We’ve been repeatedly told that 97% of climate scientists agree that CO2 emissions from human activity are a major cause of climate change. Scientists who question that assertion are villified as “climate change deniers” and marginalized as representing a fringe point of view. They’re frequently accused of being paid by fossil fuel interests.
Politicians, journalists and other observers challenge the credentials of those who ask legitimate questions, stating that the only credible commenters on this subject are those who have published peer-reviewed papers specifically aimed at explaining climate behavior over time.
There are calls within the media establishment for journalists to stop treating the topic as one that should be given balanced coverage. Some claim that the minority point of view shouldn’t even be included.
A more distressing recent development in the polarized political conversation about climate change that is taking place in the United States is the accusation that people who question expenditures on renewable energy programs that claim legitimacy because they will reduce CO2 emissions are denying science and endagering future generations.
I have no statistical data, but my guess is that something close to 100% of energy production experts, including scientists, engineers, investors, and energy company decision makers would agree that it is functionally impossible to increase the “wind, water and sun (WWS)” portion of the world’s energy supply to 30% from the current level of less than 5% of total primary energy supply (TPES).
People who challenge that statement are in a tiny minority. Their claims should be subjected to careful scrutiny, including asking questions and conducting investigations about their funding sources. Advocates of an energy supply system that doesn’t use fossil fuel, biomass or nuclear energy — which combine to provide more than 95% our our energy supply — may be able to produce colorful graphs and computer models, but the real world of power production and distribution doesn’t agree with their underlying assumptions.
The scientifically defensible path to substantial reductions in CO2 prodution includes a substantial and growing contribution from nuclear energy. Fuels like uranium and thorium produce heat that can replace the heat from burning fossil fuels or biomass using fission, a physical process that does not produce CO2.
The discovery and development of reliable power systems using fission instead of combustion heat was one of the most important scientific advances of the 20th century. The portion of the world’s primary energy supply provided by fission increased from zero in the late 1950s to nearly 10% by 2000. By that year, fission use had grown to the point where it added as much primary energy (the equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil per day) to the available supply each year as the US produced from its thousands of oil wells in 2014.
Dozens of Nobel Prizes have been awarded to scientists that contributed to our understanding of methods of extracting useful energy by rearranging atomic nuclei. There may be political reasons for not liking nuclear energy, but there are no scientific reasons to deny that fission produces vast quantities of usable heat from tiny quantities of natural elements without producing CO2 at the point of use.
What would you think if you learned that prominent climate scientists who have been aggressively marketing a vision where “wind, water and sun” provide 100% of the world’s energy supply for the past six years had been directly funded by fossil fuel interests?
Aside: If investments in nuclear energy are discouraged in favor of attempting to reach a 100% WWS energy system, the inevitable, predictable result is a continued and growing dependence on fossil fuel. End Aside.
I’ve recently written about Stanford University’s new Natural Gas Initiative. I also described the relationship between that effort and the Precourt Institute of Energy, which has received at least $80 million since 2006 from Jay Precourt.
Precourt is a Stanford alum with both a BS (’59) and and MS (’60) in petroleum engineering who has had a distintguished career as exective and board member for a number of oil and gas companies including Apache and Halliburton.
On Friday, June 5, Democracy Now aired a segment titled A Fossil Fuel Free World is Possible: How to Power a Warming Earth Without Oil, Coal and Nuclear that featured Mark Jacobson and Noah Diffenbaugh. They are both leading professors from Stanford University. That school is one of the most reputable universities in the world, ranking number 5 on The Times Higher Education World Reputation Ranking 2015.
Amy Goodman, the show’s host, leaned on the Stanford connection in her introduction to the segment.
Is a 100% renewable energy future possible? According to Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, the answer is yes. Jacobson has developed plans for all 50 states to transform their power infrastructure to rely on wind, water and solar power.
Goodman went on to more fully establish her guests’ bona fides by giving her version of their current titles.
I’m Amy Goodman. We are broadcasting from Stanford University here in California. Will it be the climate scientists who save the world? Well we’ve got two in our studio today. Mark Jacobson is with us, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, Director of its Atmosphere / Energy Program. Professor Jacobson is also the Co-founder of The Solutions Project. That is what we’re going to talk about next, solutions.
We speak with Jacobson and Noah Diffenbaugh, Stanford University Associate Professor and a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.
The program that Jacobson directs and the one where Diffenbaugh serves as a senior fellow are part of a well-resourced web of programs at Stanford that publicly promote a future vision of a low emission energy system powered by soft energy systems. Natural gas, however, figures prominently in the transition during the next several decades.
Early in his pitch about solutions to the dilemma of supplying energy to the world while reduing production of CO2, Jacobson dismissed nuclear energy and lumped it together with fossil fuel as something that needs to be replaced.
Well, our plans are to change the energy infrastructure in each and every state in the United States, and in fact, ultimately, every country of the world, to infrastructures run entirely on wind, water, and solar power for all purposes. So that is electricity, transportation, heating and cooling and industry. Right now, fossil fuels and nuclear power and biofuels are powering our energy infrastructure for all purposes. And the emissions associated with the burning of the fuels, primarily — from burning of fossil fuels and biofuels in particular — these emissions are causing both air pollution and global warming. And these are almost entirely the cause of both of these problems.
In addition to the Precourt Institue for Energy, which is funded by donations from petroleum engineering graduates who built successful careers in the oil and gas industry (like Jay Precourt) Stanford supports its professors with a growing base of named energy and environment programs that have received substantial funding from business school alumni.
