A key admission regarding climate memes

  1. Other views on the narrative pause war

Richard Betts of the UKMO rightly detects L2015’s implausible case, unsurprisingly incorporating this as support for the above orthodox message. Both Betts and Ben Pile, a challenger of climate orthodoxy, spot the gate left wide open by L2015, i.e. the mechanisms would work far more strongly for the Consensus. Yet different biases for each prevent them entering the garden of knowledge beyond. See Appendix 1 for Betts and Appendix 2 for Pile. Helpful for Appendix 2 and general context, Appendix 3 lists basic pitfalls regarding memetics.

  1. More on what Lewandowsky doesn’t say

Unsurprisingly, Lewandowsky never mentions that memes work for the Consensus too. Nevertheless, he is still walking a dangerous path in highlighting bias mechanisms and the influence of memes. For instance what could be a more striking example of ‘stereotype threat’ than the effect of the highly emotive ‘denier’ meme? To see this we just mirror-image three words (retained as strikethrough) in the above quote from the executive summary of L2015: “Thus, when scientists are stereotyped as ‘alarmists’ ‘deniers’, a predicted response would be for them to try to avoid seeming alarmist anti-science by downplaying the degree of threat uncertainty.” Even the milder stereotyping as an advocate for inaction, works strongly for the Consensus.

Lewandowsky has a series of papers (with associated authors) that warn of powerful bias effects. These include the ‘third party effect’, plus others he does not evoke in L2015 yet most certainly apply in the overall CAGW narrative competition. My series at Watts Up With That here, here and here demonstrates using these papers, plus support from other solidly Consensus sources and quotes (hence entirely without skeptic sympathies), that the climate Consensus itself is pretty much soaked in bias due to these potent effects. Arbitrary CAGW memes overwhelmingly dominate the narrative competition.

  1. The ‘next best candidate’

The NOAA/NCDC Karl et al paper, discussed here at Climate Etc, presents GST analysis that challenges the very notion of ‘a pause’. Both the promotion and objection to Karl et al are dominated by ‘pause obsession’. It appears that the narrative struggle matters much more than the minor trend difference that may or may not truly exist in reality, yet is just enough to cross a line. Whether they know it or not, NOAA / NCDC are engaged in the same battle against ‘pause’ memes as Lewandowsky, and both are backing the ‘warming continues unabated’ candidate to win. As noted above this candidate is risky. In Karl et al significant risk appears because the consequence of demonstrating some upward trend within the hiatus period, is as Mosher points out, a lowering of the overall warming trend, which undermines that other core icon, catastrophe.

  1. Conclusion

Lewandowsky and Oreskes raise the prospect that via the agency of memes, the climate Consensus with its high certainty of danger, could be a socially generated artifact and not a scientific fact. They still have significant influence within orthodox climate circles. Hence this possibility has been placed as a seed concept within many otherwise inaccessible minds, a feat skeptics could never have achieved. This bodes well for the future; the seed may grow into realization that the certainty of CAGW is a social artifact.

Meanwhile notwithstanding a second candidate, ‘warming continues unabated’, and hence tension within the Consensus, ‘pause’ memes prevent fatal damage to the CAGW narrative. They enable a proclamation of ‘nothing has really changed’, which also minimizes the emotional threat for mainstream adherents.

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30 Responses to A key admission regarding climate memes

  1. Michael 2 says:

    CAGW acolytes appear to be relatively few in number and dwindling. The same names resurface on fairly regular intervals.

  2. Reblogged this on Derek Sorensen and commented:
    This piece by Andy West is quite long, but definitely worth reading to the end.

  3. bilb says:

    Andy, I think that you are over playing the notion of the meme in relation to the faux hiatus. There was indeed a story, and it did seem to have some validity, there does appear to be a short step in the average temperature rise record which deniers were able to use to cause the science community to pause to check the information. The only pause was in the consolidation of public understanding, and that pause was effective simply because people by and large rely on the homogeneity of opinion, science to government, to manage the information regarding issues of national importance. Unfortunately in the US and Australia we have some absolutely stupid politicians. The republicans largely in the US and the Liberals in Australia, and of course we have privately owned propaganda media. It seems that gullibility is requirement for up coming conservative pollies, and this has been essential to create the confusion that prolonged the “pause” in people’s understanding. I was savagely attacked on “skeptic” blog sites declaring that temperature rise had been halted, and so I was forced to look at the information. There does indeed appear to be a short step in the temperature rise record, but there is not a pause. It is very clear. Yet still the denialists persist.

    So what is denialism all about. If we are indeed narrative then we must also be PLOT. What is a good fiction without a plot. Climate Change itself does not have a plot as it is entirely based on the physical principles of the Universe and they are in essence about the universal increase in Entropy. To that end climate change has two fundamental driving forces of nature. One is that CO2 captures and re-emits infra red radiation (this can be clearly seen in the operation of infra red lasers that are widely used in industry. But what is the second property of gases that makes climate change work, I wonder if you know. There is no shame in not knowing as science has not been at all effective in educating the public on what makes the atmosphere work. I only discovered this a year ago and suddenly everything that I had wondered about made complete sense.

    Skepticism, on the other hand which is essentially counter science requires a reason or a plot to explain its virulence. For scientists skepticism is a tool with which to self test. That which passes the skeptical test becomes the science. But for those who take on skepticism as justification just to be different are either determined to live in ignorance, or there is a plot, a reason for the permanently contrarian narrative.

    • andywest2012 says:

      Hi Bilb,

      I’m glad you found your personal revelation just last year, after which everything you ‘had wondered about made complete sense’. That might make many folks jealous, as some of the best minds on the planet and many lesser minds too like my own, have spent a lot of years exploring both the social and / or physical domains of climate change and still have not reached a position where everything makes complete sense.

      I have a degree in physics actually so I’m fine with the IR properties of CO2 and suchlike. But this informs us not a jot about the many feedbacks in the climate system and overall sensitivity, or the relative magnitude of this compared to natural variability, and so on. Climate science is still a fledgling science, as the lack of progress on climate sensitivity over the last decades has shown (upper bounds seem less likely in several recent papers, but wide ranging scenarios from negligible to bad still cannot be ruled out). Skeptics point out that understanding the climate system, with or without ACO2 impacts, is a wicked problem from which certainties about that impact (e.g. calamity) cannot be drawn, and for this they get labelled ‘deniers’. The debate has always been about whether the overall effects will be good, bad, or indifferent.

