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  1. It’s bizarre that it’s being sold that the decision to extend tax credits to Wind and Solar is a counterbalance to ending the export ban on Oil and Gas products. Clearly both decisions favor the oil and gas industry at the expense of the American People.

    Since it’s an omibus bill, and the real decisions were made hidden in committee, it’s likely no one can be held accountable.

  2. FWIW, I E-mailed my congressman and asked that he please try to roll back the Wind and Solar subsidy. He’s a republican and Voted “for” the omnibus budget bill.

  3. Seriously, this fight is over small potatoes. If you want nuclear to grow in this country, you figure out a pricing mechanism that forces fossil fuels to pay for their negative externalities and, more importantly, you figure out who to build nuclear cost effectively. Existing nuclear is getting killed because of cheap gas and there is no incentive under Obama’s CPP to protect existing clean generation. New nuclear is a complete non-starter in a deregulated market because of the same cheap gas and most regulated markets aren’t willing to undertake the massive financial risk of the huge capital investment, regulatory nightmare, and the disaster of a construction schedule that has been the Vogtle and Summer projects.

  4. Credits should only be made available for wind projects with at least 6 hrs of energy storage, specially for wind farms, so when it over produces in low peak periods it can store and sell its energy when demand comes back up early in the morning. And 6 hrs is a compromise, it should be 12 hours.

    Solar credits I’m all for. Solar only produces at times when demand is average to peak.

    I’m pro anything that helps solve climate change. Anything that doesn’t burn stuff.

    Flack jacket on.

  5. I’m not sure that I agree with you here.

    The problem isn’t Solar subsidies, the problem is the Fossil fuel subsidies and the over inflated Nuclear regulation costs and lack of subsidies.

    The price of Solar is coming down because people like it.

    Nuclear has a PR problem not a cost or safety problem. That is what needs to be focused on. Whenever I mention nuclear to people it is obvious they fear bombs and radiation, one of those issues can be solved by education and one by technology such as non-proliferation type reactors and fuels such as thorium.

    Anyway, keep up the good fight Rod.
    I am very close to putting a 10Kw Solar system on my roof and the 30% subsidy makes them pay for them selves is less than 8 years. Due to this though, I may just wait a few years, because the efficiency of panels is climbing quite fast as the price is dropping.

    1. “Nuclear has a PR problem not a cost or safety problem”

      Cost over-runs and accidents are the bane of the PR.

      Yes, I realize the cost over-runs are in part due to over-regulation. And, that the “accidents” are sensationalized beyond reason. But the nuclear PR efforts are feeble when compared to the impact of billions of dollars of over-runs in consttucting plants, and events such as Fukushima. A smoothly running and accident free NPP is simply not newsworthy. Nor is an on or under budget construction project, unfortunately. But an event like Fukushima, or a massive cost over-run on an NE project? Thats powerful PR for wind and energy. And, the renewable industry doesn’t even have to pay for it, because it is presented in the news broadcasts. Also, the Iran=nuclear bomb thing has refreshed the impression of NE=nuclear bomb in the public’s mind. Its ironic seeing the right leaning participants here nurturing that impression by attaching Iran’s NE endeavors to the pursuit of nuclear weaponry.

      1. The “mainstream” of the political right believes that blind support for Israel will somehow win Jewish votes. It has attracted money from Jewish billionaires but the vote part is not going to happen to any significant extent. The situation is similar to nuclear power advocates dreaming of winning support from the climate change crowd. And the billionaires among the climate change crowd won’t even shower us with money.

      2. Well, the high costs (overruns, etc.) are largely due to the mindset that any release of radiological pollution, ever, is absolutely unacceptable. In other words, the two “bad for PR” issues you mention work against each other. Want to never have meltdowns? Then you will have massive costs.

        What I hear you saying is that the answer to nuclear’s PR problems is for it to simply be perfect. My view is that perfection requires a near infinite amount of money. Enough money to make nuclear uncompetitive.

        Nonetheless, the mindset that we must never again have meltdowns remains prevalent in the industry, and it is the main reason for high and continually escalating costs. Often, the answer nuclear supporters give to the anti-nukes’ talking points is to talk about advanced reactors and how they will eliminate nuclear waste and be meltdown proof, etc.. In other words, “NEXT time nuclear really will be perfect, I promise”. And you wonder why there is a lack of trust. They try to propose a technological answer to what is not a technical problem (nuclear is already the best, technically). It is a public prejudice, excessive regulation, and unfair policy problem. All energy sources have some risk/impact, and we need to educate the public on how small nuclear’s are relative to the alternatives, mainly fossil fuels.

        With respect to PR, etc., nuclear’s main problem is not its lack of perfection, but how it’s portrayed, by the media as well as politicians and other public commentators. Tiny nuclear problems are hopelessly overblown, while much larger risks/impacts from other industries (e.g., fossil) are hardly discussed (or brought to attention) at all. Until this changes, no technological advance will save nuclear.

        Numbers and facts don’t affect the public. It is how things are portrayed. If something is talked about a lot, they think it’s a major issue, and vice versa. Is it any wonder that the public thinks terrorism, etc. is the biggest threat? The most important issue? Opened a newspaper lately? It’s all they talk about. The 14 dead in San Bernadino vs. the tens of thousands who die in auto accidents every year, etc…

        I’ve just learned of an excellent example of the double standard in media portrayal of fossil vs. nuclear problems. Are you aware that a natural gas storage facility in So. California has been releasing 50 tons of methane per hour into the atmosphere for ~2 months now? This is equal to 1/4 of CA’s methane emission rate. The leak is also causing tangible symptoms and health problems in the local population (something even Fukushima didn’t do). And yet, the press is only starting to report this, after 2 months!!!

        http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/porter-ranch-gas-leak-catastrophe-not-seen-the-bp-oil-spill

        http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-1219-gas-leak-20151219-story.html

        The answer to nuclear’s “PR problem” will not be advanced reactor technology. The answer will not be to never have meltdowns or other issues (as that is basically impossible to achieve). What has to happen is an end to extremely biased portrayals and double standards against nuclear; and an end to the double standard where any nuclear release ever (i.e., even a tiny chance) is absolutely unacceptable while common or continuous releases of pollution from other energy sources is freely accepted.

        1. @Jim Hopf

          I like what you wrote, so let me “riff” off of one of your excellent points.

          With respect to PR, etc., nuclear’s main problem is not its lack of perfection, but how it’s portrayed, by the media as well as politicians and other public commentators. Tiny nuclear problems are hopelessly overblown, while much larger risks/impacts from other industries (e.g., fossil) are hardly discussed (or brought to attention) at all. Until this changes, no technological advance will save nuclear.

          This is an often internally generated problem in an industry that was essentially founded by a perfectionist, socially insecure workaholic. The KOG (kind old gentleman) purposely sought to recruit as many people with similar characteristics as he could. Fortunately, people who embody all of those traits are not common and few of them make it through the various officer training programs that were prerequisites for obtaining an interview.

          Unfortunately, enough of them were selected and made it through their early JO assignments to have had a big impact on the commercial nuclear industry as either participants or regulators. Another group that had a big impact were people who proved to be exceptional rule followers who learned and taught others that was the highest standard of performance.

          Independent thinkers who accept reality, good enough performance and display critical thinking skills (like mjd, for example) haven’t managed to push themselves into high level decision making positions – yet.

          1. Regarding your final paragraph referencing “mjd”, I had the privilege of working for him as my SS. He was definitely an “independent thinker”, a trait far too lacking, especially with the robots operating reactor plants today who are unable to solve any abnormal condition if is not in their procedure, which they will follow to their grave regardless of all the other info around them. Mjd also “accepted reality” as you said, the reality that not everything is in the procedure, you are required to know your job, everthing about your job. When mjd gave you a checkout, you better know that system inside and outside. As for accepting “good enough performance “, that was not one of his traits, he demanded 100% all the time, every time! On your last point on “critical thinking skills”, if you look up its definition in Wikipedia, mjd’ picture appears. Mjd did not need to push himself into a “high decision making position” as you stated, rather he ensured his crew had the knowledge and experience to take care of any situation that arose and we had the chance to prove that on a number of occasions. Some of us did go on in the industry to get into one of those high level decision making positions and I can tell you that all of us referred back to our mjd training when the tough decisions presented themselves. As for your closing word , “yet”, mjd is still trying to improve the industry with his critical comments going back to TMI, too bad the “decision makers” at places like NRC and others will never change.

        2. Jim….excellent response. Civil, concise, and spot on target. A shame more advocates here don’t employ such intelligent and convincing deliveries when discussing the PR aspect of NE.

        3. I’ll add one more “bad for PR” issue to the list: The increasingly popular myth that ‘nuclear isn’t necessary’ for providing clean, affordable energy.

          I think this new PR issue (it’s only a few years old, but it is quickly gathering strength) is probably worse than all the others, because what it is suggesting to the public is that even ‘if’ nuclear is relatively safe and clean, and even ‘if’ it is affordable, and even ‘if’ proliferation risks are minimal, then so what? Renewables can ‘now’ do everything nuclear ‘might’ be able to do, so why bother with nuclear? It’s had it’s day. Renewables Will Save Us. And that’s all she wrote.

          Recently, Naomi Oreskes’ has steered a lot of attention to Mark Z Jacobson’s 100% study. That’s good. Hopefully, this will result in more popular recognition that the Jacobson study does a lot, but does not show 100% is affordable or even feasible. Actually, I’m still hoping that Oreskes is going to realise sooner or later she has made a massive blunder by hyping the MZJ study, and that she will come out with a new article in which she apologises and confirms that nuclear really is necessary after all (if not essential) for our common future.

