New York Times says positive things about new nuclear energy

I’ll admit that I am actively searching for good news about nuclear energy to counter the conventional wisdom that we are losing the market battle to cheap natural gas. I found an interesting take on recent Cabinet appointments in a New York Times editorial titled Two Enlistees in the Climate Wars. Though it appears as almost an afterthought, nuclear energy gets a couple of favorable mentions as a technology that can be a useful tool in making a real difference in the rate of CO2 dumping in the atmosphere.

Mr. Obama nominated Gina McCarthy, an experienced clean air regulator, to run the Environmental Protection Agency, and Ernest Moniz, an M.I.T. physicist and strong advocate of natural gas and nuclear power, to run the Energy Department. Both believe global warming is one of humanity’s most pressing challenges.

There is obviously more: finding new refrigerants to replace climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons, investing not only in familiar renewable energy sources like wind and solar power but also in basic research, next-generation nuclear plants and experimental technologies that could smooth the path to a low-carbon economy.


The first commenter on the post, a Mr. Tom McMahon, was not impressed with the Times’s editorial staff recommendations. Here is a quote from his comment:

Nuclear power is yesterday, Germany has already abandoned nuclear energy, Japan is restarting some nuclear plants to satisfy energy needs but is reinvesting in new alternitive energies. The U.S. should be the wind farm capital of the world, the steps from the great plains to the rocky mtns offers nothing but wind from the Canada’s border to New Mexico. We have thousands of miles of tidal basins from which to procure energy from tides, tidal energy, never ending, sure thing twice a day, tides come in and go out.
Our investment as a country should be away from fossil fuels and nuclear power to clean renewable energy.

I submitted the following response to that comment:

Mr. McMahon is too quick to dismiss both natural gas and nuclear energy, technologies that can be used to propel the US (and the rest of the world) to a future with abundant, affordable, cleaner and more reliable power that enables people to prosper.

Natural gas is abundantly available in North America now. Current supply has driven fuel prices to levels that are still about 1/3 of their 2008 peak. We have a large inventory of machines capable of efficiently turning natural gas into useful energy. Fracking is controversial and potentially hazardous, but it is being made safer and cleaner. Gas will not last very long; the most optimistic forecasts show 2170 TCF in the US; that quantity will last about 90 years as long as we do not increase consumption.

Nuclear energy is on the rise in China, India, and other growing economies. It is still so early in its technological lifecycle that there is room for improved technology to reduce the time required to build new machines, increase cost predictability, and improve ability to meet market demand for controllable, emission free power. We’ve only known about fission for 75 years but we’ve also known since 1955 that it is a proven power source clean enough to operate inside sealed submarines.

There is enough fuel to power human society for thousands of years.

Cheap natural gas today helps make nuclear construction more affordable. New nuclear plants started today will produce emission free power for 60-80 years.

Rod Adams
Publisher, Atomic Insights

(In the original, I ran out of space and left off my signature.)

As you can see, I have started to move closer to understanding and advocating for the N2N energy path recommended by Robert Bryce; natural gas to nuclear is starting to look like a pretty reasonable way forward.

About Rod Adams

22 Responses to “New York Times says positive things about new nuclear energy”

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  1. James Greenidge says:

    Re: Mr. Tom McMahon “The U.S. should be the wind farm capital of the world, the steps from the great plains to the rocky mtns offers nothing but wind from the Canada’s border to New Mexico.

    I don’t dump on people much but the absurdity of Tom’s statement is utterly moronic unless he doesn’t believe in pristine vistas and scenery and land values, forget energy reliability. Where are the Greens when natural beauty calls? Readers of the Times ought get a counterpoint from Hollis’s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc7rRPrA7rg&feature=player_embedded . Unfortunately as I just found out it seens Letters to the editor there doesn’t take email with hyperlinks.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    • Jeff Walther says:

      I’ve found that the best way to shut up the ignoramuses like McMahon is to write something like this:
      ==========================
      Yeah, wind is so great. That’s why Germany’s electricity is now EU.27/KWHr, the second most expensive in Europe. Denmark’s is more expensive than that — because wind is so affordable. And France has the 7th cheapest electricity in Europe at EU.13/KWHr because getting 80% of their electricity from nuclear reactors is so expensive. Oh, and it is terrible the way France has the **lowest* CO2 emissions per GDP of anyone in the industrialized world. Just terrible.

