Steven Chu at the 2009 EIA Energy Conference

As many of you know, I attended the EIA Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. I haven't yet had time to write up anything on the conference, but there were others at the conference who have started writing up posts on the conference on their personal blogs, including Dave Summers (Heading Out) and Robert Rapier. Neal Rauhauser, founder of Stranded Wind Initiative, published a summary at Daily Kos.

In this post, I will provide Robert Rapier's and Heading Out's comments on Steven Chu's speech in the plenary session.

First, comments from Robert Rapier:

I was quite looking forward to hearing from Energy Secretary Steven Chu, so I grabbed a seat up front. Chu started off by saying the DOE is the biggest source of science funding within the government, and that science and technology absolutely must solve the energy issue. The major thrust of his speech was that we must rein in carbon emissions to avoid a climate catastrophe, but he primarily focused on electricity. Chu correctly noted that imported oil has become a huge drain on the economy and that recessions typically follow oil price spikes, but there was otherwise scarce mention of liquid fuels. As Professor Summers points out in his summaries, the speech followed pretty closely a speech that Chu gave two years ago. In fact, he used quite a few of the same slides.

The first step that we need to take, according to Chu, is to make a big investment in energy efficiency. He would also like to double alternative energy production in 3 years, but again the talk was centered around electricity. Chu noted that solar PV will play a major - if not the major - role in energy 100 years from now. He also noted that we really need cheap solar cells with polymer backing. Of course most of our polymers are oil-derived, which is just another example of how we take for granted the role that cheap oil plays in enabling some of these renewable technologies.

When he did talk about liquid fuels, he discussed some DOE programs in which bacteria and yeast are feeding on sugars and producing gasoline and diesel. As I have noted before, I think production of fuels that can phase out of water is the right approach. This greatly minimizes the energy requirements for purification. It is technically very challenging, but there are some companies working on this approach.

Questions/comments were collected from the audience. I submitted a comment and two questions:

1. It seems ironic to me that the domestic oil and gas industry is being marginalized while at the same time you are pleased with OPEC for not cutting production. (What I was thinking but didn't write: If you really want to see what it might be like to marginalize our own oil and gas industry, encourage OPEC to cut a couple more million barrels/day of production.)

2. Predict the year that cellulosic ethanol achieves true commercial viability. (I was really interested in his thoughts here, and whether he distinguished between gasification and true cellulosic ethanol).

3. What percentage of our transportation fuel will be biofuels in 2030? (Most projections show that it will still be overwhelmingly petroleum-based, and I wanted to see if he thought the same).

These questions were basically designed just to get a feel for whether I think his views are overly optimistic. However, he only took two questions from the audience:

1. What is most important - energy independence or CO2 reduction? Chu's answer: Of course they are both important, but I think the gist was that he considered the CO2 issue more pressing.

2. How does nuclear power fit into your plans? Chu's answer: It must play an important role this century.

Following that, he exited out the back. I thought he had left the building, but when I stepped out to grab a cup of coffee I bumped into him. He had about 10 people lined up to shake his hand, so I passed on that opportunity. Maybe next time. But in an upcoming essay, I am going to address a theme that I think about often: What If I Am Wrong? It will essentially be about risk assessments (What If?), but I also want to pose the question to someone with Chu's basic views, and ask about the consequences if he turns out to be badly wrong on some of his assumptions.

These are Heading Out's comments on Steven Chu's speech:

There is no doubt that the Administration has changed, from the presence of “the hockey stick” curve in Dr Chu’s Keynote Address through all three of the Plenary Papers, we, as an audience, were left in no doubt that Climate Change and the problems of carbon, are now a major part of the new agenda. If you want a longer version of Dr. Chu’s remarks, they followed quite closely a talk he gave on the Helios Project a couple of years ago, although in somewhat abbreviated form. He did, however, include a comment on Econbrowser’s note that recessions follow oil price peaks and seemed to agree with the basic thesis that James Hamilton presented. He expressed again his concern that with changing climate the water in the Sierra snows is reducing, and that this does not bode well for that State. Usually a two year decline in water is sufficient to lead to water rationing and he is concerned that these will be worse. (Ed. Note – historically Scott Stine has shown that droughts there in the past have lasted decades).

He pointed to a number of nations that have shown that the standard of living is not proportional to energy consumption and talked a little on the Human Development Index. But in talking about energy he noted that California had stabilized on energy use per person, at a time where the rest of the country had continued to increase demand, and stressed the benefits that can come from increased energy efficiency in use. We need to call ET back home. (Sorry! His joke about an old science fiction movie) Except that now ET is Energy Technology and if we can bring this green technology back, it is something that can’t be outsourced. The likely biggest impact of ET will be on Construction, though to get the maximum gains houses will have to have sensors integrated, in the same way that cars have microprocessors now.

We need four things to make progress, an investment in R&D; some standards of performance; the development of new technology; and the will to go forward. The investment is available through, among other things, the Stimulus Package, with $8.2 billion, for example, going into weatherization, and $11 billion for the smart grid (though he did not mention D.C. this time around). He anticipates that the R&D tax credit will become permanent, and that wind cost will go down several fold in the next 20 years, as increasing percentages of the energy generated are extracted.

In terms of standards and efficiency he noted that refrigerators had dropped to a third the price, yet use less than 25% of the energy they demanded in the 1970’s.

Again he bragged on the scientists in the National Labs (who it increasingly seems likely will get most of the R&D money) noting that they have 88 Nobel Laureates in their midst and have the potential to be the future Bell Labs of the Nation. And in that regard he detailed a little of the work he was doing at Berkeley in using different chemicals from wood lice etc to turn cellulosic material into ethanol. To indicate that success should be anticipated, he quoted the example of Norman Borlaug, who after being told that the world did not have enough food to provide for 6 billion people created the Green Revolution to ensure that it did.

I found Steven Chu's remarks somewhat disturbing. He did seem to "get" the connection between oil and the economy, as indicated by his (and other speakers) reference to the work of James Hamilton.

At the same time, his solutions seem to be far away, and he did not come across as trying to be particularly honest about the problems with the audience. (Either that, or he didn't really understand the problems himself.)

Heading Out talks about his comments that refrigerators had dropped to a third the price, yet use less than 25% of the energy they demanded in the 1970s. He followed this by a statement that the energy savings were more than of the combined contribution of wind and solar. The person I was sitting next to and I sat and laughed to ourselves, because he was clearly figuring that people would vastly over-estimate the contribution of wind and solar.

One thing that was really disturbing was the speech from an economist, Prof. William Nordhaus from Yale, that immediately followed Chu's speech during the plenary session. He said the main point of his talk was illustrated by a slide which showed a big bathtub with three spigots at the top going in, and three spigots at the bottom going out. He said world oil supply was like the bathtub. It didn't matter who produced the oil, because through world markets, all would share in the oil. A corollary of this is that there is no point in protecting the US oil and gas industry. We can just buy what we need elsewhere.

a big bathtub with three spigots at the top going in, and three spigots at the bottom going out

Really sad that economist professors are not trained in science or politics.

Say someone shuts off the Hormuz spigot at the top of the good Professor's hot tub. It won't take long for him to realize he's been swimming naked under a set of delusional fantasies. There is no giant bath tub and there are no infinite rate spigots. The Earth is a finite globe and its exponentially growing population is making a big sucking down sound.

It is even more sad that these are the people the EIA (and apparently the Obama administration) consider important to put in front of all the attendees at the opening plenary session.

Nordhaus went on to explain a lot of other things--how little oil imports were compared to our total imports; how comparative advantage made it important that we import all this oil; and how the audience was just not properly trained in economics. If we were, we would understand that people talking about our dependence on foreign oil are just mistaken.

I think, on the other hand, that if we were all properly trained in economics, particularly the prize winning economics of recent decades, we would all be dealing in risk management and derivatives. Wouldn't that be a wonderful world! Economics is the most sleazy of the sciences by far. But people with money seem to believe in it, mainly because economists really suck up to people with money, I think.

Economics is the most sleazy of the sciences

Don't get me wrong. There are parts of economics that I consider to be a valid study of system behavior. Then there are other parts that I consider to be total propaganda and brain cleansing (of a kind far more effective than your everyday colon cleanse).

Consider how some economists talk about "subprime mortgages" being the cause of our current economic woes.

No, you idiots! The piece of paper (a.k.a. legal contract) called the "mortgage" does not pay the monthly rent to the bank. It is the poor unemployed schnook who lives in the house who pays the rent.

But he can't pay the rent because he is unemployed. And he is unemployed because you morons off-shored his job --all in the name of "economic efficiencies".

So dear economists; the real cause of the crisis lies not in the "subprime mortgages" or in our stars, but rather in the maroon who stares back at you from the mirror every morning.
/end ad hominem attack on economists (that is if they qualify as species hominem, wink, wink)

>Really sad that economist professors are not
>trained in science or politics.

Not trained in politics? What do you think Nordhaus was doing there? Baking cakes? That's all economists do is politics.

That's all economists do is politics.

A plausible case can be made that politics is the primary activity of all people in academia. Of course, the job of a "professor" is to profess, i.e. advocate for some point of view on some intellectual question. I think of Prof. Fred Hoyle and his theory of continuous creation of matter. He advocated, with vigor, for this theory for several years. No one doubted his sincerity. To the extent that economics is academic science, economists do politics as part of their profession.

In political science, there are advocates for the idea that all ideas are situational and relative, and that there is no underlying truth to any intellectual construct. It is from this tradition that I derive my first statement here. I doubt the literal truth of the relativist position, my self, but I can profess it pretty well. I don't know where Nordhaus really stands. I have trouble believing in his sincerity.

So, there appears to me to be 'good politics' and 'bad politics'. Mine, of course, is good ;-)

Household refrigerators now use about 50Wa less than 40 years ago, but still about 10% of household electricity.
That works out to 110Mx0.05kWh=5.5GWa, wind now generates 8GWa(25GW capacity) in US, but 2 years ago it would have been 4GWa.
I guess Stephen Chu should update his 2 year old slides. I could be wrong about the savings perhaps its 100Wa savings(depending upon when in 1970's), so his slides may be good for another six months.

Re: Bathtub

Mexico is a current example of Net Export Math. I estimate that their net exports have dropped from 1.9 mbpd in 2004 to about 1.0 mbpd in 2008. Assuming about a -10%/year production decline, I estimate that they would have to cut consumption at about -16%/year (dropping by half in about five years) in order to maintain net oil exports of about one mbpd.

I'm waiting for the example of a major oil exporter, on a sustained basis, cutting domestic consumption in order to maintain net oil export capacity.

In any case, I think that this is the $64 Trillion question. How will the competition between consumers in importing countries and consumers in exporting countries play out in the years ahead?

I talked to someone from Pemex and found out why they are importing so much gasoline and diesel now. (Apparently the gasoline is not particularly from the US.) Part of the problem is that they don't have enough refinery capacity, so some oil goes to the US, gets refined, and sent back.

Another problem is that the government has had a program to encourage auto ownership, so now they need a lot more fuel for the autos.

