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Spiegel online

Did I say a few days ago there would be more feature articles? Well already, here is another long professional article.

Don’t be put off by the start. The sympathetic treatment of Jones is faint praise, not unreasonable, and in the end, taking an impartial line means telling something of both sides of the story. Articles like this will help skeptics far more than they will help the Big Scare Campaign.

There is plenty of ammo, and punches are landed:

On balance, the entire profession has been seriously harmed by the scandal. “We are currently suffering a massive erosion of trust,” concludes German climatologist Hans von Storch. “Climate research has been corrupted by politicization, just as nuclear physics was in the pre-Chernobyl days, when we were led to believe that nuclear power plants were completely safe.”

That any reasonably unbiased view ends up being supportive of skeptics is, of course, just what you’d expect of a topic where skeptics have so much of that essential ingredient reality on their side. I found the whole article worth reading, and I expect Parts 3 & 4  are the most interesting to skeptics. It’s good to finally see the work of people like McIntyre and McKitrick making it into the realms of the mainstream media.

Journalists should have been knocking on their doors back in 2004.

McIntyre must be bemused to learn he apparently has supporters who know how to hack. I mean, I presume the hackers or whistle blowers were “supportive of McIntyre”, but it’s a tad rich to imply they were trying to help him.  Could it just be that someone in the UK (or Canada, Australia, or the US, say) was a bit put out that entire national economies were being offered on a platter to bankers?

It’s not surprising that  it took three writers to pull this together. They have managed to condense entire PhD’s on topics like hurricanes down to a paragraph or two. That’s no mean feat. I’m looking forward to seeing more of these in-depth articles, and expect that the effect of them will be significant.

Hockey Stick Graph

A Superstorm for Global Warming Research

By Marco Evers, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter

Plagued by reports of sloppy work, falsifications and exaggerations, climate research is facing a crisis of confidence. How reliable are the predictions about global warming and its consequences? And would it really be the end of the world if temperatures rose by more than the much-quoted limit of two degrees Celsius?


Part 4: The Smoking Gun of Climatology

Most of all, however, Jones controlled the “smoking gun” of climatology: the Earth’s temperature curve. The temperature records dating back to the beginning of industrialization are intended to prove that the average global temperature has already increased by almost one degree Celsius since 1850.

The problem is that the quality of the raw data derived from weather services around the world differs considerably. At a number of weather stations, temperatures rose because houses and factories had been built around them. Elsewhere, stations were moved and, as a result, suddenly produced different readings. In all of these cases, Jones had to use statistical methods to correct the errors in the temperature readings, using an approach called “homogenization.”

Did Jones proceed correctly while homogenizing the data? Most climatologists still believe Jones’ contention that he did not intentionally manipulate the data. However, that belief will have to remain rooted in good faith. Under the pressure of McIntyre’s attacks, Jones had to admit something incredible: He had deleted his notes on how he performed the homogenization. This means that it is not possible to reconstruct how the raw data turned into his temperature curve.

‘One of the Biggest Sins’

For Peter Webster, a meteorologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, this course of events is “one of the biggest sins” a scientist can commit. “It’s as if a chef was no longer able to cook his dishes because he lost the recipes.”

The Jones team attributes another sudden jump in temperature readings to the decline in air pollution since the 1970s as a result of stricter emissions laws. Particles suspended in the air block solar radiation, so that temperatures rise when the air becomes cleaner. Air pollution in the south has always been much lower than in the north, because, as Webster explains, “there is less land and therefore less industry in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Oddly enough, however, the temperature increase in the south is just as strong as it is in the north. “That isn’t really possible,” says Webster.

On the Urban Heat Island Effect

Environmental economist Ross McKitrick, one of McIntyre’s associates, examined all rapidly growing countries, in which this urban heat effect was to be expected, and found a correlation between economic growth and temperature rise. He submitted his study in time for the last IPCC report.

Jones did everything he could to suppress the publication, which was critical of him. It proved advantageous to him that he had been one of the two main authors of the temperature chapter. In one of the hacked emails, he openly admitted that he wanted to keep this interfering publication out of the IPCC report at all costs, “even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Jones failed in the end, but he did manage to smuggle a devastating sentence into the IPCC report, which states that McKitrick’s findings were “statistically insignificant” — in other words, meaningless.

The full article (in English) starts here.

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Spiegel online, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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73 comments to Spiegel online

  • #
    PhilJourdan

    I saw the link to the article on CA, and read it. Over all, not a bad article. I do not know how journalism works in Germany, but apparently Der Speigel is answering the calls of its readers for a more open and honest look into the debate.

