Since someone brought up energy policy…

A couple of people have gotten excited in the comments section of another post about the leaps and bounds by which the market for wind turbines is growing, according to noted wind-turbine peddler General Electric.

Huzzah! If this keeps up, maybe wind will make up 2.5 percent of our energy mix by 2035, instead of 1.9 percent as currently projected. Or maybe even 3 percent! No, 4! And all for a few hundred billion dollars. Well, we can dream, can’t we?

Back on Earth, Harvard professors say they’ve figured out what it will take to meet the CO2 reductions proposed by the Obama administration: $7-a-gallon gasoline. Hope you’re ready for it.

Also, since we haven’t checked in on Climategate in a few days…East Anglia professor Phil Jones testified in the British Parliament on Monday. He defended his not releasing climate data, computer codes and methods because it “hasn’t been standard practice” in climate science to do so. Which makes climate science a rather, ahem, unique branch of science.

23 comments Add your comment

CJ

March 3rd, 2010
5:13 pm

He defended his not releasing climate data, computer codes and methods because it “hasn’t been standard practice” in climate science to do so. Which makes climate science a rather, ahem, unique branch of science.

Phil Jones is an idiot. But Kyle’s effort to paint all climate scientists with a broad brush is laughable. Why does Kyle take this approach? Because there’s little or no debate among climate scientists that climate change is occurring and that it’s caused by human activity.

Kyle’s logic is as follows: “I don’t want to believe in global warming because the solutions conflict with my ideology. Therefore, all climate scientists are incompetent and/or dishonest. Here’s a link to support my predetermined conclusion.”

What is Kyle’s evidence in the link he provides? An article quoting an unnamed source claiming to represent the membership of the Institute of Physics (observe that climate change skeptics consistently seek to support their claims using fellow skeptics from scientific fields outside of climatology–medical doctors, meteorologists, physicists,science fiction authors). In addition, the article quotes Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Conservative Chancellor and a leading climate skeptic, who seeks to educate us on the roles of “proper scientists.”

Does anybody who believes what the climate scientists say about global warming want to believe these things? Of course not. But we sanely rely on the experts anyway, rather than seeking to demonize them for reporting things that we don’t want to hear. I’m sorry, but that’s just perverse.

WindTalker

March 3rd, 2010
5:14 pm

Would 4 percent wind energy be a bad thing? Or is it just evil that GE wants to make a profit at it? Don’t oil companies make a profit?
What branch of science does release it’s computer code?
Maybe a $7-a-gallon gasoline would break American’s of our love of gas guzzling SUVs. (Blah-blah-blah…SUVs are safer…it’s my God-given right..I’m not driving a foreign toy…blah-blah-blah)
As usual, conservatives offer no solution of their own.
What do you suggest we do, Mr. Wingfield?
DRILL, BABY, DRILL?

retiredds

March 3rd, 2010
5:14 pm

Kyle, have you been to Europe, or Canada lately? $7.00 gasoline is the norm. Last time I was in London, Dec. 2001 gas was priced at $4.50 per litre. It’s not that $7.00 gas is too high, it’s coming even if we move toward more energy options. Sorry you can’t see that, but the equation (China demand + India demand + the rest of the world demand – 9 billion people in the next 15 years, 1/3 of which want a lifestyle = to what we have — it’s called “crowding out”.) no longer favors cheap gasoline.

And Kyle, I’m not one who gets excited about all this. It is very simple, the handwriting is on the wall, and has been for at least the last five years, cheap petroleum based oil will get more expensive. Plain and simple, that’s all there is to it.

Road Scholar

March 3rd, 2010
5:21 pm

Kyle, every bit of sustainable enrgy will be needed. Look at the $80 /barrel cost now for oil and we’re not even close to summer. Gasoline is alledgedly “abundant” according to a report read today. And with the dollar weak, the price is expected to rise.

So, we have coal and oil. Can we store the fumes in your garage so we don’t have to pollute our air we breath? And for nuclear, can we store the nuclear waste in your extra bedroom?

While you malign sustainable energy and continue to ignore long term costs and supply (remember the Chinese and Indians are reving up their economy based on the US economic model) countries like Germany and Denmark have set goals for 20 % sustainable fuel usage, has geared their economies to resesarch and develop more efficient systems, and has put their money where their mouth (and brain) is.

When will our conservative brothers provide a policy to address the growing amount of nuclear waste, its transporting, and its safe storage?
I’m relying on the conservatives since ya’ll seem to think liberals are commies, socialists, anarchists, nazi’s, tree huggers, imbeciles, … (and all at the same time!!!)

CJ

March 3rd, 2010
5:21 pm

…Harvard professors say they’ve figured out what it will take to meet the CO2 reductions proposed by the Obama administration: $7-a-gallon gasoline.