          1. Joris, I totally agree with this statement:
            “I’ll add one more “bad for PR” issue to the list: The increasingly popular myth that ‘nuclear isn’t necessary’ for providing clean, affordable energy.”

            But I’d also add “reliable” to the description. However I would be careful describing this as a “myth” under the current reality. We’ve lost 5 plants in the past few years, and our nuke generation in the US is down to 19% of total. If we start to loose a few more, at some point the opinion by policy makers will become “it’s just not a large enough contributor to be worth all the hassle.” I think that is the biggest threat caused by closing plants.

            Apparently either the feedback loop on “clean, affordable, reliable, etc” is too long to see, or at national policy making levels they are not getting good/accurate advice based on reality.

            But it is hardly a “myth”. Consider Japan after Fukushima, shutting down all their nukes, and today almost all remain shutdown. My opinion at the time was their economy can’t survive that decision. But they have survived as of today, so where is the “myth?” I think Japan was at about 40% nuke generation before that shutdown decision.

            If I’m suddenly the guy who has the power to decide the fate of future nuclear power in the US how do I handle that information? Japan survived a total shutdown of nukes. All the counter arguments boil down to “just wait and see what happens in the long run”. And I don’t want to be the guy who says “I told you so” (besides I won’t be alive then), but the PR problem as I see it is the “I told you so” info should be becoming apparent after 4 years in Japan if it is real.

            Us telling each other on this blog that it is apparent based on this or that data from Japan (or Germany) accomplishes nothing. “Just wait and see” and “I told you so” is not the basis for a decision by policy makers.

            I don’t have a clue how to specifically solve this problem. But as you say, and most of us agree…”that nuclear really is necessary after all (if not essential) for our common future… nobody is getting that fact based message to our policy makers.

            The place to start is pick the messenger, and force our way into a conversation with the policy makers. But I don’t know how to make that happen.

          2. @mjd:
            “Consider Japan after Fukushima, shutting down all their nukes, and today almost all remain shutdown. My opinion at the time was their economy can’t survive that decision. But they have survived as of today, so where is the “myth?””

            Except it sort of hasn’t. Abenomics hasn’t brought any improvement, the non-service parts of their economy are basically a dumpster fire despite the regular Tanaka Shigeru working 12 hours on average (and getting strokes because of the stress), there’s jacks#!t employment available outside the large cities, Japanese companies continue outsourcing stuff to China (which, ironically, continues to increase their reactor count), the domestic goods market has become “rich man – poor man” (either expensive ‘premium’ or low-tier low-quality stuff with little to no in-between), influenza and pneumonia continue to be leading causes of death (the traditional s#!ttiness of Japanese homes coupled with high heating bills making people reluctant to properly heat their homes) etc.

            Not exactly signs of a stable, healthy economy.

          3. @mjd, as you probably know, an electric grid will typically have up to 130% firm capacity online, so removing 40% as happened in Japan is risky, but not impossible, given that there will typically be additional mothballed capacity in reserve which can be activated fairly quickly. And that is exactly what Japan did. They returned all mothballed plants back from service, and they instated country-wide electricity demand reduction policies. (Japanese citizens were asked to limit A/C use during peak periods, etc.)

            That is how the Japanese survived their nuclear shutdown. Although not all Japanese survived. Many Japanese died from heat in summer, arguably as a result of straining themselves to conserve electricity.

            Fully agree with your characterisation of the “wait and see” paradigm. It’s hard to argue with. “Told you so” is not going to solve problems later on. I also don’t know how to deal with this. I do try to speak with policy makers, but what I learn from that is not comforting. These policy makers appear to be soulless robots when I speak to them. I’ve not met a single one who appeared ‘on the job’ so to speak. They appear fully automated regurgitators of PC sustainababble. Their eyes are empty. There is no discussion, only dogma. Still, it does not mean that we should just give up. Just keep applying pressure and (at the very least) keep reminding these people that there are voters who disagree with the dogma and who are open to serious discussion, even if they aren’t (or believe that they cannot or should not be.).

    2. I’m currently working on a remodel where the wealthy homeowner, an almond farmer, is having a high end solar system installed. Talking to the owner of the solar company doing the work, I asked him about system obsolescence. He stated that the system, although state of the art, will be obsolete, albiet still functionally modern, in six months. The expected life expectancy of the system, twelve to fifteen years, will render the system an antique, a dinosaur, way before it needs replacing.

      1. poa – not sure I understand your point.

        There is nothing peculiar to solar panels about the phenomenon you describe. Isn’t it true of ALL durable good transactions – cars, equipment, appliances, and especially technology. If it performs as expected, and the owner covers their outlay in 8 years (or whatever), isn’t that all that matters?

        To me ‘obsolete’ implies it’s useless or hard to derive value from – like my trusty old Betamax. That’s not the case with solar panels…I have a relative who put panels on her roof 10-12 years ago and they may be dinosaurs in terms of efficiency but her electric bill is still $0 every month.

        @swainscheps

        1. Its not the panels, its the system as a whole, as I understand it. The controls, and how it interfaces with the homes electrical system and the grid.

    1. I’m fairly confident that Oreskes is going to realise her mistake and come back later with a new article reversing her conclusions. Maybe she will name the ‘scientific colleagues’ which caused he to write such a foolish article. That could be a huge deal, if it happens. Oreskes does not seem to be the type of person who can comfortably accept being utterly wrong on something for too long…

      1. I’m fairly confident that Oreskes is going to realise her mistake and come back later with a new article reversing her conclusions. Maybe she will name the ‘scientific colleagues’ which caused he to write such a foolish article. That could be a huge deal, if it happens. Oreskes does not seem to be the type of person who can comfortably accept being utterly wrong on something for too long …

        That’s just the kind of thing that a “denier” would say.

        It’s far more likely that Ms. Oreskes will write another book that exposes how all nuclear power plants are somehow owned or financed by the Kock brothers, the tobacco companies, or some other nefarious villain. Her readers enjoy the simple-minded, fairy-tale-like, good-vs-evil way that she frames public policy debates.

        1. Possibly, but what I’ve seen from Oreskes in video interviews is that she would not knowingly present falsehoods such as this. I’m sure she’s capable of misleading herself, or of being misled, but I doubt that she is particularly adept at willfully denying basic evidence when it comes down to it. It doesn’t seem to be her style to me. And basic evidence is all that is required to blast most of the nonsense she wrote in that Guardian article. Is it not?

          1. Er … did you actually read the article written by Naomi Oreskes?

            It reads more like something from a religious fundamentalist than anything else. She is a True Believer. That is exactly her style .

  6. “These subsidies are sold as ways to reduce CO2 and other air pollution,”

    Then they should subsidize ALL of the energy sources that deliver pollution free, clean and safe energy. Having politicians pick favorites stifles innovation.

    1. Arizona currently (and Utah has previously) included nuclear in the “renewable” category. Rod likes to (correctly — if the “narrow” definition is used) call those sources of power “unreliables” instead of “renewable.”
      I like the idea of playing the definition game (lawyers — that is what we do) — and nuclear neatly fits into the definition of “renewable” by way of the capability to obtain uranium from seawater (which removed uranium is replaced by Nature).
      Another gimmick: what if a reactor (buried in the ground) were to have no ability to produce electricity and all of the waste heat were ejected to the ground? Then that waste heat is picked up by a geothermal power plant? Does the legislation require that the heat from radiation used in geothermal originate at more than 50 feet? Doubt it . . .

  7. Tax credits for solar and wind are scams just as the climate change argument is a scam.

    You can’t cheat an (intellectually) honest man.

      1. @Turnages

        The climate change argument is almost totally reliant upon the climate models.

        Show me a graph of how the climate models have performed relative to the actual climate record since they have been benchmarked to the historical climate.

        The only such graphs I can find are put out by the “deniers”.

        While you are at it, show me a detailed graph of sea level change over the past 1000 year which would include the several centuries just prior to the industrial era as well as the industrial era itself. There are graphs of sea level change since the end of the Ice Age when sea level rose considerably before the industrial age. The scale of these graphs is so large that it is impossible to discern trends over the past 1000 years.

        The only graphs I have found show sea level change since the 1880 or so.

        The past 1000 years is important because it will contain a “control” (pre-industrial period) and the “experiment” (increased CO2).

        1. The climate change argument is almost totally reliant upon the climate models.

          Anything but.  It is founded on the measurement of IR radiation from the atmosphere, pioneered by Langley.  It wasn’t until 3 decades later that Arrhenius created a quantitative model.

          Show me a graph of how the climate models have performed relative to the actual climate record

          This is a bait-and-switch worthy of a god-of-the-gaps creatonut.  We’re measuring the heat imbalance today; the question is where it’s going and how fast.  Not all of it is warming the surface and escaping to space.  The oceans and ice caps are massive heat sinks and changes in heat transfer can shift a lot around without doing one bit to change the eventual result.

          show me a detailed graph of sea level change over the past 1000 year which would include the several centuries just prior to the industrial era as well as the industrial era itself.

          Sea levels, for where?  A lot of land in the north is still rebounding from the melting of the last ice sheets.

          1. @EP – The climate models are what tie changes in CO2 concentration with changes in temperature. The climate models are what allow the global warming crowd to exclude other causes of temperature change. The models are the basis behind all the cataclysmic projections of the consequences of continued CO2 emissions.