Tom Steyer ($40 million to the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy) and Ward Woods ($30 milion to the Ward B. and Pricilla Woods Institute for the Environment) are two examples of Stanford alumni who are leaders of financial organizations with major involvement in funding oil and gas infrastructure investments who have demonstrated through actions that they are interested in shaping Stanford’s research efforts and curricula.
Stanford’s petroleum engineering undergraduate program that put Jay Precourt on the road to financial success has been replaced by Energy Resources Engineering, which provides the following mission statement in its promotional material.
The mission of the Energy Resources Engineering major is to provide students with the engineering skills and foundational knowledge needed to flourish as technical leaders within the energy industry. Such skills and knowledge include resource assessment, choices among energy alternatives, and carbon management, as well as the basic scientific background and technical skills common to engineers. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for immediate participation in many aspects of the energy industry and graduate school.
I wrote to Anthony Kovscek, the director of Stanford’s Energy Resources Engineering program to find out what his school teaches students about nuclear energy. Here is our correspondence.
Jun 5, 2015
Subj: What does Stanford teach undergraduates in Energy Resources about nuclear energy?
Dear Professor Kovscek:
This summer, I will be teaching a three week course in Nuclear Science to a group of 8-10 grade gifted students as part of the Duke TIP (Talent Identification Program).
As part of my preparation for the course, I have been sampling some of the programs that the students might consider for their college education based on their already expressed interest in nuclear science and engineering.
Since Stanford would be on the list of universities of interest for the gifted students that participate in Duke TIP’s summer programs, I read through the degree description and course work requirements for your Energy Resources program.
Based on the material published on your web site, your program would not attract students who wants to pursue a career in nuclear energy as a clean energy option and a tool for addressing climate change.
Did I miss something? Thank you in advance for any information you can provide.
Publisher, Atomic Insights
June 5, 2015
Our major focuses on energy resources. That is, we focus on the upstream energy industry and the production of energy resources. Our program is not appropriate for students who wish to work in the traditional nuclear industry although it is appropriate for someone who might wish to work in nuclear waste disposal.
Anthony R Kovscek, Professor
Energy Resources Engineering Department
Maybe I’m not interpreting this correctly, but that sounds like Standford does not view nuclear energy or actinide fuels as legitimate energy resources worth any study or consideration. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the institution’s educational offerings and research efforts have been directly influenced by the interests of the donors who provided both large sums of money and their names to the programs.
Let me try to be as clear as I can be. There is nothing wrong with successful alumni of great schools like Stanford wanting to give something back to the school that helped them prosper. It is perfectly understandable for graduates who gain technical understanding of important topics to want to contribute to programs that pass that knowlege to future generations.
Unlike many who are concerned about the climate, I don’t dislike or demonize fossil fuels. They are valuable natural tools that have made life better for human beings. That said, their use and total emissions should decrease as they are displaced by more capable fission fuels.
Stanford’s energy and environment programs are providing a slanted view of the world that ignores demonstrated scientific facts. There should not be any dispute about the fact that nuclear energy long ago proved that it was clean enough to operate inside sealed submarines.
A discussion about supplying the world’s energy while also reducing CO2 that ignores nuclear energy isn’t rooted in science. It isn’t worthy of one of the most respected institutions of higher education on the planet.
It seems to be driven by financial and political considerations.
Activists have made a big deal about encouraging institutions like Stanford to divest any investments that their endowments have in fossil fuels. Stanford took the step of eliminating coal industry investments in March of 2014.
However, it wouldn’t have much impact for Stanford to rid its endowment fund of fossil fuel investments while it is accepting tens to hundreds of millions in vanity grants from fossil fuel titans to perform unbalanced research, engage in stanted advocacy in public venues, and to offer incomplete courses of instruction.
Scam, I could not know the details in 2008 but the pattern of marketing was clear to me. The idea that the reason AGW is less accepted in the USA is NOT because the media don’t report on it enough. I can’t listen to anything without hearing about Climate Change.
If any thing the 2% of scientists (the number is exaggerated low because the definition used even includes Roy Spencer) are represented by the 2 media outlets who report that the data set used was lost and cannot be examined.
You had a video you linked to that had a fearce defense of the term “renewable” NOT including Nuclear. An oil executive said they had carefully crafted this definition. When I saw that I said “bingo! They are using ”
‘global warming’ as a tool to remove Nuclear.
At the same time putting essential iron in the ocean as a vitamin for plankton is seen as irresponsible. Why we must take years to study this. The GW “crisis” is so bad that we are criminals if we don’t force everyone to use wind and solar. Scam.
Wind and solar that must be backed up by natural gas and diesel. Oh ya! The oil company’s products now at use again in Vermont.
Thomas Connolly ‘ s ghost should haunt these folks. (He wrote Foundations of NucE which was the beginner book for many of us. One of California’s great nuclear advocates.)
Jacobsen is a professor of civil engineering qualified to tell the backhoe operator where to dig foundations for a windmill. Only an EE with a Phd and vast experience in engineering public power networks is qualified to write academic papers on the subject. Big Oil no doubt pays editorial boards to look the other way when the layman Jacobsen produces his hogwash.
Do you have any names of qualified people that might be willing to review Jacobsen’s work?
Hmmm… perhaps a bit restrictive. I’d hope an academic paper would stand or fall upon its own merits, rather than it’s authors’.
I find this very threatening.