The third problem is on the diesel side, the country now has the same ultra low sulfur requirements that the US has, because trucks from the US need to refuel in Mexico and then go back. There were also some local laws passed requiring the ultra low sulfur diesel. Mexican refineries are not capable of producing the ultra low sulfur diesel, so it has to be imported.

To look at Mexico's oil use now days, one really has to net petroleum products imported into Mexico against crude oil exported.

Of course, the net export number incorporates imports of refined products.

Mexico's overall numbers are quite close to the Export Land Model--four year production decline rate of about -5%/year, with consumption at about half of production in 2004 and a four year rate of increase in consumption of about +2.4%/year. With some increase in consumption, this has resulted in a four year overall net export decline rate of about -16%/year, with the estimated 2008 net export decline rate being about -34%/year, showing the expected accelerating net export decline rate.

Here is Mexico's (EIA) consumption through 2007 (based on Pemex data, I estimate 2008 consumption at about 2.2 mbpd).

Here is the problem. If they wanted to maintain a net export rate of 1.0 mbpd, assuming a -10%/year production decline rate (the 2008 decline rate), they would have to cut their consumption in half over a five year period, to about 1.1 mbpd.

I found Steven Chu's remarks somewhat disturbing.

Why only somewhat? If the summaries are remotely accurate, Chu, and therefore the administration, is clueless as to the scope of the problem, OR he and they, OR just they, some they, have a public line that differs from the reports they get from the intelligence agencies. I absolutely refuse to believe that no level of gov't has a realistic assessment of the energy situation. Cheney certainly knew and chose one of the two possible means of addressing it. So far, they only changes have been in manners and cosmetics.

It's very bad because now there is illusion of things being handled competently. This illusion is being quickly blown away in financial area. But the energy area is even more crucial in the longer run, but it's not visible. We are so screwed.

There is no doubt that the Administration has changed, from the presence of “the hockey stick” curve in Dr Chu’s Keynote Address through all three of the Plenary Papers, we, as an audience, were left in no doubt that Climate Change and the problems of carbon, are now a major part of the new agenda.

The Bush administration refused to talk about the problem then did the wrong things to solve them. The current administration talks about the problems then ... talks some more about the problems.

(Beats head against wall ...)

the Obama administration has been in power, what, 11 weeks? replacing a 400 week Bush administration.

I think we should give the administration a bit more time here. They are going against a bunch of powerful forces -- one of which is the "CLUELESS" Americans. The administration probably doesn't want to show all their cards right now.

Now, I think the best things we all here can do is gently pointed out to the administration through whatever interaction we can with them -- if one of us can have a direct talk with Chu, gauge and engage his thoughts. If you think he said something incorrect then try to change his thinking. Needless to say, all scientists are biased in their research. Furthermore, a lot of projects take a long time to bear fruits; so we shouldn't be biased to those kind of research. Of course, research is one thing and energy policies that address human and environmental needs within 10 years, 20 years, 50 years are quite different matter. Somehow, things have to be put in quantitative and perspective. For me, I would definitely want everyone here in the US to cut their carbon footprint in 1/2 or 3/4 tomorrow. But that is just wishful thinking. What the administration want and what they can do are quite different. How can you tell Americans who are eating a pound of sirloin for dinner to stop and start eating veggie? How do you tell Americans who wants that $2/gallon gas that you are going to raise tax to make it $4/gallon? We got to this point after years of consumerism; it will take time to unwind -- better expect a few SHOCKS along the way.

At least with Bush and Cheney, it was very likely they knew what the problem was, even if they didn't do anything about it (other than attack Iraq). With Obama and with Chu, it is not as clear. I am afraid they are just confused. I met more peak-oil aware folks in the audience than I saw on the podium.

Perhaps we could more appreciate Chu's position if we look at political realities - there is no market for doom and gloom, and Obama has already been attacked by the right for not being optimistic enough.

Notice too that while Chu doesn't come out and explicitly dwell on the oil decline problem, his choice to emphasize positive steps towards future energy production already assume that alternative energy sources will be needed (otherwise, why try to spend money on inventing them?) Climate change is a politically acceptable reason (to a large segment of the current administration's constituency, if not to the Heartland folk) for making large scale investments into alternative energy. If you want them to try and explicitly sell "the American way of life is doomed" to the electorate then that is asking too much. Indeed, the Republicans in Congress are already using that approach to attack the proposed Obama budget.

Explaining Obama's stated policies as political cover to avoid doom and gloom fails because his actual policies are insufficient. If the Obama administration understands that peak oil has past, then it would have set higher goals. One million PHEV's on the road by 2015 and using 4 years to double the amount of wind power, set the bar low. In the Obama stimulus bill he inadequately funded expensive high speed rail while ignoring the electrification of low and medium speed freight rail. Nordhaus's presentation suggests the Obama administration either does not understand the Export Land Model or assumes Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Canada will export to the U.S. while shortchanging others. Obama supports ethanol while advocating that feedstock more productive than corn must be used. The intended purpose of the stimulus bill is to restore growth to the U.S. economy using the current energy sources, mainly fossil fuels.

From what I have seen of Obama's policies I have a difficult time believing he has an underlying plan that is different from the visible one. Obama's vision of the future is as he states: conservation, biofuels, renewable electricity, electricity from nuclear fission and fusion, electric cars, high speed rail, reduced fossil carbon emissions and massive deficit spending. His lax schedule suggests that he thinks we have 20 years before the world reaches peak oil.

Gail, Hey, it is not like we are running huge trade deficits and going into hock to the world. It is not like a massive econony is growing in China that will outcompete us in oil buying power. Nothing can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong....

I am amazed at the professors who pose as experts.

badly wrong

Editorially, the phrase is more like "if wrong, the results will go badly". Having chosen a path, it's not like we can go "a little wrong" in working through this clusterf**k.

The Green Revolution is an example of that "badly wrong" thought. Having chosen that path, now what? Other possiblities are precluded. From a risk POV, not something that population management or smaller scale farming would have done.

Likewise, that California has reduced its energy use. It has, but remember that much of that energy footprint is in China or (was) in Detroit. I don't think Californians are exempt from that small percentage of humans on the planet that use a disproportionate amount of planetary resources. Amping up the whole country or world to Californian energy standards isn't even relevant to resource depletion. It only makes the crash worse.

Which brings me to a whole other level - I don't believe the Obama administration is operating in good faith. One might make that case of most politicians, but in their case it seems the rule that wherever they make noise about changing something, that is where they are most unlikely to change. Defense budget, Iraq, Afghanistan, health care, bailouts, NSA/FISA, Gitmo/torture, corruption. It seems like a campaign largely of bluster meant to cover Business As Usual. They choose a path, and once chosen, it can't be made a little bit better. That seems the real agenda.

cfm in parsnips, ME

While I agree that the promise, or what we think is a promise, tends to exceed the actual results. The budget still reflects a much greater commitment to energy conservation and alternative energy. With respect to the areas you mention, the O administration, does seem to excel in blowing smoke up the American people's asses.

Polls, however, seem to indicate that Americans are just fine with the smoke blowing. They are still very impressed with the fact that we have a President who can chew gun and speak in complete sentences at the same time, unlike the dimwit who previously occupied the White House.

I am still willing to wait awhile before I make any sweeping indictments of his presidency, but I am unhappy with his positions on most of the areas you mention, especially his response to the financial meltdown. But hey, the market is up so what do I know.

As to Iraq and Afghanistan, we are pretty much getting what we were promised. The Defense budget is increasing, not decreasing as widely reported. He pretty much promised that would happen too. So, while I voted for him, I avoided most of the Kool Aid that others imbibed.

'Chew Gun' - I'm hoping you had left that in on purpose.

Reminds me of Woody Allen in 'Take the money and run', arguing with the bank manager over whether his Note to the Teller says 'Gun' or 'Gub'

That said, I'm staying on the sidelines (mostly) in the eval of this Administration. The leadership class may all be getting a crash course in resource limits as we go forward.. spitting on their shiny shoes might not be the best way to teach them this.

spitting on their shiny shoes might not be the best way to teach them this.

Probably not. Do you think tar-and-feathers might work?

I think we should conserve the tar for more useful purposes... ;-)


Obama is very smooth when he has his TelePrompTer on, but have you ever heard him when answering a question that comes from a non prompted questioner. Two thirds of his words are ah, um, well, etc. He seems to be trying to find words that will sound like he has thought about that question before, and has an answer, however the answers seems vague.

The big energy users in US are heating and cooling buildings, and using transportation. Now how have they been exported to China?

He probably meant importing the products of heavy industry like steel, aluminum, cement, cars, and electronics. Electric rates and air quality rules made those industries expensive in California. That's a smaller fraction than what's consumed by HVAC and transportation, but it's still a non-trivial amount.

Obama has promised to eliminate nuclear weapons and internationalize nuclear power. Now, that is change you can count on.

He said in Prague:

Now, to protect our planet, now is the time to change the way that we use energy. Together, we must confront climate change by ending the world's dependence on fossil fuels, by tapping the power of new sources of energy like the wind and sun, and calling upon all nations to do their part. And I pledge to you that in this global effort, the United States is now ready to lead.

So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. I'm not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly -- perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, "Yes, we can."

I see his statement about eliminating nuclear weapons, but not where he addressed increasing nuclear power. For the U.S. he seems to think if we just build enough windmills and solar panels we can eliminate coal power plants. His grand plan doesn't seem to address how he will transport 50 or 60 GW 1,500 miles across the country, or where he will place the Eveready batteries used to make the system dispachable.

He seems to be playing to his supporters, and ignoring others. As long as he has the press in his pocket, and not asking these hard questions I guess he will do fine.

His grand plan doesn't seem to address how he will transport 50 or 60 GW 1,500 miles across the country,

Lots of HVDC?

I live in Santa Barbara where a lot of SWPL people write Priuses. They probably think they live more in harmony with nature that way. But imagine a few billion people each driving a Prius. There's not enough oil to fuel all those cars.

The world is clearly overpopulated.

The major thrust of his speech was that we must rein in carbon emissions to avoid a climate catastrophe, but he primarily focused on electricity. Chu correctly noted that imported oil has become a huge drain on the economy and that recessions typically follow oil price spikes, but there was otherwise scarce mention of liquid fuels.

after being told that the world did not have enough food to provide for 6 billion people

Chu appears oblivious to the economic impacts of looming peak oil driven 6%/year decline in light oil exports.
See: A Quantitative Assessment of Future Net Oil Exports by the Top Five Net Oil Exporters at Khebab GraphOilogy
Add to that ongoing decline in of say 2-3%/year or more oil importing countries' domestic production plus 1.5%/year population growth and we are facing about a 10%/year shock in desired oil imports vs available oil exports.

That will directly reduce global economy far more severely than the present financial "crisis" unless alternatives can be provided apace. "Cap and trade" will further cause financial disruption compounding the financial decline. Such negligence will bear heaviest on the poor in developing countries, and likely cause hundreds of millions of deaths by starvation unless major efforts are begun to address peak oil.

"Such negligence will ... likely cause hundreds of millions of deaths by starvation unless major efforts are begun to address peak oil."