            So how are the models performing so far? Tell me why this is not a fair question to ask?

            The global warmers are saying that sea level rise is a result of global warming. Surely they have unambiguous data to support their claim.

            So where are the graphs?

          2. We’re measuring the heat imbalance today; the question is where it’s going and how fast.

            Well, I suppose that this is the kindergartner’s take on climate science. It’s like a child at the beach in the morning, watching the water get closer and closer, who concludes that everyone will ultimately drown. Very safety conscious, but hardly scientific.

            When it comes to “climate change,” there is really only one number that matters: the Climate Sensitivity. This is the equilibrium temperature change in response to changes of the radiative forcing. In other words, it’s the ultimate increase in global temperature that results when the concentration of carbon dioxide increases by a factor of two.

            The only thing that is known for certain is that, without any feedbacks, the global temperature should increase slightly more than one degree Celsius every time the concentration of carbon dioxide doubles. This result follows from basic physics, and any change from this number for a global system is the result of various feedback effects. Some of these feedbacks (e.g., the clouds) are not very well understood (as discussed in the latest IPCC reports). The numbers that are quoted today are entirely the result of simulations performed by General Circulation Models (a.k.a., “climate models”), which have failed to reproduce the global temperature behavior over the last two decades.

            One thing is pretty certain, however. Ultimately the system that governs global climate must have negative feedbacks at some point. As anyone who is familiar with dynamical systems knows, if the feedbacks were entirely positive, the Earth’s climate would have run away long ago simply due to natural variations in inputs such as solar flux. So while we have determined the limits on the extreme bounds, the overall uncertainties in climate sensitivity still remain quite large.

            Anyone who tells you that the “science is settled” on this topic is either a liar or a fool or both.

          3. Doubled CO2 yields about a 1 K temperature rise. Surface albedo change (melting snow-cover) due to this 1K rise yields another 1 K temperature rise. And increased moisture in the atmosphere yields another 1K rise.

            The last two feedbacks yield their respective 1K rises as a result from the combined 3K rise.

            Yes there is some uncertainty about how large these two main feedbacks will ultimately be, how quickly they materialise as a result of rising co2 concentrations, and how they influence each other (positively or negatively)

            No, there is no doubt that the climate sensitivity is significantly larger than 1K per doubling.

            And no, there is no doubt that even a low-ball 1.5K ultimate sensitivity means we are already committing the planet to (for humanity) dangerous levels of global warming.

            co2 emissions need to be reduced asap. The only way to do that is using a global nuclear ramp-up.

          4. The IPCC says that the climate sensitivity is “likely” in the range between 1.5 °C and 4.5 °C for a doubling of carbon dioxide, which has been the estimate of climate sensitivity going all the way to 1979 and the “Charney report.” (Occasionally, an IPCC report comes out that changes the range to 2.0-4.5 °C, but if I recall correctly, it’s now back to 1.5-4.5 °C.) That original estimate was made from the results of only two computer models. These days, the number of models typically used for one of these estimates is a factor of 10 larger, but the range remains remarkably unchanged.

            This figure is often given as 3.0±1.5 °C, since that encompasses the range, but the distribution of estimates that make up this range is highly non-symmetric. Using the mean of this distribution as a “best guess” ignores the problem that an arithmetic mean is pulled upward by the outliers that predict very large values. A substantial portion of this distribution is in the “low” range.

            The funny thing is that this distribution is often taken on faith to be the real distribution of probabilities for this value, as if it resulted from some sort of carefully controlled experiment with fairly well understood measurement uncertainties. Thus, this “fat tail” leads some to worry that there is some sort of real, but small, probability that something really bad is going to happen.

            I can make a pretty good case, however, that this distribution actually represents the range of assumptions that have been put into the models, and its shape is an artifact of the (conscious or unconscious) biases of the model developers that lead to these assumptions. Thus, there’s very little physical basis to these concerns.

          5. I don’t agree. There is certainly a physical basis to that estimate. There are a number of components which together sum to the 3 +- 1.5 estimate. The analysis leading to the identification and characterisation of each of these components is detailed at length in the IPCC reports. Here is a graphic displaying the results of such analyses.

            https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-spm-2.html

            Certainly, the 3 +-1.5 sensitivity is not as you seem to suggest a monolithic parameter that simply gets put into the advanced models without any underlying physical modelling. That’s what deniers try to lead people to believe, (in order to create the convenient illusion that the models have no physical basis) but it isn’t so.

          6. I meant no physical basis for the particular distribution of results from the collection of models and no physical justification for worrying simply because one or two models just happen to run very hot.

        2. > show me a detailed graph of sea level change over the past 1000 year.

          There are plenty of good and well discussed graphs in the chapter of the IPCC report which discusses sea level rise in detail, in a balanced and neutral way which sticks to the science and avoids alarmist statements. See http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_Chapter13.pdf . Why don’t you study this document in detail and see if it answers your questions.

          You still have not supplied a reliable scientific citation supporting your “climate change is a scam” assertions. These are contrary to the careful scientific consensus that has been steadily built over the last 20 years or so. As such, they are extraordinary claims, and the onus is on you to provide extraordinary evidence that they have merit.

        3. ‘The past 1000 years is important because it will contain a “control” (pre-industrial period) and the “experiment” (increased CO2).’
          Why stop there? The ice cores drilled through the Antarctic plateau at Vostok and Epica go back more than 800,000 years, and give levels of CO2, O16/18 ratios ( for global temperature), Hydrogen/deuterium ratios and C12/C14 ratios ( for sea ice cover ), volcanic ash banding, and beryllium ( which corresponds to cosmic ray intensity.)
          Brian Mays says -‘ It’s like a child at the beach in the morning, watching the water get closer and closer, who concludes that everyone will ultimately drown.’ Looking back a bit further, you can see that, at current CO2 levels, our lower lying cities will, in fact, drown, once sea level catches up.
          http://www.pages-igbp.org/download/docs/newsletter/2013-1/PAGESnews_2013_1-36-37-Siddall-et-al.pdf
          Looking back even further, it’s clear from the history of major and minor mass extinctions that the earth has a much wider repertoire of climate states than we should be happy about, before any negative feedbacks kick in. Most of the positive climate feedbacks – water vapour, ice albedo, carbon dioxide and methane from melting permafrost, increased forest and peat fires – are short or medium term, whereas the ultimate negative one – weathering causing CO2 to be bound up in limestone sediments – works on geological timescales. We’ve artificially ‘ weathered ‘ out coal and oil deposits, in 200 years, that should have been safely buried for hundreds of millions. We’re going to have to pay the bill and square things up –
          http://www.innovationconcepts.eu/res/literatuurSchuiling/olivineagainstclimatechange23.pdf
          Looking on the bright side, that’s going to need a hell of a lot of nuclear power.

          1. The only thing that is certain is that the current interglacial period will end and the Earth will enter another ice age. Since we’ve been in an interglacial for roughly 11,500 years now (which is a fairly long time as far as interglacials are concerned), this will come sooner rather than later.

            The normal state of the Earth is a lot colder and drier than what we live in now.

          2. We’ll only have an end to this interglacial when and IF the total of climate forcings allows a return to glacial conditions.  Milankovitch-cycle forcings are just one of many factors in play.  Adding enough persistent GHGs could overwhelm the effect of orbital and axial precession, and since the poles are where glaciation begins the strong polar warming from GHGs will have an outsized effect.

          3. I think that it’s a bit premature to be calling off the next Ice Age. The temperature change in a transition from interglacial period to glacial period is an order of magnitude larger than the (no-feedback) climate sensitivity due to carbon dioxide.

            This means that even if we take the high-end value for the climate sensitivity given by the IPCC, the atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentration would have to increase to almost 1600 ppm (i.e., four times of what today’s value is) to offset the change in temperature that occurs at the end of an interglacial.

            But it’s even more complicated than that. As the ice core data has shown, changes in carbon dioxide concentrations lag temperature changes, which means that temperature is a driving force for the atmosphere gaining or losing carbon dioxide. The alarmists claim that, during times when the temperature is increasing, this lagging increase in carbon dioxide acts as a positive feedback, driving the increase in temperature resulting from some other cause to be larger than it otherwise would have been. (Personally, I think that the reasoning behind this idea is not conclusive, but it is at least plausible.)

            This door swings both ways. When the current interglacial ends and temperatures begin to drop, carbon dioxide concentrations should also, after a time, begin to drop as well, and this will certainly offset increases in carbon dioxide concentrations from human sources.

          4. Brian Mays says-
            ‘The normal state of the Earth is a lot colder and drier than what we live in now.’
            This is only true for the last few million years. Over the whole span of earth’s history, it has been mostly ice-free.
            ‘This means that even if we take the high-end value for the climate sensitivity given by the IPCC, the atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentration would have to increase to almost 1600 ppm (i.e., four times of what today’s value is) to offset the change in temperature that occurs at the end of an interglacial.’
            You’re assuming that orbital sunshine variations cause all of the changes between glacial states. In fact the climate sensitivity applies to those, just as much as it does to the effects from carbon dioxide. That is, if a small effect from CO2 can be reinforced by positive feedbacks to have about three times as strong climate change, so can a small change in sunshine hours in the Arctic cause a much larger result, through the same indirect and self-reinforcing consequences.
            ‘This door swings both ways.’ It does, as shown by the cooling following the 1990 Pinatubo eruption. The cooling caused by volcanic ash shading over the next two years also caused lower outgassing of water vapour and CO2 from the oceans, leading to further cooling.
            http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/VEAChapter1_Robocknew.pdf

          5. This is only true for the last few million years.

            John – In case you didn’t notice, the topic of conversation (or at least what I was talking about) was about what happens on the scale of tens of thousands of years.