I wonder about the line crossed by Muammar Gaddafi that necessitated the west to see him dead. The only challenge I see was that he was a minor or additional threat to the Petro-Dollar and the current state of financial rule. It should be obvious to everyone that weak energy systems don’t threaten the current state of financial affairs, beyond the slow decline we’ve been experiencing. Any stale unchallenged industry, including the energy industries, will minimize costs over aggressive pursuit of new markets.
Now China will soon be a threat to the current state of affairs. Will we continue to resist change by trying to fool the Chinese, into believing weak natural energy flows are “good enough” or will we threaten them? Or both?
This is all not going to play out well. The more people understand, the less damaging will be the result. Ever more people need to understand the energy supply markets.
Thanks Rod for the last 2 “smoking gun” blog posts. They not only show what is going on at Stanford, but show how established industries naturally behave to support the current state of affairs over anything that will result in challenging new market entries.
I don’t think that the Western intervention against Gaddafi had anything to do with oil. The West had nursed a grudge against him for decades because of his terrorism sponsorship — especially the British (Yvonne Fletcher, IRA Semtex, Lockerbie) and the French (UTA Flight 772).
The West took advantage of a home-grown revolt against Gaddafi to wreak some (relatively) low-cost vengeance.
I don’t agree with your interpretation of international relations or the actions taken by western powers over the love of money, oil and power.
If it was a grudge, why was Gaddafi so popular after he gave up his nuclear program? http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/the-rise-and-fall-of-libyan-leader-moammar-gaddafi/2011/02/21/gIQA32NsdJ_story.html
It’s not surprising that most establishment media outlets haven’t said much about the relationship between Gaddafi, China, gold denominated oil sales and the US dollar.
I wonder if the gold-denominated oil sales idea was designed to appeal to pious Muslims, many of which yearn for a return of metal-backed money (gold dinars and silver dirhams)?
I think the gold backed oil sales had nothing to do with ideology. It had everything to do with resisting American petrodollar dominance.
“close to 100% of energy production experts … would agree that it is functionally impossible to increase the “wind, water and sun (WWS)” portion of the world’s energy supply to 30%”
That may be the situation in USA.
But in Denmark, Austria, Germany, etc. close to 100% of energy production experts don’t agree at all.
So Denmark follows a scenario in order to reach 100% renewable electricity in 2040 and 100% renewable for all energy in 2050. Austria similar.
Germany 80% renewable electricity in 2050, etc…
Even France government now considers up to 100% renewable electricity in 2050.
Especially since their recent government study report states that:
– 100% renewable cost only 2% more than 40% renewable + ~50% nuclear + fossil.
– 80% renewable electricity the cheapest option (3% cheaper than 40% renewable).
There are few, if any, government officials — elected or unelected — who know much of value about the business of producing reliable power and getting it to customers. They depend on professionals at companies like Vattenfall and E.on. The countries you listed decided to stop listening.
Eventually the piper will have to be paid.
Wind produce now 40% of Denmark’s electricity, and will produce 50% in 2020.
Germany is following.
With their implementation speed, we’ll see in a few decades whether you are right.
You can wait and see. In the meantime, I will continue to do everything I can to make sure that more people understand more about what they are giving up by discouraging the use of nuclear energy.
You probably don’t understand this, but your view of the world is only shared by a tiny minority of people who are already reasonably prosperous and think that touring countries by bicycle is a great adventure. Believe it or not, that is not most people’s idea of a vacation, especially since there are not that many people who can afford to take multiple weeks off to travel.
“…people understand more about what they are giving up by discouraging the use of nuclear energy.”
As far as I can see, they give up nothing…?
Electricity supply is more reliable in countries with high renewable.
The cost of electricity produced by new nuclear is nowadays higher than that produced by new renewable.
Renewable doesn’t shift costs (and health risks) of accidents to citizens.
I feel lucky that I can arrange the time and money to pursue my hobbies. Though I have to squeeze sometimes. Thanks!
I keep reminding myself Do Not Feed The Troll, but….
Except the quality of life made possible by cheap, clean electricity. The Swedish heat their houses and even clear snow from their pavement for very little money and with negligible carbon emissions. The Danish can do neither.
Fallacy of ambiguity again. What “renewables” are you talking about here? Wind and solar are anything BUT reliable, so the reliability of any grid using them relies on other sources of generation.
Once again you are found to be lying by equivocation.
Given reasonable estimates of discount rates, even the estimated cost of Olkiluoto is very competitive with the cited cost of “renewables” in the region. Those costs, expressed in feed-in tariffs, don’t include the massive integration costs due to unreliability.
Germany and Denmark continue to burn coal to balance their unreliables. The costs, health risks and climate impact of that is totally ignored.
So you think everyone can export wind power at the same time Bas? Thats interesting.
Germany produces twice as much electricity form Lignite than wind and solar combined.
Anyway residential electricity prices in Denmark are the highest in Europe.
41.2 cents per kWh. They are around 12 cents per kWh in the U.S.
Denmark Demand: 4 GW. Denmark’s electricity grid is massively interconnected to other countries that are able to take the excess for now. The US demand is now above 1000 GW (summer).
Here in NL, Germany and even more in Denmark, electricity prices are mainly all types of taxes. E.g. Energy tax, local government tax, VAT, Energiewende tax in Germany of ~6cnt/KWh (assume in Denmark higher as they go faster towards 100% renewable).
It makes comparisons difficult. Even comparing whole sale prices, as those are influenced by that part of renewable that get guaranteed prices.
Denmark can do this, because its energy quantities are small and it connected to Norway and Sweden hydro plants.