      Yes, that was sarcasm.
      ==========================

      For dessert one can point out that every place in the USA which has embraced wind energy has seen a substantial increase in their electricity bills. The local utility may lie about the source, like they do here in Austin, TX, but the correlation is too strong to ignore.

  2. Josh says:

    Nuclear energy, as we all know, is controversial everywhere. New York is no exception, as the debate surrounding Indian Point shows. Despite the bad publicity surrounding the plant including some well publicised incidents, there can be absolutely no doubting its importance. It along with other nuclear plants in the New York state have provided this region with a steady and reliable source of power, which won’t easily be replaced. Rather than a premature closure, the rational step would be to address any possible seismic/flood hazards with availabe technologies and to extend the life of the reactors to the mid 2030s.

    The appointments of both Gina McCarthy and Ernest Moniz to their respective positions are a positive step toward further development and research in nuclear technologies in the US. Mr McMahon is correct ot point out that there are vast tidal reserves, but this requires the same sobre analysis as should be applied to all forms of energy. Its dilute nature may mean that its applications will be limited.

    N2N all the way!

  3. David Walters says:

    Rod, this appears to be a large shift for you. You were one of NG main enemy in the blogosphere. What changed?

    I think NG is one of the main weapons, if not the main weapon anti-nuclear lobbies around the world use to go from a “fossil/nuclear” to a “100% carbon free” world based solely on renewables. Every plan uses a huge build out of NG plants to “achieve” this goal. Germany is the poster child for this, in that under the cover of darkness, while coal use and coal plants has expanded slightly (one or two new plants, a slight drop in coal use for energy) the hidden gem are the dozens and dozens of new gas turbines being built.

    The argument will be: we have NG in the US, lots of it, in fact we really don’t know how much more we have, we don’t need nuclear.

    Did I miss read you here?
    David

    • Engineer-Poet says:

      I don’t know about Rod, but natural gas can replace much (if not all) liquid motor fuel, and would command a much higher price in that market.  But at motor fuel prices, NG no longer competes for base-load electricity and is much less attractive for residential and commercial uses.  Nuclear moves into that gap, supplying energy over wires instead of through pipelines.

      End result:  N. America electricity is almost entirely de-carbonized, motor fuel is half-decarbonized (even before PHEV technology moves in), and energy imports are nearly eliminated.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @David Walters

      I have no real problem with natural gas as a fuel. It can be made acceptably safe – that is obvious from its current market share and the fact that people welcome it into their homes. It is also acceptably clean – clean enough to burn inside your home in ovens, stoves, fireplaces and furnaces.

      It is the natural gas industry and its marketers that I have been fighting on line. I will continue to work to expose their marketing techniques against competitors for what they are – attempts to grab market share by spreading false FUD about other fuel sources.

      However, that position does not stop me from recognizing that the gas industry can be turned into an unwitting ally for new nuclear power plants. If they want to keep selling their fuel at a loss, I think the nuclear industry should take advantage and buy as much as they can to invest in the steel and concrete structures that are needed in order to produce nuclear fission power that can effectively compete against gas in the energy markets.

      Gas makes a good bridge, it is best used to aim towards a better, more nuclear world instead of a less abundant world where all of the available capital has been used up to create unreliable power sources.

  4. William Vaughn says:

    Rod, I’m all for N2N up to a point. We have to arrange for (or hope that) the market players understand that new natural gas plants need to replace COAL plants and not nuclear plants.

    Things are going in the wrong direction in Wisconsin (Kewaunee). Do you see any chance that Dominion will reverse its decision? What are they seeing in the natural gas market that makes them want to shutdown such a sustainable energy resource? How far into the future are they looking? If you have any insights about the economic forces that are making this happen, please share them with the community.