            You’re assuming that orbital sunshine variations cause all of the changes between glacial states.

            No, I’m not. In fact, I explicitly discussed the effect that carbon dioxide could have as a positive feedback for temperature change. It is well known and undisputed, however, that orbital effects are the main driver of climate dynamics over these long time scales.

            If you disagree, then please say so.

          6. Rod – If you don’t want to believe what we’ve seen in the ice core records, then that is your choice.

            The cycle has been pretty consistent, however. Changes in carbon dioxide follow changes in temperature with a lag of several hundred years.

            1. Brian – My comment had nothing to do with science. I was just noting that something that “should” happen cannot result in a certain outcome.

              If a required stimulus is only probable, result must also be described probabilisticly.

          7. People seem to like trotting out “CO2 increases lag temperature increases by 800 years” as if it were a one-line disproof of increased CO2 causing global warming. But it is very far from that.

            All it means is that temperature increases from other causes (e.g. orbital cycles) cause more CO2 to gradually go into the atmosphere than it would if things were colder. This has a perfectly straightforward physical explanation: decreased CO2 solubility in the enormous body of the oceans as they gradually warm up.

            This increased CO2 will also have an amplifying effect on that warming, but that is a separate effect.

            This slow natural increase is nowadays completely swamped by the sudden 60% addition so far from man-made sources, which, surprisingly enough, were not previously around in the last few million years. We are no longer dealing with “these long time scales” over which “orbital effects are the main driver of climate dynamics”.

          8. People seem to like trotting out “CO2 increases lag temperature increases by 800 years” as if it were a one-line disproof of increased CO2 causing global warming.

            Some people might like to do that, but it is certainly not what I did.

            This increased CO2 will also have an amplifying effect on that warming, but that is a separate effect.

            Which is what I said. It is also a separate effect that has never been quantified. How much amplified? Nobody knows.

            This slow natural increase is nowadays completely swamped by the sudden 60% addition so far from man-made sources, …

            Well, great! That’s one less thing to worry about. If the magnitude of an amplification effect is unknown, it is reassuring to know that its source will be relatively small.

            The current knowledge (according to the IPCC) about the state of the Earth’s climate is that there is “strong evidence” (based on model results) that more than half of the climate change seen in recent decades is human-driven. In terms of temperatures, this means that maybe half or a bit more of a change on the order of 0.5 degrees Celsius that has occurred since 1950 is due to human activities. Mind you, carbon-dioxide emissions make up only a portion of these human activities.

            This is entirely consistent with the low end of estimates of the climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide, and as I have already demonstrated (quantitatively), the influence of this sensitivity is almost nothing compared to the factors driving climate dynamics on larger time scales.

            We are no longer dealing with “these long time scales” over which “orbital effects are the main driver of climate dynamics”.

            If that was the point that you were trying to make, then you failed utterly to support it.

            I guess some people seem to like trotting out the factoid that CO2 has increased as if it were a one-line proof that … well … just about anything. Apparently it’s a blank check to some people.

          9. Brian, you assume that I am disagreeing with you more than is actually the case. I actually agree with a lot of what you say.

            Nevertheless, where your pronouncements differ from the conclusions of the large and solid body of research by professional climate scientists (which neither you nor I are), I have confidence in them rather than in you. If they say that the recent step increase in CO2 is serious cause for concern, I listen to them with respect and attention. It is nice to know that in 10,000 years or so, we may be heading for a cooling period, but frankly, we have some more short-range concerns.

            In terms of temperatures, this means that maybe half or a bit more of a change on the order of 0.5 degrees Celsius that has occurred since 1950 is due to human activities. Mind you, carbon-dioxide emissions make up only a portion of these human activities.

            This is entirely consistent with the low end of estimates of the climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide.

            Don’t forget that we have so far seen only around half of the resultant warming from the CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) already added. This is shown by the continuing global radiative imbalance – more heat is still going in than coming out. The combined thermal inertia of the oceans and icecaps is very large.

          10. I actually agree with a lot of what you say.

            Of course. That’s because what I say is taken from the scientific literature and particularly the (WG1) summaries compiled by the IPCC. 😉 I just leave off the part where it is claimed that “we’re all in big trouble,” because those claims are made by the politicians and the advocates (and some scientists who moonlight as advocates … or is it the other way around?). While it is possible they’re right, I am far from being convinced by the scientific evidence.

            It is nice to know that in 10,000 years or so, we may be heading for a cooling period, but frankly, we have some more short-range concerns.

            It’s probably going to be a lot sooner than that, and I’d say that it’ll be more troubling than comforting to whatever is around to experience it. After all, this is another ice age we’re talking about. Anyhow, I was surprised by the amount of discussion that resulted from what was an off-hand comment of mine. I thought it was rather silly to be debating such stuff to that extent actually, but people kept challenging my comments.

            Don’t forget that we have so far seen only around half of the resultant warming from the CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) already added.

            That is a good point, and yes, I realize that, which is why I pointed out from the beginning that climate sensitivity is the equilibrium change in temperature resulting from a doubling of carbon dioxide. Of course there is going to be lag in the response of a system this complicated.

            So when I say that the observed temperature history is consistent with the low-end estimates, I mean the estimates of the equilibrium value, which includes long-term effects. I say consistent because the uncertainties are so large, particularly when it comes to these long-term effects. I don’t say certain.

    1. Nobody is covering the potential financial downside and boosting the financial upside for “climate change” as we all are for wind and solar “energy”. Just as the most naive bank robber gets caught holding the bag while his more sophisticated partners speed away if the cops unexpectedly show up, the most innocent “partner” in renewable investments take the downside if the investments “go south”. The most innocent partners are also not likely to share much (or at all) in the upside if the renewables ‘investment’, pays off, usually to the detriment of the masses, often the most innocent partner. Remember Henry Hill’s book (and great movie) about the Lufthansa Heist: Winners took all, and many of the most meek partners were killed.

      “Climate Change” may be an element of the set-up, but it itself is not the scam. The scam is wind and solar, involving investments, where the upside is maximized, and the downside is minimized where the taxpayer and the ratepayer will most likely get caught holding the bag and the worst perps walk away counting their cash.

      1. I wonder in the Ivanpah investment in solar energy if Google Inc was a “mark” (along with the California tax/rate payer) or one of the grifters.

        1. Google apparently made a sincere effort to investigate the possibility that renewables alone could actually displace fossil fuels. I think any involvement of Google in Ivanpah was done before their own engineers concluded that there was no way renewables could succeed. Ivanpah might have been what convinced them.

          Still, this doesn’t discount the possibility that Google saw an opportunity to get good publicity and some kind of tax write off with Ivanpah.

          Doing well by doing good.

    2. @FermiAged

      During my dark hours, I think about how convenient it is for hydrocarbon interests that ding a lings like McKibben, Oreskes, Lovins and Jacobson are both climate change and antinuclear activists. Their actions sow doubt about the hazards of continuing to dump 30-35 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.

      Then I brighten up by remembering that I’ve published articles identifying the money flow from hydrocarbon interests to at least 50% of the above. I’ll keep on trying to show how hard the people who merchandize nuclear doubt work and how many angles they use in their attacks.

      1. The fossil fuel interests actually put surprisingly little effort into fighting the climate change mantra compared to government, non-profits and businesses that explicitly profit from it (solar, wind, carbon markets etc.) The fossil fuel industry, particularly NG realizes that the renewables cannot possibly power a healthy, advanced economy and will require NG for baseload generation and full backup. Nuclear must never be allowed to be a consideration.

        The NG interests might not even be too concerned about the anti-fracking atitudes of the renewables/climate change crowd. Fracking requires an ever larger number of wells to compensate for the rapid loss in productivity which results in depressed NG prices. In the short term this serves the interests of clearing the domestic market of any possibility of competition from existing or new nuclear. It also supports the disruption of the NG export market for Russian NG. The development of a US NG export capability will allow us to make sure Europe will not rely on Russian NG and keep NATO on track in the new Cold War with Russia. I believe that oil prices were purposely depressed in the 1980’s in order to reduce the USSR’s foreign currency earnings. Certainly, this did more to end the USSR than the SDI program.

        The CFR has long been an organization that promotes a US foreign policy that leads to the institution of global governance. It helps if it also results in profitable business opportunities for it’s corporate sponsors.

        Initially, the CFR types seemed to support nuclear power around the world as long as there was centralized control of fuel fabrication. This changed with Lovin’s paper published by the CFR in 1976. Today, The CFR uses nuclear only to promote it’s climate chsnge meme, which is itself a way of instituting global governance.

      2. @poa – It would be nice if humans were all lego bricks that identical characteristics except for their color. Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” argues that evolution continues, that our social structures reflect our evolution, that our evolution is influenced by our social structures and that groups that split off during migrations out of Africa have small genetic differences that have enormous consequences. We ignore these differences at our peril. One consequence is how we test drugs in different populations.

        1. “…..that our evolution is influenced by our social structures….”

          Which is precisely why I find EP’s reference to the 50’s as having “common sense” involved with the way negroes were treated during that time period as such a despicable opinion.

          You have two children. One is extremely bright, excels intellectually. The other, smart, but not to his sibling’s level. So, the “slow” one is denegrated by his parents and peers, treated as less than equal. What do you think the end reult of that “social structure” is going to be?