    If only American media was as honest.

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  • #
    Peter

    Spiegel, not Speigel

    _____

    Fixed. Thanks.

    Editor

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  • #
    Rereke Whaakaro

    I have been spending the last couple of days doing a propaganda analysis of some Green websites.

    This article is such a pleasant relief. Objectivity … what a concept … !

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  • #

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alyson. Alyson said: Speigel Online « JoNova: The temperature records dating back to the beginning of industrialization are intended to… http://bit.ly/9Vff2D [...]

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  • #
    Mark D.

    When I started looking for AGW skeptical web sites a few years ago it seemed to me that some of the German science community was the first to say “wait a minute here”. I say keep it up!

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  • #

    My respect for Hans von Storch just went down.

    “Climate research has been corrupted by politicization, just as nuclear physics was in the pre-Chernobyl days, when we were led to believe that nuclear power plants were completely safe.”

    Really? Very safe,yes. Completely safe ,no. The west didn’t ever licence nukes with no proper containment and a positive void coefficient. It took some dumb commies to do that.

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  • #
    MattB

    yes Mike Hans has got the nuclear science completely topsy-turvy. we’ve in fact been convinced in the post-chernobyl days that nuclear power plants are death traps.

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  • #
    MattB

    erroneously convinced that is.

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  • #
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Interesting phrase used: “climate popes”, last para page 3. The Reformation was big and bloody in Germany, and others elsewhere have pointed to carbon credits as the new ‘indulgences’. Perhaps Steve McIntyre should nail a few theses to Rajendra Pachauri’s front door.

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  • #
    Joe Veragio

    How many Climate Scientists does it take to change a light bulb ?

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  • #
    Otter

    Joe Veragio~ None. They submit a peer-reviewed paper on the ‘change’ process, receive a government grant and force a grad student to do it for them.

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  • #

    [...] The climate questioning continues as science falls ; Greenpeace capitulates buts its threats are now in the annals of history ; EPA gets it wrong again ; Is the European police state going global? ; Looking for democracy ; China causes a questioning of it’s own ; [...]

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  • #
    Bulldust

    Surely I do not have to link the stats again showing that nuclear is the safest method to generate electricity (ignoring CO2 emissions). I love it when the dogmatists make baseless statements like that… it makes those of us that have half a clue feel really smart.

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  • #
    val majkus

    here’s a link to a paper which looks at what remedies are available should it be found that the IPCC has been biased in its work. Written by the inestimable Ross McKitrick, the table referred to below shows how little the IPCC understands about anything other than CO2 (and some say they could debate that, too!)

    Subject: website to peruse

    http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/david.harvey/AES829/McKitrick2007.pdf

    check out page #11 table #1 in particular.

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  • #
    Mark

    Possibly Michael Mann’s exoneration by his university could be premature.

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/04/06/climate-gate-michael-mann/

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  • #
    pat

    this is going too far. it is shocking:

    6 April: UK Times: Ben Webster: Britain may block World Bank loan for coal plant in South Africa
    The Government is considering blocking an aid project to provide reliable
    coal-fired electricity for millions of South Africans after coming under
    intense pressure from green groups in the run-up to the election.
    On Thursday, Britain will cast the deciding vote on whether the World Bank
    should grant a $3.7 billion (£2.4 billion) loan to allow South Africa to
    build the Medupi coal plant. ..
    Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Christian Aid argue that the risk to
    the world’s climate from the plant’s emissions outweighs the benefits of the
    secure electricity it would supply. …
    The Government had been inclined to support the loan but is now wavering and
    may vote against it in Washington on Thursday, partly because it does not
    want to offend green supporters before the election.
    The green groups argue that South Africa should focus instead on building
    wind turbines, solar panels and other sources of renewable electricity.
    These sources cost more than twice as much per unit of electricity compared
    with coal, which South Africa has in abundance. ..
    Britain, the bank’s biggest donor and one of its five major shareholders, is
    expected to determine the outcome of the vote because the US is likely to
    abstain. Despite generating half its own electricity from coal, the US has
    adopted new guidelines that include a strong assumption against approving
    World Bank loans for coal plants in developing countries… http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7088297.ece

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  • #
    Speedy

    Pat @ 16

    Perhaps the British would be better (certainly less hypocritical) if they shut down a few of their own coal-powered stations in England and let the South Africans enjoy cheap reliable electricity? As an added bonus, the British voting public would have the opportunity to see the future their green leadership has in store?

    Ten bucks says they don’t do this though!;)

    Cheers,

    Speedy.