    Thanks,
    William

    • JimHopf says:

      William,

      Despite the Kewanee exception, NG plants ARE replacing coal plants, almost entirely.

      In terms of “arranging for” market players to replace coal, the only options I see are a price on carbon or significantly increased air pollution requirements. Perhaps the existing coal plant CO2 rules that Obama’s EPA are considering offer some hope.

      In my view, the real problem is that once nuclear plants close, they’re closed for good, but when coal plants close they can just be reopened when conditions change (i.e., when gas proces rise, as they will). This is a situation that needs to be reversed.

      NRC rules need to change so that nuclear plants can be reopened. No sudden requirement for upgrades, that wouldn’t have been required if they had never “closed”. Staffing requirements for “mothballed” nukes (where the operating license has not been surrendered) should not be much (or any) higher than they are for a decommissioned plant.

      For coal plants, on the other hand, we need the opposite policy. Once a grandfathered coal plant (that doesn’t even meet the requirements of the 1970 Clean Air Act) closes, its grandfathered status must immediately end, and it must be brought up to compliance before it can reopen. Better yet, we should just end the grandfather clause…..

      How can I justify an inconsistent policy? Simple. Grandfathered coal plants have been inflicting massive harm, Nuclear plants (even old vintage ones) haven’t. As of now, the policy is inconsistent in the other direction. Also of note is the fact that NRC DOES have a backfit rule, where they demand upgrades to old nukes if cost/benefit analysis support it. (Requirements on new nukes don’t even have to pass any kind of cost/benefit analysis, and most nuclear requirements clearly don’t.) Meanwhile, grandfathered coal plants don’t have to install pollution controls even if the benefits are hundreds of times the cost. You just have to admire the political power of their industry…….

  5. Joel Riddle says:

    Rod,
    Does this shift in your thinking change your thinking any regarding your bet with Steve Skutnik?

    What about your thoughts on LNG export facilities being built? Should we be protectionary and keep our domestic NG here all here at home? Seems that Ed Markey and Ron Wyden are both against those (and also generally anti-nuclear). Once the Henry Hub price gets consistently up to $6-8/MBtu, I doubt LNG export would make much economic sense for Cheniere, etc. anyway.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Joel

      My shift does not actually change my thinking with regard to my bet with Steve. I am still confident that there will be a price increase in US natural gas that will result in Henry Hub trading above $10 per MMBTU for at least one month before the end of 2014. That price surge will open the taps for more gas to enter the market and drive prices back down – for a while.

      For the gas suppliers that have capacity, the marginal cost of raw material is not much greater than zero. (That statement is certainly not true for gas customers, including power generators.)

      I think it would be great for the US to export gas. It would create good jobs in a large number of basic materials and construction industries and would provide an export that would reduce our trade deficit.

      (Of course, a large volume of exports would eventually result in an increase in natural gas prices that would make those nuclear plants that I advocate building as soon as possible more valuable as well.)

  6. Joffan says:

    Wow. You have been suffering, Rod, if you think those are positive things. Sure, the NYT didn’t actually kick nuclear or throw in a Fukushima diatribe, but I’d hardly call the quoted sections positive about nuclear.

    “NYT mentions nuclear power without demonizing it”. That’s about as far as it goes here.

  7. Rich Harrison says:

    I just found an article on SmartPlanet.com that appeared in my Google news feed that may be of interest:

    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/mit-experts-nuclear-exit-would-cost-us-environment-economy/14226

    The article references a paper published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist that can be found here:

    http://bos.sagepub.com/content/69/2/34.ful

    The conclusions described in the article are pretty much inline with a lot of what I’ve read here and elsewhere. Of course, the anti-nukes are out in full force accusing the MIT experts of being “corporate shills.” Its would be funny if they weren’t so fervent in their belief.

  8. Robert Steinhaus says:

    From the Robert Bryce N2N article which Rod mentions and links at the end of this post “RENEWABLE ENERGY’S INCURABLE SCALE PROBLEM” –
    “the essential issues are these: If you believe that carbon dioxide is bad, how can we meet the world’s soaring demand for transportation fuels, and more particularly, for electricity?
    And can we do so while phasing out coal, the energy source which remains the cheapest, most abundant, most reliable choice for electricity production?”