      However be that as it may, I don’t focus any efforts at all on the physical climate system understanding. Thousands of folks doing that on all sides of the debate. I focus on the social phenomena surrounding climate change, and note that it is a culture in its own right which most certainly has a narrative, a ‘plot’ as you express it. Given the barrage of alarmist claims in the media that have no basis in science (using the IPCC technical papers as a marker), one can indeed see this narrative, which stresses fear and urgency. Or do you think these claims are valid and hence the IPCC wrong? The point about such social narratives is that they can leave the science far behind, and then feed back to corrupt science, as has been demonstrated before. For instance with early twentieth century Eugenics, spawned by a then still nascent science of evolution.

      • bilb says:

        For a physicist, Andy, I would have thought that this was all fairly straight forward. My revelation was the counter intuitive fact that moist air is lighter than dry air. This makes all the difference. Prior to that my understanding was that it required heat to cause an air mass to rise and that was problematic for storms in very cold places. The combination of a mechanism that increases the amount of energy at the ocean surface and a mechanism that causes that air to want to rise is the automatic process of energetic air circulation which leads to climatic variation as this energy increases. In the most extreme with sufficient energy to drive it the Northern Hemisphere can achieve an equable climate where the energy in the circulation from the equator is sufficient to overide the climatic cellular structure and flow all the way to the North Pole in one reach. I argue that this is already happening to a minor degree with overflow from the cell structure reaching the Arctic High pressure system thereby creating the cold air flushout that we are seeing flooding into North America, Europe and Asia ever more frequently. This mechanism is very easy to demonstrate. Put a large water filled flat pan on the stove and slowly turn up the heat at the middle. If you have a ring heater and can heat the pan from the outer rim the demonstration will be more representative. The more heat the more vigorous and extensive the circulation.

        Climate “alarmism” is not about hysteria and being scared, it is about intuitively knowing that the larger the system and the greater the energy input, the greater the amount of arresting inertia the system has. Simply put the longer you ignore a detrimental thing the worse it gets and the harder it is to fix. The situation is that most of the people whose full time job it is to study these things have said “we believe there is a significant risk of climate change”. Rational people have said “what should we do to minimise or even eliminate that risk?”

        Skepticism is where some one sets about testing a body of knowledge with the aim of proving or disproving it, this is a process of inquiry and investigation. Denialism is where some one cannot invalidate a body of information but declares it to be false anyway. By that test most of those who have been “branded” denialists, are in fact denialists. The question is as I said, what are the motives of denial. That is the meme that you would do well to focus on.

        My role in all of this as a product designer and inventor is to look at the evidence and make judgments of what the future holds, then innovate and design appropriately. So the ideas that I put forward are not recitations of some ideological mantra, they are my considered evaluations of the evidence as I see it. This is a study I personally undertake in order to secure the future of my self, my family and my friends. Along the way there are some things that whether the future is fire of ice are just no brainers particularly for Australians. The obvious one is solar energy. I miss skiing for one year and i have an asset that pays a dividend every year there after, improving all of my future ski trips. I really wonder what the denialist meme is to their rejection of solar energy especially considering how the sun plays such a central role in their thinking.

        What I say to other people on climate change though, is that there is only one climate reality. It is to themselves that they have the responsibility to decide what that climate eventuality will be, and they will judge themselves based on that outcome.

      • andywest2012 says:

        bilb says: August 10, 2015 at 2:12 am

        Well Bilb I guess you’re free to think that Avogadro’s law dooms us, though I’ve never seen this arise as a specific point of contention between skeptics and the orthodox before. There is of course much debate about atmospheric moisture content (per layer and lattitude) changes (so relative GHG amplification or lack thereof) over recent decades, the current theories and data on which are highly interpretable like just about everything else to do with the climate system.

        If you think fear / hysteria has not been important regarding societal effects, then you disagree with most climate psychology analysis from the Consensus side itself, which for some years now has been pointing out that major fear messaging is sub-optimal (can cause lashback) and should be stopped. Such messaging has indeed been deliberaterly deployed for a long time. Now I don’t agree with their conclusion that other emotions should be invoked instead. Invoking emotion over many years not so much communicates the message as manufactures it, because the emotion eventually feeds back into the science and policy. Yet the point here is that both sides know there has indeed been major and deliberate fear messaging; the orthodox side just claims it was ‘neccessary’.

        You claim to work from your own evidence (good), yet merely appeal to authority when it comes to believing something detrimental is happening. I think you should instead keep digging 🙂 Regarding risk, skeptics generally have no problem with ‘no regrets’ mitigation (for instance we should always be improving our robustness to extreme natural weather events anyhow, for instance more nuclear in the mix, etc). But they generally object to severely hobbling entire enconomies in order to achieve, even by IPCC calculations, global temp reductions of only a few hundredths of a degree. This will benefit no-one even if the IPCC are right.

        Advising folks to think for themselves and take their own responsibility would be great. Advising them that there is only one climate reality, immediately counters that advice. It seems we are not in a position to prove or disprove the workings of the climate system, too much is still unknown. The skeptics are not declaring the entire body of current knowledge to be false, they are declaring that because no-one can truly deduce from this knowledge how the system works yet, it is wrong for the orthodox folks to claim a certainty of imminent calamity (on a decadal scale). There isn’t even enough knowledge yet to know whether the total effect will be net good or net bad (there is obviously some of both), let alone *how* good or *how* bad, or indeed whether it’s all essentially negligible.

      • Michael 2 says:

        Andy West wrote a brilliant response to which I will add a sentence or two regarding “There isn’t even enough knowledge yet to know whether the total effect will be net good or net bad (there is obviously some of both), let alone *how* good or *how* bad,”

        My grandmother lived through both world wars and the dust bowl. Bad things happen to good people; have always happened and will likely continue to happen. Wise humans prepare; the old book compares it to building a house on rock versus building a house on sand. It doesn’t really matter too much WHY a storm is at your doorstep and it is astonishingly arrogant to imagine that humans can do much about it, but within some limits I see no harm in trying.

        I watched an interesting but somewhat odd movie, “Snowpiercer”, which portrays a successful attempt to stop global warming. The result was predictably an immediate Snowball Earth since global warming and the greenhouse effect is the only thing that prevents Snowball Earth. An interesting factoid is that the story was written in 1982 long before global warming had entered public consciousness.
        “The graphic novel was first published in 1982 under the title Le Transperceneige (Snowpiercer)”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Transperceneige

    • Michael 2 says:

      bilb writes many things. I comment on a few:

      “Andy, I think that you are over playing the notion of the meme in relation to the faux hiatus.”

      That was the topic sentence. You could have stopped right there and I would have understood you and believed that you were telling the truth about what you think.

      “The only pause was in the consolidation of public understanding”

      Your mileage obviously varies. Many pauses exist.

      “and that pause was effective simply because people by and large rely on the homogeneity of opinion”

      What exactly did the pause effect? What was it trying to do?

