Projection of Future Carbon Emissions

Comments not related to oil, natural gas, or coal should be to this post.

Thanks.

Edited 11/24/16 11:36 AM EST

fossilchart/

Based on the recent work by Steve Mohr et al published in 2015, I have updated my estimate of potential future fossil fuel resouces.

Using the following estimates of Carbon emissions in Gt (or Pg) of carbon per billion tonnes of oil equivalent (Gtoe) burned:

coal=1.058 Gt C/Gtoe
natural gas=0.5935 Gt C/Gtoe
oil=0.7846 Gt C/Gtoe

The fossil fuel estimates were converted to Gt of carbon emissions, 200 Gt of carbon emissions were added to each scenario to account for land use change, cement production and natural gas flaring from 1750-2500 CE.  The emissions resulting from the various fossil fuel scenarios presented in an earlier post at compared with RCP4.5, RCP6, and RCP8.5 used in the IPCC AR5 report to compare climate models under future emissions scenarios.

In the Mohr et al 2015 paper they conclude:

A plausible upper limit on fossil fuel emissions would be the medium emissions (A1 AIM and RCP6.0)with a BG future emissions corresponding to low emissions scenarios(B1 IMAGE and RCP4.5).

 
The RCP scenarios were modified slightly so that they follow the downward trend in emissions to zero, the original scenarios keep emissions at a level that keeps radiative forcing at about 8.5 W/m^2. 6 W/m^2, and 4.5 W/m^2 until 2500. The DC-high scenario also assumes a linear reduction in fossil fuel output from 2150 to 2250 in the scenario below.

Total C emissions in Gt C from 1750 to 2250 are: 5300, 2300, 1200, and 1700 for the modified RCP8.5, RCP6, RCP4.5, and DC-high presented in the chart below.

fossilchart/

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235 Responses to Projection of Future Carbon Emissions

  1. islandboy says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all the USAians out there!

    Here’s a nice story for Thanksgiving. Here come the modern day Luddites!

    Barstow, CA Tesla Supercharger Vandalized Before Thanksgiving Weekend (Update)

    The criminals were not just punks on meth randomly destroying things. Whoever did this knew EXACTLY what they were doing.

    They broke the locked handles on two separate on the high voltage (480 volt) distribution boxes, then unbolted the covers inside the box that distributed power to every Supercharger. Then, they cut the electric supply wires to EVERY Supercharger with commercial grade tools (they are big cables). All the circuit breakers were also removed……[snip]

    UPDATE (November 23rd, 4:17 PM): InsideEVs contributor, and Model S Owner George Bower reports that the Supercharging station in Barstow has now been brought back online by Tesla ahead of schedule. Kudos to Tesla, and our thanks to George!

    • Dave P says:

      Probably a disgruntled oil worker…

      • Fred Magyar says:

        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/22/nasa-earth-donald-trump-eliminate-climate-change-research

        Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’
        Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding as the president-elect seeks to shift focus away from home in favor of deep space exploration

        I guess he didn’t get the memo that earth is the center of deep space…

        • Lloyd says:

          Hi Fred.
          Reminds me of when Former Prime Minister and rat bastard Harper eliminated the Canadian long-form census.

          If there are no facts, the facts can’t be argued.

          -Lloyd

          • Fred Magyar says:

            Yes, it is a tried a true tactic of those who are trying to impose their small minded authority. History shows us that it generally backfires.
            Nature still bats last and tends to impose her reality on these petty tyrants.

        • GoneFishing says:

          Next the book burnings and controls on the internet.

          The guardian needs to learn that acronyms are all capitals. Makes them look lazy an slipshod. Their business is writing and it gives a poor appearance when an article repeatedly writes NASA as Nasa.

          As far as I was able to determine, NASA is in the highest budget range it ever had and does not have to support a shuttle program. Still, the outer planet missions seem to all end in 2017 and there does not appear to be missions on the books to continue them.
          The GRACE Follow On mission for 2017 is planned to continue gravity mapping of the earth at higher resolution. If stopped it would really hamper climate research.

          There are five major earth observation missions planned for launch about 2020 and after, if those are scrapped NASA will be have a very limited space mission complement and will end much of our climate mission.

          Expect Potter tactics to be the mainstream methods of operation.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            There are five major earth observation missions planned for launch about 2020 and after, if those are scrapped NASA will be have a very limited space mission complement and will end much of our climate mission.

            Hey, if anyone thought the anthropocene was already a major clusterfuck, well, welcome to hell in a hand basket, looks like we are now going to be living in completely new geological era, ‘The AnTRUMPocene!

            But lest we forget, this concerted effort of the war on reality and inconvenient science has been going on for quite a while! Guess which political party held the presidency in 2006?

            http://www.ucsusa.org/our-work/center-science-and-democracy/promoting-scientific-integrity/at-nasa-earth-is-removed.html#.WDmR5eYrKM8

            In February 2006, the phrase “to understand and protect the home planet” was quietly removed from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s official mission statement. Because agency mission statements are routinely used to justify research and funding decisions, many scientists were not only surprised to discover the change, but also concerned that the change meant more funding would be shifted away from studies of Earth, including climate change research, and redirected to NASA’s planned new series of manned space missions.

            Let’s face it, what climate research is telling us is very inconvenient for those that are in power and control wealth and resources. No big surprise.

            With apologies to Martin Neimoller and men of goodwill the world over!

            First they came for the physicists, and I did not speak out—
            Because I was not a physicist.

            Then they came for the chemists, and I did not speak out—
            Because I was not a chemist.

            Then they came for the biologists, and I did not speak out—
            Because I was not a biologist.

            Then their policies made the planet uninhabitable for the rest of us—and there was no one left to speak for the rest of us.

        • Tran says:

          Its definitely for the best. When your research gets as politicized and questionable as at NASA over the past several years I think we can say “Houston, we have a problem”!

          • GoneFishing says:

            Propaganda is tool of the agenda driver and food for the weak minded.

          • Lloyd says:

            Ah yes..
            If only you could explain how and by who the process was politicized, rather than parroting talking points you don’t even understand.

            There is no “polititcized” research.

            Only research that the Republicans don’t like and can’t refute.

    • Peggy Hahn says:

      Happy Thanksgiving, All! Remember today is a good time to give our thanks to God and Jesus Christ or to simply rejoice in whichever Religious Beliefs you follow!

    • Peggy Hahn says:

      Happy Thanksgiving, All! Remember today is a good time to give our thanks to God and Jesus Christ or to simply rejoice in whichever Religious Beliefs you follow!

      • Stanley Walls says:

        Think I’ll just take the opportunity to thank those intelligent, educated folks, who through their postings here have helped to enlighten us less well-educated to better understand this complex universe we live in. I’ve been reading this blog since it’s inception and TOD beforehand, as well as lots of books on related and various subjects, some of which were recommended here by various posters. I’m happy to thank you guys and ladies for your contribution to my learning.
        Many Thanks,
        Stan

      • Fred Magyar says:

        And for those of us who have no need for religion we can thank our lucky stars!

        “Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.”
        ― Lawrence M. Krauss

        • JN2 says:

          Great quote. But…

          >> The most favored theory at present is that the Big Bang explosion generated the simple elements hydrogen and helium, which eventually coalesced into the first simple stars.

          These stars, known as Type-3 Stars, did not include any complex elements. The latter had to be generated when some of this first group of stars exploded as supernovas. From the resulting stardust evolved more complex stars and eventually planets and people.

          The problem is that, out of the billions upon billions of stars in the observable universe, there do not seem to be any Type-3 Stars at all. <<

          Oops! Sounds like a problem to me!

          http://www.icr.org/article/stardust-trail/

          • Doug Leighton says:

            The one and ONLY problem is we currently lack the ability to “see” stars far enough back in time (until about now perhaps)

            BEST OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE OF FIRST-GENERATION STARS IN THE UNIVERSE

            “Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) have discovered the brightest galaxy in the early universe and found strong evidence that examples of the first generation of stars lurk within it. These massive, brilliant, and previously purely theoretical objects were the creators of the first heavy elements in history, the elements necessary to forge the stars around us today, the planets that orbit them, and life as we know it. The newly found galaxy, labeled CR7, is three times brighter than the brightest distant galaxy known up to now.”

            http://www.astronomy.com/news/2015/06/the-very-large-telescope-discovers-brightest-distant-galaxy-and-signs-of-population-iii-stars

        • Synapsid says:

          FredM,

          While I agree with Krauss’ main message, we both know that no protons to pump across membranes means no life.

          I suppose there could be a refuge in Krauss’ “…at the beginning of time.” but I find that un-gentlemanly.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            I suppose there could be a refuge in Krauss’ “…at the beginning of time.” but I find that un-gentlemanly.

            Of course! Krauss is a physicist/cosmologist who is the director of the Origins Project at ASU. He can definitely come across as a bit un-gentlemanly upon occasion. 😉

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        I’m thankful for the Talking Snake– he is my go to guy when I need The Truth.
        He hangs out with the Rib Woman by that Magical Tree.

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        Thanks, Peggy.

        Today, tomorrow, these days especially, it may be ‘fashionable’, ‘trendy’ or ‘disruptive’ to scapegoat various religions and beliefs…

        But people can believe or think anything they want as long as they are good people, at least to/for their surrounds. If their belief structures or other strategies help them stay ‘straight-and-narrow’, so much the better…

        It’s those who are officious, hypocritical and/or wrap themselves up in the flags of good deeds, and/or paint themselves in fashionable washes, and/or sail whichever way they think the ‘consensus winds’ blow, and so on, and then attempt to affect their surrounds, that can be of concern, such as if consensus winds can variously misalign with reality and variously align with lies, myths, distortions and rationalizations, etc. that can detrimentally affect everyone and everything.

        It’s not that hard to figure out where many things cross some lines, even if they are blurry or rationalized away…

        Happiness Is Easy

        “Makes you feel much older
        Sublime the blind parade
        It wrecks me how they justify
        Their acts of war they assemble, they pray…

        Try to teach my children
        To recognise excuse before it acts…”

        Hosannas From The Basements Of Hell

        “Anger that poisons my heart
        Eating your liver and heart
        Like voodoo
        Just play ’til you bleed
        Lost in the noise I am free…

        I’m not a murderer yet…

        • Nathanael says:

          I find that belief systems which involve believing nonsense and things-contrary-to-fact — tend to cause their believers to do evil things.

          “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities” — Voltaire

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            That’s why I made a qualification or two in my comment along that line. Unsure how far down the line you want to go to ‘prevent evil’, but there’s bookburning, Charlie Hebdo shootings and the NSA for 3… which of course run into their own contradictions.

            And perhaps you read my response to islandboy along that line as well.

            Cars are a square peg into a round hole… perhaps especially on a small island.
            They’re part of a religion, which is interfering with Mother Nature’s round hole.

            But islandboy is just a boy…

            Fragile
            by Transit Project

      • Lloyd says:

        simply rejoice in whichever Religious Beliefs you follow!

        Which is, of course, passive /aggressive hate speech against those of us who deny the existence of any kind of supernatural over-being.

        You gonna apologize, or what?

        • paulo risiso says:

          Triggered?

        • Peggy Hahn says:

          How about you let me celebrate my Religious Beliefs and I’ll let you celebrate your Religious Beliefs. You needn’t be so rude or intolerant towards Others.

          • Lloyd says:

            You needn’t be so rude or intolerant towards Others.
            It’s your rudeness and intolerance that is on display here. The idea that the only option to what you believe in (and a second best option at that) is to worship something else.

            You chose to bring your beliefs to a forum where they are, if not a minority, somewhat less common than in the general US public.

            How about you let me celebrate my Religious Beliefs and I’ll let you celebrate your Religious Beliefs.

            I don’t have any religious beliefs. At all.

            I’m not stopping you from going to church. I am merely pointing out that your comment is propaganda of a sneaky and unpleasant type.

            And to help you out, the apology should read: “Sorry. I didn’t mean to imply there was anything wrong with having no belief in the supernatural. One should be able to do anything you want on Thanksgiving, seeing as it’s a national holiday and all.”

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      Hi islandboy,

      Insofar as the creation and support of roadway infrastructure is theft by another name (taxation), so it is unethical.

  2. Nathanael says:

    Again, where are the price assumptions. These models mean nothing without price assumptions.

    They’d be quite useful if they had price assumptions. I’m constantly benchmarking the price of alternatives. The oil which gets burnt is the oil, and *only* the oil, which can be produced *more cheaply than* the alternative to oil. The price of the alternatives is changing rapidly. So one needs to update the model for oil burnt every time that price changes.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      As before the assumption is that prices are high enough to make the fossil fuels profitable to extract. We don’t know future prices.

      I agree prices are not likely to be high enough to make such scenarios realistic, others believe such scenarios are too low.

      Generally the higher the scenario the higher prices would be.

  3. Boomer II says:

    Washington Won’t Have Last Word on Climate Change – Bloomberg View: “The U.S.’s success in fighting climate change has never been primarily dependent on Washington. Bear in mind: Over the past decade, Congress has not passed a single bill that takes direct aim at climate change. Yet at the same time, the U.S. has led the world in reducing emissions.

    That progress has been driven by cities, businesses and citizens — and none of them are letting up now. Just the opposite: All are looking for ways to expand their efforts. Mayors and local leaders around the country are determined to keep pushing ahead on climate change — because it is in their interest to do so.”

  4. R Walter says:

    The Nasca drew thousands of lines miles long down there in Payroo.

    We need to calculate how much CO2 was released into the atmosphere after they scratched all of those lines hither and yon all over the land down there. They did some serious damage to the original landscapes and there should be an effort to restore the countryside to its original condition. Remediation doesn’t just mean land restoration from coal mining and oil drilling in the modern era, the destruction from thousands of years of mankind damaging the entire earth over all of that time needs to be addressed. It will take thousands of years to straighten out the mess. Needed an energy source from somewhere to do all of that damage. har

    Also, Cleopatra let an asp chomp through her epidermal layers, what star did those atoms come from that exists in the aspis snake?

    Actually, she died from a cocktail of poisons, probably an assassination.

    The original snake oil.

  5. Boomer II says:

    I don’t know if this works here or under a different topic. But Tesla has come up enough in this forum and fake news has been mentioned that I think this is relevant.

    Fake news is the newest strategy for taking down Elon Musk, Tesla (TSLA) and SolarCity — Quartz

    • GoneFishing says:

      Fake and misleading “news” is rampant across the internet.

      Musk’s enterprises and ideas directly impinge on several big business operations. Oil, coal, natural gas, and car manufacturing businesses are in direct line for loss of profit to Musk’s car, battery and solar energy operations.

  6. GoneFishing says:

    Arable land per person has fallen from 0.37 hectares/person to 0.20 hectares per person 1961 to 2013. That is about a half acre per person world wide.

    Here is a list of arable hectares per person by country. You will notice that most countries have had the land area of arable land decrease with time. http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Agriculture/Arable-land/Hectares-per-capita

    Many countries have less than a half acre per person and some of those have rapidly increasing populations. At some point the food exporting countries are going to reduce and finally eliminate the export of food due to increasing internal use. This will put a pinch on food. If the west and Midwest of the US dries out further food exports will slow or stop.

    Looks like a tight spot for food in the future. I am sure a lot of innovation and home gardening will come into play. Africa is not fully developed yet and is low on irrigation/fertilizer in many areas, as well as good roads to move product, so they have some room to grow. Many other regions are already fully utilized.

    • Oldfarmermac says:

      Hi GF,
      Scary as hell, isn’t it, if you give it very much thought.

      You will know everything or just about everything I am going to mention, but some others don’t and might be interested in what I have to say.

      BUT

      Barring bad luck, not too many people will starve in the near future, even though we are getting down into the critical range in terms of arable land per mouth that must be fed.

      We argue that even though electrical energy captured from the wind and sun is obviously intermittent, we can whip this problem by building ENOUGH wind and solar capacity, and enough transmission lines ,and enough storage capacity, to get the electricity from wherever it is being produced in abundance at any given hour to the places it is needed.

      This statistical argument that will hold true, for extended periods of time, once the renewable electricity infrastructure is built out sufficiently, but SOONER or LATER, we can expect unsatisfactory weather conditions to prevail over a large enough area, LONG ENOUGH, to cause some REAL trouble, because we JUST AREN’T going to build enough wind and solar farms and long distance transmission lines and storage to cope with once in a century bad luck- at least not until AFTER we switch to almost all renewable electricity, and the lights go off in numerous cities and towns and industries for a few days. THEN we might add enough ADDITIONAL capacity to cover THAT MUCH bad generating weather.

      The renewable electricity scenario throws some light on the food supply situation.

      So far agricultural production is holding up remarkably well and growing, slowly , which is possible because the production of food is so widely dispersed, and the AVERAGE world wide weather has been good enough, and will probably continue to be good enough , from one year to the next, for us to grow enough food, again on a world wide basis, for a while yet.

      ( I am simplifying by not taking forced climate change into consideration and assuming availability of fertilizers, pesticides, etc. )

      But as you mention, it’s pretty much a mathematically foregone conclusion that eventually we WILL experience a bad enough year over a wide enough area that food production will crash with horrible consequences, since there is now so little spare capacity, world wide, in the form of arable land , knowledgeable farmers, working capital, etc etc.

      Now if you are satisfied to live on potatoes, bread, rice, and so forth, you can grow enough food on half an acre to feed yourself, assuming you are willing to work at it, with good luck, and you are located in an area with good soil, decent climate, etc.

      Some of us believe there is a very real chance that we may personally live to see our modern industrial economy crash and burn. I count myself among them, although I also believe the odds are good to very good that Old Man Business As Usual will out last ME, at least. But twenty or thirty years, or forty or fifty years down the road……… well unless we are collectively lucky as hell, there will be hell to pay.

      Anybody who might be contemplating living on as nearly an entirely self sufficient basis as possible, in the event he is still around when the shit hits the fan needs to understand the difference between living on half an acre, COLLECTIVELY, and living on half an acre as an individual unable or unwilling to purchase food produced elsewhere.

      Bad luck with the weather and with pests and diseases on an industry wide basis is rare, over very large areas.

      We are for instance having real problems with lack of rain in California and in the southeast here in Yankee land, but we still have plenty of food, and only a very modest portion of it is imported, excepting a few specialty items that won’t grow here in the USA, such as coffee.

      A tornado, or hurricane or even a bad thunderstorm can literally wipe out a half acre, or a hundred acres, or for that matter ten thousand acres of grain or veggies or tree fruit. Ditto an early or late frost, or an outbreak of some particular pesky bug, or blight or excessively dry or hot weather.

      Anybody who is interested in producing his own and his families food in the event it becomes necessary to do so must understand that he will need a LOT of spare capacity, in order to compensate for INEVITABLE BAD LUCK with weather, pests, diseases, and so on.

      I can’t say with any certainty how much good land would be sufficient in other places, but here in my part of the country , I would advise the anybody who wants to be truly and SAFELY self sufficient in terms of food to have at least a couple of hectares, four or five acres per person.

      This much land is obviously far more than is needed in a good year, especially with fertilizers, pesticides, and other inputs available, but as always, the devil is in the details.

      If you can’t buy diesel fuel, well then, that faithful old tractor will be useless, and you will need a horse or mule , if at all possible , and that means pasture, and hay, and at least some grain for your draft animal. Kids really do need milk, as a general rule, and that means more hay, grain, pasture,.

      In order to make the best use of your resources, you will probably want chickens at least, and maybe pigs or some other meat animal….. meaning sheds and shelters and fences and pens.

      And you need to allow land to lie fallow sometimes, in order to restore fertility, and to help with the
      control of pests and diseases. Rotating crops improves yields dramatically, especially when you have to do it without purchased fertilizers, etc.

      And you will want firewood, and fence posts, and at least some lumber for building those sheds and pens, etc.

      A few fish will be welcome as well, and a homestead farm pond is not only a source of food, it’s your emergency water supply, in the event of drought or fire, and a place for the family to enjoy a swim together in hot weather.

      Then you need open pathways at least as wide as your horse drawn cart to haul things around on your place…….

      And then you will want some stuff that just doesn’t produce a hell of a lot per square meter of land, things such as grapes, peaches, apples, nuts, which take a long time to begin to produce, and don’t produce very well or at all maybe one year out of three.