    Is the operating assumption implicit in the quote from Robert Bryce’s article really true?
    Is natural gas cleaner and less GHG producing than (demonized) coal under all circumstances?
    What is the evidence?

    Almost everyone has a technology favourite that they hope will provide an answer to our energy problems.

    We need to draw on all of the available energy technologies, including a few that tend to get regularly demonized like coal and nuclear, in order to deliver energy at reasonable cost and retain a good quality of life for the middle and lower class in America. Middle and Lower class workers pay a disproportionately greater amount for energy cost increases. The wealthy can easily afford to pay a little more for gasoline, heating oil, and coal but lower and middle class workers are always closer to the edge and just have to start doing without during a deep recession. Sequestering CO2 in areas close to oil fields or fortuitously built above large limestone formations will probably have some success (although it will add some cost to what we have gotten used to paying for coal).

    There is a practical technology that makes Coal less GHG producing than Natural Gas.

    There is a “NO HYPE” clean coal technology called Direct Carbon Fuel Cells (DCFC) that cuts in half the amount of CO2 generated while using coal and does not require burning the coal to make the energy. DCFC fuel cells directly convert the chemical energy in the coal and turn it into electricity without having to burn it. The demonstrated energy efficiency of the conversion of coal into electricity is 80% (the best modern coal fired power plants have efficiency of conversion of coal chemical energy into electricity of less than 40%). DCFC fuel cells have been demonstrated in the laboratory but have not been commercialized. Government could do a great service in bringing to practicality industrial sized direct carbon fuel cells by funding the construction and testing of a few industrial scale cells.

    Dr. John Cooper of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory designed an attractive gravity fed DCFC that could permit efficient use of coal without many of the normal drawbacks of coal use (release of particulates and contaminants, including uranium and radioactive elements, into the air).

    So far, DOE and the Obama Administration, has not allocated any funding to direct carbon fuel cell development but is directing large sums for Clean Coal geological CO2 sequestration carbon capture and storage technologies only. CCS is likely to be costly and only possible only in areas that are close to nearby oil fields or large limestone deposits.

    DCFC fuel cells do not require expensive noble metal electrodes (DCFC uses graphite) and should be possible to scale relatively easily to industrial sizes. A modest cost attempt to build a few large DCFC cells would tell us it we can actually produce cells that would produce commercial levels of power without material and electrode problems. DCFC fuel cells could help America utilize its largest fossil fuel resource in a cleaner and more environmentally responsible way and also point a way for China and India to use coal without threatening the health of their people or the climate of the planet.

    DCFC Overview Article
    https://www.llnl.gov/str/June01/Cooper.html

    Skepticism is the natural predisposition of the Scientific Method
    for those that would like to have more proof –
    Answers to FAQ on Direct Carbon Fuel Cells – http://www.osti.gov/bridge/purl.cover.jsp?purl=%2F15011582-M5wXbp%2Fnative%2F

  9. Frank Jablonski says:

    Bryce writes:

    “When it comes to carbon dioxide emissions and global warming, I’m a resolute agnostic.”

    Agnostic. And resolute, to boot.

    Agnosticism presumes equivalency between the ~ 97% of informed scientists and the set of people who advance the interests of the fossil fuel industries, many of them for money, some, a lot of it. “Agnosticism” in this circumstance is past ridiculous. If your child was exhibiting the symptoms of lung cancer, and you took her to 100 doctors, and 97 said “she has lung cancer, and you need to act decisively, now, to protect her future,” and 3%, including many who were paid by the tobacco industry, said “no problem, do nothing,” what would you do? Nothing?

    The gas field emissions of methane associated with natural gas hame more dramatic climate forcing impacts, in the medium term (the next ~ 30 years), than carbon dioxide. This is the term in which humanity would, if morally driven, be moving to environmentally compatible energy sources, of which nuclear appears to be the most powerful, by far. Technology may change that, but that seems very, very, very, very, very unlikely, and not worth betting the future on.