      “Unfortunately in the US and Australia we have some absolutely stupid politicians.”

      They tend to be in the party other than the one you vote with.

      “I was savagely attacked on skeptic blog sites”

      Want some cheese with that whine? Unless you bleed you were not “savagely attacked”.

      “So what is denialism all about.”

      Since it is your word, you can make it anything you want.

      “If we are indeed narrative then we must also be PLOT.”

      Precisely, and you have revealed the plot: WE. It hardly matters where the herd is going or why it is going; what matters is that WE all move together!

      “Climate Change itself does not have a plot as it is entirely based on the physical principles of the Universe and they are in essence about the universal increase in Entropy.”

      Yeah, okay, drop the unnecessary capitalizations. Basically you are saying the climate changes because that is what climates DO. There’s no such thing as a stable climate.

      “But what is the second property of gases that makes climate change work.”

      Gases are squishy (compressible).

      But weather depends more on the phase change of water.

      • bilb says:

        Phase change, Michael2, quite so. but well before that, the natural property that guarantees climate change on a heating wet world is that moist air is lighter than dry air. not a lot lighter but it is the kickoff that ensures energetic circulation. The latent heat in that moist air only serves to accelerate the process as air rises and expands.

        I’m intrigued by your WE (unnecessary capitalisation) comment. It is my observation that the “skeptic” websites attract by far the largest herds all moving in the same (mostly abusive) direction. The Jo Nova site for instance in the hundreds of thousands each year. That is quite a flock, or is it a cult? Whatever, but they never seem to add anything, it is usually all about what these people hate. Is that a meme?

      • Michael 2 says:

        Bilb asks “I’m intrigued by your WE (unnecessary capitalisation) comment.” (your words will be in italic when quoted below)

        The capitalization is necessary, although italic or bolding would work. Since the rendering of italic or bolding is uncertain, a more sure method of drawing attention to a word is to capitalize the entire word. That is how one distinguishes capitalization errors from emphasis. I recognize that you were using it for emphasis, but capitalizing every letter should be used so that people cannot accuse you of producing capitalization errors. Normally it would not matter but when you are trying to act superior it helps to be superior even in trivial matters.

        I hypothesize that the word WE used frequently and without attribution as to who exactly is included in WE is the most effective indicator of the leftwing mentality. I am still studying the essence of that mentality; what it is that makes a leftwinger “left”, if indeed it can be distilled to that essence.

        The author of this blog has done quite a bit to advance my understanding of that mentality. It is entirely possible for a libertarian to arrive at the same conclusion as the herd, but will have arrived at it through various thought processes that exclude this “essence” of which I speak.

        This essence is what allows a flock of birds to turn simultaneously, or a school of herring fish to do likewise. They are tuned to the herd, it doesn’t require thinking and it might not even be possible for a herd member to think about a thing that for him is entirely automatic.

        Consider my brother (It would be funny if you were him). He loves the capitalistic life, nice house, BMW motorcycle, electronics. But he is still connected to the “herd” and cannot escape it; he’s a consumer Democrat that imagines Republicans are the party of wealthy when demonstrably it is the Democrats that are so.

        So when Al Gore pronounced Bangladesh soon to be under water, he started beating the drum of global warming (figuratively speaking), denouncing MY lifestyle which is vastly more efficient than his. When I pointed out that he hadn’t had a charitable thought about Bangladesh in his life and besides it will take 500 years for it to be under water and was he willing to give up his motorcycle riding to save Bangladesh? Well, no.

        That is the essence, more or less. The herd moves; individual members do not. The herd worries about Bangladesh, individual members do not. I emphasize: No personal responsibility because there is no “person” in the herd.

        Consider your feelings when I write “Libertarian”. In its simplest form, it simply means I choose for me and you choose for you. Who could be opposed to that? And yet, “liberty” is the most dangerous entity of all to the herd. To prevent you from thinking about it, many memes exist describing libertarian as a dangerous, horrible thing that holds about the same place as pornography 40 years ago; if you had the slightest inclination toward choosing for yourself, you’d better keep that tendency a secret!

        But a libertarian doesn’t care that you belong to a herd. Most people belong to herds. The tiny herd is described in Boy Scouts as a patrol, also known as a “natural gang” of 6 to 9 boys. That is “normal”. More than 9 is unsustainable. There will be an alpha and at the other end an omega. Both roles always exist, both are necessary.

        These tiny herds then aggregate along similar ideas or memes into larger and larger clusters ultimately absorbing nearly every human being into one meme-group or another.

        The controlling force appears to be guilt and shame. But these are non-verbal. To communicate guilt and shame one must attach guilt and shame to ordinary words and concepts, at which point the ordinary word becomes a “meme”. Most commercial advertising, for instance, uses shame as the motivating force. Another expression of the same idea is FUD: Fear, uncertainty and doubt. Most global warming alarmism is “FUD” (in my opinion of course).

        Libertarians are often geeks, and geeks are often libertarian; maybe always. The instinct to gang up is weak in a libertarian. It is still there but not the dominant force in his life. If he can find other geeks he will form an alliance, but not usually a gang, and even in that little alliance exists quite a bit of liberty — one might go to a movie and the other won’t and neither feels bad about not going together.

        “It is my observation that the skeptic websites attract by far the largest herds all moving in the same (mostly abusive) direction.”

        You don’t get out much. Try Huffington Post or DailyKOS. Nearly 100 percent pure Alinsky ridicule and very little original thinking.

        Think carefully about the parameters of your observation. What exactly are you observing? In part, you are observing people that are engaged in public discourse. How many herd members do that? I propose close to zero. You do not see the HERD. They exist in the millions per herd and are synchronized, at least in part, by “memes.”

        What you see are the shepherds; the people that imagine they are in charge of the herd. That is what you see, that is what I see. The commentary on leftwing blogs is that of superior intellect, the elite or so they imagine of themselves and it may well be so.

        So what about these skeptic websites such as WUWT? Many are libertarians, geeks, engineers without HERD. Consider a recent thread at WUWT that turned into a love-fest of the Hewlett-Packard 35 calculator. I was astonished by the number of regular WUWT readers that had, and still have, the ancient HP-35 scientific calculator.

        On both sides of this fence you also have the opportunistic insulters. They are the scavengers of the internet, the hyenas that pick at you, me and anyone else because it is what they DO. They are neither right nor left, neither right nor wrong — while assailing you for being wrong they fail to assert anything themselves; leaving the suggestion they must be right if you are wrong. An example of that kind is “Wow” over on Barry Bickmore’s blog.