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  • #
    Colin Henderson

    Climatology – a branch of Scientology.

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  • #
    pat

    well, well, well…

    6 April: WaPo: David A. Fahrenthold: Scientists’ use of computer models to predict climate change is under attack
    If policymakers don’t heed the models, “you’re throwing away information. And if you throw away information, then you know less about the future than we actually do,” said Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
    “You can say, ‘You know what, I don’t trust the climate models, so I’m going to walk into the middle of the road with a blindfold on,’ ” Schmidt said. “But you know what, that’s not smart.” ..
    “We’re never going to perfectly model reality. We would need a system as complicated as the world around us,” said Ken Fleischmann, a professor of information studies at the University of Maryland. He said scientists needed to make the uncertainties inherent in models clear: “You let people know: It’s a model. It’s not reality. We haven’t invented a crystal ball.”…
    But Warren Meyer, a mechanical and aerospace engineer by training who blogs at http://www.climate-skeptic.com, said that climate models are highly flawed. He said the scientists who build them don’t know enough about solar cycles, ocean temperatures and other things that can nudge the earth’s temperature up or down. He said that because models produce results that sound impressively exact, they can give off an air of infallibility.
    But, Meyer said — if the model isn’t built correctly — its results can be both precise-sounding and wrong.
    “The hubris that can be associated with a model is amazing, because suddenly you take this sketchy understanding of a process, and you embody it in a model,” and it appears more trustworthy, Meyer said. “It’s almost like money laundering.” ..
    If the models are as flawed as critics say, Schmidt said, “You have to ask yourself, ‘How come they work?’ ”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/05/AR2010040503722_pf.html

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    Speedy

    Pat/Florida

    There’s an interesting article at WUWT by Stephen Wilde describing a “top down” climate model. It looks at real-world phenomena and derives rules for the model instead of the computer model approach, which is to apply assumptions and “rules” to a lot of data. I don’t have time to read it properly, but will have a go when I get home. Nevertheless what I’ve seen already is a refreshing change to the Schmidt-style model.

    None of the models predicted the cooling of the last 15 years. None of them explain the MWP and no, none of them “work”. Perhaps Gavin Schmidt would like to take one of these models and apply them to (say) the year 1600 and play them forward? If the models are that good, why haven’t we seen this already?

    Cheers,

    Speedy

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  • #
    spangled drongo

    “Jones failed in the end, but he did manage to smuggle a devastating sentence into the IPCC report, which states that McKitrick’s findings were “statistically insignificant” — in other words, meaningless.”

    Didn’t Jones admit in interview that the warming of the last couple of decades was also “statistically insignificant”?

    Pity he didn’t put that in the IPCC report as well.

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  • #
    Mike Davis

    The article reads well but is little more than a smoke screen. The promoters can also claim this article supports their position just as some earlier statements by Von Storch. The guy is in a awkward position because both sides see him as supporting and sceptical of their position and I do not think he knows where he stands however he appears to lean towards AGW and “Bad” Nukes.In my book that makes him a politician rather than a scientist no matter what his diploma claims.

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  • #
    MattB

    Thing is Bulldust, instead of arguing the yays and nays of AGW theory, how about we just focus on nuclear power as the only source that appears able to support a 1st world standard of living for the growing population on a global scale. I don’t need AGW to be true to want nuclear power, you don’t need it to be false. Verily there is no greater pseudo science movement than the staunch anti-nuclear brigade.

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    Mark D.

    MattB: “Verily there is no greater pseudo science movement than the staunch anti-nuclear brigade.”

    I’ll give you that if you concede that many of them are also pro AGW. If you can get to that point you’ll begin to see what they are really after.

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    MattB

    Yes Mark. But just because they really want what they are really after does not mean that the science of AGW is fabrication. I can see, however, how people so opposed to “what they are really after” would do all they can to stop it, including attacking AGW science.

    To me, AGW science is sound, the economics of trading of permits is a sound market tool to achieve reductions, but it is the demonisation of nuclear power that will ensure that the carbon price is high… that I think is where the focus of the conspiracy theory should be… the demonisation of nuclear power and the cessation of 4th generation research. Arguing about AGW is the ultimate smokescreen.

    “What they are really after” is different to so many people. At the core it is “money and power”, but to get there they prey on those who really want a power down society, those who want low population, those who don’t like immigrants, NIMBYs… there is a buy in for so many otherwise opposing political views form all points on the spectrum.

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    spangled drongo

    Matt B,

    “Verily there is no greater pseudo science movement than the staunch anti-nuclear brigade.”