          Is see no positive side to pushing the concept of genetic racial inferiority, even if one accepts it is more than a concept, (which I do not).

          And on a personal level, I am glad I am not saddled with a preconception of an individual’s intelligence by the shape of their eyes, or the color of their skin. Its a great belief if you’re looking for an excuse for your bigotry. Hitler put it to use in a grand manner, didn’t he?

          We are all individuals, and should be judged as individuals. The “great peril” is in not practicing that simple code of ethics. Certainly, I know enough about EP’s biases and bigotries to know I am disgusted by them. And according to him, he’s a member of one of the “smarter” races.

          1. You have two children. One is extremely bright, excels intellectually. The other, smart, but not to his sibling’s level. So, the “slow” one is denegrated by his parents and peers, treated as less than equal. What do you think the end reult of that “social structure” is going to be?

            The “slow” one goes to law school and ends up earning five times the amount that the one who “excels intellectually” does.

            As the movies say, this is based on a true story.

            1. Was “the slow one” actually denigrated and treated as less than equal? Was he discouraged from study and encouraged to try his hand at landscaping, painting or carpentry?

              Somehow, I doubt it.

          2. Was he discouraged from study and encouraged to try his hand at landscaping, painting or carpentry?

            If he had been encouraged to try his hand at plumbing, he would had earned almost as much, but still substantially more than the “intellectual.”

            Believe it.

          3. Which is precisely why I find EP’s reference to the 50’s as having “common sense” involved with the way negroes were treated during that time period as such a despicable opinion.

            This, from the clown who refuses to say whether he’d send his grandchildren to school in Detroit, or live there himself.  His own revealed preference is obvious:  Diversity for Thee, but not for Me.  He’s a flaming hypocrite who practices what he calls “racism” but hides it in silence.

            Among the results of “anti-discrimination” and “civil rights” is this.  If you call this “working”, there is something badly wrong with you.  So, POA… precisely why do you stand behind the policies which destroyed Detroit (and Gary, and Newark, and Camden, and….)?

            Part of common sense is believing what repeated tests and natural experiments tell you is true.  We pay immense costs for failing to do this, in nuclear vs. fossil and “renewable” energy, in sociology, and everything else.

          4. Rod…I was offering a hypothetical in response to fermi’s point about the effects of social structures on evolution. One hopes a parent would use a healthier child rearing technique with such offspring. But of course, you realize that simply being a parent doesn’t neccessarily equate to being a good parent.

            And yes, if you accept my metaphor of the “slow one” representing certain races in american history, and how they have been treated, particularly prior to the 70’s, the effect that social structure had on them is quite glaring.

            Btw…good job on staying out of this one for as long as you did. I know that eugenics is not exactly a favorite “science” of yours. Surely you musta been biting your tongue.

            And, by the way, being “slow”is not an asset for a carpenter, nor is it a doorway into the trade. I would say that the side of the brain that is predominate is a more likely doorway, or obstacle, to entering the section of the trades that I have pursued.

            As far as actual individuals that are challenged intellectually, I have found they do not do well in the higher levels of blue collar tradeswork. If you want a real disaster, hire a dumb plumber. Or if ya really wanna roll the dice, hire a stupid electrician. Or, uh, hire a painter that shows up to bid the job in a rig that has paint slopped all over its bedsides and tailgate.

          5. “This, from the clown who refuses to say whether he’d send his grandchildren to school in Detroit, or live there himself.  His own revealed preference is obvious:  Diversity for Thee, but not for Me.  He’s a flaming hypocrite who practices what he calls “racism” but hides it in silence.”

            You know this by what I DIDN’T say, EP? Yout bigotry knows no bounds, does it? You know nothing about me, and I’ve given you no fodder by which to judge. You, however, have provided plenty of grist to justify convicting you of basic racist small mindedness. Its called ignorance, EP, and it drips off you like slobber from a rabid monkey.

            Of course I wouldn’t have my daughter attend school in detroit. I worked hard to achieve my status and standing, and the “social structure” I was exposed to in my youth offered opportunities not available to large segments of our population, such as many who live in our urban ghettos. I naturally worked to expose my daughter to those same opportunities I was exposed to. Thats not racism, you idiot, its basic parenting.

          6. His own revealed preference is obvious: Diversity for Thee, but not for Me.

            You know this by what I DIDN’T say, EP?
            ….
            Of course I wouldn’t have my daughter attend school in detroit. I worked hard to achieve my status and standing

            Game, set, match.

            the “social structure” I was exposed to in my youth offered opportunities not available to large segments of our population, such as many who live in our urban ghettos. I naturally worked to expose my daughter to those same opportunities I was exposed to.

            If I was a leftard I would accuse you of perpetuating “White privilege”.  As I am fair, I will say you did the right thing for reasons which are now Thoughtcrime.

            But I want to call attention to this:  “opportunities not available to large segments of our population, such as many who live in our urban ghettos.”  When you were born, Detroit was not an urban ghetto; it was still more or less “the Paris of the West”.  Ancestors of mine lived and grew up there.  Practically everything they built and knew is now gone, not just changed but physically destroyed (I am talking brick structures built in the European tradition to last centuries).  The ruination is as bad as an atomic bomb blast, but impossible to fix because the destruction is on-going.

            When my parents were growing up, Detroit’s schools offered calculus, Latin and Greek.  Today its schools confer diplomas on people who cannot read and write English.  Are you seriously claiming that it is “bigotry” to acknowledge this?  Is it immoral to admit causes?

            You, however, have provided plenty of grist to justify convicting you of basic racist small mindedness. Its called ignorance, EP, and it drips off you like slobber from a rabid monkey.

            It is ironic that you almost certainly did not know what the current rulers of Detroit did to the library branch named after one of their most earnest champions.  Not knowing that is true ignorance.

            I’m not a bigot, POA.  I’m not intolerant of your opinion.  I just hold you to a standard of truth, and find you chronically wanting.

          7. “Is it immoral to admit causes?”

            No. It is immoral to choose questionable “causes” that are designed to justify one’s own prejudices and bigotries by funneling complex social cause and effect into the premise of racial inferiority.

            I’m sick of you, and this debate. Enough said. I leave it to the readers here to form their own judgements about the morality of your stance.

          8. The following is a direct quote from the site EP linked to while he was insinuating that the blacks have destroyed Detroit. It seems that racism destroyed Detroit, at least in the opinion of those that designed and opined on the website. We, as American’s, and those racists among us, are great at blaming the monsters of our own making.

            “Few things have shaped and molded the collective consciousness of the people of Detroit, as have race and racism.”

            “Detroit was, and still is, one of the most segregated cities in America. Though blacks have lived in Detroit almost from its founding over 300 years ago, it wasn’t until the First World War that large numbers of black immigrants began to arrive in the city from the south, along with southern whites who sought jobs in the defense industry. What had been a fairly integrated city became stratified along racial lines, with the racial prejudices of many newly arrived southern whites and some Detroit residents dictating a social policy that saw the creation of separate neighborhoods, schools, hotels, and public services for black Detroiters.”

          9. Sigh … of course it’s always the fault of the Southerner, even when the failure is as far north as Michigan.

            Please excuse me while I vomit.

          10. The following is a direct quote from the site EP linked to while he was insinuating that the blacks have destroyed Detroit. It seems that racism destroyed Detroit, at least in the opinion of those that designed and opined on the website.

            No such text appears on any page I linked, and POA doesn’t give any.  Further, this opinion demands factual support, and the claim itself is ambiguous:  whose racism is supposed to have destroyed Detroit?

            Is POA ignorant of the fact that Coleman Young was elected mayor of Detroit on a promise to disband the STRESS unit which had been so successful in reducing armed robbery—unleashing the force of Black violent crime against the White population of the city they had built?

            Is POA ignorant of the fact that Devil’s Night arsons (ignored in the 1990 NYTimes story you can find with a search for “Devil’s Night Chafets”, I can only use 2 links per comment) targeted White people, or that ~300 Black-on-Black shootings occurred annually in Detroit circa 1990 when the rest of the state didn’t even come close?  Is he ignorant that Coleman Young (and practically all of today’s “Progressives”) did/do not view Black racial hatred as “oppressive”… despite the obvious and proven power they have to act on it?

            Does POA seriously put Al Sharpton up as an exemplar of Black competence?  A so-called “reverend” who cannot even read a teleprompter?

            Does POA seriously call Otis Mathis (Google the details) a fit member of the Detroit Board of Education, let alone its president?  Does he think White “racists” esconced him as DBoE president—or was it incompetent Blacks?

            It is immoral to choose questionable “causes” that are designed to justify one’s own prejudices and bigotries by funneling complex social cause and effect into the premise of racial inferiority.

            I agree.  It is immoral to engage in ethnomasochism to signal your virtue and boost your own ego.  It is immoral to attribute every ill of a certain ethnic group to a spooky action-at-a-distance theory which rids them of all moral agency and assigns blame for everything they do to others.  It is immoral to assign White children the job of curing the ills of others at the expense of their own educations, sense of well-being and physical safety.  It is immoral to assign White people the unique blame for an institution they fought to abolish and which was established in the British colonies at the behest of an African.  It is immoral to treat the founding population of the USA as sheep to be sheared and slaughtered for the sake of others who are coming here precisely because they are unable to build a society like America.

            funneling complex social cause and effect into the premise of racial inferiority.