        So back to your observation: Most leftwing blogs are created by a would-be shepherd, an elite that wants to lead a herd. The problem is that hundreds of shepherds exist but the herd follows only one. Most leftwing blogs therefore have very little readership but one will be huge.

        Libertarian, scientific and rightwing blogs exist for a different purpose and will draw from a wider variety of readers.

      • BilB says:

        Andy,

        Interesting that you raise the “hobbling whole economies” meme. I’ve never yet seen a skeptic quantify or justify that claim, it seems to be a kind of “given” amoungst Libertarians, a line that is thrown out when standard memes fail to hold up to scrutiny. Where I say to people “there is only one climate reality” I am not telling them what that reality actually is, because I do not actually know. I am telling them what I believe it is and why I believe that , and what the evidence is. I am suggesting to them that they should think very carefully about it because once we have that climate reality there is no “do over”, there is no “but nobody said that it would be like this”, what it becomes will be permanent for the duration of our civilisation, I believe from my knowledge and experience.

        Frankly, Andy, I think that you are riding your hobbyhorse backwards. It is my observation that skeptics are extremely bad with information and never quantify their arguments. It is in fact the contrarians who build the memes, engage in personal attacks (all climate scientists are scam artists for instance), appeal to authority (God said that there would be no more plagues, a Republican favourite), and obfuscate rather than calculate (climate has always varied [meme]). I put it to you that the reason why skeptics and contrarians do this is because there is no other side to the argument. There is only one reality. It is this one that we are all experiencing and living together. So where there is no supportable contrary reality, they set about creating the impression of one, with memes. So, yes, you are on the right path, just which is the right direction.

        The mystery for me, though, is why. What is the contrarian reasoning here? Is it really that they simply want to be different?

        I do have a theory, but this is not the time for it.

      • Michael 2 says:

        BilB, in response to Michael 2, writes many things. I will respond to one or a few of his comments. His comments will be quoted and entirely in italic. A few of my words might be italic or all bold letters, either for emphasis. Finally, my thoughts can be fragmented by frequent interruptions. It has taken about an hour to write this response spread out over about fifteen little opportunities.

        “…the hobbling whole economies meme. I’ve never yet seen a skeptic quantify or justify that claim”

        I believe Richard Tor has done exactly as you say you have not seen. You could find it if you wished to find it. Clearly you don’t wish it so I’m not going to take the time to find it for you.

        “it seems to be a kind of given amoungst Libertarians, a line that is thrown out when standard memes fail to hold up to scrutiny.”

        Standard memes? What exactly is a standard meme? Why is it that only libertarians scrutinize standard memes? I will answer: Libertarians do not follow the herd and consequently must scrutinize memes, standard or otherwise, and decide which ones are relevant.

        “I am suggesting to them that they should think very carefully about it”

        A scientifically literate, interested libertarian thinks about it very carefully. He chooses not to have the luxury of following a herd or its shepherd although I think most libertarians do not actually choose to be libertarian; it is just a word that describes their behavior and motivations.

        “because once we have that climate reality there is no do over… what it becomes will be permanent for the duration of our civilisation.”

        Climate reality has been here for 4.7 billion years. There is no permanent climate and never has been. Neither exists a permanent civilization.

        “Frankly, Andy, I think that you are riding your hobbyhorse backwards.”

        Maybe, but it is his hobby horse to ride any way he pleases. You are just a visitor.

        “It is my observation that skeptics are extremely bad with information and never quantify their arguments.”

        Obvious statement of the day. Being a skeptic means “I don’t believe you.” It does not mean I offer an alternative explanation. I don’t need to. It is sufficient for me to believe alternatives exist. It is warmists that are making assertions therefore warmists must prove it.

        “It is in fact the contrarians who build the memes.”

        Stand back everyone; BS on full alert. Who exactly created the world famous 97 percent meme? (Cook and Lewandowsky) Who created the combination flood/drought meme, the polar bear meme, the Venus Earth meme… well y’all get the idea.

        “God said that there would be no more plagues, a Republican favourite”

        That’s the first I’ve heard that claim and I’ve studied these pages carefully for several years. I understand the reference and I suspect the scope of the promise is limited to the Israelites. I don’t assume any O.T. promise pertains to Americans (or British or anyone else other than to whom the promise was made).

        At any rate I’m not sure how this suddenly became about plagues. You ought to have cited the Old Testament promise about no sea level rise exemplified by a rainbow. That would at least be somewhat relevant to claims about global warming.

        “and obfuscate rather than calculate”

        I do either with some skill. Write carefully to avoid my obfuscation.

        “I put it to you that the reason why skeptics and contrarians do this is because there is no other side to the argument.”

        That is the corollary to the Obvious Statement of the Day. Warmists want money. They argue. I do not need a counter-argument, even though counter-arguments exist for those that need them.

        However, the counter argument can be as simple as “not!”

        “There is only one reality.”

        I have a doubt about the accuracy of your statement; Aleph Infinity and all that. Plus, it is irrelevant. You cannot perceive reality and neither can I.

        “It is this one that we are all experiencing and living together.”

        There is no WE. Your experience, my experience and a poor woman in Haiti have VERY different experiences.

        “Is it really that they simply want to be different?”

        Just as there is no “we”, there is no meaning to “they” beyond “not you”.

      • andywest2012 says:

        BilB says: August 10, 2015 at 7:55 pm

        Well data on costs of climate change mitigation are plentiful, although granted this area is just as hotly disputed as anything else in the climate domain. However, the sooner and / or the more calamitous one expects the climate problems to be, the higher the cost of avoidance by anyone’s estimates. At the high end of course, orthodox folks weigh this against the cost of expected climate damage, but that simply comes down to the same problem of whether or not such huge damage will actually occur (over and above purely natural causes). I think it’s good to at least attempt to weigh costs against metrics such as say, how much global surface temperature reduction will be achieved, for instance. How many $trillions is 0.01 of a degree worth, do you think? Or 0.1?

        So you say you are not telling people what the climate reality is, yet you also tell them that it is ‘permanent’, irreversible (no ‘do over’), and bad ‘nobody said that it would be like this’. I think these assumptions amount to a pre-determined outcome. Certainly one that is possible, but it may have no more likelihood than a negligible effect, for instance. Gaps in our knowledge are so wide that scenarios are still possibilistic rather than probabilistic.

        As to your view on skeptics, well goodness me, I think you’ve pretty much boxed them into one corner of a huge range of attitudes from a wide range of different folks. I encourage you to seek further and deeper. Speaking as an atheist (you mentioned appeal to God) who has frequently said in my writings that climate change is most certainly not a hoax, I nevertheless observe that the domain has sparked a culture in it’s own right that has left the science far behind, and whether ACO2 impacts eventually turn out to be good, bad, or indifferent, it is this culture that is currently dominating the action. (The social mechanics involved are not at all unique to the climate change topic and occur throughout human history). And I don’t think climate scientists who are also lukewarmers or skeptics typically think of their orthodox colleagues as scammers, either, though no doubt they think many are influenced / biased by climate culture.