If Germany tried to do this, it would need to be connected to more and more countries and even all of Europe.
The Germans plan to do similar with wind+solar share surpassing 50% before 2040 In 2040 Wind will probably generate 70%-90% of Denmark’s electricity (German Energiewende is 15-20yrs behind that of Denmark).
“There may be political reasons for not liking nuclear energy, but there are no scientific reasons to deny that fission produces vast quantities of usable heat from tiny quantities of natural elements without producing CO2 at the point of use.”
Moreover, the “settled science” regarding nuclear energy is “better settled” than the science regarding anthropogenic global warming.
Too bad that a phrase such as “nuclear energy denier” will never become an established catch-phrase.
Hey! I like! N.E.D.
We can call them Ned heads!
I am a bit puzzled about this. Oil men are investors. They invest in wells to make money. They have a lot of money to invest. If nuclear was an investment that would bring them good returns, they would invest in nuclear. Perhaps, i am being myopic, but I do not think there is any intent at artificial manipulation of the energy market by the Oil and gas men. (in respect to nuclear – history shows lots of other manipulation)
However, if global warming is a reality, the “true” value of nuclear power is not shown in the market. This “true” value can only be made manifest by government means.
OK – I’ll go back and look at the many many smoking gun posts again to become a believer.
What if nuclear was going to slash the value of all their other investments?
It isn’t some big conspiracy. Competitive markets avoid nuclear because of delays that come out of the NRC. For example, the South Texas Project first submitted a license application for new reactors in 2007; the application is still pending. In addition, NRC requirements have created delays at CB&I, which has increased the cost of Vogtle. Hillary Clinton, who is likely to win the 2016 election, has said that her NRC would “increase safety” (which really means add more delays). No company in a competitive market will invest in an application when a future presidential candidate could deny it.
What makes you use the word “conspiracy?” It’s just competitive marketing.
Besides, what makes politicians choose their positions? Do you think donor cash might have some influence?
A “conspiracy” is when a company makes investment decisions for a particular product based on the effects of such decisions on other products, rather than on the attributes of the product considered. In other words, a company favours gas units over nuclear units because the nuclear units will hurt gas units. “competitive marketing” is when a company looks at the time required to gain an NRC license and decides that it’s too long. In other words, the question is “assuming my other business remains constant (even though it may not), will this product (in this case a nuclear plant) benefit the company?”
The answer to your second question is that donor cash influences not only politicians, but also the general public. It’s well known that public opinion mirrors elite opinion. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a conspiracy to increase regulatory requirements for nuclear power. I would be surprised if there was a conspiracy not to build nuclear plants, even if a company knew they would be profitable.
Rod, I skimmed your link to the Stanford divestment petition, and there was not a word about nuclear, either for or against. I’m a bit concerned about your call ( on your last thread ) for making an ally out of the coal industry, on the grounds that coal and nuclear have much in common. They do, insofar as both can give cheap, reliable power, but in other respects coal is the dirtiest energy source, and nuclear the cleanest. Linking the two publicly just reinforces attempts by the renewables/gas crowd to paint nuclear into the same box, as an outdated, unhealthy relic. ( I note Austria lists how many kilos of carbon dioxide and how many grams of nuclear fuel waste are associated with the power it uses and imports, per megawatt hour. This of course ignores the fact that the tiny quantity of spent fuel is locked up safely, while the masses of CO2, particulates, and sulfur dioxide are out doing mischief. Also that half Austria’s electricity, from hydro, has no emissions at all, and that if the country’s 1978 referendum had gone the other way by about 0.4%, the rest would have been pretty much emissions free too, as in neighbouring Switzerland. )
A better ally would be hydro, which fits well with nuclear in places like France, Ontario, Sweden and Washington State. Both industries are front loaded – expensive to start but cheap to run. Both can also generate passionate opposition. Unfortunately hydro is usually publicly owned or run, so unlike the fossil fuel industries it doesn’t, or shouldn’t, provide funding for management to throw at publicity for causes they support, for example
The best thing nuclear could do for the coal industry is convince it its days are numbered, and replace it.
Full disclosure – the house I grew up in was warmed by a coal range, which also cooked the meals, heated the water, and dried the washing, and that’s probably still the cheapest way to do all of those.
“Austria lists how many kilos of carbon dioxide and how many grams of nuclear fuel waste are associated with the power it uses and imports, per megawatt hour.”
How is that possible while they installed a law (estimate few years ago), that bans all import and/or transit of nuclear generated electricity?
Is that law already judged to be against the EU competition rules by the high court in Luxembourg?
That would imply that the high court worked extremely fast (it’s quite normal that a case at Luxembourg takes 10years).
Electrons follow wires, not laws.
We agree. And you can’t see how the electricity was generated. I’m sure Austria knows all that.
Here electricity is traded in chunks, e.g. I offer you 10MW from 10.00hr to 10.10hrs (so 10minutes) of wind generated electricity, for the price of €35?MWh. etc.
Just like the trade in shares (I have shares since 1990, but have never seen one).
Similar the electricity market also has Options and Futures trading.
It’s of course computerized. Connected computers decide about the actual production volumes of power plants, etc. following an optimum strategy. That is the strategy which brings most profit given the prices and their fluctuations (now, next 15minutes, next hours, next days, etc) at the market in Leipzig, the weather forecasts, the time of the day, the status of the economy, etc).
Thinking about the optimum strategy and programming it in the computer is a separate business.
Computerized implies also detailed logs of all trading!