    As a nuclear power supporter I still realise that there is a strong argument against nuclear from an invasion or terrorist POV.

    Nothing “pseudo” about that. It’s a fact.

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  • #

    I thought the Der Spiegel article was, for the most part, fair and balanced. Putting on my “pre-enlightenment” hat, there were two things about the article that impressed me: The first was the theme of “uncertainties” that came through loud and clear – far more so than in any typical MSM reporting I’ve seen to date. And the second almost knocked my socks off: the dreaded 2 degree target is an invention – and described as such by its inventor:

    [A] group of German scientists, yielding to political pressure, invented an easily digestible message in the mid-1990s: the two-degree target. To avoid even greater damage to human beings and nature, the scientists warned, the temperature on Earth could not be more than two degrees Celsius higher than it was before the beginning of industrialization.

    It was a pretty audacious estimate. Nevertheless, the powers-that-be finally had a tangible number to work with. An amazing success story was about to begin.

    ‘Clearly a Political Goal’

    Rarely has a scientific idea had such a strong impact on world politics. Most countries have now recognized the two-degree target. If the two-degree limit were exceeded, German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen announced ahead of the failed Copenhagen summit, “life on our planet, as we know it today, would no longer be possible.”

    But this is scientific nonsense. “Two degrees is not a magical limit — it’s clearly a political goal,” says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “The world will not come to an end right away in the event of stronger warming, nor are we definitely saved if warming is not as significant. The reality, of course, is much more complicated.”

    Schellnhuber ought to know. He is the father of the two-degree target.

    “Yes, I plead guilty,” he says, smiling. The idea didn’t hurt his career. In fact, it made him Germany’s most influential climatologist. Schellnhuber, a theoretical physicist, became Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief scientific adviser — a position any researcher would envy.

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    MattB

    I don’t agree drongo – those are populist concerns with no basis in experience. It is a “fact” that they are arguments people make, but the arguments are not based in “fact”. Anyway Bravenewclimate is the place for such discussions with people who know a lot more than me.

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    spangled drongo

    MattB,
    I haven’t read anything at BNC about gen 4s being bomb proof and I admit I haven’t read Tom Blees’ book either but it is hard to imagine how they could be.
    I’d like to believe in this but once again it is only MSM CGC. [computer generated crap]

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/04/06/2865472.htm

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  • #
    Pete H

    val majkus:
    April 7th, 2010 at 10:43 am
    Thanks for that link Val. My admiration for Ross McKitrick just grows and grows!

    With reference to the comments on nuclear power, remember, Margret Thatcher was the one that grabbed at CO2 because she wanted the stranglehold of the miners unions and OPEC curtailed which meant using nuclear power(according to Lord Lawson). Hence the IPCC has always been political.

    I note Ross McKitrick sticks to the authors and reviewers within the AR’s but does not question the running of the IPCC by its Chairman etc.

    My personal view is the only way forward is to tear it up and start again but to be sure to take the bias that R.M. writes of, totally out and to certainly not allow anyone with “previous” to partake, including the lobbying groups such as Greenpeace and the WWF and so called scientists who lose data!

    Oh, and send “Patchy” back to his train set!

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  • #
    Miscellany

    Hi Jo, what’s your take on M. Turnbull retiring from politics?

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  • #
    MattB

    I’m not putting my eggs in the fusion basket Drongo.

    Do you mean “bomb-proof” as in diverting material to make a bomb? Or as in can be blown up by a bomb?

    Whichever-I don’t mind you being unconvinced at this stage. But I think you’ll come around. Note that while Gen IV is a bit down the track, Gen III is a clean, safe and reliable source of power with low safety issues. I note that this week alone 25 are dead in a US coal mine…
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/04/07/2866540.htm
    http://bravenewclimate.com/integral-fast-reactor-ifr-nuclear-power/

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  • #
    Rereke Whaakaro

    Pat: #19

    If the models are as flawed as critics say, Schmidt said, “You have to ask yourself, ‘How come they work?’ ”

    Ya gotta love Gavin … of course they bloody well work! – You push the “On” button and the nice shiny red light comes on … wow.

    But garbage in always equals garbage out, and always has done. And that is the truth even ignoring any programming errors you might have introduced, and not to mention that you don’t know what you don’t know about the subject being modelled.

    I bet the models can’t even output “Hello World” without a data adjustment or two.

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  • #
    Louis Hissink

    MattB: #33

    Senator Bob Brown doesn’t know what he is talking about – any civilian Nuclear reactor based on the Light Water models can’t produce weapons’ grade product. They can’t explode either since water is the moderator in the process – water loss, ie coolant loss, causes the chain reaction to stop. There is a residual heat build up from other factors, but it’s not generally a problem if the containers are properly engineered.