        I’m glad you still see a mystery though. That suggests there is hope you’ll still chase it, and forever seeking is always the way to better understanding. For instance that a statement such as ‘there is no other side to the argument’ in the context of a wicked problem like climate change (and indeed associated social and economic complex tangles), is unwise.

  4. bilb says:

    Michael2,

    Thanks for your reply. Let’s got through the main points the biggest of which has to be the skeptic claim that addressing climate change will cripple economies for no appreciable reduction in global average temperatures. I think the guy you are referring to is Richard Tol. Now Richard is a clever person I don’t want to demean him generally, but some people should not get involved with making predictions. For starters Richard believes that Global Warming and climate change “is relatively small”. He predicts that if Ireland cuts its emissions by 3% per year then the impact on the economy will be a reduction in growth by .4%. If that were the case it is anything but economy crippling.

    We can only reasonably calculate for our own economies here, so I will put forward a case for Australia. I do my calculations with a “standard solar house” which I will briefly outline. In this calculation the solar system is a 4.5/9.0 PVT (photo voltaic thermal) system with a 10 kw powerwall, a natural gas fuelled stove for cooking, and a 2.5 kw natural gas fuelled backup generator I can demonstrate that this combination can be put together for $20,000. To keep it short this combination applied to 6 million Australia small business and domestic premises generates more electricity and electricity equivalent than Australia’s current 250 billion Kwhrs per year, sufficient to power the household and recharge two 8.5 Kwhr PHEV (plug in hydride vehicles) every day of the year for a total personal vehicle travelling distance twice that of the current car fleet total distance traveled. So the cost of applying 6 million off $20,000 rooftop energy systems is in broad brush figures $120 billion. However the cost to the economy of buying 250 billion kilowatt hours of electricity for 20 years at a conservative 20 cent per Kwhr is just on a trillion dollars. The cost of gas for cooking and backup energy over 20 years is $94 billion. So there are 2 different approaches to energy delivery. One is the business as usual CO2 emitting approach which costs the economy one trillion dollars, the other is the zero CO2 emitting approach which costs the economy $220 billion dollars, all calculated at current day prices.

    This one approach resolves 50% of Australia’s CO2 emission from stationary energy and personal transport. And yes, I know you are clever enough to spot the CO2 emitting cooking and backup power generation, where does the gas come from? As it happens every Australian ejects on average 2 tonnes of garbage half of which is cellulose based cardboard and paper which when gassified can create synthetic natural gass (methane) sufficient to provide 15,000 Kwhrs of energy for each and every one of the 6 million premises. Cellulosic material is renewable and can be produced fully sustainably. If all of the major economies were able to reduce their CO2 emissions by 50 % would this have an impact on the global temperature increase? Well, Climate scientists are telling us yes. Not only reducing CO2 emissions, preserving otherwise wasted valuable fossil fuels for future generations, this improves the economy by lowering household costs while increasing employment. And finally, did Richard Tol consider this possibility? No, he did not. Richards field is food security, on the one hand, and his conclusions would have been completely different if he had.

    Give it a go Michael2, spreadsheet it up. You will find that it is all totally realistic, practical, and better yet, under way now, albeit in an elementary manner. The really good thing about this is that it is all GOOD news, absolutely no scare mongering at all. Economy preserved, environment rescued, global resources extended, and all of that possible regardless of whether climate change is real or not. And the other important realisation to make is that this possibility would not have emerged at all if there had not been the drive to reduce national CO2 emissions.

    Moving on, I think that you are completely deluded over Libertarians and standard memes. We will have to agree to disagree over that.

    On climate change and time, 4.7 billion years ago earth’s atmosphere had no oxygen at all. This whole climate natural variability meme used by contrarians is a total crock and has been debunked in every possible way, but like a good zombie returns from the dead, but it is actually dead.

    The plagues is a famous reference to Republican John Shimkus

    http://www.juancole.com/2010/11/energy-committee-chairman-candidate-says-god-promised-no-more-catastrophic-climate-change-after-noah.html

    …..you must have missed that one.

    I think that covers the main points Michael2

    Andy I think that I have covered most of yours as well. I implore you to use your Physicist skills to spreadsheet the possible solutions and quantify rather than subjectify. So many things are not visible until examined specifically. Who would have thought that an impurity in silicon could create a technological and information revolution of massive proportions. Equally who would have thought that just 250 parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere would support all life on Earth, or that rapidly adding another 250 parts per million could threaten it. It is not until you engage in the specifics that the real picture emerges. Reducing climate matters to a rhetorical memic slugging match will achieve nothing. But then that is perhaps what some people want.

    Kind regards

    BilB

    • andywest2012 says:

      bilb says: August 11, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      “Andy I think that I have covered most of yours as well. I implore you to use your Physicist skills…”

      Sadly, no skills from physicists or other science disciplines individually or combined can yet come anywhere close to achieving the level of certainty as touted by the orthodox climate consensus. Anyone employing such skills objectively and not via the warped instruments of emotive bias, soon comes face to face with Curry’s uncertainty monster.

      “…Reducing climate matters to a rhetorical memic slugging match will achieve nothing. But then that is perhaps what some people want.”

      The certainty of imminent (few decades) calamity (indeed all sorts of calamities) as expressed in avalanches of emotive memes from not just the mainstream media, but academia, NGOs, governments and other orgs (e.g. the UN, EU), most certainly benefits a certain culture, and hence all those people who are its adherents. Whether all these folks consciously ‘want’ this is a rather more complex matter, for the culture drives them at least as much as they drive the culture.

    • Michael 2 says:

      Bilb says “He predicts that if Ireland cuts its emissions by 3% per year then the impact on the economy will be a reduction in growth by .4%. If that were the case it is anything but economy crippling.”

      Assuming you quote accurately (which I am not going to challenge), the impact on the economy is small and the impact on RCP8.5 nearly nonexistent. Meaningful mitigation requires decarbonization; not one more ton of carbon emitted into the atmosphere starting right now more or less and you might achieve 2 degree rise by 2100; or so say some of the more persistent advocates of decarbonization.

      Achieving a 3 percent reduction in emissions is not only trivial, it is inevitable as a consequence of the rise in the cost of petroleum as it becomes scarce.