I estimate that Austria:
– knows who operates NPP’s in its surroundings, and won’t accept any electricity from those operators/utilities.
– may ask other utilities and traders certificates of origin. Or:
– a statement that they don’t buy any electricity from an utility that has a NPP; or
– don’t do it during the time they import in Austria. If any indication of cheating they accept a due diligence survey (such survey is easy as the trading log file can’t be changed). Or:
Here you go Bas –
‘ In Austria the details that have to be disclosed are:
• Share of the energy source in the supplier’s fuel mix
• Environmental information: CO2 emissions (g/kWh) and radioactive waste (g/kWh)’
Here’s the data for France’s scary radioactive electricity, real time ( 26 g/kWh when I looked )
In 2011, Austria had ‘ CO2 Emissionen 203.1 g/kWh. radioaktive Abfall 0.2 g/kWh ‘
Nice low figure for the nuclear waste. Shame about having nearly EIGHT TIMES WORSE CO2 emissions- even with more hydro per head than just about anyone in Europe bar Norway.
The actual figure in the report is
radioaktiver Abfall 0.2 mg/kWh
Milli-gram not gram.
This is for 2.4% nuclear in their mix (from imports)
100% nuclear would be 8mg/kWh.
Calculating the amount of spent fuel assuming 40GWd(th)/t and 33% thermal efficiency gives aroung 3mg heavy metal/kWh, so they leave plenty of allowance for cladding and packaging of the waste in their figures.
But, as you say, listing HLW as environmental consequence is dishonest because the waste isn’t and never will be in the environment, in stark contrast to the coal waste that Bas is completely relaxed about.
John, Thanks for the interesting links.
RRMeyer, Thanks for the correction.
All nuclear out asap is even more important to the Austrians than for the Germans.
May be because they got more radio-activity from Chernobyl, and/or they are an holiday country. Tourists stay away if they have small increase in radio-activity.
It’s also possible that they have more connections with the German speaking farmer families/villages not far away from Chernobyl. There are reports that the health damage is increasing in the past years. Probably due to local food which is contaminated (Cuba got a spike in the sex-ratio of newborn in 1995/6 when they imported such food).
Because the inculcated paranoia has affected them more strongly.
Nobody would worry about this except for the inculcated paranoia.
Who are obviously not talking to the “Chernobyl babushkas” inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. As I recall, their vital statistics are better than those who accepted relocation. This is eerily similar to the death statistics of Fukushima refugees forced from their homes by edict from Tokyo; a little radiation does nothing, but being torn from your home is devastating and can be deadly.
Finding people as deluded as you to write those reports is an accomplishment. I hope this accomplishment is give the recognition it’s due, with investigations for scientific fraud and jail terms for the perpetrators. The academic careers of anyone involved should be terminated; none should teach or be published anywhere, ever.
“Finding people as deluded as you to write those reports is an accomplishment. I hope this accomplishment is give the recognition it’s due, with investigations for scientific fraud and jail terms for the perpetrators. The academic careers of anyone involved should be terminated; none should teach or be published anywhere, ever.”
“Chernobyl babushkas” inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. As I recall, their vital statistics are better than those who accepted relocation.”
When I read the key facts:
– those who returned were strong independent thinking people. It is the type that becomes very old normally (>90yrs).
– they live near the borders of/in the exclusion zone (=relative less radiation)
– People who returned were ~50yrs or older. So they are ~100times less sensitive to radiation than children due to their low rate of cell division, as hey no longer grow (at cell division DNA repair impossible).
– 230 of 1200 people survive after 26years = survival rate only 20%.
Or av. death rate of ~6.5%/a;
Then I get the strong impression that; even those older strong people, had/have a significant increased risk to die much earlier than otherwise.
But may be you can show research which supports your point of view?
Consider also the latency of ~20-60years before the serious health consequences become manifest with lower levels of radiation*).
And the report is 26years after Chernobyl…
Then the conclusion that the authorities are right with their exclusion zone becomes inevitable.
*) Shown by a.o. the RERF studies and medical studies.
Similar latency periods occur with low levels of nicotine (smoking), asbestos, strychnine, vinyl chloride monomer (angiosarcoma), etc.
So what is the latency period associated with imposing the stress of dislocation and excessive fear? How much effort have you put into activism to eliminate nicotine, alcohol, asbestos, diesel smoke, fatty foods, and all of the other minor risks that sometimes shorten people’s lives?
You may like your biking lifestyle, but why do you want to impose that on people who prefer to travel with a lot of gear that requires the expenditure of more concentrated forms of energy? Why do you think humans use too munch energy instead of realizing that most people on the planet would have much improved lives if they could use substantially MORE energy that still did not impose an undue burden on the earth’s resources and atmospheric quality?
One of the primary mantras of the environmental philosophy is supposed to be “do more with less.” People like you think that means we should figure out how to conserve energy. My interpretation is that we should make energy using as little material as possible – hence my great interest in using fuel sources that contain 2-10 million times as much energy in each unit of mass as traditional combustion fuels.
That is also the basis for my dislike of the MASSIVE infrastructure requirements associated with collecting diffuse, unreliable energy flows like those of the wind and sunlight.
“what is the latency period associated with imposing the stress of dislocation and excessive fear?”
– highly on their age. Younger people have far less stress (hence less health problems) than older people (note that only older people returned to the exclusion zone in Chernobyl).
While radiation damages younger people much more…
– on the support, the quality of the new environment, etc.
In my old job, a stressful environment, I saw quite a few getting a break down after decades of stress. So the av. latency may be similar as with low level radiation.