    Chernobyl was a graphite moderated reactor and when those become problematical, well, we all know what happened there.

    But if you decide to build a reactor that uses graphite as a moderator, then you are in the business of producing weapons grade material.

    So if we adopt the latest light water moderated generators, then it should be clear that we are not in the weapon making business.

    Personally I could not care whether we go nuclear or not – in terms of the Plasma Model, we are sitting on a ball of electrically conductive rock that is receiving millions of amperes of electric current from the galaxy via the poles and via the plasma torus surrounding it (Van Allen Belts).

    So much energy that we are literally swimming in it but not the intelligence to make use of it.

    I would have thought the Greens and their fellow CO2 worriers (AGW crowd) would have embraced the potential of getting abundant free energy from the solar electric circuit inplied by the Plasma model, but so far they seem more concerned with shutting down industrialised societies then using what, to some of us, is the blindingly obvious.

    Nikola Tesla had a project to tap into that energy source, but apparently he could not convince anyone to back him financially – the usual conspiracy theory is that JP Morgan realised he could not put a meter on this power source and make money from it. On Tesla’s death the US FBI took possession of his manuscripts, so it is alleged.

    But given the Russians tend to be somewhat scientifically open-minded, I suspect that the energy density of this energy source may not be high enough to be useful, in terms of our present understanding of the physics. But as science is never settled, I expect someone will have an inspiration and figure it out.

    The problem actually lies with the ideas we use to think and explain observations. One thing you won’t get in a post-modernist, socialist system is intellectual novelty, since for that to happen means allowing individuals to think for themselves, and that would be sooooo politically incorrect, that, as history shows time and time again, it will be snuffed out at the earliest convenience.

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    PhilJourdan

    MattB #7 – unfortunately for the US, the perception of Nuclear came about after 3 mile Island – where almost everything worked well so that there was minimal release of radiation (about what you would get from an X-ray), no deaths and no sickness. And no Nuclear power plants since then.

    Hurray for us.

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  • #
    Mark D.

    Ron @ 36, Jo has a thread (back in January) on this including some comments by a poster named K. Farnish (I’d say it was him) read here it is very telling:
    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/01/hanson-barracking-for-lawless-destruction-and-the-end-of-civilization/comment-page-5/#comment-41406

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  • #
    MattB

    Louis – did I say he did?

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  • #
    redomondo

    Hello Hello

    Great Post as usual.

    I am trying to email/contact Jonova – I would like to add my name and contact information to the list of social events for Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    I figure you have my email

    You can also email me at fpwuat(at)gmail.com

    Best regards

    Redmond

    ________

    Your message has been forwarded.

    Editor

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  • #
    Tony

    There is little connection between AGW and and nuclear energy. One is about a theory that fossil fuels dictate the climate and the other is about energy efficiency. If you wish to use Nuclear energy as a power source there is a benefit of massively less CO2 vis a vis fossil fuels but it is not the raison d’etre. We are so close in the UK to having power cuts due to inadequte powers supplies that the only short term help must come from coal or other fossil fuels. No sensible person has any faith in wind or solar power in Europe. Perhaps geothermal might provide a new source but that is many years away. Tidal energy has some merit but it is incredibly destructive of the energy conversion mechanism. There is just a chance that enough of the great and the good now realise they have been hoodwinked by a band of unscrupulous state funded political zealots to ensure that fossil fuels are re-ignited as the best source of energy.

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  • #
    John W.

    Re: Mark:
    April 7th, 2010 at 11:11 am
    Possibly Michael Mann’s exoneration by his university could be premature.

    Penn State has a problem. The work performed by Mr. Mann was funded by US government dollars. If his work is shown to be fraudulent (and by the standards I’ve had to work under on US government contracts for the past 38 years, it will be), then Penn State could be debarred from government contracts. As an example, an electronics manufacturer caught falsifying test data for electronics was fined and debarred from government contracts for a period of three years. At some point, unless their legal staff are completely incompetent, they’ll have to recognize and respond to the risk of loosing all that government research funding.

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  • #

    spangled:

    I’ve got no faith in either the laser fusion process as described in the ABC article or the Tokamaks like ITER being built at vast expense. The Tokamak might actually produce nett power but sure as hell won’t do proton – boron fusion.