      But there’s another issue and that is the demand inflexibility of petroleum. As petroleum starts to become scarce, the price will rise much more steeply than the daily volume declines. Since petroleum is used in so many ways a multiplier effect exists; the cost of raw materials rises, the cost of transportation rises at the same time and at about the same rate that your discretionary spending declines as you divert more of your employment surplus into your own energy and transportation needs. Civilization depends almost entirely on social surplus so that scholars can school, painters paint, and geeks play with computers.

      I’ve only got a few economics classes under my hat but I was top-in-class so I get the idea. It was cheap energy that launched the industrial revolution and created democracy through a functioning middle class. As that rolls back, the middle class must inevitably vanish and with it, democracy.

      Now then suppose for a moment y’all are looking at this the wrong way. What if the goal *is* to eliminate the evils of democracy where idiot citizens vote for idiot leaders and your vote is just as powerful, or weak, as mine.

      How then would one go about it? You destroy the foundation. There’s no point attacking the end product; democracy is inevitable given enough cheap energy because you don’t need an Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar.

      You must destroy the energy. Democracy will collapse as terrified citizens turn to their leaders to fix it. But it cannot be fixed; it must only seem to be fixed a little, with blame placed on this group or that person (named Goldstein perhaps -a reference to George Orwell’s “1984”)) for not succeeding.

      Sow fear, reap socialism.

      Just because the shoe fits does not prove the scenario, but the shoe fits and the scenario has been publicly stated in various ways (Agenda 21 comes to mind; Millenial Development Goals and so on).

      But scary conspiracy or not, petroleum is becoming scarce and certain adaptations must be considered. In your case, solar power where it makes sense to have it (leaves out most of Oregon and Washington, by the way). I buy solar panels now and then as I can afford it and use them occasionally where opportunity permits. Sun isn’t all that plentiful where I live neither is wind (its a valley).

  5. bilb says:

    Andy, I have to disagree that “no skills from physicists or other science disciplines individually or combined can yet come anywhere close to achieving the level of certainty” is true. I think that in the so saying you demean the efforts of your technological peers in their relevant fields. This test of absolute certainty is a crock. Does a Cosmologist need to know where every electron is in order develop functional understanding of matter in space? Are you as a physicist able to predict the shape of the conduction zone in a mosfet? No, every device is different, but that does not prevent you from making fully effective and reliable electronic circuits. Similarly climate scientists do not need to predict the position of every cloud in order develop a working understanding of the macro performance of our environment as the known energy intensity interacts with Earth’s atmosphere.

    I am quite certain that another reality is that contrarians are going to dawdle, complaining and denying all of the way, into climate change abatement efforts in what ever form they take. The distributed energy model that I have described above is a certainty, not because government created it, but because people want it for all of the positive benefits it provides.

    I had drafted a more comprehensive response but deleted it accidentally, and now our staff have arrived and I have to perform.

    • andywest2012 says:

      Absolute certainty?? Well I’m certainly not talking about achieving that. Nor I think is anyone else really.

      Given that you’ve introduced cosmologists already, I figure they’ve probably made more progress on dark energy / matter in the last 30 or 40 years than climate science has on feedback processes, natural variability, overall climate sensitivity, and attribution issues. Nor do the IPCC AR5 tech papers report the kind of high confidence that you imply, and one can hardly accuse the IPCC of being skeptic, albeit there’s now a gulf between the technical papers and the summary for policy makers (which is less cautious / more alarmist, depending upon one’s viewpoint). Both the cosmology and climate science domains still contain much mystery. This demeans nobody. Plus cosmology is an object lesson on how models in which previously there was much confidence, appear (as now seems likely) to have left out ~95% (as mass-energy) of the very system that they were attempting to describe. And we’re currently in a situation where the global surface temperature observations over the last 15 to 18 years, have tracked significantly under the combined climate model projections, to the point where the former now sit down in the band of just 5% confidence. Heck the models can’t even do clouds right yet, and that’s pretty fundamental. Plus new issues that hadn’t been thought of still turn up at a fairly regular rate. While many of these would be secondary or even lesser, the point is that this indicates the science is still very nascent.

      As I pointed out already, my own chosen area of focus is not the physical systems but the social systems. For instance the memes that push our hope and fear hot buttons and get us to believe there is certainty where it does not exist. It is part of the ‘job’ of a culture to maintain certainty in the face of the unknown, and indeed it is uncomfortable to contemplate uncertainty and unknowns. Yet where an enforced social consensus is doing more harm than good, acknowledgement of the unknowns is highly preferable.

      • bilb says:

        Thanks for your candor, Andy. I think that we have gone about as far as we can. It really comes down to people seeing things differently.

        You see models as a failure, I see them as a success. You say that models missed 95% of the energy in the cosmos where I see that the models actually identified that there should be more energy so the scientists went looking where the models predicted and have found that was is virtually invisible to actually be where it was predicted by the models. Not just accidentally bumping into a Higgs boson one day, but building a huge machine (which I suspect Libertarians would see as a waste) to find the particle precisely where the calculations said that it should be. Similarly for dark matter. To climate science is exactly the same only the macro medium is substantially more fluid with more degrees of freedom. You see that climatologists don’t have all of the answers now as a failure, I see their progress as being extraordinary. You project from the unknown back, I project from the known forward. We are different, that is all there is to it. There is a gulf there which cannot be bridged with logic as It is to do with the interplay of cognitions and empathies emanating in a focus on what isn’t and should have been versus what is and could be.

        We are different and think differently, that is all there is to it. What does it mean in the natural realm? which would be predated upon more easily? what does it mean in a technological realm, how would each advance science further or faster? is there a common or complementary ground, and how is that to be found for mutual reward?

      • Michael 2 says:

        bilb writes “Not just accidentally bumping into a Higgs boson one day, but building a huge machine (which I suspect Libertarians would see as a waste)”

        Some will, some won’t, most won’t care. That is the nature (IMO) of a libertarian. You do your thing, I will do mine. I’ll admit to building the LHC is unlikely in the United States because with that liberty comes a reluctance to pay for your hobby and I tend not to demand you pay for my hobby.

        So with billiions of Euros spent keeping some scientists (and many plumbers) employed, maybe a Higgs boson has been discovered, which maybe settles once and for all the string theory vs standard model question, and scientists can go on to develop a warp drive or something.

        I *like* the LHC. I like Big Science. When I was a bit younger and watched “Tron” when it came on the big screen, I recognized the Shiva laser immediately. I could hardly believe that a real piece of real science was being used in a movie.

        But that’s physics. Physics is what’s real (hence the name). It is How Things Work.

        But I’m a scientific libertarian. There’s also bread making libertarians (*) and football playing libertarians that really don’t care about the LHC or global warming; they aren’t even left or right, Democrat or Republican. As a non-group they are really unpredictable and cannot be characterized in any way; I even have a doubt that “libertarian” means much at all.