            But funnelling it into the premise of myriad, ineffable forms of “racism” and “privilege” is just fine with you.  Good thing those Chinese and Japanese are still suffering the effects of racial exclusion and dispossession as recently as WWII, if they weren’t as pro-crime and anti-education as other minorities they might make the Mexicans and Africans look ba…. oops.

            Causasians and Amerinds were building with stone thousands of years ago.  The first Gothic cathedrals date from the 12th century… as does the crowning glory of sub-Saharan African construction, the Great Zimbabwe.  Now why did Africans only build one of them, and apparently forget all they knew long before Europeans sailed down the coast and met them for the first time?

            I’m sick of you, and this debate. Enough said.

            Good.  You can take your projected blame for all the ills of brown people in America with you.  I don’t accept it and I WILL mock it every time you dare to drag it in here.

          11. I went to school in Detroit. My high school, Cass Tech, was about 90 percent black. It was a great school. I learned calculus!

            Rod, seriously, you need to ban commentary that engages in racial stereotyping. It’s making your site look very bad. Please, get rid of it, now.

            1. @Will Boisvert

              I prefer for Atomic Insights to be a learning and discussion space and not a “safe space” that prevents speech that makes people uncomfortable. I will, of course, limit speech that is designed to make people uncomfortable using slander, slur, and lies.

          12. I went to school in Detroit. My high school, Cass Tech, was about 90 percent black. It was a great school.

            Cass Tech’s average ACT score is 21… and it is the major, and probably the biggest, academic magnet school in Detroit.

            Average ACT for Michigan is 22.7, average for Ann Arbor is 24.  That’s the whole state and the whole city, not selective magnets.

            I learned calculus!

            70 years ago, I’d bet all Detroit high schools taught it.

            you need to ban commentary that engages in racial stereotyping.

            Facts are facts, no matter how uncomfortable they make you feel.

    3. Then I suggest you get a PhD in climatology and write your great rebuttal to climate change paper that silences thousands of scientists that think otherwise.

      Until you’re able to do that, I suggest you realize that just because you have freedom of speech doesn’t mean what you have to say is worth a dam penny.

      We’ve seen this kind of reaction to science for centuries.

      Whenever science comes to conclusion that are inconvenient to conservative types they use every weapon they can to silence science. Since you can’t burn scientists at the stake anymore then you resort to vague nonsense arguments.

      The effects of CO2, water vapour, methane and other GHG gases are perfectly proven using lab experiments. That much I know with absolute certainty. From that to planetary scale effects isn’t too hard to believe considering we’ve doubled CO2 levels over the last 200 years, and we’re on track to raise CO2 levels to 600ppm (triple pre industrial levels).

      In my view its you that must prove your point instead of just throw FUD against it.
      You sound much like the Fukushima armageddon anti nuclear folks.

      1. If the CFR reference in that write-up is the Counsel on Foreign Relations (as I took it), then there is no need for further discussion. But I can fix it: The Counsel on Foreign Relations has long been an organization that promotes a US foreign policy that leads to US dominance and control of the world; by any means.

        1. Well, with Elliot Abrams touted as one of the “experts” involved with CFR, what do you expect? The CFR is just an ideological extension of the PNAC. These folks scare the crap out of me.

          1. The CFR was created as an American branch of the Royal Institute of International Affairs following the failure of the US to join the League of Nations. There were similar organizations in other Commonwealth nations. I think the founders initially wanted to re-incorporate Canada and ANZUS back into Britain (part of Cecil Rhodes’ dream). This morphed into a grander ambition of de facto global government. The general plan was to promote regional consolidations which could eventually be administered by a central authority. The EU and the proposed North American Union are some examples. In parallel, national sovereignty would be weakened by treaties, alliances and UN resolutions. Nations that don’t “play ball” get sanctioned or bombed.

            Civilian nuclear power was initially a carrot but the offer was retracted when the planners realized that it might not be controllable. Lovins article in the CFR’s journal “Foreign Affairs” was the public announcement but the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations which provided financial support to the CFR did much of the intellectual ground work.

      2. Whenever science comes to conclusion that are inconvenient to conservative types they use every weapon they can to silence science.

        Would you call Stephen Jay Gould a “conservative”?  He called a bunch of established and verifiable anthropological science some nasty names (including “racist”, I believe) and he was able to get it silenced until after his death when re-measurements of the samples proved that the 19th-century measurements were accurate.

        In short, both major ideological camps in Western society are dead wrong about crucial, provable scientific facts.  This leads to public policy which is destructive of the ends for which it’s allegedly constituted.  I’d despair over this if it wasn’t for historians who’ve found that insanity in societies isn’t the exception, it’s the norm.

        Since you can’t burn scientists at the stake anymore

        But you can throw Nobel prize winners out on their ear for speaking inconvenient (to the left) truths, or even allegedly making statements that were apparently not actually made.

        The propaganda which supports this nonsense obviously serves someone’s agenda.  If those people were to be burned at the stake things might improve.

        1. “He called a bunch of established and verifiable anthropological science some nasty names (including “racist”, I believe) and he was able to get it silenced…blahblahlah…sputter..drool..”

          Oh…you must be referring to his disassembly of Samuel George Morton’s racist and despicable constructs, eh?

          1. you must be referring to his disassembly of Samuel George Morton’s racist and despicable constructs, eh?

            I’m referring to Morton’s verified accurate and unbiased measurements.  FTA:  “These results falsify the claim that Morton physically mismeasured crania based on his a priori biases.”

            The article goes on:

            Dr. Gould did not measure any of the skulls himself but merely did a paper reanalysis of Morton’s results. He accused Morton of various subterfuges, like leaving out subgroups to manipulate a group’s overall score. When these errors were corrected, Dr. Gould said, “there are no differences to speak of among Morton’s races.”

            But Dr. Gould himself omitted subgroups in his own reanalysis, and made various errors in his calculations. When these are corrected, the differences between the racial categories recognized by Morton are as he assigned them. “Ironically, Gould’s own analysis of Morton is likely the stronger example of a bias influencing results,” the Pennsylvania team writes.

            Honesty is acknowledging that reality is what it is, not what you want it to be or what your religion/ideology says it has to be.  Gould fails that test, and since his denunciation of Morton required the very misconduct he ascribed to Morton, Gould cannot be taken as anything other than a scientific fraud.  He knew what he was doing.

            Then there’s the persecution of Dr. James Watson (as in “Watson & Crick”), and Dr. Tim Hunt was hounded out of UCL a recording of his remarks vindicated him.  Sadly, Connie St. Louis’ racial privilege will keep her from suffering the fate she deserves for being so grossly dishonest.  After all, if she’s equally capable as any non-colored journalist, she should be held to precisely the same standards of accuracy and truthfulness.

            Stephen Jay Gould = Trofim Lysenko.

          2. Gould was an apparent disciple of the Frankfort School which was known to make facts fit the theory. He also had a scientific quarrel with Harvard biologist E. O Wilson over the ideas in Wilson’s book on sociobiology.

          3. Assuming Morton’s conclusions are correct, and you can correctly state that certain races are inferior intellectually, how do you think such “information” should be applied, EP? You have argued the validity of the science of eugenics. Ok, now what? Should we fabricate social and political policies around the “knowledge” that certain members of our global society are “inferior”. What about the workplace?? Are we to judge a person’s suitability for a job by our knowledge that he or she belongs to an inferior race?

            OMG! I have a daughter! What if she drags home an inferior being??

          4. It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t understand that the mean merely indicates the likelihood that a sample drawn from a population has a given value or is within a range of values.

          5. I know this strays way off of AI’s charter but since the question has been allowed to stand I’m going to go there.

            Assuming Morton’s conclusions are correct

            What do you mean, “assuming“?  Morton measured physical skull volumes.  His results have been checked and verified.  They are a fact.  To question them is to take leave of reality.

            you can correctly state that certain races are inferior intellectually

            And some are superior intellectually.  E. Asians have about a +0.4 standard deviation IQ advantage over Europeans, primarily in mathematical abilities.  Ashkenazim have about a +1 SD advantage.  Again, facts.  There is a strong association between average national IQ and GDP.  This is only “controversial” because it contradicts blank-slate dogma, making moral superiority so much harder to obtain for those who want to designate “oppressor” and “oppressed” classes/races.  After all, if something is naturally occurring then it’s nobody’s fault and you can’t get a cushy job “fixing” it at the expense of people you hate.

            how do you think such “information” should be applied, EP?

            Scare quotes noted.  Simply repeal all of the “anti-discrimination” and “disparate impact” law and eliminate all the inquisitionary investigatory and enforcement agencies.  American business and universities would instantly be freed of a large dead-weight compliance burden in HR, admissions and legal departments.  Restoring the civil service exam and being able to discharge public employees for malfeasance or incompetence without any threat of civil-rights suits would eliminate a similar massive deadweight loss in government.  We’d eliminate immigration of people without the brainpower to support themselves in our economy, or whose children would likely fail.  We’d stop worrying about “optics” in public school classrooms and deal with individuals, especially by punishing and expelling the intentional non-learners who make it impossible to teach the rest.  The application is easy, just go back to what worked 60 years ago.

            Are we to judge a person’s suitability for a job by our knowledge that he or she belongs to an inferior race?

            Should we continue to force businesses to hire people because they belong to an “under-represented” race, even though someone else is better qualified?

            You know, in all the NBA games I’ve seen at sports bars there hasn’t been ONE SINGLE VISIBLY HISPANIC PLAYER.  Should the NBA have a hiring quota for Hispanics?