Chu and Obama, the Prince of Darkness, would call this "Collateral Damage."

Their plan is to "Outwit, Outlast" and then Dominate the Post-Bottleneck World-Order.

Thanks for the summary! I had been keeping an eye on the EIA conference, and it's good to hear some of the shenanigans that went on.

Unfortunately, I've pretty thoroughly lost trust in Dr. Chu as the energy secretary. His statements are all politically refined to not upset anyone in the slightest, and he'll always simply default to praising research.

Research is far from a complete answer. To maintain our quality of life we need a social solution as well - and by that I mean that our leadership needs to ask people to make changes in their life. Dr. Chu wants to make everybody happy. Unfortunately, we don't life in a time where we can afford that luxury.

The problem with research is that any technology that's not already in prototype stage will never get built in time to help us. You could shift timelines a bit with a crash program and 100% commitment from the people of the US, but good luck with that. Even if these people are peak-aware, their working assumption seems to be peak oil in decades not years.

I think you need to lower your expectations of political leaders and political appointees. Some are less bad than others. But great minds rarely go into politics. And the people at the top are rarely up to huge challenges.

We are going to go into Peak Oil unprepared at the political level. I've made my peace with this. Suggest everyone else here do the same.

I shot a little video of Dr.Chu's response to the energy security versus CO2 emissions question.

I was personally delighted to see this slide in his presentation, although he didn't really delve into the issues we face with synthetic ammonia production and CO2.

I also asked a question of Dr. Chu which was not addressed - When will the DoE recognize ammonia as a renewable fuel?


I am getting a "this video is no longer available" response when I bring up the link. Is there something that can be done to fix it?

It's my YouTube account and this is the URL I have for it.

If that doesn't work here is the top level link to my stuff.

Works now. Thanks!

The more I read and hear of the technodroids from the likes of Mr. Chu, the more I am convinced there is not a snowballs chance in hell of getting thru this transition to sustainability without alot of chaos. And that means death and destruction for a huge number of people.

This government of criminals we have, are completely going in the wrong direction, with the pied piper Obama, blowing the tune. Technology is what is killing us, it will not save us.

We have six and a half billion humans and the solar max for this planet is maybe two billion, and that number only if we have some protected enclaves where we maintain some of our developments from the 20th century. If you replace La Hood with Drake and Chu with Rapier those two numbers do not change.

Once people realize just how precarious our position is they're going to do funny things. Some of that humor will be starting wars - Monbiot's "fighting like cats in a sack."

We're going to have triage and no mistake about that, but it'll be done under the guise of selfishness and self interest.

Sacred Cow Tipper, do you have some back up for the solar max being 2 billion. I am not questioning that and in fact think that the number may be less, but I would like some detail to use in discussions with others.

I believe in his book Overshoot, William Catton mentioned that the planet went into population overshoot at the time of the American Civil War. The planet can support 1.2 billion people in the absence of fossil fuels I believe.

Also the real problem is CONSUMPTION.

Using Jared Diamond's consumption factor of 32, the real population of the USA is closer to 9.6 Billion people. As the average westerner uses 32 times more resources than someone from Bangladesh or Zimbabwe and hence has a greater ecological impact.

ps - Anyone believing in tech cures to the energy crisis is obviously insane at this point. Steven Chu appears to be living in a star trek energy fantasy land.

ps - Anyone believing in tech cures to the energy crisis is obviously insane at this point. Steven Chu appears to be living in a star trek energy fantasy land.

Guess I am insane. You know, come to think of it, I was driving in Houston the other day and saw these weird hallucinations. I saw these tall buildings where I could've just sworn they were making electricity out of this fantasy thing called nuclear power. Crazy! Either I need to go on meds or someone needs to tell those guys they're working in a fantasy land.

Comparing energy technology to wormholes and Vulcans is pretty flimsy, man.

While nuclear energy is very useful, though dirty, the EIA projects that in 2010 the world will be getting whopping 5.7% of total energy from nuclear power. This compares with 85% from oil, natural gas and coal, oil being the biggie at about 36% of all energy, 6 times more than nuclear by its self. It seems to me that the potential for replacing fossil fuels with nuclear energy is quite small and is but one reason for concerns about declining oil, then natural gas then coal.

Nuclear power as Sterling has noted is never going to scale up to replace oil. It's a pipe dream and delusion. We're past peak uranium at this point and there's a lot of faith based talk about Thorium. Billions have been spent on research into the technology and not much has happened. Nuclear power hasn't become too cheap to meter has it now?

I'll believe the hype when a few of these thorium plants are actually built and put to work for a minimum of 3 years. Scaling up technologies to replace even half the amount of energy we get from fossil fuels is going to take trillions and years of investment and planning. Time has run out for that though.

Comparing energy technology to wormholes and Vulcans is pretty flimsy, man.

Oh, I don't know. Vulcans exist in artistic form and wormholes in theory... and that's about the percentage chance nuclear power has of solving the energy and climate crises.

You can't build them fast enough. Period.


Well, hopefully you guys stay right where you are on that issue, while the realists in our country rapidly build new reactors. More nuclear fuel for us the better...

Sacred Cow Tipper, do you have some back up for the solar max being 2 billion.

I'm not sure what he's actually referring to. The solar luminosity is currently increasing at about 10% per billion years, and that rate (of increase) is gradually increasing. An astronomer would think of solar max, as the peak of the red giant phase, which is more like 5.5 billion years away. But, the increasing luminosity will become a fatal prblem long before that. There are two ways it could get us:

(1) Weathering is able to absorn enough CO2 to keep temperatures in check. CO2 gets too low for plants, and that ends most life (tube worms living off of geothermal vents might be OK).
(2) The weathering doesn't remove enough CO2, water vapor feedback causes a runaway greenhouse effect.

In any case by around a billion years the solar luminosity will be high enough that either of these disasters become likely.

Empirically we can say that before we began to convert Oil into food there were 1,1 billion people on the spaceship.
(Can someone check the figure, please)
At the time we were 80% farmers and there was a 20% surplus for the paupers in the cities.
We don't need to do the maths, because we have done the experiment.
Of cause land degredation and social turmoil won't help.

I have an observation that relates to SCT maybe having back up for his solar max number. World population at the very beginning of the Industrial Revolution, before coal was an important economic commodity, was about one billion, and it was growing. I conclude that a world running without any fossil fuels can support one billion and generate a surplus from the 'natural increase' of the natural world. This provides a lower bound on the number in question. Then we consider that the time scale for deploying new technology on a grand scale is already pretty well known, and is a pretty long time. We cannot count on advanced nuclear reactors, but we can count on things related to using the Fischer-Tropsche process to convert generic biomass into liquid fuels. I'm not saying FT is good, just that it is known and deployable. I find it hard to believe that we can support present world population at its present level in a sustainable way before the end of this current century, i.e. 2100. Who knows what world population will be by then? So, if we succeed at becoming sustainable at 6.5 billion by 2100, and world population has risen to 13 billion by then --- there will be a die off amounting to 6.5 billion.

But will there be global war? I doubt it. War, as we know it, is very demanding of liquid fuels, and we can't fight wars the old way because we don't have the horses and won't be able to raise them. Where will the pasture be found in a world needing arable land for human food? And if there is global warming, there will surely be less arable land as coastal low lands are flooded.

SCT may have back up for a more precise answer, but what does it matter? No number is acceptable, but whatever the number is, it will be, and our descendants will deal with it. We are a population in overshoot.

Permanent exponential growth really cannot be.

Just a sideline diversional note, this month in Scientific American an article pp 57, notes that last year world food reserves in storage at start of north hemisphere harvest (lowest point each year) was 62 days typical consumption, whereas lowest level in 1990's was 152 days. Perhaps simply evidence of a new JIT economic system on farms?

We should now as a society be acutely (painfully) aware of the risks in according too much authority to expertise. This of course describes the multi-decade pathway to our current financial destruction. And frankly, I see the same risks now developing in Energy--and in particular with the Energy Department as defined by David Chu. My views on current "developments" in Obama's energy policy and the emergent clarity now emanating from his Energy Team are best described in my post here: Carbon Crack-Up Two Thousand Twelve.

My position is pretty clear: the only core-thrust solution is the buildout of electrified public transport, with attendant Grid and new PowerGen sources--lots of new utility grade solar and wind. Obama's energy team has now set both the country and themselves up for spectacular failure, because they intend to attack oil consumption and oil production, and PowerGen via carbon and climate legislation, while at the same time offering virtually zero for the buildout of public transport.

Other posts of mine on this topic over the past 6 months, which tracked the development of this doomed strategy:

Tracking the Now Failed Transport Policy from the Obama Administration.
The Obama Plan:Fiasco Potential is High.
Memo to Barack: Trains, not Planes (or Autos).

I now regard the current Administration strategy on Energy and Climate as something much closer to ideology, and therefore quackery. The irony of course is that if they had only subordinated Climate policy to Oil/Energy policy by attacking the rich motherlode where each intersect--the fleet of 300M vehicles in the US--they would be on the road to success.


I now regard the current Administration strategy on Energy and Climate as something much closer to ideology, and therefore quackery.

I think that is a bit too strong. I see them as balancing the views of their constituents. Unfortunately the number of them who get PO are too small to get sufficient weighting. They are turning the ship somewhat in the right direction, but the steering input is far too timid to avoid the iceberg. It is an improvement, over anything we've had since Carter, so there is at least a little to celebrate. We are going to have to keep beating the drums for transition. It is not something that a politician is likely to take up until enough of the population is convinced. Until then it is too politically risky.

I think they are setting themselves up for attack by the drill-drill-drill crowd, once the next oil spike gets going in earnest. They are probably correct that there is very little new domestic production to be had -no longer what policy is pursued. But, the perception of having made it tougher for domestic oil and gas production will generate a major backlash once serious PO conditions start to bite.

I think you are a bit mistaken. The turn of the ship, is due to already hitting the iceberg, and the "little to celebrate" is the time left before the Titanic sinks to the bottom.

This ship is gone, and the sooner the criminals own up to the crime, the better off everyone will be. There is no salvation in the BAU from these people. Salvation will come from the riots of the people.

Again he bragged on the scientists in the National Labs (who it increasingly seems likely will get most of the R&D money) noting that they have 88 Nobel Laureates in their midst and have the potential to be the future Bell Labs of the Nation.

A) How big is the circle of knowledge among 88 Nobel Laureates? How much of it intersects with eachother and how much is mutually exclusive?

B) How can so much information/expertise be parsed into scientifically meaningful but understandable summaries to politicians/policymakers?

C) How many psychologists/evolutionary biologists, neuroscientists are in National Labs, DOE, etc? Why doesn't US Government have a Department of Demand, addressing why we continue to pursue a culture of conspicuous consumption in the face of resource limitations?

The more I think about it there probably needs to be a cabinet above the cabinet that integrates all the disparate parts....;-) The Chief of Staff and President can't do it - there at least is the need for systems professionals in the mix somewhere- not sure who has that role currently but it seems they are just moving forward using fiat greenwashed means without questioning the ends....

The more I think about it there probably needs to be a cabinet above the cabinet that integrates all the disparate parts.