    The natural allies of natural gas are renewable technologies that continue to be absolutely dependent on fast-starting combustion turbines to compensate for their intermittence. This is why natural gas Companies run glowing ads about renewables. The opponents of nuclear energy embrace natural gas simply because they loathe nuclear energy so much, and seemingly cannot bear to rethink an issue that, after all, somebody already thought about . . . in the 1970’s.

    You used to say nuclear is a disruptive technology that can, and should, displace all others as the cornerstone of an energy and environmental strategy (my formulation of your position, to be sure). You may have stopped thinking that way. In light of the best available evidence, I suggest that nuclear continues to be a disruptive technology that is powerful enough to transform the energy paradigm in time to limit some of the worst impacts of climate change. Not that I expect this to happen. The incumbents will oppose it, and they will win. They don’t actually care about climate change. The balance sheet precludes it.

    Natural gas Companies, like all fossil fuel Companies, seem to be natural enemies of nuclear energy, and are likely to act that way in their economic interests. Unless I am missing something, it seems that the last thing they want is a vibrant nuclear industry that can take over major portions of generation, and offers process heat options that can create options to displace existing liquid fuels (dimethyl ether, ammonia). I might believe differently if I see a gas Company running ads promoting nuclear the way they promote resources that depend on gas turbines to make up for their deficiency (intermittence). Not holding my breath on that.

    • Brian Mays says:

      If your child was exhibiting the symptoms of lung cancer, and you took her to 100 doctors, and 97 said “she has lung cancer, and you need to act decisively, now, to protect her future,” and 3%, including many who were paid by the tobacco industry, said “no problem, do nothing,” what would you do? Nothing?

      Wow! Is this child a heavy smoker?! Because we all know how much little children smoke.

      What if your child was exhibiting the symptoms of lung cancer, and you took her to 77 doctors of dubious reputation and competency, and 75 said, “Yes, she has a cough.” Do you immediately assume it’s lung cancer?

      Why are people so stupid as to swallow the “97% of informed scientists” crap that is put out by PR firms and junk studies? Don’t you have any idea where that comes from?

      I bet that you used to chew Trident gum when you were a kid, didn’t you? You sound like the perfect Trident customer. After all 4 out of 5 dentists recommend Trident, as we all know.

      Actually, it’s 4 out of 5 dentists of those surveyed who recommend chewing gum to their patients (a small fraction of dentists, I’m sure) would recommend Trident to their patients who chew gum. And I have no doubt that the survey was conducted by the company that sells the gum.

      Unless you know who was asked and what was asked, these surveys are nothing but worthless PR trash. But they do have a lively existence as memes within the climate alarmist community.

      • Frank Jablonski says:

        It is unreasonable to pick and choose which general scientific consensus you accept and which you deny unless you are a superior scientist with superior information and analysis – – in which case, you can probably make a convincing argument to other scientists, and change the consensus.

        The general consensus of informed scientists on climate change has been under determined and very well-funded attack for more than twenty years, yet it has not changed, it has strengthened.

        You can call the repeatedly documented scientific consensus on climate change anything you want, and you can petulantly label those who accept it as “alarmists,” and use other various mechanisms of “trash talk,” and “snark,” but none of that changes the consensus. Only credible scientific analysis could do that. The methods of the various reviews and surveys of scientists are readily located, and they indicate, generally “who and what was asked,” sometimes quite specifically, e.g., by publishing the questions asked.

        As Mark Twain wrote, “thowin’ mud ain’t arguin'”.

        Extrapolation from a few, seized-upon data points, which tends to be the stock-in-trade of those who dispute the general consensus on climate, will not do. Unreasonable extrapolation from isolated data is the same methodology often employed by the people who are categorically oppose to nuclear energy.

        These kinds of thinly-factually-supported positions can achieve major influence if they are amplified through emotionally compelling language and images, and through prominent repetition. Fossil fuel Companies accomplished that influence through lavish spending. The anti-nuclear movement accomplished it through powerfully manipulating fears over a long, long time.