            OMG! I have a daughter! What if she drags home an inferior being??

            Then I guess you get grandchildren steeped in racial grievance dogma who might decide to rob you and kill you, or if you’re lucky they might only rob you and pour rubbing alcohol down your throat.

            (You disgust me, EP. )

            This was all common sense when you were born, but there’s no fool like an old fool.

          6. “This was all common sense when you were born…..”

            1952. So yeah, I guess it was common sense. If you belonged to the KKK.

            Still is, (common sense), if you’re a skinhead. Somehow, EP, I doubt you’re a skinhead.

            Like you said, “there’s no fool like an old fool.”

          7. 1952. So yeah, I guess it was common sense. If you belonged to the KKK.

            Somehow, despite having lived through that era (long before I was politically aware), you have forgotten the meaning of the term “yellow-dog Democrat”.  That was when Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond were Democrats.  Oh, let’s not forget Bull Connor.

            Still is, (common sense), if you’re a skinhead. Somehow, EP, I doubt you’re a skinhead.

            I like my skin intact.  Steve Utash nearly lost his for being unaware of Black tribal hatred, and Jourdan Bobbish and Jacob Kudla didn’t survive their encounter with “diversity”.  I could list a lot more names, up to the past few days if I wanted to.

            It’s obvious that you don’t spend your working days in a ghetto; custom carpenters can’t get any work there.  Tell me something, POA:  what are the demographics of your home area?  What is your revealed preference regarding what is a good/safe place to live, go to school, etc?  Would you send your grandchildren to school in Detroit?  Would you live there?  If not, why not?  Are you racist or something?  My area is less than 1% African-American, and I know fully a third of them by sight.

            Like you said, “there’s no fool like an old fool.”

            When you scratch the surface of a social justice warrior you usually find a hypocrite.  Do you walk the walk, or not?

        2. Yes and also lot of this is related to historical stances related to anti nuclear power that are now practically obsolete within each party. Anti Nuclear war. Anti environmentalism. “free markets” Superficial levels of anti and pro climate science.

          You get these weird triangulated populist positions. If its even possible to reconcile them on a particular level or perspective.

          I think this budget was what happens when its become so polarized, inflammatory and politically correct as to make public discussion, even by Representatives, impossible. Appearance and immediate popularity overtook reason and consideration. So the sausage making was all done in darkness. Bad decision making, lobbyist influenced, stinking heap that it is.

      3. Leaving aside the politics (and you know nothing about my politics which would not be considered conservative), the “conclusions” are more than inconvenient. The “conclusions” are used as the justification for an unprecedented reordering of our society and economy, probably condemning us to rely on energy technologies that cannot sustain the global population. The “conclusions” have even lead to proposals for geo-engineering the climate. Sorry, the “trust us, we’re the experts” line isn’t enough.

        Unlike astrophysics or particle physics, we can’t run controlled experiments in climatology. To benchmark nuclear accident simulation codes, semiscale tests were run and the predictions of the codes verified. The climate models have only one independent historical record and the best data only goes back about 150 years.

        I have a degree in nuclear engineering. I understand cause and effect. I understand the quantum mechanical reasons why CO2 and methane act as greenhouse gases. I don’t dispute that they have a role in climate whether they come from natural or human activities. All I have asked for are simple graphs that should be easy to produce if the cause and effect are so certain.

        I am working on one of the AP1000 units under construction. I want new nuclear capacity as much as anyone here. But I will be damned (don’t forget the ‘n’) if it has to be based on somebody telling me to just STFU and trust the experts.

        1. “To benchmark nuclear accident simulation codes, semiscale tests were run and the predictions of the codes verified.”

          If you mean LOFT, you are ignoring the historical discussion about the painful interlude after the first runs and the long term results of it, which we still see. The initial LOFT experiments showed the LOCA “codes” were wrong. AEC tried to hide it. This became a large player in the AEC being split with promotion being taken from them. Both good and bad came from this. LOCA codes were improved, but also design changes to plants, e.g. KW/ft limits on fuel to bound uncertainties in the codes. Part of the bad is the current NRC over reliance on “code” to approve anything. But the worst may be NRC official position as “agnostic” about nuke power. Thus they will not use judgement to approve anything.

          But I clearly get your point on how climate “models” can be extremely complicated, and like any model are just a guess. This is also appropriate for discussion about post-Fukushima operator training on simulators using post-accident models such as MELCOR and MAPP. Both of those predict the Fuku U1 core melted through the bottom of the RPV and relocated to the space below. A lot of experts don’t believe it. The advocates will say but it’s the best guess we have by a bunch of really sharp people. I will say the same thing can be said about the operator simulator training pre-TMI2 for a Pressurizer steam space LOCA, and it was dead wrong.

          The real point I see in all of this belongs on Rod’s post about prototypes. They really are the key to advanced design approval. I think everyone will agree real data beats “best guess” in very complicated processes… every time.

  8. Well, fermi “gets it” when it comes to foreign policy, israeli interests being furthered by bribery, and the corrosiveness of our relationship with Israel.

    But his stance on global warming baffles me.

    1. There are some interesting parallels between the Israeli lobby and the climate change lobby. Both are able to control the message to such a degree that anyone offering an opposing point of view is demonized. In opposing the Israeli lobby, one is labelled an anti-semite. Questioning the human-caused global warming thesis or even just the degree of global warming from human activities is to be a “denier” similar to “holocaust denier”. Several nations have laws against the latter. Many want laws against the former.

      There is also interesting parallels between the global warming concept and the LNT hypothesis. Go back and review the excellent work Rod has done on the machinations to promote LNT.

      1. The unscientific public gets it “understanding” of scientific issues through the lens of partisan politics. “Science”, to a politician, is a narrative that enables policy. Never mind whether the narrative is based in facts or true science.

        So too is the public’s “understanding” of our relationship with Israel. The narrative does not fit the facts.

        1. Fermi:

          Maybe those scientific folks are not as narrow minded as you say. This is from the NASA website.

          “The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced”

          http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

          Note they did leave a bit of doubt. I do agree with the hardness of their lobbyists views.

          1. @Eino – the link you provided confirms what I have been saying. Read it carefully.

            It says that CO2 is higher than it has been in 650k years. True. But how does it cause recent warming to the exclusion of other causes? It’s the climate models that this claim is based on. Hence, my questions regarding the performance of the models compared to a dataset independent of that which was used to tune the models.

            Here again, on the sea level rise, it cites data back to 1880. Fine. But this excludes sea level changes from before the industrial period which would include the effects other than CO2 increase. How do we determine what part is CO2 induced heating induced and what part is a result of post-Ice Age recovery, Milankovich cycles, tectonics etc.? This is why I was interested in a world wide dataset on sea level for the past 1000 years.

            The 97% of scientists say argument has about as much meaning as 9 out of 10 dentists SURVEYED recommend Trident Sugarless Gum.

            The attribution to droughts/storms, heat waves/cold snaps to global warming is apparently non-falsifiable and not worthy of any additional comment.

            Has anybody here ever TRIED to look up on their own the information on climate model performance and seal level response?

            How can we believe that the LNT hypothesis is due to anti-nuclear machinations yet global warming cannot be?

            Sounds like a little confirmation bias here.

            1. @FermiAged

              The fact that a whole bunch of propagandists jumped in and added extra hype, marketing, and “act now” language to the topic does not serve as an argument to discount the science.

              I’ll grant that it tends to encourage a critical look.

              I’ve been looking hard and trying not to get lost in the minutiae. Here are my general thoughts:

              1) There are incentives on both sides; wind and solar marketers make billions if they can increase concerns about climate change. Scientists that produce studies that reinforce concerns have a better chance of continuing to obtain research funds from agencies who have an established policy of spreading concern. Natural gas marketers stand to gain market share from coal if they can encourage people to be willing to pay a little extra for the “cleanest fossil fuel.” On the flip side, selling coal, oil and natural gas is a multi-trillion dollar business. Even small costs added to each unit of fuel can add up to many billions. An effort to recognize and include the total cycle cost of burning hydrocarbons, including waste disposal, would put those fuels at a disadvantage to clean fuels and may result in permanent reductions in their annual sales. Businesses don’t manage shrinkage very well.

              2) Climate change is not very analogous to the “no safe dose” assumption about radiation, though some climate alarmists have been known to make the absurd claim that all CO2 emissions are bad and that the goal should be zero.

              Climate change concerns among people like Hansen, Wigley, Caldeira, and Emanuel are built on the truth that human activity is adding a considerable amount of material into the atmosphere every year – roughly 30-35 billion tons of CO2, a long-lived gas whose concentration measurably increases each year. The “no safe dose” (aka LNT) assertion is that all radiation, even minute quantities whose effects cannot be detected for more than a brief time after exposure causes unknown and undetectable harm.

              3) Though many activists continue to advocate for the dissonant position that climate change is an existential threat to mankind AND the position that nuclear energy should not even be discussed as a useful tool, there are a number of very credible people who have taken the time to review their position about nuclear energy, which might have been accepted initially without much thought due to their membership in certain tribes or groups.

              My conclusion is that CO2 concentration increases are leading to uncertain results. Uncertainty is worthy of concern even without the warnings from a large segment of the people who study our climate and planetary heat balance professionally. If we don’t know the end results of an experiment; it is best to slow down and proceed with careful data collection.

              One way to slow down is to enable nuclear energy–and other clean energy sources–to flourish and capture those markets where it is the superior choice for the customers. Allowing clean energy to flourish does not include a government program that hands developers a cash grant of 30% of their project cost, especially after that program has already been in existence for 6 years, resulted in excess generating capacity, irrational market conditions and was due to expire.