There's already such a body at work, if I recall correctly it's called the Illuminati.

Or that's how a certain segment of society on the fringe would respond to your suggestion, anyway.

How would your Secretary of the Meta organize things, Nate? You're hoping the DOE crew get input from...who, exactly? Flunkies from Hillary's office? What of value could they bring? Ok, Vilsack.

I don't know the answer.

Partially from being involved at this site I have become aware of the sheer amount of information available from disparate but important areas - this info is then accompanied by an even larger number of crying mouths, spokespeople, pseudo-experts etc. One person, irrespective of how good they are at integrating, cannot possibly integrate it all.

I'm not an advocate of more government just better government -but the real leverage is in changing our institutions - for that to change the political/economic juggernaut will probably have to be on board. The mere fact that people are talking about solar panels in 2100 is suggestive of either a misunderstanding or an obfuscation of the issues..

The problem is there will be NO president who would come to the podium and ask the US consumers to spend less. On the contrary, there is an urge to ask sheeple to spend and spend to "stimulate" the economy. "Buy a GM car" - we will insure them. "Ask for loan" -- we will give money to the banks. ETC....

Every politician is trying to pass the buck to the next ones and we are cohorts in this destruction of our future generations.

There is a difference between spending and consumption. Recent psychological studies show that persons value experiences more than the accumulation of goods above a certain point. $20 spent at an art museum has a different environmental impact than $20 spent at Walmart.

Some recent extremely wealthy space tourists prove the point (that they start valueing experience and are willing to pay extreme sums of money for it).

Not sure about environmental impact. But space tourism doesn't seem like a sustainable business to me :-)

But they promised!!
I was told as a kid that I would be walking on the Moon by now.


but the real leverage is in changing our institutions - for that to change the political/economic juggernaut will probably have to be on board.

I tell you now, this thing, this change, this transmogrification, will not happen because an Obama says it should. The reasons are obvious, I think. The vested interests, the money politics, the social stratification, the lies, the biases, the fear... whatever. This is something Obama can't do, that government can't do, because it means such huge changes in **everything** we do.

Just as the US was borne of people dragging their government into the future, so will whatever form the future takes be shaped by The People making it so.

As long as people like Alan use their influence and access to create a BAU Green, so long as people like you look to government to lead us into the future, so long as ACCers distrust POers and vice-versa, so long as the phones, faxes, internet and streets are quiet, the future is assured, and frightening.

Transition towns, post-carbon, Aangel... such as these people are going to lead because it is by example. At some point, you will have to realize there is no governmental solution because government is, itself, the most vested of interests.

Of course, discourse with gov't must continue so as to, as you say, have them on baord, but the realization must be that gov't will be, at best, an unwilling laggard of a partner.

Let us look at Obama.

1. How likely is it he will be in power after this four years? If he's not, how likely is it a Republican will be, and that Business will Rise Again?

2. Has Obama stood up and said it straight? On anything?

3. His environmental plan, while better than BuCheney's by far, is still inadequate.

4. His economic plan is suicide. Not only is a based on lies and BS, it's based on GROWTH.

5. Given #4, what hope for ACC and PO?

This ain't horseshoes and close ain't good enough.

Hopefully, I haven't read too much into your comments, though I probably have.


A. What they need are people who will become Nobel Laureates along about 2030. Those guys have got to be elderly (not to disparage them, I'm not as young as I used to be myself) but by the time they get that sort of recognition, their creative days are usually in the past.

B. First, line up all the lobbyists end-to-end across the surface of the moon...

C. That has a distinctly Orwellian ring to it. But it's probably where we're headed, anyway.

Nate -

As far as doing anything meaningful about our energy problem, having 88 Nobel Laureates at the DOE's national labs is far more of a liability than an asset.

First of all, much of the advanced R&D work at the DOE has had to do with the US nuclear weapons program, and I suspect that a large fraction of those Nobel laureates have been employed in that area. What someone's expertise in modeling thermonuclear detonations has to do with developing alternative energy is beyond me. A lot of the 'energy' in the Department of Energy has to do with the energy released from a nuclear weapon. The name DOE is somewhat of a misnomer.

Second, what the hell is so intrinsically wonderful about a Nobel laureate? These are people who for the most part have spent their entire careers in academia doing research in one very narrow field of study. I just love the way that becoming a Nobel laureate somehow confers upon the recipient an aurora of universal knowledge and wisdom in areas that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the area of research that got them the Nobel in the first place. In other words, would you want last year's winner of the Nobel prize in physics to do open-heart surgery on you even though he is obviously a very smart guy?

If I had to chose a few dozen people to accompany me on an ark and who would eventually rebuild civilization all over again, a Nobel laureate would not make even the first cut.

Our energy problem is not one that is going to be resolved by a bunch of high-power academics feeding off government R&D funding, grinding out academic papers, and going to conferences where they will schmooze with others doing the same thing. While there is a very high technical component to all this, it is not the limiting thing to having something meaningful take place. What is needed is a huge amount of capital investment directed in the right areas and the political will to make tough and unpopular decisions for the long-term survival of our wretched species.

One should not look to the DOE for our salvation.

A missing link ?
All nations need a Department of Philosophy. Further more - economists must be completely denied any access to that place. No economists within four blocks or so ...

I nominate Daniel Dennet at least he is rational.

As for the economists and our politicians including our president, I recommend giving them a stationary pedal powered generator with a meter that gives a reading in equivalent fossil fuel.

Link to article

The Future Spark project garnered 130 teams of corporate workers to pedal stationary bikes on board on a fold-out trailer. The energy they generated from their riding was feed back into the grid to offset the estimated power consumption of the Earth Hour concert, which was around 45 kWh. The project created the human powered energy equivalent of this amount, and much more besides.

The cycling teams pumped in 53,259 watt hours, while solar photovoltaic panels on top the trailer contributed another 14,211 watt hours yielding a total 67,470 watt-hours of generated renewable energy.

What’s equally remarkable is the effort required to approximate the energy density of our fast depleting oil reserves. It was calculated by one of the cyclists that “ one hour spent pedalling four bicycles generates about as much energy as is stored in just three tablespoons of petrol (gasoline)!”

Kinda puts Peak Oil and Climate Change into a human perspective. We don’t currently have access to any energy source that has such a concentration of energy as found in fossil fuels stores of ancient sunlight, be they oil, coal or gas

The Republicans in Congress have included opening up Federal and offshore areas for new oil exploration in their proposals. This would be the quickest and most direct way to deal with the current 9% worldwide depletion rates. Certainly better than having a 9% decrease in economic activity year after year.

Unfortunately in this upside down bizzaro Obama world we now live in, this idea has little chance of being implemented.

The focus seems to be lowering the Earth's temperature because of "global warming". Even though there hasn't been any measured "global warming" over the past 10 years, despite the highest CO2 levels measured for the past 10,000 years.

The focus seems to be lowering the Earth's temperature because of "global warming". Even though there hasn't been any measured "global warming" over the past 10 years, despite the highest CO2 levels measured for the past 10,000 years.

Excuse me?!

Evidence of global warming is everywhere. For example, in very recent news... read about the Wilkins Ice Shelf. E.g here:

Ice shelfs in the arctic which have been there for tens of thousands of years are literally melting away right before our eyes (if you care to watch the satellite images you can see it literally with your own eyes).

The arctic has been warming up faster than the rest of the planet and this is and has been measured.

For years, climate scientists have believed that the Artic would likely be one of the first regions to be affected by global warming and would likely experience greater warming than the rest of the world. Recent evidence has validated these concerns. While the world as a whole warmed about 1oF over the entire 20th century, parts of the Arctic have warmed by 4-5oF just since the 1950s.

If you are not convinced, I recommend you try and look arounf for evidence yourself.

This here is a great place to start:

Also I once saw talk (unfortunately don't remember by whom and can't find a link) which really blew my mind. The people who are behind putting "the spin" on global warming (for big oil) are aparantly the same ones who put the spin on tobacco and lung cancer (for tobacco companies). They used exactly the same clever techniques. Rather than denying outright the just pump the media with info suggesting that "the debate is still going".

This creates enough of a smoke screen for most people who are not client scientists themselves to see through and buy it that "the scientist haven't reached consensus yet".

I suggest you be a little smarter, dig a little deeper and make up your mind.

I found the talk I was referring to.

It's a talk by Naomi Oreske: "The American Denial of Global Warming".

You can see it here:

It really deserves a watch. It's 1 hour long, but she lays out in shocking detail how the public has been bamboozled about GW by the same people that bamboozled them about tobacco.

If you *still* don't believe that climate change and global warming is real, she explains in no uncertain terms that basically "you have been had" (and exactly how this has been done)

To me this talk was a real eye opener, and I was literally outraged (about how I had been had and led to believe "the debate is still on" until a few years ago).

Having been there, I have nothing but sympathy for people who still buy the bullshit of GW deniers, but I hope they'll soon learn the truth and be as outraged as I was after watching this excellent talk.

Thanks for the links, but rather than listening to what someone thinks I'd rather (and have) looked up the research papers myself. The only "proof" of global warming are the so-called "peer reviewed" research papers. If you read these papers, you will note that most of them are only computer climate models programmed with the assumption that CO2 drives temperature changes. IPCC climate models have already been proved wrong.

You should realize that CO2 is a very small part of the Earth's atmosphere (.03%). And most of that small percentage (95%) is produced naturally.

Man made CO2 has ABSOLUTELY NO effect on the Earth's climate. The fact that CO2 levels have increased over the past 10 years whilst temperatures have DECREASED is proof there is no correlation.

With regards to the oil companies, some of them do believe in AGW. I guess you missed the president of Shell on CSPAN the other day.

And BTW, the Wilkinson Shelf is in the ANTarctic which has been gaining sea ice at record levels in recent years.

I believe all your objections are being addressed in the articles on "grist" link.

W.r.t the growing of ice:

Actually, no, it is not growing! I'll summarize the link for you.

- sea ice is melting fast
- land ice is growing in the middle because of increased precipation, which is a result of changing (warmer) weather patterns.
- land ice is melting at the edges (more than it is growing in the middle)

The balance is that ice in both arctic and antarctic are quickly shrinking at unprecedented rates.

You say you don't want to read/listen to someone else's opinion.

But GW is not "someone's opinion". There has been consensus in the scientific community that it is real, it is caused by human activity and it has serious consequences. Consensus was reached in the 1970's and still holds today in the scientific community. If anything, we now have much more evidence, and things appear to be happening faster than predicted.

The reason why we still today have people (who are not scientists!) believing that scientists have not reached consensus is because of media play. I really urge you to take a look at that Oreski talk. And if you are sceptical about what she has to say, she provides all the references you will need to verify every single thing she says.

The gist of the talk is this:

- first half hour: a history of climate science related to global warming, since the 1950's. Makes a very strong case that there simply is no question that by the end of the 1970's scientist already had consensus on GW and the case had been building long before that.