      And while your good luck is holding, you better be putting away everything you can against the bad year that will inevitably arrive, sooner or later………. maybe even two or three bad years in a row. (Maybe even seven in a row, there are many many pieces of profound wisdom to be found within the covers of the old KJB that some of us are so fond of ridiculing.)

      Get your land with some of it level, some sloping, where the soil is good, with a decent sized stream either crossing it or bordering it, where there is enough winter to keep the worst of the contagious diseases such as malaria in check, etc. High ground does not flood, and frost is far less troublesome on slopes where the air is more apt to be moving an a bright starry night in the spring or fall.

      I could go on far a while, but this ought to be enough to get anybody interested thinking about the possibilities and problems of self sufficiency.

    • scrub puller says:

      Yair . . . .

      The “arable land” thing needs a definition, what does the term mean?

      There is no shortage of what I would call “arable land” on the east coast of Australia. There are millions of acres in good rainfall country that has plenty of potential for small scale dams and irrigation.

      In other countries it would be bought into production but here we just use it to run Brahmans . . . there is no shortage of “arable land” unless you want to farm it with a hundred horse John Deere.

      Cheers.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Hi Scrub,

        Yer right about that issue of the definition of arable land. My folks used to raise apples on land so steep it wouldn’t even be considered as potential pasture land these days. They scraped out mini roads across the mountain side, using a mule and little scraper pan, just wide enough to get the boxes of apples out. Later on, these roads were made with small dozers, just BARELY wide enough for a pickup truck. You couldn’t turn around, on most of them, anywhere. You backed in and pulled out. VERY carefully!

        In the winter,you can see these old roads as plain as day on hundreds of acres of steep mountain land all thru this area, land too steep to even think about driving a farm tractor except on the little roads. We kept the grass and weeds under control with scythes, and did all the other work by hand as well. All these old orchards have gone back to timber since the sixties or so.

        And we made a decent living doing it too, growing exceptionally fine quality fruit, and hardly ever losing a crop to frost, one of the reasons the orchards were put on those south facing slopes. Another reason was this land could be bought cheap as dirt, pun intended, and my folks didn’t have any money back then.

        I spent most of my summer days and Saturdays during the school year as a youth in such orchards, my Dad’s and other relatives, and worked some as well for other growers. I started at twenty five cents an hour, which was excellent money for a kid back in those days. Two bucks would buy you a lot of good stuff back then, such as a brand new pair of jeans, made out of denim twice as heavy as any you can find these days, with big fat brass rivets and all the seams double lap felled. You could hang a pair of jeans back then on a barbed wire fence, and you were just HUNG, they didn’t rip.

        It is well worth noting that the boys who went to the fields with the older men on a regular basis almost all did well in later life as adults, which I attribute in very large part to the habits and values we learned working with the men. Our role models were the guys who could go from daylight to dark, and did, and we were PROUD when we got to be big enough and strong enough to do a man’s share, and buy our own boots and jeans and shot gun shells. And moonshine and cigarettes too, for that matter.

        We played ball and music , but we didn’t look up to ball players and musicians as role models.

        It’s a serious mistake to keep kids from doing some useful paid work along side adults in my estimation. We are social creatures, and very flexible in our behavior, but we must LEARN how to behave. Most kids these days in rich countries grow up without ever having had to really do anything, and it’s no surprise at all to me that after having had life handed to them on a platter, a lot of them have a hell of a hard time coping with the adult world where you always have to listen and perform and mostly keep your mouth shut, at least as a beginner.

        I’m still dickering with my neighbor over that old D 7. He smells a sale, but I have played the horse trading game with the other guys since we were kids, swapping pocket knives and fishing poles, lol. So I will be letting HIM bring up the subject, because I have enough projects laid out for this winter already anyway, and fixing that sucker up outdoors is a spring or fall job, when the weather is nice.

        It would be a lot smarter to buy a newer machine (still considered worn out, if priced at only ten or twelve thousand, ) for three or four times the money, but half the attraction of the idea is the challenge of getting that antique monster going again, and I don’t have a whole lot of cash laying around getting moldy.

      • GoneFishing says:

        Scrub,
        Come on, takes just a few seconds to get the definition of arable land. Land that can be plowed and grow crops.

        You think it’s not a problem, that percent or so that might be brought on in backyards or empty lots will not save our butts.

        Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years, scientists say
        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/02/arable-land-soil-food-security-shortage

        • scrub puller says:

          Yair . . .

          Gone Fishing.

          ” Scrub,
          Come on, takes just a few seconds to get the definition of arable land. Land that can be plowed and grow crops.”

          Exactly!! You got it in one!

          Now an extract from your link . . . .

          “We already have lots of land – it’s being used for pasture by the meat and dairy industries. Rather than keep it separated, we need to bring it into rotation, so that that there is more land in the system and less is being used at any one time.”

          Now an extract from my post up thread . . . .

          “In other countries it would be bought into production but here we just use it to run Brahmans . . . there is no shortage of “arable land” unless you want to farm it with a hundred horse John Deere.”

          Do you get it now? In no way though am I suggesting things are fine and dandy . . . things were much more sustainable when the streets were awash with horseshit but we are a long way from going hungry through lack of arable land.

          As I mentioned in a recent post food is undervalued and, for the most part, it’s cost does not form a sufficiently large part of the average weekly spend for people to understand the significance of how and where we farm.

          In an equitable climate such as that in Australia most seasonal vegetables to feed any given city could be grown within a one hundred kilometer radius of that town or cities CBD.

          • GoneFishing says:

            “We are creating soils that aren’t fit for anything except for holding a plant up. The soils are silting up river systems – if you look at the huge brown stain in the ocean where the Amazon deposits soil, you realise how much we are accelerating that process.”

            “The erosion of soil has largely occurred due to the loss of structure by continual disturbance for crop planting and harvesting. If soil is repeatedly turned over, it is exposed to oxygen and its carbon is released into the atmosphere, causing it to fail to bind as effectively. This loss of integrity impacts soil’s ability to store water, which neutralizes its role as a buffer to floods and a fruitful base for plants.”

            Most cropland is dead as a doornail, it needs heavy fertilization and is disappearing steadily. Much of the ranchland in the world is too poor or too dry for crops.

            The world is not Australia (which brings to mind a country that is mostly desert and has a low population). How much ranch land is high enough quality to produce crops? Any numbers for the world?

            • Oldfarmermac says:

              “How much ranch land is high enough quality to produce crops? Any numbers for the world?”

              I can say that most of the land currently used for grazing purposes is not suitable for crop production, probably less than one quarter of it, for one reason or another.

              Locally some spots with very good soil have lots of stone protruding thru the surface. You could farm this land with a horse or a mule and do well doing so , a century ago, but you can’t work it with modern machinery. Personally I wouldn’t call it arable as a practical matter.

              Other places that are considered suitable for irrigation are indeed so suited, for maybe a decade or two, when the ground water will be depleted and the irrigation wells will go dry.

              But the real killer problems are topography and climate. Most grazing land is simply to rough or too dry or both to be put into crop production. Some is too far north or at too high an elevation to get a decent yield due to either the short growing season or the short season in combination with low rain.

              The statistics are arbitrarily determined to some extent, and so the measure of arable land is comparable to the measure of oil reserves, with the happy exception that you can actually see the land and observe the weather and climate without having to spend a million or more each to bore some holes to see if oil is actually present,after spending money for seismic etc.

              If the real price of grain shoots up , I own twenty acres of EXCELLENT corn land. I couldn’t grow corn on it personally, for lack of the needed specialist equipment, but one of my neighbors who does grow corn would be glad to rent it. At three dollars a bushel, it’s a no go for corn, at eight or ten, it’s great.

              My family grew corn and other field crops on it for three generations. I am currently in the process of fencing it after allowing it to lie fallow or harvesting hay on it .

              It’s marginal even as pasture, because the property is too small for me to compete economically as a dairyman or beef producer. I can and will turn a VERY modest cash profit keeping half a dozen cows and calves on it, but my earnings per hour of time invested will be less than minimum wage, and my return on capital will be near zero, in terms of selling cows.

              But the price of the land is going up steadily, lol, even in times such as these, and I would rather make three dollars an hour out in the field working than spend the same or more playing golf.

              If you retire and sit down, you are BEGGING for an early grave.
              KEEP MOVING, at least until it hurts so bad you simply can’t.

              Bottom line, both Scrub and GF are right.

              We have plenty of arable land for the moment, just as we have plenty of oil for the moment, but over the medium or long term we have one hell of a problem.

              Beware statistics. There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. 😉

        • farmboy says:

          From wikipedia the FAO definition “arable land” (aka cropland): here redefined to refer to land producing crops requiring annual replanting or fallowland or pasture used for such crops within any five-year period”

          “arable land (row crops) is 28.4% of all agricultural land (10.9% of global land area”)

          “Permanent pastures are 68.4% of all agricultural land (26.3% of global land area”.

          So we can add 1.5 acres of grazeable land for every human alive plus some timberland and some more for sight seeing/rock climbing.

          Just a rough guess is that 1.5 acres of ave grazing land currently produces something like 50 lbs of beef or lamb meat and fat and edible organs.

          The rest of the worlds lands ‘I imagine’would include areas for timber production, deserts, rough terrain,tundera, or totally covered with ice (Antarctica, Greenland.)

  7. Oldfarmermac says:

    Those of us who are able to set aside our righteous indignation at Trump being headed for the WH long enough to enjoy a laugh about the press will get their laugh out of this link.

    Note , Pruden is a hard core conservative, but that doesn’t mean he can’t write a wicked and funny column once in a while, goring various oxen that are in bad need of it.

    I have noticed that most of the regulars here have a LOW opinion of the professionalism of the mass media, except maybe when the MSM are busy badmouthing ( deserved of course ) the R party and Trump, and their friends the Koch brothers, etc. Then over the top is just right, they love it.

    Read this link as humor, and you will get your laugh.

    Pruden defends Trump , to some extent, but note that I have not yet found anything good to say about him. I am looking, but it’s like looking for money in the street, if you find any, it’s apt to be a penny, and so not worth bending over to pick it up to see if it’s a rusty old washer.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/pruden112516.php3

  8. GoneFishing says:

    Runaway glaciers in Antarctica.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQMtb1Pd07E

    Three glaciers in West Antarctica have undergone “intense unbalanced melting,” risking their stability and further acceleration of sea level rise.

    New research published in Nature Communications found that the Smith, Pope and Kohler glaciers in the Amundsen Sea embayment collectively lost about 1,000 feet of ice from 2002 to 2009.

    http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13243

    Waters Rising
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX6DXR05k5U

  9. R Walter says:

    Alberta and Saskatchewan have land from sea to shining sea, it is all over the place. Blackest soil you’ll ever want to see. Those places could grow food from here to kingdom come and then some.

    Lots of sunshine during the summer months at 54 degrees north latitude. The cows can roam far and wide way up north.

    So much could be grown it would never make it to market, there would be plenty enough for everybody with half of what could be produced.

    Richest land you’ll ever see.

    Enough buildings in cities that could do vertical gardening with controlled atmosphere, artificial light would compensate for limited sunlight. Tops of parking garages could become urban garden paradises.

    Today’s recommended viewing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkMWzmwkkXA

    • aws. says:

      R,

      With respect to agriculture in Alberta and Saskatchewan perhaps you should take a look at the map of the boreal forest. And also look up the Canadian Shield while you are at it.

      https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/boreal/13071

      • R Walter says:

        Never have been to Grand Prairie, Alberta have you?

        It is at 55 degrees north, -118 longitude, has farmland surrounding it for hundreds of kilometers. Even the Yukon has good ag land. Peace River Valley is at 55 degrees, -121 and is an ag area too.

        The agricultural land begins at the Peace River Valley and goes east to Saskatoon then over to Manitoba, all great ag land that doesn’t really stop.

        http://maps.cga.harvard.edu/gpf/

        • aws. says:

          Ok, so the bottom half of Alberta is suitable for agriculture.

          Alberta and Saskatchewan have land from sea to shining sea
          What seas would that be?

          • GoneFishing says:

            Not real seas, just waste pools from the tar sands. They look shiny if the light hits them just right.

  10. Oldfarmermac says:

    We generally agree here in this forum that fossil fuels are a dead end due to their eventual depletion, never mind the countless other problems associated with them.

    And the consensus view seems to be that renewable electricity, generated with wind and sun , is the way to go.

    The biggest problem, other than paying for the wind and solar farms appears to be electrical storage.

    Here’s a link about a product that makes direct use of solar electricity to extract pure water from the atmosphere, and we have known how to store water just about forever. Our ancestors may have been using gourds or turtle shells or other cup like items as drinking and water transportation implements even before we tamed fire.

    http://www.popsci.com/this-machine-turns-sunshine-and-air-into-clean-water

    I am making a list of ways to use solar electricity in such a way that none is wasted, without needing batteries, and have a decent list already, with this product being the newest addition.

    Any links to other products that make great use of solar electricity without need for ELECTRICAL storage will be greatly appreciated.

    • Hello OFM,
      Do you have solar PV to water-heater element on your list? Looks like a good idea to me, but since my total monthly electric bill averages around $50-$55 monthly, year-round, it’s still hard for me to justify it on strictly dollar reasons. Especially since it seems that PV prices are still dropping.
      Also would appreciate the opinions of the electrical engineer types here.
      Stan

    • not clever says:

      I’ve been thinking about this lately as I plan to get a solar PV array for my house. Here are some ideas I’ve got, probably not original and probably most taken from this or similar forums over the years:

      Summertime run A/C cooler than normal or add window A/C to rooms that I want to be especially cool during midday, counting on thermal mass in house to retain cool temps later in afternoon to some degree so A/C electric use will be more in sync with solar gain.

      Turn refrigerators and freezers to colder setting during peak solar gain, then back to less cool settings at night. Also water containers could be put in freezer during morning and back to refrigerator at night.

      With a house using well water, run water-using activities and appliances during peak solar gain, including irrigation, clothes washing, etc.

      In spring and fall, combine electric heaters with solar thermal system (with rock or water thermal storage) to top off thermal storage for use at night and early morning.

      PV can run evaporative cooling system for greenhouse during day, combined with thermal storage to reduce peak temperature in growing season.

      Cooking and canning midday in large batches, especially on sunny days, using induction stove.

      I’d love to hear your list, so I can make mine more robust as well!

  11. Oldfarmermac says:

    I copied this from Sander’s interview with Spike Lee.

    Any Clintonista who is a serious large D democrat, or an environmentalist, had better set aside his allegiance to Clinton, and his denial of her undeniable faults and short comings, if he has not done so already, and take this message to heart, IF he really wants the D party, and the environment, to remain viable and not only viable but vigorous and growing.

    Sanders actual words are enclosed with quote marks, the paragraph below is background.

    Adding to the drama of Sander’s disclosure was the fact that, according to documents obtained by Wikileaks, Bernie Sanders was listed as a potential vice presidential candidate for Clinton. At the time, Donald Trump had yet to lock in the Republican Party nomination. Sanders’ outsider appeal and populist message would have potentially countered some of Trump’s among white, working-class voters, at least more so than the much more mainstream choice of Tim Kaine.

    In the interview, Sanders pointed out that the Democrats had to move in a new direction if they were to succeed, saying:

    “The hope is to understand that the Democratic party has stumbled very significantly in the last number of decades. It’s not just this election, Spike, as disastrous as it has been. It is the fact that the Republican party controls the Senate, controls the US House, controls something like two-thirds of the governor seats in this country, and that the Democrats have lost over 900 state legislature seats in the last eight years. What that tells me is that the Democratic party has got to very fundamentally rethink who it is and where it goes. It has to shed the current situation where it’s a party of the liberal elite, a party of wealthy people who give substantial sums – we can use that money, that’s fine, but it must reidentify itself as a party of working people. Whether you’re black, white, Latino, there are millions of people today who are working longer hours for lower wages, and they’re seeing almost all new income and wealth going to the top 1%. The Democratic party has got to say we are on the side of the 99%. Our party is not about having fancy fundraisers, it’s about going into union halls, veterans’ halls, farm communities, the inner cities. It has to bring people together around the progressive agenda and make government work for all of us and not the 1%”

    The working people in this country, the core of voters who believe in playing by the rules, the sort of people I grew up with and still live with, BY CHOICE, simply don’t believe in the D party anymore as the party of the people, in WAY TOO MANY CASES.

    Sanders nailed it, those who abandoned the D’s and stayed home or voted for Trump have regretfully concluded that the D party has been taking them for granted, morphing into a party for the elite.

    That gives us two parties beholden to the one percenters, with the caveat that Trump was and is (correctly ) seen as an outsider crashing the R party’s party, and thus in the eyes of those working class people who voted for him, a better bet in terms of change in their favor.

    If there is any one SINGLE issue that determines political success or failure in this country, it’s the reality and expectations of the large majority of us who find it necessary to go to work, day after day, year after year.

    Bill got it, Hill forgot it.

    Trump knew it, and stuck to it, while throwing molotov cocktails like confetti at a victory parade, thus keeping himself in the news, constantly, almost for free. His supporters enjoyed the fireworks, but the vast majority of them did not and do not take most of fireworks seriously, any more than Clinton fans took her saying she was “flat broke” seriously when she already had millions salted away, not to mention federal pension money, etc.

    By way of example, I have met only one person, myself, locally, who really believes Trump will build a wall and get Mexico to pay for it. He believes in the dead rising, pink skinned, smiling and freshly showered in new modest clothing, from their graves, any old day. He believes there is enough oil off the coast of North Carolina to run this country for generations, but that the D party won’t allow anybody to go after it.

    • Boomer II says:

      But why did those working class people think Trump is going to do anything for them? Nothing in his record suggests that. His strongest message seemed to be anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican. And what he did promise economically isn’t likely to happen — to bring back manufacturing jobs and coal.

      I’m skeptical that Trump won over the working class with his concerns of their plight. He seemed to play on their hated of “others.”

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        OF COURSE he played on the “hatred of others”, every politician alive does that ,either subtly or blatantly. If you are open minded enough to admit it, the elite liberal establishment plays the same game, just using politer language, calling people all sorts of names from deplorables on thru to racist, etc, thus making it AMPLY clear who is a member in good standing of the tribe, and who is an outcast and an enemy.

        Look , it is a MAJOR MISTAKE , one that is far far more often made by well educated people ( this is not to say all well educated people are social and cultural liberals! ) , to assume that everybody thinks like they do.

        Now I agree that there is little or nothing Trump can do to revive the coal industry, for various reasons that have little to do with politics, and everything to do with cheap natural gas, etc, but there is NO REASON why people should not believe him if they wish to do so, and he tells them what they want to hear, in respect to doing what he can to close the borders, put taxes on imported manufactured goods, etc etc.

        The working class people have hardly any more reason to have believed Clinton in respect to the economy than they did Trump.

        Clinton fans of the well educated sort just seem to be BLIND to her flipflopping on cultural issues such as same sex marriage and her cozy relationships with big big biz, big banks, etc, but working people are not so forgiving, when it comes to such things as trusting a politician.

        The French have a saying about foolish beliefs. They say about such beliefs, ” Only a fool or an intellectual would believe it”.

        Your average trucker, welder, carpenter, union guy on an assembly line, janitor, cashier, etc, does not believe Clinton is on his side, not after hearing about the millions she collected in speaking fees making secrect speeches to banksters.

        Hey, I have lived and worked more than half my life in the company of working class people, as well as living in and among professional people for years in a university district where I was one of the crowd, with a grad student id card in my pocket, an apartment within walking distance of a good sized urban campus, VCU, and a membership in the ACLU, etc.

        I have been there, and done that, and got the tshirts from both sides of the cultural divide.

        I am telling it like it is.

        Another way of looking at this thing , working class people voting for Trump, is not that they so much voted for Trump, but that they were in effect FIRING OBAMA, and his anointed successor, Clinton, for failing them over the last eight years, as they see it.

        For what it is worth, I am more convinced than ever that I am the ONLY person in this forum who has lived in a rural conservative religious community, a liberal university community, lived as a union worker, as a small contractor and self employed guy, etc and can switch easily from one to the other social and cultural world, if the occasion demands it, from the Reagan world to the Carter and Clinton world.