“How much effort have you put into activism to eliminate nicotine, …diesel …, and all of the other minor risks that sometimes shorten people’s lives?”
Nicotine: In the eighties smoking was still normal here. I put a sign at the door of my office which stated: “Nicotine junks, please practice your addiction elsewhere”. It really helped! Doubt whether it helped for my career, though my expert know how was in real short supply, so I had no fear losing my job.
In the nineties I could arrange a general ban on smoking in the office, despite our cigar smoking CEO. Though then the climate already changed, so it was actually easier. About 5 years later a new law banned smoking in the office.
Of course I support substantial increase of cigarette taxes.
Diesel: Hope you support my action to increase tax towards $40/gallon or $10/liter; and to decrease other tax such as VAT accordingly.
It may cost me substantial money as I drive substantial more than average (it will save tax for those who drive less).
The difference with radiation is, that people can see/smell the danger and take action accordingly…
Btw. Regarding alcohol, drugs, etc. People should be free to try. Those should of course be taxed such that the tax compensates the social costs fully.
Nuclear would already be substantially more acceptable if the NPP operators would compensate for the (health) damage they cause. However nuclear laws restrict liability such that the damage/costs are shifted to the innocent citizen or the tax-payer.
“biking lifestyle, but why do you want to impose that on people who prefer to travel with a lot of gear”
I don’t want to impose that at all. I’ve more hobbies; such as para-gliding and mountain climbing (with my mate the first Dutch climb of the famous Eiger-North-face, opened new routes in the Alps, climbed mountains in the Andes, Himalya, and other countries such as Mongolia, etc);
Those require to take a lot of gear with me in the car or plane.
“requires the expenditure of more concentrated forms of energy?”
Of course. So power-to-fuel is in full development (8MW pilots). Big changes take some time.
“Why do you think humans use too much energy…?”
I do not think that at all.
I support the effort to develop fusion (stated that long time ago here). Hope for a small fusion reactor like ITER with walls that consist of panels like PV-panels. So no steam turbine/generator needed anymore.
I think that steam-turbine/generator producing companies run into great difficulties, as that combination will loose all competitiveness in the second half of this century.
“we should make energy using as little material as possible..”
I think that we should produce energy such that the risk to damage health is minimized, also for our future generations.
Energy density is a technical interesting, but not social relevant concept.
“MASSIVE infrastructure requirements associated with collecting diffuse, unreliable energy flows like those of the wind and sunlight.”
Big power plants require massive, highly visible power lines. Few people make a point of those as we are used to the see them.
Regarding generation by sun and wind:
– If all roofs are covered with good solar panels, we generate enough to supply the whole country (even enough to generate all car and plane fuel). And those require less power lines as generation is at the consumer.
– Wind turbines can be placed where little people live, or where people have no problem (note that the small state of Sleeswijk-Holstein offered to accommodate all Wind turbines to generate all electricity that densely populated Germany would need; and nobody doubted that they could do it; they made the offer as they objected off-shore wind).
Thank you for your interest in me.
I’ll get back to you on that, as I was just working from memory – might have been a year or two back, and not absolutely sure it was Austria. They had planned to ban the import of radioactive electrons in 2014, much preferring those reeking of coal.
I don’t know who has been sabotaging nuclear. Perhaps It’s people that got rich (and/or continue to get richer) in the oil/gas industry. Perhaps it’s ideal driven “environmentalists” with an aesthetic for wws. Perhaps it’s fear and ignorance carrying over from the cold war when the word nuclear meant the end of the world to many people. Probably it’s some combination of all these things. I sometime imagine a future world powered by nuclear fission, and what they would think of us. I’m guessing that it wouldn’t be very complimentary. Probably something along the lines of us being primitive and ignorant kind of like we tend to view the past today.
People worried about the health of their (future) children, grandchildren, grand- grandchildren, etc.
who are convinced that renewable offer a cheaper, faster to implement option.
In Germany democratizing energy is also an important motive (possible with renewable, but not with central power plants). Those people booked recently important successes with the decision of the two biggest German utilities to stop with central power plants gradually.
E.on put them in a separate entity which is for sale. RWE just moves away towards a service company. Both already offered their NPP’s to German government for a negative price (government refused).
Fossil fuel industries are on board too. They only see balance sheet / Income statement positives. Is it that you don’t see the conflict, over look it, or are on board with it? BAS, I simply can’t figure you out.
The Energiewende caused also substantial decrease of fossil fuels. Just look at the figures of past decades.
Agree that they will go down much faster after 2022, when all nuclear is out.
The responsible minister Gabriel stated that they cannot afford (financially) to move coal out while moving nuclear out.
I cannot object that the Germans prioritize according to their conclusions about the harm that the different fuels bring.
I’d like to say that Bas is deluded, but I can’t give him any credit for good faith any more. In truth, Germany’s nuclear phaseout has come with a substantial jump in carbon emissions; the post-1990 decline was exclusively due to closure of E. German industry. IOW, Bas is lying again.
They may go down, but it will be from driving industry out of Germany.
In other words, their priorities are precisely backwards for any attempt to spare the globe from a major disruption of climate. Segolene Royal has it right, Gabriel has it wrong.
Your CO2 graph shows one fluctuation due to the very cold years 2012-2013.
It would be more correct to include also 2014 and earlier years as you then can see the trend.
Furthermore the graph concern all CO2, so includes also the CO2 due to heating the houses (gas), transport, etc. We talk here about electricity.