- second half hour: goes into the question why so many people don't believe this. She connects the dots and they lead to a small number of politically motivated scientists who have been playing the media to muddy the waters (stirring debate in popular media, not scientific publications). Astoundingly (or maybe not) these were the people also playing the media for big tobacco companies. Do you still believe that smoking tobacco is not harmful to people's health? Or maybe that "scientists have not reached consensus" on this issue?

Anyway, I gave it a try... If you don't want to follow the leads and find out for yourself that you've been "taken for a ride" (like I and many others were). Then choose to stay ignorant, there's nothing more that I can do to try and change your mind.

It just saddens me that there are probably many more people like you who still think

- global warming *is* still under debate in the scientific community
- there *were* weapons of mass destruction in Iraq
- scientific evidence that tobacco is harmful to one's health is inconclusive

PS: I'm not suggesting you believe all of these things, but I have no doubt there are many who do, for the same reasons: they haven't updated their model of reality since they formed an opinion long ago based on things they read/heard/saw on public media.

I actually used to believe there was something to the AGW theory. Back in the 80's and 90's there were some average temperature increases. Although now after having done more research, I would attribute that warming to a very active solar cycle.

With regards to a "scientific consensus" that is simply not the case. Over 800 scientists attended the recent "denier" conference in NY. Some of them were even "FORMER" IPCC scientists that quit in disgust.

With regards to this "consensus" being in place since the 1970's that is also not true. In fact, Hansen and other NASA scientists were using their computer models to predict a coming ICE AGE!

And even if there were a consensus, that in itself proves nothing. There used to be a "scientific consensus" that the Earth was flat.

There are things Al Gore never talked about in his movie. Those graphs he showed with CO2 and temperature levels rising have an interesting correlation. Temperatures LEAD CO2 level increases by several hundred years. A simple understanding of cause/effect relationships tells us the cause must happen first. CO2 levels increased because the warmer oceans cannot absorb as much CO2 and release the gas into the atmosphere. The CO2 warming theory would also not explain why temperatures dropped even with the high CO2 levels.

Consider a more realistic theory of "climate change" here:

There used to be a "scientific consensus" that the Earth was flat.

You mean like before 240BC when the ancient Greeks measured the circumference of the Earth using simple trigonometry?

Eratosthenes will always be remembered for the calculation of the Earth's circumference circa 240 BC, using trigonometry and knowledge of the angle of elevation of the Sun at noon in Alexandria and Syene

For god's sake, admins, how long are you going to allow these lies to be posted and re-posted and re-posted? It's not a case of this poster putting up new info to BE debunked/challenged/proven wrong, this poster is posting outright fabrications that we have dealt with more times than I can even remember, and that is not hyperbole.

Please, please, please delete this thread.


No No. To censure and blacklight the skeptics would be to become just like them.

Real science allows for doubt and challenge. The RealClimate web site takes on the challenges and answers them. There is no counterpart RealSkeptics web site that explains away all the evidence that points to Global Warming being a real and present danger. For example, where do the skeptics explain away differential heating in the strato- and tropospheres?

The mindset of the so-called skeptics is asymmetric exceptionalism. They get to make the challenges and demand answers from the pro-GW side, but the pro-GW side can't raise challenges and demand answers from the skeptics side. This is what is called in the talk points lexicon of the skeptics, a "fair and balanced" situation. Shining a spotlight on the situation exposes it for what it is.

"To censure"

There is no censure in deleting falsehoods. Censuring would mean to delete legitimate data and comments. There is legitimate data out there one can make hay out of (by use of poor methodologies, etc.), but consumer is posting known trash.


The link to the "Denier Conference"

You say

With regards to a "scientific consensus" that is simply not the case. Over 800 scientists attended the recent "denier" conference in NY.

I actually went there and found this:

About 800 scientists, economists, legislators, policy activists, and media representatives attended the event

How many of the 800 were scientists? How many of those where climate scientists? How many of those are taking positions that the reality of GW is "still under active debate?"

I did a "random test" and looked at one paper in one session:

Track 2: Climatology - Serious Problems with IPCC Forecasting Procedures
J. Scott Armstrong

Mr Armstrong appears to be a professor of Marketing. What makes him an expert on climate science???

I also wonder why are the people speaking at the conference not labeled (as to what their fields are?). Many are just labeled as "PhD". PhD of what? What institution do they work for. Any scientific conference I went to lists that information about the speakers.

Can you actually find any presentations in their made by scientist who actually appear to be experts on climate science?

It looks like a big hoax to me, or at best a media circus put up to confuse the public, the media and the politicians.

Mr. Hansen's work in 1971 was before the consensus was reached. Consensus was reached during the 70s. Discussion was still going on in the early seventies. You might also note that Mr Hansen is now actually fully on board with "GW is real".

E.g. Interview with James E Hansen:

Temperatures LEAD CO2 level increases by several hundred years. A simple understanding of cause/effect relationships tells us the cause must happen first.

Grist has a better answer than I could write:

Consider a more realistic theory of "climate change" here:

The grist site (again) has a better answer than I could write:

Here's the problem with the grist site answers:

Consider the temp/CO2 graph. At high temp/CO2 levels, the temperatures then drop. If CO2 were the cause of the high temperatures, then whey do temperatures drop? Global warming proponents have no answer for this. There is obviously some other external mechanism. Also you should consider the fact that other planets in the solar system have also experienced "global warming" during the last half of the 20th century. This obviously was not caused by Earth's CO2 levels.

The grist answer to the cosmic ray theory is a straw man argument. Irradiance is not the issue, solar wind and cosmic rays are. As noted by some of the comments on the site.

Global warming proponents also have no answer to the cooling temperatures over the past several years, despite increased CO2 levels. One only needs to look at reduced solar activity to find the correlation.

Your criticism to the CO2 lag arguments really don't hold up.

Your arguments are assuming that there must be *one* cause and *one* cause only that cause temperature variations.

This article explains it really well

And if that is not enough there's a link to a more recent one at the bottom that is more detailed.

Global warming proponents also have no answer to the cooling temperatures over the past several years

First of, what cooling? Can you actually provide a reference that shows this?

Second. I believe in the youtube link in a prior post, Hansen is explaining it quite lucidly in laymen's terms. Climate change is about long term averages. A few years of cooler weather is perfectly normal and really doesn't disprove that the earth's climate is warming.

But I don't even buy that the last few years have been "cooler", what with all the recent news of polar ice melting at much faster than predicted rates. Let's just say that in this instance, I'm the sceptic here. So why don't you provide me some proof of this statement. And if it is true, how then do you explain the melting of polar ice in recent years, if indeed, as you say, the weather is getting colder? How come the ice melting faster?

Oh yeah, and you have not addressed my comment that the "scientific conference" you linked to looks like a "media circus" rather than a real scientific conference. Don't have an answer do you? I'm willing to listen to arguments that I'm wrong about this, but again, I'm the sceptic here. Show me some evidence!

Only one cause for warming?

No there are actually several causes, it's just that CO2 isn't one of them. Show me proof that CO2 causes global warming - there is none. AGW is an unproven hypothesis, nothing more.

The Earth is getting cooler despite CO2 increases:

Sea Ice:

Hansen is a certified nutcase who is calling for civil disobedience and for oil company executives to be put on trial.

Note the graph in the following link. And what the global temperatures were (higher) when Hansen first testified before Congress 20 years ago. Hansen's warming predictions at the time have been proved wrong.,2933,501064,00.html

Pelosi couldn't make it to the protest because she was SNOWED IN! LOL

IPCC vs. Heartland

"CO2 causes warming."

Nobody says it "causes" global warming. Global Warming is caused by a variety of factors, one of which is CO2. This is proven physics. If you deny this, you are just a troll.

The Earth is getting cooler? You do not understand trends, or are lying about the data. Which?

That daily tech article, and it's pappy, the G. Will column, were proven complete bull the moment they were released. Why continue to cite them? Are you not acquainted with ethics? Why do you support cherry picking data?

1. The only numbers that matter are the maximum and minimum extents. What is happening on any given day other than that is irrelevant both logically and scientifically.

2. It's a lie.

3. Both the global sea ice trend and the Arctic sea ice trend are DOWN. Or can you not read the very graph you linked to?

Hansen is a certified nutcase

That is libel.

who is calling for civil disobedience

Well, I suppose he could just call for outright rebellion like G. Washington, A. Jackson, J. Madison, P. Henry...

and for oil company executives to be put on trial.

Given it is a fact Exxon intentionally mislead the public about Climate Change, why shouldn't he? Add Bush and Cheney to the list, along with the C.C. Marshall Inst. participants, Inhofe, etc.

Joe D. Aleo?

Fraser Institute has received $120,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

$60,000 ExxonMobil Corporate Giving
Climate Change
Source: ExxonMobil 2003 Worldwide Giving Report

$60,000 Exxon Corporation
Climate Change
Source: ExxonMobil 2004 Worldwide Giving Report

So... he shouldn't be prosecuted, eh? And your link says he made the graph THAT MORNING. Hmmm... From what? It matches nothing I've ever seen on global temps. Oh, and he's a meteorologist, not a climate scientist. A bit like going to a veterinarian for a heart transplant. He's educated, but not in what you need.

Heartland? Joke.

"CO2 causes warming."

Nobody says it "causes" global warming. Global Warming is caused by a variety of factors, one of which is CO2. This is proven physics. If you deny this, you are just a troll.

Apparently you have never read any of the so called "peer reviewed" papers on the subject. Because they do state that CO2 levels drive temperature levels. Or at least that is their "assumption" for their climate models. They call it "climate sensitivity" (temperature response to CO2 levels) that is the GW theory. An unproven theory. "If you deny this, you are just a troll" is not proof.

Where is your proof?

What they say is that GHGs affect temps. CO2 is one of them, not the only one, but happens to have the largest impact of the anthropogenically-produced GHGs.

Quit lying. Lying sucks. Liars suck.

Global warming proponents also have no answer to the cooling temperatures over the past several years, despite increased CO2 levels.

What cooling? Temperatures year-on-year have been within the range of natural variability. The fact that temperatures in 2008 were not higher than 1998 (1998 being a particularly hot year, thanks to El Nino) proves exactly nothing.
Even if temperatures for 2009 are significantly higher than 1998 (or 1999), that, in itself, does not proove AGCC, because of natural variability. Ten years is not enough to establish a long-term trend of a non-linear system.

Mr. Hansen's work in 1971 was before the consensus was reached. Consensus was reached during the 70s. Discussion was still going on in the early seventies. You might also note that Mr Hansen is now actually fully on board with "GW is real".

Please don't answer lies with incorrect information. Hansen never took part in any study that claimed global cooling was coming and there never was a scare among climate scientists, either. Both claims are fabrications.

These things have been dealt with here ad nauseum. Search RealClimate, for one, wrt global cooling claims in the 1970's.


Thanks for pointing that out.

I guess Mr "conservationist" doesn't shy from a lie. I just assumed that there actually was such an arcticle (not wanting to think Mr "Conservationist" would actually resort to outright lies to make his point).

I'm out of this thread now.

I've made up my mind about Mr Conservationist and the stuff he posts. It is all bull and he is doing it on purpose.

Entertaining him any further just gives him a forum to post more bull.

Let's just ignore him.