        By the way, Clinton wasn’t bad at all. I would have voted for him, this time around, had he been the nominee, because although he is a sinner and a rogue, he is a LIKEABLE sinner and rogue, lol, and did some good stuff, and has the common touch which Hillary is utterly lacking .

        • Boomer II says:

          If it is about the economy for the working class, we should see a major backlash coming at the GOP in 2018 and 2020.

          The folks in this forum know how complex global economics are. I think most of us anticipate more hard times ahead than boom times. So whoever was going to be the next president was going to have to deal with it.

          The plight of the US working class is likely to get worse (maybe faster under Trump given that his cabinet appointments seem to favor people who want to help business and cut benefits) no matter whether one favors left-wing politics or right-wing politics.

          I liked Sanders’ rhetoric, but he was going to have a hard time converting the country to single payer and forgiving college loans and making college free for everyone. And no matter what he promised, the GOP would have fought him on everything.

          So until voters actually vote for different members of the House and the Senate and different governors and different state legislators, they aren’t going to get anything close to what they want.

          • islandboy says:

            Hey Boomer, you’ve just put a silver lining around this Trump cloud. Politicians like to take credit for good shit that happens when they are office, whether they contributed anything to it happening or it was just plain serendipity. They also take flak for bad shit, whether “it was their fault” or not. IMO Obama has dodged the bullet so far in that, nothing really bad has happened under his watch and economic indicators have improved significantly. I kinda like Obama so I’m relieved that TS did not HTF while he was president.

            Now, our host has called 2015 as the year of Peak Oil and if he is right, all sorts of bad shit is likely to happen over the next four years. Even if he is off by a year or two, it is very likely that some bad shit will happen while The Donald is the sitting president. Add in the possibility of some repercussions from the stories about record fall temperatures in the arctic, record low global ice extent for this time of year and runaway Antarctic glaciers and we might be looking at the perfect shitstorm!

            Imagine sudden collapse of some pretty large glaciers/ice sheets, raising sea levels by a couple of inches in a fairly short time (a year or two) coinciding with record searing heat waves in the US, intensification of droughts, some crop failures as a result, an unmistakable decline in global crude oil production resulting in a collapse of FF industry stock prices, all of this with a global warming denier, billionaire businessman sitting in the Whitehouse!

            Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy! 😉

            • Boomer II says:

              Reading that other countries plan to go along with the Paris Agreement even if the US pulls out, and that China will put together an Asian trade agreement to fill in for the TPP that appears to be dead, I have wondered if Trump is enough of a questionable leader that the rest of the world is thinking in terms of what they can do for themselves without the US.

              Will the power and influence of the US decline at an accelerating rate as Trump administration policies remove us from global cooperation?

              I think our energy discussions are an important part of that. If some countries are preparing for the post-fossil fuel age and the US is not, will our relevance be lessened?

              • Boomer II says:

                I’ll add that much of the US’s past prosperity was tied to our coal and oil resources. Much of the manufacturing has already left. We could remain the farm for the rest of the world if we don’t run out of irrigation water, but in terms of energy and manufacturing, those are declining and not likely to drive our economy long-range.

                I’ll add, though, that many of the products I buy in the grocery stores aren’t from the US. The canned meats and fish come from China. The fruits and vegetables often come from Mexico or a South American country.

                Will we have an economic competitive advantage? And then, add to that we have a White House that might not be equipped to deal with the rest of the world, we may have declining leverage. We’ll probably have a big defense department, but if we don’t use it (and I hope we don’t), does the rest of the world care? Is it even a stabilizing force anymore?

              • Boomer II says:

                I was looking for recent articles on the US’s influence in the world these days.

                This one had some interesting things to say:

                The End of American World Order | The Diplomat: “America remains and will continue to remain the world’s leading military power. But today’s threats are much more complex and challenging to the United States than the old-fashioned military threat posed by nations. These include terrorism, ethnic conflicts, as well as conflicts induced by climate change. These threats are transnational in nature and no nation, however powerful can handle them on its own. The United States has to share leadership and resources with other nations, which necessarily undercuts its dominance.”

                “The traditional architecture of global governance was dominated by the big multilateral institutions, created and dominated by the U.S. and its Western allies, such as the UN, IMF, World Bank, and the WTO, and various UN-linked organizations like the WHO, UNHCR, etc. They are no longer the only game in town. Others in the fray are regional organizations, private sector groups, foundations, civil society groups, and different combinations of them. New institutions like the G20, which brings together countries from both the North and the South, on a more equitable footing than the UN Security Council or the IMF. The new system is messier, and many of them operate outside the control of governments or global inter-governmental organizations. They are not beholden to American objectives and authority.”

                With regard to the first paragraph, while I expect the GOP to advocate expanding the defense budget, it may not bring the power and influence that it hopes (though it will continue to enrich defense contractors).

                In regard to the second, I am hoping that groups like this will move forward on energy issues even if US policy reverts to the 1950s.

            • GoneFishing says:

              The biggest story will be DT explaining how the Democrats caused the upcoming recession and how it is not his fault.
              He will not worry about the world or US climate change because it is just the weather and he doesn’t control the weather. Man made climate change does not exist in his view so he won’t respond to any changes as being his or our fault.

              • Boomer II says:

                I was looking for stories on Trump and a potential recession. I saw that conservatives are already claiming that Obama set Trump up for a recession.

                So they’ll blame Obama forever.

                However, if the claim is that blue collar workers really only care about the economy and their support of Trump wasn’t about racism, religion, sexism, homophobia, etc., then logically they will be pissed if their lives don’t get better.

                Again, if people who feel overlooked continue to vote for politicians whose policies won’t help them, I don’t feel a lot of sympathy.

                • Fred Magyar says:

                  However, if the claim is that blue collar workers really only care about the economy and their support of Trump wasn’t about racism, religion, sexism, homophobia, etc., then logically they will be pissed if their lives don’t get better.

                  Hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but neither blue collar or white collar workers lives are going to get better because of anything a Trump administration does. The whole idea of even having a ‘JOB’ will be in question. Should be a fun filled next few years.

                  Aside from the unfortunate fact that Trump and the people he has surrounded himself with, are mostly sociopaths, hypocrites and bald faced liars, they couldn’t do what they supposedly promised even if they wanted to!

                  It’s a bit like saying we are going to improve the performance of your virus infected computer, currently running a Windows 10 operating system, by re-installing Windows 95. It just ain’t gonna work!

                  Anyways while the US burns and Trump fiddles, the rest of the world won’t care because they are going to be running on open source Linux 🙂

                  Great Talk!

                  The Rise of Digital Technology – DIF 2016
                  Douglas Rushkoff Media theorist, author and documentarian

                  https://www.thinkdif.co/headliners/douglas-rushkoff

                  IMHO, Trump ain’t gonna make a damn bit of difference in the big picture.

                  • Boomer II says:

                    So the question is this: Will they throw Trump and the GOP out, or will they become even that much more enraged and go after the “others” even harder when Trump lets them down? Or will they even realize Trump has let them down? Maybe they’ll think it’s just God’s way of punishing America for gays.

                    My problem with the idea that if only the Democrats would have paid more attention to the blue collar workers, it would have been different is that if you told them the truth about their economic futures, they wouldn’t vote for you.

                    No, they appear to want someone to tell them everything will be great, when in reality it probably won’t be. As Colonel Jessep said, “You can’t handle the truth.”

                    Sanders promised a lot of stuff he probably couldn’t have delivered. Clinton didn’t promise as much, and perhaps she lost votes because of it, but I think she best understood the complexities ahead.

                  • Fred Magyar says:

                    As Colonel Jessep said, “You can’t handle the truth.”

                    Yeah, and if you recall when he finally told the truth in a moment of rage, Colonel Jessep, was arrested and court martialed for his deeds!

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    America never had prosperity and jobs by sitting on it’s hands and hanging onto the past. It was always growing by moving forward, leading the way.
                    The new job growth will be in renewable energy, new technology, energy and resource conservation.

                  • Fred Magyar says:

                    The new job growth will be in renewable energy, new technology, energy and resource conservation.

                    Yes, there will likely be some job growth in those areas.

                    However that in no way addresses my earlier point about the fact that we are entering a new economic paradigm where there will no longer be growth, let alone jobs as we have thought of them in the past.

                    If you get a chance watch Douglas Rushkoff’s talk that I posted a link to, to see what I’m talking about.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    Fred, don’t confuse growth in one area with overall growth. Nature grows all the time, new replacing the old.
                    So we will replace the old with new technology, those areas will have growth. The old areas will recede.

                    Just found another large PV solar farm to just south of where I live. They seem to be quietly popping up all over the region.

                  • Fred Magyar says:

                    Fred, don’t confuse growth in one area with overall growth. Nature grows all the time, new replacing the old.

                    I get that, GF! I was talking about the system as a whole. As I’m sure you are well aware, an entire healthy ecosystem rarely if ever grows…

          • Oldfarmermac says:

            “If it is about the economy for the working class, we should see a major backlash coming at the GOP in 2018 and 2020.”

            I agree, and have said so already, but noticeable, obvious backlash might not arrive quite so early as 2018 . 2020 will tell the tale, and I expect the D’s to recover a lot of ground, barring the economy doing really well, and I don’t expect it to.

            There are various tricks that Uncle Sam can use to force the economy to perform better SHORT TERM, at the expense of lesser performance longer term, and the R’s will no doubt use some of these tricks, as many as they can get away with, consistent with the agenda of those who control the party.

            Start with Trump himself, and others such as the Koch brothers, and follow the money.

            A flood of borrowed ( printed ) money could be thrown at the highway industry for instance, which would put a hell of a lot of Trump guys, construction workers both union and non union , to work for instance.

            The follow on effects if this happens will put manufacturing workers back on the job in factories that build dump trucks and paving machines, etc.

            On the other hand, it does appear likely to almost dead sure that the renewable energy industries are going to suffer, throwing a lot of people out of work.Predicting the economy is tough. Things that may be bad or wasteful, long term, can seem pretty good short term, and actually BE good, short term, such as spending on the highways.

      • GoneFishing says:

        I reviewed previous presidential election results all the way back to 1880. Only two times has a president been elected and lost the popular vote, this past one with Trump and the Bush-Gore contest. Both times Republicans won the electoral college and lost the popular vote.
        I also noticed that often when the popular vote was close, the electoral votes were often widely different. The electoral system heavily distorts a democratic voting system. Every other political contest in the US is determined by popular vote, except the US president.
        The lack of any significant third party is also apparent through the historical record. Third party wins at the gubernatorial and senate levels are also low. This speaks of a highly controlled political system.

        I can’t speak for the 40 percent of voting age people that did not vote, or know their actual reasons for not voting. I can only guess they feel powerless, disenfranchised or do not feel represented by mainstream parties. The fact is though that the non-voting group outnumbers the Republican and the Democratic voters, each of whom is about evenly divided at around 30 percent.

  12. Boomer II says:

    I have been posting articles about how other countries plan to move forward with climate change action even if the US doesn’t, and how coal is declining, no matter what Trump does, and how renewables and EVs appear to be moving ahead even if Trump and his administration are against them.

    Many of today’s economics don’t really favor Trump’s positions. Loosening regulations won’t bring back coal, and Musk and others feel solar and EVs are now less dependent on support from Washington.

    So looking at this from an economic point of view, how many businesses would actually benefit from having the EPA to disappear? Most of them aren’t hampered by EPA regulations, I would assume.

    Conversely, how many businesses are likely to make more money from tech advancements than from fossil fuel?

    Will it be possible for the clean tech folks around the globe to ban together to boost their industries in ways that aren’t dependent on DC policies? If nothing else, it seems to me that if the technology is there at the right price, it will be purchased somewhere in the world even if Trump and others do their best to suppress it here. It’s kind of like climate change data and research. You can try to suppress it and kill it in the US, but it is impossible to make it disappear around the world.

    • Oldfarmermac says:

      Texas is as red as Rudoplh’s “nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight” and the wind industry is going gang busters there, and with the cost of industrial scale solar electricity still falling fast, I am willing to bet that the Texas solar industry will likewise grow at a blistering pace within the near future. Solar is doing very well in North Carolina, another rather reddish state, and will continue to do well there as the cost of new solar capacity falls.

      It’s a mistake to assume that R type people aren’t able to balance a checkbook, or recognize which way the wind is blowing, in terms of business opportunities, lol.

      Natural gas won’t stay cheap, unless almost everybody in this forum who knows something about the costs involved in producing it and transporting it to market is badly mistaken about the numbers.

      With depletion of gas and coal being the hard core reality, it will soon be the case that it will be cheaper for the electrical utility industry to build wind and solar farms than it is to build new coal and gas fired capacity, even without the production tax credit, etc.

      The question foremost in my mind, in respect to the future of renewable energy in the USA, is how long it will be before it is OBVIOUS that it’s cheaper, on average, than coal and gas?

      It’s already cheaper, true, in some places, but not as a general rule, nationwide, and it will be a LONG time before renewable electricity is cheaper in some parts of the country.

      At some point, the R party mouth pieces who bad mouth renewables now will be telling us how great the free market is, because renewables have displaced coal and gas as generating fuels, lol.

      But on the OTHER HAND, technical advances and the falling costs that come with growing scale might turn out to bite the renewables industries HARD on the backside.

      We advocate lots of HVDC power lines to get wind and solar power from where ever it may be available at any given minute or hour, to where it’s needed, right?

      BUT BUT BUT BUT

      Suppose that those power lines get extended to the strip mines in Montana and Wyoming? In that case, with transportation costs for the coal falling to near zero, and the coal asset stranded, or nearly so, coal fired electricity would stay dirt cheap a LONG TIME.

      I am not predicting this will happen, but with Trump types in charge of Uncle Sam’s business, the possibility cannot be dismissed out of hand.

      And fortunately we have that rich guy Buffet who is a favorite among the D’s and who owns a hell of a lot of railroads, and maybe he will be able to prevent the HVDC lines being built and destroying his rail gold mine, lol.

      Yogi sez predictin’ is hard.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi OFM,

        It is already the case in the US that Wind and solar are cheaper than a new coal power plant for the cost of electricity produced in good areas (Midwest and Texas for Wind and the US Southwest and Texas for solar), in some cases (the very best areas) wind and solar are also cheaper than a new natural gas fired power plant.

        In the rest of the World there are some places with poor Wind or solar resources where coal and natural gas are still cheaper, but in the European Union and the US that is mostly not the case.

        See

        http://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/MT_electric.cfm#lgen

        Also note that the EIA is very conservative in its projections for the increase in natural gas prices fro 2016 to 2040 (it assumes 2014 real prices are reached in 2020 and grow very slowly after that). It also assumes the cost of Wind and Solar fall very slowly.

        I believe they are too optimistic on natural gas supply and too pessimistic on Wind and Solar future cost.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Chart for cost curve of powder river coal below

        see http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1809/

        Figure 136. Graph showing cumulative cost curve for the Powder River Basin, Wyoming and Montana (Gillette coal field, Northern Wyoming Powder River Basin, and Montana Powder River Basin assessment areas).

        Current price of Powder river coal is $9/short ton so about 10 billion short tons of reserves at $12/ short ton reserves are about 25 billion short tons.

        • GoneFishing says:

          That price/reserves graph makes no sense at all. The mines are headed toward thicker overburden and lower quality coal, which will drive the costs upward steeply.
          The margins on PRB coal are small and getting smaller. Arch coal reported a negative operating margin in 1st quarter 2014, managed to get it up to positive $0.96 per ton by 1st quarter 2015. Since then prices went down and Arch Coal declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Alpha Natural Resources had high debt to carry and went bankrupt.

          Boyd shows a non-linear rise of costs versus reserves, getting quite steep with increased tonnage.

          Removal of environmental constraints and further subsidies are the future for coal. They certainly can’t compete on a level playing field.

          • Oldfarmermac says:

            Hi GF,

            I am certainly not an expert on western Yankee coal, but my impression from reading about it is that there is a hell of a lot of it very near the surface , and in very thick seams, so the costs of mining it are not expected, according to what I have read, go up very much in the short or medium term.

            The cost of mining coal must go up of course , as the accessibility and quantity of the remaining coal declines, but the question is more when than if.

            Sometimes we tend to forget that one way or another, the conventional utilities WILL BE PAID to generate the electricity we must have from them when wind and solar aren’t getting the job done.

            If they aren’t, then the lights go off, and this is reality for now and for another couple of decades and probably longer than that.

            The flip side of the level playing field that coal cannot compete on is the still night with no wind when renewable generation falls way down, close to zero over large territories. Then gas and coal own the playing field.

            What I’m getting at is that coal will be mined for quite a while yet, and the price of it will necessarily go up to the point that whoever is still mining it will make some money.

            And then there are other markets than just electrical generation for coal as well, such as the manufacture of steel.

            I am willing to believe that we might eventually build enough long distance transmission lines, wind farms, solar farms, and storage of some sort or another that we can get by with very little or no fossil fuel generated electricity, but I don’t see it happening in less than a generation.

            Does any body here think that the technical, financial, and political problems associated with going all the way renewable with electricity can all be dealt with in LESS than a generation?

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Old Farmer Mac,

              I will arbitrarily define generation as 25 years, though it used to be more like 20 years and these days it is moving closer to 30 years.

              No coal production won’t stop overnight, it will take 30 to 40 years before most coal production can be replaced.

              Think about a nation the size of the US (or even US, Canada, and Mexico) with a widely dispersed set of wind and solar power plants highly interconnected with an HVDC network. Electric vehicles connected to be charged could potentially supply their homes with some backup power, there will be pumped hydro storage, fuel cells and batteries and 3 times extra capacity over the average load which can be used to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells when there is excess generation as well as charging batteries etc.

              Bottom line, unless the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining everywhere, there is not likely to be a problem because the electricity can move through the system to where it is needed.
              Also nuclear can be used as backup, unless we forget how to weather forecast because unusual weather can be anticipated an we would fire up the nuclear reactors for backup. That electricity would be paid a premium.

              There is also demand pricing where a display in your home tells you in real time the price of electricity, when the price is high, some activities can be delayed, laundry, dishes, baking a cake, etc.
              As well as adjusting the thermostat and even turning off the water heater. These will all be controlled from smart phone apps in the future and could be programmed to turn off or down when prices reach a certain threshold.

              Short answer, I agree it will take a generation and maybe two, but it can be done gradually over time, by 2060 most fossil fuel output could be shut down.

              Not that much coal is used for iron and steel production. Much of the steel will eventually be recycled, maybe in 3 generations.

            • GoneFishing says:

              “I am certainly not an expert on western Yankee coal, but my impression from reading about it is that there is a hell of a lot of it very near the surface , and in very thick seams, so the costs of mining it are not expected, according to what I have read, go up very much in the short or medium term. ”

              OFM, here is a study of the overburden (strip) ratios and economics in the PRB. See what you think after reading that.
              No experts here on coal mining, though I have been around a lot of it. Increasing overburden is costly in removal and equipment.

              http://www.verticalresearchpartners.com/research-note.cfm/strip-ratios-and-mining-in-the-prb

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Gonefishing,

            That chart was very large and the supply curve does become almost vertical at about 100 billion short tons, I cut off that part of the chart because it was at prices much higher than is realistic. The boxes at the lower left corner of the chart correspond with Powder River Coal prices from 2011 to 2016 which have ranged from $8.90/ST to $15/ST over that period. The cost curve is based on the assessment in 2015 by the USGS.

            I am not a coal guy, perhaps they are wrong.

            • GoneFishing says:

              Here is the study “POWDER RIVER BASIN COAL
              RESOURCE AND COST STUDY”

              https://www.xcelenergy.com/staticfiles/xe/Regulatory/Regulatory%20PDFs/PSCo-ERP-2011/8-Roberts-Exhibit-No-MWR-1.pdf

              Enjoy

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Gone Fishing,

                That is a good study, but it is older than the USGS study (2011 vs 2015). Perhaps the cost curve is steeper than the USGS assumes, one mistake is that they assume real costs do not increase, but at higher output levels costs are likely to increase.

                Generally I would agree that the USGS curve looks too flat and the estimates from the paper you linked to look more realistic.