        Those who dispute the general scientific consensus on climate change are finally at the point of being irretrievably discredited. It is time to work toward the same outcome for those who categorically oppose the use of nuclear energy, as it is the best implement in the toolbox for fixing environmental and energy problems, including, prominently, climate change.

        Natural gas is certainly not.

        • Brian Mays says:

          Extrapolation from a few, seized-upon data points, which tends to be the stock-in-trade of those who dispute the general consensus on climate, will not do.

          Oh … you mean like when someone evaluates only 77 of the 3146 responses to a survey, notices that 75 of the 77 agreed with the following question, “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?” and publishes the claim that 97% of scientists agree that we’re all going to die. Is that what you mean?

          Now that’s what I call “extrapolation from a few, seized-upon data points.”

          Is it too much to ask that these intellectually lazy climate alarmists take the time to learn where their idiotic talking points actually come from? Sheesh!

          • Engineer-Poet says:

            you mean like when someone evaluates only 77 of the 3146 responses to a survey, notices that 75 of the 77 agreed with the following question, “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?” and publishes the claim that 97% of scientists agree that we’re all going to die.

            I thought that your claim was interesting, so I went digging for the source.  I found this, which tells a rather different story:

            A survey of 3146 earth scientists asked the question “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?” (Doran 2009)…. Overall, 82% of the scientists answered yes. However, what are most interesting are responses compared to the level of expertise in climate science. Of scientists who were non-climatologists and didn’t publish research, 77% answered yes. In contrast, 97.5% of climatologists who actively publish research on climate change responded yes.

            To sum up, you have:
            1.  Mis-quoted the figure of 77% as 77 out of 3146.
            2.  Failed to note that the 77% were those who did NOT publish climate research.
            3.  Played fast and loose with the question to sensationalize the issue and produce an emotional response.

            If you didn’t write that yourself, you should have known that it smelled funny.  You’re remarkably un-skeptical for a skeptic.  It’s almost like… your mind is all made up, and you’re using the random fact the way a drunk uses a lamp post:  for support, not for enlightenment.

            Now that’s what I call “extrapolation from a few, seized-upon data points.”

            Did you intend to be an object lesson?

            Is it too much to ask that these intellectually lazy climate alarmists take the time to learn where their idiotic talking points actually come from?

            The irony is strong with this one.

          • Brian Mays says:

            To sum up, you have: … Mis-quoted the figure of 77% as 77 out of 3146.

            EP – No, I have not.

            See, this is what I mean when I talk about intellectually lazy climate alarmists. That you linked directly to SkS clearly indicates what kool-aid you’ve been drinking. That alone should be enough to dismiss you as an brain-washed AGW zombie. But what is more damning, however, is that you apparently never bothered to actually read the Doran (2009) article that your SkS factoid refers to.

            If you had, you would have realized that (and I’m quoting directly from Doran 2009):

            1. “An invitation to participate in the survey was sent to 10,257 Earth scientists … with 3146 individuals completing the survey …” (in other words, over ten thousand individuals were asked the question, not 3146 like SkS claims).

            2. “In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise … of these specialists 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2 [Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?].”

            No, what I said was completely accurate. The 97% comes from a subpopulation of 77 out of 3146 who responded and 77 out of 10,257 who were surveyed.

            Thank you for providing a perfect exhibition of how intellectual laziness works and demonstrating how, when it comes to playing “fast and loose,” climate alarmists are the true masters of the art. ;-) I’m afraid that I cannot adequately express my gratitude for your help in this matter.

            By the way, here’s the link that you need to read to find my quotations.

          • Brian Mays says:

            If you didn’t write that yourself …

            For what it’s worth, everything that I publish here that is not clearly marked as a quotation from someone else is something that I have written myself and reflects my opinion alone (not my employer nor any other organization that I have been associated with). Furthermore, unlike you, I attach my real name to these words, so please give me some credit, thank you.