Incidentally, the internal combustion engine is dead. We’ll all be driving electric cars in a few years–and loving it.

Kyle Wingfield

March 3rd, 2010
5:32 pm

C’mon, CJ, you’re better than that. You’re mischaracterizing my argument far worse than I could ever do to the likes of Phil Jones.

And the letter you reference was “unnamed” because it was sent on behalf of the institute itself, which is a royally chartered institute in Britain — not exactly a bunch of cranks. The letter was commenting on the methods and lack of transparency by Jones & Co., which a respectable scientific organization like the IoP is perfectly capable of doing.

But maybe you’d like to tell me why it’s OK for climate scientists like those at CRU — and for the umpteenth time, these are the people at the heart of climate science, not the periphery — to eschew methods which are considered standard by the IoP and virtually everyone else involved in science? Because that’s the point here.

Kyle Wingfield

March 3rd, 2010
5:35 pm

retiredds, I lived in Europe from 2004 to 2009. So I’m quite familiar with the price of petrol (it was closer to $8 a gallon in Belgium, where I lived).

Frankly, I don’t think many Americans are willing to accept the lifestyle changes that would be required for them to live the way Europeans do.

The biggest obstacle to continued cheap gasoline, btw, is refinement capacity. And that has remained low because gas has been too cheap to justify adding capacity.

Kyle Wingfield

March 3rd, 2010
5:37 pm

Road Scholar, I’ll accept your bit-by-bit, 100-step approach to energy policy if you’ll accept the same from me on health care.

Kyle Wingfield

March 3rd, 2010
5:37 pm

Btw, the next time the Europeans actually do what they’ve promised to do on the environment/climate change will be the first time.

LA

March 3rd, 2010
5:39 pm

“Phil Jones is an idiot. But Kyle’s effort to paint all climate scientists with a broad brush is laughable. Why does Kyle take this approach? Because there’s little or no debate among climate scientists that climate change is occurring and that it’s caused by human activity.”

But…but..Al Gore won an academy award for his movie…………..so it must be true!!!!!!

LA

March 3rd, 2010
5:41 pm

“When will our conservative brothers provide a policy to address the growing amount of nuclear waste, its transporting, and its safe storage?”

Yeah, ship it to Cuba. Or maybe to North Korea.

LA

March 3rd, 2010
5:42 pm

CJ

France has embraced nuclear energy and I don’t hear liberals whining about them. In fact, most liberals, John F. Kerry mostly, says that France is great!

WindTalker

March 3rd, 2010
6:02 pm

Wow! I thought we were going to have a give-and-take polite conversation among adults.
Then…not so much.

Azazel

March 3rd, 2010
6:39 pm

Aside from vaious opinions about climate change there may be, one thing is veriviable — the permafrost zones are receeding northward and southward by as much as 130km in the last 50 years (fromTerradaily).
Moreover, current thinking about energy policies are wrongly focused on idustrialization of energy as a means, atleast for job creation. A more appropriate energy policy would attempt to focus on households or communities by creating “smart” materials that are temperature, light and humidity reactive producing electricity (stuff the DOE is already working on); so that, large capital investments would be minimized for most residential electric power consumers. Economic futures would be enhanced by entrepenuers who would build any number of prepackaged materials, such as siding, roofs and windows, and DC to AC conversion systems.
Additionally, biomimicry (converting sunlight into usable energy like plants) has enormous potential, since like nano-materials, there is a large enough surface area for highly efficient energy conversion.

There is no sense in large capital investments to energy corporations when we get more energy form the sun in two days, than if we burned all the fossil fuels we have — including nuclear.

CJ

March 3rd, 2010
6:44 pm

But maybe you’d like to tell me why it’s OK for climate scientists like those at CRU…to eschew methods which are considered standard by the IoP and virtually everyone else involved in science? Because that’s the point here.

With all due respect Kyle, that’s not the point here. Generally speaking, you’re not concerned about the scientific method or integrity of climate science just because you think your readers are fascinated by such things. And, for the record, neither you or I have the expertise to make judgments about such matters–especially given the limitations of information disseminated via the press. The real point here is to undermine the arguments in favor of reducing CO2 emissions. Period.

With that in mind, your readers should also know that the Institute of Physics appears to have received some push back about the letter in question. The text below is from their website:

The Institute of Physics recently submitted a response to a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee call for evidence in relation to its inquiry into the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

The Institute’s statement, which has been published both on the Institute’s website and the Committee’s, has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that it does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming.

That is not the case. The Institute’s position on climate change is clear: the basic science is well enough understood to be sure that our climate is changing – and that we need to take action now to mitigate that change…

retiredds

March 3rd, 2010
7:48 pm

Kyle, I agree with you about Americans and lifestyle changes that come with much higher fuel prices. However if the politicians would shoot straight with the American people we can be prepared for it. I happen to believe that Americans can make most any adjustments if given a good reason to do it.