                This implies that a lower coal reserve estimate (under an assumption of Powder River coal prices under $12/ton in 2016$) would be more realistic (about 25 bst). It is not clear that Powder River coal will be able to compete above $10/ton with falling Wind and Solar costs, which would reduce reserves to 20 bst.

                If the same happens Worldwide, the low coal URR scenario becomes more realistic as wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, and natural gas gradually replace coal fired power stations. Natural gas and oil will also gradually be replaced as they deplete, become expensive and are no longer competitive with alternatives.

                That is my hope, better policy is needed to speed the process such as eliminating all subsidies to the fossil fuel industry as well as properly taxing externalities.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      If nothing else, it seems to me that if the technology is there at the right price, it will be purchased somewhere in the world even if Trump and others do their best to suppress it here.

      Yup!

      http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/11/26/why-latin-america-and-china-will-beat-the-us-in-re.aspx

      Why renewables are booming in emerging markets

      While U.S. electricity consumption is stagnant, Latin America and China are growing. According to the EIA, China’s electricity demand more than doubled between 2005 and 2013, and Mexico’s demand grew 25% from 2004 to 2014. This growth is a big reason China is the world’s leader in wind and solar energy, and why Latin America has seen a flood of new renewable projects announced this year. Countries across Latin America like Chile, Argentina, and Brazil are also seeing increased electricity demand, which is a big driver of their renewable energy growth.

      What separates the growth is renewables in these isn’t that they have more of a desire to build wind and solar. It’s that they’re in need of new electricity generation, and wind and solar are cost-competitive ways to get that energy. The U.S doesn’t need new electricity generation, so wind and solar aren’t competing with new coal or natural gas plants, they’re competing with plants that were built decades ago and have a much lower cost basis.

      • R Walter says:

        Wind turbine accident and incident complilation:

        http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/fullaccidents.pdf

        2000 and growing! It is a new growth industry! har

        Weekly carloads of coal at BNSF:

        http://www.bnsf.com/about-bnsf/financial-information/weekly-carload-reports/pdf/20161119.pdf

        The number of carloads of coal is at 42 thousand for week 46 in 2016. About two hundred less than 2014, so it is a steady number. Not much to worry about as far as coal-fired power plants go, they will be burning coal night and day.

        Cheers!

        • Fred Magyar says:

          LOL! Holy Smokes, Batman!

          “Wind turbines are causing bats’ lungs to explode”.Environmental campaigners fear windfarms are causing the lungs of millions of bats to explode every year, and are now urging the Scottish Government to do more to investigating the effect caused by the turbines – known as barotrauma.

          BTW, shouldn’t that be called Bat O trauma?! Har!

          Anyways its fossil fuel burning humans who are causing the sixth mass extinction… burn baby burn!

          • GoneFishing says:

            Nature has a way of filling empty niches, so guess what that means if humans survive very long?

            • aws. says:

              We’ll develop winglike skin flaps under our armpits and sonar? Oh, and a craving for insects at dusk. 🙂

  13. George Kaplan says:

    Daily CO2, already above last years maximum daily average (404.84 in April) and must be one of the biggest y-o-y daily increases ever. Is this still an artefact of El Nino or something else happening? – I guess we’re never going to know now.

    November 26, 2016: 405.40 ppm
    November 26, 2015: 400.79 ppm

    • Fred Magyar says:

      I guess we’re never going to know now.

      George, the US is not the world. There are plenty of other countries…

      • George Kaplan says:

        But do they have the USA’s capacity to collect so many atmospheric samples and do full isotope analysis on each?

        • Boomer II says:

          What is unique about the US’s capacity that can’t be duplicated elsewhere? There is money around the world. If the US fails to do the job, I would think other countries, other companies, and other private research facilities might fill in the void.

          I can’t see everyone in the world following the US’s lead if the US chooses to ignore research in this area.

          Also, to what extent is it really necessary to have precise carbon info at this point? If countries have decided that fossil fuels are not in their best interests, they will likely phase them out as soon as they can whether or not they have research on carbon and temperature rises.

        • Boomer II says:

          Also, we will always continue to do weather research because it is necessary for agriculture and for disaster preparation. So we will have temperature data, wind pattern changes, etc. Certain patterns will emerge even if we don’t label them as climate change.

          We will also be following ocean rises because increased flooding is hard to ignore. So again, so information will be gathered on that even if the US doesn’t want to acknowledge cause.

          Another area which the US might try to suppress, but would go against military strategy, is how changing weather will affect stability in various countries and also what will be required to fight wars in those countries. Already rising water in the Norfolk area is affecting the large Navy base there. Eventually the Navy will have to relocate the piers.

          Another issue with the military is if there is an increase in natural disasters which require more help from the National Guard.

    • GoneFishing says:

      El Nino is long over.

      • George Kaplan says:

        But I think by some analyses the impact on CO2 could be seen for about 6 more months after the 97/98 El Nino.

        • Doug Leighton says:

          George, my understanding is that an El Niño event accelerates carbon decomposition (and favors forest fires), decreasing the carbon-storing capacity of the tropical biosphere (fires are especially bad because they destroy the biosphere while at the same time producing high quantities of CO2) Therefore, part of the annual carbon cycle gets a boost in a hot year and it takes a few years for plant re-growth to compensate: a conclusion following the 1997/8 event. However, it’s important to note this year’s rise in CO2 is bigger than the last El Niño, in part, because human emissions have gone up by about 25% since then.

          • GoneFishing says:

            Come on Doug, spit it out, tell him how it really is. You gotta stop beating around the bush (might be a burning bush).

    • Louis Tennessee says:

      Disclaimer: The atmosphere is composed of about 78% Nitrogen and 21% Oxygen by volume. No other gas constitutes more than 1%. CO2 is, in fact, a trace gas representing approximately 0.04% of the volume of dry air in the atmosphere. Merely providing these CO2 measurements with no additional context does not allow readers to properly evaluate the significance of the measurements.

      Additionally reference Wikipedia Atmopshere of Earth entry: “The three major constituents of air, and therefore of Earth’s atmosphere, are nitrogen, oxygen, and argon. Water vapor accounts for roughly 0.25% of the atmosphere by mass. The concentration of water vapor (a greenhouse gas) varies significantly from around 10 ppm by volume in the coldest portions of the atmosphere to as much as 5% by volume in hot, humid air masses, and concentrations of other atmospheric gases are typically quoted in terms of dry air (without water vapor). The remaining gases are often referred to as trace gases, among which are the greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Tks for enlightening us, Louis, most high school students already know all that.

        • Doug Leighton says:

          I was going to say Elementary School kids but hey, let’s give the guy a break.

          • GoneFishing says:

            Yes, but he forgot that water vapor not only varies vertically, it varies considerably in all horizontal directions from place to place and has a major latitudinal component. Water vapor concentration also has a time component and is part of a larger phase change system.
            It’s never easy, and rarely simple.
            He did not get into how opaque the atmosphere is to longwave radiation or how the one open IR window is being squeezed by increasing GHG’s.
            It’s just so darn interesting and complex, we could go on all night, except I have something far more important to do. Walk the dog, otherwise a local concentration of various phases of water vapor could occur in unwanted spaces.

            • Fred Magyar says:

              I have something far more important to do. Walk the dog, otherwise a local concentration of various phases of water vapor could occur in unwanted spaces.

              Dunno bout dat! I think I’d be more concerned with the NH3 vapors…

    • Jason T. says:

      CO2 is indeed a greenhouse gas, and we are putting somewhat large amounts of it into the atmosphere at a fast rate. However, for these actions to be catastrophic in any way there needs to be a powerful positive feedback which doesn’t really make much sense. A negative feedback actually seems much more logical at this point, particularly if one considers that extremely high CO2 levels in the past didn’t make the earth uninhabitable.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        A negative feedback actually seems much more logical at this point, particularly if one considers that extremely high CO2 levels in the past didn’t make the earth uninhabitable.

        Logic fail!
        Whoever is building these dumb denialist bots really needs to upgrade their algorithms a couple of notches.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Jason T,

        We would prefer a planet that is inhabitable for the present flora and fauna that exists, including modern humans.

        Humans in there present form (Homo sapiens sapiens) have been around for roughly 250,000 years and the Genus Homo perhaps 3 million (though we were not very different from chimps 3 My BP). Note that atmospheric CO2 was last at present concentrations about 3.2 My BP. Prior to 1910, Homo sapiens sapiens had never experienced the planet with atmospheric CO2 above 300 ppm and over most of our existence up to 1910 CE atmospheric CO2 varied between 180 and 300 ppm.

        Try

        http://history.aip.org/climate/index.htm

        and

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_evolution

        for more information.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          Hey Dennis, you might enjoy what Curtis Marean has to say in this ASU event:

          https://origins.asu.edu/events/conversation-inconvenient-truths-love-extinctions

          Marean is a professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the associate director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. He is interested in the relation between climate and environmental change and human evolution, both for its significance as a force driving past human evolution, and as a challenge to be faced in the near future. Curtis has focused his career on developing field and laboratory teams and methods that tap the synergy between the disciplines to bring new insights to old scientific problems. He has spent over 20 years doing fieldwork in Africa, and conducting laboratory work on the field-collected materials, with the goal of illuminating the final stages of human evolution – how modern humans became modern.

  14. Boomer II says:

    I didn’t post this earlier because until it actually happens, it isn’t real. However, it just occurred to me that if he can get new home builders (and contractors replacing roofs) to use these, whether or not they are immediately hooked up to the grid, then solar gets an immediate boost. If it becomes the standard roof on new homes, that would change perception of solar significantly.

    Elon Musk: Tesla solar roof will likely cost less than a normal roof: “‘It’s looking quite promising that a solar roof will actually cost less than a normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account,’ he said. ‘So the basic proposition would be, “Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less, and by the way generates electricity?” It’s like, why would you get anything else?’

    Musk added that the price he was speaking to factored in the cost of labor.”

  15. R Walter says:

    Our research shows that 1,199 new coal-fired plants with a total installed capacity of 1,401,268 megawatts (MW) are being proposed globally. If all of these projects are built, it would add new coal power capacity that is almost four times the current capacity of all coal-fired plants in the United States.

    http://www.wri.org/resources/data-visualizations/proposed-coal-fired-plants-installed-capacity-mw

    Isn’t that 1.4 terawatts of new power? 1,401,268,000,000 megawatts. Coal will be able to provide electricity to humans into the 23rd century. We’ll be lucky to get that far, but it might happen.

    The map is purdy cool.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      The coal will get very expensive before long. These will be bad investments long term because there is far less coal than most people think, so the electricity produced would be far more expensive than wind, hydro, solar, and nuclear power as coal depletes and becomes more expensive.

      If the Mohr et al 2015 high coal estimate is correct and there is no future increase in coal output from the 2014 peak output (3.9 Gtoe coal production per year) then the 585 Gt of remaining coal resources would be used up in 150 years assuming 3.9 Gt/year output every year. Of course if more coal power plants are built it will be used more quickly. A very simple scenario is presented below with a linear increase and exponential decrease in coal output for the Mohr2015 high case. Coal production runs out in 2200, but this scenario would require very high coal prices, as coal prices increase coal power plants will no longer be competitive, probably by 2040 to 2050 as the cost of wind and solar decrease over time.

      I believe the scenario below is likely to be much higher than is realistic and believe the Mohr2015 best guess is far more likely than the high scenario and that lower price non-fossil fuel energy is likely to result in a URR between the low and best guess scenarios, an alternative med-low scenario (URR=490 Gtoe) is also presented with a simple linear ramp up and down. I also show my medium coal scenario (DC-Med) with limited resources and cheaper alternatives limiting peak output to 4.2 Gtoe/year (URR=460 Gtoe to 2200). Difficult to know how things will play out except that coal will have difficulty competing within 10 to 20 years Worldwide.

    • R Walter says:

      Correction:

      It should be 1,401,268,000,000 watts, not megawatts.

  16. Boomer II says:

    I have been posting articles that say the world will move forward on renewable energy even if the administration in DC tries to kill it.

    I would think China might see an opportunity in strengthening relations with developing countries by exporting renewable energy technology to them.

    Here’s an article, though I can only see the abstract.

    Africa and the export of China’s clean energy revolution: Third World Quarterly: Vol 0, No 0

    • Boomer II says:

      This is an in-depth look at renewables and overall energy generation in China. Lots of info on trends of renewables and coal.

      China’s Continuing Renewable Energy Revolution – latest trends in electric power generation | The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus: “Hao Tan and I have been at pains to emphasize that China has made a strategic choice in favour of renewables not (just) for reasons of mitigating climate change and reducing particulate pollution, but also (and probably more importantly) in terms of energy security. This is to be guaranteed by China’s strategic choice to manufacture all the devices needed for its renewable energy generation.”

    • Boomer II says:

      This article says China has become the biggest lender for development projects in other countries. It says that most of its energy-related projects from 2007 to 2014 were for coal plants and recommendations are for China to lend more money for renewable projects.

      China becomes world’s biggest development lender | The Third Pole

      • Boomer II says:

        This is a very comprehensive look at China’s international financial activities. Not so much about energy in this article, but it concludes with this:

        China goes global with development banks – Bretton Woods Project: “It is too early to tell whether the new multilateral funds and new multilateral development banks will steer such finance toward infrastructure that is more environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. China has put green finance as a major focus of its G20 presidency, co-chairing a Green Finance Study Group that will look to ‘green’ global finance. A developing country-led effort to green global development finance in a manner that is inclusive, accountable, and green would be a welcome addition to the global development-banking regime. Such an outcome is not inevitable however, and should be the goal of policy-makers and civil society alike.”

        Seems to me that if the US pulls away from renewables and if China’s banks fund renewable projects around the world, the world order will be changing.

        • GoneFishing says:

          Due to all of the converging predicaments, even temporary setbacks to renewable energy and efficiency will have large non-linear results in the future.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Gone fishing,

            I agree. It is encouraging that China seems (based on Boomer II’s research) to be pushing forward with renewable solutions, perhaps Trump will be smart enough to realize that a more viable future is in wind, solar, and hydro rather than an exclusive focus on fossil fuels.

            Hopefully he was just saying stupid stuff to get elected, it would not be a first for a politician to change their position.

            Maybe he will make America smart 🙂

            • Boomer II says:

              Unfortunately, based on his cabinet selections, we will see a right-wing future.

              That’s why I keep posting articles about what the rest of the world might do. If China doesn’t see a market in the US, but it has the rest of the world to sell to and will lend them the money to buy, that might move things along quickly.

              While I don’t want to see the US in decline, I am more concerned with the future of the globe and hope that the rest of the world either pushes the US to move forward rather than backward, or ignores the US and leaves it behind if necessary to make energy and technology changes.

              Interestingly, as China is moving toward doing more development projects, the US seems to be moving more toward infrastructure projects that are privatized and constructed and owned by foreign companies.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Gone fishing,

                I agree things do not look good, hopefully the conservatives are smart enough to realize which business opportunities are best long term. Rather than buggy whips (fossil fuels) invest in the future (alternative energy and EVs).

                Within 5 years, alternatives will win in the marketplace on a level playing field, the US will just fall behind without proper investment and most businesses realize this.

  17. Longtimber says:

    IMO, TOY ota will waste away focusing on fool cells. They need to focus on Car design and
    let Battery people develop the Energy Pak. Bat tech is continuously evolving .. Double digit annual capacities improvements are a big deal. Time to Drive economics by production scaling. The Energy Pak needs to be replaceable by the user. With the failures of Centralization Generation, The CAR/Truck PV Combo will be the power center for Life and Business. To get somewhere just take Uber.
    https://chargedevs.com/newswire/toyota-confirms-it-will-develop-evs/
    http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/Fukushima-costs-to-soar-to-20-trillion-yen

    • GoneFishing says:

      I think the general idea is to convert vehicles to electric power for much of the world. However hydrogen is a good storage medium and should be considered for fuel cell vehicles and stationary power applications. It helps solve the storage problem and the combustion product is water, a non-toxic. I can see local delivery and transport vehicle fleets being powered by hydrogen.
      Stored hydrogen can be used to supplement the power grid during lulls from renewables and as peaking power.
      To just throw away a very clean energy storage medium would be thoughtless and cause further reliance on fossil fuels.
      Of course government actions and mandates could limit the development of renewables, fuel cells and hydrogen production. On that we shall see.

      Have the Fukishima reactor cores been recovered or are they still melting their way into the ground?

      • Doug Leighton says:

        “Have the Fukishima reactor cores been recovered or are they still melting their way into the ground?”

        Who knows?

        “…the Japanese government has made it nearly impossible to obtain information which is not indiscriminately labeled “secret,” and a journalist may face up to 10 years in prison based upon which side of the bed a government employee gets up on any given morning; it’s absolutely true!

        “The independent organization Reporters without Borders has downgraded Japan in its World Press Freedom Index from 22nd place in 2012, to 53rd in 2013 and to 59th in 2014, following the enactment of the state secrets bill. Reporters without Borders says that “Japan has been affected by a lack of transparency and almost zero respect for access to information on subjects directly or indirectly related to Fukushima…”

        http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/30/the-worlds-never-seen-anything-like-this/

        • Doug Leighton says:

          Meanwhile,

          The much touted use of X-ray like muon rays has yielded little information about the location of the melted fuel and the last robot inserted into one of the reactors sent only grainy images before breaking down.

          • GoneFishing says:

            Stonewalling strongly implies that the cores are in the ground, doing whatever they do down there and the situation is mostly uncontrollable.

            I assume our government knows, that submarines and other ships are sampling the waters nearby. We may never see that go public.

            How it looks after four years.
            http://nextshark.com/japan-fukushima-nuclear-plant-photos/

            • Fred Magyar says:

              When will Wily Coyote ever learn?
              .

            • Doug Leighton says:

              Princeton University physicist Frank von Hippel told The New York Times the Fukushima Daiichi situation is “way past Three Mile Island already.” Three Mile Island, the highest-profile U.S. nuclear accident, was classified level 5, an “accident with wider consequences”.

              In the meantime,

              Who knows where the coriums are? TEPCO does not want to know. They are going through a second or third round of looking for them in empty containment vessels using muon scanners, as if they will find what is missing inside an empty shell. But they won’t look down below, because that is too horrible a possibility to even think about, too shameful to talk about, and besides, it would reveal that the truth is STILL BEING COVERED UP.

              • GoneFishing says:

                Godzilla here we come! 🙂

              • Doug Leighton says:

                BTW Corium is a fuel containing material, or lava-like fuel containing material, is a mixture of portions of a nuclear reactor core formed during a nuclear meltdown, the most severe class of a nuclear reactor accident.

                • Fred Magyar says:

                  http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-famous-photo-of-chernobyls-most-dangerous-radioactive-material-was-a-selfie

                  Artur Korneyev, Deputy Director of Shelter Object, viewing the “elephants foot” lava flow at Chernobyl, 1996. (Photo: US Department of Energy)

                • Nero Duello says:

                  Doug Leighton,

                  Professor von Hippel knows what he’s talking about when it comes to Fukushima and so do you, but Mr. Hunziker of the Counterpunch article very evidently doesn’t.

                  There is no controversy as to whether the cores in three of the Fukushima 1 reactors melted down completely or not, at least not since the late spring of 2011. Until then TEPCO and the government were lying like mad or pretending to be ostriches by saying that maybe there were partial meltdowns or “semi meltdowns” (as if anybody could imagine such things). Since then there is no question that they melted down completely and it is true that nobody knows exactly where all of the corium is, except that they don’t think any of it burned its way through the bottoms and walls of the containment vessels yet.

                  Reactor 2’s corium is supposed to have essentially gone up in chunks and globs that are now spattered all over the bottom of the containment vessel. Cameras don’t work well or last long inside there and purpose built robots, all experimental designs rushed into service at the site, don’t always hold up well and some have become stuck in the glop and quit working.

                  Everything at the site and in the three villages nearby is as awful as your sources and R. Walter say. My work takes me in and out of there occasionally and I know engineers (metallurgists) and physicists who work on site in the cleanup project, officially now expected to last for about 42 years but off the record they think it could be 60 or who knows how long.

                  My reason for posting (I’ve been a lurker for many years — you and other regular posters here are the best thing on the Web!) is mainly to say that there is plenty of information available, not all in English, and that the Hunziker-style articles about how journalists who don’t observe TEPCO’s code of omertà can go to jail for 10 years and nobody is allowed to grasp how dreadful the unfolding reality of the disaster is aren’t true and aren’t really helping anybody.