          • Engineer-Poet says:

            That you linked directly to SkS clearly indicates what kool-aid you’ve been drinking

            It was the first thing that popped up with a clear description of the survey.  People have accused me of having sympathies for the positions of sites when I’ve only linked to the first good information that I could find on a topic of discussion.  They were wrong, and so are you.  I don’t read that site, and have no idea what else is on it.

            I so often find that original sources are behind paywalls that I don’t push through to them as much as I should.  That was definitely an error this time.

            1. “An invitation to participate in the survey was sent to 10,257 Earth scientists … with 3146 individuals completing the survey …” (in other words, over ten thousand individuals were asked the question, not 3146 like SkS claims).

            Can you legitimately say that the remainder were surveyed?  No, not any more than the people who refuse to answer Gallup’s phone calls are.

            The 97% comes from a subpopulation of 77 out of 3146 who responded

            That’s closer to making a point, but you need to acknowledge that the results of the survey are valid for the dataset.  Working climate scientists are only a small subset of earth scientists; you wouldn’t expect to have lots of responses from them.

            and 77 out of 10,257 who were surveyed.

            Only 3146 were surveyed.  The rest refused.  Only 77 of those surveyed are publishing climate scientists, so the data is valid for its sample.

            Thank you for providing a perfect exhibition of how intellectual laziness works

            I have heard this sort of argumentation described as either “spin doctoring” or “language lawyering”.  I have little respect for those who practice it.  It’s always done conclusion first, argument later.

            If there are 200 publishing climate scientists (I have no idea how many there are) and 77 responded, that’s a pretty good response rate. 

            climate alarmists are the true masters of the art.

            You use slurs like “alarmist” after claiming that the 75/77 say “we’re all going to die”, and you have the gall to talk about others being “masters of the art”?  That’s pure projection.

            Elsewhere, I’ve seen it said that the more people know about climate science, the more they are concerned about it, while the more they know about nuclear energy, the less they are concerned about it.  It sounds to me like you need to learn more about climate science, especially from sources not associated with the Heartland Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute, and other propaganda organs.

          • Brian Mays says:

            It was the first thing that popped up with a clear description of the survey.

            EP – Apparently, it was not clear enough, because you got it wrong.

            You have misquoted me, misrepresented the research that you were supposed to be talking about (OK … perhaps that was an honest mistake), and you have insulted me. Thus, I find it highly ironic that you are now complaining about slurs and misrepresentations, especially considering that you have a reputation of accusing anyone who does not agree with you on this matter (whatever the hell your opinion is … as if I care) of being a mouthpiece for “the fossil-fuel noise machine.”

            The kettle thinks that perhaps the pot should keep his damn mouth shut.

            Now, let’s take a step back. The origin of this thread is the following: “Agnosticism presumes equivalency between the ~ 97% of informed scientists and the set of people who advance the interests of the fossil fuel industries, many of them for money, some, a lot of it.”

            Do you really want to stand by that?!

            My point is that this so-called “97% of informed scientists” is really 75 of 77 people (how the 77 were chosen is uncertain at best) who agreed when asked, “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?” This is a question that is so vague, even I agree with it. Nowhere does it say anything about the contribution due to carbon-dioxide emissions or even industry. Nowhere does it indicate that there is any kind of problem, much less a crisis.

            To take this and turn it into an analogy about cancer is either dishonesty or stupidity on the grandest of scales. This is Gundersen-level BS.

            In case you didn’t notice, I’m not the one sensationalizing this issue. I’m the one trying to sober up the conversation by pointing out what these stupid talking points really mean, where they come from, and how worthless they really are.

            Unfortunately, some people, it appears, are so entrenched in what they believe that they think that no more information is necessary or even welcome.

            It has been my experience to observe that, the more people think they know about climate science, the more likely they are to quote or defend stupid, misleading statistics such as this. This trend cuts both ways, and applies (almost equally) to people with strong opinions on either side of the argument.

            The corollary of this observation is that, the more people think they know about climate science, the less they actually know and the more they are likely to depend on stuff that they have googled off of SkS and other partisan websites.