        * A reference to the movie “How To Train Your Dragon” in which young Hiccup suggests that he ought to be a bread-making Viking instead of a dragon slayer.

        The cost of the LHC is “peanuts” compared to what is being demanded based on global warming models. With great claims comes a requirement for great proof (ie, proof of God for instance).

        No model predicted the cessation of global warming starting in 1998. True it is that after the fact you can choose one noodle of the spaghetti and observe that it was closest to current observation but that’s cheating if you claim it was known in advance.

        It’s like rolling a die, coming up with a “3” and then your buddy says, “I knew it was going to be a 3!” but of course didn’t announce it prior to the toss.

        So if you want the public to be impressed by your models, call out the temperature in 5, 10 and 15 years and if you are right, hooray, and if not, well that’s the current situation.

        Physics ought to be able to model climate with precision, but it would take a “Deep Think” (**) computer to do it. W.H. some years ago at Stanford used a Cray supercomputer to model nuclear reactions so that you don’t actually have to continue nuclear testing. Of course a bit of testing is still required to validate the model. But that model is simple (IMO) compared to climate. I have no objections to models per se, particularly as I am (among other things) a computer programmer and thus basically model everything.

        But how are you going to validate a climate model? That’s easy. Make a few dozen models, make some predictions, wait 30 years and see which one worked. Since it wasn’t any of them, take the closest and refine it. In 30 years maybe you will finally have a validated model.

        ** Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

      • andywest2012 says:

        bilb says: August 13, 2015 at 12:16 am

        No. This is a serious mischaracterization of my position.

        I think science is the greatest enterprise undertaken by humans and has produced, is producing, and will produce, amazing results that are also of incalculable benefit to society.

        So as part of this I most certainly do not by any means see the previous cosmological models as ‘failures’, in the general sense that they have all contributed very usefully to our path of understanding, each has added value or at least eliminated possibilities, plus enabled directly useful returns. And regarding the current position one has to have some synthesis to work with and to continue testing against, however dubious one might be about certain elements; science is not possible without this. Do I think successive models have improved? Yes. But would I bet my life or my house, or even a few thousand $, on any of the current best candidates as correctly describing the universe(s)? No. How far out are they? Well that’s the rub, isn’t it? There are unknown unknowns, and still plenty of known unknowns regarding dark matter / energy. In the early 1970s, before the difficulties now being addressed by dark matter / energy theories became too apparent, confidence may well have been higher than now. In the late nineteenth century with the clockwork universe over a century old, some folks were starting to say that there was nothing left to discover, which I think indicates very high confidence in their contemporary state of knowledge.

        Science must characterize the past as a base to work from. But clearly, to be worth the name it must project from the known forwards, and I don’t even know what you mean by projecting from the unknown backwards.

        Nor do I think the fact that climatologists don’t have all the answers is a ‘failure’. Theirs is a nascent science, and even if it was considerably more developed, one would not expect ‘all the answers’. In fact I’m surprised that, given the burden under which climate science has struggled for the last thirty years, useful stuff and so many interesting theories can still emerge.

        Science can be, and demonstrably has been in the past, derailed by social process. This is pretty unlikely to happen with modern cosmology because it is pretty distant from politics and people’s lives, and the social challenges once placed before it by religion have mainly faded. So if we asked the cosmologists to bet the well-being of billions of folks, plus many trillions of $, plus many actual lives, on a single scenario out of a large range thought possible within their consensus ‘best’ candidate model in its current evolutionary state as of 13th Aug 2015, as being ‘about the right description of the universe’, then they would throw up their hands in horror and probably think you were a crazy guy. Rightly so. And imagine had we done this *before* the 1970s, when per the above thread ~95% of the system was actually unaccounted for, but they didn’t *know* it was unaccounted for. Dark stuff was then an unknown unknown. Yet this is exactly the bet we are making in the climate domain, and also with models that so far have shown enormously less skill (some would actually say ‘no skill’) at describing the real observable climate system, than the cosmological models show in describing the observable characteristics of the universe.

        Climate science is massively burdened by bias from a runaway social narrative based on imminent (decades) calamity. Now if the climate scientists admitted they don’t know a lot of important answers, admitted the true uncertainties as the cosmologists do, then we wouldn’t be in such a pickle. Everyone would realize how early and incomplete is our understanding of the climate system, with or without ACO2 impacts. Unlike the cosmology situation pre-1970s, many gaps are known unknowns, though there will obviously be unknown unknowns too. But afraid or intimidated or even attracted by the emotive social narrative, most of them do not step up to challenge this narrative. Most stay relatively quiet as the alarmist claims mount. A subset cheer on the narrative. A smaller subset are vocal against it. But what is happening overall is not science; it is culture. And the cultural characteristics occurring in this domain can be explained by the branches of science that deal with such.

        I don’t know where our ‘cosmological equivalent’ era of understanding of the climate system sits; whether it’s 21st century, or 19th, or 18th, or whatever. How we can know is not that easy. Testing against real observations is tiny timescale stuff, and so far per above, models show very poor skill indeed. Testing against past climate via paleo data has significant limits, and is also in infancy. I do know that the climate social domain exhibits all the characteristics of a culture drive by emotive narrative, a narrative that has long since outrun the science.

      • Michael 2 says:

        Bilb says “Nor do I think the fact that climatologists don’t have all the answers is a ‘failure’. Theirs is a nascent science, and even if it was considerably more developed, one would not expect ‘all the answers’.”

        While I applaud your post overall and you seem to have an excellent grasp of the situation, I suggest that climatologists (actual working persons in the field) aren’t much consulted, neither succeeding or failing. I have seen no disputations of the Vostok ice core, in fact, it is referred to frequently by both sides (or all sides in the case that more than two exist).

        I have a doubt that so much as a single climatologist has claimed the science is settled. Those that claim it tend to be physicists or politicians. In the case of physicists, their belief stems from the easy calculations (irreducibly simple calculations!) involved and confounding factors tend to be invisible to a physicist. Politicians probably don’t care about the details and will take the reins of any horse going in their preferred direction.

        Skeptics, in my opinion, are challenging the “science is settled” crowd rather than actual working climatologists but I suspect there’s a grey area as to what exactly is a climatologist. Keith Briffa, for instance, is a dendrochronologist. Michael Mann a physicist if I remember right. Ken Rice is an astronomer. Stephen Lewandowsky a psychologist or something like that. David Viner… well there’s a bit of a mystery: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/david-viner/30/766/14a He’s the guy that famously predicted “Children just won’t know what snow is”. Curiously I seem to be not succeeding to find out details of his education or expertise.