                  (It’s true that Japan has an official secrets act now after intentionally never having had one since October, 1945. This was a long standing request from the US military, which the current Japanese government finally enacted two or three years ago. Nobody has gone to jail on account of it, though it may well have an intimidating impact on what gets copied and quoted verbatim from official documents, as opposed to what may be said about their subject matter.)

                  There couldn’t be many cities in the world besides Tokyo and environs where so many good quality Geiger counters are in private hands and daily or weekly use. I don’t bother to have mine (which is certified for use at reactor sites) recalibrated by national laboratories but I can make sure it’s still roughly accurate by plunking it down on a slab of granite in a quarry in my town (which makes it jump from around 0.085 micro Sieverts/hour to around 2.40). Ambient radiation in the area is relatively low by world standards and no higher than before the Fukushima meltdowns — until, of course, you get close to Fukushima 1 itself, within 35 to 40 km and especially 15 km or closer — except for the odd hot spot owing to plumes from the explosions on March 12 – 15 2011, which do exist and have mostly been found and to varying extents decontaminated.

                  Not to minimize the horrors, which are real and for which nobody has fast or reliably worked-out solutions yet, but the only form of official secrecy that is still in full spate about it here is the pretense that the villagers in the two villages closest to the site will some day be able to return to their ancestral homes. It’s pretty obvious from what I see there that these places will become permanent dumps for debris from the nuclear plant and permanent no-go areas for long sojourns. Half or more of the villagers certainly know this, but there are old folks who don’t want to hear it — and Tepco and the government seem to have decided that they’d better wait for the older generation to fade out of the scene rather than push them to accept full compensation and give up their hopes of eventual return. It’s cheaper that way for them, and the current generation of politicians and utility executives can leave the matter of compensation to their successors.

                  Nobody lately has been talking about the growing population of feral pigs in Fukushima, or hybrid creatures that are half pig and half wild boar, which have been very noticeable in some places. Pigs dig things up and these critters have been seen unearthing waste that’s been dumped in ditches and covered up. There were calls for hunters to volunteer to go on pig shoots but not many normal hunters responded (who wants to eat radioactive boar meat?) and I suspect that the military has been called in to keep the “boar-pig” population from rampaging out of control.

                  The overall situation at Fukushima 1 is better than it was in 2011-13, still horrible, and will take many years to stabilize — even if there isn’t another major tsunami there for 60 years. (To the extent that historical seismographic records have predictive value, it’s quite possible that there won’t be.) The big problem is water, which is supposedly being cleaned of all the bad nuclides except tritium, but the tritium is still there and I don’t think anybody knows what to do with it yet except keep building more storage tanks and probably dumping some of it in the ocean.

                  The real problems are awful enough without guys like Hunziker wailing about mysteries so hideous that the Tepco people are afraid to reveal them. There are way too many knowledgeable people working on the cleanup project to keep such secrets. The real problems are the mysteries that we DO know about like exactly how many blobs of corium landed exactly where and are they getting cooled enough to mitigate the risk that they could burn through the containment vessels and if yes, how long do we have to fish them out somehow before that risk becomes direly acute. As well as what to do about the boar-pig hybrids digging everything up.

            • R Walter says:

              The photos of the devastation are an eye opener.

              A twilight zone exists in this world at Fukushima.

              The street lamps shine, the traffic lights function, lights on, nobody there.

              • Oldfarmermac says:

                I have no desire whatsoever to minimize the scope and gravity of the problem, but it does seem to me that depending on a whole bunch of variables, some of them unknown unknowns no doubt, the cores will come to rest eventually, without moving very far, because any material heated to liquid and gas temperatures, embedded in other solid materials, will mix with those other materials to some extent.

                So , as time passes , the core material should in my opinion eventually become diluted, by mixing with the subsoil and stone that lies beneath the remains of the plant, to the point that it will no longer be concentrated enough to constitute a critical mass, meaning it would then STOP giving off huge amounts of heat, heat enough to keep on melting more soil and stone.

                This does not mean that some of the hot stuff won’t be transported in ground water, because there is and will be ground water down there, and it will be moving , to some extent at least.

                So isolating the “corium” is going to be one hell of a problem.

                Maybe they will eventually be able to drill a lot of deep holes adjacent to each other, all the way around the plant, down to impermeable bedrock, and pour them full of concrete, thus blocking the movement of ground water thru the contaminated area.

                • GoneFishing says:

                  The corium could have dispersed in a steam explosion, be part of the concrete floor, or melted through. It appears to no longer be in the reactor.
                  With no real information, postulating further is senseless.
                  No matter what, attempts to find and isolate the corium will be very hazardous.

                  • Doug Leighton says:

                    Actually no, according to various studies and tests (at least in reactor 2) the corium reacts/melts the floor and winds up below the water table as an EXTREMELY toxic “sludge”. No currently known technology exists to isolate/neutralize this mess.

                  • Fred Magyar says:

                    No currently known technology exists to isolate/neutralize this mess.

                    Have faith that Trump’s team, can make even the greatest mess, anywhere on this earth, even greater!

                    I’m sure mutant, hyper intelligent cockroach geologists, many millennia from now, studying the earth will write great dissertations on the greatest of all ancient geologic epochs, The AnTrumpocene!

        • longtimber says:

          Rad readings in US cities rising? Seems like there should be more verification reports.

          http://coyoteprime-runningcauseicantfly.blogspot.com/2016/11/fukushima-update-november-26-2016.html

  18. R Walter says:

    Total wind power global usable energy generation is 63,467 megawatts.

    http://www.gwec.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Global-Installed-Wind-Power-Capacity-MW-%E2%80%93-Regional-Distribution.jpg

    63,467 megawatts compared to 1,401,268 megawatts of coal-fired power new generation. 1/20th of new coal-fired power plants.

    World total of electricity consumption is 20,900 terawatts.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_energy_consumption

    Wind turbine production of electricity is 63,467,000,000 watts, total is 20,900,000,000,000,000 watts.

    63,467/20,900,000,000=0.00000303669856 or 0.000303669856 percent of the total usable energy in the form of electricity is powered by wind farms.

    Every little bit helps.

    • Ulenspiegel says:

      OMG, please get correct data before fiddling with the numbers and try to understand the difference between gross addition of capacity and net addition – important if you compare coal and wind.

      Then there is a difference between capacity (GW) and electric energy (GWh, TWh). Could it be that you confuse both here and there?

      Hint: Windpower provides around 5% of the global electricity and doubles every four years.
      PV provides around 1% and doubles each three years. This of course requires a basic understanding of exponential functions. 🙂

      • R Walter says:

        It was all wrong. I apologize for using the wrong numbers. The total wind energy produces electricity to provide four percent of the total electricity consumed worldwide.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power

        0.04 times 20,900,000,000,000,000 watts equals 836,000,000,000,000 watts or 836 terawatts consumed from wind energy total usable electricity produced.

        I stand corrected, for every 25 watts of electricity consumed worldwide, 1 watt is from wind farms.

        Regardless, coal used to produce electricity will remain in the mix, no ifs, ands, or buts about that.

        Fiddled with the wrong numbers. It was wrong. So sotty.

        Now it’s right.

  19. GoneFishing says:

    You sure about that 0.0003 percent energy from wind power RW?
    GWEC says that wind power produced 3.7 percent of global electricity in 2015/
    http://www.gwec.net/global-figures/wind-in-numbers/

    • R Walter says:

      No, I am not sure, I just fiddle with the numbers that are provided in the links.

      If they are wrong, so be it. Just illustrating, in numbers, what it all looks like, maybe.

      If it is all wrong, it is all wrong.

  20. GoneFishing says:

    Natural Gas Is Already Losing To Renewables
    “That conclusion comes from the IEA’s latest Medium-Term Gas Market Report, which projects the construction of natural gas-fired power plants to stall, upending conventional wisdom about the future of U.S. electricity markets. In a forecast for the period between 2015 and 2021, the IEA sees gas consumption almost unchanged over that time frame. “The projected stagnation in gas-fired power generation is the most striking difference relative to the trend of the previous six years, when gas consumption in the sector increased by 90 bcm.”
    “However, instead of natural gas replacing coal, renewables are already starting to capture most of the new market demand. In 2016, the U.S. could add 26 GW of new electricity capacity, but gas will only make up 8 of those GW. The rest will come from solar and wind. The extension of solar and wind subsidies through the end of the decade as part of an 11th hour budget deal in 2015 will ensure renewables continue to make up most of the new additions. ”
    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Natural-Gas-Is-Already-Losing-To-Renewables.html

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Thanks Gone fishing,

      A good piece and from Oilprice.com, so not necessarily a green focused website.

      Encouraging news. Higher natural gas prices and falling costs for wind and solar will replace a lot of coal fired power plants and gradually replace natural gas power plants as well, eventually depletion will raise costs for producing natural gas and demand for natural gas may fall faster than supply driving prices lower so that supply falls even faster.

      On the natural gas used for heating buildings and water, heat pumps (including ground source for new construction) may reduce natural gas demand in that sector, while wind, solar, and hydro interconnected with an HVDC grid replace coal and natural gas electricity generation. BEVs reduce the consumption of oil, with PHEVs as a bridge while charging infrastructure extends to rural areas.

    • Oldfarmermac says:

      This very fast growth of renewables at the expense of gas is very good news, and will be even better news if it lasts.

      Now here’s a question for those of us who are more into crunching specific numbers.

      If the construction of new gas fired generating capacity remains slow, compared to new renewable capacity, does it appear to be the case that there will be sufficient conventional generating capacity going forward for the next decade or so to meet new, higher peak loads, if the wind and sun go on strike together for a few days?

      It’s not hard to imagine a few days of cold wet low wind weather extending for a thousand miles, lol.

      And it’s going to be quite a while, a decade at the very minimum, before there are more than a very few long distance HVDC lines in actual operation transporting wind and solar power.

      It seems unlikely that any gas peaker plants recently built will be torn down, but some older conventional base load gas plants might or might not be scrapped, Or they might be refurbished as peaker plants, given that the gas and electrical transmission lines, etc, are already in place, permitting and zoning problems already history, etc.

      I am not predicting it will happen , but I can see some coal plants being taken off line as baseload, due to the expansion of renewables and gas, of course, but still maintained as part of a conventional reserve to be used in case of great need. It would only take a skeleton crew to keep such a plant ready to go on a couple of days notice, and the amount of pollution associated with it would be trivial, considering it would be expected to run only a few days a year, and maybe no days at all for months on end.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Old Farmer Mac,

        The entire nation is currently interconnected through a High Voltage Grid network,
        it just uses AC rather than DC which is less efficient over long distances.

        There was a study that looked at a 4 year period for about one fourth of the nation with historical weather data. About 1% of the time backup would be needed, if capacity is built to 3 times average load. If the study was expanded to the entire nation the backup need would fall. It is unusual for there to be no wind and no sun over a land area the size of the entire lower 48 for very long. Backup can easily be provided by spinning reserve, batteries, fuel cells, nuclear power and demand management.

        We can predict weather pretty accurately 48 hours in advance so there will be time to power up combined cycle natural gas plants or to bring nuclear power to 100% output if needed.

        I suppose some coal plants could be used as you say, but natural gas would be more cost effective, they can respond more quickly, have lower maintenance cost, better thermal efficiency and lower emissions per unit of electric output.

        Coal will just not be able to compete in the future. Kind of like trying to win a car race on a horse.

        There will be adequate backup, the utilities will make sure of it. We can look to places like California, Germany and Spain where there is high renewables penetration and learn from them.

        • HVACman says:

          FYI, HVDC is actually more efficient than AC, as AC over long distances has capacitance effects that creates an impedence in the core of the conductors, reducing the functional conductive diameter to about 1/2″. Impedence is not a problem with DC, so they can carry equal amperage throughout the conductor, no matter the conductor size or length.

          Also, HVDC allows the east and west grid networks, which are out-of-phase, to connect and share power. It generally allows a lot more flexibility with grid management, as phase and frequency matching issues between loads and generators go away.

          HVDC is gaining practical application popularity with improved power electronics that can convert AC to DC and back more efficiently and at higher voltages.

          Here is a great link to learn about the nuts and bolts of maintaining grid stability.

          http://www.caiso.com/about/Pages/OurBusiness/Default.aspx

          Cal ISO is the inter-agency entity that actually does the juggling act to keep the “grid” ( a conglomeration of various private and public utilities, co-ops, independent power generators, etc.) all walking the 60 HZ, constant-voltage tight-rope. A balancing act rivaling the Wallendas.

          “As the only independent grid operator in the western U.S., the ISO grants equal access to 26,000 circuit miles of transmission lines and coordinates competing and diverse energy resources into the grid where it is distributed to consumers. It also operates a competitive wholesale power market designed to promote a broad range of resources at lower prices.
          and a small part of Nevada, which encompasses all of the investor…​

          The California ISO is one of 9 independent system operators in North America. Collectively, they deliver over 2.2 million gigawatt-hours of electricity…​

          Every five minutes, the ISO forecasts electrical demand and dispatches the lowest cost generator to meet demand while ensuring enough transmission capacity for delivery of power.”

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi HVACman,

            Yes I worded that sentence very badly and meant to say we are connected by HVAC transmission rather than HVDC, and that the former is less efficient (which is why HVDC would be better, but in the mean time we can make do with the less efficient HVAC when needed to move power).

            As I understand it all of the major ISOs are interconnected with HVDC which gets around the fact that the networks are not in phase, so essentially the power can travel nationwide (though not very efficiently).

            Funny I always interpreted HVACman as heating ventilation and air conditioning, but you seem to know a bit about the grid, so maybe you’re a power guy.

            No matter thanks for the clarification, because I definitely stated the reverse of what is true, HVDC is more efficient than HVAC electric transmission.

            If you are a power guy, with widely dispersed wind and solar (throughout the lower 48), interconnected by the Grid (preferably upgraded to more HVDC links) does a grid powered by 90% intermittent sources overbuilt by a factor of 3 above average load, with maybe 10% backup using spinning reserve, batteries, Vehicle to Grid, fuel cells, hydro, and nuclear seem feasible?

            See following article which lays it out.

            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378775312014759

  21. Oldfarmermac says:

    And here is another question, for anybody that runs across answers to it. Please post links, thanks in advance.

    The fast growth of wind and solar power must obviously be having an impact on the price of coal and natural gas burnt as generating fuel, depressing the price of them enough to make an unwelcome real difference to the producers and their workers, on the one hand, and a very welcome difference to everybody else from home owners who heat with gas to farmers who buy nitrates, etc.

    But it’s hard to find even a rough estimate of just how big the impact on the price of coal and gas really is.

    My personal guess is that it is sufficient that on a society wide basis, we are probably saving more, collectively, on our total purchases of natural gas and coal than we are spending on renewable electricity and electric automobile subsidies.

    And once the sale of plug in hybrid and pure electric cars and light trucks take a significant share of the new vehicle market, we can expect the price of oil to be quite a bit less than it would be otherwise, everything else held equal.

    These are the sort of arguments that will convince the stereotypical global warming skeptic that subsidizing renewable energy is GOOD for his bottom line. I have been out in the real world a long time now, and there is zero doubt in my mind that the average man on the street who insists on his belief in unfettered free markets is willing to make an exception in favor of subsidies or regulation, anytime the exception works in his favor.

    Such people CAN be reasoned with, and they WILL change their minds in regards to such issues, IF YOU APPROACH THEM CAREFULLY , and skillfully, without insulting their culture, personal values, or intellect.

    Putting a typical man in a position where he is forced to admit a serious error is a MAJOR and usually fatal mistake, in terms of changing his mind.

    Communication stops, the defensive mental walls are manned by your hoped for convert to your way of thinking, and you set your cause back by years, maybe permanently , in the case of this individual. And he will be repeating his own beliefs and sentiments to all of his friends and associates, thus reinforcing their cultural identity, and their opposition to you as an outsider and perceived enemy.

    You must contrive to slip inside such a person’s fence of prejudices, inaccurate data, and cultural defense mechanisms, and plant the relevant information, and allow him to consider it as his leisure.

    People are not adamantly opposed to changing their minds , so long as they think they are are doing so of our own free will and as the result of our own thinking.

    You make water available to such human horses, but you don’t drag them to it and throw it in their face. You allow them to pretend they discovered it all by themselves, which not only allows them to save face, it also puts them in the position of being able to say I told you so, to others who come around to the new position , later on.

    It’s raining hard and steady here now, and the danger of local wild fire is past, for at least a week or two.

    I was getting to the point cigarettes and matches scared me as bad as a gun scares some denizens of surburbia.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Old Farmer Mac,

      We are getting pretty close to the point where subsidies can be reduced for wind and solar, especially if the field was levelled so that subsidies to fossil fuels are also eliminated.

      In the US the document at the link below covers some of these, only those that are specific to the fossil fuel industry should be eliminated in my view.

      https://www.treasury.gov/open/Documents/USA%20FFSR%20progress%20report%20to%20G20%202014%20Final.pdf

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Hi Dennis,

        Thanks for the link, it’s one to keep.

        I agree with you about the subsidies, both the need to eliminate the ones granted the fossil fuel industry, and the declining need for them for renewable energy industries.

        Wind and solar power in particular are now well enough established to continue to grow at a healthy pace, globally.

        But it would suit me personally to keep some or all of the subsidies for renewable energy in place for a while yet, so as to forcibly speed up the transition away from fossil fuels.

        There are many good reasons for wanting to speed up this transition, ranging from creating more jobs to collecting more taxes locally to enhanced national security to improved public health, etc.

        One thing that is VERY hard to get across to folks opposed to renewable energy because they are opposed to subsidies is that the fossil fuel industries ARE SUBSIDIZED, because by and large , the fossil fuel industry subsidies come in the form of tax breaks or inadequate regulation, where as renewable energy subsidies are paid in cash to the industry and thus are highly visible.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Old Farmer Mac,

          I agree that we should transition as fast as possible, but if the subsidies are going to anger many people, we could drop them, if all subsidies for fossil fuels are also dropped.

          Most of the support for renewables is also in the form of tax breaks. Tax credits for EVs, tax credits for Wind and Solar. The various tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry are just not as well known. As far as I know, there are no direct cash payments for renewables, it is all part of the tax code.

          • Oldfarmermac says:

            Hi Dennis,
            I ‘m a little red faced this time, and should have thought my comment thru.
            You’re right, technically a production tax credit is a tax break, and part of the tax code.

            My point, which I failed to make correctly, is that the tax breaks the wind and solar industries get are very widely known, whereas the ones the fossil fuel industries get are little known.

            The public is in the dark in this respect.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Old Farmer Mac,

              I agree. I didn’t know about the tax breaks.

              Another tax break the fossil fuel industry gets are master limited partnerships which is a complex tax scheme to avoid taxes that is available exclusively to the fossil fuel industry.

              See

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_limited_partnership

              These are essentially a way for companies involved in the oil, natural gas, and coal industry to avoid corporate taxes.

            • GoneFishing says:

              We are being steered by big money pushing propagands, buying up and controlling the media and doing everything to slant the view of the public against renewables that they can. Luckily there are enough techno-addicts and advocacy groups that some positive message gets out. Luckily many of the new energy areas are so superior that stopping them would be extremely difficult.

              It’s what I call a donut hole. If you hear a lot of negative about one area, look to the silence and emptiness from areas that benefit by that negative spouting.

              • islandboy says:

                Apply that to the vitamin/nutritional approach to health care and — Bingo!

      • JN2 says:

        Thanks Dennis. From the linked PDF…

        >> In total, the United States government has identified eleven Federal fossil fuel production tax provisions, as shown below. Combined, these
        provisions total USD 4.7 billion in annual revenue cost <<

  22. Boomer II says:

    Will China Take the Lead on Climate Change? | ChinaFile: “If America wants to forfeit that [renewable energy] leadership, or erode it, then China or India will very happily grasp it,” Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance Studies for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told Mashable. “China and India are very happy to have the global leadership of industries of the future that employ millions of people and are seeing close to $2 trillion of investment a year.”
    ____

    Seems to me that this is the perfect way for China to become the premiere global economic powerhouse. The lowest paid factory jobs are already being pulled from China to go to other countries as wages in China rise. The country has always aspired to being more than the world’s sewing factory.