    There are some other unconventional fusion ideas based on IEC (inertial electrostatic confinement)though. Search for Bussard, Nebel and polywell fusion. This is being actively worked on under a US Navy contract, great progress has been made and no show stoppers have been identified in the experiments so far. If it works our energy problems are over. Should work on D-D, D-T and p-B11. The last just gives alpha particles and electricity(direct conversion). The others give lots of neutrons which you have to turn into heat to generate electricity. Or you can use the neutrons to make fission fuel of course from normally unfissionable isotopes.

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  • #
    Rod Smith

    I firmly believe that the reluctance of the US public to embrace more nuclear power generation is because they are terrified of radiation. Much of this is surely caused by the press. And I believe this fear has helped create the very expensive hurdles to building new units.

    I say that based on conversations with a number of folks, most of whom have little appreciable knowledge of the subject. Many of the military have considerable experience in this area. I have flown many “air sniffing” missions through clouds heavily laced with radioactive particles. and I am still around to talk about it. I have also flown with nukes in the bomb bay. And how about all our sailors that have for months on end “lived with” nuclear power plants just a few feet away?

    My views of nuclear power generation are at odds with folks who are so worried about nearby nuclear facilities.

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    Tel

    … the demonisation of nuclear power and the cessation of 4th generation research. Arguing about AGW is the ultimate smokescreen.

    AGW is merely the demonisation of coal burning, along similar scare mongering tactics as what was done with nuclear.

    The thing is that coal burning delivers a very predictable outcome with old and hugely well researched technology. This outcome includes some CO2 going into the air, and ultimately coal stocks will deplete (but Australia has nothing to worry about for a long time, even less to worry if we keep the coal for ourselves rather than exporting).

    Nuclear power includes some low probability but highly destructive risks such as stolen material, radioactive clouds, etc. People tend to react badly to low probability, high destruction events (e.g. airplane crashes, terrorist attacks, spider bites, etc), because we have become so obsessed with safety that the general approach has been to jump straight to a presumption of the worst case scenario and ignore the very low chance of it ever happening (the dumbarse Precautionary Principle at work, a.k.a. Pascal’s Wager).

    AGW is a scam by which a low-probability highly destructive scenario has been invented for coal fired power, allowing the same scaremongering to happen. This is where all the tipping points and runaway warming come into play. However you want to feel about sensitivity to CO2 doubling (and personally I feel that the IPCC’s 3 degrees is far too large) I think we can all say that the idea of runaway greenhouse is hopefully discredited forever… or at least the probability of it ever happening is vanishingly small. Thus the worst case scenario for global warming is we get maybe two or three degrees of warming over 100 years and some people are better off, other people are worse off and the perennial problem of there being inequality in the world remains exactly the same as it always has. That’s the worst case, the likely case is that not much happens at all.

    The only thing left for the AGW scaremongers now is trying to get a beatup on people’s inherent resistance to change — “This is scary because something might change!” This is such a universal tactic that it applies equally well to nuclear, wind, hydro, or whatever. Hopefully I don’t need to put too much effort into discounting arbitrary fear of change.

    By the way, I’m not personally opposed to nuclear, the CANDU technology looks like the most promising for Australia and we could easily purchase working systems from Canada. CANDU is not the cheapest option, but it does have attractive safety features, if you don’t mind the expense of the heavy water. Hopefully we could get to the stage where we run uranium fuel with zero enrichment and maybe even support a bit of waste reprocessing (e.g. burning MOX etc).

    Also, our major Asian trading partners (e.g. China, India, Korea, etc) seem to be liking this style of reactor making it worth the time to build up our own industries around the design.

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    janama

    AGW is merely the demonisation of coal burning, along similar scare mongering tactics as what was done with nuclear.

    exactly – but the latest coal plants such as Kogan Creek in Queensland (commissioned 2007) are reaching efficiencies that nuclear would be stretched to equal. Kogan creek is the latest coal power station in Australia – it has a dry cooling plant and uses 10% of the water a wet cooling plant uses. It is highly efficient as it produces 750MW from a single steam generator (boiler) which is greater than the typical 450MW. It recaptures 99.9% of the fly ash which it turns into a liquid slurry that can be put back in the ground and re-vegetated.

    The next move is to incorporate the experimental oxyfuel system where the coal is burnt using pure oxygen (eliminating the 70% nitrogen) producing an output gas of almost pure CO2 which can be liquefied and buried. The oxyfuel system, if it works, can be easily added to all existing power plants.

    The problem with nuclear is that it’s only safe if it is contained in a huge concrete box. What if the China Taiwan conflict was to erupt and China were to take out a few US nuclear Carriers, using a few of their Russian supplied Mach 3 SS-N-22 missiles – where would all the damaged nuclear power plants end up?