This issue is a top/down education process. I would like to see the President and a group of energy experts from all fields spend an entire evening in prime time talking and dialoguing about the cost of converting to more alternative energy, AND the cost of not doing it. I think if it is an honest presentation most Americans will buy into it.

Also it can be done as a 10-year program, just like the space program. Again, I have said, maybe to you in prior blogs, there are no problems only opportunities. I know, I am the eternal optimist and somewhat naive. But I am old enough to be comfortable with that.

By the way, I appreciate your articles and appreciate your willingness to respond to me and others

Michael H. Smith

March 4th, 2010
12:44 am

We will likely see $7 a gallon gas no matter what, wind or no wind and we dare not let those nasty old domestic natural gas tycoons make a penny more by using their U.S. natural gas to replace at least some of our wonderful foreign oil dependency that provides billions or trillions of U.S. dollars to all the good people that hate us so much.

retiredds, if you want it straight, then here it is: We will have to build nuclear power plants as fast as we can and use our vast natural gas and methane resources. If wind and solar could do it, I’d be all for it but the reality is that wind and solar can’t produce the amount of energy we need cost effectively and reliably. Both will be supplemental sources at best for years to come.

Build baby, build and drill baby, drill. I don’t care if T. Boone Pickens does make trillions Kyle and Jay. Better him than Comrade Hugo and OPEC.

Joel Edge

March 4th, 2010
6:22 am

“you’re not concerned about the scientific method”
Apparently the folks at CRU weren’t to concerned about it either.

No More Progressives!

March 4th, 2010
9:40 am

WindTalker

March 3rd, 2010
5:14 pm
“Would 4 percent wind energy be a bad thing? Or is it just evil that GE wants to make a profit at it?”

If GE can squeek out a profit with wind energy, fine. They desperately need the revenue, as Jeff Immelt has virtually run the company into the ground. Where is Jack Welch when you need him?

Here’s a good idea for the “alternative” energy folks: lets build more rivers, and we could generate more hydro power (currently about 15% of the national total). Any buyers?

retiredds

March 4th, 2010
1:52 pm

I am not suggesting that alternatives can replace the oil and coal industries. It would be folly to think such. What I am suggesting, not my original ideas, is that there be more of a balance with an ultimate goal of making coal and oil something in the range of 20%-25% of the equation. Now that is very long term: 30-50 years. But to do that requires a commitment now. Also what is of vital importance is that America be the producers and exporters of the technology for alternative energy. I have heard that is we can do the latter is could be worth 5-10 million jobs. If that is true, those aren’t small potatoes. Finally, we could go on and on about the national security issues. Let it suffice that from a national security standpoint we aren’t in the best position because of who we are force to import oil from (because of our insatiable demand and reliance upon and the ways we use the most inefficient form of transportation, the auto, i.e. single occupancy commuter vehicles.

By the way there are folks, it seems mostly in other parts of the country, who sell their excess energy back to their energy companies. Seems like in the South we could do that to some extent with solar energy. I’m not an expert in this field but it sounds like it could work because of the amount of sun light we get year round.

Allen

March 5th, 2010
2:00 am

From the Economist: “The full original data sets of global temperature records used by all three major climate history research groups, at the East Anglia CRU, NASA, and NOAA, have always been available to all comers, and have for many years now been on the internet. They serve as the grounding for dozens of climate-sceptics’ websites. This is an extraordinary degree of openness for any scientific undertaking.”

professional skeptic

March 5th, 2010
8:10 am

Have we determined the cost/gallon of gasoline of the resources we’ve spent decade after decade “securing our nation’s energy interests” in oil rich regions? I figure it’s a relevant question, because last I checked, our country wouldn’t need to spend billions of tax dollars annually on costly wars to develop solar, wind and nuclear energy right here on our home turf.

Funny how those expenditures are always conveniently left out of the comparison of the true cost of oil vs. the cost of other forms of energy. Kind of like how Bush always used to leave the cost of these wars out of the annual budget.

So yeah… $3.00/gal at the pump… but what about on the battlefield? I say let’s let the oil companies incur these costs from now on, then see what happens to the price of gasoline.

Harryhammer

March 25th, 2010
11:27 am

Hello

There are plenty of groups opposing action by the U.S. government to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Most of them have little or nothing to do with science. The core of the denial movement is the Competitive Enterprise Institute. If not for the herculean effort by this and other conservative think tanks to derail science, we could very well be on our way to solving a major crisis in which time is a critical factor.

Read the full story here:

http://harryhammer.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/opinions-that-matter/