    Moving into high tech, that they own, and not just making products for companies like Apple, is the future for them. Energy has always been a factor in economic success, and solar can be done by them within their country. Research, manufacturing, implementation, export.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hey maybe Trump can make America a third world country, we can focus on dying industries, a sure fire way to do it.

  23. islandboy says:

    UK, France should put citizen solar ahead of nuclear, says former EDF chief

    Since approving the nuclear plant, British officials have conceded that the energy produced at Hinkley will be more expensive than solar at GBP 85-125/Mwh by 2025. Official government calculations forecast that solar will cost as little as GBP 50/MWh by that date.

    “The most surprising thing for me is the attitude of the U.K. government that accepts the higher cost of electricity in a time where the costs of renewables is decreasing dramatically,” wrote Magnin. “In ten years, when Hinkley Point C is due to be completed, the cost of renewables will have fallen again a lot.”

    Much of the controversy around the proposed nuclear plant has been rooted in perceived costs and dangers, but for a former EDF head to so publicly attack the plans is particularly noteworthy. Magnin has since gone on to create a community renewable energy platform designed to support citizen-driven schemes in solar and wind, and is convinced that a decentralized system is the way forward for both France and the U.K.

    and in the meantime:

    BREAKING: World’s cheapest solar power contract signed for Dubai mega-project

    In analyzing how Masdar can make a profit on such a low PPA, Bloomberg New Energy Finance Head of Solar Analysis Jenny Chase has cited several factors, including low capital and operating costs, capacity factors of 25%, and the ability to access debt at an interest rate below 4%. (Note: This project and others in the region were examined in detail in the November print edition of pv magazine.)

    And while US$29.90 sets a new benchmark, bids as low as US$24.20/MWh were submitted for an auction in Abu Dhabi in September.

    When complete, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will be 3 GW in capacity. In July developers closed on financing for the second 200 MW phase, which they expect to complete in April 2017.

    • Oldfarmermac says:

      Hi Island Boy,

      There’s just one thing the folks who are gung ho for renewable power, and I am one of those folks, almost always fail to mention, when they criticize the new nuke under construction.

      It is reasonable to expect it to run reliably in the middle of the worst storms the country will experience, providing power that cannot be counted on from either the wind or solar industries.

      It’s great to TALK about a time when there will be enough wind and solar infrastructure, and enough interconnected long distance transmission lines, to do without fossil fuels and nukes.

      But that time is still a long way off.

      Having said this much, it could be that they would be better off spending the money on figuring out a way to vastly increase the amount of gas they can store for the peak winter season needs.

      I know that their winter consumption exceeds the delivery capacity, making them dependent on gas stored during off peak periods, but I don’t know anything about HOW the gas is stored, or the cost of this storage.

      Maybe somebody else will chip in that knows.

      And then there is the issue of efficiency and conservation. It’s my impression that while they probably have a decent building code, little has been done to upgrade the energy efficiency of the existing stock of homes and other structures, with many of them being very poorly insulated or not insulated at all, given that they were built a long time ago.

      • GoneFishing says:

        Ho hum, same old “we need lots of conventional power backup” talk. Power storage (hydro, battery, hydrogen, compressed air) will take care of those stormy times. New designs are being developed for wind power to take advantage of high wind times found in storms.
        Just was reading about some advances in discovering how the proteins work that convert water to hydrogen and oxygen in plants. Once that low temperature/energy chemistry is developed hydrogen production will be very easy and efficient.
        “An international team of scientists is getting closer to the answer thanks to unprecedented, atomic-scale images of a protein complex found in plants, algae, and cyanobacteria captured by ultrafast X-ray lasers.”
        http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2016/11/21/x-rays-capture-water-splitting-photosystem/

        I am sure the conservative old fogeys will keep around some fossil fuel and nuclear backup systems, but in most areas they will turn out to be irrelevant once the renewable energy and storage systems are up and running.
        The fact is that life does not need 24/7 electricity. It needs stored energy to be used when needed. Factories and businesses do not need power day and night, if they don’t run 24/7. The whole idea of everything running all the time is probably going to fade with time. My car sits still, burns no gasoline, much of the time. My refrigerator only runs occasionally, same with heating or air conditioning. Most systems are intermittent.
        In fact, many of our current ways will change dramatically because they are unnecessary and don’t always make sense in a changing world with new control and management capabilities. Our electric power system is based on 19th century demand ideas. Our whole energy system needs updating.

  24. Oldfarmermac says:

    So Castro’s finally dead.
    I was beginning to wonder if he would live forever,lol.

    It’s damned unfortunate that most of what has been and will be published about his life, and the history of Cuba during his time, will be grossly one sided.

    Yes, he was a low life dictator who did not hesitate to lock up his enemies, who maintained a captive press, who would never allow free elections, I could go on all day.

    But he also helped create one of the world’s most efficient health care systems, and one that does a superb job, statistically speaking, in ensuring that the Cuban people enjoy long healthy lives.

    Reality dictates that short term survival is the ultimate trump card, with everything else being a secondary or academic question.Castro survived a long long time against the odds, and while I can’t say I liked him, or his government, I will not deny him his accomplishments.

    Considering what he was up against, he accomplished a hell of a lot.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/11/cuba-health/508859/

  25. R Walter says:

    Undoubtedly, America is becoming a Third World country — in fact, it already is. To start, it’s clear that income and wealth in the U.S. have become vastly more unequal since the mid-‘60s. In 2010, 3.3% of households received as much income as the bottom 50%. Despite all the talk about “redistribution,” that trend is growing dramatically worse.

    Finally, government policy. Here’s where some will call me a heretic. When I step back and look at the big picture, I don’t see any change in America’s key Third World “policies” over the last 50-odd years: the dominance of corporate managers over shareholders; acceptance of monopoly and market abuse; favoritism towards the financial sector; and a justice system that ignores elite economic crime.

    Those “policies” are so entrenched that they aren’t even noticed … and they have nothing to do with taxation and redistribution. They are the reason so many Americans want redistribution, since they distort how our society’s wealth is distributed in the first place. Compared to these pillars, Obamacare and the other so-called “socialist” measures favored by Democrats are just window dressing to keep the plebs in order.

    http://thesovereigninvestor.com/us-economy/third-world-america/

    Travel to any Native American reservation in the United States and you will see poverty and third world conditions.

    I suppose if you live in a bubble and never have to go anywhere that you wouldn’t visit in the first place, life is a gravy train.

    I know that life is good and has plenty of offer, however, some places in the US have a plethora of problems. Places I visited in 1970 are in much worse shape in 2016.

    There is decline that cannot be ignored, but is.

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

    Don’t need to fiddle with numbers to figure out what is going on.

    Have a good day.

    • GoneFishing says:

      You need to look at the bigger picture RW. Everything changes, some places decline others grow. If the US is declining it’s not due to ability or potential, it’s due to narrow minded leaders allowing greedy parasites to bleed the nation dry for a small amount of power in return. We can’t keep leaking money and fighting wars to protect and enhance corporate interests, and also expect to make some actual progress in general. The all for one doesn’t work unless you also have the one for all.

      Now we have a new leader and the greedies are all so happy. Red flags up and alarm bells sounding! When the greedies get happy, prepare the lifeboats for the rest of us.

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        It’s the system, Gonzo.
        We create the system and then the system recreates us. But it’s not the right system for that.
        We are a close-knit small-scale tribal species cast in a fractured-community large-scale centralized context. (And mindlessly giving it cred and feeding it.) It’s unnatural for our wiring, and it appears to be rewiring us.

        What could possibly go wrong?

        Along the lines of what Dmitry’ Orlov suggested in one of James Kunstler’s recent podcasts, many ‘top dogs’ in the current structure wouldn’t likely last in the aforementioned tribal contexts.

        • GoneFishing says:

          Calean,
          How do you come up with “rewiring us” and “recreating us’? Anything to actually support changes in our genetic structure or permanent changes in our brains?
          We are doing the same junk we did thousands of years ago, because that is us, that is how we are and who we are.
          I use the term we in the general context. We are also quite varied mentally and physically, which allows for adaptation and evolutionary radiation.

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            “Anything to actually support changes in our genetic structure or permanent changes in our brains?” ~ GoneFishing

            I wouldn’t put it past that. How much about evolution and adaptation do we really know? Also, what might it be we were adapting to? You have an island and some birds go flightless. That’s not always a good adaptive strategy, such as over time and new environmental pressures.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Caelan,

          It may be that human institutions evolved to solve social problems.

          If humans were all well behaved (however one might define that) living in small tribes as hunter gatherers or on small farms might work fine.

          How are conflicts between individuals and tribes resolved?

          Generally without rules we end up with fights and wars.

          You don’t like coercion and neither do I, but without it backing up the rules anarchy generally results.

          Humans seem to have decided long ago that anarchy is not a good system and worked out a tribal structure. Tribes may have been in a nearly constant state of conflict with other tribes as population grew and other social structures developed. As population peaks and declines a new social order may develop.

          I have no idea what that social structure would be.

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            Forks and Crossroads

            Hi Dennis,

            Within us all is the capacity to form entirely different species, given enough time and/or isolation.

            (You can eventually become an Osceovocz, for example, and I can eventually become a Wiigue.)

            ‘Your species’ doesn’t appear to be functioning very well, and is quite possibly a ‘lethal mutation’, so to speak. I/We don’t have to have anything to do with it. (We will of course be forced to but, like anything, that has limitations and repercussions.)

            That’s the beauty of adaptation and evolution.

            Pressures can split realities.

            I registered Permaea up on Twitter, BTW, which is when I found out about Fidel Castro’s death ‘there’. Don’t know what to make of Twitter yet, but we’ll see.

            A Matter of Perspective
            from the album, Crossroads

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Caelan,

              A social system does not create a new species as far as I know.

              Perhaps you should read up a bit on evolution.

              • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                LOL

                So you don’t think your descendants will eventually become Osceovoczes?

                Perhaps you underestimate the power of ‘initial conditions’.

              • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                Charitable and conservative projection of a future photovoltaic panel and electric car owner.

      • R Walter says:

        Cry for me, America said Hllary. They did, tears of joy she lost to her friend, Donald Trump. har

        At the conclusion of his acceptance speech he said to the delegates ‘I love you’.

        Sure you do Donnie, stfu. Ya smarmy fool turned into a butt kissing knuckohead of a politician.

        Good Lord.

        Yeah, Oktoberfest had lower numbers this year in Munich.

        300,000 fewer visitors, lowest attendance in 15 years.

        Makes me cry in my beer, in spite of the fact that means more beer for the Germans because the Japanese cancelled this year.

        1000 fewer overseas flights were never booked.

        I stepped outside to look up at the sky where you can see the bigger picture.

        It was cloudy, cold, windy, snowing, went back inside, winter is here.

        Nothing is sacred in this world, not even CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

        Oil? Not sacred, burned to beat hell. Coal? Not sacred, never a second goes by coal is demonized, said it is no good, filthy dirty stuff, provides plenty of energy, nobody appreciates the nasty stuff. Saved England from being denuded of its forest, but that doesn’t matter. Crank out that CO2 by burning coal and oil to manufacture and build wind and solar and never a thank you, just get out of here and be gone. har

        We need to calculate beforehand what the total emissions will be from all natural resources that will be required to build out renewables for sole source of energy production.

        Might be too much and by then, it will be too late.

        Vermont, the Green Mountain State, rejected a wind farm recently.

        Should save some coal and oil. Stop wasting coal and oil on the development of renewables, they’re being wasted.

        In the meantime renewables cry crocodile tears for fossil fuels, they bite the hand that feeds them.

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          Tubthumping
          “Don’t cry for me, next-door neighbor…”

        • GoneFishing says:

          Wandering off wailing ” When will they stop confusing energy and energy sources?” “Will they never learn?”

          • R Walter says:

            The sun.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            ‘…When will they stop confusing energy and energy sources?”

            You’re not saying that there are people out there who confuse fuels with heat are you? Heck, next thing you’ll be saying there are people out there who think oil, natural gas and coal are the energy that America runs on. Nobody could possibly be that ignorant!

            And in other news:

            http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/11/india-unveils-world-largest-solar-power-plant-161129101022044.html

            India unveils the world’s largest solar power plant
            The country is on schedule to be the world’s third biggest solar market next year.

            • GoneFishing says:

              But Fred, when the coal and oil runs out, so will the solar panels. Everyone knows the energy from fossil fuels is special and is the only kind that can make renewables. Energy from renewables is just energy and could never make renewable energy products.
              So why is India wasting it’s time, it will end soon anyway.?

              • scrub puller says:

                Yair . . . .

                I don’t understand this statement . . . .

                “Energy from renewables is just energy and could never make renewable energy products.”

                Could anyone clarify please?

                Perhaps I missed the sarc, button?

                Cheers.

                • robert wilson says:

                  Scrub Puller:
                  — Perhaps that is a reference to a belief that energy from renewables will never become copper wire??

                  • Fred Magyar says:

                    energy from renewables will never become copper wire??

                    Of course not! But don’t worry, we can always make copper from other metals! Something about the alchemy of supply and demand…

                    Chief amongst these optimists was the late Dr Julian Simon, formerly professor of economics and business administration at the University of Illinois, and later at the University of Maryland. With regard to copper, Simon has written that we will never run out of copper because “copper can be made from other metals.” The letters to the editor jumped all over him, told him about chemistry. He just brushed it off: “Don’t worry,” he said, “if it’s ever important, we can make copper out of other metals.”

                    Now, Simon had a book that was published by the Princeton University Press. In that book, he’s writing about oil from many sources, including biomass, and he says, “Clearly there is no meaningful limit to this source except for the sun’s energy.” He goes on to note, “But even if our sun was not so vast as it is, there may well be other suns elsewhere.” Well, Simon’s right; there are other suns elsewhere, but the question is, would you base public policy on the belief that if we need another sun, we will figure out how to go get it and haul it back into our solar system? (audience laughter)

                    Now, you cannot laugh: for decades before his death, this man was a trusted policy advisor at the very highest levels in Washington DC.

                    Excerpted from: English transcript of Arithmetic, Population and Energy – a talk by Prof. Albert Bartlett

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Robert,

                    Could aluminum (or aluminium, if you are not from the US) be used instead of copper, or perhaps copper wire could be recycled as no sensible person believes population can continue growing, but will peak and decline as birth control becomes more widely used and the rights of women world wide are established?

                    Not a lot of copper is used as a source of energy, though clearly it is important to move electrical energy in the grid.

                    The USGS 2013 Assessment of copper resources of the World at link below

                    http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2014/3004/

                    From that page:

                    U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean of 3,500 million metric tons (Mt) of undiscovered copper among 225 tracts around the world. Annual U.S. copper consumption is 2 Mt; global consumption is 20 Mt.

                    There are also 2100 Mt of identified resources (already discovered) for a total potential of 5600 Mt of copper. (Mt= million metric tonnes).

                    Let’s assume global consumption of mined copper (excluding recycled copper) increases by a factor of 3 to 60 Mt before peaking in 2070 when population peaks. After that we will assume a plateau for 20 years and then declining use of mined copper as better design allows for more recycling, we will run out of copper under such a scenario and will need to switch to aluminum which is more abundant.

                    If the decrease is a gradually increasing exponential with 1% annual decline for 10 years, then 2%, 3%, 4%, etc. at ten year intervals, then mined copper runs out in 2151, if the mean undiscovered resource estimate is correct.

                    No doubt copper will become very expensive and less will be used for currency and more will be recycled, it will essentially become a more precious metal and will be used more sparingly.

                • islandboy says:

                  Perhaps I missed the sarc, button?

                  You most certainly did! GF has been a bit despondent since November the eighth, as have others here and understandably so, with a global warming denier as the new US president elect. At first I tried looking at the sunny side in that Trump is a manipulator and will say anything his audience wants to hear. I hoped maybe good sense would prevail and he might not do some of the crazy shit he promised while sticking to his guns on stuff like “draining the swamp” but alas his cabinet picks are looking increasingly ominous!

                  Sometimes I think GF sounds like he’s gonna loose it, so maybe statements like the above are his way of trying to inject some comic relief.

                • Fred Magyar says:

                  Hey Scrub,
                  My guess is you didn’t grow up with this kind of humor, did ya?

                  Mrs. Johnson, can Timmy come out and play baseball with us?

                  Now you children know he doesn’t have any arms and legs!

                  That’s ok, we wanted to use him for first base…

              • Fred Magyar says:

                So why is India wasting it’s time, it will end soon anyway.?

                Hey, don’t be such a pessimist the antrumpocene has barely begun, this will be the greatest epoch ever… China and India will fail miserably at trying to lead the world economy with advances in science and technology. They haven’t got a chance, the US will beat them with clean coal, young earth creationism, and science denialism!

                • GoneFishing says:

                  Hello Fred,
                  Coal has always been put through a washing cycle so it’s always been as clean as can be. Fifty Shades of Blue Coal.
                  As far as civilization goes —
                  To quote Edward Abbey:
                  “To make the distinction unmistakably clear: Civilization is the vital force in human history; culture is that inert mass of institutions and organizations which accumulate around and tend to drag down the advance of life; Civilization is Giordano Bruno facing death by fire; culture is the Cardinal Bellarmino, after ten years of inquisition, sending Bruno to the stake in the Campo di Fiori; Civilization is Sartre; culture Cocteau; Civilization is mutual aid and self-defense; culture is the judge, the lawbook and the forces of Law & Ordure (sic); Civilization is uprising, insurrection, revolution; culture is the war of state against state, or of machines against people, as in Hungary and Vietnam; Civilization is tolerance, detachment and humor, or passion, anger, revenge; culture is the entrance examination, the gas chamber, the doctoral dissertation and the electric chair; Civilization is the Ukrainian peasant Nestor Makhno fighting the Germans, then the Reds, then the Whites, then the Reds again; culture is Stalin and the Fatherland; Civilization is Jesus turning water into wine; culture is Christ walking on the waves; Civilization is a youth with a Molotov cocktail in his hand; culture is the Soviet tank or the L.A. cop that guns him down; Civilization is the wild river; culture, 592,000 tons of cement; Civilization flows; culture thickens and coagulates, like tired, sick, stifled blood. ”

                  So we are about to be heavily cultured.
                  The new word for that is yogurtized.

  26. Dennis Coyne says:

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Written Explanation  It has been enacted into law in 11 states with 165 electoral votes (CA, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA).  It will take effect when enacted by states with 105 more electoral votes.   Most recently, the bill was passed by a bipartisan 40–16 vote in the Republican-controlled Arizona House, 28–18 in Republican-controlled Oklahoma Senate, 57–4 in Republican-controlled New York Senate, and 37–21 in Democratic-controlled Oregon House.  It has passed on house in 12 states with 96 electoral votes (AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, ME, MI, NC, NM, NV, OK, OR).

    I didn’t know about this, perhaps others already did.

    See link below for more info.

    http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/

    • R Walter says:

      It is direct democracy, as in two wolves and one lamb deciding what will be for supper.

      It works for the wolves, but not for the lost little lamb.

      The electoral college was designed so that people (the lambs) in lower population states were not ruled by people (the wolves) in high population states.

      You will end up with much division and rancor. It will not and cannot work. You won’t have a country, you’ll have mayhem, chaos and nothing will get accomplished.

      The electoral college is there for a reason and has been that way because the wolves won’t change, they’ll always be dining on lamb chops.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi R Walter,

        Generally majority rule is preferred, why should some voters be over represented as they are in the electoral college. We already protect rural areas with over representation in the Senate where 41 votes is enough to stop most legislation in its tracks, that is 20.5 states and there are plenty of conservative states (with relatively low population) which can form such a blocking plan to prevent almost anything from being accomplished (as has been the case since 2010).

        It is fine for the Senate, but I really think this minority rule thing can be taken too far.

        In most democracies the principle is one person one vote.

        I think that’s a good idea.