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    Mark D.

    Janama @46 :
    exactly – but the latest coal plants such as Kogan Creek in Queensland (commissioned 2007) are reaching efficiencies that nuclear would be stretched to equal.

    You and I have NEVER disagreed so I’ll tread VERY lightly. By what measure do you say this? Cost to KW or whatt (pardon the pun)

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    janama

    :) Mark – sorry – I meant cost effective pollution wise not cost per KW. It appears the airborne pollution is now under control in coal power if you accept that CO2 is NOT a pollutant, which it isn’t. If one were hit by a missile all we’d lose is the power – but were a nuclear plant hit by a mad crazy terrorist organisation who knows what would be unleashed.

    I have no problem with nuclear power other than the terrorist/war factor.

    Regards cost per KW. The Kogan Creek, 750MW station cost 1.2Bil to build, ($1600/kW). The Westinghouse AP1000, 1,100MW station costs 7bil to build, ($6363/kW) The coal for Kogan creek is right next to it in an open cut mine so one could suggest they work out about the same in the long run.

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    Mark D.

    We still have not disagreed! :)

    Coal (bad nasty carbon) will, without fail, be lower cost per KW.

    Efficiency is in the eye of the beholder

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    MattB

    Janama the following Bravenewclimate post puts the $/kWh cost of nuclear at about $2,400.

    I’m not sure where you got your cost for the AP1000 from?

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    janama

    MattB

    On April 9, 2008, Georgia Power Company reached a contract agreement for two AP1000 reactors to be built at Vogtle,[17] at an estimated final cost of $14 billion plus $3 billion for necessary transmission upgrades.[1

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_new_nuclear_power_plants#Recent_construction_cost_estimates

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    janama

    BTW – I realise further down the page they quote lower prices for future plants which is probably where you got your costing from. I just used the final cost of a completed station as opposed to theoretical propositions for future costs.

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    MattB

    Janama those high costs generally include a kind of bundled lifetime cost, including fuel and infrastructure, wheras the coal cost is the cost of just the plant.

    Sorry I forgot the link earlier:
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/08/23/recent-nuclear-power-cost-estimates-separating-fact-from-myth/

    From which the line to me that is important is:
    “The most important number in the whole controversy has gone largely without notice and that is the delivered cost of electricity from the plants is in the range of five cents per kilowatt hour.”

    This is in reference to two new 1MW plants in Ontario (not the AP1000).

    “pegged the cost of two 1,650 EPR reactors at $7.8 billion. Doing the math, that comes out to just under $2,400/Kw which is a very competitive price.”

    For sure future costs will be lower, but the same could be said for any new coal technology.

    Seriously the dialogue at BraveNewClimate is great… Brook has kind of moved on from AGW to practical energy solutions. A good number of devout climate skeptics are involved in the discussions, the dissection of the economics of renewables, looking at coal, real nuclear costs, future nuclear costs etc etc.

    It is a great blog.

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    MattB

    Plus Janama are you posting Wikipedia??? That connolly bloke is probably anti-nuclear too;)

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    janama, are you saying the west should let terrorists design its energy system?
    I think you would find a properly designed nuclear plant a very tough terrorist target.

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    janama

    janama, are you saying the west should let terrorists design its energy system

    guys steady up! I’m showing that to build a coal power station without it’s associated terrorist incentives we can have base load power.

    It appears that you are just trying to reconcile that nuclear – with all it’s associated terrorist threats can be equal.

    are you serious??

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    janama

    sure MattB – write it all off – but a serious terrorist organisation – with a suitcase bomb could wipe out London/Paris NY. Nuclear is dangerous and it’s NOT needed to produce everyday power.

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    Tel

    “The most important number in the whole controversy has gone largely without notice and that is the delivered cost of electricity from the plants is in the range of five cents per kilowatt hour.”

    We are generating electricity in New South Wales at a cost of three cents per kilowatt hour right now. That is the typical whole-day average trading price at the wholesale level (and those are Australian cents). Some days we drop that below two cents.

    http://www.aemo.com.au/data/avg_price/averageprice_main.shtml

    All the rest of what you pay at the household meter box is overhead for distribution, billing, and general-purpose untraceable trouser stuffing.

    If you want to look at the whole-year averages you see recent years have gone up a bit, but never as high as a massive five cents /kWh.

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    Tel

    … are you saying the west should let terrorists design its energy system?

    Are you saying you should let the rain design your roof?