I've made up my mind about Mr Conservationist and the stuff he posts. It is all bull and he is doing it on purpose.


Well yes there actually is an article and I posted a link to the story on it. Here it is again:

Don't you think that if this really was a LIE as the other poster claims, that Newsbusters would be forced to take the story down and issue an apology? Of course they would! They haven't because it's true.

Don't you find it odd that NASA scientists who were trumpeting a coming ice age back in the 70's. Have now changed their tune to "global warming"? Do they not know what they're doing over there?

Don't you think that if this really was a LIE as the other poster claims, that Newsbusters would be forced to take the story down and issue an apology? Of course they would! They haven't because it's true.

By that standard, everything written on the internet is absolute truth.

You can't possibly be that dumb.

News organizations print retractions all the time. Yes even on the internet. Bloggers can also be sued for defamation - just like anyone else.

As to whether the story was true or not, Hansen never actually refuted it. He only claimed that he was being "swift boated". Here's an excerpt from Hansen's response:

First on 19 September 2007 a Washington Times article by John McCaslin reported that a 9 July 1971 article by Victor Cohn in the Washington Post had been discovered with the title “U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming”. The scientist, S.I. Rasool, is reported as saying that the world “could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age”.

This is an old story: Rasool and (Steve) Schneider published a paper in Science on that day noting that if human-made aerosols (small particles in the air) increased by a factor of four, other things being equal, they could cause massive global cooling. At Steve’s 60th birthday celebration I argued that the Rasool and Schneider paper was a useful scientific paper, an example of hypothesis testing, in the spirit of good science. But what is the news today? Mr. McCaslin reported that Rasool and Hansen were colleagues at NASA and “Mr. Rasool came to his chilling conclusions by resorting in part to a new computer program developed by Mr. Hansen that studied clouds above Venus.”
What was that program? It was a ‘Mie scattering’ code I had written to calculate light scattering by spherical particles. Indeed, it was useful for Venus studies, as it helped determine the size and refractive index of the particles in the clouds that veil the surface of Venus.

"Swift Boated" is an interesting term for him to use since he did receive a $250,000 grant from John Kerry's wife:

If Hansen wasn't a co-author on the paper he can't in any way be held accountable for any conclusions drawn or speculated by the article, even if he was a work colleague.

Over 800 scientists attended the recent "denier" conference in NY.

. Impressive. That's a lot of scientists (or, as pointed out, Marketing driods, lobbyists etc). Case closed then. Oh, wait, how many scientists contributed to IPCC 4?... How many scientists didn't contribute to IPCC 4, but are convinced of the robustness of the science behind AGCC?

No it's scientists that are officially dissenting:

The IPCC is run by UN bureaucrats with a left wing agenda:

We have only been tracking the sea ice for about 30 years. Unlike the debate over the health effects of tobacco, there are many reasonable reasons to be a climate skeptic. I am a skeptic; I am neither denier nor supporter, as the data available at this time leads me to no conclusive decision on the subject.

As a scientist, a geologist, I have difficulty seeing how models of past climatic conditions can be created with great accuracy, given there is a natural tendency for destruction of data by weathering, transportation and sedimentation. Creating a depositional model based on the geology is difficult and often disputed in academia, without any consideration of what the weather was like or how warm or cool it was in absolute terms. Consequently there is much room for debate on the models created of the past climate. What if they are not accurate or even close to accurate? What does that say about the extrapolated data indicating the coming rising sea levels etc. Extrapolated data from finite variables for the past cannot create extrapolated data about the future with any reasonable degree of accuracy in a system where the variables and interrelations of the variables are poorly understood. This is not any reasonable basis to make absolute claims.

We have an understanding of the biosphere and atmosphere that is in its infancy. We are not at a point where absolute statements can be made. Stating otherwise and giving doomsday projections is a model of bad science and the attempt to create a culture of fear. Climate science is a peer reviewed science, if all the peers are in fundamental agreement and anyone who would disagree is a denialist industry stooge, that is not science. If one cannot disagree and present contradictory evidence or be critical of the prevailing view without being dismissed as a fool, well that’s not science.

It is proof-texting the ideological dogma of Hansen and Gore et all, not real science at that point. I posted a comment a while ago about my skepticism and it was responded to with “I can’t belive that you are allowed to post here.” A link to the denialist top ten was listed. To that I say, in terms of real science, the denialists are the unsung heroes of climate science for every statement they make is an opportunity to confirm or refute their claims. Unlike the Hansonites they do so being extremely unpopular in the mainstream media. To me the study of climate change today is the greatest failure of the scientific method in the history of science, as it is easily influenced by the media, politics, and economics, on both sides, Denialist and Hansenist. What happened to the empirical study of the mechanisms of the climate? It got lost in cap and trade.

The fact that a Nobel prize winning nano-partical physicist would step up and call CO2 the most important factor in Americas energy future, and only solvable through PV solar, wind , and to some degree nuclear is a atrocity to every taxpaying citizen of this country. Chu is an expert in the esoteric study of sub-atomic physics and a leader in his field. That expert resume however does not qualify him as an expert in all fields of scientific endeavor. I believe in our future we will need diversity in our energy sources as various regions of the US are endowed in different ways, and geothermal, hydro, tidal will also need to play a role. However a transition cannot be forced through governmental action, it will need to be able to have its own price support to be anything other than a drain on the taxpayer’s pocketbooks.

And a transition will take time, the marginalization of America’s oil and gas industry is a smack in the face of some of the biggest taxpayers and money makers for the government. There are plenty of countries that would love to have the revenue that Exxon or Chevron could bring to their country. If the government kicks them hard enough they will go somewhere else, Weatherford is headed to Switzerland, how long before the other major operators and service companies decide to jump ship?

To that I say, in terms of real science, the denialists are the unsung heroes of climate science for every statement they make is an opportunity to confirm or refute their claims.

Except that they keep making the same statements! How many times are the experts expected to refute factually wrong and already-debunked claims?
These Denier Statements (as opposed to Skeptic Statements) then filter down into the common populace, who then repeat them on blogs and website, write to newspapers, and bombard their elected representatives, and it doesn't matter how many times you refute and debunk these claims, no matter how many times you shatter a poster into silence with links, quotations, and references, another one pops up, posts a Denial, and the cycle starts again. And if you ignore them, they claim victory!

Are you an "expert"?

Perhaps you could post the "links, qoutations, and references" to proof of AGW.

There is none.

After debating with anthropic climate change skeptics for years, I know you actually have no interest in scientific proof debunking your assertions, but I'll provide a link. You need to put you money where you mouth is by conducting some experiments to verify the work of other scientists. That is how science keeps itself honest.

The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect, The Discovery of Global Warming, Spencer Weart, 2008

What your link actually shows is that the so called "proof" is only speculation based on a false assumption. Here is an excerpt:

Eventually geochemists and their allies managed to get numbers for the “climate sensitivity” in ancient eras, that is, the response of temperature to a rise in the CO2 level. Over hundreds of millions of years, a doubled level of the gas had always gone along with a temperature rise of three degrees, give or take a couple of degrees. That agreed almost exactly with the numbers coming from many computer studies.

The mistaken assumption is that CO2 levels caused the temperature increases, when in fact it was the temperature increases that caused the CO2 increases. We know this because the ice cores show temperature levels increasing BEFORE CO2 levels increased. Computer models predicting global warming have already been proved wrong because of current temperature levels.

You mentioned experiments. Would you happen to have any links to CO2/temperature experiments? The only so called "proof" that I've ever seen put forth from the so called "peer reviewed papers" have been climate computer models. Is the 4 billion dollars/year that's being wasted on global warming research not enough money to do any experiments? Svensmark did do a laboratory experiment that proved the cosmic ray theory BTW.

Things won't change until we change what we fundamentally value as a society. When we all become aware of the fact that, we need to make decisions that are for the benefit our planet and society as whole than for our own selfish motives. I am amazed at how the majority of society is oblivious to the fundamental problems of our culture and society. We need a paradigm shift to save us. Without a shift in how we think and undrstand this world, we will destroy ourselve within my lifetime. If you can't see that fact then you have your eyes closed. We are approaching so many daunting problems which are result of selfish motive, that the only question is which one will destroy us first??
"Human's are biased by there own self interest as greed and fear polarize common sense"
Our culture is one of justification, for behavior that benefits few at the expense of many.


The Republicans in Congress have included opening up Federal and offshore areas for new oil exploration in their proposals. This would be the quickest and most direct way to deal with the current 9% worldwide depletion rates. Certainly better than having a 9% decrease in economic activity year after year.

Your logic and underlying premise seem to have some basic flaws.

Unless I'm missing something, you are saying that opening up an area for oil *EXPLORATION* is the quickest way to deal with oil *DEPLETION*. This view seems to me to be fractally wrong.

At least if you had said extracting oil from already drilled and currently capped wells your statement might have some credibility.

I'm sure the oil experts on this site could chime in here and give you some numbers as to how long it takes from exploration to actual production. I suspect that even if there were enough oil to be found offshore to offset a 9% yearly decline in worldwide depletion rates it would take quite a bit longer than a year or two to even begin to make a dent in actual production.

I think you had better start adjusting to the reality that we are indeed going to be facing a continuous contraction of our current consumer economy until we shift from a consumption paradigm to one of sustainability. Whether or not that state can actually be achieved, I do not pretend to know.

I would however like to think that we can have a better quality of life if we understand this and start making the necessary adjustments instead of trying to fight ever harder to maintain BAU.

As for your comment regarding global warming, "fractally wrong", doesn't even begin to describe it because it would at least have to be wrong.

Your logic and underlying premise seem to have some basic flaws.

You are a generously kind person. The OP is a quack, as can be seen by his quoting of Heartland and Newsbusters as sources.

Typical left wing liberal response to facts. Call the poster names, then try and discredit the source of the facts. Sorry, but Newsbusters wasn't the source of the article where your beloved Hansen was trumpeting the coming ice age. It was in the Washington Post. Try reading the article next time.

Everything you "posted" was a lie or BS. All of them have been done here many times. Too many. Hansen trumpeted ice age?

There are no polite words with which to answer such blatant lies...

No it's just that YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH! lol

Sort of like how Obama didn't really bow down to the Saudi King? I guess the video was a fake?

Sorry, but your left wing propaganda doesn't have much chance in the information age.

OK so Hansen has a *1971* article that... What has this to do with the issue whether there is currently consensus on global warming?

Like you say, at one time people believed the earth was flat. What do scientists agree on *now*?

realclimate is a left wing propagandist blog funded by George Soros. They have no interest in facts or truth. One of their editors is none other than Michael Mann creator of the infamous "hockey stick" graph that has been completely debunked.

It must be hard for left wing loonies watching their Messiah screw things up so much in such a short period of time. Hate to say we told you so but we told you so.

Hey. You're not a real conservative!
There are not enough essess (S's) in your snake talk.
Remember that Rush likes to emphasize his essess.
Naming Soros is a good start.
But try to get more of your essess out there in your talking pointsss.
A phrase like American Exceptionalissssm works.
Messsssiah is good too.
But suffering succotash man, get more essess out there. The drive by media likes it that way. And ssso do usss conssssservativessss.
Good thing Global Warming Bush had no essess in his name.