              Adding a waste disposal fee to hydrocarbon fuels at the point of entry into the economy and refunding 100% of the proceeds of that fee (perhaps less a small processing fee) on an equal per capita basis would help to level the playing field so that fuels could compete on a more equivalent basis.

  9. FermiAged

    “Sounds like a little confirmation bias here.”

    Well – we all have our biases. Let’s figure that Carbon Dioxide isn’t warming the planet and it’s just time for things to warm up and maybe it’s just time for the ice to melt.

    There’s still the other ‘burning issue.’ The ocean is becoming more acidic.

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification

    Is this just another natural cycle thing too? I’ve kind of wondered about this one myself. How could a change in carbon dioxide of just a few parts per million make such a big difference to sea life that has been there for millions of years?

    1. Changes in CO2 levels on Earth have fluctuated for hundreds of millions of years. High levels of CO2 levels are strongly associated with warmer climates and higher sea levels. The human produced CO2 levels in the atmosphere are higher than they’ve been in more than 15 million years, long before the evolution of our species and even the emergence of our genus. So we’ve created CO2 levels that are alien to our species and even to our genus. So what our civilization has managed to do is to artificially create a Miocene level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

      The fossil fuel companies, however, want to increase these CO2 levels even further. Maybe we can put levels of CO2 into the atmosphere that have not been experienced since the days of the dinosaurs, more than 60 million years ago. Its an interesting experiment.

      The environmental problems for humans currently existing on Earth due to increasing CO2 levels will be nothing compared to its impact on future generations.

      Rising sea levels will eventually put most of our major coastal cities underwater. And increasing temperatures will probably lead to the mass extinction of most high latitude species. And humans will have to deal with ever increasing numbers of the most dangerous animal to humans on Earth– the mosquito– a creature that’s already responsible for killing more than 700,000 people annually. But, in the future, these deaths will increase dramatically!

      Marcel

      1. “The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; …”

        Superstitions about the end of the world are nothing new. Some are just aesthetically better than others.

        1. ( Answering your comment from way back)-
          ‘The only thing that is certain is that the current interglacial period will end and the Earth will enter another ice age. Since we’ve been in an interglacial for roughly 11,500 years now (which is a fairly long time as far as interglacials are concerned), this will come sooner rather than later.’
          The earth’s orbital wobbles controlled the timing of interglacials over the last 2.5 million years, but the same wobbles were happening for the 250 million years before that , with no ice. What’s more, the period changed half way through from every 40,000 years, to every 100,000 years. So it’s clear Milankovitch gyrations were only part of the picture. The uplift of the Tibetan plateau could have helped, both by sucking CO2 out of the system,( through erosion of basic rock); and by providing a ‘ third pole ‘ to collect ice and reflect sunlight, but in the subtropical zone where high albedo is more effective than at polar latitudes. Both of those drivers have been cancelled out, so another ice age is very far from certain.
          Any way, I’m off work now, and my home town just had its hottest day in recorded history. Happy giftmas to anyone still bothering to read this, get out there and talk to a real person.

          1. See this is the problem about trying to have a decent conversation about this “science.” Here, you’ve managed to conflate naturally occurring cycles on vastly different time scales, you’ve added in something that is both impossible to quantify and speculative to the point of being nothing more than a wild, idle guess, and for good measure, you throw in some trivia about your local weather (during an El Niño phase of the ENSO no less).

            Why I’m supposed to take this seriously is anybody’s guess.

  10. Itty bitty solar and wind tax credits won’t kill nuclear, and it’s not what’s killing nuclear now. It’s low, low natural gas prices that are killing nuclear.

    What we need is a carbon tax. Period, end of sentence.

    1. @Keith Pickering

      How can you refer to a cash grant of 30% of qualified project costs for projects costing as much as $2 billion–so far–an “itty bitty” tax credit?

      The language is typically obscure for such a give away, but the reasonable sounding production tax credit of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour is NOT the provision that projects developed since 2009 have chosen to take.

      Instead, with the guidance of firms that track this stuff really closely and work hard to influence the language that gets inserted into last-day-before Christmas break omnibus bills, developers have been accepting cash grants under the Section 1603 provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

      Skillful financial experts have figured out how to take that money and abscond with a quick return of most of the money that the project will ever make, leaving others holding the liabilities associated with serving long term power off take agreements, often using equipment chosen for its initial price tag instead of its long term track record of reliability under harsh operating conditions.

      I sense a lot of similarities with the kinds of decisions that brought the housing market collapse of 2007-2013.

      PS – I agree that a carbon fee (with immediate 100% dividend) would be beneficial. I also agree that low gas prices are a challenge, but they are also an opportunity considering the length of time that it takes to make a decision, get approval and build a new nuclear plant before it is ready to begin generating and selling electricity. The Great One would say “Skate to where the puck will be.”

    2. IMHO the main thing that is killing nuclear is Renewable Portfolio Standards, which inherently favor quick-on-the-throttle gas turbines at the expense of baseload steam plants.

  11. Since the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow, at least 70% of the time, back up power for such facilities has to be provided by fossil fuels. So solar and wind projects are really Trojan horses for the natural gas industry (big oil).

    Congress needs to simply mandate that by 2020 at least 50% of the kilowatt hours of electricity being produced by a US electrical utility has to come from carbon neutral sources (nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, etc.) and 90% by 2030. The penalty from not achieving these goals would be a 15% sin tax– on all electricity (both on fossil fuel and carbon neutral electricity) produced by that utility. So, in theory, if all US utilities failed to reach the Federal mandates then they’d have to pay the Federal government nearly $60 billion a year in additional taxes.

    Some American utilities already produce more electricity (more than 50%) from carbon neutral resources than from fossil fuels– thanks to nuclear and hydroelectric power. So they already would meet the 2020 criteria.

    But continuing to pretend that natural gas is clean energy will not solve the problems of global sea rise, ocean acidification, and climate change.

    Marcel

  12. Nuclear proponents need to really analyze the recent closure announcement of Fitzpatrick. Sure low gas prices are the dominant factor. I can accept that. No recognition for CO2 generation like wind and solar is another. I can’t accept that. With all of the emphasis on CO2 free generation this is the near tem ticket to saving the operating plants.

    There is also something funny going on with the Fitzpatrick closure and possibly some of the other recent closures. Once the owner has made the decision they seem completely unreceptive to alternatives including sale of the plant. And refuse to answer the question what would it take to keep the plant open.

    A Fitzpatrick employee posed the question to the Entergy CEO who did not answer the question. Whatever it is we need to know the answer.

  13. I worked in naval and commercial nukes for 40 years (including many for mjd and wto). But the last few years I went independent working on problem identification and resolution for unnamed major natural gas utilities. Nukes do not scare me, but the thousands of miles of main gas transmission line defects greatly concerns me. Some of these folks can’t even pin point line locations let alone tell you the current condition of the lines. Yes, gas explosions don’t leave much residuals, UT they can sure take out large communities, and have. Standby for more as these defects go unattended.

  14. Rod,
    To my Michael Levi’s analysis is more accurate. While there are going to be some nuclear power plants which close, these closures are not solely due to the ITC/PTC (it’s mainly due to the law price of natural gas as you know). In places where wind and solar have been expanded rapidly, emissions have come down (unless there is a concerted effort to shut down nuclear plants, as there is in Germany). Overall, wind and solar will reduce emissions up at least 30% integration, above that it gets trickier. The question is really, what sources are solar and wind displacing, and in most of the world, it’s fossils, not nuclear (or at least much more fossils than nuclear are being displaced).

    The ITC and PTC extensions overall are good for the environment and will help to accelerate the move away from coal.

    1. @Nicholas Thompson

      As I suspected, wind and solar projects don’t often use the PRC/ITC options. Since the ARRA passed in 2009, the overwhelmingly popular choice has been the section 1603 option of getting an immediate 30% of project cost cash grant “in lieu of” the slower and less certain tax credits that might be spread over 10 years.

      Financial types have a keen understanding of the “time value of money.”

      These incentives don’t apply outside US, so your mention of “most of the world” is off topic.

      Finally, there are areas in our country where penetration is high enough to cause other suppliers, including nuclear plants to curtail their output and to sell their product at low or negative price.

      As of summer 2015, the total cost of the 1603 grant program exceeded $25 billion. Just imagine where we’d be with nuclear now if we’d put anything close to that amount of money into the technology in the last five years.

      1. The last part of your comment is an interesting question – so I did the math.

        Over the last 5 years, nuclear has on average produced 790,537 GWh. Taking $5 billion ($25 billion over 5 years), dividing by the energy nuclear has produced, and you get 0.63 cents / kWh. Would an extra 0.63 cents / kWh have saved any struggling plants? I’m not sure, but I doubt it.

        But as to the question of whether emissions increase or decrease when renewables are built, it’s pretty clear that emissions will drop, so long as more coal is taken off the grid than nuclear.

        1. @Nicholas Thompson

          I wasn’t talking about supporting existing plants. That can be done for free by stopping actions that add cost without benefit and by halting the destructive practice of major boosts for competitors.

          I was thinking of using that money to enable new nuclear development by constructing protoparks, restoring fast flux test facilities, revising existing regulatory review plans, training regulators how to review non-light water reactors, etc.

          The only real assistance provided to nuclear in recent years is the $452 million spread over 6 years for SMRs.