Check the more correct table here.
“CO2 levels may go down, but it will be from driving industry out of Germany.”
The opposite occurs, as the price of electricity at the whole sale market in Germany is lower than in other countries.
So the Dutch aluminum smelter installs a special line to the German grid in order to get same prices as those in Germany.
@Bas : What your electricity number show is that there was more lignite and coal used in 2014 than in 2010, despite PV going from 11,7 to 34.9 TWh in this period, and wind from 37.8 to 56 TWh. This is long enough that you can’t claim it’s the fault of just a bad cold year.
What Bas refuses to acknowledge is that the 7076 MW of German nuclear capacity shut down by edict in August 2011 would have cut carbon emissions on the order of (7076 MW * 0.9 tCO2/MWh * 0.9 CF * 8766 hr/yr) = ~50 million metric tons per year. In other words, were it not for the “activists” inducing paranoia in the German population and Merkel’s readiness to cater to it, the carbon emissions of the German grid would have fallen markedly even from 2011 to 2013. Anti-nuclearism drove them up instead.
The actual outcome of the German and Japanese nuclear shutdowns proves that anyone who is anti-nuclear is objectively pro-fossil, regardless of what they profess to believe or advocate. Only the insane try to argue against proven historical fact, and Bas’s blatant hypocrisy in flying over the world to climb mountains while advocating $40/gallon in liquid fuel taxes disqualifies him as any sort of environmentalist.
I’m all for Germany and Denmark democratizing their coal power. Every person who backs the Energiewende should have to take a pick and shovel and dig their own lignite.
So basically it’s the fear and ignorance thing for you. People’s choices can be democratic, but the laws of physics will not bend to human will. I sincerely hope people come around in regard to nuclear for the sake of our children, grandchildren, grand- grandchildren. They deserve a decent life and the luxury to marvel about how backwards the people in the past were.
“We often laugh at ‘The Wisdom of the Ancients’ — but we cannot laugh at them personally: to their faces. This is something that really frustrates me.” — Jack Handey
That choice is supported by the big majority of their scientists.
Especially by their major scientific research institutes such as Helmholtz for environmental research, universities, etc.
Freiburg university was already involved in the seventies and eighties, when the Energiewende movement came into being. Especially after Chernobyl.
Nearly no German believes the IAEA/WHO statements about the Chernobyl caused damage. They have too much connections with people who live nearby Chernobyl (many journalists go there), too much publications that showed the nonsense of the IAEA/WHO statements, etc.
Neither e.g. the Hanson study regarding the damage of fossil fuel compared to nuclear, as the figures are unrealistic. E.g. the study uses the initial low figures of IAEA after Chernobyl (IAEA now states:”It is impossible to assess reliably, with any precision, numbers of fatal cancers caused by radiation exposure due to the Chernobyl accident…”)
Scientific studies (incl. predictions about costs decreases when a market would be created as occurred with solar) had major influence in the long debate in the nineties about the viability of the Energiewende, its targets, schemes and methods.
Still, major decisions only after advices based on scientific studies.
I still find it unbelievable that so many US/UK journalists seem to think that highly developed Germany (81million people), went somewhat crazy with their Energiewende.
I still find it unbelievable that so many US/UK journalists seem to think that highly developed Germany (81million people), went somewhat crazy with their Energiewende.
Why? Can you think of any other country with a proven history of following crazy people with crazy theories off of a cliff because they thought there might be something in it for them?
Energiewende made many promises to many people. There was once another group of people who made fast, apparent gains with promises that were supposedly based on the theories of “scientists.” In that former case, most of them were eugenicists whose ideas, sadly enough, were developed by a fringe group of Americans with substantial backing from some of our largest foundations formed using the money of people who had begun to think of themselves as an aristocracy. In the current case, believe it or not, some of the same foundations also funded fringe “soft energy scientists” to who had developed equally unscientific theories.
Fortunately, the damage caused this time is not as direct, but there are still many people suffering in the name of false “science” specifically designed to protect the interests of the elite interests who just happened to make their fortunes by selling fossil fuel.
Interesting. Not impossible. I thought about your theory.. Concluded that there are too much differences.
Around ~1930 people were starving in Germany. Parents sent their children into the Netherlands, so they would get food, etc. Friends of my grand-parents raised two German children temporarily.
Then Hitler came and improved the economic situation greatly (by stopping the reparation payments of WW1 as those were killing). By manipulation and pressure (partly using terror, disturbing the organization & meetings of other parties, etc) he got 44% of the votes in 1933.
By arranging an alliance against the communists and thanks to the weak (dying) president, he then could arrange absolute power. No elections thereafter. Stronger, from that moment it became really dangerous to show a different opinion. In the autumn of 1933 Hitler was the absolute dictator with concentration camps for anybody who raised his voice against him (similar to Stalin).
Hitler needed a scapegoat (the Jews) for the lost WW1 and especially the misery thereafter (due to the reparation payments). When things went wrong, targeting the scapegoat (making them important) was a good way to avoid that he would get the blame. So he could stay the leader until the end, while it was obvious for informed outsiders that he was to blame.
Gadaffi (Libya) tried similar but started late and not convincing (he was too honest and human). So he couldn’t prevent the uprising which killed him.
The Energiewende was;
– decided after 10-20years of public discussions (back then little discussion).
– not decided by a minority. The decision in 2000 was supported by the majority of the population (55%) and the EEG law in 2001 accepted in parliament without special pressure. In the past 15years support grew, now ~85%.