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    kdk

    It sickens me to NO END to hear somewhat ‘educated’ people talk about their FEAR of ‘terrorists’…. Get a real clue. The events of BS – 11 were fabricated and one ONLY needs to determine the time from the supposed 2nd ‘hit’ to the time it ‘hit’ the pentagon–probably the most secure city in the world; it was allowed to happen and even military members will tell you so. Go to [LINK REMOVED: SORRY THIS IS NOT A CONSPIRACY BLOG] and watch the pentagon vid, if nothing else and your eyes should be opened.

    Stop letting the fear of a few thousands hoodlums, and ‘what if’ scenarios RULE your FN life. The propaganda from both sides is just that… propaganda using fear to mold perceptions. What about the old US standby of “we don’t negotiate with terrorists…”? NO, we just prefer, I guess, to let them ‘win’ in their quest (I don’t believe in the terrorist threat and I don’t like my ONE LIFE on earth being determined by those that have already ascended to high places and don’t want you to do so).

    FEAR still rules… I only wish I had a great fear plan so I could rake in the dough on the ignorant masses.

    IF it is proven safe, is efficient, and does not pollute (real pollution, not CO2) massively, then build it. Stop this nonsense wind/solar power that is only good to recharge your battery or grind corn.

    [Your comments on AGW are welcome but do not post 911 conspiracy stuff here on JoNova. they will be removed. ED]

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    MattB

    Could I just add that my lack of fear of terrorism re: nuclear facilities stems from different factors to the lack of fear expressed by kdk.

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    Bruce

    Pat@#16

    South African coal fired power station loan approved.

    http://www.bicusa.org/en/Article.11838.aspx

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    barry woods

    I can’t quite believe this is George Monbiot writning this.
    He who hassled, belittled and was vitriolic in his treament of Ian PLimer, calling him a deniar many times.

    I REALLY wonder what Real Climate will make of this..
    same journalist, Part of the Guardian environment network:

    “But there was a simple means of getting the hasslers off his back: release the sodding data.

    In 2005, Jones made it clear to one of his petitioners that he wasn’t going to do that:

    Even if WMO [the World Meteorological Organisation] agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

    AND:

    “In 2005, Jones made it clear to one of his petitioners that he wasn’t going to do that:

    - Even if WMO [the World Meteorological Organisation] agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.-

    This cuts to the heart of the matter. Science must be falsifiable: otherwise it’s not science. Those who seek to find something wrong with your data are the first people who should have access to it, not the last. Challenging, refining and improving other people’s work is the means by which science proceeds.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2010/apr/08/hacked-emails-freedom-of-information?showallcomments=true#comment-51

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/8/george-signs-off.html#comments

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    janama, I strongly suspect that if more people flew in small aircraft there would be more opposition to coal mining and burning.

    In Australia we are lucky that many of the mines and power stations are not terribly close to the population centers and as coal burning is largely a local pollution problem it is a non issue with the voters. Hence the CO2 scaremongering to make it a global problem.

    When I see the effects of large open cut coal mines by flying over them I become a nuclear power advocate. The scale of the problem is much more manageable due to the small volumes of the nuclear material.

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    MattB

    Yes Barry I can indeed believe it is Monbiot who quite clearly is a rational science based human being who expects high standards from both sides of the debate and will call a spade a spade – Plimer and Jones alike.

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    MattB

    Wow this is quite a stunning response to the Spiegel article.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/04/climate-scientist-bashing/

    Maybe these German authors need to have a good hard look at themselves in der spiegel.

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    Louis Hissink

    MattB: @ #68

    The Germans have a habit of being recalcitrant – Martin Luther for a start – so the outraged cardinals living in the RC site would hardly be unexpected.

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    PhilJourdan

    Mattb@68 – Classic case of shooting the messenger instead of actually addressing the message. And they wonder why the world is questioning them?

    Maybe because the number of sheeple is not as great as they hoped for.

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    Bob Malloy

    Matt B:

    Interesting reading Matt. The author and the majority of commenter’s should get a darkened room. That way they can remain in their normal environment and have a hug fest.

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    Bob Malloy

    The perils of peer review

    here’s a note to K Rudd the Labor Sheeple and the watermelons, greens who keep telling us believe the IPCC the science is not only SETTLED IT”S PEER REVIEWED:

    From “The Science Alliance”, Quoting from Lancet:

    Richard Horton, then editor of The Lancet, contributed a guest editorial for the Medical Journal of Australia (Genetically modified food: consternation, confusion and crack-up; MJA 2000; 172: 148-149) in which he wrote:

    “The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability – not the validity – of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.”

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/9th_April_2010.pdf

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