  27. Oldfarmermac says:

    It’s becoming obvious on the face of it that Trump is going to be very bad news for ordinary people, based on his cabinet picks.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/steven-mnuchin-treasury-secretary_us_582caddbe4b058ce7aa8b9c0

    • Boomer II says:

      Yes. My sense is that all Trump will do as president is tweet and the country will be run by his cabinet, his vice president, and the GOP controlled Congress.

      Oldfarmermac, since you have come to the defense of the Trump voter, will they turn on Trump and the GOP when they realize they have been screwed, or will they just get even madder at immigrants, flag burners, gays, etc.?

      • Boomer II says:

        Kentucky counties with highest Medicaid rates backed Matt Bevin, who plans to cut Medicaid | Lexington Herald-Leader: “To be honest with you, a lot of folks in Owsley County went to the polls and voted against gay marriage and abortion, and as a result, I’m afraid they voted away their health insurance,” Turner said. “Which was their right to do, I guess. But it’s sad. Many people here signed up with Kynect, and it’s helped them, it’s been an absolute blessing.”

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Hi Boomer,

        I have not been trying to defend Trump voters, although it is easy to see how a reader can come to that conclusion.

        My intention has been to EXPLAIN the typical working class Trump voter, the typical Trump cultural voter, etc, and the circumstances that led them to vote for Trump.

        Maybe I haven’t done a good job of getting across how these people actually feel about the state of the culture ,and the eonomic conditions under which they live.

        They are not stupid, and while they may be poorly informed in some respects, in other respects they are well informed, and thus able to decide who is on their side, and who is not.

        Just about every person in a forum such as this one, which is dominated by well educated liberal people, supports globalization, in principle if not in fact, which should be perfectly obvious from reading the comments section.

        Well, working class people generally do NOT believe in globalization, because globalization is the reason millions of decently paid manufacturing jobs have left the country, and while I am personally decently educated, and quite liberal when in my estimation the facts support liberal policy, well in my estimation it takes a goddamned fool to believe that globalization is good for the American working class.

        The COUNTRY does not vote, INDIVIDUALS vote, and they vote the way they think is best for them.

        Now as far as culture is concerned, well, people are free to hold such values as they please, and there is no way to change this in a free society, and probably not even in a totalitarian society.

        Personally I could care less about the Adam and Eve versus Adam and Steve controversy, but anybody who cannot understand that there are many many millions of people who firmly believe in ADAM and EVE, and vote that way, everything else held equal, is simply too stupid to talk to, within the context of winning elections.

        And there are PREVAILING circumstances that tend to make it comfortable for liberal voters to push liberal policies, at the expense of working class conservative voters.

        The majority of people who work in education, and most branches of government, are liberals, in my estimation. You will seldom find a social conservative employed as a social worker for instance, unless thru a church or other private organization. The education departments of virtually all colleges and universities are thoroughly dominated by liberal faculty, as indeed faculties in general, meaning younger college graduates are basically exposed to four years of liberal indoctrination.

        And nowadays, if you want to be a cop, teacher, social worker, government accountant or gofer, etc, you need that degree. YOUR job will never never ever be taken by an undocumented immigrant. So you are at near zero risk of any personal hardship when it comes to your meal ticket, in terms of open borders.

        And workers are smart enough to realize that to employers, they are fungible as money. A handful of new faces in one part of town winning jobs means an equal handful of old faces are without work, everything else equal.

        Working people don’t give a flying xxxx about all the talk of future prosperity, and the lives of people in China or Bangladesh, or Mexico, they are concerned about their OWN lives in the here and now.

        Now I comment fast, painting with a broad brush, and sometimes I may have given the impression I think Trump won for one particular reason, or some other particular reason. But that’s not my actual reasoning or position.

        There are many factors in play, and the SUM of these factors was enough to put him across the finish line first in most of the country, in terms of the electoral college.

        The state of the economy is or was maybe the biggest single one, since in my eyes it is the most important and obvious reason Clinton lost the three big rust belt states that cost her the election.

        The people there were in essence saying we feel forgotten, left behind, ignored, and subjected to some involuntary sex, with the D party paying so much attention to the politics of personhood.

        It seemed to the working people that I know, and I know MOSTLY that sort of people, that Clinton was more concerned about the problems of gays, lesbians, transgenders, and an assortment of other folks who just aren’t at all that important to them.

        She never felt the pain of the working people, until it was far too late. Trump was infinitely smarter, in this respect, and saw that this pain could be his ticket to the WH.

        In one sense, what the working class that voted for Trump was saying to Clinton, was that yer dance with the one what brung ya to the party, and they felt like Clinton went off to dance with all these other folks, leaving them standing around embarrassed and mad.

        The average committed liberal was obviously willing to overlook Clinton’s record in respect to such foolishness- in a life long politician with ambitions to make it to the very top- as accepting millions of dollars in speaking fees from super banks, the secret email system, taking enormous contributions from low lifes and low life governments to the family slush fund aka the Clinton Foundation, etc etc, that would have had those same liberal voters screaming bloody murder if a conventional R candidate had done the same things.

        But working class people don’t cotton to that sort of behavior. Given the choice, and asked by Clinton and the D party, after the words of the classic country song, “who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”, well they went with their lying eyes.

        Note that I said all along that Trump was worse, but that Clinton was such a flawed candidate the D party was making a colossal mistake in running her, with her historical high negatives.

        I said here and there all along that the R party was salivating at the prospect of running against her, starting years ago.

        She was the only D with national name recognition in my estimation that Trump could possibly beat.

        Everything, excepting her personal foolishness, I have said about Clinton’s shortcomings also applies to a greater or lesser extent to the R party itself, because a huge portion of the working people in this country believe the R party has ignored them , and taken them for granted , and used them, just as badly as the D party.

        They were in a position to give the middle finger to the R party establishment by nominating Trump, and did so.

        Now as far as the people who voted for him actually believing in him goes, the ones I have met who actually believe in him are not, to put it politely, well informed or highly intelligent. The smarter ones of his supporters voted against Clinton, rather than for Trump.

        Now I am reading that the D party abandoned the usual party tactic of working hard to get new voters registered as has been past practice, this time around, because the Clintonistas in charge discovered they would be working to register too many youngsters who would be for Sanders.

        Bottom line, Clinton acted for years as if she were ENTITLED to the WH, and that the peons of this country would not dare vote for anybody else. If she had done things just a little differently, over the years, she would be prez elect.

        Some people think I am all wrong when I talk about political backlash, but I will go to my grave convinced that Trump is prez elect, given the razor thin margin by which he was elected, because political backlash against liberal social policies was great enough to put him over the finish line.

        • Boomer II says:

          I don’t disagree that globalization costs jobs. It was inevitable that it would, and Perot was the one politician who knew that. But economists have always believed in the value of global trade and the politicians went along.

          There seemed to be an arrogant assumption that the US could ship the bad jobs overseas to be replaced by good jobs here. But that was naive.

          I think labor is to blame, too, for allowing the weakening of unions. If the jobs had stayed here, but there was no leverage to maintain high wages, then it wouldn’t have helped them much.

          Personally I think economists have been way too slow to confront the global forces which suggest the old ideas don’t work so well anymore. We’ve got more global workers than we have jobs and we have declining resources, which will stress the system more.

          Trump isn’t going to bring back those jobs. Clinton also would have had a problem creating jobs, though I think moving the economy to more renewables would be more productive than hanging on the much smaller number of fossil fuel jobs.

          But what I liked about Clinton is that she knew the job wasn’t going to be easy and didn’t make promises she couldn’t keep. Whatever compromises she has made during her political career are nothing compared to the baggage Trump and his administration bring into play. Her flaws were within the realm of acceptable. Trump and his appointees are not.

          • Boomer II says:

            I guess what I would rather have in a politician is one who says, “Times are going to get tough. Let’s prepare.” than a politician who says, “I’ll make America great again” knowing his proposals are mostly BS.

            • Oldfarmermac says:

              Back atcha Boomer,

              I won’t argue with anything you have said today,other than to point out that economists are few in number, and workers many, and outvote economists. 😉

              Also, that people like you tend to forget that you know a hell of a lot more than most other people, and so you make the assumption that other people should come to the same conclusions you do, when talking politics, economics, etc.

              Well, I know a lot too, including one additional pertinent fact you just overlooked, namely that people will not vote for a politician who talks about FUTURE hard times, and sacrifices, etc.

              Politicians get elected by focusing on past bad news they can blame on the opposition, and promising better times.

              We are after all just nekkid apes, without even enough hair to stay warm, under our clothes. 😉

              The truth is an abstraction,in this context, which you and I agree on, to a substantial extent. We are certainly in the same book, and generally in the same chapter,often on the same page.

              But we are all collectively sort of like computers, in that the output depends on the inputs,both the data and the programming.

              Other people using different data and running different programs between their ears come to different conclusions.

              Sure there is plenty of misinformation out there, plenty of people sowing fear, obfuscation, and doubt. But Clinton made it DAMNED EASY for them, this time, with her million buck speeches, her secret email system, etc etc.

              Note, my goal is to explain rather than to advocate in these comments.

              When I advocate, I try do so in clear terms, as in supporting a Western European style health care system for instance, or when supporting the subsidies for renewable energy.

              I always said Trump would was worse, but that I was afraid he might win, except for the last few weeks when I was fooled by the polls and reading too many liberal sites and sources, and too few conservative sources, and decided Clinton had it in the bag.

              Here’s another thing liberal people don’t necessarily appreciate. They are used to fast change, and having gotten it in many respects, culturally and politically, via the hammer of government intervention in our day to day culture, they naturally want MORE CHANGE, and FAST. That’s the way people are, give people what they want, and they want more and more ,and quicker.

              Older more conservative people have a greater sense of roots and history, and aren’t so eager for cultural change, especially cultural change that flies in the face of their long held values.

              I have tried to point out that maybe it would be better, overall, for the country, to have moved a little slower, in terms of forcing cultural changes, via the courts, mostly, and to have been more patient and waited for my generation to depart, which is already happening at an accelerating pace.

              Then there would not have been so much political backlash, and to my mind not enough for Trump to be prez elect.

              Clinton lost for a lot of small reasons, and Trump won for a lot of small reasons. Move just a couple or a very few of these reasons from one end of the scale to the other and Clinton would have won, it was that close.

              • Boomer II says:

                “Here’s another thing liberal people don’t necessarily appreciate. They are used to fast change, and having gotten it in many respects, culturally and politically, via the hammer of government intervention in our day to day culture, they naturally want MORE CHANGE, and FAST. That’s the way people are, give people what they want, and they want more and more ,and quicker. ”

                I agree. But that is also the principle of Schumpeter’s reference of capitalism as creative destruction.

                I think that is my biggest problem. People who claim to be capitalists and then fight it when capitalism destroys their lives and businesses.

                Those folks out in Silicon Valley have had fun disrupting industries, so it isn’t surprising that Musk is leading the solar/EV revolution. I’m just wondering when the political/economic tipping point will happen. Maybe it will be with those cheap solar roofs, just like the film industry declined rapidly after phones had cameras.

                Perhaps we haven’t schooled most of the country on what capitalism really means, and means to them personally.

                Between Silicon Valley, hackers, and economics, you’d think that the Trump administration might have problems carrying out anything. I suppose the big question is now if they will attempt to change so many laws they can’t be voted out of office (not necessarily those currently in office, but their chosen successors).

                I’m still placing my hope on the rest of the world doing what it needs to do without regard to the US. And that probably isn’t a bad thing. There was certainly a level of stability with the US and Russia controlling the world, and maybe now it will be the US, Russia, and China, but I would hope all the other countries would find ways not to follow the US in a direction that might not be the best for them.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Boomer II and Old Farmer,

                  You both seem to conclude that free trade is bad.

                  Don’t forget that there are workers in many industries that export goods from the US to other countries. So the workers in those industries are helped while the industries that mostly sell their goods within the US market because costs are too high to compete in other nations may suffer as cheaper imports cause factories to shut down in the US. Also the lower prices for goods that results is a boon for all consumers.

                  Bottom line, free trade makes perfect sense for workers as a whole, though clearly this is disruptive as industry changes over time.

                  Most workers have lost their jobs to machines, we could outlaw them, but it would result in lower wages.

                  It would be nice if the president was elected by popular vote and there is a way to accomplish this.

                  It is called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact

                  • Boomer II says:

                    “You both seem to conclude that free trade is bad.”

                    I’ve never been pro or con on free trade. I did want to see China opened up to trade with the US because I felt they would become politically more moderate as they engaged more with the rest of the world. For a similar reason, I welcome trade with Cuba.

                    I do feel that as a result of free trade, domestic jobs get eliminated and the downsized people don’t necessarily find comparable or better jobs to replace their old ones. I think that part has to be stressed as a part of economic policy. If we downsize and off-shore jobs, what do we think these laid off workers are going to do?

                    Also, it makes sense that competitive pressures will lower wages in the higher priced countries. So if someone here wants $20 a hour and the company can find someone equally skilled in another country for $2 a hour, that’s where the company will go if labor costs are a factor.

                    You are right that automation has happened and will happen, free trade or not. So many of those jobs were going to be lost anyway.

                    My feeling about the global situation is that now we have more people around the world than we have jobs for them. So there are places where joblessness will be high because no one really needs their labor. Parts of Kentucky appear to fall into that category now.

                  • Oldfarmermac says:

                    Hi Dennis,

                    Context always matters.

                    In the case of my recent comments having to do with working people in the USA and free trade, I have been pointing out why so many working class people voted for Trump.

                    Many of the working class people who voted for Trump by and large are people who have or believe they have lost out , or fear they will lose out, to globalization, with their jobs being exported.

                    Millions of them are right in this matter, given that their jobs have been exported already, and millions more believe they are in danger of the same, right or wrong. The actual facts don’t really matter, within this context, because it is their beliefs that determined their vote.

                    I agree that free trade, taken all around, is a good thing for the whole world, and most of the countries in it, depending on the size of the box you use to limit your thinking.

                    But we tend to get all wound up in thinking that what is good for the country overall is also good for all the people of the country, which is a major mistake.

                    For sure I can buy imported shirts and pants a lot cheaper than I can buy domestically made, but on the other hand, the many thousands of people in my neck of the woods who used to make enough to live respectably in the textiles and clothing industries are mostly older folks, with little in the way of skills that are transferable to other jobs that paid as well, or offered comparable benefits.

                    I personally would rather pay more for my clothes than to see these proud, formerly self sufficient people reduced to their current circumstances. Some of them are on welfare, and some of them have turned to a life of crime, mostly non violent thankfully, to make ends meet.

                    And the programs that are supposedly making it possible for them to get trained for new jobs are mostly hot air. I know, being here on the scene, and having many acquaintances among these people. Maybe one out of ten, at the upper optimistic limit, got some real help in finding new work.

                    I try to really think, and part of really thinking means questioning everybody, and giving everybody credit, if their arguments hold water, regardless of your personal tribal loyalties and convictions.

                    Now here’s something to be said for globalization. Countries with tight economic ties that do a lot of trading together are apt to remain peaceful, at least in relation to each other, and so be able to spend less on their military establishments, etc.

                    But on the other hand, we Yankees used to dominate the economic world, and while there is no special dispensation from Sky Daddy that this should be the case, speaking as a Yankee, I say that since SOME COUNTRY is going to dominate, let it be MINE. So far as my opinion of anybody who disagrees is concerned, well I think that person is either a posturing and preening holier than thou nincompoop, or hypocrite or worse.

                    Globalization has enabled China along with the rest of the devoloping world do destroy a HUGE chunk of our industrial base, and we would be totally xxxxed if we were to have to fight a long conventional war along the lines of WWII.

                    And China according to the news is nowadays the worlds leading lender and investor country globally. If this trend holds, the smaller less powerful countries in need of outside investment are going to be teaching Chinese instead of English to their students.

                    We would almost certainly still be the dominant economic power by a very large and safe margin, if it weren’t for globalization. I recognize that we ARE still dominant, for now, but there are many well informed people who are very worried that our days at the top of the heap are numbered.

                    Nick or somebody is almost sure to comment that our lost jobs would still be lost to automation, etc, which is also true, to a major extent, but we would not have lost nearly so many, or nearly so fast, except for globalization.

                    Back to the voters beliefs, I can’t say it for sure, but it is my belief that for every working class job we have in industries that are major exporters, we have several times that many working class jobs, or used to have that many, in industries that were never and are not major exporters.

                    It’s true that companies like Caterpillar export lots of stuff, but companies such as Ford and GM and steel manufacturers have fewer employees as the result of imports, and my belief is that the net number of decent working class jobs has taken a huge hit because we import so much.

                    Note that I have not argued that Trump WILL do much , if anything , to better the circumstances of the working class in this country. What I have been arguing is that the working class voters who voted for him were sick and tired of both the D and R establishments, and voted against both HRC and the D party, and the R party establishment, when they voted for Trump. A hell of a lot of Trump voters are true believers, and believe him because they WANT to believe him. My personal opinion from talking to lots of them, and knowing some really well, is that most of them voted more for Trump as a protest against the establishment, both sides of it, than FOR Trump.

                    It’s probably going to get me flamed for bringing him up, but that old time southern politician George Wallace once said in reference to both parties, paraphrased, there ain’t a dimes worth of difference between them.

                    Wallace’s hard core racism is MOSTLY behind us now, thankfully, but the disgust and disillusionment of our working class with BOTH parties is as real as real can get in 2016.

                    Note I am painting very fast with a very broad brush. I don’t mean to imply that most working class people are disillusioned with the D party, as compared to the R party, but rather than ENOUGH of the ones who would either have voted D or stayed home voted for Trump to put him in the WH.

                    The working class voters who usually vote R would have voted for just any R candidate. My opinion is that a fair number of that sort who would normally have stayed home rousted themselves out to vote AGAINST Clinton and Obama, rather than for Trump.

                    My sympathies lie with the working class, but I am not arguing that they are or were necessarily RIGHT in their beliefs, in all respects.

                    My argument is that their beliefs determined their votes. I do agree with some of their arguments, especially the ones about lost jobs, and being taken for granted by both the R and D establishment in recent years.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Boomer II,

                    Ok, you have no position.

                    My point is that there is a choice, free trade or no free trade. I agree if some nations are creating barriers to US imports the US should do the same, I do not think we should be “free” to import, but not “free” to export, it is a two way street.

                    For those nations where there is a two way street to trade (Canada and Mexico for example). The lack of free trade would make workers as a group worse off. The benefits to those workers in industries that export and the lower prices available to all workers (whether their industry imports, exports, or is in an industry not affected (hotels, restaurants, and other service industries) by imports or exports, more than outweighs the ill effects suffered by workers displaced by imported manufactured goods or due to resource depletion (coal industry).

                    These are well understood economic principles, and even though economists are not large in number, the reality is that the analysis is correct and workers in general are better off with free trade.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Old Farmer Mac,

                    I will try one more time.

                    Two groups of workers A and B.

                    A is hurt by free trade by amount C, B is helped amount D.

                    D>C.

                    Now let’s assume we protect A because they live near us and don’t worry about B because they are Yankees.

                    Then we make workers as a whole (A+B) worse off because C-D is a negative number.

                    I don’t care what A or B think, just looking at objective reality.

                    The loss of manufacturing jobs is mostly due to automation, and I think outlawing automation would tend to reduce wages and put out nation at a competitive disadvantage.

                    Capitalism is the problem, not globalization, if you can come up with a better system than a well regulated capitalist democracy, go for it.

                    I haven’t seen it.

              • GoneFishing says:

                Propaganda trumps common sense.

  28. Boomer II says:

    I like this group because for the most part we have intelligent discussions tied to resources and economics.

    Fundamentally it’s about commodities, their scarcities or their plentifulness, and the economics of it all. Coal seems to be in a permanent decline. Oil will decline and prices will go up eventually, but for now it is too cheap for producers to make money. Renewables and EVs will definitely increase in popularity — it’s just a matter of how fast.

    This article seems to sum up the forces that don’t seem to want to accept any of the above. How long do they control the situation before economics overwhelms them? I am hoping that at some point the renewable energy rich will have more clout than the fossil fuel rich. And I am also hoping that China, India, Australia, and Europe will move forward on reducing carbon emissions and reducing dependence on fossil fuels no matter what happens in the US.

    Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian: “Over this time, I have watched as tobacco, coal, oil, chemicals and biotech companies have poured billions of dollars into an international misinformation machine composed of thinktanks, bloggers and fake citizens’ groups. Its purpose is to portray the interests of billionaires as the interests of the common people, to wage war against trade unions and beat down attempts to regulate business and tax the very rich. Now the people who helped run this machine are shaping the government.”

  29. islandboy says:

    The EIA’s Electric Power Monthly was updated yesterday and I decided I would look at 2016 capacity additions, a topic Heinrich Leopold might be interested in. I sorted the data for each month to get the total capacity additions for each source for the month and calculated the percentage contribution. Below is a graph showing the results for each month and the total year to date. Worthy of note is that solar PV is the only source that has added capacity every single month. Wind added capacity every month except February with Natural Gas adding capacity except in the months of January and August. Only in the months of August and September was no hydro capacity added.

    A couple other data points worthy of note are that, in the month of August 96% of new capacity was solar followed by 76% in September and six out of the nine months had “Batteries” listed as capacity additions. There has only been one small (50 MW) coal plant added since the beginning of the year and one nuclear plant, the 1,122 MW Watts Bar plant in Tennessee in June.

    Tony Seba seems to be saying that by 2030, all months will look like August 2016.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Island Boy,

      Hard to distinguish the different colors on your chart. So the dark blue is mostly natural gas?

      I think I get it now, natural gas is at the bottom, so the dark area in March is coal, the one in January is landfill gas. The YTD is very interesting. Hopefully wind, solar, and hydro will grow and natural gas not so much in the future. Better natural gas than coal perhaps as there may be fewer emissions per kWhr produced, though some studies have suggested in the short term maybe not. The long life of CO2 in the atmosphere makes the CO2 emissions more important to focus on for the long term stability of climate in my view. Wind, solar, and hydro are best, along with efficiency and an upgraded grid.

      • islandboy says:

        Hi Dennis, the key is to look at the legend on the right. The order of the colors in the bars always matches the order of the colors in the legend so Landfill Gas would have to be a dark band between Hydro and Solar as seen in April. The dark band between Solar and Wind in January would be Other Waste Biomass and you are right that the dark area above Wind in March is Coal.

        Getting the right mix of colors on a chart like this can be a little tricky and the colors the software automatically chooses often make the charts difficult to make out. I tried adjusting the colors so that the variables with larger bands are light and the tiny ones are darker while still maintaining enough contrast between the major variables (NG, Hydro, Solar, nuclear and Wind). Below I tried a lighter blue for the NG, which I think improves it a bit.

        I think it’s just great that we have access to all this data. since it helps us to see what is happening just a couple of months after it happens!

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Nice. Also thinking fossil fuels YTD less than 50% which is good, though we need to do better.

  30. R Walter says:

    If it is 15 below zero and there is no coal, how can solar heat a house with about maybe seven hours of sunlight and the only source of electricity is the solar panel array?

    It can’t and it won’t, the solar panel will produce electricity to maybe charge a few batteries. The cellphone will work, better build an igloo to stay warm, because that is all that is going help to keep from freezing to death.

    If you have five ton of coal and it is 15 below zero, the heat from the burning coal is going to save your hide with no need for electricity at all, just put it in the firebox, the heat exchanger will let heat flow and the CO will be up the chimney. It won’t be CO2 coming from the burning coal, that is for sure.

    I’ll take coal any day of the week over a solar panel that can crank out electricity but it won’t be enough to provide enough heat to heat your home. The high cost of the solar panels to produce enough electricity to power an electric heater will be a lot more than five ton of coal and there will be not enough.

    There will be no confusion there, the solar panel will do nothing except let you freeze to death barring any problems with the system.

    The coal just has to burn to provide the heat, no electricity needed, no switch to flip, just set the coal on fire in the firebox and you stay warm.

    Purdy simple, the heat from the coal that is burning in the firebox will keep you plenty warm. Well, it can be wood too, but coal has higher heat content, burns longer.

    Solar panels can’t do that and never will.

    It is a nice story, but it will be far short of the what coal will do.

    You’re crazy as a loon if you think solar will replace coal for heat at 15 below zero when the night is 16 hours long. Just plain out of your mind.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi R Walter,

      Electricity can be moved from north to south and as I understand it the wind can blow both night and day, nuclear, hydro, and geothermal can also provide power. Also note that a ground source heat pump can provide heat very efficiently, even at 15 below zero. Coal will not be needed in the future as there will be plenty of grid connected energy provided by wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, and nuclear power, with maybe a little (1%) backup from natural gas.

    • Oldfarmermac says:

      Hi RW,

      I personally always read your comments as a random mixture of humor, sarcasm, common sense, and other various ingredients, and I understand where you are coming from. Solar electricity IS far too expensive to use it for domestic heat in northern winters- in nearly any existing house or building.

      But times have changed, and it is now not only possible but also practical and economic to build new houses and other structures so well insulated that very little heat is needed, even at fifteen or twenty degrees below zero.

      And compared to the never ending cost of heating such a house, which is normally expected to last at least three or four generations ( and should last indefinitely if well built and properly maintained ) doing it right up front is a bargain.

      I have switched all our property to heat pumps, excepting the home place, for reasons of safety, convenience, low maintenance, and low operating costs. At home I use mostly firewood I gather myself, with a high efficiency oil furnace for backup. Fifty to seventy five gallons of oil lasts us a year.

      I won’t be installing a heat pump at the home place until I am unable to deal with the firewood, simply because I LIKE having a fire, and cutting wood. And by the time I must go to the heat pump, a new one will probably outlast me, so I won’t have to buy but just that one.

      When I was a kid, we used as much as a pickup load of wood a week in really cold weather, which consumed a full day’s work or thereabouts, not to mention upkeep for the chainsaw and truck, when all was said and done, when we lived in a small uninsulated board and batten green oak house. Now we live in an older but modernized farm house three times as big, and a pickup load always lasts at least two weeks, even in the very worst weather, heating three times the space, and keeping it warm around the clock, which was impossible in the old house during the small hours, unless you tended the fire like a sick child.

      If I were young again, I would build a passive solar house that would stay warm from the heat generated by the lights and appliances even in cloudy winter weather, with maybe a minor boost from a very small oil or gas or wood heater.

      You and I may not live to see it, but I believe there is a time coming when domestically produced solar electricity will be adequate to the needs of most homeowners, and no more expensive than grid juice. There are numerous ways to shift electrical loads to the day time hours when solar panels ARE producing at least a little, even on cloudy short winter days, while still staying warm and having all the juice you need for lights and entertainment during the night.

      I foresee the heating and electrical needs of a homeowner in the northern climes being met or supplemented by a combination generator and heat pump powered by an internal combustion engine, computer controlled, built and installed in such a way that all the normally wasted heat thrown off by the engine is captured and used to heat domestic hot water and for space heating, with the heat pump attachment kicking in any time heat is needed and the heat pump will operate the usual way, gaining some “free” heat.

      If such a combination generator heat pump is properly designed, it will be possible for a technician to switch out the rather small ( probably two or three horsepower up to maybe ten horsepower ) engine in an hour or so, because the engine will have only half a dozen standardized connections, all of which plug in or simply clamp together. Such engines, when built to run at constant speed and water cooled, can easily be made to run four or five thousand hours, or even longer, without needing any attention at all. There is no reason one of them should cost more than maybe five hundred bucks, in terms of present day money, wholesale. The smaller components can mostly be reused indefinitely, and the cylinder can be rebored and a new piston installed, making the engine near new again,etc, in terms of durability.I am not talking about doing this work at retail, but on an industrial basis with multiple manufacturers competing to sell interchangeable engines, and remanufactured older engines.

      Fuel efficiency will be a minor consideration, because the engine would normally only run when heat is needed anyway, and of all the heat not converted into electricity , ninety five percent or more can be captured for space and water heating.

      Some juice can be diverted to charging up one or more large batteries, as needed. Such batteries are getting cheaper fast, in terms of purchase cost, durability, and capacity, and in ten more years, domestic pv systems backed up by such batteries will be as commonplace as back yard pools and motor homes.

      I am very much a free market sort of guy, when free markets giterdone, but I foresee a need for a socialist sort of policy being in effect to enable people who cannot afford to upgrade or build new up to the best standards are enabled to borrow the necessary additional money they will need to do their job right.

      Whatever such a program costs in terms of administration and bad loans, that cost will be a world class bargain, in terms of lowering the cost of purchased energy for the country, collectively.

      Every little bit of conservation will help extend the life of our finite endowment of fossil fuels, as well as helping protect the environment and the public health.

    • GoneFishing says:

      “If it is 15 below zero and there is no coal, how can solar heat a house with about maybe seven hours of sunlight and the only source of electricity is the solar panel array?”

      Mostly it’s insulation and sealing. After that it’s thermal solar and PV with some storage.

      Earthship Canada
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAvY5JeMz9w

      Fairbanks Alaska Passive House
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xen_VWyDezY&t=2087s

      Sub Arctic passive solar home
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TefNcwHpCwA&t=4s

      • R Walter says:

        Now earthships can do it. And it is true, earthships can provide shelter and be warm at 30 below zero in New Mexico. They can and do work. Just use salvaged materials like was done in the beginning of the earthship craze. They’ve all been yuppified. har

        Just another sod house all guzzied up.

        I understand the concepts about all of the energy savings that can occur, be done.

        It can possibly all work over time, it will take time.

        The wind blows and does all sorts of work, it is a done deal. You can grind wheat to flour, roll the oats, produce electricity. A myriad of uses with the capture of wind power.

        It is a product of the sun’s energy after reaching the earth.

        Eighty years ago, isolation was the bittersweet hallmark of rural life.

        No telephones. No television. No e-mail. No electricity.

        When the vacuum tube radio became affordable in the early 1920s, farm families suddenly had access to daily news and market reports — until the wet-cell batteries died. If the family was affluent enough to own a gas-powered generator, they simply recharged the batteries. Otherwise, just as suddenly, the silence returned.

        Enter the wind-powered battery charger…

        http://www.farmcollector.com/equipment/charged-by-the-wind

        Farmers used windmills to charge batteries in the 1920’s and before even. It is not new. They had batteries stored in the basement of the farm house and the wind charger would charge the batteries, voila, lights.

        They also had coal furnaces to heat their homes, didn’t require any electricity, any other source of energy to operate, just some paper and a match to set the coal on fire in the fire box and an ash pan at the bottom of the burner. Remove the ashes and sprinkle some of them on the sidewalk to keep the ice at bay.

        Every house in my hometown had a coal burning furnace in the basements or a coal-fired burner to heat the water for hot water heating.

        The ancient sunlight can be used too.

        • GoneFishing says:

          “The ancient sunlight can be used too.” Yes, but at a very heavy price in disease, lives, land and ecosystems.
          We have better ways of doing things now. No need to live in the past anymore. Around here they burn wood, oil, propane. Further east in the miasma they burn natural gas.
          There is a lot of employment and money in retrofitting houses to be efficient and use sunlight to best advantage. A lot of money in all renewables and energy efficiency. Go where the money is, not where the losses are.
          Money makes money makes more money, soon just about everyone is living cleanly, efficiently and can walk around with a smile on their face without being king.
          But that is not the plan, is it?

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Gone fishing,

            Sounds like a good plan to me, seems like it should be the plan.

            A great and smart plan.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi R Walter,

          We have used too much ancient sunlight too quickly and if we continue it will cause problems. So it would be better to find different sources of energy and ramp them up as quickly as possible wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, wave, tidal, and nuclear are probably the best choices, maybe a bit of biofuel for backup, if we want to attempt to stay below 2 C above the 1850-1900 CE average global temperature, which will be difficult(perhaps impossible) if higher climate sensitivity estimates are correct.

          Coal is best left in the ground.

  31. islandboy says:

    Any body wanna fill in the blanks below, before I link to the story?

    ______ wind generation hits record, topping 15 GW

    The portion of load served by wind ranged from about 35% to more than 46%, averaging nearly 41% throughout the day. “Over the years, _______ has taken a number of steps, such as improving renewable generation forecasts, to allow us to operate the grid reliably on days like this,” Woodfin said.

    The record comes less than two weeks after the previous high. According to _______, the previous wind generation output record of 14,122 MW was set on Nov. 17. The current record for percentage of load served, more than 48%, was set in March.

    Last year, wind produced almost 12% of energy used in _________ As of last month, wind generation was serving 14.7% of demand.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Island boy,

      My guess is Texas, though Iowa has a lot of wind power as well.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        I believe Texas went over a week a while back with wind providing a full forty percent of the electrical load continuously the whole week.

        That’s a lot of saved gas political redneck big R republican Texans can export to Yankees who would otherwise freeze in the dark. 😉

        We shouldn’t assume R voters are necessarily stupid, when it comes to business opportunities. 😉

        It also blows away the claims of anti renewable mouthpieces that the grid cannot handle more than about twenty percent wind and solar power without becoming dangerously destablized.

        To be sure, the ENGINEERS who say twenty percent is the limit usually mean that is the limit as the grid is PRESENTLY CONFIGURED. I haven’t run across any engineers who say the grid can’t handle more renewable electricity, if somebody is willing to pay for the necessary upgrades that would make it safe and practical to do go well past the twenty percent, as proven by the Texas example.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        I got it right without a search, but couldn’t resist checking.

        http://www.utilitydive.com/news/texas-wind-generation-hits-record-topping-15-gw/431344/

      • islandboy says:

        Good call. you saved me having to post the link. Makes me wonder how things are going to play out now that solar PV is about to take off in Texas?

  32. robert wilson says:

    Historical concentration of copper ores in the US. Energy requirements may increase with the mining of low grade ores. The bronze age began with native copper. http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Copper_mining_in_the_United_States

  33. Boomer II says:

    Cities and States Lead on Climate Change – The New York Times: “By 2020, thanks to MidAmerican Energy’s planned $3.6 billion addition to its enormous wind turbine operations, 85 percent of its Iowa customers will be electrified by clean energy.”

    I’m not sure if this means 85% will be totally electrified by clean energy, or if it just means 85% of its customers will have clean energy as part of their grid power source.

    But either way, the article does say that reduction of carbon will happen even without the federal government getting behind it.

  34. George Kaplan says:

    New paper in Nature this week but summarised in Eurekalert:

    Loss of soil carbon due to climate change will be ‘huge’

    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-11/nioe-los113016.php

    “If climate change isn’t stopped, an additional 55 trillion kilograms of carbon will be released into the atmosphere by the year 2050”, says Crowther. It will be released in the form of CO2 or methane: greenhouse gases, speeding up what would otherwise have been a natural process.

    “It’s about 17 percent more than the projected emissions due to human-related activities during that period”, says Crowther. And those greenhouse gases could further accelerate global warming, which would have even more of an impact on the soil: a full-fledged domino effect.”

    To appease our wikipedia quoting audience I should point out the carbon dioxide is a trace component in the atmosphere. Trace means small, often with the additional nuance of being difficult to measure. It does not mean inert, inconsequential or ignorable. Examples of its use may be: the murderer was convicted based on trace evidence left at the scene; her presence was announced by a trace of Channel; prolonged exposure to trace arsenic from the damp, green wallpaper eventually led to his death.

  35. Oldfarmermac says:

    Hi Dennis,

    About your 8:24 comment:

    You say
    The lack of free trade would make workers as a group worse off. The benefits to those workers in industries that export and the lower prices available to all workers (whether their industry imports, exports, or is in an industry not affected (hotels, restaurants, and other service industries) by imports or exports, more than outweighs the ill effects suffered by workers displaced by imported manufactured goods or due to resource depletion (coal industry).”

    I agree that this is generally true, and believed to be true just about all the time, if not all the time, by economists, but I am not so sure it is ALWAYS true myself. We can never forget the size of the box, the context, in which such arguments are made. I do think it is true most of the time, and maybe even just about all the time.

    But consider:

    In a country as big, diverse,populous, and well supplied with natural resources as the USA, there are very few things that we MUST import, and in every case I can think of, off the top of my head, a product that we MUST import is one that is dependent on one or another of the relatively few natural resources we don’t have here in adequate quantities, or a food product we can’t produce due to lack of the proper climate, etc.

    Now think about this. There are many goods that display extremely inelastic demand, at least in the short to medium term, gasoline for instance. We will pay as much as we have to for the quantity we must have, and for most of us, that quantity is fixed within a fairly narrow range, because we use it mostly to get to work, school, shopping, etc.

    When the supply is in excess,( defined in this example as oil producers losing money, most of them ) we buy it as cheap as possible, and again, the quantity we use short to medium term is fixed within a relatively narrow range, because we just don’t have any use for very much MORE, short to medium term. ( Only a few of us have pleasure boats that use fifty gallons a day, and free time enough to enjoy them every weekend, lol. )

    Now maybe I am a crank or oddball for thinking so , but I believe employers hire workers under this same basic condition that individuals buy gasoline. The demand for workers is inelastic, at least a substantial part of the time.

    So- if workers are fungible, or interchangeable, and most workers are, excepting specialists such as electricians or auto mechanics or brick masons, when an industry packs up and moves away, there is a glut of workers on the local market, and they will sell their services for peanuts- doing basically the same thing as oil producers, because some income is better than none at all. Employers are perfectly happy to take advantage of this situation.

    It’s not at all unusual for a business to reorganize itself these days, getting rid of long term employees with seniority and benefits, replacing them with new comers at much lower wages, with fewer or no benefits, Sometimes such businesses rehire old employees- at reduced wages.

    I have been there and seen it, in the southern towns that used to be textile and clothing centers. When the mills closed, there was an enormous glut of workers, to the point it was hard to find ANY job at all, even a burger flippers job, and the pain radiated outward all thru the local economy, with lots of other workers losing their jobs, due to the loss the textile workers wages flowing thru the local economy.

    I really cannot see any reason why this scenario doesn’t apply nation wide, because workers are free to pack up and move , to some extent, and those out of work move to other places, thereby meaning more applicants per job opening, thereby suppressing wages and benefits, and worsening working conditions.

    And a hell of a lot of workers simply can’t AFFORD to move. When you are poor, without savings, you take a huge risk in giving up the support system that consists of relatives, old friends, neighbors, church, etc, and take off for a new place on the chance that you will find work, and a place to live, when you get there..

    Once workers are in excess supply, for any reason, including automation of older industries, the death of some industries such as logging or coal mining due to depletion or regulation, or obsolescence, they are stuck in a miserable situation, with damned few options.

    Now over time, this sort of situation may correct itself, but the time needed, if it happens, is greater than the displaced workers can cope with.

    And again, as I have said before, numerous times, countries don’t vote. Individuals vote. And when enough workers have been displaced, regardless of the specific reason, they get thoroughly pissed about it , and vote their perceived personal welfare, with the consequence sometimes being an election thrown to one or another candidate or party.

    My belief is that enough workers were pissed at both the HRC/ D party and the R party that they either stayed home or voted for Trump, viewing Trump as an outsider who either would ( Trump true believers ) or might ( cynical but hopeful ) actually change things in their favor, that they put Trump in the WH.

    I am not arguing that his winning was EXCLUSIVELY due to these disillusioned workers, but rather that they were an essential part of the coalition of voters enabled Trump to win. This is especially true in this particular election, given that Trump won the three big Rust Belt states that would normally be expected to go D, putting HRC in the WH.

    Now for what it is worth, I find that I must agree with Nick and others who think the way he does, that long term unskilled and semiskilled workers are in for a world of hurt, because automation and robots WILL take their jobs. Automation and robots will also take the jobs of a hell of a lot of even highly skilled workers as well.

    A disillusioned and impoverished worker can’t vote against a robot, or an international trade agreement supported by both parties. He CAN vote against a particular politician or party , or both parties, in favor of an outsider that he sees as at least a potential advocate and ally.

    Anybody who does not realize that Trump IS an outsider who managed against all odds to crash the R party’s nominating process, and win the nomination, against the wishes of virtually the entire party establishment, is simply to ill informed to bother talking to.

    Remember that I live in and among working class people, and have done so, as an INSIDER, most of my life, with some stints in strictly professional middle class surroundings. I KNOW how working class people think, and what they believe, and there is no question in my mind that the majority of them are disillusioned with both the D and R parties.

    When you are ONE OF THEM, people of any of the various classes talk to you, and say things to you, that they seldom or never say to outsiders.

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