t gotten any less alarming recently…

      Published on Jan 24, 2016
      Session 5: Dr. Jennifer Francis, Crazy Weather and the Arctic Meltdown – How Are They Connected?

      BTW, found this lecture by Dr. Kenneth Golden pretty interesting, though I would have much preferred to be able to see the photos he is showing during his lecture. Also from 2011 but the math and physics of sea ice weren’t all that different waaay back then… Note, a whopping 654 views! Guess math and physics of sea ice is not for a general audience of Trump supporters. I’ll try to find some of his papers to see if I can see some sea ice photos that he is talking about. Here’s a link to his web site. Just checked there are some sample ice photos there.

      Climate Change and the Mathematics of Sea Ice

  22. hightrekker23 says:

    We really are living in a reality tee vee show.

    “newly-confirmed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke rode a horse to work this morning. extremely Zinke move.”

  23. Survivalist says:

    February 2017 was yet another monthly record low for Arctic sea ice extent.


    If arctic ice is increasing, then every winter there should be more and more ice. That’s clearly not the case, ergo Arctic sea ice is not increasing.

    • Javier says:

      then every winter there should be more and more ice.

      The trend for March Arctic sea ice extent is positive since 2006. And it looks like March 2017 is not going to buck the trend.

  24. Survivalist says:

    The table shows annual mean carbon dioxide growth rates based on globally averaged marine surface data.


  25. Longtimber says:

    Appears Tesla just killed the Powerwall II DC version. The AC Version unlikely to be of much use for Stand alone systems – more Reliance on Warren Buffet Utilities. Ver 1.0 never shipped in quantity since that would have cost Model S sales. It was never a useable Battery anyway.

    • JJHMAN says:

      The picture in Longtimber’s link includes a young John Cleese with a Tesla battery…………..

  26. Survivalist says:

    Long-term temperatures in Iceland can be found here:

  27. Survivalist says:

    here are the latest mean global sea level changes from http://sealevel.colorado.edu

  28. Survivalist says:
  29. islandboy says:

    Further up I posted a series of comments on the latest Electric Power Monthly from the EIA which included the completed data for 2016.

    Here’s PV Magazine’s report on the same numbers:

    Solar reached 1.4% of U.S. electricity in 2016

    While the U.S. solar market continues to grow rapidly, solar generation still represented a tiny share of overall U.S. electricity, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA)

    The latest edition of EIA’s Electric Power Monthly shows that the portion of electricity that the nation gets from solar grew nearly 40% in 2016, from around 1% of total generation to 1.4%. Wind is likewise growing, with the share of electricity from wind rising from 4.7% in 2015 to 5.5% of all generation last year.

    And while these are relatively low shares, solar and wind made up more than 60% of new generation put online last year by capacity.

    Boosted by the growing share of solar and wind, 2016 serves as the second year where non-hydro renewable sources generated more electricity than hydroelectric plants. This likewise brought the overall share of renewable energy in the nation’s generation to 15.3% during the year.

    • JN2 says:

      If it continues to double every 2 years then solar will be 44% of US electricity in 10 years time.

  30. islandboy says:

    Another record year for utility-scale solar takes cumulative capacity close to 100 GW

    A new annual record for new utility-scale installations – almost 35 gigawatts – was set in 2016 according to figures released on March 2nd, 2017 by Wiki-Solar.org. This took cumulative installations close to the 100 GW milestone.

    North America up 129%, Europe down by over 50%

    At the continental level, results were more patchy. North America was up 129% on 2015, thanks to a mammoth December in the USA, when almost 3 GW of new capacity was registered in just one month. Asia again accounted for about 2/3 of the new capacity with 57% growth, as India joins China amongst the top utility-scale markets. Europe, by contrast, was down by over 50% as its last major market, the UK, was hit by adverse government action. Africa and South America both grew by over 200%; Australasia stayed level, while promising more in the future.

    “We thought we might just make the cumulative 100 GW milestone, when we saw the Chinese, American and Indian figures come in”, says Wiki-Solar founder Philip Wolfe, “but in the end the global total finished the year just short, at 96 GW. So expect to break through the magic 100 GW milestone any day now – probably when this month’s figures are in.”

  31. Survivalist says:

    Arctic sea ice volume continues 2017 with a another new record low. February 2017 sea ice volume was 17,400 km3 , nearly 2000 km3 below the previous record from February in 2013.


    And a nice job on illustration


  32. Survivalist says:

    And global sea ice extent still in record low


    I’m extremely interested to see how 2017 plays out.

    • GoneFishing says:

      Global warming did not remove natural variability.

    • Javier says:

      Since you seem to like low Arctic sea ice conditions you might be sorely disappointed. It certainly looks like 2017 will not be a record low Arctic sea ice year.

      Thicker ice has been pushing into the East Siberian, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, the areas which determine the summer minimum extent. The melting could be slower than previous years.


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