Hah haha!

Conservationist, you have been unmasked. You must be one of those "Marshal institute types". What Soros calls "market fundamentalists". No wonder you don't like him and call him a left wing propagandist. Call him whatever you like. His predictions about market collapse appear to have been spot on (see the current financial crisis!).

I see now exactly what your motives are, attacking good science, with lies, half truths and misdirection, all in the name of market fundamentalism, just like Naomi Oreske explains it in the talk I linked to.

Thank you Mr Conservationist, if ever I needed more convincing that Naomi Oreske's analysis was spot on, you have just given it to me.

For this I thank you very much!

Yes it's true, Soros' hedge fund is doing well. The money he spent electing your Messiah was money well spent. I can't think of anyone else that could screw up the US economy as well. The $750,000.00 for Hansen's "politicization of science" fund was worth every penny too. Smart man.

Enjoy your Pelosi, Reid, Obama clown parade while you can. It will be very short lived.

realclimate is a left wing propagandist blog funded by George Soros.

Wow. You've got every lie, straw man and red herring ever written by Heartland, et al.

How much do they pay you? Is it per lie? Must be enough that you don't care about committing libel against good people. May you live long enough to be sued into oblivion by those you have libeled here.

They have no interest in facts or truth.

Ah, perhaps you're not an idiot. Look at the use of irony. BTW, they're climate scientists. You? Dog catcher? Pool cleaner? Paper boy? Unemployed? Heartland staff? Exxon employee?

the infamous "hockey stick" graph that has been completely debunked.

Yawn. Another lie.

Perhaps it's Al Gore that needs to worry about being sued?

Perhaps he could be sued for producing too much CO2 causing global warming as well?

Speaking of lies, funny how a British court ruled against Al Gore's Inconvenient Untruths:

Every post you have made is against the rules, but if TOD wants you here, so be it.

Personally, I'm disgusted.

Speaking of lies, funny how a British court ruled against Al Gore's Inconvenient Untruths:

The British Govcernment (ie, the owner of the schools) didn't exactly put up a big defence, even when some of the claims made against AIT could be shopwn to be false by a simple web search and a 'fact-finding' trip (who wouldn't want to go on a trip to Tuvalu?).
Not also that the judge never said there were errors in AIT. That was a term used by the Plaintiff.

Sort of like how Obama didn't really bow down to the Saudi King?

Would you be upset if he kissed the Popes' ring?
Following tradition doesn't actually mean deferring.

An honest mistake in protocol is one thing. Having your press secretary lie to the American people about what happened is something else altogether.

Typical left wing liberal response to facts.

Right-wing conservatives have never resorted to such tactics, I assume.
Of course, your statement assumes your links did, in fact, contain any facts at all.

The Clinton Admin used the same excuse against opening up new areas for exploration 12 years ago. Even if it took 10 years, new oil resources coming onto the market last year could have averted $147 oil, and the resulting economic meltdown. Why make the same mistake again?

With regards to BAU, I think we should all be honest and look at just what BAU is.

No new oil exploration and production in the US. Increasing reliance on imported oil. Increased regulations and taxes on businesses driving them to manufacture overseas. Increased trade deficits. Increased personal debt. Increased government debt financed by foreign entities. Increased unemployment. 1 in 10 Americans now on Welfare.

To conservationist,

I you have 'proof' that AGW is a load of claptrap then avail yourself of a golden opportunity by posting a public comment to the 2nd Public Review Draft of the U.S.government's Unified Synthesis Product. However, you may want to read it first.

From the Key Findings section (pg4) of the Executive Summary of this report:

1. Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced.
There is no question that global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. (p. 13)
2. Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow.
Climate-related changes are already observed in the United States and its coastal waters. These include increases in temperature, sea level, and heavy downpours, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the ocean and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows. These changes are projected to grow larger. (p. 27)
3. Widespread climate-related impacts are occurring now and are expected to increase.
Climate changes are already affecting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and health. These impacts are different from region to region and will grow under projected climate change. (p. 41-108, 109-156)
4. Climate change will stress water resources.
Water is an issue in every region, but the nature of the potential impacts varies. Drought, related to reduced precipitation and increases in evapotranspiration, is an important issue in many regions, especially in the West. Floods and water quality problems are likely to be amplified by climate change in most regions. Declines in mountain snowpack are important in the Northwest, Southwest, and Alaska where snowpack provides vital natural water storage.
(p. 41, 133, 139, 143)
5. Crop and livestock production will be increasingly challenged.
Agriculture is considered one of the sectors most able to adapt to climate change. However, increased heat, pests, diseases, and weather extremes will pose adaptation challenges for crop and livestock production. (p. 71)
6. Coastal areas are at increasing risk from sea-level rise and storm surge.
Sea-level rise and storm surge place many U.S. coastal regions at increasing risk of erosion and flooding, especially along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Pacific Islands, and parts of Alaska. Energy and transportation infrastructure in coastal cities is very likely to be adversely affected. (p. 153)
7. Threats to human health will increase.
Health impacts of climate change are related to heat stress, water-borne diseases, reduced air quality, extreme weather events, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents. Robust public health infrastructure can reduce the potential for negative impacts. (p. 91)
8. Climate change will interact with many social and environmental stresses.
Climate change will combine with pollution, population growth, overuse of resources, urbanization, and other social, economic, and environmental stresses to create larger impacts than any one of these alone. (p. 101)
9. Rapid, irreversible, and unanticipated changes are likely as a result of crossing key thresholds.
Some aspects of climate change and its impacts are likely to be unanticipated as complex systems respond to ongoing changes in unforeseen ways. Such changes have already been observed. Some changes in climate and associated ecological responses are likely to be rapid and irreversible as tipping points are reached. (p. 26, 159)
10. Future climate change and its impacts depend on choices made today.
The amount and rate of future climate change depends primarily on current and future human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases and airborne particles. Responses involve reducing emissions to limit future warming, and adapting to the changes that are unavoidable. Adaptation examples include water conservation and modified land use planning in areas with high flood and fire risks. (p. 142, 151, 156)

If the government is really worried about this, just confiscate all automobiles that do not get at least 25 miles per gallon. Simple and effective and let the next election fall as it will.

The "U.S.government's Unified Synthesis Product" eh?

Wasn't Hansen working for the "US Government" when he was trumpeting the coming ice age back in 1971? Guess he was wrong then too.

Interestingly, what the "Scientists" or should I say "Luddites" were trying to pin the "coming ice age" on back then was, you guessed it - EMISSIONS FROM COAL PLANTS!

Obama's dad was from Africa. Obama and the rest of the world place great store in this fact.
I too, am from Africa.
So if Obama's African heritage means anything, and we all seem to agree that it does, I can make these assertions.

Obama will be a consumate politician. The world's best in fact. Just run over a chicken in an African villiage and you will see the truth of that statement.
He will be all form and no substance. He will be unable to deliver the goods.
Do you all remember how Bob Mugabe was hailed as the savior when he took over Rhodesia? Obama is also hailed.
When push comes to shove you will find him suprisingly ruthless. America belongs to him now.

Oh Arthur, Even as one from Africa, it is not politically correct to attack the messiah. Grief you will receive, I fear.
My problem with this entire thread, is that it makes some assumption that government will be part of the solution to our energy problems. Government IS THE PROBLEM. People will tell you that the energy crisis is different from other issues that the capitalistic economy can address, in that, by the time the system identifies that a solution is needed, it will be too late. While this is probably true, why is it true? It is true because we have not gotten reasonable energy data from the Dept. of Energy, since they were tasked 32 years ago to provide this data.
That's right, 32 years and 100's of billions of dollars, through many administrations to accomplish their stated mission.
" to reduce our dependence on foreign oil" They have done an amazing job, haven't they? Had they been publishing reasonable data, the market would be moving closer to the necessary solutions. The need to do so and the economic incentive would be obvious. This site is testimony to the fact that the data is there and could easily be obtained. That the gubmint has failed in this task, in fact has issued erroneous data, amounts to one of the most devastating attacks our country has ever experienced. We will not recover from this political failure.
So to sum up, the same government that has bankrupted social security, medicare, and the US in general, the same government that has gotten us into unnecessary wars while at the same time ignoring legitimate threats to our country over the decades, the same government that has allowed the financial greed mongers to rape the coffers of our country, will somehow help fix the energy problem. ROTFLMAO while crying.

I don't think very many persons are ready to accept this-Janice Dorn writes about the psychology of trading and she has a good essay on the current situation

Treeman I love your "Government is the problem" quote. You've nailed the problem on its head. unfortunately by the time the majority realize this, it will be far too late. If it isn't too late already.

Wasn't this supposed to be a government of the people by the people? Nothing to see here people, move along now, move along...

Oops. Silly computer

"That's right, 32 years and 100's of billions of dollars, through many administrations to accomplish their stated mission.
" to reduce our dependence on foreign oil" They have done an amazing job, haven't they? "

Thank goodness I did not say that Africans have a mandate on "all Form and no Substance"

Pertinant quotes.
"Handsome is as handsome does." My Granny

"A tree is known by the fruit that it yields" Christ

"If everyone is putting their heads in the fire are you going to put yours in too?" My Mother.

Arthur, You had a wise mother and granny.

Chu and his planz are nothing less than horrifying.

In Obama we've chosen suicide.


Humanity's only hope is a very rapid collapse - so rapid it incapacitates the world's governments.

Let the Bottle Neck Begin.

I sincerely hope Chu lives long enough to be among the last eaten.

Preferably by the 88 starving Nobel Laureates holed up at the National Labs.

"What is fragile should break early while it is still small . Nothing should ever become too big to fail. Evolution in economic life helps those with the maximum amount of hidden risks - and hence the most fragile - become the biggest." From the recent wide-spread article by Nassim Taleb.

Assuming Nate Hagens is right and we can't change paradigms until the bulk of those adhering to the dead paradigm are themselves gone, let's hope Chu and his buddies are among the first eaten. That our "best" hope lies in a sooner rather than later meltdown - sigh. We're into the realm of morality, values and burning monks at this point.

Not worth opposing the bastards. Ignore them. Build something.

cfm in Gray, ME

"Not worth opposing the bastards. Ignore them. Build something."

I'm with you and Orlov (ignore federal politicians and their henchmen...).

We must do our own building - but They have giant feet that might trample us first, so unfortunately we have to keep watching their perverse political circus.

And yes, I stand corrected - The Appetizer should consist of Chu, Obama, Summers, Bernanke, and Geithner. Eat the Head first.

I was hoping they would live long enough to see the destruction they fueled before they were eaten.

But the truth is it would be better if they passed into the bottleneck first.

but They have giant feet that might trample us first,

Then become the little thorn that cripples them.

The Good Thorn:

"...The company spokesman also said AT&T is working with law enforcement officials to find who vandalized the cables.

The company declined to comment further on how vandals were able to gain access to its cable infrastructure..."

I think there will be many spontaneous 'thorns.' But I think remaining hidden in the woodwork is the "safer" way.