        On the skeptical side are statisticians, economists and more physicists, even a few weather guessers!

        I see the debate like a courtroom drama with prosecutors presenting only their side because that is their job, and defenders presenting only the other side because that is their job, and the jury’s job is to listen carefully to both sides and arrive at a conclusion that will likely not be entirely satisfactory to either the prosecutor or the defender but which, in a democracy, is “the” answer.

      • andywest2012 says:

        Michael 2 says:

        ‘Bilb says’ . No he doesn’t, I said that 😉

        With most socially enforced consensuses, everyone thinks everyone else is certain, but few can say themselves why there is certainty, even if they generally go along with it.

      • andywest2012 says:

        Michael 2 says: August 13, 2015 at 11:58 pm

        …and I think that because of the cellular structure of science (and academia generally), it is indeed hard for anyone in a highly cross-discipline area such as climate science to claim certainty on the basis of their own limited domain only. Which gels with what you say. But… if everyone is primed by the narrative of calamity to think that all the other folks are indeed certain, in a kind of domino effect they incorporate assumptions from elsewhere into their own domain. Especially when stigma appears for saying you might not be certain, and rewards appear (e.g. publication), for expressing certainty. This is part of how social effects can derail science.

    • Michael 2 says:

      bilb writes “I am quite certain that another reality is that contrarians are going to dawdle, complaining and denying all of the way, into climate change abatement efforts in what ever form they take.”

      This is an instance where perfect certainty is possible because you define “contrarian” to have the properties described. It is a tautology. It also invokes the No True Scotsman fallacy in case you encounter someone with some, but not all, of the properties you ascribe to “contrarian”.

  6. bilb says:

    Michael2,

    On democracy I found a working video clip of US lawmakers democratically electing their committee members. Here is how they canvas for jobs

    No comment there other than wt_??

    On peak oil, I agree with you completely. But then you did not follow my previous comment, it is easily demonstrated that solar energy delivers more than sufficient to maintain our economies and our way of life. Iain on John Quiggin quipped that Unicorns will roam his garden before there is a solar powered solar panel factory. So I looked

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/sunpower-to-build-160mw-solar-panel-factory-in-south-africa-99933

    It is not a five minute job to transition to a low or zero carbon global economy, but it will happen, and more quickly than contrarians will ever believe possible.

    As to transport I put my expectations behind the Audi and VW A3 drive plug in hybride. This vehicle has an 8.5 Kwhr battery which delivers 50 klm of battery only driving. The vehicle has a maximum range or 950 klm on a tank of fuel, however, I believe that the 50 klm range is sufficient for most commuters particularly if the vehicle can be recharged at the work end of the trip. The smaller battery is lower cost to build the vehicle and lower cost to replace. Replacement batteries over time may well have a higher capacity and deliver a longer range for the same cost.

    I don’t see a collapse of economies due to Climate Change Mitigation or Peak Oil. In the more advanced situations It is possible get fly around without anything other than sunlight, and that is with panel efficiency of 23%.

    http://www.gizmag.com/sunseeker-duo-first-passenger-flight/32331/

    This vehicle was built by the Raymonds themselves no team of thousands. Then there are the AirBus eFan 2 seater and 4 seater aircraft under development. There is a lot going on much of which people are not yet aware as there is no meme for them yet.

    • Michael 2 says:

      Bilb writes “http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/sunpower-to-build-160mw-solar-panel-factory-in-south-africa-99933”

      Solar power *might* be able to construct solar power as the EROI is barely over breakeven depending on who you ask. http://energytransition.de/2014/09/renewables-ko-by-eroi/

      Note of course that the closer to break-even is the EROI the less actual surplus exists to power an economy.

      I tend to agree with expecting unicorns before a solar powered solar panel manufacturer can exist, but I speak specifically of the crystallization process of silicon ingots. A cloud passes over your solar farm and your ingot is destroyed.

      http://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/manufacturing/growing-ingots

      An interesting factoid is that refining silicon produces carbon dioxide SiO2 + C → Si + CO2

      “Finally, the pure SiHCl3 is reacted with hydrogen at 1100°C for 200 – 300 hours to produce a very pure form of silicon. SiHCl3 + H2 →Si + 3 HCl”

      When then must be melted and cooled ever so slowly to produce the ingot. That is a LOT of energy required to make the silicon for solar panels and it requires a perfectly steady source of energy for hundreds of hours.

      “It is not a five minute job to transition to a low or zero carbon global economy, but it will happen, and more quickly than contrarians will ever believe possible.”

      I make no predictions on whether it will happen or how quickly. I do predict with considerable uncertainty the collapse of nearly all advanced societies over the next 100 years due to any combination of a variety of factors, climate change being in my opinion one of the least to worry about.

      “I don’t see a collapse of economies due to Climate Change Mitigation or Peak Oil.”

      Your mileage obviously varies.

  7. bilb says:

    Michael2

    You are bogging your self down in negativity here.

    http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy05osti/37322.pdf

    There are a lot of variables but the rule of thumb is that panels take 2 years of energy production to repay their energy cost. You should note, though, that I very specifically refer to PVT’s rather than just PV’s. The “T” (thermal) more than………..triples the energy through put of a rooftop solar panel……….. for the addition of 1.5 kg of stainless steel tubing. The thermal ducting removes heat from the panels which both improves their operating efficiency and extends their life by keeping the panels cooler. All of this done while making solar thermal energy available for specific use as hot water, warm air and cool air when used to fuel an absorptive chiller. By relieving the PV electrical system of the water and space heating load there is more energy available to charge electric vehicles. That is how it works.

    If you want to challenge any of this, do it with your calculator, not your google finger. Show some initiative and thought power, please.

    • Michael 2 says:

      Bilb writes “Michael2: You are bogging your self down in negativity here.”

      I am not bogging myself. Others are doing that for me very well. Many negativities exist as do some positivities 🙂

      “There are a lot of variables but the rule of thumb is that panels take 2 years of energy production to repay their energy cost.”

      I am delighted by this claim. My studies quoted 8 years.

      “You should note, though, that I very specifically refer to PVT’s rather than just PV’s. The T (thermal) more than………..triples the energy through put of a rooftop solar panel”

      Heat is a problem for sure particularly in the areas obtaining the most sunlight. Capturing the heat also eliminates or reduces the need for solar generated electricity to produce hot water.

      “If you want to challenge any of this, do it with your calculator, not your google finger. Show some initiative and thought power, please.”

      I represent John Q. Public, more or less, using all available resources and tools that I know about, which include a calculator (not very useful in this present conversation) and Google (extremely useful in this conversation). My presence on this overheated and extremely busy blog ought to suggest to your intellect a bit of what you recommend I obtain.

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