– involvement and discussions primarily by academic people who arranged many scientific research (back then the lower educated ruled).
Can you think of any other country with a proven history of following crazy people with crazy theories…
What about USA?
The last Iraq war. No mass-destruction weapons at all. Neither Al-qaeda.
Saddam kept Al-Qaeda out of Iraq as they imposed a threat to him.
Thanks to US who fired all (Sunni) officers of the Iraq army and installed a corrupt Shia regime, Al-Qaeda could gain a foothold in Iraq. Al-Qaeda then migrated into ISIS (both are primarily Sunni).
It did cost >100K lives (most Iraqi) and a trillion$ or so.
I don’t see the benefits for USA.
May be you can explain the benefit of the Vietnam war for USA?
The stepping stone theory (the basis of that war) was/is nonsense. As if nations are all the same and ideology really more important than power and money. The border war between Vietnam and China, a few years after the end of the Vietnam war, showed its nonsense.
Still that theory/ideology was believed by important minority of US people.
Neither Iraq nor Vietnam were popularly supported. Both have been vigorously protested without much fear of retribution.
“Energiewende made many promises to many people.
So I missed many promises??
The only one I know is that 80% renewable will be reached in 2050 against affordable costs. Considering that:
– German households pay a lower share of their income for electricity than US households, and the 85% support by the population;
– the continued ~1.5%/a increase of the share of renewable;
I believe that they keep that promise.
“many people suffering in the name of false “science” specifically designed to protect the interests of the elite … make their fortunes by selling fossil fuel.”
Due to the Energiewende Germany’s major utilities are now selling & closing their big central power plants.
In the past decades the share of fossil fuel decreased in Germany.
And their future after 2022 is very poor.
It’s far better in NL for fossil fuel, as we have no Energiewende and won’t reach the EU targets.
So I missed many promises??
What do you think way above market value, 20 year FIT contracts are?
“What do you think way above market value, 20 year FIT contracts are?”
The costs were a main topic in the debate of the nineties. Pro-nuclear first said it was impossible, then used the high costs argument. So many consultancy studies in the second half of the nineties regarding the optimal strategy.
As even the leaders of the greens realized that high costs would kill public support for the Energiewende, they agreed in 2000 to the 50years scenario which showed affordable cost levels (most greens wanted much faster, even faster than the migration speed of Denmark).
In the initial years the FiT was 50cnt/KWh during 20years. As that delivered not enough solar capacity increase the FiT was raised towards ~70cnt/KWh in ~2003.
Thereafter the volume market delivered the predicted price decreases (predicted in the scenario studies). That turned into a price fall in 2010-2013.
As the FiT adaptation mechanism couldn’t handle that, solar FiT’s were too high resulting in high yearly volumes of ~7GW/a. At the time I applauded as the Germans accelerated their Energiewende, not realizing the consequences; higher Energiewende levy than predicted (6cnt/KWh). So they installed a new FiT adaptation mechanism which adapts much faster in order to keep new solar in a small band around 2.5GW/a (now solar FiT’s are roughly 8-12cnt/KWh, situation became more complicated with the self consumption levy introduced with the 2014 EEG adaptation).
The expectation is that the Energiewende levy (=~costs) will rise slightly towards 7-8cnt/KWh in 2022/2023, and will then decrease gradually towards a few cents/KWh as solar+wind+storage will become so cheap that they will compete fossil fuel out. Only continued support needed to improve technologies such as geothermal, power-to-gas (seasonal storage), etc.
I hope they may spend some money to improve the speed of fusion developments (ITER for a start). I think we need also PV-like panels which convert the energy of the neutrons (and other particles, but neutrons are the most difficult) in the vacuum chamber directly into electricity.
If that doesn’t succeed I have a bad feeling about fusion, as the old steam turbine/generator combination won’t be able to compete at the end of the century (there is a chance super critical CO2 turbines will do, I can not judge that).
Can I ask you a question about how you handle evidence?
Do you believe in anthropogenic global warming, and if so, what is the reason for you believing in it?
It’s not fear. Radiation damage is shown by numerous studies.
That the damage is huge is also confirmed as nuclear plants are only built in a country if they install liability limitation laws for nuclear. Those laws shift the (risk on) damage to the innocent citizen. Away from the owner/operator of the nuclear plant.
We agree that our children, grandchildren, grand- grandchildren deserve a decent life. I add to that: ‘also a very healthy life’.
Why take a risk regarding that, when “wind+solar+storage+other renewable” offer that? I think against a lower price, but assume you won’t agree with that.
‘Tourists stay away if they have small increase in radio-activity.’
France gets more tourists than any other country. It also produces a higher proportion of its power from nuclear than any other country, and is the world’s biggest power exporter. ( It’s far from having the highest radioactivity levels though. That would be some of the tourist-packed beaches in Brazil.)
I met a Japanese guy I know living in Queenstown, and asked him if he’d been home lately. ‘ No, never – radiation!’ I told him he’d get more radiation on the plane flight over, but I’m afraid that, like Bas, he’s another victim of the dreaded radiophobia.
There was a Japanese guy in one of my on-line circles a couple years ago who talked about “radiation syndrome”. None of the symptoms he described fit any form of radiation poisoning, but they were all consistent with chronic stress.
The Japanese are literally worrying themselves to death over harmless radiation.
Bas, you’re needlessly alarmed about Chernobyl, like a good many other people. You should watch the film “Radioactive Wolves” which is linked and summarized in this post:
The Chernobyl exclusion zone is ecologically in robust good health.
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