I'm certainly glad that refrigerators have gotten so efficient. However if someone would think of a way to exhaust the hot air from the refrigerator condenser to the outside sink instead of exhausting into the house where the air conditioner must then remove the heat to the outside, I think we might be able to reduce power consumption.

New refrigerators now are using so little energy( less than one 100w incandescent light bulb) that it's hardly worth the effort, better to focus on replacing those incandescent light bulbs. An air conditioner(when on) moves about 30 times more BTU's than a refrigerator puts out.

Actually, I don't see this as a fair comparison. Yes, it's true that a refrigerator's energy consumption is 1/30th that of what an air conditioner moves out of the living space, but that doesn't mean that the exhaust from the frige is 1/30th the AC Btu movement.

What would happen if you exhausted that to the outside is that the frige would be working in the same direction as the AC (but less efficient), and have a net cooling effect due to the conduction through the door and such. It would decrease AC power requirements by more than 1/30th.

If a refrigerator uses 0.1kWh(0.36MJ) in one hour that much heat has to be removed from the room, even though it may move 1MJ out of the freezer, it all evens out to be a net 0.36MJ heat( just as a 100W light bulb gives 0.36MJ/h heat). A 1500W A/C heat pump can usually move about 3000-4000Wh of heat(10-13MJ) in one hour, depending upon outside temperature.

In winter, it is better to have the refridge heating the room.

But I'm talking the millions of old units

2. Predict the year that cellulosic ethanol achieves true commercial viability. (I was really interested in his thoughts here, and whether he distinguished between gasification and true cellulosic ethanol).

Ummm... What's that mean? I do research in this area. There are nominally two paths to produce ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass: thermochemical (gasification and pyrolysis) or biochemical (hydrolysis, fermentation). Currently, neither is price competitive, but Range Fuels is building a commercial scale plant using gasification and catalytic conversion.

Strange comment....

You said it yourself. One is truly cellulosic, and has been around for many decades. It converts the cellulose. One is gasification, also around for many decades, but only recently rebranded as cellulosic (initially to make sure they got the same tax credits).

Gasification turns all of the carbon into gas, and is thus not limited at all to cellulose. With gasification, cellulose is just another component that gets gasified, along with lignin, hemicellulose, proteins, free sugars, and any carbon containing molecules.

I think gasification has a future in which it could be commercially viable. I don't believe the same is true for conventional cellulosic. I have explained exactly why I believe this:

Cellulosic Ethanol is Dead

That 'economic' simulation is BAU baloney.

They peg the price of ethanol to gasoline.

The 'terrible' 51 cent subsidy is to help move from mainly imported oil to renewable ethanol instead of a straight consumption tax on gasoline to discourage use. The study is based on having switchgrass ethanol compete with corn even though corn ethanol is limited by law.

The limiting case is E10, 14 billion gallons of ethanol when the idea is to get to 36 billion gallons in 2030. It's true that without increasing the ethanol mandate beyond E10, the future of biofuels is in doubt but everyone knows that.

There's no mention of the fact that CE produces just 20% the CO2 of gasoline even though GW considerations are going to be very important in the future.

I summarized Chu's thinking in two long articles at ASPO-USA, Steven Chu's Energy Miscalculations and The Secretary of Synthetic Biology.

I note that, except for the reference to Hamilton's recent conclusions, nothing has changed in Chu's presentation and nothing ever will. He always uses the same slides, the same examples (e.g. the refrigerators, or the reference to the Green Revolution -- see the interview he did with Charlie Rose).

If you watch that interview with Rose, you can get the transcript and count the number of times he uses the phrase "Nobel Prize" -- he has one, you know -- as if the decision of a committee in Sweden confers great authority, and perhaps even a God-like status to those who are tapped for the honor.

Chu is like a child in the science sandbox. He has no interest in day-to-day realities of oil or natural gas -- here are his thoughts on the Pickens Plan

QUESTION: “What do you think of proposals to expand natural gas as a transportation fuel?”

STEVEN CHU: “It’s a possibility. It’s something that I think T. Boone Pickens has popularized. I think, you know, I’m agnostic, really, about it . . . My first impression is, let’s decrease the use of personal transportation, our use, by going to more fuel efficient cars and other mechanisms . . The other path forward is to develop the biofuels . . . using agricultural lumber wastes and plants specifically designed for growing energy and making our transportation fuel that way, to offset the oil imports. I don’t know which one will win. I think we could look at both. But remember, if we significantly shift our use of transportation to use natural gas. that will put a strain on natural gas use for industrial uses, for heating and other things . . . it’s a complicated issue.”

Agnostic -- means "doesn't care." Chu only cares about his nifty science projects. He also worships at the altar of Efficiency (see refrigerators again), as if the efficiency of using diesel in long-haul trucking (or jet fuels in airplanes) can somehow be improved as if it were an energy efficient appliance or light bulb.

You guys will probably publish many articles in the next few years on Chu. If you look back on them in the future, you will discover that they were all the same.

Chu is like a child in the science sandbox...

He has no interest in day-to-day realities ... Chu only cares about his nifty science projects.

That is the perfect description of Chu, the Ivory Tower Pinhead.

To quell dissent, and to reassure the ignorant masses, Chu Appeals to Authority - his fellow nobel prize winning tunnel-visionists.

The MSM and gullible public "oooh" and "ahhh" while The Great and Powerful Oz masterbates in his lab, watching his test-tubes bubble, behind the Smoke Screen.

(A very sincere thank you, David, for your continued dissection of Chu's pie-eyed, sci-fi "policy")

Thanks for your posts, Dave. I had one up about him on April 1.

Dave Cohen,
You seem to be loosing objectivity about Steven Chu.
What you don't seem to like about Chu's opinions;
1)he combines oil plus gas resources together when talking about peak liquid fuels; Iran managed to convert 400,000 vehicles to NG in 2 years, so surely it's a reasonable assumption that NG can to some extent substitute for some oil in the US.

2)he thinks oil +NG will peak in 10-40 years, not now or in 2012; this is not the same as saying oil will not peak for 40 years. My interpretation of that statement is the assumption is that there will be either oil or NG in large amounts( ie similar to today's use) for at least 10 years but possibly more than 40 years.

3) he is in favor of increasing vehicle efficiency by raising CAFE, research on electric vehicles, batteries; this will save on oil use, it's your(or Toyota's) contention that HEV will only be 10% of new car sales by 2015, the Obama administrations goal for PHEV is 1million vehicles by 2015. I don't think that Chu has ruled out a larger production by 2020 or even higher CAFE standards than passed in Bush administration.

4) he is in favor of spending billions on improving the electricity grid; that seems reasonable if the plan is to replace gasoline with electric cars and NG used for heat and electricity with wind so more NG can replace gasoline an diesel.

5)he is in favor of research into bio-fuels using non-food agri-forestry and improving photosynthesis efficiency; I don't think he is claiming ALL oil can be replaced by bio-fuels( otherwise why spend money on batteries and electric vehicles).
In your post"Steven Chu's Energy Miscalculations" you say;

"I promised you I would answer the question What’s the plan? regarding liquid fuels. The Obama administration’s answer is basically do nothing while we wait for efficiency to take care of the problem. In other words, the check is in the mail."
Then you list about $3billion funding in the first 10 weeks of the Obama administration that is directly related to reducing oil use in transportation, plus the other $30 Billion ? for improving the electric grid( also for reducing oil consumption by freeing up more NG).

As far as your definition of "agnostic" most would think it means "that the truth of certain claims is unknown" meaning that the "Pickens plan"( which he was referring to),may or may not work. His(Chu's) plan; "LETS DECREASE PERSONAL TRANSPORTATION, OUR USE,... other measures.....The other path BIOFUELS......I don’t know which one will win. I think we could look at both."
This does not sound like; "basically do nothing while we wait for efficiency to take care of the problem".

It sounds like A PLAN; do a number of things; electric vehicles, better fuel efficiency, replace some gasoline with biofuels, replace some with NG( but replacing NG used for non-transport by wind, solar, nuclear?).

Thank you Gail and all above for your efforts to explain the unexplainable. The one factor that seems to get less than its share of emphasis is:

After all the talk and after all the actions, the main purpose of this exercise is to get Obama et al re-elected.

Somehow, if we on TOD are to make an impression on TPTB, we have to frame the argument in how to get Obama et al re-elected four years from now. It doesn't matter about all of WT's beautiful arguments of exports, or arguments that climate will destroy much of our planet like Australia this last year, that more than 2/3rds of the global population will die, what is important is how to make sure the majority of the remaining people are Obama loving democrats; that the Soyant Green (in whatever form) is made primarily of Republicans and independents and other people. “If we are going to save the planet we have to be willing for other people to sacrifice.”

On oil: Make sure that any shortages (geological or financial) are blamed on Republicans. “Bush lied” won’t work any more because Bush is keeping a very low profile (I would too). We certainly can’t run on “Change” any more. Casting blame is a very difficult problem even compared with PO. We can always get an expert to say we are awash in oil.

On real estate: Essentially the same thing, except don’t mention Barney Franks or “All those disenfranchised people deserve a home of their own”. Damn the realitors not the liar loans.

On finance: Please do not save any money. If you need more money we will print it for you. Just make sure you spend it so we can return to BAU and remember it was Obama et al and not those Alpha Hotel Republicans that provided it for you. BTW: “This administration is the only thing standing between you and the pitchforks.” really means if TSHTF I’ll meet you someplace safe and we will talk about it.

If you think I am being sarcastic, think about this … there are thousands preparing for the next election (spin doctors) vs only a couple hundred concerned people on TOD.

If you think I am being sarcastic, think about this … there are thousands preparing for the next election (spin doctors) vs only a couple hundred concerned people on TOD.

And, sadly, we all go down together. Like a cruise ship headed for a waterfall. A few engineers and crew shout that we're all about to crash, but their yells are drown out by the belly-aching mass. More drinks! More Dinner! More Entertainment they scream! Soon we'll all be over the edge, and everyone will wonder how this went unforeseen.

The captain of the ship answers to the guest, and the guest don't care where the ship is going. They just want the best seat.

"Somehow, if we on TOD are to make an impression on TPTB,

We at TOD are one tiny, insignificant squeek in the mass cacaphony.

They won't hear us, and certainly would not pay attention to us if they could.

We delude ourselves if we think we will have any influence whatsover on TPTB.

I agree. Though I didn't use to think that way.

I think (and I stress this is only my opinion, not that of other contributors), that we are raising the bar of awareness and understanding of the wide boundary problems, both supply, demand, (and externalities of both), for the leaders of the future paradigm. The existing one is too broke to fix with baby measures, and those in control won't agree to anything beyond that. Still, discussion forums like this may eventually sort out our options more effectively than the linear thinking in business or the academy.

I think you're right.

TOD does what you say and much, much more (e.g. helps me keep my sanity ;).

We might or might not ever influence TPTB.

But TOD is certainly fertilizing many seeds (each reader) in hundreds of different human ecosystems around the globe.

At least some of those seeds are bound to find fertile soil, take root and thrive long after the current PTB and current paradigm are nothing but bad memories.